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Common vitamins linked to a lower risk of pancreatic cancer
May 07, 2019 04:31 PM
While pancreatic cancer is a terribly dangerous disease, a vitamin supplement regime may be able to mitigate some of the risk of developing it. A Chinese study that looked at health data from over 1.2 million people discovered a clear correlation between higher intake of vitamins and lower risk of pancreatic cancer. Specifically, the researchers believe that the vitamins, through a variety of different mechanisms, induce apoptosis in cancer cells. This demonstrates that a healthy diet combined with supplements can greatly reduce your cancer risk.
"Fortunately, there are lifestyle changes that can dramatically reduce the risk of falling victim to pancreatic cancer, including a vitamin (and mineral) regimen."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/pancreatic-cancer-vitamin-2775.html
5 powerful reasons to start eating garlic TODAY
April 23, 2019 02:41 PM
Garlic is an essential ingredient in many kitchens, and also demonstrates an impressive array of health benefits. For example, garlic can encourage higher production of hydrogen sulfide, which helps to keep your blood vessels open and supple, reducing your risk of heart disease. Garlic can help mitigate metabolic syndrome and reduce your risk of several types of cancer, including stomach cancer. By neutralizing enzymes that help break down bone, garlic may also help to ward off osteoarthritis, too.
"Garlic, a member of the onion family, has a centuries-long history of medicinal use on a global scale."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/garlic-heart-disease-2766.html
STOMACH ULCER - How To Overcome Stomach Ulcers Fast With This Ingredient!!
May 30, 2017 12:14 PM
Cabbage can be used in the treatment of stomach ulcers when consumed either as a juice or as a salad ingredient. Cabbage as a method to decrease stomach ulcers was discovered in the 1950s. Just 1.1 liters of cabbage juice a day can prevent acid attacks that result in ulcers. One method used to treat ulcers is through the use of carbeoxused. The compound found in cabbage, gefarnate-compound is similar to the carbeoxused. Research, conducted on Guiney Pigs demonstrates that cabbage reduces ulcers. Further, cabbage has antibiotic properties that have been shown to destroy pylori bacteria.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BDPz8Mff6A&rel=0
"Cabbage contains natural ingredients acting like drugs used in ulcer treatment. The fact that cabbage can help treating ulcer, was proved in the 1950's, in the attempts of Dr.Garrett Cheney, at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Stafford."
April 08, 2010 04:31 PM
Comments by Craig Gerbore, CEO of Madhava:
Reading through the attack articles and blogs that have surfaced recently one could think that using agave is bad for one's health. These claims are utterly false and misleading. They are extreme views drawn from extreme examples and applied way out of context. They are propagandizing and clearly designed to frighten, not educate. All of the fears and concerns associated with the overconsumption of sugars and calories in general have been unfairly cast on agave.
What is a "healthy" sweetener? One that you use moderately and sensibly.
Health concerns related to fructose and caloric sweeteners are all dependant on the overconsumption of them. All foods have calories and it is the overall consumption of calories that lead to obesity and related issues, not any one food source.
Agave's caloric value is comparable to the other sweeteners in the category. Due to its greater sweetness though, less agave is used compared to the others, so agave actually can reduce caloric consumption per serving. This is due to a higher fructose content. The higher content does not mean higher consumption though, due to the smaller portion used. But, it is not the single serving that matters, it is the number of servings which lead to the overconsumption issues which may result in health concerns.
As a reference point, 9-10 teaspoon servings of agave would be the approximate caloric equivalent of one 16 oz soft drink. With this perspective, is agave really being overconsumed as a choice of sweetener for home use?
Every single health issue which the attackers have tried to associate with agave is really the result of a caloric overconsumption issue. There are no documented issues with normal, moderate consumption of agave or sweeteners in general as part of our everyday diet. For reasons unknown, some have attempted to isolate agave from the real world and real world conditions with the goal of inhibiting agave's use. They play on people's fears, reference false information and fail to address health issues in any meaningful way.
The purpose of this article is to debunk the controversial misinformation surrounding agave. All information debunking the myths and misinformation is based on current science and facts. It is our goal to provide you with useful information so that you can make your personal nutritional choices in a well-informed, science-based manner.
The Agave Controversy: Exposing the fraudulent article by Rami Nagel
By Dr. Susan Kleiner, PhD, RD, FACN, CNS, FISSN
And Craig Gerbore, CEO Madhava
The controversy about agave syrup was manufactured by the publication of a single article on the internet, which has been reproduced and adapted for virtually every other article produced on the internet and other media venues. That article, written by Rami Nagel and published on Naturalnews.com, was highly biased and full of inaccuracies, half-truths and misinformation about agave. Since the Naturalnews.com article has been the sole source of nearly all other popular articles in public media, we want to set the record straight with science-based, reliable information to offer a more balanced resource to those interested in learning more about agave syrup. Who is the author, Rami Nagel?
According to the description on the Naturalnews.com website, Rami Nagel is a "citizen journalist". This means that Mr. Nagel is self-employed, and not employed as an in-house journalist by the website. He wrote and published the article without any editorial or content oversight, and the editor of the website, Mike Adams, makes it clear that the article was not checked for incorrect or inaccurate information or facts. The introduction to the article, written by Mr. Adams, states that readers had written to comment that Mr. Nagel's resources were biased with conflicts of interest due to their financial interests in competing sweeteners, such as brown rice syrup. So even the website editor himself states that the article is not fact-checked, and it is biased and unbalanced.
Who is Russ Bianchi?
The sole resource interviewed for the article is Russ Bianchi, identified by the author as Managing Director and CEO of Adept Solutions, Inc. Mr. Bianchi has clear conflict of interest ties to the sweetener industry. We have documentation of the fact that Mr Bianchi had plans to market a product named Replace. It was to be touted as a low calorie alternative sweetener composed of natural and artificial ingredients! Mr Bianchi was prevented from marketing this sweetener as the result of a lawsuit against him by the owner of the formula.
Mr Bianchi is quoted by Nagel extensively and exclusively. Many, if not all, of his statements are blatantly false or misrepresentations of fact. He is clearly propagandizing against agave nectar.
Was anyone else interviewed for this article?
Yes. Craig Gerbore, president and owner of Madhava Agave Syrup, was extensively interviewed by the author but no parts of that interview were included in the article.
It is important to note that neither Mr Nagel or Mr Bianchi have not made themselves available for questions on their statements since the articles appearance. They remain out of sight and have entirely avoided the controversy their statements created.
What is agave nectar?
The opening line of this paragraph in the article by Mr. Nagel states:
"The principal constituent of the agave is starch, such as what is found in corn or rice."
This is absolutely false. There is no starch in agave. The source of carbohydrate in agave syrup is inulin, a polysaccharide made up primarily of strings of fructose units. Starch is a polysaccharide made up of strings of glucose molecules. They are significantly different, and this difference is why agave syrup is naturally sweet.
The very basis of the argument presented by Mr. Nagel is false.
The agave plant is a succulent, similar to a cactus. The agave sweetener comes from both the Salmiana agave plant and the agave Tequilana (Blue Agave) which are both organically farmed in Mexico and certified organic by USDA approved certifiers. As the salmiana plant grows it produces a stalk called the "quiote" and when this is removed, a natural liquid called "aquamiel". The liquid is collected from the plant, while Blue agave pinons are harvested and shredded to remove the similar juice. Either can be naturally processed thermally or by enzymes into agave nectar.
The juice of the plant is not naturally sweet. The string of connected fructose units that makes up the major proportion of inulin does not have a sweet taste, but when the fructose units are separated (the process is called hydrolysis) by the addition of an enzyme, similar to digestion, or thermally for most blue agave, the syrup becomes quite sweet. That is the entire processing chain for agave nectar. There are no additives, other ingredients or chemicals in Madhava agave nectar. It is absolutely pure and organic and GMO free.
? Mr. Nagel claims that agave syrup is a "refined corn fructose" similar to high fructose corn syrup. This is absolutely false. There is no relationship between agave syrup and high fructose corn syrup in any way, including the source of the product, or the manufacturing process.
? Mr. Nagel refers to a "confidential FDA letter" from Mr. Martin Stutsman, claiming that agave is fraudulently labeled. We contacted Mr. Stutsman at the United States Food and Drug Administration, and his response made it clear that there was never a "confidential FDA letter". He did publish a public letter referenced in an FDA document as "FDA letter from Martin Stutsman to Dr. Eric
Wilhelmsen (Wilhelmsen Consulting), May 8, 2000", regarding evaporated cane juice, a topic wholly unrelated to agave syrup.
? He continued in his response to us that the paragraph in Mr. Nagel's article inaccurately reflected the substance of his comments in the document.
This link will take you to the original document in which the letter was referenced (reference #2):
In fact, Mr. Nagel fabricated the entire story of the letter. Mr. Stutsman is a lawyer, not a doctor. The quotes were completely taken out of context from the document, and the quotes never referred to agave syrup at any time. Nagel goes on to further misrepresent Mr. Stutsman's intent in the published document by weaving in other inaccurate information that is thoroughly unrelated to the original document. Mr Bianchi's subsequent statements on labeling issues are false and without merit.
Mr. Nagel is clearly caught red-handed. He has misrepresented the words of a government official, lied about the facts, and twisted the information to achieve his own agenda. This strategy is repeated throughout the article.
? Mr. Nagel continues his deceptive writing by referring to a quote by the late Dr. Varro Tyler in his book, The Honest Herbal. The first line of the paragraph is a direct quote from the book. Nothing else in that paragraph remotely resembles anything else found in Dr. Tyler's book. Mr. Nagel is trying to claim that agave syrup contains large quantities of saponins, and that they can be harmful to health. Here is the debunking of that paragraph:
1. Dr. Tyler does not include the variety of agave plant used for agave syrup.
2. The entire discussion is about the use of the sword-shaped leaves and the stem. Agave syrup is produced from the natural liquid in the plant. The saponins are isolated from the leaves of the plant.
3. There is no documented evidence to suggest agave syrup contains worrisome levels of saponins and the entire rest of the discussion about health dangers is fabricated and false.
People are going to continue to consume sweet food and drink. There are only three categories of choice to sweeten food. Those are artificial sweeteners, stevia, or caloric sweeteners from natural sources, sugars.
Most people will not choose artificial. Many will not choose stevia. That only leaves the category of sugars. In this group, agave is a good choice due to its organic quality, ease of
use, neutral flavor, low glycemic index and the fact that less is used to equal the sweetness of the others in the category.
The sweeteners in this category are composed of three primary sugars used to sweeten foods: glucose, fructose and sucrose. These sugars belong to a class of compounds known as carbohydrates. "Saccharide" is a term that denotes sugar, or substances derived from sugar. Monosaccharides are simple or single sugars; disaccharides are derived from two joined monosaccharides and when they are hydrolyzed, or separated, they yield two molecules of simple sugar. Strings of more than two sugar molecules are called polysaccharides. This category includes compounds such as starches, cellulose and inulin.
Glucose and fructose are monosaccharides. Glucose and fructose are found abundantly in nature in fruits and plants. Sucrose is the disaccharide formed by the joining of glucose and fructose, also known as table sugar. When comparing their relative sweetness, glucose is the least sweet tasting, sucrose is next, and fructose is the sweetest of the three sugars, measured as 1.4 times sweeter than table sugar. Because it is so sweet, people typically use less fructose when sweetening foods compared to sucrose.
? In the article by Mr. Nagel he states , "fructose is not what is found in fruit. Commonly, fructose is compared with its opposite and truly naturally occurring sweetener, known as ‘levulose' (made by nature)..."
Another fabrication. In fact, levulose is just another name for fructose. There are various nomenclatures used in the scientific naming of compounds. Fructose and levulose are exactly the same thing; the names are interchangeable. It is no different than if you called your father, "dad", and your sibling called your father, "father". He would still be the exact same person. Fructose and levulose are different names for the exact same thing: a sugar found in nature.
Mr. Bianchi also is quoted to say that the body does not recognize the fructose in agave. This is another false piece of propaganda which demonstrates just how far he is reaching. If this were true, it would have no impact on us. He immediately contradicts himself with the claims of detrimental effects caused by the overconsumption of fructose.
Sugars can be compared to each other in their ability to raise blood sugar levels by using the Glycemic Index. The scale is set from zero to 100, where low numbers do not have much impact on blood sugar levels, and high numbers raise blood sugar levels quickly. Fructose is very low on the scale. Because agave syrup is high in fructose, it has a rating of 32 or lower. Honey, which has a higher proportion of glucose to fructose, has a Glycemic Index of 58. Sucrose has a Glycemic Index of 68, and glucose, serving as the index standard, is 100.
All sugars, whether fructose, glucose, sucrose or others, contribute 4 calories per gram to our total diet. 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams = 16 calories
In addition to calories, sugars sweeten our foods offering a desirable taste and adding enjoyment and pleasure to our dining. During cooking and baking, sugars allow for browning and the unique consistencies of syrups, candies, frostings and frozen desserts. The varieties of sugars, such as crystallized table sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, molasses, honey and agave nectar, among others, contribute different properties and flavors to foods.
When you add your own sugar to foods you are in control of how much sugar you use. Most people would never add as much sugar as do the food manufacturers. Moderate amounts of sugar can certainly be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet for an active individual. Natural sugars are easily metabolized and utilized by the body, offering a very efficient source of fuel for physical and mental activity.
Of course, sugars should be used in moderation in the diet. This can control calories and help create a diet that is dense in nutrients.
Impact of sugar on health and disease
? The remainder of Mr. Nagel's article works to link agave syrup with the increased incidence of obesity, diabetes, metabolic disease, and the general rise of morbidity and mortality in the population. This is an overconsumption issue involving far more than the occasional use of agave. Here are the facts:
• Rats that are fed a high fructose diet become obese and will develop the chronic diseases associated with obesity: insulin resistance, diabetes and metabolic disease.
• No one should eat a diet that reflects this type of experimental diet.
• Too much sugar in the diet, whether from fructose, glucose or sucrose, can be unhealthy. Diets high in sugar promote tooth decay and periodontal disease; create an overabundance of calories and a deficit of nutrients. This scenario typically leads to weight gain and the development of chronic disease.
• Active individuals can include a moderate amount of added sugar in their diet without negative health consequences. When calorie intake is balanced with physical activity, sugar serves as an efficient source of fuel for muscles, the brain and the central nervous system.
• According to the World Health Organization (2003), individuals can healthfully include 10% of their daily calories from added sugars. This translates into 200 calories for a 2000 calorie diet, or 12½ teaspoons of added sugar daily. Clearly, one can safely add a couple of teaspoons of sweetener to a cup of tea or coffee, or have a little sweetened food without worrying about their risk of developing disease.
• Agave syrup, which is sweeter than other sugars and low on the Glycemic Index scale, is a good choice to include as one of the added sugars in your diet because you will use less sugar (and therefore fewer calories) and minimally raise blood sugar levels.
Just a teaspoon of agave: the healthy use of sweeteners in your diet
We all want to live healthier and longer lives. Diet and nutrition plays a key role, impacting our health and our ability to perform physically and mentally now and into the future. Food offers us not only sustenance, but also pleasure and enjoyment. Food is present in so many parts of our lives: at celebrations, business events, family events, religious and spiritual occasions, sports outings, the focus of our family meals, intimate dinners, and sometimes just the excuse to socialize.
Sweet foods make us feel good. Sugar allows for the elevation of serotonin in our brains, the "feel good" neurotransmitter that elevates mood, helps us focus, and in the evening, helps us relax and sleep.
Sugar is a source of energy for our muscles, brain and central nervous system. Without sugar our bodies will not function at peak capacity.
Too much sugar, however, is not good. In small amounts sugar energizes us, but in large doses, repeated throughout the day, day in and day out, sugar puts stress on the body. The extra calories can lead to weight gain and obesity, which in time can lead to chronic disease. In the short term, high sugar intakes can lead to a nutritionally deficient diet and a sense of being on an emotional roller coaster.
So be selective about your use of sugars and use them in moderation in your diet. Just like all foods, a variety will enhance the nutritional content of your diet and the flavor and tastes that you can enjoy. Since sugars come in different forms and have different flavors, they can be used most effectively in specific foods and beverages. For instance, agave syrup is liquid and less viscous than honey, making it easy to mix into cold liquids like iced tea and coffee, and is great to add to cold unsweetened cereals for a little sweet taste. Agave's mild flavor allows chefs and bakers to sweeten foods lightly, without overpowering the taste of the dish.
Pay attention to how much sugar is added to your diet every day. Read labels so that you know when sugar is added to manufactured foods. Keep the consumption of added sugars in your diet to no more than 10% of your total daily calorie intake so that you have plenty of room for nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, protein-rich foods, nuts, seeds and healthy oils.
Remember that nutrition is a science based on facts. We are making great advances in our understanding of the science of foods and nutrition. Beware of people with hidden agendas using fear tactics to influence your choices. Don't take their opinion at face value. What are their credentials? What conflicts of interest do they have? If they do not disclose conflicts, then assume that they are manipulating the truth.
Most of all enjoy food. Think about what you need to eat to promote whole health. Don't overindulge, but don't deprive yourself of the bounty of wonderful tastes, either. Use celebrations as occasions to enjoy your favorite foods and try new ones. A teaspoon or two of sugar easily fits into the diet of an active, healthy person. Agave syrup offers an organic low-glycemic choice for those looking for that option.
Resources for this article:
Charley H. Food Science, 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY, 1982.
Figlewicz DP et al. Effect of moderate intake of sweeteners on metabolic health in the rat. Physiology and Behavior 98:618-624, 2009
Johnson RK et al. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, 2009
Tyler VE. The Honest Herbal, Third Edition. Pharmaceutical Products Press, New York, NY, 1993.
Holy Basil Extract
November 28, 2008 10:04 AM
It has been proposed that holy basil extract can help you cope with stress, and an investigation into the active components of the plant does indicate that there could be a scientific basis behind this use of it. This is in line with most traditional Ayurvedic medicines, whose benefits have been supported by modern scientific evidence.
Holy basil, otherwise known as Tulsi or Tulasi in Sanskrit and Hindi, is correctly Ocimum tenuiflorum, an aromatic member of the Lamiaceae family just as the more common form of basil is (Ocimum basilicum). Holy basil is cultivated for several reasons, the major ones being for its essential oils, for culinary use, religious use and for its medicinal properties. It is grown right across South Asia. Thai holy basil is used in Thai cookery while other forms play an important role within some of the traditions of Hinduism and is found profusively around Hindu temples.
Holy basil extract has been used for thousands of years for its healing and medicinal properties, and is mentioned in the ancient Ayurvedic text, the Charaka Samhita. It is written that it is used to balance a number of bodily processes and believed to be involved in promoting longevity. It is considered to be able to allow the body to adapt to stress and is also used to treat a large number of different medical conditions, from headaches to malaria and heart disease.
Most modern medical studies, however, have been carried out on animals rather than human subjects, so definitive evidence is lacking, and while there is evidence that tulsi extract might be an effective antioxidant and help in the control of blood sugar, there is also compelling evidence that it might be able to counteract the effects of stress. First, let's have a look at the active ingredients of holy basil extract, and how they fit in with the beneficial medical properties claimed.
One of the more important components of tulsi is eugenol, or 1-hydroxy-2-methoxy-4-allylbenzene. Eugenol is a phenylpropanoid, also found in clove oil, and is a COX-2 inhibitor that is used in medicine as a local anesthetic. Two others are the triterpenes oleanolic and ursolic acids, which possess anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. The pentacyclic ursolic acid can inhibit the development of various forms of cancers through the inhibition of the STAT3 pathway that is responsible for several types of human cancer that have poor prognosis.
Also present in holy basil extract is the polyphenol Rosmarinic acid which is a powerful antioxidant that is also present in herbs such as rosemary, oregano and thyme. Rosmarinic acid will also contribute to the anti-inflammatory properties of holy basil, and many of the antibacterial properties it is said to possess could be due to carvacrol, a terpene that damages bacterial cell membranes and inhibits the growth of a number of bacterial strains.
Another component of Tulsi is the sesquiterpene B-caryophyllene, also contained in clove oil, and also possessing anti-inflammatory properties in mice. It is unknown whether or not these properties are transferred to humans, but the evidence of the use of the plant is that they are. Beta-caryophyllene is an FDA approved food additive, and as such, a dietary cannabinoid. Apegenin, also present in tulsi, is a flavanoid and another strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
With all of these ingredients that have proven health benefits, it is little wonder that holy basil is claimed to have the health benefits that it has. But what about its effects on blood sugar that it is said to control? It's probably not a coincidence that many other herbs that contain eugenol, such as cloves, are also claimed to have the same moderating effect on blood sugar levels. Not only that, but since diabetes is an inflammatory condition, it is not surprising that holy basil extract, that is rich in ant-inflammatories, should possess this property.
The main theory is that many of the components of holy basil can help support the beta cell function of the pancreas, and so enhance the secretion of insulin. In one of the few controlled human tests, a group of 40 people with Type 2 diabetes stopped taking their normal medication seven days before the test. They were then given holy basil leaves for an initial period of 5 days. Half were then given 2.5g powder holy basil leaf and the other half a placebo for 4 weeks. The two groups then switched over for 4 weeks - the first being on the placebo, and the second taking the holy basil.
With the first group, the average fasting glucose level dropped by 25.9%, from 234.5 mg/dl to 99.7. After switching to the placebo for 4 weeks it increased to 115.6 mg/dl (15.9% increase). The fasting blood glucose of the second group dropped from an average of 132.4 to 123.2 (6.9%), and then when on the holy basil leaf, dropped further to 97.2 mg/dl (21.1%).
This demonstrates clearly that holy basil leaf reduces blood sugar significantly faster than fasting, and so is beneficial to Type 2 diabetics. Perhaps more such studies should be carried out to confirm these important results, which appear to conform to the theory that the components of the plant should have this type of effect on blood sugar levels.
How about stress? Tulsi is said to particularly useful to people suffering from stress. The human stress response is an inflammatory cascade in which the immune system reacts by attempting to repair the stressed areas. If this response gets out of hand the stress can be exacerbated, and it is important that the stress response is carried put at an appropriate level.
