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Study investigates health benefits of different cordyceps variants
May 10, 2019 02:22 PM
According to Taiwanese citizens, the cordyceps(mushroom) is a powerful food. They say it can help with the immune system, and fights against tumors, as a start. Though they are hard to grow in large volumes due to a parasitic symbiosis, they are still worth the effort to study and learn from. Taiwanese universities have already studied how fermentation affects this mushroom, and they want to increase their knowledge, especially when it comes to perhaps growing alternatives to meet the demand.
"In the review, the researchers identified the primary challenge in the mass production of Cordyceps sinensis, which is the difficulty in collecting natural variants with parasitic hosts, coupled with discoveries regarding its pharmacological benefits."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-19-health-benefits-of-different-cordyceps-variants.html
5 Reasons to place Matcha with your morning coffee
September 13, 2017 09:14 AM
There are 5 reasons to place Matcha with your morning coffee. If you are a big coffee drinker, then you are not alone. Most people in America still prefer coffee. It is the morning beverage of choice for people. But, there are some unwanted side effects. Many people crash, or get headaches. If you drink Matcha, then you can increase your mental clarity. It will also help to improve your digestion. You can lose weight with it too.
"Not only does making matcha green tea help us slow down, but when coupled with meditation we have found it easier to get into zen, live in the moment, and live with mental clarity."
Read more: http://www.waow.com/story/36292047/5-reasons-to-place-matcha-with-your-morning-coffee
Natural compound coupled with specific gut microbes may prevent severe flu
August 06, 2017 11:14 AM
A study published in the Journal of Science. On August 4th claims that microbes in combination with flavonoids can prevent the flu virus. Flavonoids are found in food and are known to have good qualities in our diets. DAT is a metabolite that does not actually prevent the flu but does keep the flu virus from affecting the lungs. Keeping healthy microbes in the gut working along with the flavonoids will increase the ability of the immune system to fight off the flu virus.
Read more: Natural compound coupled with specific gut microbes may prevent severe flu
Inflammation can disrupt body's functions
July 27, 2017 04:14 PM
Inflammation can disrupt body functions, as stated in an article by Review Journal. An interview conducted with Dr. U. Inge Ferguson, a physician who specializes in internal and obesity medicine, describes a multitude of issues ongoing inflammation can create for the body. For instance, excess weight gain and hormonal imbalances coupled with inflammation can promote other diseases to develop. The article describes what the inflammatory process is in the body, why we should be concerned about ongoing inflammation, the correlation between inflammation and obesity, and the steps to take to prevent or reduce ongoing inflammation in the body.
"Inflammation happens early on as normal healing. Over time inflammation that continues is harmful, getting in the way of normal body functions."
Read more: https://www.reviewjournal.com/life/health/inflammation-can-disrupt-bodys-functions/
This Chinese Herb (+ Iron) Kills Cancer Cells in 16 Hours
March 18, 2017 08:44 AM
150 years ago cancer was almost non-existent, but with the inclusion of processed foods, low-quality meat and dairy, and refined sugars into the standard diet, disease and sickness sprung up in the body, and quickly became a human epidemic. Artemisinin has been used in the past as a powerful anti-malarial herb, but it now has been proven to be a cancer-fighter, too. French drugmaker Sanofi is expected to make 50 to 60 tons of Artemisinin each year, aiming to supply enough for global market demand.
"In a recent study published by Life Sciences, it was found that artemisinin (the derivative), coupled with Iron, can kill 98% of breast cancer cells in 16 hours."
Quora: Want to Lose Weight? Add This One Thing to Your Diet
January 10, 2017 07:59 AM
When it comes to losing weight, there is one thing that can be added to your diet with a lot of benefits in general and that is fiber. There are many different benefits of a high fiber diet which include healthier skin, lower cholesterol, a healthy gut, a highly reduced risk of stroke, and a reduced risk of type two diabetes.
"Fiber. It’s not a sexy solution, but it’s one that works wonders for maintaining a healthy weight."
How does CBD help with Seizures
Seizures are the sudden changes in the brain's electrical activity. It usually affects how a person acts for a short period of time or appear. The symptoms of seizure include a loss of control and violent shaking. There can be several causes for the seizures. Anything that affects the brain's normal activity can lead to seizures. Several causes of seizures include injury to the head, fever, disease or even certain uses of medications. A person suffering from regular seizures due to brain disorder is called to be having epilepsy. Seizures can take different forms that affect many people in different ways, as some people call it electrical storms in the brain.
CBD has several therapeutic effects. Unlike THC, CBD has a less binding affinity to the CB1 and CB2, those are Cannabinoid receptors. Instead, CBD stimulates endogenous cannabinoid signal by suppressing enzyme fatty acid amide hydroxylase (FAAH). CBD helps in enhancing endocannabinoid by suppressing FAAH. CBD also opposes the action of THC at CB1 receptor, thus help to mute the effects of THC. CBD also stimulates 2-AG, that activates the CB1 and CB2 receptors, where CB2 receptors are predominant in the immune system and peripheral nervous system. It is found that CBD binds directly with 'G-protein' coupled receptors and other ion channels to grant therapeutic effect. CBD is also known as the TRPV-1 stimulant that helps, CBD-rich Cannabis in the effective treatment of the neuropathic pain.
4 Ways Food Can Fight Muscle Soreness
December 10, 2016 04:59 PM
These tears, coupled with inflammation and temporary muscle aches and pains are commonly referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS. Typically, DOMS increases after exercise and peaks 24 to 72 hours later. Although more research is needed, proposed strategies for reducing exercise-induced inflammation, pain, soreness, and weakness include cold or hot water immersion, cryotherapy, and compression clothing. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the most commonly used drugs by athletes of all levels to reduce exercise-mediated inflammation and soreness.
"Several studies have highlighted the importance of recovery following prolonged or high-intensity exercise (like marathons, ultra-marathons, and triathlons)."
Thyroid Health and Selenium
Selenium is nature’s best secret. It is a nutrient that when used in the correct amounts in your food, can make huge and exciting changes. However, the body only needs small amounts of this mineral, but it has huge benefits on one’s health. It protects us against many health problems that are associated with the aging process such as osteoarthritis and cancer. A certain amount of this mineral is required in order to protect the body from deadly viruses and also to aid in healthy thyroid functioning.
Selenium deficiency frequently goes untreated simply because it does not show any noticeable symptoms. If the levels of selenium are low, the thyroid will have to work extra hard to manufacture its hormones and the body will have a tough job converting those hormones to a form the cells can use. This is because selenium is a chief ingredient of the molecules necessary for the body to be able to create and use seleno-proteins (thyroid hormones).
The initial stages of low selenium levels will reduce the optimal production of the thyroid hormone in the glands. If this continues the thyroid gland becomes inflamed. Eventually, this is what leads to thyroid autoimmune problems
Problems that come with low selenium levels can be more serious when the levels of mineral, iodine, is low. Iodine is well known for its key role in thyroid health. Selenium is also important in aiding your body to recycle iodine. Low selenium levels coupled with low iodine levels can lead to thyroid imbalance
An enlarged thyroid is known as goiter. This is one of the serious forms of thyroid imbalance. Most individuals diagnosed with goiter usually have low iodine levels, however research has also shown that the patient also have low levels of selenium. Therefore, it is very important to treat both deficits so as to re-establish thyroid stability
Doctors readily admit that there is no any specified dose of selenium required for better functioning of the thyroid. The one thing they agree on is that optimizing selenium intake aids in general health.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Quercetin?
April 18, 2013 07:37 AM
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in grains, leafy greens, vegetables and fruits, and has proven beneficial in the recent years. Plants often generate this flavonol to preserve vitamins and guard themselves against cell injury, bacteria and parasites. Onions, red wine, tea and apple skins are particularly rich in quercetin, which can render several health benefits. Most of these benefits can be attributed to the antioxidant properties of quercetin.
Here are the health benefits of quercetin.
Heart Disease: The antioxidant properties of quercetin can reduce the risks of plaque development in the arteries, which is also referred to as atherosclerosis. Moreover, its anti-inflammatory properties can also prevent damage associated with LDL cholesterol; one of the major causes of heart disease. Since this antioxidant is naturally found in fruits and vegetables, regular intake of quercetin will help in enhancing heart strength. Hypertension or blood pressure can also be controlled with adequate consumption of quercetin.
Protection against Allergies: The anti-inflammatory properties of quercetin have proven quite effective against many allergic reactions like allergic cough, hay fever, hives and asthma among others. It achieves this by inhibiting the production of histamine and other related inflammatory mediators. Therefore, it can reduce the risks of getting infected with various allergic conditions and help in speeding up recovery from these allergies.
