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Supplemental nutrition found to treat brain injury better than prescriptions, and may even provide some protection against injury
July 26, 2018 08:58 AM
Researchers from Texas Christian Univeristy recently led a research review into whether nutritional supplements can aid in recovery from Sports Related Concussions (SRC). SRCs, sometimes referred to as mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI), are caused by biomechanical forces resulting from a direct blow to the head, face or neck. While mTBIs are harder to diagnose than other TBIs, they can become progressively more serious through repeated trauma and the brain’s inflammatory response. The research review decided that Curcumin, Creatine and Omega-3 supplements show potential for promoting recovery from SRCs, but noted that more research is needed.
"Mild traumatic brain injuries, however, are not as easily detected as that of a severe TBI. The authors noted that while sports-related concussive and sub-concussive impacts start out as mild, the brain’s inflammatory response to an injury may aggravate it, especially in repeated and prolonged exposures."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-07-23-supplemental-nutrition-found-to-treat-brain-injury-better-than-prescriptions.html
Here's how the body prevents helpful bacteria from causing disease
February 11, 2018 03:59 PM
The body is pretty amazing in how it can detect foes. The system is literally called "friend/foe" and it is the immune system's response to all bacteria. Researchers examined mice for a particular strand of bacteria known as Helicobacter hepaticus. This invader caused a response from T cells and immediately was acted upon as "foe." Specifically Th17 were the T cells that were able to kill the bacteria, but they have another which shuts this cell down when finding friendly ones, not causing the inflammation chain that it normally does.
"Certain bacteria, such as those from the Helicobacter family, are generally considered helpful but can cause disease when genetic or environmental factors alter the normal balance."
Read more: https://www.breakingnews.ie/world/heres-how-the-body-prevents-helpful-bacteria-from-causing-disease-827150.html
Inflammation And Its Negative Effect On Our Health
January 07, 2018 03:59 PM
Chronic low-grade inflammation is something that we can experience but many of us don't think about. It is a condition where when our immune system detects a threat in our bodies and substances are released. When they are released and the condition is not cured the substances remain elevated and we then can get chronic inflammation. This can lead to an array of conditions including: cancer, depression, and bone disease, and many more. There are many symptoms of chronic low-grade inflammation and also a holistic way to treat it with functional medicine. Holistically, we can treat by finding the cause and treating that rather than suppressing the symptoms of conventional medicine.
"By reducing the pro-inflammatory aspects of our lifestyle, we will remain youthful and live better for longer."
Read more: http://www.longevitylive.com/anti-aging-beauty/90609/
Why hemp seeds from cannabis are a revolutionary superfood ready to save the people and the planet
December 30, 2017 07:59 AM
Hemp seeds come from cannabis. This means they are sort of controversial. They're very healthy, though. They contain many healthy fats and nutrients. They are considered a super food and would be a good addition to any diet. You could grind them and add them so you didn't detect them if you don't like the taste. You can get hemp powder already which is ground seeds. You can add these to smoothies and any other dish you want.
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Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2017-12-10-why-hemp-seeds-from-cannabis-superfood.html
Alzheimer's Disease: What You Can Do to Prevent Holiday Memories from Vanishing
November 26, 2017 03:59 PM
Alzheimer's, like most diseases comes with its own set of problems, the memory loss being number one. Much like other diseases it is important to find those symptoms early. One easy way to help with that is mind exercises. These help with neuro plasticity and will allow your brain to function in top condition for years to come. Much like exercising works for the heart, muscles, and flexibility these exercises keep the brain healthy. Try them out!
"Prevention and early detection of first signs of cognitive impairment and treating its cause is key to maintaining a healthy brain throughout life"
Read more: http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/opinion/tn-dpt-me-commentary-shankle-20171122-story.html
New non-invasive eye test can detect Alzheimer's 20 years before symptoms start
August 22, 2017 07:14 PM
Researchers at hospital in Los Angeles have published a report claiming they have developed an eye test that can detect Alzheimer's disease well in advance - twenty years - before actual symptoms show up. Traditional methods of diagnosing this disease are to perform look at the patient's brain after death, or to perform a PET scan. The report just published claims it can detect the disease by scanning a patient's retina for plaque. The test is non invasive. A link to the journal where the report appeared is included in the article.
Read more: New non-invasive eye test can detect Alzheimer's 20 years before symptoms start
Top 7 Foods That Fight High Blood Pressure Naturally
July 23, 2017 05:14 AM
High blood pressure can be dangerous. Hypertension is when it gets really high and that's a real concern for many. This gives examples of foods which can help fight it, though, so there's hope. High blood pressure can be caused by stress. Many people have it for this reason. It would e easy enough to add these foods to your diet even if you can't do much about your stressers. All you have to do is find recipes you like which contain the ingredients, but watch your salt intake since that is counterproductive.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yBxbacWL0s&rel=0
"For millions of people, blood pressure can reach dangerously high levels."
Check Your Thyroid All You Need Is A Thermometer!!
July 03, 2017 05:14 AM
If you have problems with the thyroid, it can affect your life in an abundance of ways. Detecting a thyroid problem isn't easy in some cases, however. But, could it be that a thermometer is the only item that you will nee to determine if there are thyroid issues affecting your life? The details that you find here are pretty amazing but very much true. Put this information to use and you will benefit tremendously.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3jZ4lID-to&rel=0
"This test is very simple and is known as Barney’s test. All you need is a thermometer."
7 Ways Inflammation Affects Your Body
April 23, 2017 11:44 AM
Inflammation is not a friend to your body. In fact, it probably affects you in several ways that you are unaware of at the time being. It is time to change that. It's always best to be informed. When you're informed, you'll know what to expect, and better understand the importance of visiting a doctor. Pay attention to these seven ways that inflammation affects your body, and learn what you can do to avoid these hassles.
"When your immune system detects any of these invaders, it fights back by triggering proteins that are meant to protect your cells and tissue."
Read more: http://www.health.com/pain/body-inflammation
Eyes can show signs of illnesses
April 19, 2017 06:44 AM
It is all in the eyes, and they can say a lot about you. Do you know what your eyes are saying about you? New evidence suggest that your eyes can even detect signs of illness, and indications that you need to make your way to the doctor soon. It is time to learn more about what your eyes are saying, and start paying attention. It could do more for you than you ever imagined!
Read more: Eyes can show signs of illnesses
How to keep an eye out for eating disorders in loved ones
March 15, 2017 04:59 AM
It can be very hard to determine if someone you know has an eating disorder. It may not be able to be noticeable with obvious signs, sometimes its the things you least expect. As much as you want to look out for your loved ones when it comes to an eating disorder, they are going to be as discrete as they can be. This s why this article presents a list of things one should to watch out for eating disorders, that way if you see certain signs you will know what to do.
"Hundreds of South Africans have eating disorders, but it can be difficult for family and friends to detect these problems in loved ones, a doctor warns."
Read more: https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.health24.com%2FDiet-and-nutrition%2FHealthy-diets%2Fkeep-an-eye-out-for-eating-disorders-in-loved-ones-20170303&ct=ga&cd=CAIyGmZjNGVlYTM1NDU3YmZmOGU6Y29tOmVuOlVT&usg=AFQjCNEX1cAzXEB4qfyGZgH85ST6LZmXDg
All you need to know about fatty liver
February 17, 2017 12:59 PM
A fatty liver does not sound to healthy. Well having ones can cause sever health complications. It is important to make sure you do not develop this condition. If you are overweight, you are already at a higher risk for fatty liver disease. Having diabetes or high cholesterol are just another example of risks for fatty liver.
"Fatty liver typically has no associated symptoms. You may experience fatigue or vague abdominal discomfort. Your liver may become slightly enlarged, and your doctor can detect this during a physical exam."
Toxins in Your Fast-Food Packaging?
