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5 Ways to Use Carob Powder
September 26, 2022 03:41 PM
Carob powder is a flavorful and versatile substitute for chocolate. Use in place of cocoa powder in your favorite recipes for delicious chocolate flavor without the fat, caffeine or theobromine found in chocolate. Carob powder is also a great way to add natural sweetness and flavor to baked goods and snacks.
Here are 5 ways to use carob powder:
Carob powder is a healthy, delicious and versatile substitute for chocolate. Used in place of cocoa powder, it adds rich chocolate flavor without the fat, caffeine or theobromine found in chocolate. Carob powder can be used in smoothies, baking recipes, as a sprinkle on top of breakfast foods or mixed with nuts and dried fruit for snacks. Get creative and have fun experimenting with this unique ingredient!
Not just for dessert: Add a dash of cinnamon to your coffee for a healthier and richer, less bitter drink
May 14, 2019 04:05 PM
When your coffee is too bitter, you do not need to reach for the cream and sugar. Try adding cinnamon to your coffee instead. This is much healthier than cream or sugar. Adding cinnamon reduces the bitterness of coffee. Besides reducing the bad health effects of cream and sugar, cinnamon actually helps add nutrients to your coffee. Cinnamon is rich in calcium, manganese and Vitamin K. Cinnamon has also been shown to help brain function.
"They add cream or milk to increase the smoothness and richness of the drink, as well as sugar to directly counter the bitterness with its polar opposite flavor."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-04-add-a-dash-of-cinnamon-to-your-coffee.html
Is magnesium the secret to ending PMS? Vitamin eases headaches andcramps
February 20, 2019 03:49 PM
The vast majority of women will suffer from common PMS symptoms like cramps, insomnia, headaches, anxiety and mood swings. Roughly five percent of women will suffer more serious symptoms — known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder — involving anger and depression. However, studies suggest that women who take a daily magnesium supplement suffer from less severe PMS symptoms, possibly because magnesium helps promote higher levels of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter which helps regulate sleep. Women who experience exhaustion as a central PMS symptom are particularly likely to need more magnesium.
"According to PubMed Health, during this time, some women feel a wide range of physical discomforts, such as abdominal pain, abdominal cramping, backache, headaches, bloating, weight gain, breast tenderness, possible sleeping issues and digestive discomfort."
Read more: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6697649/Is-magnesium-secret-ending-PMS-Vitamin-eases-headaches-cramps.html
Why people love CBD - the cannabis product that won't get you high
January 19, 2019 10:48 AM
The CBD market is booming after the recent legalization of marijuana in many states. CBD is short for cannabidiol which is a compound found in cannabis and hemp plants. It is not a psychoactive- you do not get high from ingestion. It is commonly used to treat anxiety and insomnia. Further studies are being conducted to research its efficiency against arthritis and epilepsy. CBD is normally extracted into an oil or cream, but can be sold in a variety of products.
"So, what exactly is CBD — and why are you able to get your hands on it even if you don't live in a state where cannabis is legal?"
Read more: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/09/what-is-cbd-these-popular-cannabis-products-wont-get-you-high.html
Cinnamon has good-for-you properties along with wonderful aroma
October 13, 2018 11:52 AM
There are many good things that come from eating cinnamon. Not only does it taste really good, it has properties within it that are good for you. First and foremost, it helps unclog your system. If you are feeling a little bit stuffy or too down, then cinnamon can help clear all of that stuff up. Also, it has a really good aroma to it that indicates that it is good for the senses of a human.
"According to a 2018 analysis of studies of people with type 2 diabetes, taking between a half and 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon daily reduced fasting blood sugar by 10% to 29%."
Read more: https://www.jsonline.com/story/life/food/2018/10/08/cinnamon-good-you-properties-along-wonderful-aroma/1491615002/
Simple Clever Ways To Clear Clogged Arteries Research
January 31, 2017 04:40 PM
7 Simple Ways to Unclog Your Arteries Naturally ... to prevent and in some casesreverse the #1 cause of death in the modern world? Statistically, atherosclerosis (the progressiveclogging of the arteries) is the #1 killer on the planet. ... Here is the peer-reviewed, publishedresearch proving the fact:. 21 Foods That Naturally Unclog Arteries - Natural Living Ideashttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jl2E7UayEU&rel=0
"There are natural ways to help treat clogged arteries and make your heart healthy and more functional."
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
March 28, 2007 10:29 AM
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) affects about 65 million Americans, or about 1 in 3 adults. There are many potential causes of hypertension, but not necessarily any symptoms. In fact, 30% of the people who have high blood pressure don’t even realize it.
In other words, just because you don’t have symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have high blood pressure. That’s why it’s called “The Silent Killer.” And, make no mistake about it: high blood pressure is dangerous. It is the number one modifiable cause of stroke. Just lowering blood pressure reduces the chance of stroke by 35 to 40 percent. Other conditions, including heart attack and heart failure can be reduced from 25 to 50 percent, respectively.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we’re going to talk about high blood pressure and an exciting natural treatment for lowering blood pressure safely and effectively.
Of course, changing blood pressure numbers depends, in a large part, on the choices we make every day – how much we exercise, the foods we eat, and our lifestyle overall. But, for those times we need extra help, there is a new, scientifically-studied supplement to help us along our path to better health and lower blood pressure.
Blood pressure guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Q. What exactly is blood pressure?
A. Blood pressure is divided into two parts, systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the pressure of the heart beating. Diastolic is the pressure of the heart and vessels filling. When blood pressure numbers are written out, like “120/80,” 120 is the systolic pressure and 80 is the diastolic pressure. The unit of measurement for blood pressure is millimeters of mercury, written as “mm/Hg.”
Q. What is considered high blood pressure?
A. A person’s blood pressure can naturally vary throughout the day – even between heartbeats.
However, if the numbers are consistently high (over 120 systolic and 80 diastolic), after multiple visits to your healthcare practitioner, you may have either pre-hypertension or high blood pressure.
Young arteries and arteries that are kept young through healthy diet and exercise are typically more elastic and unclogged. Blood flows through them easily and without much effort. However, as we age, our arteries become more prone to plaque buildup (due to diets high in saturated fat and sedentary lifestyles) and don’t “flex” as well under pressure. The result is faster blood flow, all the time. Over the long term, it damages heart tissue, arteries, kidney and other major organs.
To get a better idea of high blood pressure, compare your arteries to a garden hose. When unblocked, a garden hose allows water to flow through it quickly and easily – without any real rush or stress. However, if you block the end of the hose with your thumb, closing it off even a little, water rushes out much more quickly.
For many years, high diastolic pressure was considered even more of a threat than high systolic pressure. That thinking has changed somewhat but high diastolic numbers could still mean organ damage in your body – especially for individuals under 50.
Q. What courses high blood pressure?
A. The reasons for hypertension aren’t always clear. However, there are lifestyle factors that contribute to high blood pressure that you can change:
Body type: Weight isn’t always a reliable indicator of whether or not you’ll have high blood pressure – but the type of weight is. Lean body mass – muscle – doesn’t increase blood pressure levels the way that fat can. However, fat body mass, especially fat around your middle, can contribute to high blood pressure.