Possible Cancer Protection: Just like most antioxidants, quercetin has cancer inhibiting properties. The antioxidant properties of quercetin shield the cells against free radicals by reducing their growth and neutralizing their negative effects in the body. Some in-vitro studies have proven that it can control cancer cells development and may reduce the chances of contracting prostate, colon, ovarian and breast cancer. It can also help people suffering from chronic interstitial and prostatitis cystitis because it acts as an effective mast cell inhibitor.
Cataracts: Quercetin can block the type of sugar which triggers the development of cataracts on your eye. Smokers or those who expose their eyes to excessive UV rays without wearing protective glasses may consider quercetin intake to reduce the risks of cataract formation. Improve Arthritis: Just like most anti-inflammatory drugs, quercetin can help people suffering from arthritis. It is believed that quercetin can reduce the pain and swelling that affects joints due to arthritis. According to some studies, change of diet from the normal western diet to a diet that focuses on vegetables and fruits with high quercetin can alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.
Athletic Ability: Some studies show that consumption of quercetin twice every day enhances oxygen capacity and endurance in active women and men. The athletic ability improvement is attributed to the positive effect of quercetin on the cell energy processors, mitochondria. This effect coupled with the antioxidant properties of quercetin can boost the immune system and might lead to general health improvement.
Other Heath Benefits: Some studies show that quercetin acts as a neutrotoxin hence can help in getting rid of neurological diseases. Since quercetin can help in free radicals control, it can also offer skin care benefits. It can also boost your immune system.
Can Too Much Fiber Block Mineral Absorption ?
October 12, 2011 01:39 PM
Fiber has always been known to be a helpful substance in many ways related to digestion and our bowel movements. In terms of how much is too much though we would need to look at first what fiber can do and how it works in the colon to have a broader point of view and to take all aspects into account before determining if too much fiber can cause health issues and specifically in this case, can cause a form of blockade for mineral absorption.
What is Fiber and what does it do?
Fiber, simply put is a substance that is found primarily in the outer layers of plants. Fiber is considered a carbohydrate and a special one at that because of its ability to stay intact even after passing through our digestive system unlike other carbohydrates that gets broken down by food and used for energy. For better understanding let’s talk more about its importance. For one, it has the ability to influence our digestive process in so many ways. It’s most evident importance and function is how it is able to regulate digestion and virtually slow the process down.
With this, it is able to allow us to feel full longer which will cause less appetite therefore affecting weight and in turn overall health. With the same process it slows glucose processing as well which will aid in sugar levels and also helps nourish the colon’s lining to keep it from damage and maintain its health. However in a more practical sense, it aids in our digestion because of its sponge like qualities. So if coupled with a good amount of water in the stomach it will aid and ease the stool and help bowel movements along. This is more known to many as a cleansing process which brings me back to the question, can it be too much and affect mineral absorption?
Can too much affect absorption?
A simple and most straight forward answer is “yes”. Yes it can, absolutely it can and “how?” you ask. As discussed above, one of the ways that fiber functions is aid with the cleansing process and the same sponge like qualities are the primary reason why it can affect mineral absorption in the colon. The reason why fiber is effective for cleansing is because it absorbs bacteria and any other toxin or harmful substances in the colon and flushes it out therefore promoting good health however it can’t filter through its absorption process and select only those toxins, rather it absorbs both good and bad substances, the good in this case being the minerals.
So before it can be absorbed by the body, fiber already caused it to be excreted. But this does not mean you stop taking fiber, remember the key words here are “too much” and all we need to do to avoid any mineral deficiency is to follow the right amount, we can check with our doctor for best advice but most experts believe getting somewhere around 30 – 35g maybe too much but then again most Americans does not even come close to that with their regular diets.
A Healthy Colon Requires Lots Of Fiber
December 16, 2010 02:34 PM
Psyllium Husk Fiber
Nowadays, because of the kind of lifestyle that people have, there is an evident rise of different medical condition which concerns the colon. What comprises our diet will surely affect our health. Hence, those who engage in a diet that contains very low amount of fiber and nutrients will eventually grasp health problems most especially in the digestive system. However, because of the new discoveries in this present world we live in, there is less need for us to fret because there are already a variety of remedy that promises you relief from such feared medical conditions.
Psyllium is one of the many agents being incorporated in many edible products nowadays. It can be found in almost all breakfast cereals mainly because of its unfathomable health benefits that help the individual to have a more effective digestive process. Psyllium came from a native plant in Iran known as Plantago psyllium. Its seeds contains liberal amounts of glycosides and mucilages that is now being used in many food industries to give the products they are selling a texture that is more appealing to the majority of consumers.
Not only for its textural benefits, but most especially for the health faculties it contributes to the health of every consumer. Psyllium husk is an abundant source of water soluble fiber, similar to the kind of fiber present in oats and barley but in more abundant amounts. It has been found out that in every 100 grams of psyllium could give the consumer 71 grams off essential soluble fiber that helps you to attain better metabolism and colon function.
It is definitely good and beneficial for our colon because it does not break down as it enter and passes through the gastrointestinal tract, it increases fecal mass and loosen stool hence (when adequate water is consumed along with it), you can achieve a cleaner colon free from constipation and other digestive problems as well. Psyllium’s health benefits are not only hearsays but are being acknowledge by Food and Drug Administration of the United States of America. FDA also affirmed that psyllium fiber combined with a low-fat diet can help in maintaining blood cholesterol levels within normal values for it contains liberal amount of soluble fiber that prevents the absorption of blood cholesterol and bile acids from the intestinal tract.
Needless to say, psyllium is indeed a gift to the human race. But it alone could not solve all the health problems that we have, hence it is advisable to engage in healthy lifestyle, coupled with proper diet, enough sleep and adequate exercise. Our health is very fragile that is why with all our might we should protect it. We only have one body and one lifetime to live. For us to savor it fully, we should engage in a lifestyle that could not bring any detrimental effect into our health. Let us learn how to identify the components of the food that we eat and make sure that psyllium is one of those.
Keeping your colon clean with plenty of fiber can boost your health and wellness and help you live a long time.
What is stopping you from adding psyllium husk fiber to your diet?
Prostate Health - Clinical Strength
May 28, 2010 01:50 PM
Clinical Strength Prostate Health
Medical professionals, health experts, and researchers now concur that approximately one in three men over thirty will face some form of prostate challenge during their lifetime. One of the most frequently encountered is BPH, or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. This common, non-cancerous condition occurs in aging males as a result of normalized shifts in hormonal production. While the exact cause of BPH continues to intrigue the research community, findings from ongoing studies have indicated that it may be linked to excess free testosterone reaching the prostate gland in high concentrations, or possibly excess production of DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, a natural testosterone metabolite. Current research is looking at possible estrogenic causes, as well. While the volume of men affected by BPH is indeed concerning, hope for supporting optimal prostate function, once only within view of the health horizon, is now a very real and accessible alternative option.
The constant evolution of nutraceutical science has explored many ways in which to support the physiology and function of a healthy prostate gland. Keeping in mind that natural products are not intended to treat or cure BPH, well-conducted studies have showcased the ability of several nutritionals in providing support for normal prostate health. The most recognized is Saw Palmetto; a popular, effective natural extract which needs no formal introduction to health enthusiasts or supplement-savvy retailers. Others, too, appear to help sustain normal prostate function. These include Pumpkin Seed Oil, Lycopene, Stinging Nettle, Quercetin, Phytosterols, and numerous others. The results of these findings, coupled with growing consumer interest in natural alternatives, have come together in our newest addition to NOW’s line of male support products.
Clinical Strength Prostate Health is a science-inspired formula developed to deliver the pinnacle of nutritional support for healthy prostate function.* Each 3 softgel serving supplies 320 mg of Saw Palmetto Berry extract (min. 85% fatty acids), along with Pumpkin Seed Oil, Zinc, Selenium, Natural trans-Resveratrol, Vitamin D-3 and other potent synergists. 850 mg of Phytosterols, including eta-Sitosterol, is represented, as well as standardized extracts from Nettle Root, Turmeric, Green Tea, Pomegranate, and Flax Seed Lignans. This novel arrangement of thoroughly researched compounds makes Clinical Strength Prostate Health the last natural prostate support formula* male enthusiasts will ever need. As with every NOW® product, we formulate using only the best raw materials, under the most exacting quality standards, offered at prices that yield high margins and even happier customers.
Now foods and GMP Practices
February 04, 2010 12:36 PM
Author: Michael Lelah, Ph.D, Technical Directory, Now Foods
It should come as no surprise that 2009 was a challenging year with regard to the timeliness of order delivery, not just at NOW, but on an industry-wide scale. Many of the brands you carry have not been able to meet your demands.
In 2009 all medium-sized dietary supplement manufacturers, including NOW Foods, were officially required to meet the FDA's new dietary supplement cGMPs (current good manufacturing practices). NOW has placed very high quality standards on our products, and has been certified by NPA's stringent GMPs since 2000. Now that the FDA has started auditing manufacturers in our industry, we have found that the FDA requirements for the cGMPs are more strict than the early interpretations of experts.