February 06, 2017 07:59 AM
Fast food isn’t exactly known for its health benefits, but a new U.S. study suggests even the packaging may be harmful. That’s because the study found one-third of fast food packaging contains chemicals that give it stain-resistant, water-repellant and nonstick properties. The trouble is these fluorinated chemicals have also been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, hormone problems, high cholesterol, obesity and immune suppression in human and animal studies.
"Major U.S. manufacturers voluntarily phased out PFOA and PFOS for most uses starting in 2011, but other countries still produce them."
What Are The Health Benefits Of Vitamin K2?
January 29, 2017 12:59 PM
Good for a multitude of health benefits, Vitamin K2 is often overlooked in favor of much more notable vitamins such as C or B12. It can help with everything from dental hygiene and health to improving upon our cardiovascular system. K2 is mainly found in animal products such as meat or eggs, as well as non-animal products such as fermented soybeans. Though it's not easy to detect a K2 deficiency, it can lead to severe complications in the long term.
"A nutritional dose of vitamin K can improve your cardiovascular health. It is beneficial for prevention of heart disease. According to the Rotterdam study in 2004, eating foods rich in natural vitamin K2 reduces the risk of both arterial calcification and cardiovascular disease by as much as 50%. Vitamin K2 prevent arterial calcification by stopping calcium from entering areas where it should not be."
Here's Why Some Miss Out on the Asparagus Effect
December 26, 2016 02:59 PM
If you have ever eaten a hearty helping of asparagus, you may or may not have noticed that your urine smelled pungent afterwards. A study in the British Medical Journal states that only 40% of people can smell this. This study showed that all the people who could not smell asparagus in urine had the same gene anomaly. Scientists are also hoping to raise awareness of how healthy the vegetable is. This stalky plant is rich in fiber, zinc, iron, folate, and vitamins A, C, and E.
""Outstanding questions on this topic remain; first and foremost perhaps is why a delicacy such as asparagus results in such a strong odor?""
Researchers develop tiny, shining crystals that detect and clean heavy metals in water
December 16, 2016 12:59 PM
Researchers from Rutgers University crystals, aka luminescent metal-organic frameworks (LMOF), that detect and are able to bond with heavy metal contaminants in water. The LMOF are highly effective and it is hopeful that they will be a great tool to clean up contaminated drinking water. Researchers continue to try to develop the crystals so that they may be created less expensively and can be used several times.
"A team of researchers led by academics at Rutgers University has developed tiny, glowing crystals that are able to detect and then bind heavy-metal toxins in drinking water such as lead and mercury."
Texas reports first case of Zika spread by local mosquitoes
December 09, 2016 06:59 AM
The Zika virus has become one of the biggest concerns in the United States lately. Texas recently became the second state in the country to report a locally spread case of the virus. To date, Florida has had 238 cases of Zika virus infection, and they have been battling against mosquitoes since summer 2016. The Zika virus can be hard to detect due to 80 percent of those infected being symptom-free. It is mostly dangerous for pregnant women, since it can cause birth defects.
"Texas health officials on Monday reported the state's first case of Zika likely spread by local mosquitoes, making Texas the second state within the continental United States to report local transmission of the virus that has been linked to birth defects."
America is about to realize just how poisoned conventional food really is ... Lab testing for glyphosate about to go 'viral'
November 24, 2016 08:59 AM
Do you ever really stop to think about what goes in your food and what you're putting in your body? Chances are that you probably don't, although there's a small minority of Americans that seems to. "America is about to realize just how poisoned conventional food really is ... Lab testing for glyphosate about to go 'viral'" talks about what's wrong with the food the average American eats, and how science has found a means to prove this.
"There is no safe level that can be consumed, even though it's regularly found in American food and water."
Did you know there is a natural remedy to stop heartburn in its tracts?
Acid reflux plague's thousands of individuals each day in the U.S.A. Many of which take over the counter and prescription anti-acid drugs. Doing this is not without side effects, these drugs can cause all sorts of health issues even kidney failure. Fortunately, there is an alternative that can help.
Acid reflux is a sign of an imbalance in the digestive tract. Put it simply, your body is not able to detect the acid that is setting in your stomach from the last time you ate something. If stomach acid is not released from the stomach after your food has been digested, you will experience heart burn. Doctors tell you that taking a drug to reduce stomach acid will solve your problem, but the opposite is actually the case. Since your body does not detect the acid present in your stomach, you need to add more acid. Anti-acids actually prolong and compound the issue with deadly side effects.
Taking a simple inexpensive supplement called HCL with pepsin, one can successfully eliminate heart burn with zero side effects. If you suffer from heart burn, taking one or two pills of Hcl with each meal will solve your problem.
Adding a probiotic and soluble fiber to your diet can help restore balance to your digestive tract and eventually eliminate any recurrences.
Stop taking dangerous anti-acid drugs and start your self on the path to true healing with natural remedies such as Hcl with Pepsin.
Dental Benefits of Xylitol; Protect your teeth against decay.
October 07, 2014 08:34 PM
Liquid Calcium Citrate - An Overview of What to Discover
August 01, 2014 05:29 PM
While calcium is quite effective in conditions of improving health, it is valued very little without the addition of magnesium. Calcium in liquid type is much, much more potent than that of the tablet selection.
Absorption of calcium
Due to the fact liquid calcium is drinking water centered, it is virtually a single hundred % to be absorbed by the body. The reality of the subject is that much less than twenty five % of tablet based calcium is absorbed by the body.Protein prosperous meals like meat cause calcium to be wasted via the urine. Calcium that is obtained from foods and the capsule type of calcium are badly absorbed. This suggests that most individuals are finding a lot significantly less calcium than they would like to believe is the scenario. As liquid ionic calcium is water primarily based, it is absorbed instantly. This ensures the physique the appropriate quantity of calcium.
It is extremely hard to get the optimum calcium needed for the entire body. This helps make it even far more motive for 1 to take calcium in liquid format relatively than tablet format.
Benefits of liquid calcium
The digestive process rewards immensely from liquid calcium magnesium. It is excellent for the relief of constipation, indigestion and heartburn. It gains the digestive procedure in other strategies as well and for greatest outcomes, it ought to be taken right after eating.The production of milk in lactating females is enhanced by the ingestion of calcium. Contractions through labor are also facilitated by calcium. Other advantages are that nerve impulses are regulated and taking calcium enables the clotting of blood.
It is a properly-recognized truth that insufficient quantities of calcium trigger osteoporosis. Calcium deficiency has dire penalties for little ones as it can lead to rickets in kids. Far more important in adults, it causes softening of the bony tissue. This is acknowledged as osteomalacia.It has been even more reported that the substantial blood pressure and cancer of the colon have also been attributed to insufficient quantities of calcium.
Symptoms of calcium deficiency
An individual can detect a lack of calcium in the body by the presence of tingling and or numbness all around the mouth and the fingertips. Calcium deficient persons will also knowledge painful aches and muscle spasms.Lack of calcium can be a contributing aspect to currently being obese. It can also retard the method of losing extra fat. It has been uncovered that when a single eats also very little the human body stores all it can, as it does not know when following it will be fed. The identical course of action comes about when the body is starved of calcium.
There is a hormone in the entire body known as calcitriol. This has the power to constrict the arteries. Calcium regulates this hormone. Because of this approach, people today with high blood pressure will notice a drop in the blood strain when ingesting optimum ranges of calcium. Taking calcium also safeguards the nervous technique and the heart.
The system is equipped to create vitamins, but the same are not able to be stated about minerals. For top rated-degree overall health, the entire body involves satisfactory if not abundant amounts of food grade minerals, mainly calcium.
Beta Glucan can Boost your Immune System in a great way
November 18, 2013 07:43 AM
What is Beta Glucan
If you are one of those people that always remain ill or if your body cannot adopt easily with weather then it’s a sign of poor immunity and you need to improve the immunity system of your body. In order to do this you can take help of some medicines or you can consume some foods that naturally contain the Beta Glucan, which is a soluble fiber and it plays a key role in improvement of immunity system of your body.