A COX-2 modulator can prevent the inflammatory cascade by inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme that causes it. Since eugenol is a COX-2 inhibitor, it can help to keep the body healthy and prevent the stress reaction. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of many of the components of holy basil extract can help to prevent the body being stressed by antioxidants and by today's environmental pollution and it also possesses antiviral and antibacterial properties to help reduce illness.
It is also an adaptogen, which enhances your natural response to emotional stress and helps your body functional normally when stressed. Studies have indicated that holy basil extracts can reduce the levels of corticosterone, a hormone responsible for stress, and improve your mood and mental clarity. Longer term effects can include memory improvement and a reduction in the risk of age-related mental conditions.
The active factors involved in the reduction of mental stress, and an increase in mental clarity, are the essential oils that tulsi contains, and their chemical components: particularly eugenol and caryophyllene. Studies have shown these to elevate the spirit and the mood, while the terpene acids, such as ursolic acid and oleanolic acid, can help to improve your body's response to stress.
There are very few doubts of the effect of holy basil extract (or tulsi extract and leaf) in improving mood, mental clarity and reducing the effects of stress, or of its other extensive beneficial medical effects. More studies might be needed to prove them to the medical community, but even now people suffering from diabetes mellitus are benefiting from its moderating effect on blood sugar levels, and once again the application of Ayurvedic medicine is being proved as effective in the modern era as it was in the ancient world.
Dangers Of Over The Counter Drugs
October 16, 2008 03:42 PM
Parents have recently been hit with shocking information about the potential dangers to their children. First it was lead contamination that came from toys that were manufactured by some of our most trusted companies. Next, it was super antibiotic resistant bugs that may lurk in day care centers and schools. The latest information is of greatest concern. Every study performed in the recent years has found that children’s cough and cold remedies are ineffective and may, in fact, be potentially dangerous. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended against the use of multi-symptom, over-the-counter, cold medicines in children under the age of three unless the parents are advised by a physician.
Many parents have depended on these medicines for years to help with runny noses, coughs, and sleep disruptions. However, our kids are not the first generation to suffer from frequent respiratory troubles. Herbal and dietary remedies have been the first line of defense for centuries, with Elderberry being rich in flavonoids, essential oils, vitamin C and organic acids. It reduces mucous secretions, helps ease breathing, and soothes an irritated nose and throat.
If your child frequently deals with a runny nose, earache, and sinus infection, he or she may have hidden food intolerances. One doctor states that there are various ways that you can recognize hidden childhood allergies. A classic symptom is the “allergic salute”, which the child demonstrates when he is constantly rubbing his or her hand across the end of a runny nose.
Food allergies are difficult to determine with standard allergy testing, but by avoiding common allergic provoking foods like dairy, wheat, corn, and tree nuts, often brings relief to the child. Changing the family diet is the best way to eliminate offending foods. Replace all forms of sugar and other refined carbohydrates, as they slow down bowel transit time and increase exposure to toxic bowel contents. Natural sweeteners, which can be found in most health food stores, can be used instead. Since dairy products top the list of provoking foods, they should be replaced as much as possible with other beverages. Inspect labels carefully to determine if they contain casein, which is a milk protein that often causes problems. A liquid calcium supplement is a good idea to give your children if they are not receiving dairy products.
Allergic children are often prone to digestive problems, which is a condition referred to as intestinal dysbiosis. Antibiotic use disturbs the microflora in the gut by killing helpful bacteria. Psychological stress can also impact microflora, which poses the question of whether or not stress is having a negative impact on our children’s health. Studies in which some children were placed in a stress relieving program showed that treated groups of children increased their levels of secretary IgA, which gives them a greater ability to resist colds.
Allergic children also have disturbed bowel function, making them constipated, frequently pass gas, be bloated, and have foul smelling hard stools. A low fiber diet is one cause of constipation, but an imbalance in microflora in the gut is another reason, which causes toxins to enter circulation. Supplementing with Bifidobacteria and other helpful probiotics can restore normal gut function, alleviate allergic symptoms, restore immune competence, and reduce allied bowel problems. Supplementing with fiber can also support proper elimination of toxins in children as well as adults. Acidophilus, fiber, and herbal cold aids can be found at your local health food store.
Fight Heart Burn
April 18, 2008 11:38 AM
In a search to promote a long and healthy life, a lot of Americans forget about their stomachs, which results in things ranging from simple heartburn to ulcers and even cancer. The effects of alcohol, smoking, and stress added to the rate of infection create the perfect conditions for stomach distress and disease. A combination of four nutrients: zinc, carnosine, licorice extract, and cranberry, work together to protect stomach function from the environment. These nutrients not only relieve distress, but they also support the body’s natural defense mechanisms against inflammation and the changes that can lead to cancer. A fifth nutrient, picrorhiza, protects the mucosa and can now be included as part of a natural gastric health remedy.
The human stomach, with its extreme acidity, provides a primary defense against infection and also helps in the first stages of digestion. A thick coating of protective mucus is steadily secreted by the surface mucous cells in the stomachs lining to continually protect its self from Hydrochloric acid. Almost everyone has experienced some kind of “upset stomach”, which we associate with overindulgence foods and stress. Although these are only thought of as mild annoyances, each episode causes a bit more lasting damage, which eventually results in cellular injury, which in turn causes inflammation. This inflammation then produces free radicals, which go on to create more tissue destruction and eventually damage DNA, thus potentially leading to cancers of the stomach worst case.
Many natural substances have been used around the world for thousands of years to promote stomach health. Modern science is finding that some of these “folk remedies” actually have potent effects on boosting immunity, reducing inflammation, and simply improving physical protection of the stomach lining. Zinc, a micronutrient that has multiple functions in human biology, mainly functions as a defender against free radical damage. It has been found that the more severe the inflammation in people is directly related to lower levels of zinc in individuals.
Zinc also helps to stabilize the membranes of cells that release burst of inflammatory cytokines when they are stimulated by injury or allergy. This mineral is also a well known immune modulator, which can reduce the recurrence rate of certain inflammation-sensitive cancers. There’s no doubt that zinc is a potent anti-inflammatory, and gastroprotective nutrient, but when it is added to amino acid carnosine, these effects can be boosted even further.
Certain fruits, cranberries particularly, are rich in anthocyanins, which have extreme antioxidant abilities. Other compounds that are found in cranberries also prevent bacteria from settling in the urinary tract. A review by nutritional experts found that regular intake of cranberry juice and other dietary products may be an alternative solution for those people who are at risk for H. pylori colonization. It also seems as though cranberries and there extracts can be placed alongside zinc-carnosine as an important component of an effective stomach health regimen.
Licorice extracts have also been shown to help fight stomach infection. Various studies have found that these extracts have potent anti-inflammatory activies, as they reduce cytokine production and increase the protection of the protective stomach mucus. These characteristics, when placed alongside those of zinc-carnosine and cranberry extracts, provide hope that a basis for an alternative therapeutic agent fighting H. pylori can form.
Picrorhiza, which is already used to speed healing in other infections such as hepatitis A, demonstrates unique wound-healing properties, stimulating tissue growth, nerve cell recovery, and blood vessel formation. Even though the multi-armed approach to gastric protection and improved stomach health seems to be complete with zinc-carnosine, cranberry, and licorice extract, picrorhiza extract brings together the infection-fighting, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and tissue-healing capabilities of multiple compounds, which all have complementary actions.
If you’re looking for a alternative approach to boost stomach health, the vitamins and herbs listed above are a great starting point. Please do not discontinued prescription medication from your doctor, some cases of stomach issues must be consulted with your doctor before discontinuing use.
Fight Histamine With Quercetin
February 11, 2008 03:48 PM
Quercetin is one of the more powerful of the body’s antioxidants, and it can also be used to reduce the rate of histamine release by the body normally initiated by contact with an allergenic substance (for which your immune system has designed an antigen). We shall examine the biochemical mechanism which this is achieved, but first let’s have a closer look at quercetin and what it actually is.
Quercetin is what is known as a phytochemical, which is simply the scientific name for a chemical that is naturally produced by plants. Other phytochemicals include vitamin C and omega 3 fatty acids, so the term is very broad ranging for any substance that is produced by plants. It is commonly known as a flavanol, one of a family of compounds known as flavonoids that give color to plants.
It is a very active flavonoid, with very powerful antioxidant properties, in addition to acting as an anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. Histamine is an amine released as part of the body’s immune response to allergenics, and quercetin inhibits its manufacture and release. This amine is an irritant and can itself cause inflammation and the other symptoms associated with allergies such as runny and itchy eyes, a stuffy nose, sneezing and itchy spots. Quercetin can be used to alleviate these symptoms by blocking the manufacture in the body of the histamine that causes them.
It demonstrates other anti-inflammatory properties such as alleviating the symptoms of arthritis, and also helps to destroy free radicals in the body through its strong antioxidant properties, but before we discuss how it does this we shall have a closer look at the mechanisms used in its effect in inhibiting histamine.
Calmodulin is a protein that is used to transport calcium ions, Ca++, across the membranes of certain cells in the body, and by doing so it helps to mediate a number of biochemical processes within the body, among them the immune response and inflammation. It should not be thought these are always unwelcome responses: on the contrary, they are the body’s way of reacting to foreign bodies and preventing more serious conditions from developing.
However, there are instances where the body can become sensitized to certain substances and overreact to their presence leading to conditions such as hay fever or, considerably more serious, asthma. These are just two of the undesirable manifestations of the human immune system that we would be better without. What quercetin does is to prevent calmodulin from properly binding to certain enzymic proteins and so suppress the effect of these proteins. Among these are the enzymes that control the secretion of histamine from mast cells.
Mast cells are found mainly in areas prone to injury and at the interface between internal tissues and outside world, such as the nose, mouth, lungs, eyes, blood vessels and feet. They contain granules rich in histamine that degranulate and released the histamine when the immune system detects foreign bodies such as pollen grains and dust mites, especially when the body has created antigens against them.
Quercetin suppresses the release of histamine from the granules in the mast cells by preventing the degranulation. The release of the histamine is not completely halted, but its effects are reduced and quercetin is used in the treatment of asthma where it is believed to help reduce the symptoms by reducing histamine-induced swelling in the airways.
A similar application of this flavonoid is in reducing the inflammatory response to arthritis, the main cause of the swelling of this painful condition. Your skin can also be affected by inflammation that is partially controllable by quercetin. Collagen and fibronectin biosynthesis is increased that help to maintain not only healthy joints, but also to speed up the healing of wounds and repair damaged nerves. It is also believed that quercetin can hold back the effects of aging on the skin, and slow down the formation of wrinkles.
There are other applications of this versatile flavanol, including its effect on acute prostatitis where it reduces oxidative stress and the accompanying inflammation of the prostate gland. In fact, it is believed to have positive effect on many conditions caused by free radical oxidation and excessive reaction by the immune system causing inflammation. Apart from the allergies and arthritis previously referred to, quercetin is believed to have been effectively used in the treatment of gout, macular degeneration and heart disease, and it can also help to prevent the oxidation of low density lipoproteins (LDL) responsible for transporting cholesterol to where it is needed to repair major blood vessels.
When these lipoproteins become oxidized by free radicals then the cholesterol associated with them tends to be excessively deposited in the arteries it is meant to be repairing, and lead to atherosclerosis. This condition can lead to heart failure or to strokes if the blood vessels are in the brain.
Studies have indicated that the flavonoid might help to prevent certain cancers by preventing the nutrition of some types of cancerous cells, effectively killing them. Due to its phytoestrogen properties, quercetin can be used to bind to the sites in cancerous cells that are receptive to estrogen and so prevent their growth. Many types of cancerous cells need estrogen for their growth and proliferation, and phytoestrogens mimic the effect of this hormone. However, these are laboratory studies, and more work is required.
More certain is the effect of quercetin on heart disease due largely to the aforementioned control of cholesterol deposition in your arteries, but also through its ability to strengthen the capillaries. However, when all things are considered, it is in the properties of this non-allergenic bioflavonoid to fight histamine release that it finds it’s most popular and effective use.
So what is the best way to take quercetin? Like most bioflavonoids, it is available naturally in the majority of plant foods. Particularly rich sources are broccoli, red onions, red apple skins, black tea, red wine, red and purple berries and almost all dark green leafy vegetables.
However, the name of the game these days is to take measured doses, and while you should continue to eat these foods, you can also receive controlled doses by use of supplements. From 200 to 500 milligrams thrice daily is a good average dose, depending on the severity of your immune reaction or allergy. Bromelain is believed to improve its absorption in the gut, and quercetin is frequently provided with bromelain, which itself is also a good treatment for allergies and excessive response of your immune system to irritation.
Bromelain is an enzyme, generally extracted from pineapple, and treatments higher than the above doses of quercetin with or without bromelain are available online, although like any natural remedy you should inform your own physician of the dosage you are taking.
There is no better non-allergenic bioflavonoid to fight histamine and its potentially unpleasant effects on your body than quercetin.
The Power Plant of the Amazon
March 02, 2007 11:34 AM
It may surprise most Americans to know that rainforest plants are the original source for one-fourth of the chemotherapy medications used today. Plants offer a plethora of beneficial compounds, and rainforests contain a superabundance of beneficial plants.
In fact, plant medicines are the most widely used medicines of all types in the world. Over eighty-five percent of the world’s population uses plant and herbal medicines as their primary medicines. That’s 5.1 billion (5,100,000,000) people worldwide! While Americans overwhelmingly use synthetically manufactured pharmaceuticals to cure their ills, the vast majority of Earth’s inhabitants use healing plant medicines instead.
One of the most powerful healing rainforest plant medicines is cat’s claw, or Uncaria tomentosa. This high climbing woody vine grows at the base of tall trees in the Peruvian rainforest. The plant’s claw-shaped thorns latch onto the trees and spiral further upward, nourished by the lush rainforest environment. For over 2,000 years, the Ashaninka, a tribal people of the Peruvian rainforest, have used the root of U. tomentosa to treat illnesses in the tribe, including asthma, bladder infections, infected wounds, arthritis, bone pain, bowel inflammation, and cancer.
Q. I’ve heard about cat’s claw, but what does it do and how do I know which one is right for me?
Cat’s claw might be one of the most confusing (and most effective!) nutritional supplements available in health food stores today. One reason that it’s so confusing is there are so many kinds of cat’s claw supplements-there are cat’s claw leaves, cat’s claw bark, and even cat’s claw twigs. While each of these supplements claim to help the immune system, it is the root of Uncaria tomentosa that is proven to impart the true cat’s claw health benefits.
Scientists, who have extensively studied every part of the plant, discovered that extracts made from selected cat’s claw roots possess the healing power to treat and prevent diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers and degenerative diseases. In addition, it demonstrates anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-microbial benefits.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that not all Uncaria tomentosa roots actually contain healing properties.
Healers in the Ashaninka tribe attribute the healing properties in cat’s claw to the “good spirits” that live in the plant’s roots. The Ashaninka healers, or sancoshi, are able to actually “see” the good spirits hidden inside the root of the plant before they harvest them.
Some cat’s claw plant roots have the good spirits. Some don’t. If the good spirits are mixed with any cat’s claw root without good spirits, the healing power is lost. While there are no apparent differences in the plants or the roots to the untrained eye, only certain cat’s claw roots possess the power to heal. And, for a very long time, only the Ashaninka tribal healer seemed to be able to identify them. They call the good spirit cat’s claw Saventaro, or “powerful plant”.
However, scientists who were given cat’s claw roots by the Ashaninka to study in the laboratory discovered that they could “see” the good spirits, too! Using high performance liquid chromatography, or HPLC, a laboratory process that identifies various chemical compounds, the good spirits of cat’s claw roots were revealed to be important medicinal compounds called pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids (POAs). Research has learned that POAs provide powerful benefits for the human immune response.
Q. Why are good spirits, or POA’s, good for the immune system?
Cat’s claw POAs work to keep us healthy by directly interacting with white blood cells, the backbone of our immune system. Our white blood cells are the disease fighting cells of the human body. These highly specialized cells fight diseases we catch, such as colds and flu, as well as diseases that start within our own cells, such as cancer and autoimmune diseases. There are many kinds of white blood cells; each has a specific job to do in fighting diseases.
Certain POAs help white blood cells called macrophages work faster. The macrophages’ job is to engulf and digest foreign material. This means that macrophages can ingest m ore bacteria and disease causing microbes when they are exposed to POAs. The scientists also discovered that POA cat’s claw extract increases the production of a chemical protein called interleukin that is secreted by macrophages. This macrophage-secreted interleukin (IL-1) has important immune enhancing properties. IL-1 alerts resting white blood cells and spurs them into action. It also helps make other biochemicals that are essential to an activated immune system.
POAs also help B cells. B cells are white blood cells that make antibodies that kill germs. Each B cell is programmed to make one specific antibody that is effective against one specific germ (such as a bacteria, virus, or fungus). When scientists looked at the number of B cells after they were exposed to POA cat’s claw root extract, they found that the B cells had increased significantly, resulting in an increased supply of antibodies. And perhaps most importantly as they relate to cancer, the POAs in cat’s claw root extract help increase the number of T cells, the true soldiers of the immune system. There are many different kinds of these white blood cells, including Helper T cells, Suppressor T cells, and Killer T cells. Increased Helper, Suppressor, and Killer T-cells can more effectively destroy cancer cells. Increasing the number of circulating T-cells is very important in a disease like AIDS as well.
Q. Can cat’s claw and other plants in the rainforest really cure diseases? Isn’t that just folklore?
It’s folk use and modern science combined-plants have long been known for their ability to kill cancer cells. In fact, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has identified over 3000 plant extracts that can kill cancer cells. More than 70 percent of these plants are found only in the rainforest.
Q. What is it about the rainforest that gives plants like cat’s claw these cancer killing compounds?
Most of the time when we talk about rainforests, we’re talking about the tropical rainforests. While other forests, like the old-growth temperate forests of the Pacific Northwest, also have high rainfalls and tall trees, the tropical rainforests located near the equator are where most plant medicines come from.
The Amazon rainforest in South America is the world’s largest, covering an area about two-thirds the size of the continental United States. Depending on the elevation and distance to the equator the Amazon rainforest receives between 160 and 400 inches of rain per year. The rain is spread pretty evenly from January to December-it’s always the rainy season-and the temperatures remain between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit all year.
This fertile environment continually recycles itself. When leaves fall from the trees, flowers wilt, and animals die in the rainforest-all of the nutrients are recycled back into the roots of the trees and plants. Because the rainforest reuses almost everything that falls to the ground, the plant growth is amazingly rich in alkaloids and other medicinal compounds. Researchers think these compounds and alkaloids, like POAs, protect the plants from illness and insect attacks. These are the very same compounds that protect us from disease.
Q. When the Ashaninka harvest the cat’s claw roots, does it impact the rest of the plant?
No. The Ashaninka work intelligently to keep rainforest cat’s claw plants perpetually healthy. The Ashaninka employ responsible and innovative harvesting techniques to keep the plants alive and tribal members healthy. Individual cat’s claw plants are never completely harvested. Only one third of the lateral roots are collected at any one time to allow re-growth by the remaining root. Once a plant’s lateral roots have been partially harvested, that plant is left to regenerate, and no more root is harvested from it for 10 years.
Q. Why are the Ashaninka willing to share their cat’s claw?
They are generous people. The Ashaninka see no benefit in hoarding cat’s claw for themselves alone. They also want to make sure that the plant’s healing properties continue on. As their homelands continue to be destroyed by deforestation, rainforest peoples are also disappearing. There were an estimated ten million tribal and indigenous peoples living in the Amazonian Rainforest in 1510. Today there are less than 200,000.
Since the 1900’s more than 90 indigenous tribes have died out and disappeared. Each time a rainforest medicine man or woman dies without passing their arts on to the next generation, the tribe and the world loses thousands of years of irreplaceable knowledge about medicinal plants. With them, centuries of accumulated knowledge of the medicinal value of rainforest species have been lost.
A good example of the impact of this loss can be seen in cat’s claw. When European explorers began venturing into the Amazon River basin, t hey were skeptical of the stories the Ashaninka people told them of U. tomentosa’s amazing healing powers. But when the explorers became sick with colds, flu, or other illnesses, they harvested cat’s claw root for themselves and gave the plant a try. Sometimes the explorers got better when they used the cat’s claw root, sometimes they stayed the same.
Q. Why didn’t the cat’s claw root help all the explorers?
Because some cat’s claw plant roots have good spirits-POAs-and some cat’s claw plant roots have tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids, or TOAs. While the POAs have very powerful effects in the immune system, the TOAs have different effects in the body, none of which help the immune system cells at all. All U. tomentosa plants look virtually identical, so it’s hard to tell if they have the healing POAs or non-helpful TOAs.
What makes cat’s claw identification even more challenging is the fact that plants with POAs one year will have TOAs the next. Cat’s claw plants seem to change their alkaloid chemotypes at will, an incredibly powerful accomplishment for a plant to possess. Harvesting of cat’s claw roots that contain POAs is very tricky. Unless the person gathering the root extract is an Ashaninka sancoshi. These medicine men know which cat’s claw to use; they can actually “see” the good spirits hidden inside the root. When scientists studying cat’s claw discovered they could “see” presence of TOAs using HPLC technology, they were able to harvest cat’s claw root extracts with POAs that consistently helps people get and stay healthy.
Q. Do some cat’s claw root extract supplements contain TOAs?
Yes they do. And buying those products will only benefit the cat’s claw distributor; they won’t help you stay healthy. When cat’s claw root is harvested from the rainforest, responsible supplement maker examine the root with HPLC to make sure that only POA roots are collected. But, this identification of the chemotypes takes significant time and costs money. For these reasons, many cat’s claw distributors don’t include this important process in their harvesting. The POAs and TOAs are simply just mixed together and sold as a cat’s claw product with no mention of any alkaloid content on the label.
Q. Why should I avoid TOAs?
While the POAs in cat’s claw root extracts have numerous benefits to the immune system, the TOAs have different effects in the body, none helping the immune system cells. Most importantly, however, when POAs and TOAs are mixed together, the TOAs actually work against the POAs. TOAs reduce the capacity of POAs to beneficially modulate the immune system.