Sedentary lifestyle: Too often, many of us sit down all day at work, and then sit down all night at home. Over time, this inactivity usually leads to weight gain, making the heart work harder to pump blood through the body. In a way, it almost seems contradictory, but inactivity usually leads to higher heart rates.
Sodium intake: Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much salt there is in processed foods. However, salt intake in itself is not necessarily bad. For people with a history of congestive heart failure, ischemia, and high blood pressure, sodium is definitely out. For those individuals, it leads to more water retention, which increases blood pressure. (Salt’s effect on water retention is one reason that so many sports drinks have fairly high sodium content – the sodium in the drink prevents your body from sweating out too much water.) But, for healthy individuals, moderate salt intake, especially a mixed mineral salt like sea salt or Celtic salt (good salt should never be white) is fine.
Low potassium intake: Unlike sodium, potassium is a mineral which most Americans get too little of. Potassium helps regulate the amount of sodium in our cells, expelling excess amounts through the kidneys. Low levels of this mineral can allow too much sodium to build up in the body.
Heavy alcohol intake: Having three or more alcoholic drinks a day (two or more for women) nearly doubles an individual’s chance of developing high blood pressure. Over time, heavy drinking puts a lot of stress on the organs, including the heart, liver, pancreas and brain.
Unhealthy eating: Eating a lot of processed or fatty foods contributes to high blood pressure. Adapting a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, fish, nuts and magnesium and potassium (like the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, known as the “dash” diet) can bring it back down.
Smoking: If you smoke, stop. Smoking damages the heart and arteries – period. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, increases heart rate, and raises blood pressure. This in turn, increases hormone production and adrenaline levels, further stressing the body.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces the oxygen in the blood, making the heart work even harder to make up the difference. Since the effect of a single cigarette can last for an hour, smoking throughout the day leads to continuously revved-up blood pressure.
Some of these factors might sound like a lot to overcome. The important thing to remember is that all of these behaviors are changeable. If you have high blood pressure, modifying any of these can significantly lower blood pressure as part of an overall plan.
Q. What are the blood pressure numbers I should see?
A. Experts consider healthy blood pressure numbers to be 115/75 mm/Hg. The reason? They found that the risk of cardiovascular disease doubles at each increment of 20/10 mmHg over 115/75 mm/Hg. Even small jumps in blood pressure numbers increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Q. Okay, so other than diet, exercise and lifestyle changes are there other natural ways or supplements I can use to lower my blood pressure?
A. Yes, in fact, you hear about some of them in the news all the time – fish oil, CoQ10, and garlic. As effective as these symptoms are, they typically lower systolic pressure much more than diastolic pressure.
However, there is a blend of scientifically and clinically studied natural ingredients that lower high blood pressure separately, and work even better when they’re combined. This combination blend contains: dandelion leaf extract, lycopene, stevia extract, olive leaf extract and hawthorn extract.
Every one of these ingredients has been studied and recommended for years. But now, a scientific study on a supplement that combines them in one synergistic formula shows encouraging results for lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Let’s take a look at each:
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) originated in
The leaf of stevia is considered the medicinal part of the plant. Research shows that extracts of the leaf relax arteries and help prevent the buildup of calcium on artery walls – keeping them healthy and reducing blood pressure.
In a long-term, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. On average, participants’ blood pressure reduced from baseline 150 mm/Hg to 140 mm/Hg systolic and 95 mm/Hg to 89 mm/Hg diastolic.
And, in another double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia lowered blood pressure quite significantly – by an average of 14 millimeters of mercury in both systolic and diastolic readings. Those are impressive numbers!
Despite its role as a sweetener, stevia may have a side benefit to for those with hypertension – blood sugar regulation. Scientific studies show that extracts of stevia regulated blood sugar and reduced blood pressure.
A clinical study showed that stevia extract actually improved glucose tolerance by decreasing plasma glucose levels during the test and after overnight fasting in all participants. Regulating blood sugar is very important for those with high blood pressure. When blood sugar levels are high, blood vessels are inflamed. Many people with diabetes have high blood pressure as well. In a paired, cross-over clinical study, stevioside (one of the compounds in stevia) reduced glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. It shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. Its shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes as well as hypertension.
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp. Oxycantha) has been used since ancient ties as a medicinal herb – even being mentioned by the Greek herbalist Dioscorides, in the first century AD. Traditionally, it has generally been used for support of the heart. Modern research points to bioflavonoid-like complexes in hawthorn leaf and flower that seem to be most responsible for its benefits on cardiac health, like blood vessel elasticity.
The bioflavonoids found in hawthorn include oligomeric procyanidins, vitexin, quercetin, and hyperoside. They have numerous benefits on the cardiovascular system. Hawthorn can improve coronary artery blood flow and the contractions of the heart muscle. Scientific studies show that the procyanidins in hawthorn are responsible for its ability to make the aorta and other blood vessels more flexible and relaxed, so that blood pumps more slowly and with less effort – sparing the cardiovascular system such a hard workout.
The procyanidins in hawthorn also have antioxidant properties – protecting against free radical cellular damage.
And, hawthorn may also inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme. Angiotensin-converting enzyme is responsible for retaining sodium and water, and may have roots in our evolutionary development. It influences blood vessel contraction and dilation, sodium and water balance and heart cell development – just about everything that has to do with blood pressure. This may have developed as a way of dealing with periods of drought and stress. By narrowing the blood vessels, the body could guarantee an adequate supply of blood and focus on repairing tissue.
Unfortunately, that can lead to real problems these days. Since many of us live in an industrialized society, and frequently have pretty sedentary lifestyles, conserving sodium just makes the conditions for high blood pressure that much worse.
Like the other ingredients in this combination, hawthorn showed benefits on other body systems, too. In clinical and scientific studies, it not only lowered blood pressure, but also showed anti-anxiety properties and regulated blood sugar.
Olive leaf extract:
Olive leaf (Olea europaea) comes up again and again in scientific and clinical studies as having beneficial effects on hypertension. One of olive leaf’s most beneficial compounds is oleuropein – the same compound that makes olive oil so helpful in reducing blood pressure. Here again, we have to look at the traditional Mediterranean diet, which features voluminous use of olives and olive oil. Not surprisingly, blood pressure is generally much lower in Greek and Italian populations.
But it’s not just the diet – scientific studies showed that oleuropein lowered blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and prevented buildup of plaque in arteries. Plus, whether in olive leaf extract or in olive oil, oleuropein works as an antioxidant, too.
Dandelion leaf extract:
Dandelion (Taraxacum offinale) leaves provide a healthy supply of vitamins, much like spinach. In fact, although it has become the bane of North American gardeners and lawn owners, dandelion greens are a component of many gourmet salads.
Medicinally, dandelion has been used for centuries, dating back to ancient
They are a very rich source of vitamin A, and contain vitamin D, vitamin C, carious B vitamins, iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc and manganese, too. Dandelion leaves produce a diuretic effect in the body, similar to a prescription drug. Since one of dandelion leaf’s traditional uses was the treatment of water retention, it’s really not too surprising. Dandelion leaf is also rich in potassium – one of the vital minerals many Americans lack in their diet. So, even though it may act as a diuretic, it replaces more potassium than the body expels.