Effects of Beta Glucan
If we talk about the effect of Beta Glucan on your immunity system it work on both the component of your immunity system that are acquired immune response and innate immune response system. In order to improve the immunity system f your body beta Glucan activate both of these component and as a result of this you get better immunity system.
How is Beta Glucan Works
In this process of immunity system improvement, First Beta Glucan combines itself with a specific type of white blood cell that is commonly known as Macrophage and as a result of this particular bonding, these white blood cells can detect and eliminate harmful foreign bodies in much better way. For this action of immunity system improvement innate immunity system is responsible.
Once your body gets the information about any kind external harmful bodies such as bacteria, virus or any other infection, acquired immune response system get activated and this is the system that fights with all these external bodies. Beta Glucan improve this system as well so your body can communicate about these intruders and can defense the body in much better manner.
Other than improvement of immunity system of your body, Beta Glucan, can help you to fight variety of other problems as well including high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer and a lot of other diseases as well.
Discover the Wonders of Essential Oils
November 15, 2013 11:38 PM
What are the Source of Essential Oil
Essential oils obtained from plants are important in helping you stay healthy and in good mood. These oils are extracted from various parts of plants that include flowers, leaves, stem and roots. Water and steam distillation is the popular method of oil extraction employed to deduce the essence of natural plants.
What are the Benefits of Essential Oil
Natural plants are the main source of these volatile essential oils. Hence, the extracts are safe to your health with high therapeutic effects for aromatherapy. For maximum benefits, they are combined with smooth carrier oils such as grape seed oil to provide physical, emotional and psychological therapy essential for the body. Their ability to purify the air makes them a favorite diffuse when vaporized and diffused in the air. Most of volatile oils have antiviral and antibacterial properties. As a result, they inhibit pathogens and microbes when they come into contact with them, completely neutralizing them leaving the air off disease causing microorganisms.
What Essential Oil to use When Relaxing
Essential oils set the mood and promote relaxation. We all respond emotionally to scents. Most of these aromatherapy oils tend to be stimulating or promote relaxation. For example, citrusy smell is likely to stimulate while lavender relaxes. We also commonly associate jasmine with romance and the fragrance of roses with love. Oils from chamomile, patchouli, lavender, and clary sage are essential aromatherapy oils best known for reducing depression and stress.
When Having Nasal Problem
Oils clear nasal passages and ease symptoms. Rosemary, peppermint and eucalyptus are popular essential oils best for alleviating respiratory congestion. They also reduce inflammation in your nasal passage when inhaled therefore relieving symptoms. Although they may not completely resolve your health problem, they can be used as palliatives during spells of illness and disease.
How to Improve Skin Health
Essential oils improve your skin health. They are readily absorbed by the human skin making them ideal for body massage. Studies show that, after just 20 minutes of a full-body massage with 2 percent dilution of lavender oil, its relaxing chemical constituents can be detected in the blood thus providing instant relief. With just few drops of essential oils, you too will soon be knocking on heavens doors.
How to manage high blood pressure with herbs and vitamins
February 20, 2012 06:42 AM
What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a very common health condition whereby one's blood is pumped through the arteries at a higher than normal pressure. High blood pressure may lead to serious health problems like heart disease and stroke.
The quantity of blood pumped by the heart and the level of resistance to the flow of blood in the arteries. The more one's heart pumps blood and the narrower their arteries, the higher will be their blood pressure.
Many people have hypertension without even knowing it for years. This is because the condition does not usually show any symptoms. Having uncontrolled hypertension increases a person's risk of developing serious medical conditions, for example heart disease or stroke.
Typically, high blood pressure develops over a long period of time, usually for years and can affect almost everybody eventually. Thankfully, the condition can easily be detected. And once somebody knows they have it, they can get medical advice on how to control it from a doctor.
Causes of high blood pressure
There are two well known types of hypertension-primary/essential high blood pressure and secondary hypertension.
The first type of high blood pressure occurs in most adults and has no identifiable cause. It tends to develop slowly over a number of years. On the other hand, secondary hypertension is a condition that seems to appear suddenly and is usually caused by an underlying health condition. This type of blood pressure is higher in intensity compared to primary hypertension. Some medications and conditions can lead to secondary hypertension and they include:
Congenital blood vessel defects
Adrenal gland tumors
Certain medications, for example cold remedies, birth control pills, decongestants, pain relief tablets bought over the counter as well as prescription medicines Illegal drugs like amphetamines and cocaine
What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?
Most people who have hypertension do not have any signs or symptoms, no matter the seriousness of the condition.
Even though a small fraction of people with early-stage hypertension may get dizzy spells, dull headaches, or even heavy nose bleeding from time to time, these signs as well as symptoms normally do not appear until the condition has reached a critical and even life-threatening stage.
How high blood pressure can be controlled with vitamins and herbs Vitamins
Certain vitamins are said to lower high blood pressure as well as support one's cardiovascular system. One of the vitamins that can help is vitamin C. it is an important vitamin that can help to manage hypertension as it is rich in antioxidants, which help in prevention of stroke and heart attack. Other vitamins that can help to prevent or control high blood pressure include vitamins A, E, D and B6.
Whole grains, green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, chicken, corn, salmon, just to mention a few, are good sources of essential vitamins that help in controlling hypertension.
Herbs such as Hawthorn, Rauwolfia Serpentina/Indian snakeroot, and Ginkgo Biloba etc can also be used in lowering blood pressure. All these herbs can also strengthen your cardiovascular system to help in lowering the blood pressure and allow for better circulation. However, make sure you consult an experienced herbalist or healthcare specialist before you use any of the above herbs to control your hypertension.
How Does Coenzyme Q10 Improve Energy Levels and Our Health?
October 04, 2011 04:18 PM
One of the most amazing and essential chemical cofactors is coenzyme Q10. This specific cofactor plays a crucial role for the body because it is required by cells to produce enough energy to sustain life. Studies revealed that coenzyme Q10 can increase the level of energy of all the muscles in the body therefore, it is beneficial most especially for the cardiac muscles to achieve optimal rate.
Coenzyme Q10 also provides the immune system with enough power and energy so that the body will be protected from injurious pathogens. It can also help in releasing fat storage by enhancing oxygen utilization. Because of the fact that the production of coenzyme Q10 decreases as we age, there is a great need to take supplements so that we will not be depriving our body with the health benefits that it offers. Below is the array of health benefits that coenzyme Q10 is capable of offering:
Coenzyme Q10 toughens your protection against pathogens
It is an inevitable fact that our immune system requires enough energy to sustain it from performing its functions. Coenzyme Q10 has been proven essential in terms of strengthening the immune system especially in instances when an invader is detected. Coenzyme Q10 offers vital support to our natural killer cells (our first line of defense) in fighting bacterial and viral agents that could cause great harm to our body.
Another health benefit of coenzyme Q10 is its capability in lowering the concentration and regulating the production of chemicals such as NF-kappaB, which could weaken our immune system. Based on the studies that were conducted, it has been unleashed that increasing blood levels of coenzyme Q10 could enhance the antibody response to as much as 57% hence, it is highly essential in keeping our body well protected.
Coenzyme Q10 is good for you heart
We are aware that ATP is the primary unit of energy that is being utilized by the mitochondria of our cells; to sustain the process, the body only recognizes coenzyme Q10 to act as chemical facilitator. A deficiency in the amount of coenzyme Q10 in the body would also equate to poor muscle functioning.
As a matter of fact there was this study that revealed that when coenzyme Q10 is combined with other forms of potent antioxidants like selenium, vitamin C and vitamin E, it can relevantly enhance the health of your heart and can lower down your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Coenzyme Q10 can help you lose weight
This special coenzyme supplies your body with enough energy to ensure the efficacy of your exercise program by increasing fat metabolism and energy utilization. Because coenzyme Q10 can help the conversion of energy components into a more useful form, it can help stimulate your metabolic rate thus helping you achieve the body that you have always wanted. Experts suggest that you should combine coenzyme Q10 with regular aerobic exercise to make it more efficient for your body to get rid of fats.