Q. How can I be sure the cat’s claw I buy is POA cat’s claw?
Read the label of the cat’s claw root extract product you are considering buying. If it does not clearly state that it is the high POA cat’s claw, then chances are that it’s not.
Q. What do the Ashaninka receive in return for the cat’s claw harvesting?
The Ashaninka and reputable distributors of cat’s claw root extract have established a mutual and ethical relationship. Both groups benefit from the sale of the plant material. Maintaining this relationship is important for both the tribe and the distributors.
The distributors are paying a fair price for the raw material directly to the tribe. No intermediary is involved. This payment covers the raw material itself, a license-fee for the k knowledge of the plant, and a guarantee (from both sides) of a lasting relationship. Payment is also made for the protection of the rainforest. No deforestation is allowed. The area where the cat’s claw materials are processed is also leased and payment is made for this, as well.
This arrangement allows the Ashaninka to make independent decisions in how to spend this income from sale of their cat’s claw plants. They have been able to make improvements in the tribe’s water supply and in their living areas. They are also able to obtain outside medical aid as needed and provide for education of their children.
The partnership with cat’s claw distributors has created a sustainable resource for the Ashaninka. The tribe has been able to not only preserve their rainforest, but also compete financially with unsustainable income sources offered by timber and agricultural firms.
Q. Why is it important to preserve the rainforest?
The most amazing fact about these impressive medicinal plants is the vast number that5 has yet to be discovered. In fact, the rainforest’s abundance is one reason it is home to so many healing plants. Within a four square mile patch of rainforest, you could see 1500 species of flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 125 mammal species, 400 species of birds, 100 reptile species, 60 amphibian species, and 150 different species of butterflies.
Unfortunately, not everyone looks to the rainforest for the same reasons. Many consider its real value in board feet and cultivated acreage. The forces pushing industrial development move quickly; experts estimate that we’re losing over 130 plant, animal, and insect species every day/ That amount to almost 50,000 species a year.
A combination of logging, petroleum interests, cattle grazing operations, and, of course, our own consumer appetites are putting pressure on rainforest resources. The consequences are sobering:
By leaving the rainforest intact, however, and harvesting its many nuts, fruits, oil-producing, and medicinal plants, the rainforest has more economic value than if it was cut down for timber or to make grazing land for cattle. If managed properly, the rainforest can provide the world’s need for sustainably harvested natural resources on a perpetual basis. That’s what the Ashaninka are doing with their cat’s claw harvesting.
The discovery of medicinal plants is dependent upon healthy rainforests. When an acre of tropical rainforest is lost due to deforestation, the impact on the number of plant and animal species lost and their possible uses is staggering.
We can all help the development of sustainable rainforest industries. By purchasing renewable and sustainable rainforest products, like POA type cat’s claw root extract, we are keeping rainforests alive and well. By benefiting from the innate wisdom of the Ashaninka people we are keeping ourselves just as alive and well. By honoring the science and the sacred of the world’s rainforests, like my friend the oncology nurse, the massive wealth and diversity will be there for generations to come.
Benefits - Supports joint function and tissue health*
December 11, 2006 03:46 PM
To understand glucosamine's role, it is important to understand joint structure and function. Cartilage in the joints acts as a shock absorber to cushion the blows of daily wear and tear. Joint cartilage is made of a unique connective tissue that consists of collagen and proteoglycans. Collagen is a strong, fibrous, insoluble protein. Proteoglycans are large, carbohydrate-rich protein chains made up of 95 percent polysaccharides and 5 percent protein called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). GAGs are composed of repeating two-sugar units (disaccharides) that contain glucosamine sulfate and other amino sugars. Surrounding the joint cartilage is synovial fluid, which contains many substances including its chief component, hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid forms the backbone of other proteoglycans and is responsible for the thickness of synovial fluid as well as its lubricating and shock-absorbing properties. Synovial fluid also provides nutrients for the joint cartilage.
Glucosamine sulfate is a normal constituent of glycosaminoglycans in cartilage and synovial fluid. In essence, glucosamine sulfate provides important building blocks for cartilage production. Laboratory studies suggest that glucosamine may also function to stimulate production of cartilage-building proteins. It is also thought that the sulfate portion of the molecule contributes to the efficacy of glucosamine sulfate in the synovial fluid by providing the elemental sulfur needed for strengthening cartilage and aiding glycosaminoglycan synthesis. 1,2,3
Glucosamine sulfate has been the subject of research for over twenty years. Clinical trials as well as experimental studies have repeatedly supported the efficacy of oral glucosamine sulfate in supporting joint function. In one large open trial, over 1200 people took oral glucosamine sulfate for periods ranging from 36 to 64 days. In this multi-center trial, ninety-five percent of the subjects experienced greater joint comfort and increased mobility. The physicians reported "good" results in 59%, and "sufficient" results in 36%. Furthermore, the improvements in joint health lasted for up to three months after the glucosamine sulfate was discontinued. 3
Promotes optimal joint comfort, function and flexibility*
Boswellia serrata (Indian frankincense) has been used for centuries in the Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine to maintain healthy joints. Even today, this is one of the primary uses for this plant in Ayurvedic medicine. Boswellic acids have been shown to support healthy joint tissue, maintain circulation to joints, enhance joint mobility, and promote joint comfort in animal models without known side effects. 4
Boswellin® is an extract rich in boswellic acids. Boswellic acids are potent modulators of enzymes involved in leukotriene synthesis in vitro, promoting a healthy balanced production of these components of the immune system.5 Healthy leukotriene balance can lead to enhanced joint function. A human clinical study was conducted to assess the effects of supplementation with a formula containing Boswellia, Curcumin and other nutrients on joint function. In this double-blind placebo-controlled crossover trial, participants were randomly assigned to receive the herbal formulation or a placebo for 3 months. Following this 3-month period, the treatments were reversed for an additional 3 months. The results showed that while each group was receiving the herbal formulation, they had superior joint function and a greater sense of joint comfort when compared to the placebo groups.6 Other trials lend further support to Boswellia’s ability to promote healthy joint function.4,6,7
Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that has known free radical scavenging activity. This activity of Curcumin is thought to play a major part in its role as a joint protective nutrient. In fact, the numerous beneficial effects attributed of whole turmeric are thought to stem in large measure from the antioxidant properties of curcuminoids. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which are highly unstable molecules that can damage cellular structures through abnormal oxidative reactions. Curcumin is not toxic to cells, even at high concentrations. Pure Curcumin was shown to be less protective than a mixture of curcuminoids, indicating a possible synergism among the curcuminoids.8
Curcumin demonstrates several other in vitro effects linked to free radical scavenging. Curcumin scavenges nitric oxide, a compound associated with the body’s inflammatory response.9 Curcumin also demonstrates in vitro inhibition of certain enzymes involved in promoting inflammatory reactions in the body. Together these results strongly suggest that Curcumin is a potent bioprotectant with a potentially wide range of therapeutic applications.9,10,11
Preliminary human trials have assessed the therapeutic potential of Curcumin, with results that verify the traditional use of turmeric as an herb to enhance joint health. In a short-term double-blind, cross-over, comparative study, eighteen people were randomized to receive Curcumin (1200 mg daily) or an alternative therapy for two-week periods. The participants in the Curcumin groups were shown to produce measurable enhancements in joint flexibility and walking time.12 Research suggests that Curcumin and Boswellia work extremely well in combination to benefit joint health and mobility, as trials combining both nutrients have yielded highly positive results.
Bioperine-Nature’s Absorption Enhancer Boosts Nutrient Absorption*
Traditional Ayurvedic herbal formulas often include black pepper or long pepper as synergistic herbs. The active ingredient in both black pepper and long pepper is the alkaloid, piperine. Experiments carried out to evaluate the scientific basis for the use of peppers have shown that piperine significantly enhances bioavailability when consumed with other substances.13 Several double-blind clinical studies have confirmed that Bioperine® increases absorption of nutrients.14
Curcumin is known to be poorly absorbed in the intestinal tract when used on its own, thereby limiting its therapeutic effectiveness. Oral doses are largely excreted in feces, and only trace amounts appear in the bloodstream. However, a study has shown that concomitant administration of 20 mg of piperine with 2 grams of Curcumin was able to enhance Curcumin bioavailability by an astounding 2000%. 15 These results speak to the wisdom of including a small amount of Bioperine® in the formulation to ensure nutrient bioavailability.
Sustained Release – For lasting joint comfort and convenient dosing
To ensure that the body can utilize all of the joint health-enhancing nutrients effectively, Best Joint Support featuring ArthriBlend-SR™ has been designed to have a sustained release delivery system. The nutrients are released over a longer period of time, maximizing absorption and providing the comfort-enhancing properties in a sustained manner. This unique delivery system allows the product to be taken just twice daily while maintaining its efficacy throughout the day.
Suggested Adult Use: Take two tablets every 12 hours. Take 4 tablets daily.
2. Tapadinhas M.J., Rivera, I.C. Bignamini, A.A. Oral glucosamine sulphate in the management of arthrosis: report on a multi-centre open investigation in Portugal. Pharmatherpeutica 1982; 3(3):157-68.
3. Vaz, A.L. Double-blind clinical evaluation of the relative efficacy of ibuprofen and glucosamine sulphate in the management of osteoarthrosis of the knee in out-patients. Current Medical Research and Opinion 1982; 8(3):145-149.
4. Kimmatkar N, Thawani V, Hingorani L, Khiyani R. Efficacy and tolerability of Boswellia serrata extract in treatment of osteoarthritis of knee--a randomized double blind placebo controlled trial. Phytomedicine. 2003 Jan;10(1):3-7.
5. Safayhi, H., Mack, T., Sabieraj, J., Anazodo, M.I., Subramanian, L.R., and Ammon, H.P.T. (1992) Boswellic acids: Novel, specific, nonredox inhibitors of 5-lipoxygenase. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 261(3), 1143-1146.
6. Boswellia serrata. Alternative Medicine Review Monographs – Volume One. 2002.
7. Kulkarni RR, Patki PS, Jog VP, Gandage SG, Patwardhan B. Treatment of osteoarthritis with a herbomineral formulation: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study. J Ethnopharmacol. 1991 May-Jun;33(1-2):91-5.
8. Majeed, M., Badmaev, V., Shivakumar, U., Rajendran, R. Curcuminoids: Antioxidant Phytonutrients. 1995. Piscataway, NJ: NutriScience Publishers.
9. Snow, J.M. Herbal Monograph: Curcuma longa L. (Zingiberaceae). The Protocol Journal of Botanical Medicine, Autumn 1995:43-46.
10. Rao, S., Rao, M.N.A. Nitric oxide scavenging by curcuminoids. J Pharm. Pharmacol. 1997;49:105-7.
11. Ramsewak, R.S., DeWitt, D.L., Nair, M.G. Cytotoxicity, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities of Curcumins I-III from Curcuma longa. Phytomedicine 2000;7(4):303-308.
12. Deodhar, S.D., Sethi, R. Srimal. R.C. Preliminary study on antirheumatic activity of curcumin (diferoyl methane). Indian J Med Res 1980;71:632-34.
13. Atal, C., Zutshi, U., Rao, P. Scientific evidence on the role of Ayurvedic herbals on bioavailability of drugs. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1981;4:229-232.
14. Bioperine®–Nature's Bioavailability Enhancing Thermonutrient. Executive Summary. 1996; Sabinsa Corporation, Piscataway, N.J.
15. Shoba, G., et al. Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Medica 1998;64(4):353-6.
Remifemin symptomatic relief, scientifically supported*
August 26, 2006 02:41 PM
Symptomatic Relief, Scientifically Supported*
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VitaNet Recommends Remifemin
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*this statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treate, cure, or prevent any disease.
A Testosterone Breakthrough to Restore Health and Youth
May 29, 2006 07:17 PM
There is a powerful new performance-enhancing ingredient clinically proven in humans. Its called LJ100 Tongkat Ali. Four years ago no one in the United States had heard of Tongkat Ali. Today the herb is becoming increasingly well-known as an athletic performance enhancer, overall youth-promoting agent, and libido builder.
Tongkat Ali is the popular folk name for Eurycoma Longifolia, a medium sized, slender rain forest tree. The name Tongkat Ali means Ali’s walking stick and the plant is native to Malaysia, lower burma, Thailand and Indonesia. Tongkat Ali enjoys a history of use that dates back to the 1700’s, and today there is a growing body of serious science that corroborates its traditional uses, specifically for the patented and proprietary brand LJ100 Tongkat Ali standardized extract containing 28% bioactive glycopeptides.
LJ100 Tongkat Ali
LJ100 is a proprietary, patented ingredient, and has become recognized as the premier brand of Eurycoma Longifolia for supplements that build and tone muscles, boost energy levels, decrease body fat, slow the aging process, and increase libido for health-conscious consumers. LJ100 has undergone an exclusive, patented extraction process to capture the most potent, biologically active compounds. SourceOne Global Partners, headquarters in Chicago, holds the exclusive distribution rights to market and sell LJ100 Tongkat Ali in dietary supplements.
ATP and Lean Muscle
In studies, LJ100 Tongkat Ali extract greatly increases ATP production. ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, is the basic unit of energy in the body, responsible for keeping us alive and going. By increasing ATP, overall energy and vitality are increased. Most people seek more energy and LJ100 Tongkat Ali provides it, without hyper stimulation, jittery nerves or insomnia. Promoting human energy production is a valuable health benefit by itself to make LJ100 Tongkat Ali an enduring botanical superstar. People want energy more than just about any other functional attribute.
Endocrinologists have known for a long time that testosterone increases the body’s ratio of lean muscle mass to fat. In both animals and humans, LJ100 Tongkat Ali increases muscle mass. In a study of men, half the subjects ingested LJ100 and half did not. In an eight-week physical training program the men who consumed LJ100 experienced greater gains in muscle mass and strength than those that did not. This demonstrates the powerful anabolic properties of Tongkat Ali. Instead of turning to the use of dangerous and potentially lethal steroids, it is recommended that more athletes opt for Tongkat Ali. In Malaysia, many professional field hockey players use LJ100 Tongkat Ali as an androgen and swear to its performance-enhancing effects. According to Chris Kilham, ethno botanist, author and lecturer, in a recent article in Physical Magazine,. “LJ100 Tongkat Ali has potential to revolutionize the sport nutrition category.”
Maintaining Normal cortisol / Testosterone Ratios
LJ100 is clinically proven to enhance weight loss and maintain high energy levels by maintaining normal levels of cortisol and testosterone during weight loss. More particularly, LJ100 studies have shown it to help maintain normal (low) cortisol and normal (high) testosterone levels during the stress of weight loss. This hormonal control provides energy to a person in a weight loss phase while simultaneously helping them lose weight. As a result, effective doses of LJ100 help prevent the body from seeking to gain weight by storing fat and increasing appetite. LJ100 can help stop the “yo-yo” diet effect where a dieter’s initial weight loss of a few pounds sends the body into catabolic state, leading to binge eating and fat storage.
LJ100’s Testosterone Breakthrough
LJ100 Tongkat Ali root contains numerous beneficial compounds, including potent protective antioxidants which inhibit cellular aging. What excites many people about LJ100 Tongkat Ali is that the root significantly boosts libido in men and women by increasing testosterone. Agents identified as glycoproteins are now proven to be the libido boosting ingredients in the plant.
Increasing testosterone is the key factor is the key factor in increasing libido. Testosterone is the most important of the male sex hormones, known as androgens, produced in the gonads. Testosterone plays a key role in the development and maturity of male sex organs. The hormone promotes secondary sex characteristics, including appearance of facial hair, enlargement of the larynx (producing a deeper voice), sexual desire and sexual behavior. Testosterone also stimulates metabolism, promotes lipolysis (Burning of fat), increases the formation of red blood cells and accelerates muscle growth.
Testosterone doesn’t stay with us from age 30 or so, blood levels of this hormone decline at a rate of about 2 percent per year. By age 50, the level is around 55 percent. As testosterone decreases, muscle tone, energy and sex drive all begin to decline. But testosterone is not just for men. The same decline in testosterone occurs in women, though the amounts involved are lower. In both sexes, sex drive, function, fat metabolism and energy decline into middle age.
One of the questions that many health researchers have pondered is what if you could boost your testosterone levels to more youthful levels? With LJ100 Tongkat Ali extract you can. And that makes LJ100 are true fountain of youth.
LJ100 Tongkat Ali “is the Greatest”
Don’t be fooled by wannabes. Only LJ100 delivers efficacy, standardization and supporting scientific research. When compared against lesser quality products, research showed LJ100 to increase serum testosterone levels 100% after two weeks, while some other products showed only an 8% improvement in serum testosterone level. Ali is the greatest only if it is LJ100 TongKat Ali.
Dr. Zheng-Xian Liu, PhD, has more than 18 years of experience in the Nutraceutical business and more than 34 years of experience in R & D. he received a doctorate of biochemistry and nutrition at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He was an NIH post-doctorate research fellow at Duke University Medical Center, specializing in free radical biochemistry, and a Pratt research fellow in nutrition. He also served as a member of the editorial board of journal of Advancement in Medicine and has published more than 60 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Benefits of L-Carnitine
February 12, 2006 03:24 PM
Nutritional Supplements Could Save U.S. $6.5 Billion.
January 07, 2006 12:26 PM
Health Care Crisis Bankrupting U.S. Budget
Nutritional Supplements Could Save U.S. $6.5 Billion.
You probably never heard about it on the radio, nor saw its actions reported on CNN. Others can’t guess what its acronym stands for. The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an investigative arm of Congress examining the receipt and payment of public funds. This government office exists for the sole purpose of communicating to Congress those facts and figures which we, as a society, can’t afford to overlook.
And they are saying that the healthcare system is going to bankrupt us. The agency recently issued a special report called 21st Century Challenges, which concludes that current U.S. fiscal policies are unsustainable and, unless radical changes are initiated relatively soon, will “result in large, escalating, and persistent deficits.
The Money Pit
According to the GAO report, the United States spends more than 15% of our gross domestic product on health care, and that figures growing fast. We spend a larger percentage than is spent by any other industrialized country. What’s even more suprising is how little we get for the money. An estimated 45million Americans are uninsured. The United States continues to compare abysmally to the other industrialized nations in critical areas like infant mortality, life expectancy, and premature and preventable deaths.
Medicare and Medicaid together devour 20% of the federal budget. With the baby boomers—individuals born between the end of WWII 1960—hitting retirement age this year, those figures will only grow larger with each passing year. Unless, as the GAO report says, something is done quickly.
A report released just weeks ago by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA) demonstrates that the government can save at least 6.5 billion in health care cost reductions if nutritional supplements are integerated into the healthcare system.
The Lewin Group, a market research firm, developed a report, entitled: Increasing Quality of Life While Minimizing Costs. It focused in on just two supplements, both of which concern reduction in disease prevention for people over age 65. Omega-3 oil, popular for its reduction in coronary heart disease, is projected to save 3.1 billion dollars. Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which supports healthy vision, will save 2.5 billion dollars if this supplement is added to health care plans, according to the study. Savings would come from reduced hospitalizations and doctor’s fees, as well as reduced nursing home use for those who in good health, could remain independent rather than needing to transfer to live-in care facilities.
Early last month, a bipartisan caucus on dietary supplements kicked off. It will be co-chaired by Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah), and Rep. Fran Pallone (D-N.J.), and its goal will be to examine the manner in which nutritional supplements may become a component of healthcare reform, such as part of an individual flexible Spending Account or health Saving account. As the GAO report indicates, the government interest is reaching critical mass and nutritional supplements are on the verge of entering a new era. As Congressman Cannon said during a November 2nd press conference, government needs to develop a sound policy supporting nutritional supplements “As more and more Americans start taking responsibility for their own health.”
Sources/Links for Further Reading:
Visit the website of the United States Government Accountability Office. //www.gao.gov/
House Government Reform Subcommittee on Human Rights Wellness. //reform.house.gov/
For more information about the Lewin Group’s Health Impact Study, please visit: //www.supplementinfo.org/
Curcumin - Turmeric Extract
August 19, 2005 12:47 PM
Turmeric- History and Traditional Usage
Native to Southeast Asia, Curcuma longa is a tall
In addition to its
Turmeric is named in
Protects cells and tissues by fighting free radicals.*
Supports joint function*
The numerous beneficial
Animal studies- In vivo protective effects
Through its free radical scavenging
Curcumin exhibits free-radical scavenging ability when
Bioperine-Nature’s Absorption Enhancer
Traditional Ayurvedic herbal
Curcumin is poorly absorbed in the intestinal
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Lowering cholesterol safely
July 27, 2005 04:10 PM
Lowering cholesterol safely.
By Kim Vanderlinden, N.D., D.T.C.M.
Atherosclerosis and its complications are major causes of death in the United States and have reached epidemic proportions throughout all of the Western world. Heart disease accounts for 36% of all deaths among Americans and ranks as the number-one killer; stroke; another complication of atherosclerosis; is the third most common cause of death.
Foremost in the prevention and treatment of heart disease is the reduction of blood cholesterol levels. The evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that elevated cholesterol levels greatly increase the risk of death due to heart disease. The first step in reducing risk for heart disease is keeping your total blood cholesterol level below 200 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter).
Not all cholesterol is bad; it serves many functions in the body, including the manufacture of sex hormones and bile acids. Without cholesterol, many body processed would not function properly.
Cholesterol is transported in the blood by molecules known as lipoproteins. Cholesterol bound to low density lipoprotein, or LDL, is often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol, while cholesterol bound to high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is referred to as the “good” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure, while HDL cholesterol actually protects against heart disease.
LDL transports cholesterol to the tissues. HDL, on the other hand, transports cholesterol to the liver for metabolism and excretion from the body. Therefore, the HDL-to-LDL ratio largely determines whether cholesterol is being deposited into tissues or broken down and excreted. The risk for heart disease can be reduced dramatically by lowering LDL cholesterol while simultaneously raising HDL cholesterol levels. Research has shown that for every one percent increase in HDL levels, the risk for a heart attack drops three to four percent.
Dietary cholesterol is a major risk factor in developing atherosclerosis. The evidence is substantial. However, several studies have shown that a lower dietary cholesterol intake was associated with up to a 37% lower risk of death from any cause, or an increased life expectancy of roughly 3.4 years.