The diuretic effect of dandelion can relieve hypertension by drawing excess water and sodium from the body and releasing it through the kidneys as urine. Getting rid of extra water and sodium allows the blood vessels to relax – lowering blood pressure.
If a nutrient can be called exciting, lycopene is it. Lycopene is found mostly in tomatoes and processed tomato products, like pasta and pizza sauce. Related to beta-carotene lycopene shows great antioxidant abilities among its many talents. In fact, it shows even greater free-radical scavenging properties than beta-carotene, its more famous cousin. Healthy intakes of lycopene can guard against a variety of chronic conditions, including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, lowering homocysteine levels and reducing blood platelet stickiness that can lead to clogged arteries. It’s even being studied for its protective effect against prostate cancer.
And, for proof, you don’t have to look too far to see the amazing effect lycopene intake can have on health. The Mediterranean diet provides an excellent example. Its high intakes of vegetables, (tomatoes, of course, playing a central role) fish, and whole grains improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. The research on lycopene as a stand-alone nutrient has been compelling. A randomized clinical trial found that not having enough lycopene was associated with early thickening of the arteries.
So, it makes sense that other clinical trials, showed that higher intakes of lycopene frequently meant less thickening of arteries, and a reduced risk of heart attack. In one study, the risk of heart attack was 60% lower in individuals with the highest levels of lycopene. In a multicenter study, similar results were found – men with the highest levels of lycopene had a 48% lower risk of heart attack.
Q. What can I expect taking this herbal combination?
A. You should notice both systolic and diastolic numbers lowering in about two weeks. The scientific study showed that for pre-hypertensive and stage I, (early hypertensive individuals) this combination for ingredients lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
When you’re taking herbs to support your blood pressure, it’s important to keep it monitored so you have an accurate reading (and record) of your numbers. If you need to, you can pick up a home blood pressure monitoring device. These can retail for anywhere from $30 all the way up to $200, but buying one in the $30 to $50 range is a good idea and money well spent. Consider taking the machine to your local doctor’s office or fire department to have it tested for accuracy against a professional blood pressure monitor. See the chart below for tips on getting an accurate reading from a home monitor.
Tips for Accurate Blood Pressure Monitoring:
-Relax for about 5 to 10 minutes before measurement.
-If you have just come inside from cold outdoors allow yourself to warm up.
-Remove tight-fitting clothing and jewelry.
-Unless your physician recommends otherwise, use left arm to measure pressure.
-Sit, don’t stand.
-Remain still and do not talk while using the monitor.
Q. Are there any side effects?
A. There were no side effects noted in the study. However, because of the mild diuretic effect of dandelion leaf extract, you may notice an increase in trips to the bathroom. It’s always important to make sure you don’t get dehydrated, so you may want to drink more water during the day.
High blood pressure doesn’t happen overnight. As we get older, the likelihood of developing hypertension increases. And, stressful, fast-forward lifestyles, bad diets and no exercise conspire to raise our blood pressure.
In my own practice I have helped patients move toward a healthier lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and blood-pressure reducing supplements. They live better, more vibrant lives as a result, and their blood pressure normalizes. It really can happen – you can bring your blood pressure back to normal, and this combination of scientifically and clinically validated ingredients can help.
June 22, 2005 09:57 PM
Down with Blood Pressure
June 12, 2005 08:03 AM
Down with Blood Pressure by Kim Erickson Energy Times, January 6, 2002
More than one of four Americans suffers from high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. This so-called silent killer is often the first step in developing long-term problems like heart disease and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure leads to about 45,000 deaths a year and contributes to another 210,000. Hypertension is more common in women beginning at age 50, particularly African-American women. And since high blood pressure rarely causes obvious physical distress, unless your health practitioner monitors your blood pressure on a regular basis, it's easy to miss. The famous study by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), known as the Framingham Heart Study, found that half of all people who suffered a first heart attack and two-thirds of first-time stroke victims also had moderate to high blood pressure. What's more, left untreated, high blood pressure can also increase the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), aneurysms, loss of vision and kidney failure. Normal blood pressure is considered 120/80. When blood pressure reaches 140/90 or above on a consistent basis, you have high blood pressure. What do the numbers mean? The top number, systolic pressure, represents the peak pressure generated in your arteries when your heart beats. The bottom number, diastolic pressure, indicates the pressure when your heart is at rest between heartbeats. Among 95% of all people with high blood pressure, health practitioners can generally pinpoint no specific, single cause.
For decades, the most common recommendation for people with high blood pressure was to eat less salt. Experts have advocated reducing our salt intake to no more than three teaspoons a day: six grams (2400 mg), which is four grams less than the current national average. This recommendation was largely based on a study conducted by Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, Illinois, known as INTERSALT. The study tested more than 10,000 men and women from 32 countries. The researchers concluded that eating a lot of salt was linked to rises in blood pressure. Other scientists haven't always found the same results. One review of 56 clinical trials by the Integrative and Behavioral Cardiology Program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York found only a modest reduction in blood pressure when the salt shaker was left unshaken. And an analysis of 58 studies by academics at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark found that, overall, studies did not support a general recommendation to reduce the amount of salt we consume. Added to all this confusion, many people are salt sensitive: their bodies retain excess salt instead of flushing it out of their systems. Unfortunately, only medical tests can reveal this sensitivity. Consequently, experts still recommend that you eat fewer foods containing salt. That means going easy on processed foods, lunch meats and soft drinks. In addition, increasing your intake of potassium, calcium and magnesium may help your blood pressure.
Foods rich in potassium and magnesium not only help regulate blood pressure, but may boost overall cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of stroke. Vegetarian items such as bananas, baked potatoes and oranges are rich in these minerals. Research that looked at 30,000 doctors found that those who ate diets rich in fiber, potassium and magnesium had lower blood pressure than the men who ate few of these mineral-rich foods (Circ, 1992; vol 86:1475-1484). A study of 40,000 female nurses found that their pressure decreased when they consumed fibrous and magnesium-filled foods (Hypertension, 1996, vol 27:1065-1072).
The nutrient CoQ10 is a vitamin-like substance which acts as an antioxidant in the body, decreasing the harm caused by caustic substances known as free radicals. Found in every part of the body, CoQ10 is necessary for producing energy in every cell. But it is estimated that nearly 40% of people with high blood pressure are deficient in CoQ10. Tests of CoQ10 seem to show that it can often reduce blood pressure by almost 10% (Cur Ther Res 1990;47: 841-845). It also appears to reduce blood triglycerides, blood fats linked to heart disease, and insulin, while slightly increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.