How Does Lycopene Help Improve Prostate Health?
August 18, 2011 10:16 AM
Lycopene is a bright red carotenoid pigment and phytochemical found in tomatoes and other red fruits and veggies, like red carrots, watermelons and papayas however not strawberries. Although most chemical carotenes has vitamin A activity, lycopene does not. Lycopene is an essential intermediate in the biosynthesis of many carotenoids and in algae, plants, and other photosynthetic organisms.
A term that describes a large range of more about 600 pigments which give plants their red, orange or yellow colouring is carotenoid. Some of the most commonly known in a regular Western region diets are alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene.
Attention has been paid most to alpha-carotene and beta-carotene since these are the ones that can be synthesized by our body to form vitamin A, one of the body’s very powerful antioxidants.
Lycopene, in particular, is has even been credited with some of the many anti-oxidant functions previously credited to beta-carotene.
Prostate cancer is most common among men over the age of 50. The cause of this type of cancer, like almost all other cancers, is unknown, but some studies indicate alteration in testosterone metabolism possibly plays a role in its development. Prostate cancer generally grows slowly and can be undetected until late in the stage of the decease since it does not show any symptoms in the early stages. Symptoms can include painful urination, a feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder, or blood showing with the urine. According to some studies prostate cancer patients that supplement with lycopene in addition to surgical procedures to remove the testicles may experience, less bone pain, and live longer than those who does not supplement.
It has also shown that groups of patient that were tested with lycopene supplementation has a higher survival rate after a time frame of two years and no adverse side effects were observed in these men as well. This is achieved through lycopenes proven role in keeping the pathways open between cells which is vital in allowing the immune system to hold off cancer cells in its early stages. Although more research is still required to iron out what exact amount of lycopene will be most effective, the current results are already encouraging. However eating a moderately sized tomato a day can approximately provide 4 mg of lycopene and other tomato products, like an 8-ounce tomato juice or tomato paste provides up to 15 mg of lycopene just to give all the men out there an estimate. These are small portions of the diet that could easily be added without any major adverse effect to weight or health and seems too small to ignore given the possible benefits and minimal negative effects if any.
Additional Lycopene Benefits
It also has been found that lycopene can possibly as important as beta-carotene in protecting against the process of oxidation of Low Density Lipids (LDLs), also known as the “bad cholesterol”, which is now held to be the main cause of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries which leads to cardio-vascular diseases like stroke or heart attack.
Grab Some Lycopene today and experience the benefits for yourself!
Is AHCC Good for the Immune System? How So?
March 02, 2011 02:44 PM
AHCC And Immune Health
Active Hexose Correlated Compound, or AHCC, is one of the most commonly used food supplements in Japan largely owing to its effective immune-boosting properties when successfully absorbed by the human body. The earliest important study concerning its activities in the immune system was published in the early 1990’s at Tokyo University, triggering a sudden rise in popularity among consumers in Japan, where it is sold over the counter.
Activates White Blood Cells
It has been observed in the past few years that AHCC boosts the immune system in many different ways in that it participates not only in the innate immune system but also in the adaptive immune system. Of special note is the significant increase in certain types of white blood cells, including natural killer cells, or NK, and macrophages. NK cells are in the employ of the innate immune system and responsible for the disposal of cells infected by viruses. They are often the first line of defense against common viruses such as herpes, containing the damage that viral infection spreads while waiting for specified mechanisms of the adaptive immune system. This is when macrophages come into play along with a cohort of lymphocytes. Their relatively bigger size allows them to effectively engulf pathogenic cells and the enzymes they contain break these pathogens down.
Removes Antigens and Toxins
AHCC also influences the production of antigen presenting cells, or APC. In a double-blind, placebo controlled study involving healthy individuals there was a significant increase in the quantities of APC, notably dendritic cells, in comparison with the baseline, and proteins released by lymphocytes called interferon. Both APC and interferon facilitate the detection of antigens and toxins created by invasive foreign bodies and alert the rest of the immune system of their presence. Dendritic cells are considered the most important group of all APCs in that they present a wide range of antigen presentation by way of phagocytosis or endocytosis, two different ways of catching antigens. By so doing, they make it easier for white blood cells to eliminate antigens and other toxic substances.
Defends against Cancer Cells
Cancer patients are the group of individuals that have benefited the most from AHCC. Early studies yielded data that are now being used to enhance the quality of life of those diagnosed with cancer. Indeed boosting the immune system has proven to play a part in the battle against cancer, and AHCC stimulates the immune system to manufacture a class of white blood cells that actively defend the body against cancer cells by causing tumor cells to die and on the same principle delay the proliferation of malignant cells.
There have been extensive clinical trials well underway in many countries, including China, South Korea, Thailand, Spain, and the US. These studies aim to that rigorously test its efficacy. In fact, AHCC belongs to the group of nutritional products tied to alternative medicine that has been supported by an abundance of data in connection with its safety and recommended dosages.
If you are battling disease, give AHCC a try.
Can Astragalus Help Boost the Immune System?
February 24, 2011 01:31 PM
What we refer to as the herbal astragalus is actually a large number of plant species in the family Fabaceae, the same group of shrubs that we commonly identify as peas, beans, or legumes. Many of these species have been utilized in folk medicine of different communities all over the world, but the majority of herbal extracts made available as nutritional supplements today come from Astragalus propinquus, or Astragalus membranaceus.
Astragalus may be best known for its touted modulating effects to the immune system largely owing to the fact that it has enjoyed a very long history as a health tonic both in the East and the West. It is an important ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine, valued for its reinvigorating effects to what they call defensive energy of life. It is known by the name of Huang Qi in China, where most of the recent studies on this herb take place.
Regulates Interferon Releases
There are a number of studies that link astragalus to HIV in that it is purported to combat replication of viruses and inhibit growth of pathogenic microbes. To be more specific, it is believed to have an influence on the production of proteins called interferon, or IFNs. A type of white blood cell in the employ of the immune system called lymphocytes release interferon whenever the body detects the presence of viruses, bacteria, parasites, or even tumors. In addition, IFNs activate natural killer cells, which target cells infected with viruses and tissues afflicted with tumor, and program them to die.
Stimulates the Healing Process
It is also postulated that astragalus has an augmenting effect on the healing process by interfering with inflammatory agents. There are organic compounds called eicosanoids that are released by the body in larger amounts to facilitate healing of wounds or infections through the process of inflammation. These compounds work hand in hand with the immune system in removing the pathogens that cause infections and initiate the reversal of damages done by these pathogens. If inflammation takes place longer than it is supposed to, the area affected will have to deal with prolonged pain, redness, and swelling. Astragalus works on the principle of maintaining healthy releases of eicosanoids, the reason why it is used as a treatment for arthritis, dermatitis, asthma, and other autoimmune diseases.
Produces Homeostatic Effects
Astragalus has shown to be involved in many metabolic processes, maintaining stability of organic compounds from the foods we eat that reach the circulation. There have been mentions that it is particularly good for the lungs, adrenal glands, and alimentary canal by improving their functions and acting as a buffer to any unwanted debris that may attack the cells that make up these organs.
Be reminded that astragalus has been associated with a long list of health benefits, but none of these have yielded strong scientific support. It is safe to assume that testimonials are influenced by anecdotal evidence and initial results of studies that are yet to be concluded.
Have you tried Astragalus?
How Does L-Lysine Help with Herpes?