Although dietary cholesterol intake is an important contributor to atherosclerosis, most of the cholesterol in the body is actually manufactured in the liver. Reducing dietary cholesterol alone is not always sufficient to lower blood cholesterol levels.
In an attempt to reduce blood cholesterol levels, many physicians are ignoring the need to give dietary recommendations and are instead utilizing drugs as the primary treatment. Using drugs before diet is clearly not the best approach, in terms of both effectiveness and cost. In fact, the Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Cholesterol in Adults clearly states: “Dietary therapy is the primary cholesterol-lowering treatment.”
The drugs lovastatin (Mevacor), prevastin (Pravachol), and simvastatin (Zocor) are commonly used to lower blood cholesterol levels. The main side effect of these drugs is liver damage. In fact, due to the seriousness of the possible adverse effects on the liver, it is necessary to have periodic blood tests to determine if the drug is harming the liver. Other side effects include: muscle breakdown, muscle pain, nausea, diarrhea, flatus, abdominal pain, headache, and skin rash.
The most important first approach to lowering a high cholesterol level is to follow a healthful diet and lifestyle. The dietary changes are simple: Eat less saturated fat and cholesterol by reducing or eliminating the amounts of animal products in the diet; increase consumption of fiber-rich plant foods (fruits, grains, and legumes); and lose weight, if necessary. Lifestyle changes include; Regular aerobic exercise; stop smoking; and reduce or eliminate consumption of coffee (both caffeinated and decaffeinated).
Here are the six key recommendations of U.S. Surgeon General, American Heart Association, and the National Research Council’s Committee on Diet and Health:
When there is a need for additional support to the dietary and lifestyle practices that can lower cholesterol levels, it simply makes more sense to use safer and more effective natural alternatives. When evaluating overall effectiveness, both LDL and HDL cholesterol levels must be taken into consideration. When you look at the cost, safety, and effectiveness, it is clear that natural alternatives are substantially superior to standard drug therapy.
Keep in mind that the natural alternatives discussed are, just like the dugs, still best utilized in a comprehensive program that stresses a healthful diet and lifestyle.
Niacin, or vitamin B3, has long been used to lower cholesterol levels. In fact, niacin is recommended by the National CholesterolEducation Program as the first “drug” to use to lower blood cholesterol levels.
The safest form of niacin at present is known as inositol hexaniacinate. This form of niacin has long been used in Europe to lower cholesterol levels and also to improve blood flow. It yields slightly better results than standard niacin, but is much better tolerated, both in terms of flushing and, more importantm long term side effects.
Gugulipid is the standardized extract of the mukul myrrh tree that is native to India. Several clinical studies have confirmed that gugulipid has an ability to lower both cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Typically, cholesterol levels will drop 14% to 27% in a four- to twelve-week period, while triglyceride levels will drop from 22% to 30%.
The dosage of gugulipid is based on its guggulsterone content. Clinical studies have demonstrated that gugulipid extracts standardized to contain 25 mg of guggulsterone per tablet given three times per day is an effective treatment for elevated cholesterol levels, elevated triglyceride levels, or both.
Garlic and onions exert numerous beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, including lowering blood lipids and blood pressure. Numerous studies have demonstrated that both garlic and onions are effective in lowering LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides while simultaneously raising HDL-cholesterol levels.
Without question, the best approach to lowering cholesterol levels is through diet and lifestyle modifications. When additional support is require, there are safer and more effective natural alternatives to commonly prescribed drugs.
The goal of therapy, whether natural or synthetic, is to get blood lipid levels down into target ranges as quickly as possible. Once the target range has been achieved, begin reducing the amount of medicine by half, or take it every other day. Recheck your cholesterol levels in one month. If they have stabilized or continued to improve, you may no longer need the medication. If the levels begin to rise again, return to previous dosage.
If you are currently on a cholesterol-lowering drug, you must consult your doctor before discontinuing the medication.
Gamma E 400 Complex - Vitamin E with Powerful Tocotrienols
June 29, 2005 10:50 AM
Source Naturals brings you a better way of life with breakthrough research in vitamin E, the second most-recommended daily supplement today after multivitamins. No doubt you’ve heard how important vitamin E is to your health, but did you know that all vitamin E supplements are not alike? The bottle many people grab is usually a type of vitamin E chemically known as d-alpha tocopherol. Yet vitamin E is actually a general name for a whole family of compounds—and gamma E is gaining attention as a highly significant and potent form. Only Source Naturals GAMMA E 400 COMPLEX contains all four natural tocopherol forms, supplying 400 mg of gamma E tocopherol, 200 IU of alpha tocopherol, plus 5 mg of all four tocotrienols. And it takes the whole family together as they naturally occur, to derive the synergistic benefits of this remarkable vitamin.
Vitamin E refers to eight related, lipidsoluble antioxidant compounds widely distributed in plants and especially in vegetable oils: the tocopherol sub-family (alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-) and tocotrienol sub-family (alpha-tocotrienol, beta-tocotrienol, gamma-tocotrienol and delta-tocotrienol). These vital antioxidants are effective against free radicals inside the cell because they are fat-soluble and can pass through the lipid layer of the cell membrane. The American diet is naturally high in gamma E tocopherol compared to alpha—and research now indicates there may be a good reason for this.
The Missing Link?
Since alpha tocopherol has historically been the major form sold, gamma tocopherol received little attention. But new research demonstrates that gamma-tocopherol may be the missing link to advanced cardiovascular protection. The combination of vitamin E tocopherols— particularly those with a high gamma-toalpha ratio—is a more potent antioxidant than alpha-tocopherol alone. Gamma-tocopherol protects against peroxynitrite free radicals and lipid peroxidative damage. Research has shown that gamma can inhibit cyclooxygenase (COX-2) activity, the production of irritating prostaglandin E2, and protect against nitrogen-based free radicals as well as afford improved cardiovascular support. Gamma has also been shown to support the activity of the alpha form as well as offer activity of its own—gamma supplementation results in an increase in alpha tocopherol concentrations in the body, whereas taking alpha only may suppress or decrease tissue gamma tocopherol. The eight forms of E are wisely delivered in a base of sesame oil, which is naturally high in gamma tocopherol and other components, including restorative lignans.
Your Source of Advanced Nutrition
Epidemiological research and clinical trials have suggested that vitamin E can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, support healthy cholesterol levels, provide positive effects on the growth and regulation of cells and tissues and even nerve transmission. Source Naturals GAMMA E 400 COMPLEX is the most advanced form of this essential vitamin. We are dedicated to bringing you the finest nutrients modern research has to offer and a better way of life through optimal nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Make GAMMA-E 400 COMPLEX part of your health plan for more complete nutrition.
PADMA BASIC: A Tibetan Herbal Formula
June 21, 2005 05:27 PM
By Isaac Eliaz, M.D.
"As an integrated system of health care, Tibetan medicine can offer allopathic medicine a different perspective on health. However, like other scientific systems, it must be understood in its own terms, as well as in the context of objective investigation. In practice it can also offer Western people another approach to achieving happiness through health and balance." --His Holiness the Dalai Lama, May 16, 1997
In this article I want to discuss a Tibetan-based herbal formula that reflects the philosophy outlined by H.H. the Dalai Lama. PADMA BASIC® is an extensively researched formulation that bridges the gap between Classical Tibetan Medicine and the modern Western medical paradigm. With over 50 published scientific papers spanning the last 30 years, PADMA's popularity among Western medical professionals can be attributed to its history of safe use and its health-enhancing properties. The original formula, used for centuries as a cardiovascular tonic and to counteract "heat" (inflammatory processes or infections), made its way to Europe by the first half of the 20th century. Acceptance of an ancient Tibetan formula into the Western medical tradition requires sensitivity to both the original Tibetan intention, and the rigorous requirements of the international pharmaceutical community. Today PADMA BASIC is produced in accordance with strict manufacturing guidelines. The herbs are grown organically, or meticulously tested to ensure they are not contaminated. Ingredients are verified using thin layer or high pressure liquid chromatography. While the highest "scientific Western methods" are used, traditional Tibetan "scientific methods" of smelling and tasting are also followed.
PADMA BASIC can be understood from two viewpoints. In Classical Tibetan Medicine, good health means maintaining a dynamic equilibrium of universal elemental forces. Illness is a manifestation of imbalance. Therapeutic intervention aims at restoring balance by treating the cause, not just the symptoms. Within this traditional model, PADMA has three functions:
Ingredients: Iceland moss (Cetraria islandica), Costus root, neem fruit (Azadirachtaindica), Cardamom fruit, Red Saunders heart wood (Pterocarpus santalinus), chebulic myrobalan fruit (Terminalia chebula), Allspice fruit, bael tree fruit (Aegle marmelos), Calcium Sulfate, Columbine aerial part (Aquilegia vulgaris), English Plantain aerial part, Licorice root, Knotweed aerial part (Polygonum aviculare), Golden cinquefoil aerial part (Potentilla aurea), Clove flower, Spiked ginger lily rhizome (Hedychium spicatum), Valerian root, Lettuce leaf (Lactuca sativa), Calendula flower, Natural Camphor (Cinnammum camphora).
Dr. Isaac Eliaz is a medical doctor and licensed acupuncturist with extensive training in complementary modalities. For 15 years, his practice has centered on the integrative treatment of cancer. He has been involved in numerous studies investigating the effects of nutritional supplements on cancer and has been granted two patents.
Nothing to Sneeze At
June 18, 2005 08:41 AM
Nothing to Sneeze At by Carole Poole Energy Times, August 14, 2004
To many, nothing is more annoying than a persistent allergy. Runny nose, itchy eyes, hives, sneezing, coughing...Frequently, allergies seem to represent suffering with no end.
When you are sensitive to something in your environment, often your only hope for relief appears to be to flee to an elsewhere that eludes the problematic, trouble-making allergen.
Complementary measures are available that can lower your risk of allergic reactions. Heading off allergic reactions before they strike can help you enter a comfort zone that leaves nothing to sneeze at.
Limit Your Antibiotics
While people have always suffered allergies, today, many experts agree, allergies are on the rise. One possible explanation: antibiotics. For instance, research at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit demonstrates that kids who get antibiotics within six months of being born run an increased risk of being allergic to dust mites, ragweed, grass and animals. At the same time, if two or more cats or dogs live with them, they reduce their chances of allergies (Eur Respir Soc ann conf, 2003).
" I'm not suggesting children shouldn't receive antibiotics. But I believe we need to be more prudent in prescribing them for children at such an early age," Christine Cole Johnson, PhD, says. "In the past, many of them were prescribed unnecessarily, especially for viral infections like colds and the flu when they would have no effect anyway."
Dr. Cole's investigators found that by age 7, kids who got one or more rounds of antibiotics were:
When antibiotics are necessary, they are crucial to quelling bacterial infections. However, if you or your children suffer colds or flus, diseases caused by viruses, antibiotics have no effect on your illness but could increase your chance of developing allergies.
" Over the past four decades there has been an explosive increase in allergy and asthma in westernized countries, which correlates with widespread use of antibiotics and alterations in gastrointestinal (GI) microflora," says Mairi Noverr, a researcher on a study linking allergies to antibiotic use (104th Gen Meet Amer Soc Microbiol, 2004). "We propose that the link between antibiotic use and dysregulated pulmonary immunity is through antibiotic-induced long-term alterations in the bacterial and fungal GI microflora." While a lot of research needs to be done, it may help to fortify the probiotic, or good, microbes in your intestines with probiotic supplements. One study has shown that giving probiotics to pregnant women helped their children avoid allergic eczema, a skin condition (Lancet 2001; 357:1076-9).
Green Tea Relief
Research has demonstrated that various types of tea can produce a range of health benefits. Tea drinkers can add allergy relief to that list.
Research in Japan demonstrates that for the allergy-oppressed, green tea may help them have nothing to sneeze at. In laboratory tests, scientist found that green tea contains a substance that blocks one of the immune cell receptors which is often a part of the allergic response. The substance, methylated epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), is believed to have a similar effect in the real world (J Agr Food Chem 10/9/02).
" Green tea appears to be a promising source for effective anti-allergenic agents," notes Hirofumi Tachibana, PhD, the study's chief investigator and an associate professor at Kyushu University in Fukuoka. "If you have allergies, you should consider drinking it." Traditionally, many people have consumed tea as part of their effort to suppress sneezes, coughs and itchy eyes caused by allergies. This experiment supports the evidence that green tea, in particular, has a reliable effect.
According to Dr. Tachibana, green tea's anti-allergenic benefits have not been completely established, but tea apparently has the potential to be effective against allergens like dust, chemicals, pet dander and pollen.
EGCG has also been shown to be a very active antioxidant, helping to quell the destructive effects of the caustic molecules known as free radicals. Green tea is richer in EGCG than black tea or oolong tea (a type that falls between black and green).
Although other research has demonstrated that EGCG offsets allergic responses in lab animals fed this substance, scientists don't completely understand why it works for allergies. Researchers theorize that EGCG restricts the production of histamine and immunoglobulin E (IgE), two substances secreted in the body as part of the chain of chemical reactions that lead to an allergic reaction, says Dr. Tachibana.
This study shows, for the first time, that a methylated form of EGCG can block the IgE receptor, which is a key receptor involved in an allergic response. The effect was demonstrated using human basophils, which are blood cells that release histamine. As of now, nobody knows how much green tea you need to guzzle to have the best protection against allergies and, of the several varieties available, nobody knows which green tea is best.
Outside of the US, green tea is the second most popular beverage in the world, right behind water. In the US, however, black tea is more popular than green. But the allergy sensitive should think and drink green.
Stay Away from Diesels
Those who are allergic to ragweed or pet dander usually know they should avoid the source of their allergies. But now scientists have found that, for many allergy sufferers, diesel exhaust can also worsen sneezes and wheezes.
Scientists at two southern California schools have shown that about half of us have inherited a sensitivity to diesel pollution that can make our allergies significantly worse (Lancet 1/10/04). "[T]his study suggests a direct way that pollution could be triggering allergies and asthma in a large number of susceptible individuals...," says Frank D. Gilliland, MD, PhD, the study's lead author. Diesel exhaust particles are thought to act as destructive free radicals in the lungs, forming caustic molecules that damage lung tissue. This irritation can cause your immune system to create larger amounts of compounds that make you sneeze and wheeze more.
The Antioxidant Advantage
Antioxidants, scientists believe, can help defuse this damage and ease the body's allergic responses. The California scientists looked at two antioxidant enzymes the body makes to protect the lungs called glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1) and glutathione S-transferase P1 (GSTP1). Only about five of ten people's immune systems can make all the effective forms of these enzymes. The rest of us lack this protection to some degree, and the immune system in about one in five people can't make any effective form of these enzymes.
The research team found that people allergic to ragweed who lacked these antioxidant enzymes suffered more when they took in both ragweed pollen and particles from diesel pollution.
Breathe Easier With C
This research may help explain why many health practitioners recommend vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, to allergy sufferers. Vitamin C "prevents the secretion of histamine by the white blood cells, increases the detoxification of histamine and lowers the blood-histamine levels," says Sylvia Goldfarb, PhD, author of Allergy Relief (Avery/Penguin).
Scientists continue to study the allergy conundrum. Meanwhile, sip a cup of green tea and shut the window before the next truck comes by.
The Colds & Flu Report
June 18, 2005 08:38 AM
The Colds & Flu Report by Sherrill Williams Energy Times, October 13, 2004
The nose knows the misery of a cold: stuffiness, watery eyes, sore throat and nagging cough. These annoyances are especially frustrating when there's not enough time in your busy schedule to be sick.
Traditional remedies help: Slurping a cup of Grandma's chicken soup. Sweating in a hot bath. Climbing under the covers until further notice.
While no one can guarantee you won't catch a cold this year, a few simple measures can limit your sick days and give you the best chance to dodge upper respiratory distress. The common cold is a frequent and expensive problem, causing about 15 million lost work days for Americans each year. Some people seem just about immune to the group of viruses that cause colds. But others may endure as many as 12 colds per year. For the lucky ones, a cold's irritations last a couple of days. For the unfortunate, a cold can drag on for a couple of weeks.
Influenza (commonly known as the flu) has many of the same discomforts as a cold, and both disorders originate in the upper respiratory tract. But while a cold usually stays on tract, the flu is often accompanied by fever, prominent headaches and severe aches and pains around the body. Fatigue from the flu can last as long as two to three weeks during recovery. All this distress demonstrates that your body is fighting off the invaders.
Traditional healers advocate the use of the herb echinacea at the first sign of getting sick. Echinacea, commonly known as purple coneflower, is native to North America and was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia until the 1950s.
Rosemary Gladstar, a Vermont herbalist and author of Family Herbal (Storey Books), suggests taking echinacea (Echinacea ssp.) in frequent small amounts in tincture or tea form at the first sign of cold or flu.
" Most of the compounds in echinacea are water soluble, so it makes a fine tea," says Gladstar. She also encourages echinacea tea as a gargle or spray to relieve sore throats.
Research at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts validates what traditional healers such as Rosemary Gladstar have known: echinacea works best if taken at the onset of colds or flu. In an animal study, scientists found that echinacea triggered a humoral immune response, an immune reaction that spurs the production of special proteins that latch onto and destroy viruses (Immunopharmacology & Immunotoxicology 2003 Nov; 25(4):551-60).
In another study, researchers found that echinacea enhances immune actions called T cell subsets or helper cell activity (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 2004 Jul; 27(7):1004-9). Helper cells are lymphocytes that take part in the destruction of viruses. In the quest for the kind of immunity that makes you less vulnerable to infection by troublesome viruses, Gladstar says that "echinacea is safe for children, the elderly and everyone in between."
C Is for Colds-And So Is E
The reputation of vitamin C as the anti-cold nutrient has been batted back and forth in the media for decades. Your body can't store up much of this antioxidant water-soluble vitamin, so you have to consume it every day on a regular basis. And while vitamin C may not prevent the common cold, research does demonstrate that it can help reduce a cold's severity and make it go away faster (Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics 1999 Oct; 22(8):530-3).
Adequate vitamin C is crucial for a healthy immune system. Even a marginal deficiency of this nutrient can leave you more vulnerable to the viruses that cause cold and flu. Plus, if you get a runny nose, researchers believe vitamin C can act as a mild antihistamine, slowing that runny nose to a walk.
In a University of Texas study reported at the 60th Anniversary meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in 2003, daily doses of vitamin C were shown to significantly aid immunity.
After two weeks of taking vitamin C, the people in this study had their blood examined. Researchers found increased numbers of NK (natural killer) cells, immune warriors that destroy infected cells. In addition, vitamin C activated T cells, a class of immune cells that also fight viruses.
And now a newsbreak: you can add vitamin E, vitamin C's antioxidant companion, to your cold prevention shopping list, at least if you're a senior citizen. According to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2004; 292(7):828-36), nursing home residents aged 65 and older who took vitamin E enjoyed a 20% risk reduction when it came to developing upper respiratory infections.
Don't Be Sick, Stay Happy
" When you smile, the whole world smiles with you" is a melody that is music to immunity. Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have found that folks who are relaxed, happy and maintain positive emotions are less likely to catch colds. In addition, people who are depressed, nervous or angry are more likely to complain of cold symptoms whether or not they actually have a cold (Psycho Med 2003 Jul; 65:652-7). According to Sheldon Cohen, PhD, "Study participants who had a positive emotional style weren't infected as often and experienced fewer symptoms compared to people with a negative emotional style."
So you don't have to be a passive cold victim this winter. When viruses threaten you, according to Mary L. Hardy, MD, you can also try:
" The first caution I give people is to get a good diagnosis," says Dr. Hardy. "If your cold is not acting like a normal cold, or if it has lasted more than a short amount of time, make sure you don't have a more serious condition, such as pneumonia." In that case, seek professional help.
But if you've contracted a run-of-the-mill winter cold, keep your spirits and immunity up! Even if you've been impulsively singing and dancing in the rain, the chill and wet won't result in a cold if you let a smile be your immune umbrella!
June 14, 2005 06:11 PM
by Charles Scott Energy Times, January 4, 2005
If you want to stave off infections, aging-even liver cancer-get your fill of chlorophyll, a vital nutrient in plants.
The green in plants possesses unique powers. Green landscapes soothe the soul. A verdant expanse of green vegetation offers comfort, peace and ecological consolation. What makes some plants, including vegetables, green: Chlorophyll, a substance that is also a crucial nutrient for better health.
Chlorophyll is a special chemical that consists of molecules which enable plants to collect sunlight. In a complex molecular process, vegetation then uses chlorophyll to harness the power from the sun's rays and build carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water. Those carbohydrates form the basic nutritional building blocks that we and other animals need to survive and thrive.
Besides enabling the creation of carbohydrates, research shows that chlorophyll itself can help lower our risk of diseases like cancer. A recent study in China demonstrates that daily supplements of a chemical derived from chlorophyll can protect DNA, the genetic material in cells. When DNA is damaged and malfunctions, cells may reproduce wildly and become cancerous tumors. The latest experiments, performed by scientists affiliated with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Oregon State University (OSU), show that chlorophyll and its chemical relatives may insulate DNA from unhealthy changes linked to aflatoxin, a fungus that often contaminates corn, peanuts and soybeans. In China, liver cancer associated with aflatoxin is a widespread problem.
" In the area of China in which we did our study about one in 10 adults die from liver cancer, and it's the third leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide," says George Bailey, PhD, a professor of environmental and molecular toxicology at OSU. "The findings of this research could be enormously important to many areas of China, Southeast Asia and Africa, where aflatoxin-related liver cancer is a real concern. Many of these deaths might be preventable with supplements that cost pennies a day."
This research looked at about 180 people in Qidong, China. When people in the study were given supplements containing chlorophyll derivatives, they had less than half the DNA damage of people who didn't take supplements.
According to the scientists, chlorophyll and similar substances may act as interceptor molecules, blocking the absorption of carcinogens. As John Groopman, professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, observes, the supplements these people took "...can effectively reduce aflatoxin levels, which should reduce the risk of liver cancer."
Closer to home, other researchers point out that chlorophyll-rich vegetarian foods may help protect us from carcinogens in the typical American diet.