Perhaps the biggest breakthrough in lowering blood pressure without the use of prescription medicine came with a study known as dash (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Funded by NHLBI and the National Institutes of Health, the multicenter study examined more than 400 people with high blood pressure. These folks were divided into three groups. One ate the standard high-sodium, high-fat American diet, the second a diet high in fruits and vegetables, and the third a combination diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products (the dash diet). While the group eating plenty of fruits and vegetables enjoyed a modest reduction in blood pressure, the study found that combining low-fat dairy with produce lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 11.4 and 5.5 points, respectively. And the benefits came quickly. Many of the people on the combination diet lowered their blood pressure within two weeks. The results were so impressive that researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts suggested that the dash diet may offer an alternative to drug therapy for people with hypertension and may even serve to prevent high blood pressure altogether. The dash diet is low in saturated fat and rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Similar to the diet found in Mediterranean cultures, dash also includes nuts, seeds and legumes, and is supplemented by non- or low-fat dairy products. Moderate amounts of protein-in the form of fish, poultry and soy-are also eaten. Eating in the dash may also spur weight loss. Since being overweight can increase your blood pressure, the NHLBI strongly recommends a low-calorie diet such as dash to take off extra pounds. Exercise and stress relief play critical roles in most pressure-reducing plans. Working out not only helps shed weight, it can also lower your blood pressure. Low to moderate aerobic exercise four days a week may lower blood pressure just as effectively as a higher intensity workout. And learning how to manage stress has helped dropped pressures in people with hypertension (Arch Intern Med 2001; 161:1071-80). Nutrition and lifestyle: two vital relief valves for dropping your high blood pressure and increasing your chances of longer life.
June 10, 2005 03:52 PM
by Lisa James Energy Times, January 3, 2002
An American suffers a heart attack every 20 seconds. That adds up to 180 heart attacks every hour. Many of these life-threatening events don't have to happen: heart-healthy nutrients, weight control and exercise could ease this epidemic.
More evidence of how to protect your heart piles up every day, amounting to a stack of research thicker than the juiciest, most heart-threatening cheeseburger on a big, fat bun. To protect your heart, you've got to protect your arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart and also feed the heart muscle oxygen and nutrients.
Arteries are essentially three-layered tubes: the inner endothelium, a middle muscle layer which allows the artery to widen and contract, and an outer layer that encloses and supports the other two. When the lining, which is normally smooth, is damaged, the resulting rough patch develops plaque from LDL cholesterol, and the artery narrows and hardens.
When LDL cholesterol is oxidized into plaque, the resulting damage attracts large immune cells called macrophages which consume the oxidized LDL and get trapped in the developing plaque. Oxidized LDL is also associated with the death of muscle cells in the artery's middle layer (Circulation 2000; 102:2680). Plaque slows blood flow to the heart and can result in angina, chest pain often brought about by exertion. Heart attacks strike when unstable plaque ruptures, triggering blood clotting that blocks blood flow and may kill sections of the heart muscle as it's cut off from oxygen and nutrients.
Foods, like fatty meats, filled with saturated fat, are believed to start this heart-threatening process. Even by age 15, your arteries may be narrowing.
Antioxidants can help keep your arteries functioning smoothly by counteracting LDL oxidation. Lab research has shown that cells in the lining can be protected by natural vitamin E. Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains is an important step in stocking your antioxidant arsenal. But many heart experts recommend supplementation, a strategy that's been shown to bolster the body's defenses (J Nutr Biochem 2001; 12:388-95).
Vitamins C and E: The Dynamic Duo
Antioxidant allies abound, but two of the most important are vitamin C and natural vitamin E. They work particularly well together because C is effective in the fluid that bathes all cells, while E defangs free radicals in the fatty areas, such as cell membranes. And vitamin C actually recharges vitamin E, increasing E's antioxidant effectiveness. Each vitamin provides protective benefits on its own. People with Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes who took vitamin E in one study saw drops in cholesterol and glucose and increases in antioxidants, such as superoxide peroxidase, produced by the body itself (Endocr Res 2001; 27:377-86). For its part, vitamin C has prevented free radical damage in individuals who inhale secondhand cigarette smoke and has improved artery lining function in persons with coronary artery disease (Free Radic Biol Med 2000; 28:428-36; Circulation 1999; 99:3234-40). When used together, this vitamin dynamic duo provides powerful protection against both LDL oxidation and high blood pressure (Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2000; 20:2087-93; Hypertension 2000; 36:142-6). They also help keep immune cells from sticking to arterial linings (Circ Res 2000; 87:349).
Vitamins C and E also seem to prove effective against inflammation that researchers think contributes to heart health. Research in this area continues, but scientists now believe that inflammation from infections with herpes simplex one, the cold sore virus, and Chlamydia pneumoniae, a respiratory tract bug, can foment heart trouble. Inflammation may slow blood flow to the heart and make clots more likely. Among persons with peripheral arterial disease, blockages in arms and legs, not getting enough vitamin C levels may increase inflammation (Circulation 2001; 103:1863). Vitamin E apparently soothes inflammation by decreasing the release of immune chemicals and calming the immune cells involved in atherosclerosis (Diet and Optimum Health Conference, 5/01, Portland OR). Clot Busters Vitamin E also reduces the risk of clots and lowers the chance of a clot sticking in a vessel. It keeps platelets, cells that cause clotting, from becoming too gooey and breaks up fibrin, a clot-forming protein. Garlic (Allium sativa) also discourages inappropriate clotting. Used medicinally since the beginning of recorded time, the Greek physician Dioscorides thought it could clean the arteries. The ancient faith in garlic's circulatory benefits are supported by modern research. Recent studies have found substances in garlic that keep platelets from clumping together and lower cholesterol. In one study, men with high cholesterol who took garlic extract for five months saw their total cholesterol drop an average of 7% and their LDL drop 10% (J Nutr 2001; 131:989S-93S).
Hunting Down Homocysteine
Homocysteine, an amino acid found in the blood, may also be linked to artery problems. Scientists believe that when too much homocysteine accumulates in the bloodstream, arteries stiffen and plaque forms. The causes of this buildup remain murky but it appears that perpetually angry folks have higher homocysteine levels. Estimates vary on how much of a risk factor homocysteine represents; between 10% and 40% of people who suffer heart attacks may have high levels. Excessive homocysteine also seems to be linked to other risk factors, such as insulin resistance, a diabetes precursor (Diabetes Care 2001; 24:1403-10). The good news: the so-called dash diet-featuring fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, nuts and fish-may reduce homocysteine and drop your heart disease risk by 7% to 9% (Circulation 2000; 102:852-7). More benefits: simple B vitamins can control homocysteine. Folic acid (folate), along with vitamins B6 and B12, may help break it down and render it harmless. Taking these vitamins in supplement form has been shown to reduce homocysteine (Lancet 2000; 355:517-22). What's more, natural vitamin E may be able to restore artery lining function when homocysteine levels are high (Am J Cardiol 2001; 88:285-90). If you really want your ticker to tick stronger and longer, go long on your ready supply of heart healthy nutrients.
AMINO ACIDS AND PROTEIN
June 09, 2005 09:48 AM
AMINO ACIDS AND PROTEIN
Next to water, protein is the most abundant substance in the human body. Complex mega-molecules of protein are the structural building blocks of tissue. The thousands of different proteins in our bodies are composed of 20 molecules called amino acids. In the last 20 years, research has shown the benefits of amino acid supplementation to such diverse areas of human biochemistry as metabolism, enzyme and neurotransmitter production and antioxidant protection. Source Naturals utilizes the latest-breaking research to bring you a highly comprehensive line of amino acid supplements.
DNA provides the instruction manual for life, RNA reads the manual and the genetic information is expressed by proteins. Proteins are the most abundant macromolecules in living cells constituting 50% or more of their dry weight. They create the structure of our cells and tissues, and play an essential role in virtually all of the biochemical events that animate those tissues.