This has resulted in ourselves and our industry being less prepared than anticipated, affecting the order fulfillment rates of many companies. We are actively working to respond to this.
Let's review the new FDA cGMPs. Good Manufacturing Practices, or GMPs, are manufacturing control systems designed to ensure that health products are manufactured in a consistent and safe manner. Standard operating procedures, specifications for all ingredients and products, and lab testing are cornerstones of GMPs. The FDA cGMPs are considerably rigorous, and by the FDA's own estimates, 25% of the brands you carry could be out of business as a result of not being able to meet their new cGMPs. Moreover, even for reputable brands, there is a lack of clarity on what the FDA expects, as much of this is new.
You might be wondering what all of this has to do with your orders? We at NOW Foods, along with other reputable manufacturers have increased our quality control efforts to meet the new FDA cGMPs. There are more requirements for ingredients and finished products, more documentation and more testing. The breadth of NOW's product line requires testing of thousands of ingredients. Based on the extensive nature of these efforts, coupled with disruptions in the supply chain, your orders have most likely been affected.
We are now better prepared to serve you. We are taking the safety of our products to entirely new levels and doing everything in our power to expedite the delivery of NOW products to your door.
Here are just a few examples of what we're doing:
Here's what you can expect from NOW Foods in 2010:
At NOW Foods we are continuing to work hard to meet your needs, despite the increased challenges to our supply chain. We hope and anticipate that as we move into 2010, you will reap the benefits of our quality and fulfillment efforts.
How to deal with Stress and Cortisol...
August 30, 2006 09:36 AM
Beating the Aging Odds
All of us grow older, but aging is a choice. You have it in your power to retain much of the health, vitality and beauty of your youth. It boils down to a simple fact – retard oxidative stress and you’ll retard the aging process. The 70 million people who make up the “boomer” generation and are getting ready for an active retirement welcome this news.
Stress and Cortisol
The early twentieth century “stress doctor” Hans Selye, M.D. was renowned for his work on the human adaptive response and the effects of stress on aging. He taught that every stress leanves an indelible scar, and the organism pays for its survival after a stressful situation by becoming a little older. That’s because stress raises levels of the adrenal hormone cortisol. It increases internal generation of free radicals, disrupts normal metabolism and leads to aging conditions. Because of this, cortisol has been dubbed the age-accelerating hormone.
The more stressful our lifestyle and the level of environmental hazards we are exposed to, the higher cortisol levels will climb in an effort to jump-start our adaptive response. coupled with a poor diet, this is a recipe for pre-mature aging. At least eleven major aging factors are related to high cortisol levels:
So, there you have it. Now let’s see how to tame cortisol and reduce oxidative stress.
Reducing Cortisol and Oxidative Stress
Be in the moment – stress reducing techniques such as meditation, prayer, visualization, yoga, chi gong, and listening to inspirational tapes induce calmness and a sense of balance.
Eat right for your genes – as we get older, we don’t digest animal protein as efficiently as when younger. Shifting to plant source proteins that are easier to digest and contain the full complement of vitamins and minerals is most desirable. We are accustomed to thinking of dairy, meat, poultry, and fish as “protein.” All vegetables are good sources of protein. Along with legumes, whole grains, and nuts, daily protein needs are easily fulfilled. Meals that combine a variety of tastes from plant foods also require less salt for flavor enhancement and this helps keep hypertension at bay. So, explore just how good meals can be that either do not contain meat or use it as a condiment. If you do need some salt, try substituting table salt with NOW Vitamins Potassium Chloride crystals.
Enzymes Increase Digestion
Use digestive enzymes such as Optimal Digestive System to insure that you are absorbing all the nutrients in your food. This product has been clinically tested for its digestive effectiveness helping to digest fats, carbs, proteins and even gas producing beans and cruciferous vegetables. Other enzymes, Serrazimes is a systemic enzyme that will help keep lymphatic’s clear of debris, support immune function, and boost your adaptive response to stress.
As many people reach middle age they have a tendency to gain weight around the navel. High stress amps up levels of cortisol that results in increased girth. Middle body fat is considered a significant risk factor for impaired glucose metabolism and cardiovascular disease. Check your waist to hip ratio by dividing your waist measurement in inches by your hip measurement. If you have a ratio of 0.85 or below, you have lower risk of insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease. This measurement is one of the best indicators of cortisol induced metabolic syndrome and weight gain.
Super cortisol support with Relora is an herbal, vitamin and mineral formula that’s designed to fight mid-body fat by taming cortisol. Its key ingredient is Relora which is a blend of the herbal extract of Phellodendron amurense and Magnolia officinalis. A small double blind clinical trial found that pre-menopausal obese women – half of whom took Relora – lost a significant amount of weight. These were women who eat in response to stress. Thus the researchers proposed that Relora appeared to reduce cortisol and perceived stress, resulting in weight loss. Super cortisol support also contains Ashwagandha and Rhodiola, herbs traditionally use for increasing adaptive response and reducing stress. You can read about these herbs and other nutritional products in the book 7-syndrome healing: supplement essentials for mind and body. Written by myself and coauthor Jayson Kroner. This book can be ordered from Now Foods.
Additionally, Chinese scientists found that the active components in Relora called honokiol and magnolol delayed gastric emptying, which would make you feel full longer. An additional anti-aging benefit was observed by another group of Chinese scientists. They reported that honokiol is a potent arterial thrombosis inhibitor because it inhibits prostacyclin release; a promoter of platelet adhesion. Platelet stickiness increases stroke risk. Phellodendron and Magnolia have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries.
Quell Free Radicals
Health and longevity essentially rests on the body balance between free radical load and antioxidant reserves. Toxic exposure depletes some of your antioxidant reserves. Eating a diet rich in antioxidant fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains, helps you rebound. Continued toxic exposure will challenge your antioxidant status and may overwhelm your reserves. VitaBerry Plus+ is a powerful antioxidant formula that contains a range of high ORAC fruits that naturally augment the diet. ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorbance capacity. It is a measure of the ability of a food to quell oxygen free radicals, the most dangerous kind. VitaBerry Plus+ is a product after my own heart. In my book The Anti-Aging Solution, I wrote about how different color foods protect DNA and prevent aging. VitaBerry Plus+ contains the important colors described in my bood. You can order your copy from Now Vitamins.
True-E Bio Complex rounds out the antioxidant colors. It contains all eight tocopherols and eight tocotrienols in the natural ratio found in “tan” foods such as whole grains and legumes. It is the only natural vitamin E that is produced from soy that has not been genetically modified.
The best anti-aging advice I can pass on is from my friend and food columnist Joan Jackson. “Take Pleasure in Your Life TODAY and Enjoy What You Eat”
The Important Role of Nutritional Magnesium & Calcium Balance in Humans Living with Stress
August 23, 2006 03:14 PM
Part I. The Stress Response
The stress reaction is a host of responses necessary for any animal to live in the world. Commonly called the fight-or-flight reation, we as humans often experience it in rapid heartbeat and increased breathing rate. It comes when we exercise more vigorously than usual, or when we are suddenly and unexpectedly frightened.
We are all different. We show a range in how strongly we experience the stress response. Most of us are usually calm and experience the stress response when an unexpected noise frightens us to alertness, or we run to first base as fast as we can in a benefit baseball game that is not on our usual playtime schedule. We breathe harder for a while and notice our hearts beating faster and harder then usual, but after a while these responses all calm down, and we are again in our usual state—out or the stress response. Others of us are very low key, and it takes a lot to disturb our physiological calm. Still others of us are very sensitive to triggers of the stress response and go into it “at the drop of a hat” and to a greater degree than do calmer people. For some, parts of the stress response are almost always engaged—never really calming down all the way—giving one a hyper-vigilant or anxious demeanor.
When a stress trigger occurs, the body puts out stress hormones, magnesium and calcium, among other things, into the bloodstream. At the same time, nerve cells begin to “fire,” telling heart and muscles to “speed up. NOW!!!” These blood, nerve and organ changes make possible the instantaneous and collective rise in the body’s heart rate, blood pressure, and other necessities for the fight-or-flight reaction.
Much research has been done on the stress response, especially on the effects of stress hormones, such as adrenaline (also called epinephrine) on body, organ and cell. You can get an idea of how widespread the stress response is-affecting every aspect of physiology—by noting some of the reactions to adrenaline, one of the major stress hormones. See Table 1.
Much study as the cellular, biochemical and physiological levels has shown that the stress response vitally involves the influx of calcium into cells, resulting in a drastic change in the cells’ internal magnesium-to-calcium ratio (Mg:Ca).