If you've ever enjoyed a hunk of grilled meat, you've consumed substances scientists call heterocyclic amines, which are contained in the charred part of meat cooked on a grill. Studies have shown that these tasty tidbits can increase your risk of breast and other types of cancer. (Your risk from charred meat greatly increases if you are also a smoker.) However, if you eat a food like spirulina, a blue-green algae high in antioxidants that also contains plenty of chlorophyll, its protective substances can bind with these carcinogens within your digestive tract and keep them from being absorbed.
Green Keeps You Younger
While we always hear that eating more fruits and vegetables enhances our health, new research shows that eating green foods adds extra power to an anti-aging program.
Two experiments at the University of South Florida Center for Aging and Brain Repair, published in the Journal of Neurobiology (7/15/02), show that spirulina and other greens can help shield the brain from the antioxidant damage that accumulates as one ages and may help reverse declines in learning and memory.
The first study found that a diet rich in spinach helped lab animals stay smart as they grew older. Spinach's benefits, according to the researchers, are due to its rich antioxidant content, which can counteract free radicals (caustic molecules) created in the body during normal metabolism and increased by exposure to environmental pollutants, sunlight and radiation. When free radicals attack, cell walls and other cellular structures are compromised and DNA can malfunction. A lifetime of free-radical damage can slow your thinking and may be one of the causes of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, says Dr. Paula Bickford, lead author on the project.
The second study found that the protective effect of green plants may be linked to their ability to reverse age-related accumulations of potentially harmful inflammatory substances in the brain. In this research, spirulina improved neuron function, lowered inflammation in the brain and reduced levels of chemicals linked to oxidative damage. In fact, spirulina didn't just slow the deterioration of neurotransmitter interactions caused by aging, it actually improved their function.
" Not all foods are created equal," says Dr. Bickford. "Cucumbers taste good and have lots of fiber. But unlike spirulina and apples, they are not rich in phytochemicals that have antioxidant or anti-inflammatory effects in the brain."
Aside from assisting brain function, spirulina also seems able to help pump up the immune system. Researchers at the University of California at Davis found that adding spirulina to cultured immune system cells significantly increases the production of infection-fighting cells called cytokines.
A number of previous laboratory studies have found that spirulina can balance immune response: While easing allergic reactions, this powerful green food also was found to enhance the ability of immune cells called macrophages to both destroy bacteria and eliminate cancerous cells.
" We found that nutrient-rich spirulina is a potent inducer of interferon-g (13.6-fold increase) and a moderate stimulator of both interleukin-4 and interleukin-1b (3.3-fold increase)," notes Eric Gershwin, professor at UC Davis. "Together, increases in these cytokines suggest that spirulina is a strong proponent for protecting against intracellular pathogens and parasites, and can potentially increase the expression of agents that stimulate inflammation, which also helps to protect the body against infectious and potentially harmful micro-organisms."
What this means for you: Spirulina holds the potential to help the body protect itself against battalions of infectious invaders. " People have used foods like yogurt and spirulina throughout history," says Judy van de Water, PhD, associate professor at UC Davis. "Through research, we are learning exactly how these foods improve immune system function and how they are a beneficial addition to our diet."
Throughout the history of life on earth, the healthy development of animal and human life has depended on green plants. Today, as our environment deteriorates and our bodies are under attack from an increasingly polluted world, we need those health-boosting greens more than ever.
Eat to Live - fruits and vegetables are more effective than foods like ...
June 14, 2005 10:38 AM
Eat to Live by Mary Menendez Energy Times, April 14, 2004
By now, most everyone with even a cursory interest in health knows that fruits and vegetables are more effective than foods like cheeseburgers at making your body more resistant to chronic diseases such as cancer.
But beyond that generality, few people seem to know how to fine-tune their meals for the most anti-cancer bang per bite.
Over the course of the lifetime of planet Earth, the plant world has devised and concocted a wealth of nutrients that can help your body fight off cancer.
It's time to put them to work for you.
Would you be interested in a tasty, quick way to cut your chances of certain types of cancer in half? The means to this desirable end are about as close as your refrigerator and your dining room table: All you have to do is cut open and eat a single orange every day.
According to cancer research in Australia, adding that extra serving of citrus fruit to your diet every day, only once a day, boosts immunity enough to significantly lower your risk of some common cancers.
" Citrus fruits [protect] the body through their antioxidant properties and strengthen the immune system, inhibiting tumor growth and normalizing tumor cells," says Katrine Baghurst, PhD, of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). According to Dr. Baghurst and her fellow researchers, oranges possess the most antioxidants of any fruit: more than 170 different phytochemicals.
The protection you can get from oranges is due to their influence on immunity. Your immune system has the assigned task of protecting you against cells that can turn cancerous. Sixty of the chemicals in oranges are substances called flavonoids that can help the immune system fend off inflammation and tumors.
When Americans eat fruits and vegetables, they don't eat the ones with the most anti-cancer (or other) health benefits. Instead, we dine on the same so-so produce too frequently. If we want more health benefits from our veggies, we'd better look to expand our culinary horizons.
" While people understand they should eat a variety of fruits and vegetables each day, they are not translating 'variety' in a way to capture health benefits, such as reducing their risk of developing chronic diseases," says Susie Nanney, PhD, acting director of the Obesity Prevention Center at Saint Louis University.
" People aren't eating the fruits and vegetables that contain the most nutrients," warns Dr. Nanney. "People are quite frankly confused about nutrition. I feel their pain."
Unfortunately, Americans rely too often on iceberg lettuce, corn, apples, potatoes and bananas; a steady diet of that produce doesn't produce the same benefits as indulging in a wider variety of vegetarian foods.
Dr. Nanney points out that the vegetables and fruits most effective at helping the body fight cancer are dark green leafy veggies, citrus (oranges, grapefruits), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower) and produce that has yellow or orange color.
Making Dinner Plans
Dr. Nanney's spectrum of desirable foods includes:
" When we look at how to get the most bang for your buck, the most power, it's by eating these other fruits and vegetables instead of the traditional choices," Nanney insists.
Studies show that tomatoes, colored by a pigment called lycopene, may be particularly helpful in lowering men's chances of prostate cancer. For instance, research on about three dozen men with prostate cancer found that those taking supplements of lycopene and other tomato phytochemicals had smaller tumors and less spread of their cancers (Exper Bio and Med, 2002; 227: 881).
The researchers conclude that "lycopene may have an antitumor effect and may be useful as an adjunct to standard treatment of prostate cancer, such as surgery, radiation therapy, hormones and chemotherapy. In addition, lycopene supplementation appears to have reduced the [spread of cancer within the prostate], suggesting that lycopene may have a role in the prevention of prostate cancer."
In a study on African-American men, who suffer a higher rate of prostate cancer than other Americans, researchers also found that lycopene can limit the DNA damage that may presage cancer (Amer Chem Soc Meeting #222, 2001).
" This study does not say that tomato sauce reduces cancer," cautions Phyllis E. Bowen, PhD, a nutritionist at the University of Chicago and lead investigator in the study. " It says that it reduces DNA damage that we think is associated with cancer."
Other studies have confirmed the finding that men who eat tomatoes suffer less prostate cancer. And if you want the most anti-cancer benefit from tomatoes, better cook them.
According to Rui Hai Liu, MD, Cornell assistant professor of food science, "[Our] research demonstrates that heat processing actually enhanced the nutritional value of tomatoes by increasing the lycopene content-[the] phytochemical that makes tomatoes red-that can be absorbed by the body, as well as the total antioxidant activity. The research dispels the popular notion that processed fruits and vegetables have lower nutritional value than fresh produce."
While you're making an effort to eat more of the colorful vegetables, you should also eat less fatty red meat and cut back on high-fat dairy foods, according to research from Harvard.
In this study, which covered eight years and looked at the diets of more than 90,000 women, scientists found that those premenopausal women who ate the most fatty red meat and regular milk had the highest chance of developing invasive breast cancer.
The scientists taking part in this study believe that eating more saturated fat from meat may increase hormone levels that boost the chances of breast cancer (Jrnl Natl Cancer Inst 2003;95:1079).
In this research, the total amount of fat didn't affect cancer risk, but the amount of animal fat did. Women who ate the most red meat had a 54% higher chance of breast cancer. Aside from avoiding red meat, women who wish to lower their risk of breast cancer should also limit their consumption of alcoholic beverages.
A study of two thousand post- menopausal women found that those who averaged about two drinks a day raised their risk of breast cancer by about 80% (Cancer Epidem, Biomarkers and Prevention, 10/03).
Here, too, researchers believe that alcohol affects the level of hormones that influence cancer.
The moral of the research into how food can slow cancer risk: Eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits early and often. Limit meat and alcohol.
Change the color of the fruits and vegetables on your plate for a better chance of a brighter future.
Home on the Range
June 13, 2005 03:52 PM
Home on the Range
by Janis Jibrin, RD Energy Times, September 5, 1999
Got chicken? Americans can't seem to get enough of this bird. Last year each of us ate, on average, just about 80 pounds of chicken, a whopping increase over the 49 pounds we each devoured in 1980 and an eight-pound increase from 1995. Part of this food's popularity comes from its lean image as a healthier, less fatty alternative to red meat (don't forget to take the fatty skin off). Chicken's also a cheap protein source: At many popular supermarkets you'll find weekly specials at about a dollar a pound.
But at health food markets, chicken can cost upwards of $1.69 a pound. These birds may be touted as raised in an organic, stress-free environment and on a vegetarian diet, free of antibiotics. For many people, this poultry is a better buy.
The Alternative Chicken
Most of the supermarket chicken you pick up in grocery refrigerated cases are broilers, birds bred to mature in about eight weeks. In comparison, in the '60s, chickens needed 14 weeks to become adult poultry. Conventionally-raised broilers eat grain mixed with whatever's cheapest on the market, such as recycled cooking oil that's been used to fry fast foods and animal parts.
These birds reside in chicken coops the size of football fields and don't see the light of day until transported to the slaughterhouse. On the other roost, alternatively raised chickens are brought up in a variety of ways (see box), but usually enjoy a more relaxed life and diet.
Chickens on the farm receive antibiotics for two reasons: To fight off the diseases that can run rampant through a crowded chicken coop and to encourage faster growth.
Antibiotics Stimulate Growth
Mark Cook, PhD, professor of animal science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, explains, "Gut bacteria trigger an immune system assault, which makes chickens a little feverish, suppresses appetite and slows growth. Antibiotics stimulate growth indirectly, by keeping bacteria levels down, and preventing the immune reaction." When birds get sick, they often get dosed with even more antibiotics.
This widespread antibiotic use has come home to roost and may contribute to the growth of bacteria that, frequently exposed to chemicals, have evolved ways to keep from being killed by pharmaceuticals.
This development threatens human health. Bacterial infections that people contract, once easily cured by penicillin or other drugs, are now tougher to eradicate. For instance, campylobactor, a common bacteria found in chicken, and responsible for some food poisonings, now demonstrates signs of resistance to drugs like floroquinolones. A powerful class of antibiotics, floroquinolones used to dependably conquer this infection.
"Floroquinolones are an extremely important class of antibiotics, used to treat many types of infections such as urinary tract infection, a wide variety of gastrointestinal illnesses, pneumonia, almost everything," says Kirt Smith, DVM, PhD, epidemiologist, acute disease epidemiology section, Minnesota Department of Health.
A study by Dr. Smith, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (340, 1999: 1525-32), showed that the percent of floroquinolone-resistant campylobactor appearing in infected people in his state-Minnesota-climbed from a little over 1% in infected people during 1992 to 10.2% in 1998. He and other scientists strongly suspect that the rise is a direct consequence of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) decision to allow floroquinolones in poultry feed beginning in 1995.
Although it was nearly impossible for Dr. Smith to trace the precise origin of campylobactor poisoning, he believes chicken was usually the source-and not just U.S. chicken. Many of the infected people had returned from Mexico and other countries.
"Sales of floroquinolones for poultry use in Mexico has increased dramatically," notes Dr. Smith.
Many alternative chicken producers do not use any antibiotic-laced feed at all. Other farmers adjust the feed to lower gut pH, making it more acidic and lowering chances of bacteria. At the U. of Wisconsin, Dr. Cook is developing antibodies to suppress the immune response to bacteria so chickens won't need antibiotics to spur growth. Buying and dining on chicken raised with little or no antibiotics could beneficially lower your risk of contracting a hardy bacterial infection. Better to catch campylobactor from an antibiotic-free chicken than a conventional chicken, speculates Dr. Cook. "There's less likelihood the bug will be resistant, and a better chance your problem can be cured with antibiotics," he explains.
And, looking beyond your own immediate health risk, buying antibiotic-free chicken makes a small contribution to stopping the spread of antibiotic resistant bugs. A Matter of Taste Conventionally raised chickens get little exercise and live only eight weeks, so they're tender but bland.
"There's not much taste in a modern chicken. Free range or organically grown, older birds usually have more taste," notes Dr. Cook.
The days of barnyard chickens happily clucking and strutting around in picturesque nature have disappeared with the family farm. Today, chickens lead a meager existence. After hatching, baby chicks are tossed into a gigantic hen house that is home to up to 30,000 birds. Their short lives are lived within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandated 3/4 square foot per chicken. In that squeeze, birds can catch "chicken influenza," especially in winter when it's too cold to let in much fresh air.
Laying hens don't experience much more of a peaceful existence. These birds live their years with about five other hens, so crowded they can't flap their wings. Cages, suspended in the air, let eggs roll into a holding area. So they don't peck each other, hens are often debeaked, a painful process that can cause infection.
Hens go through natural laying and "dry" cycles. Growers manipulate this cycle by "forced molting," depriving hens of food for four to 14 days to keep them constantly laying. By the end of two years, hens are worn out. Their inactivity weakens their bones enough that electrical stunning, the usual method for knocking chickens out before slaughter, shatters their bones. So some wind up being plucked and boiled alive, according to Mary Finelli, program director for farm animals and public health at the Humane Society of the United States. The meat from these hens, tougher than other birds, was probably in your deli lunch sandwich. It's also used in the school lunch program or may end up in dog food.
"Generally, organically-grown broilers and hens have it better because room to move is part of the organic certification process," says Finelli. Finelli suggests visiting chicken suppliers to find out how chickens are treated. Or, she advocates a Humane Society book listing reliable firms. For a local producer call the society: 202-452-1100. According to a Consumer Report report, some growers force chickens out the last week of their lives to brand them "free range." So free range isn't a prime standard for choosing a decently raised chicken. However, turkeys thrive outdoors, so choosing free-range turkey is often a good idea for better tasting poultry.
In any case, organic is your best bet for chicken without pesticides. Make it your main choice for your 80 pound yearly consumption!
To fight cruel treatment of poultry:
• Forced Molting Ban. Forced molting is shocking hens for more eggs. To support petitions banning forced molting write: Docket Manage-ment Branch, FDA, Dept. Health & Human Serv-ices, 12420 Parklawn Drive, Room 1-23, Rock-ville, MD 20857. Include docket # 98P-0203/CP
• Downed Animal Protection Bill (House Bill 443, Senate Bill S515) spares some animals from the tortuous journey from chicken house to slaughterhouse. Mandates humane euthanization.
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
June 13, 2005 03:44 PM
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
by Mary Ann Mayo & Joseph L. Mayo, MD Energy Times, September 4, 1999
It's front-page news. It's politically correct and socially acceptable. Talking about menopause is in. Suddenly it's cool to have hot flashes. Millions of women turning 50 in the next few years have catapulted the subject of menopause into high-definition prominence.
It's about time. Rarely discussed openly by women (what did your mother ever advise you?), meno-pause until recently was dismissed as "a shutting down experience characterized by hot flashes and the end of periods." Disparaging and depressing words like shrivel, atrophy, mood swings and melancholia peppered the scant scientific menopausal literature.
What a difference a few years and a very vocal, informed and assertive group of Baby Boomers make. Staggered by the burgeoning numbers of newly confrontational women who will not accept a scribbled prescription and a pat on the head as adequate treatment, health practitioners and researchers have been challenged to unravel, explain and deal with the challenges of menopause.
Not An Overnight Sensation
Menopause, researchers have discovered, is no simple, clear cut event in a woman's life. The "change of life" does not occur overnight. A woman's body may begin the transition toward menopause in her early 40s, even though her last period typically occurs around age 51. This evolutionary time before the final egg is released is called the perimenopause. Erratic monthly hormone levels produce unexpected and sometimes annoying sensations.
Even as their bodies adjust to lower levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, some women don't experience typical signs of menopause until after the final period. A fortunate one-third have few or no discomforts.
According to What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause (Warner Books) by John R. Lee, MD, Jesse Hanley, MD, and Virginia Hopkins, "The steroid hormones are intimately related to each other, each one being made from another or turned back into another depending on the needs of the body...But the hormones themselves are just part of the picture. It takes very specific combinations of vitamins, minerals and enzymes to cause the transformation of one hormone into another and then help the cell carry out the hormone's message. If you are deficient in one of the important hormone-transforming substances such as vitamin B6 or magnesium, for example, that too can throw your hormones out of balance. Thyroid and insulin problems, toxins, bad food and environmental factors, medication and liver function affect nutrient and hormone balance."
The most important reproductive hormones include:
Estrogen: the female hormone produced by the ovaries from puberty through menopause to regulate the menstrual cycle and prepare the uterus for pregnancy. Manufacture drops significantly during menopause. Estradiol is a chemically active and efficient form of estrogen that binds to many tissues including the uterus, breasts, ovaries, brain and heart through specific estrogen receptors that allow it to enter those cells, stimulating many chemical reactions. Estriol and estrone are additional forms of estrogen.
Progesterone: also produced by the ovaries, it causes tissues to grow and thicken, particularly during pregnancy, when it protects and nurtures the fetus. Secretion ceases during menopause.
Testosterone: Women produce about one-twentieth of what men do, but require it to support sex drive. About half of all women quit secreting testosterone during menopause.
Estrogen's Wide Reach
Since estrogen alone influences more than 400 actions on the body, chiefly stimulating cell growth, the effects of its fluctuations can be far-reaching and extremely varied: hot (and cold) flashes, erratic periods, dry skin (including the vaginal area), unpredictable moods, fuzzy thinking, forgetfulness, fatigue, low libido, insomnia and joint and muscle pain.
Young women may experience premature menopause, which can occur gradually, as a matter of course, or abruptly with hysterectomy (even when the ovaries remain) or as a result of chemotherapy. Under such conditions symptoms can be severe.
In the 1940s doctors reasoned that if most discomforts were caused by diminishing estrogen (its interactive role with progesterone and testosterone were underestimated), replacing it would provide relief. When unchecked estrogen use resulted in high rates of uterine cancer, physicians quickly began adding progesterone to their estrogen regimens and the problem appeared solved.
For the average woman, however, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) became suspect and controversial, especially when a link appeared between extended use of HRT (from five to 10 years) and an increase in breast and endometrial cancers (Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 37, 1997). The result: Women have drawn a line in the sand between themselves and their doctors.
Resolving The Impasse
Since hormone replacement reduces the risk of major maladies like heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, colon cancer and diabetes that would otherwise significantly rise as reproductive hormone levels decrease, most doctors recommend hormone replacement shortly before or as soon as periods stop. Hormone replacement also alleviates the discomforts of menopause.
But only half of all women fill their HRT prescriptions and, of those who do, half quit within a year. Some are simply indifferent to their heightened medical risks. Some are indeed aware but remain unconvinced of the safety of HRT. Others complain of side effects such as bloating, headaches or drowsiness.
Women's resistance to wholesale HRT has challenged researchers to provide more secure protection from the diseases to which they become vulnerable during menopause, as well as its discomforts. If the conventional medical practitioners do not hear exactly what modern women want, the complementary medicine community does. Turning to centuries-old botanicals, they have validated and compounded them with new technology. Their effectiveness depends on various factors including the synergistic interaction of several herbs, specific preparation, the correct plant part and dosage, harvesting and manufacturing techniques.
Research demonstrates that plant hormones (phytoestrogens) protect against stronger potentially carcinogenic forms of estrogen while safely providing a hormone effect. Other herbs act more like tonics, zipping up the body's overall function.
Help From Herbs
Clinical trials and scientific processing techniques have resulted in plant-based supplements like soy and other botanicals that replicate the form and function of a woman's own estrogen.
The complementary community also can take credit for pushing the conventional medical community to look beyond estrogen to progesterone in postmenopausal health.
Natural soy or Mexican yam derived progesterone is formulated by pharmacologists in creams or gels that prevent estrogen-induced overgrowth of the uterine lining (a factor in uterine cancer), protect against heart disease and osteoporosis and reduce hot flashes (Fertility and Sterility 69, 1998: 96-101).
A quarter of the women who take the popularly prescribed synthetic progesterone report increased tension, fatigue and anxiety; natural versions have fewer side effects.
These "quasi-medicines," as Tori Hudson, a leading naturopathic doctor and professor at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Oregon, calls them, are considered "stronger than a botanical but weaker than a medicine." (Hudson is author of Gynecology and Naturopathic Medicine: A Treatment Manual.)
According to Hudson, the amount of estrogen and progesterone in these supplements is much less than medical hormone replacement but equally efficacious in relieving menopausal problems and protecting the heart and bones.
According to a study led by Harry K. Genant, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, "low-dose" plant estrogen derived from soy and yam, supplemented with calcium, prevents bone loss without such side effects as increased vaginal bleeding and endometrial hypoplasia, abnormal uterine cell growth that could be a precursor to endometrial cancer (Archives of Internal Medicine 157, 1997: 2609-2615).
These herbal products, including natural progesterone and estrogen in the form of the weaker estriol or estrone, may block the effect of the stronger and potentially DNA-damaging estradiol.
Soy in its myriad dietary and supplemental forms provides a rich source of isoflavones and phytosterols, both known to supply a mild estrogenic effect that can stimulate repair of the vaginal walls (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-46).
To enhance vaginal moisture, try the herb cimicifuga racemosa, the extract of black cohosh that, in capsule form, builds up vaginal mucosa (Therapeuticum 1, 1987: 23-31). Traditional Chinese herbal formulas containing roots of rehmannia and dong quai have long been reputed to promote vaginal moisture.