The term "protein" refers to a set of macromolecules that encompasses an extensive variety of structure and function&endash;from helical rods with the tensile strength of steel to elastic sheets to huge molecular machines with hinged jaws that snap closed to hold other molecules in place. Amazingly, all proteins, in their remarkable variety, are built out of a set of 20 simple molecules called amino acids.
Amino acids are one of the four types of small molecules out of which all life is constructed. The other three are: palmitic acid (see "Essential Fatty Acids," page #), adenine and glucose. All amino acids share a common chemical "backbone" which consists of an a -carbon atom to which four substituent groups are bonded: a nitrogen-containing amino group (H2N), a carboxyl group (COOH), a hydrogen atom and an "R" group. The "R" group or side chain (figure #) varies in electric charge, size, structure and solubility in water, giving each amino acid its distinct chemical properties. Since all amino acids (except glycine) contain at least one asymmetrical carbon atom, each one exists in at least two forms: the l form and its mirror image or stereoisomer, the d form. While both forms are found in biological systems, only the l form is present in proteins.
Amino acids are linked together like beads on a string to form proteins, sometimes called peptides because of the peptide bonds that link the amino acids together. They range in size from simple two-amino-acid dipeptides to polypeptides which contain more than 1800 connected amino acids. The chemical backbone of the amino acids and their sequence constitutes the primary structure of a protein. Polypeptide chains then fold into specific 2 and 3-dimensional configurations that are unique for each type of protein. The pattern of folds, along with the chemical nature of the amino acid side chains contained in it, give a protein its characteristic biological activity. For example, the connective tissue proteins collagen and elastin give structure to cellular organelles and tissues, while proteins called enzymes catalyze and facilitate metabolic chemical reactions.
Nine of the 20 amino acids involved in protein synthesis are considered "essential";they cannot be synthesized by the body and must be obtained from food sources. The term "non-essential" is sometimes used to classify the other eleven amino acids. However, this word is perhaps a misnomer; a better term might be synthesizable. These amino acids are just as vital to human metabolism as the "essential" amino acids; so vital that the body can synthesize them. They are, however, more available, more versatile, and more interchangeable.
When the presence or absence of a particular amino acid will determine whether a protein can be created or not, that amino acid is called a rate-limiting factor for that protein. For example, the tripeptide glutathione, a compound that forms an important part of the body's protective mechanisms, is made of the amino acids glutamic acid, glycine and cysteine. Glutamic acid and glycine tend to be plentiful in the diet, and can be easily interconverted. Cysteine is the rate-limiting factor for glutathione; the amount of cysteine in the diet will determine the amount of glutathione that can be manufactured by the body.
Amino acids have a special role to play in brain nutrition, because all neurotransmitters are derived from amino acids or related compounds such as choline. Brain neurotransmitters, specifically, are biochemical keys to the workings of the mind. They are substances that perform chemical transmission of nerve impulses between neurons or between neurons and other cell types such as muscle. They work in the following way: an electric current (or action potential) travels down the length of a neuron, or nerve cell, until it reaches the synapse - a narrow gap between two cells. The incoming nerve impulse triggers the release of neurotransmitter (NT) molecules, which diffuse across the synaptic gap. The neurotransmitter molecules bind with receptor proteins embedded in the membrane of the post synaptic neuron and activate a physiological response. Excitatory neurotransmitters propagate a new action potential while inhibitory NT's inhibit the development of new action potentials.
The amino acid precursors of neurotransmitters are able to cross the blood-brain barrier, a structural feature of brain anatomy that prevents many substances from contacting brain tissue. Thus, it is possible to influence brain metabolism (and therefore emotional states) through the mechanism of neurotransmitter synthesis. The enhancement of neurotransmitter production is one of the most exciting advancements to occur in the field of nutrition in modern times.
A major portion of the amino acid requirement in humans is derived from the proteins in food. Successive proteolytic enzymes attack the peptide bonds, cleaving one amino acid at a time from the polypeptide chain. Ultimately, free amino acids as well as small peptides (especially dipeptides) are absorbed through the mucosal cells of the small intestine. The small peptides are then further hydrolyzed so that only free amino acids enter the liver and portal vein. This sounds like a fairly straightforward process. However, the presence of a particular amino acid profile in a certain food does not guarantee the assimilation of those amino acids when the food is ingested. There are three types of amino acids: acidic, basic and neutral; each of these classes has a different transport mediator. Therefore, there is competition for the carrier between any two amino acids in a certain class, both in the digestive tract and at the blood-brain barrier. Thus, the isolation of "free-form" amino acids is an important aid to nutritional engineering. In many cases, the consumption of high potencies of a particular amino acid allows that nutrient to overwhelm the competition for absorption. The resulting increase in blood and tissue levels will yield the benefits conferred by that nutrient.
The isolation of free-form amino acids is an important advancement in the field of nutrition science. Amino acid supplements offer a broad range of choices to complement your nutritional program.
Minerals - Why take them?
June 09, 2005 09:04 AM
Minerals, along with vitamins, amino acids and essential fatty acids, are one of the fundamental tiers of nutritional supplementation. Many essential minerals have been depleted from our soils due to modern farming practices, making mineral supplementation more critical than ever in today's world. Minerals are perhaps more susceptible to issues of bioavailability and absorption than any other class of nutrients. For this reason, Source Naturals has devoted a great deal of research to providing more bioavailable, absorbable forms of key nutritive minerals.
MINERALS: A MULTITUDE OF FUNCTIONS
Life on Earth began in the sea. Most scientists now believe that the ancient ocean was a 'primordial soup' of organic chemicals which contained all the necessary ingredients - amino acids, sugars, and nucleotide components, floating in a solution of water and minerals; for life to get started. Millions of years later, when the first creature crawled up on dry land, evolution had contrived a way for it to carry the ancient ocean along with it.
The composition of the fluid that bathes your cells and tissues is believed to be substantially the same as the ocean some 2 billion years ago. The body is extremely particular about the balance of dissolved minerals in this fluid&endash;so particular that it will sometimes sacrifice its own structure to maintain proper mineral balance in the fluids. For example, one mechanism for the homeostatic control of plasma calcium concentration is the flux of calcium into and out of the bones. If plasma calcium remains too low for extended periods the calcium reserve of the bones could be depleted. What functions do minerals serve, and why are they so important?
Aside from providing structure through the bones and teeth, one of the most important roles of minerals is that of electrolytes. The membranes of our cells are flexible and freely permeable to water. The interior of a cell contains an abundance of large and small organic molecules, most of which have an electric charge. These charged molecules will attract inorganic charged molecules called electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, crowding water out of the cell interior. If the cell did nothing to counteract this phenomenon, the difference in water concentration across the cell membrane would cause more and more water to move into the cell by osmosis, eventually causing the cell to swell up and burst.
Minerals act as cofactors in over a thousand different reactions in the human body; magnesium alone is necessary for the functioning of over 300 enzymes.