February 08, 2011 01:36 PM
L-lysine has been proven effective in the reduction of herpes outbreaks. The viruses that cause herpes simplex successfully multiply at an exponential rate during symptomatic shedding, but their capacity to sustain replication is challenged in the presence of L-lysine, which at very high concentrations has shown to damage progeny of herpes virus. Hence, the severity and duration of outbreaks are curbed.
One of the limiting resources of protein synthesis in human beings and most other vertebrates is the availability of L-lysine in the body. Some of the amino acids implicated in protein synthesis can be manufactured inside the body from their substrates, but this amino acid does not belong to this group. The amounts of L-lysine in our body systems are completely dependent on its presence in our diet, thus dubbed essential amino acid.
Limiting Factor to Growth
L-lysine plays a variety of important roles in the human body, and a shortfall of this amino acid has been reported to limit growth, resulting in malabsorption or even malnutrition. It is a building block of all types of proteins in humans, including the visible mass that makes up a muscular physique. It is central to the absorption of calcium, the production of enzymes, and the regulation of hormones. In addition, it is greatly involved in functions that lead to recovery following physical trauma or surgery.
More importantly, L-lysine is a focal constituent in the manufacture of immunoglobulins, the front-liners against diseases. Immunoglobulins are a class of proteins in the blood that we commonly refer to as antibodies, which neutralize pathogenic microbes invading the cells and tissues of the body. In fact, L-lysine is one of the protein bases in use to monitor the activities of antibodies, detecting abnormalities at the molecular level and paving the way for future developments of drugs with medicinal potential.
Boosting the Body’s Defenses
While L-lysine is important to the overall production of antibodies, it has also been observed that very low levels of this essential amino acid in the body compromises the ability of the immune system to fight off infectious diseases. The incidence of symptomatic herpes in individuals known to consume L-lysine supplements are relatively low than those who don’t. Symptomatic herpes manifest in the form of painful skin lesions called fever blisters, also known as cold sores, around the mouth, but may appear and spread anywhere in the body, such as the eyes, the fingers, and the genitals.
When taken at recommended dosages, L-lysine in itself combats the replication process of herpes virus in the body, not only ending outbreaks promptly but also speeding up the healing process in the area of damaged tissues with very little scarring. Herpes virus has been noted to feed on another amino acid identified as L-arginine, and consumptions of sources of this amino acid like nuts and chocolates have been reported to give rise to symptomatic herpes. This is one of the things taken care of by L-lysine, since it out competes the effects of L-arginine to herpes viruses.
L-lysine is available in capsule, tablet, and powder forms at your local or internet vitamin store. Always choose name brands like Source Naturals to ensure quality and purity of the product you by for better health.
Curcumin and Pain
December 02, 2010 12:33 PM
Make no mistake about it: curcumin has long been identified as the compound responsible for the anti-inflammatory benefits of the ginger plant turmeric. The herb turmeric has been around for ages, cultivated for its wide array of culinary and medicinal uses that transcend regional and cultural boundaries. Apart from the popular use of its powdery form in bread, cakes, ale, and beer as a flavoring, the plant contains up to 5 per cent curcumin, which is one type of polyphenols now being looked into for its antioxidant properties.
Prostaglandin and Inflammation Pain
Autocrines and paracrines are contained in almost all tissues and organs to effectively participate in bodily defenses every time the systems call for them, for example in treating wounds. Prostaglandins are either autrocrines or paracrines that take on the job of signaling the tissues and systems implicated in defensive reactions when the body detects unwanted and harmful stimuli. Cells release autocrines to have an effect on the same cells and paracrines to aid nearby cells, making these compounds function as effective chemical messengers in immediate vicinities anywhere in the body as they are short-lived.
Prostaglandin is known as the chemical messenger causing pain and igniting fever among others. Defensive mechanisms start when cells release mediators, including prostaglandin, which brings about the known signs of inflammation. Prostaglandins relax smooth muscle cells within the walls of blood vessels in the area of inflammation and promote the flow of needed fluids like blood and plasma proteins into the spot, leading to the subsequent redness and swelling. They continue to mediate the healing process by permitting the entrance of neutrophil granulocytes, the front-line soldiers against harmful stimuli, and consequently put an end to invading pathogens. The same group of chemicals also increases pain at the same time, for example the joint pains associated with inflammation called arthritis.
Curcumin and Anti-inflammation
Painkillers, classified as analgesic drugs, work in a number of ways that in the end relieve the continual sensitization of certain body parts to pain. One group called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen targets the enzyme that catalyzes the synthesis of prostaglandins aim to reduce levels of prostaglandins.
Curcumin works on the same principle. Take for example, joint pains caused by arthritis. Be reminded that individuals who complain about joint pains are suffering from varied forms of medical conditions, which one way or another contribute to the pain in addition to having excessive levels of prostaglandins in the joints involved. Damage to the joint brought about by wear and tear or forced movement involving joints spurs the body to take defensive measures that include inflammatory effects, thus the pain. The intake of curcumin and its derivatives act on the cells in its production of prostaglandins, resulting in both the easing of pain and the lessening of inflammation.
Good Colon Health Is Essential To Feeling Good
July 21, 2010 02:55 PM
There was once a case of a young man who had felt sick for years. Although it was nothing intense, it was just enough to make him feel listless, tired, and depressed. His medical doctors prescribed him a list of medications, but nothing seemed to help. Eventually, he went to a chiropractor who was also trained in nutrition. After a few urine tests and an examination of his diet, the chiropractor was able to diagnose the man’s problem as auto-intoxication. This meant that his body was actually being poisoned by his intestinal tract.
Auto-intoxication, also known as intestinal toxemia, is a condition that is brought on by eating the wrong types and amounts of food that certain bacteria can thrive upon and produce toxins from. These toxins permeate into the bloodstream and are carried into the rest of the body. Symptoms of auto-intoxication include fatigue, nervousness, gastrointestinal conditions, skin diseases, headaches, endocrine and circulatory disturbances, and others.
The chiropractor placed the young man on a regime of low-protein, high complex-carbohydrate, low-fat foods, with the main emphasis being on raw fruits and vegetables. The young man felt great within a month. His symptoms had gradually disappeared. He states that it was frustrating to suffer for so long when the answer to his problem was a change in diet. The diet changes were not hard for him. After so long being sick, he was willing to try almost anything. He claims that the relief he feels today has made the diet changes worthwhile. The toxins which are formed and sent into the bloodstream are sent to the liver first, where some, but not all, of them are filtered out. They are then sent back into the bloodstream where they poison various cells. Finally, they are excreted by the kidneys into urine, making their presence able to be detected through a urinalysis.
A lot of medical literature has been published that supports the link between illness and intestinal toxemia. The following are just a few examples of this literature. One doctor studied 472 cases of allergies, with allergies clearing up when intestinal toxemia was eliminated. After 23 years of observation, another doctor stated that toxemia is the underlying cause of asthma. About 50% of all cases of inflammatory arthritis can be greatly helped by removing the toxins that are formed in the intestine. Similarly, about 25% of all cases of irregular heartbeats seem to respond well to the elimination of toxemia. Several hundred cases of ear, nose, and throat diseases were from auto-intoxications. A high protein diet that is combined with intestinal stagnation has been shown to cause toxemia of pregnancy.
It was found that many cases of eye disease respond well when the intestinal toxins are eliminated from the picture. Both mental and physical nervous system diseases may result form auto-intoxication. One paper reported that 517 cases of mental symptoms that ranged from mental sluggishness to hallucinations were relieved by eliminating intestinal toxemia. Recent research has actually found that toxemia is related to schizophrenia.
The process of aging is even sped up by toxins in the body. Low back pain and sciatica can be caused by nerves that are irritated by intestinal toxins. One doctor reported that intestinal toxemia is an important causative factor in the production of a variety of skin diseases. Breast diseases have self-healed when auto-intoxication has been removed from the picture. It seems that the answer to many health problems is building up the immune system with a healthy diet that is high in complex-carbohydrates, low in fats, and contains an abundance of fruits and vegetables.