Clinical research in Germany also confirms the usefulness of black cohosh in preventing hot flashes and sweating, as well as relieving nervousness, achiness and depressed moods caused by suppressed hormone levels. It works on the hypothalamus (the body's thermostat, appetite and blood pressure monitor), pituitary gland and estrogen receptors. Green tea is steeped with polyphenols, mainly flavonoids, that exert a massive antioxidant influence against allergens, viruses and carcinogens. The risks of estrogen-related cancers such as breast cancer are particularly lowered by these flavonoids, as these substances head directly to the breast's estrogen receptors. About three cups a day exert an impressive anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, antiviral and anticarcinogenic effect.
Other phytoestrogen-rich botanicals, according to Susun Weed's Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way (Ash Tree Publishing), include motherwort and lactobacillus acidophilus to combat vaginal dryness; hops and nettles for sleep disturbances; witch hazel and shepherd's purse for heavy bleeding; motherwort and chasteberry for mood swings; dandelion and red clover for hot flashes.
Our Need For Supplements
Adding micronutrients at midlife to correct and counter a lifetime of poor diet and other habits is a step toward preventing the further development of the degenerative diseases to which we become vulnerable. At the very minimum, you should take:
a multivitamin/mineral supplement vitamin E calcium
Your multivitamin/mineral should contain vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Look for a wide variety of antioxidants that safeguard you from free radical damage, believed to promote heart disease and cancer, as well as contribute to the aging process.
Also on the list: mixed carotenoids such as lycopene, alpha carotene and vitamin C; and folic acid to help regulate cell division and support the health of gums, red blood cells, the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system.
Studies indicate a deficiency of folic acid (folate) in 30% of coronary heart disease, blood vessel disease and strokes; lack of folate is thought to be a serious risk factor for heart disease (OB.GYN News, July 15, 1997, page 28).
Extra vitamin E is believed to protect against breast cancer and bolster immune strength in people 65 and older (Journal of the American Medical Association 277, 1997: 1380-86). It helps relieve vaginal dryness, breast cysts and thyroid problems and, more recently, hit the headlines as an aid in reducing the effects of Alzheimer's and heart disease. It is suspected to reduce the thickening of the carotid arterial walls and may prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which contributes to the formation of plaque in arteries.
Selenium also has been identified as an assistant in halting cancer (JAMA 276, 1996: 1957-63).
The Omegas To The Rescue
Essential fatty acids found in cold water fish, flaxseed, primrose and borage oils and many nuts and seeds are essential for the body's production of prostaglandin, biochemicals which regulate hormone synthesis, and numerous physiological responses including muscle contraction, vascular dilation and the shedding of the uterine lining. They influence hormonal balance, reduce dryness and relieve hot flashes.
In addition, the lignans in whole flaxseed behave like estrogen and act aggressively against breast cancer, according to rat and human studies at the University of Toronto (Nutr Cancer 26, 1996: 159-65).
Research has demonstrated that these omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can reverse the cancer-causing effects of radiation and other carcinogens (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 74, 1985: 1145-50). Deficiencies may cause swelling, increased blood clotting, breast pain, hot flashes, uterine and menstrual cramps and constipation. Fatigue, lack of endurance dry skin and hair and frequent colds may signal EFA shortage. Plus, fatty fish oils, along with vitamin D and lactose, help absorption of calcium, so vital for maintaining bone mass.
In addition, studies show that the natural substance Coenzyme A may help menopausal women reduce cholesterol and increase fat utilization (Med Hyp 1995; 44, 403, 405). Some researchers belive Coenzyme A plays a major role in helping women deal with stress while strengthening immunity.
Can't shake those menopausal woes? Menopause imposters may be imposing on you: The risk of thyroid disease, unrelenting stress, PMS, adrenal burnout, poor gastrointestinal health and hypoglycemia all increase at midlife. Menopause is a handy hook on which to hang every misery, ache and pain but it may only mimic the distress of other ailments. For this reason every midlife woman should have a good medical exam with appropriate tests to determine her baseline state of health. Only with proper analysis can you and your health practitioner hit on an accurate diagnosis and satisfying course of therapy.
And if menopause is truly the issue, you have plenty of company. No woman escapes it. No woman dies from it. It is not a disease but a reminder that one-third of life remains to be lived. Menopausal Baby Boomers can anticipate tapping into creative energy apart from procreation. If not new careers, new interests await. An altered internal balance empowers a menopausal woman to direct, perhaps for the first time, her experience of life. She has come of age-yet again. Gone is the confusion, uncertainty, or dictates of a hormone driven life: This time wisdom and experience direct her. There is no need to yearn for youth or cower at the conventional covenant of old age. Menopause is the clarion call to reframe, reevaluate and reclaim.
Mary Ann Mayo and Joseph L. Mayo, MD, are authors of The Menopause Manager (Revell) and executive editors of Health Opportunities for Women (HOW). Telephone number 877-547-5499 for more information.
Botanical Arsenal - Plants can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly ...
June 13, 2005 10:31 AM
Botanical Arsenal by Fred Thomas Energy Times, May 3, 1999
The complexities surrounding the various types of cancer stem from the variety of ways in which these diseases can wreak their havoc. Luckily, the equally complex world of plants contains novel compounds that can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly progress.
Research into these botanical compounds is mushrooming. An example: The mighty maitake, a fungus with flair, alternately known as the king (it can grow as large as a basketball, worth its weight in silver to the ancient Japanese); the prince; the Hen of the Woods (it sticks out of from trees when it grows in the wild); and the dancing mushroom to those who leaped for joy when they found one growing in its native northeastern Japan.
Researchers today dub it with a new moniker: Herbal Heavyweight.
Mushroom with Potential
The maitake, with such other medicinal mushrooms as shiitake and reishi, historically has been eaten to promote general well-being and vitality. In the modern lab, however, scientists focus on the potent immune enhancing powers of maitake, which spotlight its cancer fighting potential.
Twenty years ago, maitake, Grifola frondosa, was an obscure, largely unavailable mushroom. A series of significant Japanese studies then catapulted it into prominence-and popularity.
Hiroaki Nanba, PhD, of the department of immunology at Kobe Women's College of Pharmacy on Kobe, Japan, and a leading international researcher on maitake, conducted the preliminary tests on the mushroom, demonstrating that it stimulates immune function and inhibits tumor growth.
In 1986, Dr. Nanba fed powdered maitake to mice injected with tumor cells; 86.3% displayed inhibited tumor growth.
Dr. Nanba and his colleagues went on to run additional mouse tests, finally reporting that this potent mushroom "directly activates various effector cells (macrophages, natural killer cells, killer T-cells, etc.) to attack tumor cells."
From then, maitake mushrooms were headed to fame as cancer ninjas.
Stoking The Immune Engine
Like other mushrooms, maitake is rich in complex polysaccharides, immunomodulators that successive tests after Dr. Nanba's have shown to be effective in cancer and AIDS treatment.
The polysaccharides in maitake have a unique structure, rendering them some of the most powerful to be studied (Chem Pharm Bull 1987:35:1162-8).
What makes maitake a particularly hot property is beta-D-glucan, its primary polysaccharide. Studies show that the body absorbs it readily, at which point it effectively stimulates interleukin-1, natural killer cells and macrophages, anti-tumor warriors that battle solid cancers (Chemotherapy 1990;38:790-6; also International Conference on AIDS, Amsterdam, 1992).
Effective And Safe
In addition to lab tests, trials on people have shown that maitake may offer powerful therapy against liver and stomach cancer (studies in China), breast and colon cancer (US research) and Kaposi's Sarcoma, the virulent cancer attacking AIDS sufferers.
Importantly, studies show that no side effects or interactions accompany maitake's efficacy.
Maitake fortunately has won the interest and enthusiasm of the scientific community. Currently, researchers at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, headed by Denis Miller, MD, are completing an exhaustive test of the anticancer and immunostimulatory actions of maitake on folks with advanced colorectal cancer. These investigators hypothesize that the polysaccharide beta-glucans derived from the fruitbody of maitake fight tumors and boost immune function. "Though it cannot be said that maitake ...[is] the cancer cure," said Dr. Nanba in his closing remarks at the Adjuvant Nutrition in Cancer Treatment Symposium in Tampa, Florida, in October 1995, "one can safely say that they do maintain the quality of life of patients and improve the immune system, resulting in the possible remission of cancer cells with no side effects."
More Bodily Benefits
Maitake maven Dr. Nanba also has tested-with strongly positive results-the effect of maitake on blood glucose, insulin and triglycerides in mice, whose levels of all three substances declined when they were fed the mushroom (H. Nanba working paper, Anti-Diabetic Activity by Maitake Mushroom, 1994).
With colleagues, Dr. Nanba showed that maitake lowered blood pressure in hypertensive rats (Chem. Phann. Bu//36:1000-1006,1988). Other studies suggest it may accelerate weight loss.
This admirable adaptogen (meaning it helps the body adapt to stress and normalize its functions) is water soluble and may be eaten in food or taken as a supplement. Vitamin C is believed to intensify maitake's beta-glucans and enhance their absorption.
It's not just what you eat that may help protect against cancer, but what you drink as well. Research from China and Japan, where tea is the everyday drink and rates of several cancers like breast and prostate are lower, may persuade you to turn over a new leaf in your own beverage choice. One of the first studies to spark interest in tea came from Shanghai (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, June 1, 1994), where people who drank two to three cups a day were found to have about a 60% reduction in the risk of cancer of the esophagus. The reason: tea leaves contain compounds called polyphenols, potent antioxidants.
In fact, in tests at the University of Kansas, three of these, known as catechins, far outshone the common antioxidant vitamins C and E. Clinical trials are just starting, but early results are encouraging. A team of Chinese scientists reported that in a third of people with precancerous mouth sores who drank three cups of a mixture of green and black tea the lesions shrank significantly.
Researchers at the Saitama Cancer Center in Japan found that green tea seems to improve the prognosis of breast cancer. They followed a group of women with early-stage tumors for seven years. Those who drank more than five cups of green tea a day were only half as likely to suffer a recurrence as patients who consumed fewer than four cups a day.
And at the University of Indiana, toxicologist James Klaunig found that the lungs of cigarette smokers who drank the equivalent of six cups of tea a day suffered 40 to 50 percent less damage from the toxins in smoke, potentially lowering their risk of lung cancer and other pulmonary problems. Simultaneously, research from Purdue University suggests tea's cancer-discouraging powers go beyond being an antioxidant. Scientists Dorothy and D. James Morre showed that a tea catechin dubbed EGCG inhibits a growth-promoting enzyme on the surface of many cancer cells-happily without affecting normal cells. And researchers at the Ohio State University College of Medicine found that EGCG counteracted another enzyme, urokinase, that helps cancer cells spread. To top it off, Mayo Clinic scientists recently showed that EGCG prompted prostate cancer cells to commit suicide (Cancer Letters, Aug. 14, 1998).
So far, most tea research has focused on green tea, and investigators agree it's more potent than the black tea most Americans favor. But because both kinds come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis (it's the processing that makes the difference as black tea is fermented, green tea isn't) both contain cancer-fighting polyphenols, just in different quantities. As long as the tea you drink (even decaffeinated) is fresh brewed, it's likely to provide some benefit; powdered and prepared teas probably don't. And adding milk may dilute the effect.
Astragalus Against Tumors
Astragalus, an herb commonly used in Asia to boost stamina, has impressed western doctors for its potential for helping people cope with chemotherapy. As John Diamon, MD, W. Lee Cowden, MD and Burton Goldberg point out in the Definitive Guide to Cancer (Future Medicine), "Astragalus appears to protect the liver against the harmful toxic effects of chemotherapy and may be effective in treating terminally ill liver cancer patients." (They cite a study in the Jrnl of Ethnopharmacology 1990, 30:145-149.) In addition, they point out, research in Japan supports using a ginseng-astragalus combination to improve the function of natural killer (NK) cells which can boost immunity (Japanese Jrnl of Allergy, 37:2, 1998, 107-114).
Other studies confirm astragalus' potential in fighting off cancer. Research at the General Hospital of PLA, Beijing, showed that flavonoids (pigments) in astragalus could help protect cell membranes from oxidative damage caused by ultraviolet exposure (Chung Kuo Chung Yao Tsa Chih, 21(12):746-8; 1996 Dec).
A study of laboratory animals at Cunma University in Maebashi, Japan, found that Astragalus could help preserve immune function against the harmful side effects of chemotherapy (Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih, 15(2):101-3, 1995 Feb).
Like a flame attracting moths, garlic bulbs have irresistibly drawn the attention of medical researchers. A study at Aarhus University, Denmark, found that skin cells in laboratory dishes treated with garlic supplements lived longer, healthier lives than untreated cells (Jrnl Ethnopharm, 1994. 43:125-133).
Meanwhile, a long list of research demonstrates that garlic's phytochemicals may fight tumors and reduce the carcinogenicity of the pollutants and chemicals that assault us daily. A study in China reported in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine showed that garlic helped slow tumors in lab animals (1983, 11:69-73). Another study in the Journal of Nutrition found that compounds in garlic could "suppress the growth of human colon tumor cells" (126, 1355-1361).
Added to those benefits, Robert A. Nagourney, MD, reports in the Journal of Medicinal Food (1:1, 1998, 13-28), garlic may "modify the carcinogenicity of foodstuffs." In other words, studies show that garlic can make chemicals in foods like pork less likely to cause your cells to become cancerous. (Ind J Physiol Pharmacol, 39:347-353).
DNA, the stuff that genes are made of, face constant threats from free radicals, caustic molecules that can alter cellular structure and possibly cause genetic mutations that lead to cancer. But research into what are called oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC), flavonoids (pigments) derived from fruits vegetables, grape seed extract and the bark of maritime pine trees shows that OPC may be able to shield DNA from injury.
In particular, studies of a grape seed extract called Activin have demonstrated this substance can help liver cell DNA escape a destructive process called peroxidation (FASEB, 11:3, 2/28/97).
In these experiments, Activin demonstrated the ability to inhibit the growth of tumor cells as well as slow the replication enzymes of HIV viruses. This protective ability proved to be more potent than that of vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin E.
What does the future promise to reveal? Scientists believe that many unexamined plants probably contain undiscovered phytochemicals that hold great potential for helping us fight the cancer epidemic.
Certainly, if the next few years produce as many results as the past decade, the next millennium will witness a long line of cancer-prevention discoveries. Before long, you should be able to take advantage of these potent substances.
As you gulp your garlic, tip your tea cup, mull your maitake, acquire Activin and await your astragalus, you may meditate on what may soon be added to our growing anti-cancer arsenal. Undoubtedly, scientists with a botanical bent will be uncovering more coveted anti-cancer secrets before too long.
Hearty Soy - Soy will cater to your cardiovascular well-being...
June 13, 2005 10:19 AM
Hearty Soy by Joyce Dewon Energy Times, January 5, 2004
It's a diet food, it's a health food. Any way you look at it or eat it, soy's combination of benefits and its versatility as a component of a heart-healthy diet have led to a widespread popularity that continues to grow.
No matter what your taste preference, a soy food is available to satisfy your picky palate and cater to your cardiovascular well-being.
Annual sales of soy in the US continue to grow more than 10% a year, edging toward the $4 billion mark. Today, the average American consumes about 10 mg of soy protein a day, even though the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends taking in at least 25 mg of soy to benefit your heart. Even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has signaled its approval of the soy bandwagon, allowing claims that daily soy can help lower the risk of cardiovascular complications.
As Good as a Drug
Researchers who have investigated how soy can help lower cholesterol and shrink the risk of heart disease have concluded that soy, in a diet with fruits and vegetables, can be as effective as cholesterol-reducing drugs (JAMA 7/22/03).
Researchers at the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital compared the cholesterol-lowering power of soy and other vegetarian foods with that of lovastatin, a standard pharmaceutical used to reduce cholesterol.
In the study, scientists fed people a diet that, along with soy, had large amounts of nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, and high-fiber foods like oats and barley plus margarine made with plant sterols (natural substances derived from leafy greens and vegetable oils). Researcher David Jenkins, PhD, a nutrition science professor, thinks these foods may be good at dropping cholesterol because human evolution makes us well-adapted for an "ape diet," one high in fiber, vegetable protein, nuts and plant sterols.
According to Dr. Jenkins, "As we age, we tend to get raised cholesterol, which in turn increases our risk of heart disease. This study shows that people now have a dietary alternative to drugs to control their cholesterol, at least initially." Dr. Jenkins also thinks that soy and a vegetarian diet can be used to maintain normal cholesterol levels.
Dr. Jenkins' heart-healthy diet, designed to be easily prepared and consumed, includes oat bran bread and cereal, soy drinks, fruit and soy deli slices. For instance, in his study, a typical dinner consisted of tofu baked with eggplant, onions and sweet peppers, pearled barley and vegetables.
Dr. Jenkins adds, "The Food and Drug Administration has approved these cholesterol-lowering foods as having legitimate health claims for heart disease risk reduction. They're also being recommended by the American Heart Association and the National Cholesterol Education Program as foods that should be incorporated into the diet. And we have now proven that these foods have an almost identical effect on lowering cholesterol as the original cholesterol-reducing drugs."
Dr. Jenkins regrets that health practitioners often give drugs to people with high cholesterol instead of trying to control the problem with soy and other vegetarian foods.
Soy Safety Affirmed
Recently, some doctors have spread the story that soy may increase the risk of cancer because natural chemicals in soy act like estrogens, hormones that may contribute to breast and other cancers. However, research has failed to support this supposition.
As Dr. Jenkins points out, "the concerns have been whether soy estrogen might lead to hormone-dependent breast cancer or abnormal sexual development in children, yet we found no evidence to support this."
In another of Dr. Jenkins' studies, people were put on diets high in soy to see how their estrogen levels were affected. Then, the researchers measured estrogen byproducts in their urine. Since estrogen stimulates breast cancer cells to produce a special protein, the researchers measured the amount of this protein produced by each urine sample to calculate how much estrogen was present.
The total estrogenic activity in the urine of women on soy dropped to lower levels than it had been before they ate soy. "This finding suggests that soy may not have the estrogenic effects that were thought to alleviate menopausal symptoms but it refutes claims about its purported hormone risks," Dr. Jenkins says.
The study also demonstrated that soy can reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering levels of oxidized cholesterol, which is thought to stick to coronary artery walls and form dangerous plaques. Dr. Jenkins' other research demonstrates that soy consumption reduces cholesterol in general while also decreasing the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body and maintaining the HDL (good) cholesterol. According to Dr. Jenkins, this confirms that soy should be promoted for its important role in preventing heart disease without fear that it will promote cancer.
In another study in China, researchers compared the dietary habits of more than 350 women with breast cancer to the foods eaten by more than 1,000 women who did not have cancer (Amer Assoc Canc Res Second Annual Intl Conf Fron Can Prev Res 10/27/03, Abst 1274). They found that eating large amounts of soy did not raise the risk of breast cancer.
Of course, anyone can develop allergies to almost any food, soy included. If eating soy causes you discomfort, find another source of healthy protein (see box on whey protein above).
Isoflavones, soy's plant estrogens, are believed to create some of the most significant heart-healthy soy benefits. Consequently, researchers urge those concerned about their cardiovascular health to combine a diet high in soy, fruits and vegetables with exercise for the highest level of heart protection. Cheaper than cholesterol drugs, tastier than many other healthy foods and available in so many forms, soy's popularity will certainly continue to explode. Soy burgers, soy drinks and soy just-about-everything will continue to be a big part of our lives.
The Flex Factor
June 11, 2005 05:18 PM
The Flex Factor by Thomas Dunville Energy Times, February 10, 2004
Arthritis, according to recent research, presents its sufferers with a Catch-22: The nagging pain of this condition can send your spirits plummeting. But, then, the depression spurred by the disconsolate persistence of arthritic pain can make the condition worse.
Part of the trick is not to give in. If you can keep a bright mood even as your joints start to ache, the pain may lessen.
While nobody can offer a guaranteed, 100% effective cure for arthritis, you don't have to be a passive victim. Exercise, the proper nutrients and a positive, can-do attitude can ease arthritis pain so effectively that scientists have been able to measure the difference. While medical researchers recognize the existence of over 100 types of arthritis, most people with achy joints suffer from osteoarthritis, which is caused by everyday wear and is found in just about everyone over age 60. When this condition occurs, the body's cushioning, its cartilage, thins and the inner surfaces of joints grind together painfully.
Although aging itself increases your chances of enduring achy joints, other factors can also put you in the way of osteoarthritis. If you carry too much weight, it can wear on your joints. In addition, suffering a joint injury when you're young can increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis as you age.
In another prevalent form of joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the membranes lining the joints, causing swelling and pain. About 2 million Americans suffer from RA, which affects women about twice as often as men.
Exercise Away Arthritic Woes
Weekend warriors, don't despair! Arthritis doesn't have to mean the end of your weekend athletic wars. Matter of fact, in many cases, experts now recommend exercise to reduce the effects of arthritis.
While that might sound counterintuitive, a study out of the Netherlands shows that folks in the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis who work out twice a week for about an hour each session may enjoy better physical and mental health than couch potatoes who receive physical therapy.
The Dutch study took 150 people, many of whom had just started to suffer from rheumatism, and enrolled them in RAPIT, an acronym for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients in Training. Rather than letting these folks rest their inflamed joints, twice a week the research team took them to the gym where they did:
When the researchers compared the physical changes in these arthritis sufferers with 150 others with similar arthritis complaints who underwent physical therapy without organized physical activity, they found that after two years the exercisers had benefited greatly. They were stronger and more aerobically fit, could perform everyday tasks more effectively and possessed a better, more optimistic mental attitude (Arthritis and Rheumatism 2003; 48(9):2415-24).
However, the exercisers who were already suffering severe rheumatoid arthritis did experience some extra joint damage, so the researchers believe this kind of program is better for those in the early stages of the disease. " This study demonstrates that participation in long-term high-intensity exercise classes decreases the level of psychological distress in RA patients," says researcher Zuzana de Jong, MD, a professor at the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands.
Fish Oil Lowers Arthritis Risk
Fish oil-in particular, cod liver oil-may be able to help ease osteoarthritis.
In looking at the effects of fish oil, researchers at Cardiff, Wales, discovered indications that "...the omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil can reduce cartilage degradation and inflammation in arthritic disease," according to Bruce Caterson, PhD, one of the scientists involved.