In simple solutions, such as salt water, all ions are evenly dispersed. Not so in living cells. Ions are carefully and meticulously separated in living cells, and this ion “packaging” is vital to life processes and health. Calcium ions, for the most part, are kept outside cells while magnesium ions are kept mainly inside cells. The stress response changes this. During stress response, calcium ions rush inside the cell, and this alters the internal Mg:Ca ratio. This change in ratio exhibits wide effects because, while magnesium and calcium are very similar in their chemistry, biologically these two elements function and react very differently. Magnesium and calcium are two sides of a physiological coin: they are antagonistic to one another yet comes as a team. For example:
Scientific study shows more and more that the underlying cellular change enabling the stress response is a low Mg:Ca ratio caused by a large and sudden influx of calcium into cells. This stress response subsides when the cell’s magnesium returns to its dominant presence inside cells, moving extra calcium back outside cells to its “normal” Mg:Ca ratio. This underlying principle is present in studies of nerve cell-stress hormone response, organs such as hearts, the high blood pressure response to stress, and the blood-clotting reaction during stress, among many others. See Table 2.
In the normal healthy state, the stress response occurs when necessary, and subsides when the crisis or trigger is over. Since magnesium and calcium—two essential nutrients that must be obtained by the body from its dietary environment—are so essential to this important response, it is not surprising that nutritional magnesium and calcium status can affect the response.
Let’s see how.
In the normal unstressed state, cellular Mg:Ca ratio is high. If this cannot be maintained due to lack of adequate body magnesium or an overwhelming amount of body calcium, the ratio may not be able to maintain or return itself to its healthy nonstressed ratio. In such a case, the stress response, in the absence of an appropriate trigger, can occur. This can be seen when nutritional magnesium deficits cause high blood pressure or increase blood stickiness (platelet aggregation). Additionally, since a low Mg:Ca ratio can increase adrenaline secretion as well as cells’ response to adrenaline, a too low magnesium state can keep the stress response from subsiding in a timely way. Even worse, when body magnesium becomes drastically low, this becomes a stress trigger in itself, alarming the body into further stress response with out enough magnesium to back it up, resulting in a low magnesium-high stress crisis that can end in sudden death.
In the industrialized world, we live in a state of chronic, on-going stress. This environmental reality increases our daily need for magnesium in order to maintain a healthy stress response that can calm when not necessary.
Part II. Heart Disease Is Often a Magnesium Deficiency
Clearly, an adequate amount of nutritional magnesium—in proper balance with adequate nutritional calcium—is key to a healthy stress response. And yet today we have diets dangerously low in magnesium. Add the recent additions of nutritional calcium via supplements and food fortifications meant to stave off osteoporosis, and many of us are getting inadequate magnesium plus too much calcium. This results in a large occurrence of heart disease.
Not all, but much of the heart disease in the industrialized world can be explained by the low magnesium state of these societies. People with heart disease—for the most part—are people who are in a state of magnesium that is borderline or deficient. Many studies on heart disease patients exist due to medicine’s effort to understand and treat this widespread malady. Although not intended as such, this body of research shows us what stress can do to a person in a magnesium deficient state.
Part III. Mental and Emotional Stress Deplete Magnesium
It is commonly accepted that certain traditional risk factors for heart disease exist. This include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history of heart disease, and other factors, all of which can be linked to a shortage of nutritional magnesium. Recent studies tell us that stresses—both sudden and chronic—with their high magnesium requirements, are also strong risk factors for heart disease.
The sudden stress of the
Emotional stress and phobic anxiety cause heart problems in patients with heart disease—a population we know to be mostly low in their nutritional magnesium status. Chronic states of emotional stress, including a history of childhood abuse, neglect or family dysfunction, depression, and panic disorder, must now be added to the list of traditional risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Depression can be a symptom of low magnesium status. So can anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, hyperactivity, and over-sensitivity to loud noises. Do these newly found risk factors cause heart disease, or are they risk factors because the, as well as heart disease, can all be aspects of low magnesium status? These chronic sources of stress can increase the human need for magnesium as well as be caused by its deficit.
Emotional stress triggers in susceptible people can even bring a sudden death due to heart attack, presumably by initiating a stress/low-magnesium crisis. Such emotional “triggers” include work stress, high-pressure deadlines, social isolation and loneliness, low socioeconomic status, anxiety, war, fear of war, anger and rage. Identical stress triggers cause more human heart attacks regardless of age, race, gender, or geographic location, including continent.
Mental stress, such as working out a math problem, can be shown to have impact upon the magnesium-stress response connection, since it can bring on heart attacks in people with heart disease.
Part IV. Stress, Magnesium and Aging
We are hearing a lot about stress in the health media, and rightly so as this constant companion to our lives brings on the fight-or-flight syndrome, a stress response that, when activated, has been shown to shorten lifespan. When we realize that the stress response is exacerbated when we are low in magnesium, that we are living on low-magnesium foods for the most part, and that our lifestyles are more and more filled with chronic stresses and stressful events, we are not surprised to see that several aspects of magnesium deficiency are remarkably like aspects of the aging process.
When faced with out stressful lifestyles, coupled with a society presenting a chronically low-magnesium/high-calcium diet, what is our best defense? For many of us, magnesium supplements can help to preserve or restore a healthy Mg:Ca balance, so important to our health in these stressful times.
Peter Gillham's Natural Calm
Natural Progesterone and Menopause
July 25, 2005 10:15 PM
Natural Progesterone and Menopause
During the thirties and forties of a woman’s lifetime, progesterone production can decrease resulting in shorter intervals between periods. For example, when the ovaries produce progesterone for only 9 days rather than the normal 14, menstruation may occur every 24 days rather than the usual 28 days. In addition, low levels of progesterone coupled with an estrogen dominance can cause the lining of the uterus to build up leading to abnormally heavy menstrual flows or even spotting between periods. Many women who are in perimenopause (the years just prior to the onset of menopause) experience these symptoms in combination with intensified PMS. Weight gain, bloating, headaches, irritability, depression, and anxiety are common complaints for women in their late thirties and throughout the forties. Frequently, these women had no cycle-related problems in their earlier years and suddenly become all to aware of a whole host of troubling symptoms. More often than not, a drop in progesterone and an estrogen overload are to blame.
Just because a woman no longer ovulates or has a menstrual cycle does not mean that she no longer needs to achieve a proper ratio of hormones. On the contrary, it is during these years that the right kind of hormonal supplementation needs to be implemented or menopausal symptoms and diseases like osteoporosis may develop. Today, estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) is recommended for many postmenopausal women with the assumption that it can help pre vent heart disease, osteoporosis and possibly Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately much controversy surrounds the prescription of synthetic hormones due to their potentially dangerous side effects. Ideally, a far better solution would be to supply the body with the proper natural biochemical building blocks to prompt the production of natural hormones. This is where phytoestrogens or plant-based compounds such as dioscorea (wild yam) can play a profoundly important role in managing menopausal disorders such as osteoporosis.
THE FDA AND STEVIA
July 15, 2005 12:45 PM
THE FDA AND STEVIA
While stevia in no way qualifies as an “artificial sweetener,” it has been subject to rigorous inquiry and unprecedented restraints. In 1986, FDA officials began to investigate herb companies selling stevia and suddenly banned its sale, calling it “an unapproved food additive.” Then in 1991, the FDA unexpectedly announced that all importation of stevia leaves and products must cease, with the exception of certain liquid extracts which are designed for skin care only. They also issued formal warnings to companies and claimed that the herb was illegal. The FDA was unusually aggressive in its goal to eliminate stevia from American markets, utilizing search and seizure tactics, embargoes and import bans. Speculation as to why the FDA intervened in stevia commerce points to the politics of influential sugar marketers and the artificial-sweetener industry.
During the same year, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) began their defense of the herb with the goal of convincing the FDA that stevia is completely safe. They gathered documented literature and research on both stevia and other non-caloric sweeteners. The overwhelming consensus was that stevia is indeed safe, and the AHPA petitioned the FDA to exempt stevia from food additive regulations.
Food Additive vs. Dietary Supplement
FDA regulations of stevia were based on its designation as a food additive. The claim was that scientific study on stevia as a food additive was inadequate. Ironically, extensive Japanese testing of stevia was disregarde—regardless of the fact that this body of documented evidence more than sufficiently supported its safe use. Many experts who have studied stevia and its FDA requirements have commented that the FDA wants far more proof that stevia is safe than they would demand from chemical additives like aspartame.
Stevia advocates point out that stevia not a food additive, but rather, a food. Apparently, foods that have traditionally been consumed do not require laborious and expensive testing for safety under FDA regulations. The fact that so many toxicology studies have been conducted in Japan, coupled with the herb’s long history of safe consumption, makes a strong case for stevia being accepted by the FDA as a safe dietary substance. Still, it was denied the official GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status and designated a food additive by the FDA.