A proper balance of minerals is essential to optimal health and vitality. Not only are they a crucial component of the internal environment and structure of the body, they are crucial to the enzymatic reactions that create energy, build tissues and protect the body. Minerals, unfortunately, are also one of the first casualties of the processed food revolution. Thanks to decades of "progress" in industrial farming methods, super-fertilizers and other methods have been developed for growing vegetables and grains that travel well and look healthy and pretty, but are depleted of much of the nutrient complexity required to optimally support human life. Many of the minerals that are left are stripped out when these grains and vegetables are processed to make packaged foods. These 'foods' are often preserved with chemical additives and fillers that can make the minerals they still contain impossible to digest.
What all this adds up to is the fact that mineral supplementation is extremely important. It is also important to ensure that the supplements you take are in forms that are absorbable and bioavailable. Unfortunately, there is no simple formula to follow in this regard, for the process of mineral absorption is complex and can be enhanced or hindered by a variety of factors. There is a great deal yet to be discovered about this aspect of human digestion and nutrition.
Because of the complexity of mineral metabolism Source Naturals offers a full series of major minerals and trace minerals in a variety of high quality, bioavailable forms to meet individual needs. In some cases we have gone further, basing our formulations on a knowledge of biochemical principles. For example, the absorption of many minerals seems to be enhanced by the presence of amino acids. Therefore, we offer amino acid chelates, minerals which are specially chelated (bound) with amino acids from hydrolyzed vegetable protein. In addition, we provide Krebs cycle chelates, minerals which are organically bound to metabolites of the body's cellular energy generation cycle.
Gluco Sciense - Take Control of your Blood Sugar ...
June 02, 2005 10:51 AM
Sedentary lifestyles, obesity, and sugar-rich diets are prevalent in our society. The result: challenges to your multiple, interdependent body systems involved with blood sugar levels and insulin activity. Now is the time to learn how a healthy diet and lifestyle can help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels. For further support, Source Naturals offers you GLUCO-SCIENCE™, a breakthrough formula. GLUCO-SCIENCE is uniquely effective because it is a Bio-Aligned Formula™. Source Naturals evaluates the underlying causes of system imbalances. Then we design formulas that provide targeted nutrition to bring your interrelated body systems back into balance. GLUCO-SCIENCE can help bring your body’s systems for carbohydrate metabolism back into alignment.
A Bio-Aligned Formula™
GLUCO-SCIENCE is a comprehensive herbal-nutrient formula, based on the newest clinical research into key herbs and special ingredients. Source Naturals studied the scientific research, and then designed GLUCO-SCIENCE. This Bio- Aligned Formula provides targeted nutrition to five different body systems involved with healthy blood sugar levels and insulin activity.
GLUCO-SCIENCE supports glucose/carbohydrate metabolism with a range of nutrients. B-vitamins are required for glycolysis and the Krebs cycle, the metabolic pathways by which the body converts glucose into cellular energy. Chromium is believed to work closely with insulin to facilitate the uptake of glucose into cells. Manganese is also involved in glucose uptake. The formula also features herbs from several traditions, such as Gymnema sylvestre.
Insulin is secreted by the pancreas in response to high blood glucose levels after meals. Without insulin, glucose cannot enter cells to provide fuel for cellular energy. Certain nutrients (see chart) support these vital metabolic processes, including mediation of insulin release and activity, and enhancing insulin sensitivity. N-acetyl cysteine protects pancreatic beta cells from oxidative damage in animal studies. In addition, vanadium, zinc, and selenium are notable for their insulin-like actions.
Heart and Circulatory System
Vitamin E supports a healthy lipid status, while myricetin has been shown in animal studies to influence triglyceride levels. Gymnema sylvestre and vitamin C are involved with lipid metabolism. Additional heart-healthy ingredients include CoQ10, garlic, fenugreek, and hawthorn.
Antioxidants are important for a healthy nervous system. Lipoic acid helps prevent lipid peroxidation, which can impact nerve function. Many B-vitamins are vital to the metabolic processes of the nerves or are present in the phospholipids of cell membranes. Methylcobalamin, an active form of vitamin B-12, supports the central nervous system. Other supportive ingredients are included (see chart).
GLUCO-SCIENCE provides antioxidants, nutrients and herbs with an affinity for eyes and the physiological processes involved in sight. Alpha-lipoic acid, quercetin, and vitamin C support healthy lens function. Bilberry, shown to support microcirculation in animal studies, is widely recognized for supporting vision.
Lifestyle Tips for Healthy Blood Sugar Levels: A Strategy for WellnessSM
Help Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar levels with Gluco-sciense.
Glucose/Carbohydrate Metabolism American Ginseng, Bitter Melon, Blueberry, Fenugreek, Gymnema sylvestre, Maitake, Myricetin, Pterocarpus marsupium, Chromium, Magnesium, Manganese, Vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, B-6 & B-12, Biotin, Inositol, Niacinamide Insulin/Pancreatic Activity alpha-Lipoic Acid, Bitter Melon, Gymnema sylvestre, Maitake Fruit Body, Myricetin, N-acetyl-L-Cysteine, Pterocarpus marsupium, Taurine, Chromium, Manganese, Selenium, Vanadium, Zinc Heart and Circulatory System Bilberry, Blueberry, CoQ10, Fenugreek, Garlic, Grape Seed, Gymnema sylvestre, Hawthorn, Myricetin, Taurine, Siberian Ginseng, Magnesium, Selenium, Vitamins B-6, C & E, Folic Acid, Niacinamide Nervous System alpha-Lipoic acid, Glutamine, Magnesium, Taurine, Vitamins B-1 & B-6, Biotin, Choline, Inositol, Methylcobalamin Vision alpha-Lipoic Acid, Bilberry, Quercetin, Taurine, Zinc, Vitamins B-6, C & E
Acute administration of red yeast rice depletes tissue CoQ10
May 13, 2005 03:00 PM
Basically, if you are taking a Cholesterol lowering product that works on the same order as prescription drugs, you need to supplement CoQ10 to replace what the body is removing.
British Journal of Nutrition (2005), 93, 131–135 DOI: 10.1079/BJN20041285 q The Authors 2004
Acute administration of red yeast rice (Monascus purpureus) depletes tissue coenzyme Q10 levels in ICR mice
VitaNet ® staff
May 09, 2005 06:10 PM
It's in the BloodNatural alternatives abound for managing cholesterol levels, backed by a growing body of research ©VR By Paul Bubny
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) last July lowered the threshold for considering the use of statin drugs—a move which some say was motivated more by profits than scientific evidence. For example, the Center for Science in the Public Interest pointed out that eight of the nine authors behind the new recommendations had financial ties to statin manufacturers, which stand to reap billions of dollars more from a category that grossed $14 billion in the U.S. last year. And though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January decided against authorizing over-the-counter (OTC) sales of statin drugs, drug companies would still like to see this happen.
“The medical establishment’s pushing of these drugs to becoming the number one category of prescribed drugs in the world has led them to keep lowering the total cholesterol number that triggers the drug recommendation,” said Neil E. Levin, C.C.N., D.A.N.L.A., nutrition educator, product formulator, and “Truth Advocate” for NOW Foods (Bloomingdale, IL), which produces a number of supplements for addressing cholesterol. “This is despite the lack of evidence that total cholesterol means much as regards cardiovascular risks.