Increasing fiber in the diet can help colon function and eliminate the compounds that cause auto-intoxication. Acidophilus can help restore the intestinal balance once the colon has been cleansed boosting digestion and immune health. Look to your local or internet health food store for quality colon support supplements.
Gymnema Sylvestre Leaf Extract
September 16, 2009 11:31 AM
Gymnema has been used for centuries throughout the world for medical purposes. Only recently has it gained popularity in the Western world. The herb grows naturally in Africa and India. It is traded all over the world. Generally, the leaves are the part used. However, the root seems to supply some medicinal properties as well. The plant is a vine-like woody plant that can be found growing on bushes and small tress. It is a member of the milkweed family.
Gymnema has been used by Ayurvedic physicians to treat ailments such as stomach problems, diabetes, and urinary disorders for more than two thousand years. Early physicians found that chewing some of the leaves helped an individual to lose a taste for sweets. Modern scientific research has confirmed that gymnemic acid, the active ingredient, blacks the taste of sugar and blocks sugar’s absorption by the body. It is also thought the gymnema suppresses the taste of saccharin and clycamate, which are two common artificial sweeteners. A study done in 1986 also suggests that this herb is able to significantly increase liver and pancreatic function. This ability is promising for diabetes, obesity, hypoglycemia, allergies, anemia, and osteoporosis.
This herb is used for blocking the passages that sugar is normally absorbed. This prevents calories from being absorbed and blood sugar levels are not so drastically affected. The herb is also thought to block the body’s desire for sweets. One study found a link between the taste buds and the absorption of sugar in the intestines. Because gymnemic acid, found in gymnema, has a molecular structure similar to sugar, these molecules can fill in the receptor locations on the taste buds temporarily, preventing the taste buds from being activated by the sugar eaten. The same basic thing happens in intestines, as the structure of tissue in the intestines is similar to the taste-bud structure that detects sugar. The gymenmic acid fills in the receptors in the intestines, which prevents absorption.
One of the most promising uses of gymnema may be in cases of diabetes. Research on animals has found that a reduction of blood sugar levels occurs after the consumption of gymnema extract. The herb may help to reduce the amount of insulin needed by diabetic individuals on insulin therapy. The herb is found in combinations that are often associated with controlling blood glucose levels and metabolism. Gymnema seems to be successful in some cases of diabetes. Additionally, the herb has been found to actually improve both liver and pancreatic function.
Over time, this herb has proven to be a nontoxic remedy. Gymnema is used for many conditions. Among these are diabetes, digestion, urinary tract problems, obesity, hypoglycemia, allergies, anemia, cholesterol, and hyperactivity. Gymnema may be a useful remedy in the concern over sugar and sugar-related problems, along with many other medical ailments.
In short, the leaves and roots of the gymnema plant are used to provide antiperiodic, diuretic, and stomachic properties. Primarily, this herb is extremely beneficial in dealing with diabetes, hyperactivity, and hypoglycemia. Additionally, gymnema is very helpful in treating allergies, anemia, high cholesterol, gastric disorders, indigestion, obesity, and weight conditions. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by gymnema, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
March 13, 2009 02:48 PM
The coming of winter brings the possibility of becoming sick for many people. Millions of Americans suffer from at least one bout of the flu or cold each year, which results in millions of hours of lost work time, millions of dollars spent on remedy products, and flat-out despair. Those people who do come down with a cold or flu end up seeking out syrups, lozenges, tablets, and pills that are not designed to get rid of the ailment, but suppress its various symptoms instead.
There has been no cure to date for the various strains of viruses that cause colds and flu. Although conventional medicine has attempted to suppress the symptoms of the flu and cold, most of the products are relatively ineffective and come along with a variety of side effects. Thankfully, there are natural methods and products that help to prevent infection from cold and flu viruses and also help to shorten the duration and lessen the severity of a cold/flu infection.
The differences between a cold and flu are often imperceptible. However, there are several differences. Although there are more than 20 identified major virus families, most colds come from only five of these. Three other virus families produce flu, which are usually identified as A, B, and C strains. Flu types B and C are generally mild in adults, both of which are often confused as bad colds. Once a person experiences a type C flu, they usually gain immunity, although children can get it more than once. The type A flu virus is the least stable and most volatile, as it changes genetic makeup frequently. Type A strains cause more severe symptoms than a cold and individuals do not generally develop an immunity to it. The virus found in the type A flu are generally the viruses that produce epidemics.
The flu is almost always more severe than a cold, as it is usually accompanied by fever, chills, and aches. The onset of a flu is also much more rapid than that of a cold, with a flu usually lasting anywhere from a few days to a week. However, residual effects from the flu can last up to a few weeks.
Most colds come from one of five virus families, with almost half coming from the rhinovirus family. The rhinovirus wasn’t officially detected until the late 1980s. Colds are usually restricted to the nose, throat, and surrounding air passages and usually do not bring fever, chills, or the more severe symptoms that often associated with the flu. Unfortunately, the duration of symptoms of a cold is usually longer than that of the flu, as it sometimes lasts several weeks at a time.
Viruses are the cause of the majority of symptoms that are found along with a cold or flu. They are involved in the cause of these symptoms in several ways. First of all, some of the symptoms of a cold are caused by the body’s own response to the infection. Some of these symptoms include cough, fever, runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes. Viruses often prompt what is termed a disease process, in which antibodies are produced that attach to the viruses they’re fighting as both travel throughout the body.
The virus is able to destroy or damage vital organs that they invade. Depending on the extent of the infection in the organs, along with the overall virus invasion, the body’s immune system can be worn down, which makes it much more susceptible to other infections. Fortunately, natures provides relief. Those who suffer from the flu or a cold can take vitamin C which has been shown to reduce the severity and length of ones cold.
Year after year the flu will rear its butt and there is little we can do accept keep clean by washing our hands regularly. Even though the flu can not be stopped, vitamins like vitamin C can help reduce the length and severity the cold one experiences. Quality vitamin C is inexpensive and available at your local or internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamin C is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
March 05, 2009 01:31 PM
Inflammation is a normal part of the body’s defense against pathogens. The increase in body temperature, flood of toxic free radicals and inflammation-signaling proteins, and release of killer macrophage cells are the main signs of an inflammatory event that is the body’s long-established means of defending against a clear and present danger. This adaptive response can now become a cause for debilitating disease. It is even thought that the aging process may be linked to the very defense mechanism that keeps us healthy when we are young. As we grow older, our ability to regulate inflammation begins to diminish. Instead of protecting us, inflammation becomes silent and systemic, allowing degenerative disease to take root. The symptoms of silent inflammation are extremely different from acute inflammation of redness, heat, swelling, and pain, and can lie undetected until it has been around for far too long.
Silent inflammation causes the body to turn on itself, as its immune system begins attacking its own organs. Over time, inflammatory cytokines such as C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and inflammation producing eicosanoids like prostaglandin E-2 and leukotrienes B-4, start to destroy tissue all over the body. In response to this attack, the body produces even more inflammatory cytokines and free radicals, which creates a self-perpetuating cycle. Silent inflammation damages arteries, destroys nerve cells and organs, compromises the immune system, and promotes cancerous growths. Despite how well they feel today, those with silent inflammation are on a fast track toward degenerative disease. On the good side, preventative measures that are taken today to reduce inflammation can prevent degenerative diseases like cardiovascular heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s tomorrow.
When there are equal numbers of good and bad eicosanoids, a state of wellness is able to prevail within the body. However, when they become chronically unbalanced, many problems result. This balance is, interestingly, highly dependant upon the level of insulin that is found in the body. High insulin levels, whether they are induced by sugar overload, the onset of insulin resistance, or the hormonal effects of excess fat, set the stage for systematic inflammation. As insulin levels climb, oxidative stress increases dramatically, causing the production of inflammatory cytokines. Along with being too high in refined sugar, the average North American diet is filled with inflammation-promoting fats and scarce in inflammation-reducing omega-3 fats; the consequence of this chronic fatty acid imbalance in an increase in systemic inflammation.