The FDA Reverses Its Position
As a result of the Health Freedom Act passed in September of 1995, stevia leaves, stevia extract, and stevioside can be imported to the United States. However, ingredient labels of products that contain stevia must qualify as dietary supplements.
Stevia had been redesignated as a dietary supplement by the FDA and consequently can be legally sold in the United States solely as a supplement. Its addition to teas or other packaged foods is still banned. Moreover, stevia cannot, under any circumstances, be marketed as a sweetener or flavor enhancer.
SUGAR, SUGAR EVERYWHERE
Ralph Nader once said, “If God meant us to eat sugar, he wouldn’t have invented dentists.” The average American eats over 125 pounds of white sugar every year. It has been estimated that sugar makes up 25 percent of our daily caloric intake, with soda pop supplying the majority of our sugar ingestion. Desserts and sugar-laden snacks continually tempt us, resulting in an escalated taste for sweets.
The amount of sugar we consume has a profound effect on both our physical and mental well-being. Sugar is a powerful substance which can have drug-like effects and is considered addictive by some nutritional experts. William Duffy, the author of Sugar Blues, states,“The difference between sugar addiction and narcotic addition is largely one of degree.” In excess, sugar can be toxic. Sufficient amounts of B-vitamins are actually required to metabolize and detoxify sugar in our bodies. When the body experiences a sugar overload, the assimilation of nutrients from other foods can be inhibited. In other words, our bodies were not designed to cope with the enormous quantity of sugar we routinely ingest. Eating too much sugar can generate a type of nutrient malnutrition, not to mention its contribution to obesity, diabetes, hyperactivity, and other disorders. Sugar can also predispose the body to yeast infections, aggravate some types of arthritis and asthma, cause tooth decay, and may even elevate our blood lipid levels. Eating excess sugar can also contribute to amino acid depletion, which has been linked with depression and other mood disorders. To make matters worse, eating too much sugar can actually compromise our immune systems by lowering white blood cells counts. This makes us more susceptible to colds and other infections. Sugar consumption has also been linked to PMS, osteoporosis and coronary heart disease.
Why Do We Crave Sweets?
Considering the sobering effects of a high sugar diet, why do we eat so much of it? One reason is that sugar gives us a quick infusion of energy. It can also help to raise the level of certain brain neurotransmitters which may temporarily elevate our mood. Sugar cravings stem from a complex mix of physiological and psychological components. Even the most brilliant scientists fail to totally comprehend this intriguing chemical dependence which, for the most part, hurts our overall health.
What we do know is that when sugary foods are consumed, the pancreas must secrete insulin, a hormone which serves to bring blood glucose levels down. This allows sugar to enter our cells where it is either burned off or stored. The constant ups and downs of blood sugar levels can become exaggerated in some individuals and cause all kinds of health problems. Have you ever been around someone who is prone to sudden mood swings characterized by violent verbal attacks or irritability? This type of volatile behavior is typical of people who crave sugar, eat it and then experience sugar highs and lows. Erratic mood swings can be linked to dramatic drops in blood sugar levels.
Hypoglycemia: Sign of Hard Times?
It is rather disturbing to learn that statisticians estimate that almost 20 million Americans suffer from some type of faulty glucose tolerance. Hypoglycemia and diabetes are the two major forms of blood sugar disorders and can deservedly be called modern day plagues. Hypoglycemia is an actual disorder that can cause of number of seemingly unrelated symptoms. More and more studies are pointing to physiological as well as psychological disorders linked to disturbed glucose utilization in brain cells. One study, in particular, showed that depressed people have overall lower glucose metabolism (Slagle, 22). Hypoglycemia occurs when too much insulin is secreted in order to compensate for high blood sugar levels resulting from eating sugary or high carbohydrate foods. To deal with the excess insulin, glucagon, cortisol and adrenalin pour into the system to help raise the blood sugar back to acceptable levels. This can inadvertently result in the secretion of more insulin and the vicious cycle repeats itself.
A hypoglycemic reaction can cause mood swings, fatigue, drowsiness, tremors, headaches, dizziness, panic attacks, indigestion, cold sweats, and fainting. When blood sugar drops too low, an overwhelming craving for carbohydrates results. To satisfy the craving and compensate for feelings of weakness and abnormal hunger, sugary foods are once again consumed in excess.
Unfortunately, great numbers of people suffer from hypoglycemic symptoms. Ironically, a simple switch from a high sugar diet to one that emphasizes protein can help. In addition, because sugar cravings are so hard to control, a product like stevia can be of enormous value in preventing roller coaster blood sugar levels. One Colorado internist states: People who are chronically stressed and are on a roller coaster of blood sugar going up and down are especially prone to dips in energy at certain times of day. Their adrenals are not functioning optimally, and when they hit a real low point, they want sugar. It usually happens in mid-afternoon when the adrenal glands are at their lowest level of functioning. (Janiger, 71) Our craving for sweets in not intrinsically a bad thing; however, what we reach for to satisfy that craving can dramatically determine how we feel. Stevia can help to satisfy the urge to eat something sweet without changing blood sugar levels in a perfectly natural way and without any of the risks associated with other non-nutritive sweeteners.
Diabetes: Pancreas Overload?
Diabetes is a disease typical of western cultures and is evidence of the influence that diet has on the human body. Perhaps more than any other disease, diabetes shuts down the mechanisms which permit proper carbohydrate/sugar metabolism. When the pancreas no longer secretes adequate amounts of insulin to metabolize sugar, that sugar continues to circulate in the bloodstream causing all kinds of health problems. The type of diabetes that comes in later years is almost always related to obesity and involves the inability of sugar to enter cells, even when insulin is present. Diabetes can cause blindness, atherosclerosis, kidney disease, the loss of nerve function, recurring infections, and the inability to heal. Heredity plays a profound role in the incidence of diabetes, but a diet high in white sugar and empty carbohydrates unquestionably contributes to the onset of the disease. It is estimated that over five million Americans are currently undergoing medical treatment for diabetes and studies suggest that there are at least four million Americans with undetected forms of adult onset diabetes. Diabetes is the third cause of death in this country and reflects the devastating results of a diet low in fiber and high in simple carbohydrates. Most of us start our children on diets filled with candy, pop, chips, cookies, doughnuts, sugary juice, etc. Studies have found that diabetes is a disease which usually plagues societies that eat highly refined foods. Because we live in a culture that worships sweets, the availability of a safe sweetener like stevia, which does not cause stress on the pancreas is extremely valuable. If sugar consumption was cut in half by using stevia to
MECHANISMS OF CHITOSAN FAT- BINDING
June 25, 2005 08:02 PM
MECHANISMS OF CHITOSAN FAT- BINDING
The exact way(s) that Chitosan prevents fat absorbtion is not fully understood but a number of experimental observations support two basic mechanisms. The first mechanism involves the attraction of opposite charges which can be compared to the attraction of opposite magnetic poles. The second entrapment mechanism can be compared to the effect of a net. In the first mechanism the positive charges on chitosan attract the negatively charged fatty acids and bile acids binding them to the indigestible chitosan fiber. This mechanism can explain why chitosan reduces LDL cholesterol levels.
Our bodies make bile acids in the liver using the cholesterol from LDL. When chitosan binds bile acids it increases the rate of LDL loss thus improving the LDL to HDL ratio. If enough bile acids are bound, the fats are not solublized, which prevents their digestion and absorption. The second mechanism (figure 2) describes a netting effect of chitosan fiber.
In this model the Chitosan wraps around fat droplets and prevents their being attacked and digested by lipid enzymes. Fats unprotected by Chitosan are digested and absorbed. The “netting” mechanism has been seen to operate in vivo. 108
Substances that Enhance the Action of Chitosan
Fibers can be likened to a tangled-up chain. Fibers must “unravel” in order for them to be of maximum benefit to us. “Unraveling” is especially critical for chitosan because each link has a hook on which to attach lipids. Chitosan can absorb an average of 4 to 5 times its weight in lipids. Reports of numbers above and below this range have also been reported and may well reflect the rate or extent of unraveling that had taken place. Fiber formulations can be prepared that unravel rapidly and swell quickly. These highly effective formulations are called superabsorbants. When certain substances are added to chitosan, its remarkable fat-binding ability can be significantly enhanced.
D-Ascorbic acid (erythorbic acid) and L-ascorbic acid are C-vitamins which enhance chitosan’s ability to bind lipids. Combining chitosan with ascorbic acid results in even less fat absorption and greater fecal fat losses.77,108 In one study the addition of ascorbic acid to a chitosan enriched diet increased fecal fat losses by 87 percent and decreased fat absorption by over 50 percent.77
Cholesterol oxides cause lesions in artery walls which predispose blood vessels to collect plaque. These dietary cholesterol oxides profoundly influence the initiation of heart disease.Free radicals can also contribute to the formation of cholesterol oxides which are even more likely to damage the heart. Cholesterol oxides have been found in deep-fried foods, powdered eggs, processed meats and in human blood itself. Consequently, taking antioxidants like ascorbic acid is vital to protect against the cellular damage this type of free radical causes.112
In feeding experiments with animals, adding citric acid to a chitosan enriched diet resulted in a decreased feed consumption.77 The most likely explanation for this effect is that the citric acid may be enhancing the swelling action of chitosan leading to a sense of fullness, producing satiety and appetite suppression.