“Other tests are much more important in terms of predicting risks, including CRP (C-reactive protein), the balance of different cholesterol fractions, and homocysteine,” he continued. “Add adult-onset diabetes to the risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).”
At the same time, the allegation that enormous sales potential lay behind the lower threshold for prescribing statin drugs illustrates how widespread the problem of hypercholesterolemia (elevated total cholesterol) is. More than 100 million Americans have elevated cholesterol (total cholesterol values of 200 mg/dl and higher), and of these, more than a third have high cholesterol (levels of 240 mg/dl and higher), according to the American Heart Association. Those numbers have unfavorable implications for the incidence of CVD, as high cholesterol is considered a risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke.
While statin drugs haven’t garnered the same degree of negative publicity that COX-2 inhibitors have suffered lately, safety concerns have arisen nonetheless. For one thing, these drugs lower the liver’s production of coenzyme Q10 (coQ10) along with its production of cholesterol. “CoQ10 is related to energy production and immune functions, is an antioxidant, and [is] an important cardiovascular nutrient,” Levin said. “It is not good to lower one’s coQ10 levels by half!”
Moreover, said Levin, statins increase the tendency of muscle tissues to break down. “Combined with inactivity or certain drugs, this can stimulate muscle wasting,” he said. “Muscle is where a good deal of calories are burned, so a loss of muscle could affect mobility and energy production, potentially adding to obesity problems. These muscle changes occurred in patients and persisted for years after treatment was discontinued, as shown by muscle biopsies, even if no obvious muscle problems were observed by the patients.”
And the last word on the subject may not have been spoken. Predicted Dr. Frank King, Jr. president of King Bio Natural Medicine (Asheville, NC), “Once the appropriate studies are finished, these drugs, along with hypertensives, will hit the fan bigger than the COX-2 inhibitors.”
Also looking toward the future, Levin said that of the 20 million Americans who will be “targeted” for statin drug prescriptions under the new NCEP guidelines, “Some of these will want to try natural methods first. Others will rebel at the side effects of the drugs and experiment with alternative products.”
King and Levin both saw opportunity for natural products in the fallout from drug safety concerns, with King projecting that sales of his company’s cholesterol-related homeopathic remedies will double in 2005. “The reports of deaths from drugs will always overshadow the trumped-up studies and news reports blasting dietary supplements,” said Levin. “Vioxx knocked vitamin E off the media’s radar screens pretty rapidly, though we still see ignorant reporters citing that [Johns Hopkins] vitamin E analysis as if it were true. But the comparable safety of supplements means that open-minded people will want to at least try natural therapies before signing in to a lifetime of drug therapies. Meanwhile, the studies on natural products will continue to build our credibility.”
Those studies keep coming in, with at least four major findings published in the past few months, plus a heart-health claim on walnuts authorized by FDA. They join a raft of earlier findings that link natural products—branded and otherwise—to healthy cholesterol levels.
"Blur of Products"
With so many natural alternatives to cholesterol drugs available, it can be hard to keep track. “As with any other category, the blur of products as they cascade over several shelves means that the retailer needs to have a good sense of what works and what they want to recommend to their customers,” Levin said. “Really, each person needs a protocol that would include antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, herbs, and oils. The pre-mixed cholesterol support formulas are a good starting place.”
To help retailers get a sense of “what works,” here is an alphabetical discussion of several nutrients that have demonstrated benefits in serum cholesterol levels. They include the following:
Barley may help lower cholesterol, according to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2004, vol.80, no.5: 1185-1193). Twenty-five adults with mild hypercholesterolemia consumed a controlled diet low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol for 19 weeks. They then added whole-grain products containing barley to their diets that contained low (0 g), medium (3 g), or high (6 g) amount of beta-glucan per day for five weeks. Total cholesterol was reduced by 4 percent 9 percent, and 10 percent, respectively. The diet with the highest amount of beta-glucan led to a decrease in LDL cholesterol of 17 percent.
Chromium. There’s evidence, Levin said, that chromium in doses of 500 mg a day may decrease levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the so-called “bad” cholesterol) and total cholesterol while raising levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good” cholesterol). At the annual meeting of the American College of Nutrition last October, a poster presentation on the safety of Benicia, CA-based InterHealth Nutraceuticals’ ChromeMate niacin-bound chromium won first prize; among other things, the presentation cited chromium’s role in maintaining healthy blood lipid levels.
Fatty Acids. The latest in a long line of studies demonstrating the benefits of fatty acids in heart health is a study published in The International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics in December 2004. It showed that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid, can restore normal blood vessel function in children with inherited high cholesterol. The study, which used Martek DHA produced from microalgae, concluded that restoration of normal blood vessel function has the “potential for preventing the progression of early coronary heart disease in high-risk children.”
“The evidence continues to accumulate on the cardiovascular benefits of DHA for people of all ages,” said Henry “Pete” Linsert, Jr., chairman and CEO of Martek Biosciences, an ingredient supplier based in Columbia, MD. “This study clearly indicates that DHA played an important role in healthy blood vessel function in the children in this study.”
On the Omega-Research.com Website maintained by fish oil manufacturer Nordic Naturals (Watsonville, CA) can be found summaries of several earlier studies linking omega-3 fatty acids to maintaining healthy blood lipid levels, as well as related benefits such as elasticity of the arteries. In a 2003 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that women receiving a mixture of 4 g eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA along with 2 g of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) had lower levels of LDL cholesterol after 28 days compared to those who received either the EPA/DHA supplements without DHA, EPA/DHA with a smaller dose of GLA, or GLA alone.
Flax is another source of omega-3s, and Arkopharma/Health From The Sun (Bedford, MA) offers FiProFLAX in a variety of forms. Marketing director Hugues P. Mas said the flax is “QAI [Quality Assurance International] certified organic and guaranteed GMO [genetically modified organism]-free.” On its Website, the company offers a cholesterol quiz geared to consumers, discussing the importance of omega-3s as well as other nutrients.
Garlic. Adding to an already considerable body of research demonstrating that garlic can lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides while increasing HDL cholesterol, researchers at UCLA in 2003 reported that Kyolic aged garlic extract reduced or inhibited plaque formation in the arteries of 19 cardiac patients taking statin drugs.
Lead researcher Matthew Budoff, Ph.D. commented at the time that the study “suggests that aged garlic extract may be a useful and beneficial dietary addition for the people who have high cardiovascular risk or who have undergone heart surgery.” Budoff has since presented several trade show seminars sponsored by Los Angeles-based Wakunaga of America, the makers of Kyolic.
Guggul. In use for centuries as a component of Ayurvedic medicine, guggul—a gummy resin tapped from the Commiphora mukul tree, which is native to India—has been studied since the early 1960s for its hypolidemic (blood-lipid lowering) properties. Sabinsa Corp. (Piscataway, NJ), an ingredient supplier which produces a standardized extract under the brand name Gugulipid, says the studies on guggul indicate that its hypolipidemic activity can be attributed to more than one mechanism of action.
Among the possible mechanisms are: inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis, enhancing the rate of excretion of cholesterol, promoting rapid degradation of cholesterol, thyroid stimulation, alteration of biogenic amines, and “high affinity binding and anion exchange.”