Dr. Caterson adds, "Our most recent work shows that by exposing human osteoarthritic cartilage to cod liver oil in the laboratory for just 24 hours we can turn off, or reverse, the action of the degradative enzymes and inflammatory factors affecting the tissue." John Harwood, PhD, another member of the Cardiff research team, adds, "This is where science and old wives' tales coincide. Our findings are consistent with advice that taking cod liver oil in early adulthood could prevent the onset of osteoarthritis and would reduce the harmful symptoms associated with the disease."
Dr. Caterson further explains that the omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil inhibit enzymes that break down aggrecan and collagen, substances that cushion joints. Consequently, cartilage stays healthier, inflammation is lessened and arthritic pain decreases. The anti-inflammatory action of omega-3s in fighting rheumatoid arthritis is also supported by studies performed in the US (Am J Clin Nutr 2000; 71(1 Suppl):349S-51S).
Other research shows that if you take natural vitamin E along with fish oil, you may improve even further your odds of relieving arthritis or lessening its effects (JACN 10/30/00).
Glucosamine, the stuff that cartilage is made from, has been shown to lower the risk of arthritis and possibly relieve its pain. This natural substance, made from a sugar and a molecule called an amine, is a building block of joint tissue. As a result, experts believe, when you take it in supplemental form, the body may use it to repair joints that have been damaged by arthritis. For instance, an investigation of osteoarthritis of the knee performed at the University of Liege in Belgium showed that taking glucosamine could stop joints from deteriorating.
The study, which involved more than 200 people suffering from osteoarthritis, found that in three years of taking glucosamine supplements, many arthritis sufferers found that their condition actually improved (Lancet 2001 Jan 27; 357).
Other Arthritis Fighters
Chondroitin sulfate is another material that goes into the making of cartilage. Chondroitin helps cartilage stay hydrated and permits the flow of nutrients through the joint tissues. In addition, researchers believe that chondroitin helps fight inflammation, which can otherwise cause pain and stiffness as well as joint destruction.
Taken together with glucosamine, chondroitin is believed to hasten the healing of bone and cartilage. Another substance that may help ease the ache of arthritis is methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), a naturally occurring sulfur-bearing compound. "MSM appears to have anti-inflammatory effects when administered orally, intravenously or topically," says MSM researcher Stanley Jacob, MD, FACS, of the Oregon Health & Science University. That means it has shown an ability to reduce the heat, pain and swelling associated with arthritic conditions. MSM may also be able to reduce muscle spasms around joints and reduce the formation of scar tissue.
Herbal medicine has long been used by folks with achy joints. The yellow spice turmeric (Curcuma longa), a staple of Indian cooking, is a traditional Indian remedy for arthritis because of its painkilling properties. Ginger (Zingiber officinale), another culinary favorite, restrains the production of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. And willow bark (Salix sp), the source of aspirin, is longer-acting and doesn't irritate the stomach lining.
Those who suffer arthritis know that its pain and discomfort are often no laughing matter. But if you don't take arthritis lying down and manage to keep a smile on your face-and avail yourself of nature's remedies-you can get the upper hand on this often debilitating condition.
Immunity - The Big Picture
June 10, 2005 09:51 PM
Immunity: The Big Picture by Brian Amherst Energy Times, August 3, 1999
Your body wants to be well. Outfitted with a battalion of defenses for strategic deployment, your immune system explodes with resistant force at the first sign of infective invasion.
Think of the time a tiny splinter embedded itself in your thumb. By bedtime, the spot rose and reddened; by morning, white blood cells had launched their campaign, building a hot, throbbing fortification. By day's end, the bit of wood was propelled to the surface and ejected by the immune system warriors. Once again, a foreign assailant was summarily ousted.
The Protective Force
"Supporting the immune system is critical to good health. Conversely, good health is critical to supporting the immune system." So write naturopathic doctors Michael T. Murray and Joseph E. Pizzorno in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima).
Maintaining the immune system requires a comprehensive program of wholesome diet, resilient attitude, fitness enhancing activity and nutrients keyed to the clear and specific needs of this energetic machine.
The all-star lineup for immune sustenance: a high-potency multiple vitamin/mineral formula, vitamins C and A, bioflavonoids, isoflavones, zinc and selenium, antioxidants like ActiVin (grape seed extract) and pycnogenol (French maritime pine bark), as well as the botanicals echinacea and astragalus.
But optimal partnering with your immune system also benefits from understanding its workings.
Lymph, a milky fluid consisting of water protein and immune cells, is the essence of the immune system. Powered by muscle movement (an important reason why exercise boosts immunity), the lymphatic system collects and transports lymph to the lymph nodes. These nodes contain certain immune cells and filter out invading antigens, as well as produce antibodies, before siphoning the lymph out into the bloodstream.
If you've ever had "swollen glands," that means your lymph nodes have been in overdrive.
Macrophages are the immune cells that filter lymph, consuming bacteria and cellular debris while protecting the lymph system from invasion and damage.
The White Blood Cell Album
In Monocytes collect cellular trash after infections and can trigger immune responses; eosinophils can eliminate foreign particles and, with basophils, are involved in immune response.
In Lymphocytes include varieties of T cells, which work with other white blood cells or attack and destroy foreign tissue, cancer cells or virus-infected cells; B cells that produce antibodies that bind to bacteria, viruses or tumors; and natural killer cells (NKCs) that destroy cancerous or virally-infected cells.
(Based on information in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine; The Road to Immunity: How to Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) by Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin; and the Johns Hopkins Family Health Book (Harper Resource).
Keep the System Sound
"But you must always be sure to maintain the mind-body-spirit link," he told Energy Times. "For the mind, it could be exercise, yoga or meditation. Evidence shows improved immune system responses from these therapies. And in any case, you never read in the headlines that somebody has been admitted to the emergency room overdosing on meditation.
"Intentionality also is an important part of the mind link: believing you are going to fare well. For your spirit, you must ask yourself such questions as, Do I feel connected to others?
"For the body, a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement. Much depends on your community: I live on Long Island, where there is a high incidence of breast cancer, so I would recommend green tea and isoflavones from soy products for women."
Dr. Benjamin stresses moderation in the use of immune-intensifying supplements, among which he cites mixed carotenoids, zinc and vitamin E.
The Soy Solution
In a study conducted by the University of Southern California at Norris and published in the March 4, 1998 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers reported that genistein, an active component of soy products, short-circuits the ability of tumor cells to elude destruction by the immune system due to an excess of defensive stress proteins.
Genistein seems to make cancer cells vulnerable to the immune response. Researchers at Wake Forest University told participants at the January 1999 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that dietary or supplemental soy fed to monkeys counteracted cell proliferation that is a cancer precursor.
That Championship C
Immune cells are known to accumulate and retain high levels of vitamin C. Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York now understand how that happens: Proteins called growth factors (which control growth and production of immune cells) also increase those cells' ability to take up vitamin C.
These researchers, reporting in the April 1998 issue of the journal Blood, explain that the additional glucose that the growth factors pump into immune cells (for enhanced energy), plus extra vitamin C, intensify immune response.
And folks with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood serum experience less cell damage from free radicals that leads to cancer, heart and pulmonary disease and other chronic conditions.
Scientists at the University of Buffalo (addressing the June 13, 1997 meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research) deduced from studying population groups that high levels of vitamin C are associated with low oxidative stress and lower risk of cell damage.
From A to Zinc
In Colostrum, the pre-milk liquid produced by mammals during the first 24 to 48 hours after birth, took the spotlight recently as a supplement imbued with multiple immune factors and natural antibiotics that augment body's immune response. A 1992 study showed that bovine colostrum might be able to reduce and prevente infections in immune deficient folks, especially those with AIDS.
In University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers found for the first time (on laboratory animals) that vitamin D appreciably inhibits widespread prostate cancer by binding to cancer cells and triggering cell death or their transformation to benign cells.
In Vitamin E exerts formidable immune-enhancing influence on both antibody and cell-mediated immunity. One fundamental study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (245, 1981: 53-58) established conclusively that vitamin E deficiency results in significant impairment of immune function. Later studies demonstrated that it reduces prostate cancer by up to one-third.
In Coenzyme A, described as a metabolic enzyme, takes part in starting numerous body processes that provide energy for the immune system. If you ever run short of this enzyme, fat processing within your body would grind to a halt.
in Researchers looking at a substance with the tongue twisting name 3-acetyl-7-oxo-Dehydroepiandro-sterone, believe it aids immunity by quelling stress hormones.
in Mushrooms contain natural substances called polysaccharides, believed to enhance immunity. In particular, maitake mushroom, which conveys the immune booster beta-D-glucans, is reputed to help fight infections and drop blood pressure.
in Men and women taking selenium supplements for 10 years had 41% less total cancer than those taking a dummy, according to a January 1997 study by Cornell University and the University of Arizona. Other studies have shown it to reduce the risk for colon cancer by about 60%. n Zinc may provide immediate protection against the all too common cold. Scientists at the University of Florida were the first to apply genetic fingerprinting methods like those used in criminal and paternity investigations to understand how nutrients directly affect human immune cells.
The study, in the April 1998 Journal of Nutrition, demonstrates that zinc signals cells to make the protein metallothionein, which protects against infections, toxins and other stressors.
Phytochemicals a la Carte
n Isoflavones from soy, fight angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels form to supply nutrients to cancerous growths. n Sulforaphane in broccoli, kale and cabbage activates anticancer enzymes.
n Omega-3 fatty acids in cold water fish block the synthesis of prostaglandins, natural compounds in the body that promote tumor growth.
n Ginger contains antioxidant compounds, each more potent than vitamin E. Recent studies on mice show ginger can prevent skin tumors. n Rosemary contains carnosol which deactivates carcinogens and helps limit the effects of prostaglandins.
Sometimes the world can look like a dangerous place, especially when you're sick and tired much of the time. But in the search for immunity, menus of health help like this ensure that no matter what your immunity needs, a boost can be yours with the proper nutrient selection.
June 10, 2005 05:32 PM
Allergy Alleviation by Cal Orey , February 2, 2002
Allergy Alleviation By Cal Orey
Welcome to the stuffed up world of seasonal allergic rhinitis: the wheezing, sneezing "inhalant allergies" that torment 35 million Americans. Adding insult to sinus pain, other allergens attack year-round. Air pollution, dust mites (microscopic gremlins that infest bedding, upholstery and rugs) and animal dander trigger allergies-or other respiratory ailments-in any season. Urban air is full of rubber tire particles, a true blowout for those with latex sensitivity. Altogether, roughly 50 million Americans-about one in five-suffer from some form of allergy, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). Tired of cross-pollinating with plants or being bowled over by dust balls? Vitamins, herbs and other nutrients can help you nip allergy discomfort in the bud.
The Allergy Response
Your immune system triggers an allergic response when it overreacts to otherwise harmless substances or antigens (we're talking dust, pollen and mold).The alarmed immune system then launches a defensive chemical reaction, releasing potent chemicals (antibodies) supposed to destroy the "invaders." The antibodies, called IgE, carry the invading substances to special cells, which zap them with more biochemicals. Among these protective cells are mast cells: they release histamine, the substance that causes swelling and inflammation to the linings of the nose, sinuses and eyelids, resulting in sneezing, upper respiratory congestion and itchy, watery eyes.
Just Blame The Folks
Most allergies are determined by your genes. If your Mom or Dad sneeze and scratch, there's a good chance you will, too. "That is not to say that we directly inherit an allergy to any specific substance. Rather, it seems as if we might inherit some kind of immune system defect or weakness that leaves us more vulnerable to allergies," explain co-authors Glenn S. Rothfeld, MD, and Suzanne LeVert in their book Natural Medicine for Allergies: The Best Alternative Methods for Quick Relief (Rodale). For some people, allergies lurk in food, throwing the immune system into overdrive. "Many natural medicine practitioners believe that a diet high in animal fats will contribute to the development of allergy and asthma, as does a diet high in food additives, such as preservatives and dyes," says Gary McLain, PhD, in his book The Natural Way of Healing: Asthma and Allergies (Dell). Worse, allergies can up the risk of asthma, which afflicts 15 million Americans. Most people afflicted with asthma also suffer allergies: the two are linked, according to the AAAAI. Allergy triggers of asthma include pollen, mold spores and house dust mites. Remember Helen Hunt's asthmatic son in the movie As Good As It Gets? His character endured allergies to dust, and living in New York (and watching his mom date Jack Nicholson) didn't help his immune system. Coughs, ear infections, fevers and visits to hospital emergency rooms curtailed his social life (and limited his close-ups as well). That kind of routine happens in real life, too. (Well, maybe close encounters with Jack N. are not included for most.) But when we breathe substances such as molds, they can induce swelling and inflammation of the bronchial airways which narrow and restrict air flow. This, in turn, causes wheezing and shortness of breath and can trigger an asthma "attack," according to Andrew Engler, MD, who specializes in allergy and asthma in San Mateo, California.
The Nose Knows: Chemical Sensitivities
Imagine a picture-perfect, crisp, clear Saturday morning. You make a final stop on your weekly errand run to the dry cleaner, where you drop off your laundry and spend a moment chatting up the owner. Back in your car, your eyes tear and you feel a bit woozy. Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin, writing in The Road to Immunity: How To Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) sense that your reaction could be chemical sensitivity, a difficult to diagnose but, in their opinion, very real malady. (Of course, a clinician can test you for immune responses to certain chemicals.) Reactions to chemicals produce the typical allergic responses: puffy or red-rimmed eyes; swelling; aching or stiff joints and muscles; irritability or dizziness; respiratory inflammations; headaches and the like. Villains include aerosol sprays, tobacco smoke, glues, insecticides and herbicides, household chemicals and fragrances. Identification and avoidance are key, say the authors. Vitamin C, which binds with chemicals, is one of the best nutritional defenses.
Breathing Problems Expand
Americans now freely take lifesaving medicines such as antibiotics and insulin but, in some people, "they have the potential to alter the immune system, which is where allergies begin," says Dr. McLain. (Consult your pharmacist if you have questions about your prescription medication.) We, as a nation, are also eating more chemicals, from the pesticides drenched on plants to the preservatives poured on prepared foods. We're breathing polluted air, which can lead to or exacerbate asthma, and then we choke on recycled air in sealed buildings. And while a century ago you were likely to have spent much of your time close to home, you can now hop on a supersonic plane and be taken to the other side of the globe within a matter of hours. With travel comes exposure to even more exotic allergens that can drive your immune system to distraction.
The All-Natural Gesundheit
Certain allergy-relief nutrients and herbs can help make life more bearable. Here's how they work: n Vitamin C for the lungs. According to experts, when vitamin C is low, asthma is high. Vitamin C carries the major antioxidant load in the airways and therefore contributes mightily to the health of the lungs. A study in the Annals of Allergy (73(1994):89-96) reported that in seven of 11 clinical trials since 1973, vitamin C supplementation provided "significant improvements" in respiratory function and asthma symptoms. n Vitamin E and carotene to suppress allergic reactions. These antioxidants may also help protect the respiratory tract from caustic pollutants. Vitamin E is reputed to be one of the most important nutrients for antioxidant protection in the lungs. In addition, these two substances decrease production of allergy-related compounds called leukotrienes. n Zinc for the immune system. Research shows that a deficiency in this trace mineral can weaken your immune system, setting you up as a target for allergies and infections. (Some vegetarians may not store sufficient amounts of this mineral and should take supplements.) Zinc comes to the body's rescue by taking part in the production of IgA, the gastrointestinal antibody that lines the digestive tract. "When IgA binds to an allergen, it keeps it from being absorbed into the bloodstream and thus from causing an allergic reaction," report Rothfeld and Levert. Also, zinc protects mucous membranes and helps convert beta carotene to vitamin A, another anti-allergy, immune-boosting nutrient. In a study of 100 participants at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, half took a zinc-based lozenge, while the other half received a dummy preparation. The participants taking zinc experienced a 42% reduction in the duration and severity of their common colds (Annals of Internal Medicine, 7/96). n Quercetin as an antihistamine. A valuable, anti-allergic flavonoid (plant coloring agent that is a powerful antioxidant), quercetin shines as a potent weapon against allergies and asthma. Believed to inhibit histamine release from mast cells and slow the production of other allergy-related compounds, it stabilizes mast cell membranes. Other flavonoid-rich extracts include grape seed, pine bark, green tea and Ginkgo biloba. n Additional helpful nutrients: Vitamin B-12, particularly to combat sensitivity to sulfites (The Nutrition Desk Reference [Keats]); selenium, an antioxidant that breaks down leukotrienes (Clinical Science 77, 1989: 495-500); and magnesium to relax bronchial tissues (Journal of the American Medical Association, 262 : 1210-3).
Herbal Remedies To The Rescue
n Nettles for hay fever relief. Research at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, showed that 40 of 69 folks suffering from hay fever found moderate to extreme relief from taking freeze-dried stinging nettles (Planta Medica,  44-47). "It is nontoxic, cheap and preferable to antihistamines, which I think are significantly toxic," reports Andrew Weil, MD, in his book Natural Health, Natural Medicine: A Comprehensive Manual for Wellness and Self-Care (Houghton Mifflin). n Cayenne to reduce inflammation. Cayenne, known as hot red pepper, is rich in capsaicin, a potent flavonoid "counter-irritant" that dilates and soothes inflamed nasal and bronchial tissues, according to experts. A bonus: Cayenne also contains a rich amount of antioxidant vitamin C, which can help enhance your immune system. n Echinacea for allergy prevention. This popular Native American herb provides cold and allergy protection, particularly when you take it before encountering allergens. Studies reveal that echinacea aids your body's tissues and protects you from germs and allergens. In fact, German studies have found it possesses valuable antiviral, antibacterial and immunity-boosting properties.
Make Your World Allergy-Free
For the most effective allergy relief, make sure you stay clear of allergens that wreak allergy havoc. Visit an allergy-savvy health practitioner and get tested to find out which substances rock your respiratory world. Plus, allergy experts recommend: n Banish dust mites: sweep out clutter and have your house power-vacuumed, if necessary; wash bedding and linens in very hot water. n De-pollinate your environment: flip on the air conditioner to sift out pollen (keep its filter and any forced air registers clean); exercise indoors; machine dry, rather than line dry, your clothes. n Buy a home air filter, especially if you experience dust, pollen or pet dander allergies. n Avoid allergy triggers that dog your days: cats and canines (or consider the hairless or shed-less breeds), mold and tobacco smoke. No matter what you do or actions you take, allergies may always remain an annoyance in your life. But attention to the foods you eat, the places where you exercise and the right combination of anti-allergy nutrients can limit your discomfort.
Leveling The Leukotrine Playing Field
On a microscopic level, a series of biochemicals implicated in allergic reactions are leukotrienes, substances that may constrict the bronchial tubes (breathing passages). In some people, consuming the food additive tartrazine can cause severe asthmatic breathing difficulties by boosting leukotrine release. In turn, this can interfere with the body's use of vitamin B-6. The process in which lack of B-6 or "errors" in how your body uses B-6 causes allergic reactions and is complex. According to Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND in the revised edition of the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), breathing problems may begin when the metabolism of tryptophan (an amino acid) goes awry: "Tryptophan is converted to serotonin, a compound that, among other things, can cause the airways of asthmatics to constrict...Vitamin B-6 is required for the proper metabolism of tryptophan." Accordingly, a study of vitamin B-6, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that people with compromised breathing may possess less B-6 in their blood than others who breathe normally. When people with asthma were given B-6, their wheezing and asthmatic attacks dropped.
Fat Fix For Allergies
The fat in your diet or supplements can also influence your susceptibility to allergies and asthma linked to allergies. Epidemiologists have found that countries where children eat fish at least four times a month cut their risk of asthma by 67% compared to other parts of the world where they consume fewer fish. Research on omega-3 fatty acids, the kind of fat found in fish, flax and hemp oil, demonstrates that some of these substances can improve breathing. In particular, fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can help open up bronchial tubes. Studies in the American Review of Respiratory Disease and the International Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology show that breathing passageways may not react so negatively to the presence of allergens when you eat more fish or take supplements containing these types of fats. Many of the scientists who study the kinds of fats we eat believe that the increase in allergies and asthma in the US during the twentieth century may be due to both increasing air pollution (which irritates our lungs) plus a simultaneous increase in our consumption of what are called omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 oils are contained in most of the vegetable oils Americans eat, including sunflower and peanut oils. While experts believe that we would be better off consuming a diet containing about five times as many omega-6 fatty acids as omega-3s, today we eat about 40 times as much omega-6s. The chemistry of how these fats influence our allergy susceptibility is complex. It begins in our cell membranes which consist mostly of fat. When we consume omega-3 fatty acids, in our diet or in supplements, and these fats enter cell membranes, the change in structure cuts the availability of arachidonic acid, a fatty acid your body can make and which is found in meat, eggs and dairy products. Eventually, it is thought that this change in cellular metabolism and reduction in arachidonic acid forces the body to make less 4-series leukotrienes, substances which are quite prone to provoking allergic inflammation and, instead, produce 5-series leukotrienes, leukotrienes which don't cause nearly as much trouble. This process requires patience. According to Pizzorno and Murray. "It may take as long as one year before the benefits are apparent, as it appears to take time to turn over cellular membranes in favor of the omega-3 fatty acids."
Chinese Medicine Versus Allergies
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views allergies as an imbalance of the liver, says Jason Elias, co-author with Katherine Ketcham of The Five Elements of Self-Healing (Harmony Books). "The average American's (liver) deals with about fourteen pounds of chemicals a year. What would normally be a minor irritant becomes major because the liver can't process them anymore," explains Elias. Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has traditionally been used to fight allergies since this herb battles inflammation as evidenced by Japanese research and a study published in the journal Allergy. Much of this anti-allergy action is thought to proceed from licorice's interaction with a biochemical called cortisol, a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. Cortisol (along with epinephrine, another adrenal hormone) relaxes the muscles controlling airways. By slowing the liver's breakdown of cortisol, licorice prolongs circulation of this hormone which, in turn, can help breathing passages stay clear. In addition, glycyrrhetinic acid, a compound in licorice, slows the body's manufacture of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, substances which exacerbate allergic inflammatory reactions. Ma Huang (Ephedra sinica) has been employed for thousands of years to aid breathing since chemicals in this plant widen breathing passages.