Indoles are remarkable phytochemicals which have the ability to selectively activate certain Mixed Function Oxidases (MFOs).113 These MFO’s help balance estrogen metabolism and prepare dietary toxins for elimination before they are absorbed. The presence of fiber in the intestines provides a bulk agent to carry the metabolized toxins out of the body. Chelat ed Minerals The very best approach to weight loss is to nutritionally augment food choices with nutrient supplementation. Certain biochemical compounds are essential to promoting vigor during the process of thermogenesis. Chelated minerals act to bolster, support and protect the organ systems of the body.114,115
For example, when fat is burned, heat and energy are released. If a lack of certain minerals exists, energy levels will drop. Minerals help to transport needed nutrients to depleted areas of the body, thereby stemming off the fatigue we so often experience after eating a fatty meal. Even more importantly, free radicals are released whenever fat is consumed and burned and the presence of chelated minerals helps to expedite the removal of these metabolites and facilitate the availability of fuel for energy.
Essential Fatty Acids
Prostaglandins control and balance many body functions. The dietary building blocks for making prostaglandins are the essential fatty acids (EFAs). The role of prostaglandins in weight loss has been extensively discussed in a recent review.116 EFAs exert profound lipid-lowering effects.They reduce the synthesis of triglycerides and very low density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) in the liver. EFA supplementation coupled with a low-cholesterol, low-saturated fat in diet produces a complementary effect in lowering serum lipid levels.117 Garcinia Cambogia ( Hydroxy Cit ric Acid) Garcinia Cambogia contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA). This form of citric acid inhibits the liver’s ability to make fats out of carbohydrates.118
Carbohydrates are converted to glycogen stores, not fat stores, giving the body a better energy reserve and an increase in stamina.119 Ephedra And Thermogenisis Thermogenesis means “creating heat.” This is one of the ways our bodies have of burning off excess calories and maintaining a constant weight.120 This is an area of weight management research that is being intensely studied. When we repeatedly yo-yo diet or abuse ourselves by eating too much, our thermogenic ability may be reduced. Numerous animal and human studies have confirmed the benefits of ephedra and methylxanthines in inducing weight loss and restoring thermogenic responsiveness.43,44,121
Diabetes and Body Fat
June 25, 2005 07:44 PM
Diabetes and Body Fat
A recent examination of diabetes in the U.S. revealed some startling facts:30 The increased incidence of diabetes with age has long been known.31 However, if one looks more closely, it is obesity, not age, that is the more directly related factor.32 Becoming overweight is one of the most significant contributors to the development of adult-onset diabetes.33, 34, 35 Biological mechanisms explaning how obesity leads to diabetes have been proposed.36 But this is much less important than the fact that diabetes, like obesity and heart disease, is strongly affected by what we eat.30 Again high-fat, low-fiber diets coupled with a sedentary lifestyle are a prescription for disaster. Is it any wonder then that diabetes, obesity and heart disease so often occur together in what has been called “generalized cardiovascular-metabolic disease”?37, 38 Some individuals with non-insulin dependent diabetes (adult-onset diabetes) overcome this disorder just by losing excess weight, a fact which highlights once again the perils of those extra pounds.
CLA and Cows
June 22, 2005 09:52 PM
CLA and Cows
Nutritional developments like that of CLA couldn’t come at a better time. America is a nation obsessed with weight, but successes in battling weight seem harder and harder to come by. Is there a nutritional reason for this? Have we been barking up the wrong tree in recent years, starving ourselves for fear of gluttony rather than looking at broader nutritional reasons for fat accumulation? For example, Dr. Cook says that modern nutritional dogma is that fat is bad. “I’m not sure the dogma’s right. We need to get down to very specific fatty acids.”51 One of the most exciting developments coming from CLA research is that modern animal-raising techniques may be partially responsible for those of us who eat meat getting fat around the middle, even though our consumption of meat may have declined or, at least, stayed about the same in recent years.
CLA has been declining in our diet. This one nutrient’s lack may mean many of us are gaining fat, despite eating less overall fat.52
This desire to simply eliminate fats without looking at the broader nutritional picture has its roots deep in our culture. The desire to starve ourselves to lose weight goes back centuries. We have often thought weight gain came solely from lacking self-control when, often, nothing could be further from the truth.
Take for example the experiences of conscientious objectors during World War II. These men who chose, for religious reasons, not to fight in the war, contributed in other ways. One group at the University of Minnesota underwent forced starvation to help scientists learn ways to help concentration camp victims recover after liberation.
Science learned many useful things, but one thing stands out. The objectors grew more hungry as they recovered and ended up weighing five percent more after they recovered than before the experiment began. (The same can be said for refugees and concentration camp victims, who also weighed more, on average after their ordeals than before.)53 This idea of dieting being the full answer to weight loss still persists, often tragically. Many have died of anorexia, obsessed with self-image. Others have died directly from ill-conceived meal replacement programs.54 In the 1980s, Americans spent $15 billion on diet soft drinks alone,55 but consumers weighed more on average when the decade was over than when it began. You’d think all of this energy and dieting spent on the effort would have helped people lose weight. (Thankfully, many people have succeeded in losing weight and keeping it off. According to Dr. Pariza, this may well be the most significant part of CLA, not so much in losing the weight, but in helping people keep it off.56)
To drive the point home further, consider your parents. They ate a diet that was likely higher in fat than yours. They never saw “lite” versions of snacks in the store. Yet they, in general, weighed less than we do. Why? Surely exercise may have had something to do with it, but, no one has the complete answer. It seems likely that nutrition too played a role. CLA itself may hold part of the reason. As we have seen, CLA nutrition means less fat and more protein in our bodies. Recent research is showing that the amount of CLA in cows has dropped substantially since the times of our parents. In 1963, scientists found that CLA was as much as 2.81 percent of milkfat. The amount of CLA in the milk products varied with the seasons. At some times during the year, cows ate grass. At other times, they ate feed. However, in 1992, Pariza and his colleagues did a large food survey and found that this variation in CLA is no longer occurring. Furthermore, the amount of CLA in dairy products rarely gets above 1 percent of the milkfat. 57
In another research paper in 1994, scientists noticed that Australian cows have as much as three or four time the amount of CLA in the meat from similar American animals. Why? These differences probably “reflect different feeding conditions.” 58
Today, farmers use more efficient feeding methods that rely less heavily on natural grasses. This means less CLA in the meat we eat, and less CLA can mean a higher percentage of fat on our bodies. Consider too that skim milk contains virtually no CLA with its no fat content. This lack of CLA may actually hinder some people’s efforts to lose weight.
The lesson here seems to be that gluttony guilt would be better focused on balanced living. Healthy lifestyles coupled with the right supplementation can make a difference. CLA, though no magic bullet, adds to this lifestyle and could be the key that finally opens many weight (and fat) management doors. It could help many people keep the weight off.
The Joints Are Jumping
June 11, 2005 04:56 PM
The Joints Are Jumping by Rachel Alexander Energy Times, October 8, 2003
It usually starts with a twinge in your back or an ache in your knees: Knee stiffness, back pain and joint inflammation can signal the beginning of arthritis.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, arthritis affects over 42 million Americans-that's 1 in every 3 adults-and costs the economy nearly $65 billion annually. But as common as arthritis is, it doesn't have to extract a high cost from your joints.
Who's At Risk?
Arthritis literally means an "inflammation of the joints" and can affect anyone-from small children to 80-year-olds. Some groups are more prone to certain types of arthritis; for instance, those over 40 are at greater risk for developing osteoarthritis, a degenerative condition of the joints.
According to Johns Hopkins Medical Institute, more than 50% of all individuals over the age of 40 have x-ray signs of osteoarthritis in weight-bearing joints (such as those in the knees and hips), and nearly half of those over 65 have measurable symptoms of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is often caused by overuse, age, excess weight or genetics, or by a combination of these factors.
Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is a disease of the immune system that affects the joints, which can make it harder to diagnose because early symptoms-fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite and low-grade fever-can mimic other chronic conditions.
Stiffness and pain may or may not accompany the initial symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. However, joints eventually become inflamed and swollen. Although less common that osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects more than 2 million Americans.
Covering Up the Signs
Treating arthritis can involve the use of both conventional and non-conventional therapies.