As inflammation rises, so does the production of cortisol, which is produced in the adrenal glands and is intricately involved in the body’s response to stress. In an attempt to reduce inflammation, cortisol increases blood pressure, elevates blood-sugar levels, and suppresses the immune system. This means that systemic inflammation produces chronically elevated levels of cortisol, which then place a heavy physiological burden on all organs, causing a dramatic increase on the risk of degenerative disease.
Fortunately, changing the balance within the body to favor the production of anti-inflammatory eicosanoids can be achieved through a conscious dietary change. By simply increasing your dietary intake of fatty fish, eating raw nuts and grains rich in healthy fats, and supplementing with a high-quality cold-pressed fish oil or flaxseed oil, and concurrently decreasing your intake of red meats, eggs, high-glycemic foods, and foods high in saturated fats, chronic inflammation can be reduced greatly. Vitamin supplements can boost ones antioxidant intake and help fight inflammation as well. Quality vitamins are available at your local or internet health food store.
Glaucoma (loose your eye sight)
February 16, 2009 01:18 PM
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that affect the optic nerve and can lead to irreversible vision loss. It is usually associated with elevated fluid pressure within the eye. All forms of glaucoma can cause damage to the optic nerve and lead to vision loss, even blindness, if left untreated. About 2.2 million Americans have been diagnosed with glaucoma and as many as 2 million more could have it and not yet know. It is one of the lading causes of blindness and is expected to become more prevalent in years to come due to the growing population of older adults.
Those people who are at greatest risk for developing glaucoma are people over the age of sixty, people of African ancestry, and people with diabetes, high blood pressure, severe myopia, or a family history of glaucoma. Smokers also have an elevated risk, as do those who have sustained eye injuries or who have used steroids for an extended period of time.
About 3 percent of Americans are believed to have open-angle glaucoma, which is the most common form of this disease. Because this disorder causes no symptoms until it is quite advanced, only about half of those who have it are actually aware of it. In open-angle glaucoma, there is no physical blockage and the structure of the eye appear to be normal. However, the drainage of fluid is inadequate to keep the intraocular pressure at a normal level.
The most pronounced symptoms of open-angle glaucoma are the gradual loss or darkening of peripheral vision and a marked decrease in night vision or the ability of the eye to adjust to darkness. Other possible symptoms include chronic low-grade headaches, the need for frequent changes in eyeglass prescription, and/or seeing halos around electric lights.
A far less common, yet more serious, form of glaucoma is closed-angle glaucoma. Closed-angle glaucoma is much more dangerous than open-angle forms because it almost never manifests any symptoms until very late in the condition. By that time, vision may be irreversibly damaged.
Glaucoma probably has many causes, with many scientists believing it may be closely linked to stress and nutritional problems or disorders like diabetes and high blood pressure. Some think that excessive amounts of glutamic acid, which is a nonessential amino acid, may be involved. Glaucoma has also been linked to deficiency in nitric oxide, which is a molecule that is critical for healthy blood vessels. Problems with collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body, have been linked to glaucoma as well. Collagen increases the strength and elasticity of tissues in the body, especially those of the eye. Collagen and tissue abnormalities at the back of the eye contribute to the clogging of the tissues through which the intraocular fluid normally drains. This results in elevated inner eye pressure, leading to glaucoma and related vision loss.
The following nutrients are considered to be very important when dealing with and preventing glaucoma: choline, essential fatty acids, glutathione, rutin, vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, vitamin E, alpha-lipoic acid, magnesium, a multivitamin and mineral complex, and zinc. Additionally, the following herbs are helpful: bilberry, chickweed, eyebright, coleus forskohli, fennel tea, chamomile, ginkgo biloba, zinc sulfate, jaborandi, and rose hips.
To resolve issues with the eyes, one must change their diet, exercise, and take supplements and herbs like what are listed above. Medical doctors are at a loss as to how glaucoma happens but they can help stop the progression of this disease if detected early on. Always consult your doctor before adding vitamins and herbs to your diet, vitamins and herbs are available at your local or internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Inositol And Choline
December 11, 2008 12:19 PM
Inositol is a member of the vitamin B complex family, being referred to as vitamin B8, but is not strictly a vitamin because it is biosynthesized in your body. Vitamins are essential substances that are not manufactured by your natural biochemistry, and must be taken in your diet. However, to all intents and purposes it works like a member of the vitamin B family.
The main function of myo-inositol (the commonest isomer of inositol) is in the health of cell membranes, particularly those that comprise the marrow, eyes, intestines and the brain. Without proper regulation of the cell membrane, the cell cannot function effectively. Some of its effects include healthy hair and controlling estrogen levels. It is also believed to help to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.
A deficiency will result in hair loss, eczema, increased blood cholesterol levels and eye abnormalities. You might also suffer constipation, although this is not as serious a condition as those preceding. It is present at highest levels in the heart and brain, which indicates where it is mostly used, although it also helps the liver to break down fats and enables the nerves and muscles to operate as they should.
Those that are depressed are frequently found to have low inositol levels in their spinal fluid, so it is believed to play a part in that condition. It is known that the substance takes part in the function of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is known to play a part in depression, and initial signs are that its use in the treatment of depression could be effective. Neurotransmitters are responsible for passing messages across the gap (synapses) between nerve cells, their messages being decoded by the neuroreceptors. A healthy nervous system depends on healthy neurotransmitters.
For these reasons, inositol has also been tried on other conditions of the nervous system. These include bipolar disorder, bulimia, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit disorder. So far, results have been inconclusive as to its effectiveness, but it is early days yet and field tests are continuing.
A test carried out in Beersheva, Israel, in 1997, found that treatment with inositol produced significant improvement in the depression of 28 patients after four weeks on the Hamilton Depression Scale1, and 21 patients tested with panic disorder (with and without agoraphobia) showed significant improvements in their condition, including agoraphobia. Results on 13 patients with obsessive compulsive disorder also showed significant improvement. These were all double-blind tests.
However, not all tests have been so conclusive, and a study on 42 people with sever depression who did not respond to conventional antidepressant, also failed to respond when inositol was added to their medication.2 Results are therefore not conclusive.
Four hundred people took part in a double-blind test that indicated a possible improvement in the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome when treated with inositol 3,4 and another that inositol treatment on patients taking lithium could help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis, a skin condition believed to be caused by a reaction of the immune system and nerves.5
The supplement has also been found to be just as effective as Luvox (fluvoxamine – similar to Prozac) after four weeks treatment. Although these results are good, they are inconclusive, and more data is need before any indisputable conclusions can be drawn. However, treatment with inositol might be worth considering if conventional treatment for these conditions has been unsuccessful.
The most common natural form of inositol is myo-inositol, an isomer of cyclohehexanehexol, a carbocyclic polyol that form the structural basis for secondary messengers in the cells of eukaryotes.
A secondary messenger system is one whereby a signaling molecule is released in response to a signal from a primary messenger such as a neuroreceptor, which then activates certain intracellular proteins known as effector proteins that exert a response from the cell. An example is cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate) that is a secondary messenger that activates protein kinases and allows them to phosphorylated proteins.
Eukaryotes are organisms that contain cells composed of complex components contained within a cellular membrane, and that also contain a nucleus. Examples are fungi, plants and all animals. Examples of non eukaryotes include the bacteria family.
It is frequently recommended that inositol is most effective when taken with an equal amount of choline, although this might be due to the fact that when inositol deficiency is detected, choline is also frequently deficient. Both are vitamin B family like, and both are lipotropic, in that they aid the breakdown of fats in the body. It is not clear whether this is true or not, but taking both would certainly not harm you, and might be of great benefit.