Homeopathic Remedies for Allergy
Homeopathic treatments consist of highly diluted substances designed to coax the body into healing itself. The effectiveness of homeopathy for hayfever has been demonstrated by research published in Lancet performed at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. There, scientists showed that homeopathically-prepared medicines produced statistically significant improvements in allergy sufferers. The appropriate homeopathic remedy for any illness depends on the personality type of the person suffering an allergy. These treatments are among those recommended by Dana Ullman: n Allium cepa: appropriate for burning nasal discharge that grows worse in warm rooms and improves outdoors. Relieves non-burning tearing from eyes, raw feeling in the nose with tingling sensation and violent sneezing. n Nux vomica: used when feeling irritable and chilled, with daytime fluent nasal discharge and night congestion that grows worse indoors. Also for those sensitive to cold and to being uncovered. n Pulsatilla: best for women and children with daytime nasal discharge and night congestion who are gentle, yielding, mild, impressionable and emotional. Used when congestion is worse in warm rooms, hot weather or while lying down.
Food Allergy Conundrum Food allergies can prove to be the toughest allergies to identify and eliminate. Jason Elias believes that people may develop food sensitivities from eating the same foods too often. "If someone has an allergy, I might say 'Let's get you off dairy for three weeks,'" he says, noting that some people have limited their hay fever problems by ceasing to consume dairy products. Many have also found relief by maintaining a food diary, keeping track of which foods are associated with allergy attacks and then eliminating those foods. So the next time you sneeze, don't just reach for your hanky, think back to the meal that you just ate. Your allergy problem may be sitting in your stomach as well as making you sneeze and stuffing your sinuses. Taking these kinds of anti-allergy preventive measures can provide life-enhancing relief that feels like a godsend. That lets you attain your healthy best.
This article included reporting by Judy Pokras.
June 10, 2005 03:24 PM
by Henry Wolfe Energy Times, July 11, 2003
Nutrients do you no good if you don't absorb them. Eating the right stuff and taking the right nutrients can still be wrong if they never make it out of your digestive tract and into your bloodstream.
For instance, dietary supplements usually should be taken along with food. The presence of food in the digestive tract aids the absorption of nutrients. As a general rule, if you take dietary supplements on an empty stomach, most of their contents will probably pass through you and never escape your intestinal tract before they are eventually eliminated. This is particularly true for the fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D and E. By consuming fatty foods when you take these supplements, you enable your body to absorb a large amount of these valuable substances.
But there is at least one exception to this rule: Amino acid supplements (protein building blocks) should usually be taken on an empty stomach. Otherwise the other amino acids present in your meal may interfere with your use of these nutrients and counteract the benefits of the supplements.
The Standardization of Herbs
Taking herbs presents different challenges than consuming dietary supplements. While the chemical structures of nutrients in supplements are usually precisely identified, the active ingredients in herbs is usually a mixture of chemicals. Often, too, researchers disagree on exactly which active ingredients in herbs produce the health benefits linked to these botanicals.
But in an effort to derive the most from these substances, many experts recommend what are called standardized forms.
Standardized herbal supplements are formulas that have been created to insure they contain consistent and reliable amounts of certain beneficial chemicals that scientists have identified in these plants.
In the creation of these supplements, experts determine the standardized chemicals that are most likely the basis of the herbs' effectiveness.
By standardizing certain of the supplements' ingredients, therefore, standardized herbs limit the variation among batches of the product. You can rely on the fact that every purchase will contain the same amount of ingredients taken from the original plant. According to Michael Janson, MD, author of Dr. Janson's New Vitamin Revolution (Penguin/Avery), "Although herbs have a long history of use for medicinal purposes, it is only recently that they have been analyzed to reveal their most active components. These active chemicals are commonly present in very variable amounts in herbs, depending on where and how they are grown, soil quality, when they are harvested, the amount of rain and sun, and other factors.
"Standardized herbs have guaranteed specific amounts of the known, active herbal components, as well as the other factors that might be of help but are not as well studied" (www.drjanson.com).
Herbalists who specialize in using entire plants in their practices can recommend non-standardized preparations that you can often use.
In general, that kind of herbal use is more effective when you secure expert advice. If you lack access to an experienced herbalist and you're choosing botanicals on your own, standardized preparations are easier to take.
Absorption From the Gut
Most of the nutrients you take in are absorbed through the walls of your digestive tract. This most often takes place in the small intestine.
What to watch out for: Fast food, fast living and long work hours afflicts our digestion and can disrupt proper absorption. You have to be relaxed to properly absorb the nutrients in your food and supplements.
Consequently, the occasions for meals should be relaxed and enjoyable moments. Set aside enough time to appreciate, taste and thoroughly chew your food. Adequate digestion and absorption begin in your mouth.
Another way to increase nutrient absorption is with the use of digestive enzymes. Since the digestive tract depends on the enzymatic breakdown of food that reduces nutrients to absorbable form, taking enzymes can help your intestines make better use of nutrients as they pass through the digestive tract. Normally, enzymes are present in raw food, like uncooked fruits and vegetables. Since most of our food is eaten after it is heated, a process that breaks down enzymes, not many enzymes are present in today's diet. Therefore, taking supplemental enzymes may increase absorption.
Beyond everyday stress, a variety of problems can make absorption go astray, allowing important nutrients to escape and permitting unwanted substances to enter the body. For instance, a significant digestive malfunction that many experts have focused on in recent years is a condition that has come to be called "leaky gut."
As Anil Minocha, MD, director of digestive diseases at the Mississippi Medical Center and author of Natural Stomach Care (Avery), points out, "In a healthy individual, the wall of the intestinal tract is designed to absorb food molecules and prevent harmful microorganisms and toxic materials from passing out through the bowel wall and into the bloodstream. "In today's heavily polluted environment, the gastrointestinal tract of even the healthiest individual is called on to process an overwhelmingly large flow of septic and infectious materials."
Because of these digestion destroyers, as we take in a startlingly large amount of viruses, bacteria, toxic chemicals, fungi and processed foods, our digestive systems are often overwhelmed and are rendered unable to perform their tasks correctly. This constant assault on the stomach and intestines takes a serious toll. A frequent product of this process is the digestive walls' loss of their crucial ability to keep out unwanted toxins and organisms as they become, in Dr. Minocha's words, "loosened and inflamed." As a result, instead of keeping out harmful substances and absorbing helpful nutrients, spaces open up that begin to allow in "bulky, partially digested food particles, toxic substances and infectious microbes."
According to Dr. Minocha, the first signs of this absorption problem can include complaints such as allergic reactions, skin problems, joint pain, digestive difficulties, nausea, fatigue and lack of energy.
To improve your digestive absorption, Dr. Minocha recommends a six-part program that includes these steps:
* Detoxification by means of fasting and avoiding harmful items like sugar, over-processed foods, coffee and alcohol
* Taking herbs that can help the digestive tract heal, recover and repair itself; these include garlic, ginger and milk thistle
* Replenishing the beneficial bacteria of the digestive tract by eating yogurt
* Keeping track of your daily diet and eliminating foods that cause allergies and other reactions
* Consuming more fruits and vegetables while eating a high-fiber, mostly vegetarian diet
* Developing consistent, healthy lifestyle habits; these include not smoking, cutting the size of your meals and eating in moderation, exercising several times a week and controlling stress
Young and Old Digestion
The nutrients in your diet can also beneficially influence the state of your digestive system and its ability to distinguish among substances that are supposed to gain entrance to your body and those that should be kept out. Since aging can further compromise the discriminatory ability of your gut, Dr. Minocha also recommends a steady diet of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables plus supplements to keep your digestive tract functioning at full capacity as you grow older.
Among the nutrients he recommends:
* Coenzyme Q10: By middle age, your body makes less of this powerful antioxidant that helps cells generate energy in the mitochondria (structures within cells that may decrease with age).
Dr. Minocha notes that research demonstrates CoQ10 may be able to help people with diabetes control harmful metabolic byproducts that appear in their bloodstreams.
* Natural Lycopene: This antioxidant, responsible for the red of both tomatoes and watermelon, has been shown to lower the risk of both heart disease and prostate cancer. As an antioxidant, natural lycopene also helps protect the digestive tract.
Absorption of the proper nutrients may be the key to health for many people. By paying closer attention to the well-being of your digestive tract and practicing lifestyle habits that promote maximum absorption, you may be able to substantially improve your nutrition and your health.
The Latest Breakthroughs in Garlic Research on Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease
June 09, 2005 05:22 PM
The Latest Breakthroughs in Garlic Research
on Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease
Presented at the 2005 World Garlic Symposium
Many of the world’s top-level scientists gathered in Washington D.C. this week for the 2005 Garlic Symposium, entitled, “Significance of Garlic and its Constituents in Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease.” The conference provided current scientific information about the effect of garlic and its constituents on health and performance. The symposium was held at the Georgetown University Conference Center on April 9-11, 2005.
“For the first time in seven years authorities in various fields of garlic research from all over the world to provide the latest updates, specifically regarding aged garlic extract and its actions in diseased states including heart disease and cancer,” commented Dr. Matthew Budoff, M.D. cardiovascular researcher at UCLA. “Garlic has been used medicinally for thousands of years in virtually all ancient cultures. Now, new metabolic roles for garlic are being proposed and there are many promising lines of research.”
Presentation highlights included:
Effect of aged garlic extract (AGE) has been tested in the placebo-controlled double blind randomized clinical study that determined that the atherosclerotic plaque burden detected by electron beam tomography (EBT) changed significantly with the use of aged garlic extract, Patients in Dr. Budoff’s study were able to significantly lower their total cholesterol, blood pressure, homocysteine and LDL cholesterol oxidation levels with aged garlic extract supplementation.
“Garlic is turning out to be a major player in cancer and heart disease prevention and control, especially in combination with drug treatments,” said Richard Rivlin, M.D. of Strang Cancer Prevention Center at Cornell. “It’s also showing us that we can start early. It’s madness to treat cancer and heart disease in their advanced stages. We need to start early and aged garlic extract is an excellent way to do that.”
Almost 400 scientific studies have been completed on aged garlic extract, done in major universities worldwide. These studies have focused on a variety of heart disease risk factors such as cholesterol, high blood pressure, homocysteine levels, inhibiting LDL oxidation, anti-platelet aggregation and adhesion, stimulating blood circulation; in addition to other studies on immune stimulation, cognitive effects, liver function and anti-tumor effects. .
PRECLINICAL PERSPECTIVE ON GARLIC AND CANCER. John A. Milner, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD 20892
Mounting evidence points to the anticancer properties of fresh garlic extracts, aged garlic, garlic oil, and a number of specific organosulfur compounds from garlic. These prevention characteristics arise through both a dose and temporal related change in several cellular events including those involving drug metabolism, immunocompetence, cell cycle regulation, apoptosis and angiogenesis. A block in carcinogen activation through modulation of cytochrome P450-dependent monooxygenases and/or acceleration of carcinogen detoxification via induction of phase II enzymes likely account for some of this protection. The block in preneoplastic lesions and/or tumors in several sites suggests a generalizable mechanism. The efficacy of water- and lipid-soluble allyl sulfur compounds against chemical carcinogenesis appears comparable, although more studies are needed. A shift in sulfhydryl groups, redox status or enzyme catalysis may account for some of the phenotypic changes. They may also account for the observed hyperphosphorylation of specific cell cycle related proteins and histone hyperacetylation; both of which have been correlated with suppressed tumor cell proliferation. Several forms of allyl sulfur compounds are effective in blocking cell division and inducing apoptosis, but notable differences in the efficacy among these various compounds and across tumor types are evident. While the expression of many genes and proteins can be influenced by allyl sulfides; the challenge is to determine which is responsible for a phenotypic change. Additional studies are needed with more modest exposures and over prolonged periods and that utilize transgenic and knockout models to assist in the identification of molecular targets. Finally, additional research is needed to identify sensitive “effect” and “susceptibility” biomarkers that can ultimately be used to identify responders from non-responders.
INHIBITION OF CORONARY ARTERIAL PLAQUE ACCUMULATION BY GARLIC. Matthew Budoff, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, UCLA School of Medicine, California, USA
Effect of Aged garlic extract (AGE) has been tested in the placebo-controlled double blind randomized clinical study to determine whether the atherosclerotic plaque burden detected by electron beam tomography (EBT) will change at a different rate under the influence of AGE or placebo. EBT can non-invasively quantitate the amount of coronary calcification and track atherosclerotic plaque over time. Nineteen of 23 patients completed the study protocol. The patients were well matched for age, gender, statin use and cardiac risk factors. Patients underwent EBT and blood testing at baseline, and then again after 12 months of randomization. The average change in the calcium score (Volumetric method) ± SD for the AGE group (n = 9) was 7.5 ± 9.4% over the one year. The placebo group (n = 10) demonstrated 22.2 ± 18.5% annual progression, significantly greater than the treated cohort (p = 0.01). While there were no significant changes in cholesterol parameters, or C Reactive protein between the groups, high density lipoproteins and plasma homocysteine in the AGE group demonstrated a trend toward improvement compared to the placebo patients. Thus, although this is a small-scale trial, it demonstrates the potential of AGE to inhibit the rate of atherosclerosis (progression of coronary calcium), as compared to placebo over one year. Larger studies need to be performed to assess this potential anti-atherosclerotic therapy and the impact on coronary events.
INFLUENCE OF GARLIC ON ENDOTHELIAL DYSFUNCTION IN HYPERHOMOCYSTEINEMIA. N. Weiss, N. Ide, T. Abahji, L. Nill, C. Keller, U. Hoffmann. Klinikum der Universität München, D-80336 Munich, Germany
Endothelial dysfunction (ED) due to decreased bioavailable nitric oxide (NO) by increased vascular oxidant stress plays a critical role in the vascular pathobiology of hyperhomocysteinemia (hhcy). Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) minimizes intracellular oxidant stress and stimulates NO generation in endothelial cells. We performed a placebo-controlled, blinded, cross-over study to examine whether AGE prevents macro- and microvascular ED during acute hhcy induced by an oral methionine challenge in healthy subjects. Acute hhcy leads to a significant decrease in flow-mediated vasodilation of the brachial artery as determined by vascular ultrasound, indicative of macrovascular ED, as well as a decreased number of recruited nailfold capillaries during postischemic reactive hyperemia as determined by videomicroscopy, and to a decreased ratio of acetylcholine (endothelium-dependent) vs. sodium nitroprusside (endothelium-independent) iontophoresis induced skin perfusion as measured by laser doppler flowmetry, indicative of microvascular ED. Preliminary results show that pretreatment with AGE for six weeks diminishes the adverse effects of acute hhcy on endothelium-dependent brachial artery vasodilation and on acetylcholine-induced stimulation of skin perfusion. Whether or not this is accompanied by changes in biochemical parameters of ED is still under investigation. It is concluded that AGE may at least partly prevent a decrease in bioavailable NO during acute hhcy.
David Heber, MD, PhD, FACP, FACN
Professor, UCLA Department of Medicine - Division of Clinical Nutrition, at the David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, and UCLA School of Public Health; Director, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition; Director, NIH Center for Dietary Supplement Research in Botanicals (CDSRB); Director, NCI-funded Clinical Nutrition Research Unit; Vice Chair, UCLA Collaborative Centers for Integrative Medicine; Member, UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
Matthew Budoff, MD, FACC
Matthew Budoff, MD, FACC, is an associate professor of medicine at the UCLA School of Medicine and program director for the Division of Cardiology, as well as director of the Electron Beam CT Laboratory at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, Calif. He completed his undergraduate work at University of California, Riverside, and earned his medical degree at George Washington University in Washington D.C. Dr. Budoff’s efforts to identify and modify risk factors for cardiovascular disease using electron beam CT have been extensively published. His latest research focuses on the progression of arteriosclerosis.
PYCNOGENOL ® - The Ultimate Antioxidant
June 04, 2005 02:04 PM
Pycnogenol® is a breakthrough in antioxidant protection that demonstrates how important natural nutrition can be for your health. Antioxidants are a class of biological molecules that function to scavenge and neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons that cause damage at the cellular level, and which unfortunately are unavoidable. Antioxidants – the most famous of which thus far have been Vitamin C and Vitamin E – work to protect living tissue by neutralizing free radicals, thereby interrupting many of their harmful activities. Pycnogenol®, one of the most powerful antioxidants yet discovered, is the proprietary name of a natural plant product made from the bark of the European coastal pine, Pinus maritima. It is 20 times more potent an antioxidant than Vitamin C, and 50 times more so than Vitamin E.
Free radicals are a real threat
Uniquely vulnerable targets of free radical attack that require a regular supply of antioxidants just to maintain a basic level of function include fatty acids – especially those in cell membranes – and sulfhydral proteins, which form one of the most common types of chemical bonds found in biological organisms. The importance of these substances for overall health cannot be overstated, as they are critical components not only of tissues throughout the body, but most importantly, of the principal regulatory organs – the brain and liver – and every blood vessel. Free radical attack on fatty acids – known as lipid peroxidation – and related destruction of sulfhydral proteins can lead to diminished function of cell membranes and whole organs. This, in turn, can contribute significantly to decreases in quality of life.
Free radicals are believed to be active in the development of cumulative damage to the system, as well as in many of the undesirable effects of aging. Free radicals are constantly being produced due to the natural intake of oxygen and generation of energy by the body’s cells. However, their production is heightened by pollutants such as tobacco smoke, alcohol, solvents, and oxidized cholesterol from foods. Therefore, health scientists suggest we may need to increase our intake of antioxidants either from foods or from supplements – such as Vitamin A and Beta Carotene, Vitamins C and E, Selenium, Cysteine, and now, Pycnogenol®.
Potent antioxidant protection from nature - Pycnogenol®
Originally discovered by renowned scientist Jacques Masquelier, Pycnogenol® is a natural 85% to 95% concentrate of proanthocyanidins extracted from the bark of the Maritime Pine. Proanthocyanidins are a special class of highly bioavailable, water-soluble bioflavonoids with unparalleled free radical scavenging activity. They readily cross the Blood-Brain Barrier to provide antioxidant protection to the central nervous system, and stay in the bloodstream for approximately 72 hours. Thirty years of sound European research shows that proanthocyanidins from Pycnogenol® are highly beneficial with no evidence of adverse effects, even after more than ten years of use. They also show no loss in potency after 12 years of storage.
Better health for an active life
As a potent antioxidant, Pycnogenol® is valuable for protecting the liver from free radical attack. Since the liver is the main detoxifying, nutrient-assimilating, and energy-generating organ of the body, this may mean more potential for activity in your life. Pycnogenol® may also aid recovery for athletes on strenuous workout regimes and in competition.
Healthy capillaries through healthy collagen
A major beneficiary of the protective actions of Pycnogenol® is collagen, the most abundant protein in the body. Collagen is responsible for maintaining the integrity of “ground substance,” the basic material in functional fluids, mucus linings, and connective tissue such as tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and most importantly, blood vessels linings. It is highly vulnerable to free radical attack, and a number of discomforting and depreciating processes are associated with its destruction. There is evidence showing that Pycnogenol® can provide remarkable support for the prevention of collagen destruction, and it has received much attention for its special affinity for capillaries, the smallest blood vessels. Pycnogenol® helps strengthen capillary linings in three key ways. First, Pycnogenol® functions to scavenge the free radicals that may compromise the integrity of collagen. Second, Pycnogenol® contains catechin, which is thought to stabilize collagen by forming hydrogen bonds and cross-linking collagen. Third, Pycnogenol® is Vitamin C-sparing, meaning it can fill in for C in a number of functions; this frees some Vitamin C – required for the synthesis of hydroxproline, a major structural amino acid of collagen – for use in building collagen. People who smoke and women who take oral contraceptives can reduce their heightened risk of Vitamin C depletion by taking advantage of Pycnogenol®’s Vitamin C-sparing activity.
Look to Source Naturals® for 25 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg, & 100 mg tablets of this natural wonder!
Hot Flash - Eternal Woman - Help put a stop to menopause pains.
June 02, 2005 12:27 PM
MENOPAUSE. FOR MANY WOMEN THIS MILESTONE is often preceded by uncomfortable, if not alarming, physical upsets. Its debut marks a transition period that can actually begin at age 40. Called pre-menopause, it is characterized by powerful hormonal changes with wide-ranging effects on a woman’s bodily systems. Pre-menopause usually lasts 3 to 6 years – and hot flashes are the number one complaint. Source Naturals Eternal Woman™ Menopause Line is answering this need with Hot Flash™. This safe, natural phytoestrogen formulation was created specifically to help reduce the frequency of hot flashes and night sweats.
Estrogen stimulates, affects and balances hundreds of processes during a monthly cycle. When its level fluctuates, the body’s internal balancing act is profoundly influenced. During premenopause, the body vainly tries to compensate for estrogen loss by releasing luteinizing hormone in pulses from the pituitary gland. This causes wild changes in skin temperature, resulting in hot flushes and night sweats. Now there is a gentle way to lessen this bodily response to declining estrogen. The answer lies in specific botanicals. Certain plants contain substances called phytoestrogens that are structurally similar to estrogen. New research demonstrates these natural, estrogen-mimicking phytonutrients may help minimize the compensatory increase in luteinizing hormone. Source Naturals HOT FLASH may help minimize the reaction to estrogen loss. It is packed with key phytoestrogens found in soy and in herbal extracts of black cohosh, vitex, licorice root and dong quai.
Hot Flash supplies high potencies of phytoestrogens from soy (including the isoflavones genistein, daidzein and glycitein), which have been shown to lessen the effects of luteinizing hormone and reduce the frequency of hot flashes in clinical studies. In addition, the black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) extract in HOT FLASH is standardized to 2.5% triterpene glycosides, including 27-deoxyactein. This family of beneficial compounds also may help reduce the occurrence of hot flashes. Eternal Woman HOT FLASH. This remarkable combination of safe, gentle and natural phytoestrogens helps reduce the frequency of hot flashes – the number one pre-menopausal complaint. For the FREEDOM TO CHANGE™ naturally... choose HOT FLASH by Source Naturals.