"In osteoarthritis specifically, conventional medicine has just been focused on covering up the symptoms," says Jason Theodosakis, MD, author of The Arthritis Cure (St. Martin's Press). "In the history of medicine, this approach has been considered primitive."
But Dr. Theodosakis points out that treatment often depends on the type of arthritis involved: "Rheumatoid arthritis patients should be taking prescription drugs that are known to prevent the disease from progressing. [Use] alternative medicine as an adjunct..."
Conventional therapies often involve the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medicines, such as ibuprofen and naproxen. The chief drawback of NSAIDs is the toll these treatments extort from the gastrointestinal system.
In fact, a 2002 study conducted by researchers at the University of South Florida, Tampa, found that more than 15% of patients developed digestive problems after a five-week course of ibuprofen. In addition, ibuprofen may increase blood pressure.
Newer prescription NSAIDs called COX-2 inhibitors, which work by suppressing the body's inflammatory response, also carry risks of side effects ranging from diarrhea and fluid retention to liver damage and kidney problems. In addition, people with asthma or chronic allergies (including to aspirin) should not take these medicines.
Corticosteroids-another treatment option that has been used to lessen inflammation-can cause side effects such as increased appetite, mood changes and even immune system breakdown.
A growing body of evidence shows that nutrients such as glucosamine and MSM, coupled with lifestyle changes, can help decrease or eliminate some of the aches and pains of arthritis. Glucosamine is a natural chemical that helps build joints. When the cartilage in joints deteriorates due to age or other factors, studies indicate that glucosamine provides the necessary building blocks for rebuilding and repairing this tissue.
In one investigation (Archives of Internal Medicine 2002; 162:2113-23), scientists discovered that glucosamine slowed the progression of osteoarthritis and improved symptoms for over 200 patients. Another study, conducted by researchers in the Netherlands, demonstrated that a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin holds promise for conditions such as spinal disc degeneration.
To date, several studies have confirmed glucosamine's ability to help the symptoms of arthritis, and the National Institutes of Health is currently supporting research to further study the benefits of glucosamine.
Other Joint Aids
MSM is often an adjunct therapy as it does not work directly on joints, but provides the raw materials, in this case sulfur, to help rebuild cartilage in the joint matrix. Studies indicate that sulfur has a protective effect and may interact with magnesium, an essential bone nutrient.
Traditionally, the herb horsetail (Equisetum arvense) has been used to supply silica, a mineral component of nails, bones and joints. Its support of these structures can help in the fight against arthritis.
As the body ages, it may lose much of its silica reserves. Resupplying much of this mineral may help support joints. In addition, experts believe, silica can help the body use calcium more effectively and support bone health.
Since rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic affliction, you should work with a trained health professional in treating it. Complementary care practitioners often use antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamins C and E, to reduce free radical damage, along with pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) to lessen morning stiffness.
A Joint Project
According to Dr. Theodosakis, exercise is the key to dealing with arthritis: "[Start with] an individualized exercise program that strengthens the joints without causing more damage...and an eating program to control your weight if you are currently overweight." To limit the effects of arthritis, you should quit smoking, since smoking generates free radicals that can harm the tissues which make up joints. In addition, a strict vegan diet may help alleviate some of the pains of rheumatoid arthritis.
Dr. Theodosakis also recommends looking for hidden causes of symptoms, such as food allergies, that may contribute to arthritis.
Heat helps ease arthritis pain and encourages both blood flow and tissue repair. A plain, old-fashioned hot water bottle works quite well. Or you can use one of the newer heat-generating wraps, which are thin enough to be worn under clothing and don't have to be constantly reheated.
You can't always avoid arthritis, especially as you get older. But you don't have to let it get the better of you.
You Are What You Digest
June 10, 2005 04:50 PM
You Are What You Digest
by Anthony J. Cichoke, DC Energy Times, September 2, 1999
Does your dinner creep back to haunt you in the ghostly morning hours? Does a mere glance in the direction of the local Mexican cafe or barbecue palace fill you with dread (to say nothing of internal discomfort)?
We tend to ignore our digestive systems-the ever-ready, always reliable iron-clad stomachs of our youth, into which we stuffed pizza, peppers and beer-until diarrhea, gas, heartburn, bloating, constipation, stomach pain or other, much more serious, problems develop.
According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 62 million Americans experience some type of digestive distress. More than 10 million people suffer from hemorrhoids, nearly 3 million from gastritis and duodenitis, 2.3 million from inflammatory bowel disease, almost 4.5 million from constipation and 1.4 million from irritable colon. (Statistics from Digestive Diseases in the United States: Epidemiology and Impact, edited by James E. Everhart and published in 1994 in Washington, DC, by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.)
Many conditions such as hemorrhoids or constipation are relatively benign, while others, notably chronic liver disease, malignancies and ulcers, can be life-threatening.
In my long career as a chiropractor with an intense interest in nutrition, I have studied and written about the powers of enzyme therapy to prevent and treat the common and related problems of indigestion, heartburn, gas, lactose intolerance and constipation.
Poor Digestion: The Costs
Impaired digestion takes a dangerously high toll in causing nutrient deficiencies. For example, the stomach needs sufficient hydrochloric acid to activate the digestive enzyme pepsin, a substance which helps break down the proteins you eat into the short chains of amino acids (protein building blocks) that go into strong muscles, fight disease and produce a healthy supply of blood.
Poor digestion can also impair your absorption of carbohydrates and fats as well as many vitamins and minerals. Vitamin E, for example, is fat soluble, that is, stored for long periods in the body's fat cells, rather than rapidly excreted like the water soluble vitamin C.
Impaired pancreatic function, or insufficient lipase or bile production, will inhibit fat digestion, possibly causing insufficient absorption of vitamin E, according to the book Present Knowledge in Nutrition (International Life Sciences Institute, Nutrition Foundation, Washington, DC), which is edited by Myrtle L. Brown.
Thus, any difficulty in digesting and absorbing dietary fat can appreciably decrease vitamin E digestion and absorption. In fact, insufficient fat intake coupled with troubled digestion and absorption can affect the body's use of all the fat soluble vitamins-A, D, E and K.
The Enzyme-Digestion Team
Enzymes are molecules naturally produced by the body. These dynamos are involved in all physiological functions but are probably best known for the many jobs they perform during the process of digestion.
Digestive enzymes break the food you eat down into smaller particles so the body can better absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Unfortunately, in many cases, we may become deficient in digestive enzymes. Or, on the other hand, the enzymes we do produce may be inadequate for proper digestion. Luckily, supplemental enzymes can compensate for nature's shortfalls.
Supplemental enzymes, available in tablets, capsules, powders and pills, can help enhance the digestive process. The most popular enzymes for this use include:
Proteases help the body digest proteins by breaking them down into their component amino acids.
Lipases break down fat molecules into smaller pieces for better digestion.
Amylases break down carbohydrates.
Digestive enzymes also function in a wide variety of ways:
They detoxify and cleanse the colon and stimulate the beneficial bacteria in the gut, thereby helping relieve a number of digestion-related disorders.
They help mobilize and remove toxic products from the body.
Supplemental enzymes can be used in basically three ways: as digestive aids, taken with or just prior to meals to help break down foods, freeing their nutrients for absorption and use by the body; as systemic enzyme therapy taken between meals and intended to be absorbed into the bloodstream and carried throughout the body to work intensively and thoroughly at the cellular level. They are consumed between meals to avoid mixing them with food as it is consumed.
Enzymes used systemically can energize the digestive, immune, cardiovascular and nervous systems. In addition, they can also help fight viruses, bacteria, toxins and inflammation, a common symptom with many digestive disorders including diverticulitis and gastritis.
The third way to take supplemental enzymes is in a form I call Enzyme Absorption System Enhancers (EASE), commercially produced enzymes combined with herbs, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients designed to improve their activity, absorption and bioavailability (readiness and ease with which the body can take them up).
Enzymes for Common Conditions From my extensive research and experience, enzymes as digestive aids, in systemic enzyme therapy as as EASE, can treat more than 150 common health conditions.
Choose your enzyme supplements carefully, scrutinizing the label thoroughly for:
directions for use formulation (coated or uncoated) the enzymes in the formulation and their sources; a vegetarian would want to avoid enzymes from animal sources and those with allergies should ensure that the formulation is free of potential allergens. However pervasive digestive problems are, there's no reason why they have to get you down, ruin your digestion or inflate you. These are very useful substances: Enzymes can set your digestive system - and most of your body's functions - back on track.
Remember, enzymes are essential keys to the smooth, efficient function of that wonderful machine, the human body. Because enzyme production and activity decrease with age, trauma and illness, make a firm commitment to daily enzyme supplementation for a healthier, happier, longer life.
May 13, 2005 08:38 AM
Sulforaphane Stimulates the Body's Cancer-Fighting EnzymesSecret Weapon Against Cancer Found in Broccoli Sprouts
by Richard Conant, L.Ac, C.N.