Homeopathy. “Homeopathy activates the body’s own control system to work properly,” said King. “This is the safest and most curative approach to take.
“Forcing the body into biochemical change even naturally doesn’t actually have the curative action of homeopathy,” King continued. “Homeopathy can even correct the genetic predispositions to disease we may have inherited from as deep as a thousand years into our family chain.” King Bio makes Artery/Cholesterol/BP, a homeopathic formula intended to help tone heart muscles and blood vessels.
Low glycemic index foods. In a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that high glycemic load is negatively correlated to serum levels of HDL cholesterol. Assessing the relationship between blood levels of lipids and diet in a test population of 32 healthy males and females ages 11 to 25, the researchers found that glycemic load accounted for 21.1 percent of the variation in HDL cholesterol. They concluded that glycemic load appears to be an important independent predictor of HDL cholesterol in youth and noted that dietary restrictions without attention to glycemic load could unfavorably influence blood lipids.
Medicinal Mushrooms. Although its product SX-Fraction is intended primarily to address high blood sugar, Maitake Products, Inc. (MPI, Ridgefield Park, NJ) found in a clinical study that LDL cholesterol in diabetic patients declined modestly (from 142 mg/dl to 133 mg/dl) over a two-month period. Those taking SX-Fraction also lost about 7 lbs. in the same time period.
“The more impressive lowering of cholesterol, however, comes from the dietary fiber that is found in all medicinal mushrooms,” said Ellen Shnidman, manager of scientific affairs at MPI. She cited animal studies which documented the cholesterol-lowering properties of four different mushrooms: maitake, shiitake, agaricus, and enokitake.
For example, a study reported in the September 1996 issue of Alternative Therapies showed “a 44 percent reduction in total cholesterol in rats consuming maitake mushroom in their diet,” said Shnidman. “This cholesterol reduction is accompanied by weight loss, relative to rats eating a similar high-choelsterol diet without mushrooms. Apparently, cholesterol is excreted by the rats in sufficient quantity to aid in weight loss.”
Oat bran. A 2004 consumer study conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI, Harleysville, PA) for Nurture, Inc. (Devon, PA), which produces the ingredient OatVantage, found that 63 percent of consumers managing their cholesterol levels prefer oat-based ingredients.
Oat bran is the subject of a health claim authorized by FDA in 1999, and NMI research found that 69 percent of respondents preferred the FDA-permitted health claim, “Helps Lower Cholesterol,” over the model structure-function claim, “Helps Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels.” “This is significant for food, beverage, and dietary supplement manufacturers who want to increase sales by using a more consumer-desired claim on the product label,” said Griff Parker, Nurture CEO.
Plant sterols. Also the subject of an FDA-approved claim for heart health, plant sterols (structurally similar to cholesterol in humans) can block the absorption of cholesterol, according to a number of studies. In an “Ask the Doctor” publication (available online at www.atdonline.org), Decker Weiss, N.M.D. noted that sterols enter the same receptor sites that cholesterol enters on its way to the bloodstream. “The cholesterol, being blocked from absorption, remains in our intestines where it is eventually excreted,” Weiss wrote. General Mills has just introduced Yoplait Healthy Heart, a yogurt high in plant sterols.
Policosanol. A mixture of fatty alcohols derived from sugar cane or beeswax, policosanol has been favorably compared in clinical studies to several types of prescription drugs for managing cholesterol. On its own, policosanol was found in a 1999 study to reduce LDL cholesterol while raising levels of HDL cholesterol.
Probiotics. “Several studies have indicated that consumption of certain cultured dairy products resulted in reduction of serum cholesterol, as well as triglycerides,” wrote Dr. S.K. dash, president of probiotic manufacturer UAS Laboratories (Eden Prairie, MN), in his Consumer Guide to Probiotics. Among other studies, dash cited two controlled clinical studies from the VA Medical Center at the University of Kentucky.
“In the first study, fermented milk containing [Lactobacillus] acidophilus was accompanied by a 2.4 percent reduction of serum cholesterol concentration,” he wrote. “In the second study, a different L. acidophilus strain reduced serum cholesterol concentration by 3.2 percent. Since every 1 percent reduction in serum cholesterol concentration is associated with an estimated 2 to 3 percent reduction in risk for coronary heart disease [CHD], regular intake of fermented milk containing an appropriate strain of L. acidophilus has the potential of reducing risk for [CHD] by 6 to 10 percent.”
dash said his company’s DDS Probiotics contain DDS-1 L. acidophilus, “which has been researched and demonstrated to show cholesterol-lowering effect.”
Psyllium. “Internal cleansing is very important” in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, “especially if you do it with a lot of fiber,” said Sunil Kohli, vice president of Chino, CA-based Health Plus, Inc. The cholesterol-managing ability of fiber in general and psyllium in particular is “very well-established,” he said.
However, Kohli said, “It will probably do you no good if it’s random. It should be done on a regular basis, and it should be supervised. Consulting the doctor or pharmacist is important.”
Soy. The protein in soy “has evidence of lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, based on reviews of studies using over 20 g of soy protein per day,” said Levin. “Soy isoflavones are considered only partly responsible for this effect.”
Sytrinol. A patented proprietary formula derived from natural citrus and palm fruit extracts and containing citrus polymethoxylated flavones and palm tocotrienols, Sytrinol has been shown in clinical trials to improve total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides by up to 30 percent, 27 percent, and 33 percent, respectively. Having just wrapped up Phase III of a long-term trial of Sytrinol, Chicago-based SourceOne Global Partners, which owns the exclusive worldwide license for intellectual property associated with the ingredient, is commencing a study that combines Sytrinol with plant sterols.
Tocotrienols. On its Website discussing the science and benefits of tocotrienols (www.tocotrienol.org), ingredient supplier Carotech Inc. (Edison, NJ) identifies several benefits for blood lipid levels. Tocotrienols, according to the Website, have been shown to “inhibit cholesterol production in the liver, thereby lowering total blood cholesterol;” “[suppress] hepatic HMG-CoA reductase activity [and result in] the lowering of LDL cholesterol levels;” and “inhibit cholesterogenesis by suppressing HMG-CoA reductase.”
With all of this, Levin said, it’s important for retailers to remember that “they are not allowed to discuss diseases and remedies unless there is an approved FDA health claim allowed on the label, as with soy protein and plant sterols. What is allowed are structure-function claims such as ‘cholesterol support,’ ‘promoting normal, healthy circulation,’ ‘homocysteine regulators,’ etc.”
Supplementation is only one tool for managing cholesterol levels, manufacturers pointed out. “Besides nutrition, lifestyle is a key to controlling cholesterol,” Levin said. “Eating a variety of antioxidant-rich foods will prevent the liver from churning out cholesterol as a ‘cheap’ antioxidant. The body uses oxidized cholesterol to patch leaky and damaged blood vessels, so the ability to build healthy collagen is a must, using nutrients like vitamin C, Pycnogenol, rutin, hyaluronic acid, and MSM.
“Don’t forget exercise and stress reduction,” he added. “Stress results in high cortisol levels—usually accompanied by poor blood lipid levels—and a lack of good sleep to produce unhealthy people.” VR
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