The health benefits of vegetables were known historically, long before researchers began seeing a connection between vegetable consumption and cancer prevention. Over the last twenty years, evidence concerning this connection has steadily accumulated. The latest and most promising findings reveal that specific vegetable constituents—"phytochemicals" to use current scientific parlance— enhance the body's defenses against cancer.
This article will focus on one phytochemical in particular, a sulfur-containing compound called "sulforaphane." Found in Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, sulforaphane may prove to be one of our most powerful cancer prevention allies. Recent studies have shown that sulforaphane stimulates, or "induces," "Phase two enzymes." These enzymes are an integral part of the body's elaborate detoxification system that renders carcinogens inactive. This detoxification system turns carcinogens and other toxic substances into harmless molecules that are excreted from the body.
We need not fear carcinogens—the body is equipped to deal with them.
These findings, coupled with an appreciation of the body's ability to defend itself against carcinogens, have the potential to dramatically change the way we look at cancer and substances in the environment that "cause" cancer. We need to minimize unnecessary exposure to carcinogens, and the staggering quantity of hazardous chemicals in the environment remains an urgent health concern, for cancer and many other health problems. But, knowing the body is equipped with the means to defend itself against toxins, we do not need to fear carcinogens as perhaps we have in the past.
The natural world is full of carcinogens.
What's more, even if you eat 100 percent organic food and live in a environment free of toxic man-made chemicals, you are still being exposed to carcinogens every day of your life. Food is the primary route of this exposure. Plants, for their own defense, produce over 99% of all the pesticides in agricultural products.1 Almost all foods—in their natural state—contain tiny amounts of naturally-occurring, potentially carcinogenic chemicals.
The point is not to trivialize the concern over environmental toxins. The point is that the natural world is full of toxins that are not man-made. These substances have been around since before we appeared, which is why we have evolved with a highly efficient system for neutralizing them before they can damage our cells and initiate the complex process that produces cancer.
Broccoli sprouts are a concentrated source of cancer-fighting sulforaphane.
We cannot avoid carcinogens. What we can do is support our internal detoxification system. Sulforaphane is a powerful tool in this effort. We can start by following the often-repeated advice to eat a variety of vegetables every day, and include broccoli in our menu.
There is an even richer source of sulforaphane than broccoli itself. In September 1997, a group of scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine made a breakthrough discovery— broccoli sprouts contain ten to one hundred times more sulforaphane than mature broccoli.2 Vegetable sprouts are generally regarded as exceptionally healthy foods. Broccoli sprouts now look like a shining star, especially when it comes to cancer prevention.
For those lacking the time or inclination to keep a fresh supply of broccoli sprouts on hand, broccoli spouts have been processed into an extract that is even more concentrated in sulforaphane. More on this later.
What have researchers learned about broccoli consumption and cancer rates?
More than 200 epidemiological studies—studies which track groups of people over time to uncover realtionships between variables such as diet and the incidence of disease—have invesitgated the connections between vegetable consumption and various forms of cancer.1 It should be understood that findings from epidemiological research are generally not regarded as conclusive; these studies are not controlled, and often use data gleaned from questionnaires, which are an imprecise method of gathering information. (In the case of diet questionnaires, for example, the study subjects may or may not record their food intakes with 100 percent accuracy.)
Epidemiological studies look for trends. To be credible, these trends need to show up consistently, in different population groups. Findings from the vegetable intake/cancer studies easily meet these criteria; the number of studies is large and the trend is consistent—vegetable consumption is strongly associated with a lower risk of developing cancer.
What about broccoli in particular? A paper published in the September 1996 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention analyzes epidemiological data gathered from 94 studies concerning the cancer preventive effect of brassica vegetables.3 (The Brassica genus, part of the Cruciferae family, includes broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.) The data suggest that broccoli consumption reduces the risk of some of the most feared forms of cancer, including stomach and lung cancer.
Now, to put these data into a balanced perspective, the researchers point out that in most of the studies reviewed, brassica vegetable consumption was reported as part of the total vegetable intake. "In hardly any epidemiological studies was the effect of brassica vegetables separated from the effect of total vegetables or other vegetables by adjusting for consumption of these variables. Therefore, it is difficult to sort out whether the observed observation was attributable to brassica vegetables, to vegetables as a whole, or to other vegetables," they noted.
This uncertainty is a good example of why epidemiological studies alone do not give us open and shut conclusions. But the paper also adds that the apparent anti-cancer effect of brassica vegetables agrees with "the results of experimental studies in which brassica vegetables reduced mammary tumor incidence, hepatic tumor size, numbers of tumors per liver, tumor frequency, and the number of pulmonary metastases when given to rodents before or after a carcinogen insult."3
When you put together a plausible trend from epidemiological research with results of experimental studies that agree with the trend, and then add additional research that reveals the underlying mechanism for these observations, a clear picture begins to take shape. And, indeed, we now have a fairly good idea as to just how brassica vegetables, especially broccoli, help prevent cancer.
How sulforaphane helps prevent cancer from developing.
To see how sulforaphane works, let's look at a brief overview of the body's detoxification system.
The detoxification of carcinogens and other toxic substances takes place in the liver, and involves two distinct enzyme-driven processes or "phases". Phase one enzymes neutralize toxins by various routes. Some of these convert toxins into substances that are immediately eliminated. However, other Phase one steps convert toxins into intermediate products which are carcinogenic themselves, and require further treatment before they can be excreted. Phase two enzymes do this vital job. Phase two enzymes deactivate these carcinogenic metabolites of Phase one, and the final breakdown product is then eliminated once and for all. (For an excellent review of this subject, see Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, by Drs. Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno.4)
Phase two is critical. If Phase one is in good working order, but Phase two is not, the potential threat from carcinogens increases. It is vitally important to keep Phase two operating well. This is where sulforaphane plays its cancer preventive role. Sulforaphane is a powerful inducer of Phase two enzymes.5,6
Broccoli sprouts-the ideal source of sulforaphane
Sulforaphane is one among a group of phytochemicals called "isothiocyanates." (These occur in brassica vegetables largely as "glucosinolates," which are precursors for isothiocyanates2,12 When the plant is crushed, glucosinolates are converted to isothiocyanates.) Sulforaphane induces Phase two enzymes exclusively, leaving Phase one enzymes alone. This means it helps reduce the load of carcinogenic Phase one intermediates without adding to the load by stimulating Phase one.8,9
As reported by the Johns Hopkins University research group, broccoli sprouts are an "exceptionally" rich source of sulforaphane (in the form of "glucoraphanin, sulforaphane's glucosinolate precursor). And broccoli sprouts have another advantage over mature broccoli. They contain almost no indole glucosinolates, phytochemicals present in mature broccoli that "can enhance tumorogenesis."2
Broccoli sprouts as an extract, now available as a dietary supplement, takes the concentration of sulforaphane to the next level. This recently developed nutraceutical product contains a potent 20 to 1 extract of three-day old fresh broccoli sprouts.
One 125 mg capsule supplies the same amount of sulforaphane as 125 grams, or about 5 ounces, of mature broccoli. Taking just one capsule a day is like eating two pounds of broccoli per week, which equals the intake of cruciferous vegetables believed necessary to obtain their health benefits.
1. Steinmetz, K.A. Potter, J.D. Vegetables, fruit, and cancer prevention: A review. J Am Diet Assoc. 1996;96:1027-1039.
2. Fahey, J.W., Zhang, Y., Talalay, P. Broccoli sprouts: An exceptionally rich source of inducers of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogens. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1997; 94:10367-10372.
3. Verhoeven, D.T.H., et. al. Epidemiological studies on brassica vegetables and cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 1996;5:733-48.
4. Murray, M. Pizzorno, J. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing;1998:110-120.
5. Zhang, Y. Talalay, P, Cho, C., Posner, G.H. A major inducer of anticarcinogenic protective enzymes from broccoli: Isolation and elucidation of structure. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1992;89:2399-2403.
6. Gerhäuser, C. et. al. Cancer chemopreventive potential of sulforamate, a novel analogue of sulforaphane that induces phase 2 drug-metabolizing enzymes. Cancer Research 1997;57:272-78.
7. McDanell, R., McLean, A.E.M., Hanley, A.B., Heaney, R.K., Fenwick, G.R. Chemical and biological properties of indole glucosinolates (glucobrassicins): A review. Fd. Chem. Toxic. 1988;26(1):59-70.
8. Talalay, P. Mechanisms of induction of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogenesis. in Advances in Enzyme Regulation, Vol. 28, Weber, G., Ed., 1989: Pergamon Press.
9. Prochaska, H.J. Santamaria, A.B., Talalay, P. Rapid detection of enzymes that protect against carcinogens. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1992;89:2394-98.
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