Inositol is not essential, because it can be obtained from beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, cantaloupe, brewer’s yeast, liver and vegetables. Bacteria in the gut also act on the phytic acid (inositol hexaphosphate) contained in citrus fruits to form inositol.
However, be careful if you drink a lot of coffee. It destroys inositol, and if you are taking the supplement medicinally, steer clear of coffee during your period of treatment because it will lose its effect. Excessive coffee drinking can also result in a general depletion of inositol from your diet, and hence a deficiency. In such a case you are advised to take a supplement, preferably along with choline that might also be deficient.
Although there have been no adverse side effects reported, no specific longer term safety studies have been carried out on inositol. Because of the way it works, inositol should be avoided by people with liver or kidney disease, and also by expectant or nursing women. It should be avoided by young children until safety tests have been carried out, and it is believed that it can cause manic effects in those suffering bipolar disorder.
Other than for these specific cases, trials with many times the average daily intake of the substance, it currently appears safe to take inositol as a long-term supplement. However, as with all such supplements intended for specific disorders, you should seek the advice of your physician.
References: 1. Levine J: Ministry of Health Mental Health Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev,Beersheva, Israel ur Neuropsychopharmacol, 1997 May, 7:2, 147-55
2. Nemets B, Mishory A, Levine J, et al. Inositol addition does not improve depression in SSRI treatment failures. J Neural Transm. 1999;106:795-798.
3. Gerli S, Mignosa M, Di Renzo GC. Effects of inositol on ovarian function and metabolic factors in women with PCOS: a randomized double blind placebo-controlled trial. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2003;7:151-9.
4. Gerli S, Papaleo E, Ferrari A, et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial: effects of myo-inositol on ovarian function and metabolic factors in women with PCOS. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2007;11:347-354.
5. Allan SJ, Kavanagh GM, Herd RM, et al. The effect of inositol supplements on the psoriasis of patients taking lithium: arandomized, placebo-controlled trial. Br J Dermatol. 2004;150:966-969.
December 10, 2008 10:48 AM
Hoodia Gordonii is a South African succulent plant of the family Apocynaceae. They are remarkable similar in appearance to cacti, although they are totally unrelated to them and grow predominantly in the region of Central Namibia in the south west of Africa, up to the southern regions of Angola. They are most commonly found in rocky ground and on the plains.
There are several species of hoodia, some of them grown domestically, and it is Hoodia gordonii that is used as an appetite suppressant in hoodia weight loss pills. Although the plant has historically found use in the treatment of infections and gastric problems, most interest is displayed in its use by the bushmen of the Kalahari Desert to suppress their appetite during long hunting trips when food and water are scarce.
The active ingredient was isolated in 1977, and given the name P57: the product is therefore often referred to as Hoodia P57. It was patented by its discoverers, the CSIR (South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) and a license granted to UK company Phytopram, who worked together with Pfizer to isolate the active ingredients and manufacture them synthetically. This was found to be very difficult, if not impossible, since any synthetic form of the extract failed to display any hunger-suppressant properties.
Finally, the rights to the main ingredient were released by Pfizer in 2002, thus indicating that it was of no commercial benefit to them. The main problem they admitted with synthesizing P57 was not only the difficulty in doing so, but also that there were side effects of the extract on the liver caused by other components that could not be removed. No synthetic form of hoodia is therefore available, and only the natural plant is used in current Hoodia 57 preparations.
The rights of the San Bushmen to the plant were recognized by the CSIR in 2002, and not only do they receive a proportion of the profits of marketing hoodia, but also the plant is protected with wild-harvesting licenses provided to only certain individuals and companies. Due to the rising popularity of the hoodia weight loss industry, the plant has been named as an endangered species in the wild.
It is believed that the active ingredients are steroidal saponins that can fool the body into believing it is full. This theory is based upon the effect on appetite of glucose concentrations in the blood. Your appetite is controlled by the amount of unconverted glucose in your blood, and glycogen in the liver. When you eat carbohydrates, they are digested and converted into glucose which is absorbed into the bloodstream.
Under normal conditions your blood glucose levels increase to a level where a signal from hypothalamus stops you feeling hungry. Insulin is then secreted from the pancreas to prepare your cells to use that glucose in the mitochondria to create energy by means of the Kreb's Cycle, or Citric Acid Cycle as it is also known. This reduces the concentration of glucose in the blood, and once it reaches a certain level the body begins to use its emergency energy supply, glycogen, that is stored in the liver.
A signal then informs the brain that more glucose is needed. You then feel hungry again, and this cycle is repeated several times a day in a normally healthy person. This cycle is controlled by certain hormones in the brain, specifically in the ventromedial center of the hypothalamus, where it is believed that the ATP (adenosine triphosphate) availability controls the release of the hormones involved.
ATP is the molecule of energy, and as the concentration of blood glucose and of glycogen drop, then the amount of ATP produced also drops and this is detected in the hypothalamus, which reacts by releasing ghrelin. Increased leptin increases the feeling of satiety and ghrelin increases the feeling of hunger. Serotonin acts on the brain to increase the effect of leptin in the hypothalamus, and therefore make us feel less hungry, or more satiated.
It is believed that hoodia gordonii, or the Hoodia P57 component of it, fools the brain into believing that your blood glucose or glycogen levels have reached the point at which it should trigger a satiated response, so that you stop eating even though your ATP levels might be low. The steroidal saponins that it contains is believed to be ten thousand times more effective than glucose in stimulated the secretion of serotonin.
Hoodia has also been found to contain a number of glycosides, including pregnane glycosides that some studies have indicated to help control appetite of the subjects tested. Most of these tests have been carried out on animals, although Hoodia weight loss preparations are offered in a form standardized on both steroidal saponins and pregnane glycosides.
Hoodia gordonii is becoming so popular as a weight loss product that its export is being monitored by the South African government. It has become so endangered that, since 2005, only hoodia grown on commercial farms is permitted an export license, and exporters must obtain a license from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Importers also require a permit from the US department of Agriculture, and a CITES certificate is also needed to re-export the finished product.
Because of this, more hoodia weight loss pills are being sold than there is hoodia gordonii to produce them. It is not uncommon for cacti such as the prickly pear cactus from Mexico, to be used, or for low concentrations of hoodia to be bulked up with fillers. Neither of these is of any use as an appetite suppressant, the former having no active ingredients whatsoever and the latter containing only traces.
If you are purchasing hoodia, therefore, be aware of this. Request sight of the CITES certificate and USDA permit, and also the analysis results by an authorized laboratory to confirm that the product is what it purports to be. Otherwise, there is some evidence that Hoodia gordonii can help you reduce weight, although to date there are only four recognized analytical laboratories registered to analyze the active content of hoodia weight loss products.
Finally, check for the analysis certificates. All Hoodia weight loss products should be analyzed by each of three methods: Microscopy, High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography (HPTLC) and High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) - all there are needed. The four authorized laboratories are: the University of Mississippi, Chromadex labs in Irvine California, Alkemist Pharmaceuticals and Advanced Laboratories, Smithfield, NC.
No others will do, so if your Hoodia weight loss preparation has not been analyzed using the three methods by one of these laboratories, don't buy it, even if it can show the CITES and USDA documentation.
November 12, 2008 09:51 AM
Gymnema sylvestre is found naturally in central and southern India, where it has been used in traditional Indian medicine for almost two thousand years. It is known as 'gurmar' in ancient Indian texts, a word meaning 'sugar destroyer', which gives an indication of its uses in medicine.
It is used to reduce the absorption of glucose into the body, and also reduce the sweetness of foods, both of which are desirable for those wishing to lose weight and to reduce the level of sugar in their blood. It was used for this purpose in Ayurvedic medicine, subjects being given the leaves to chew. As with many other ancient Ayurvedic remedies, this use of gymnema sylvestre has passed into modern times, and has sound scientific basis. First, however a bit more about the plant itself.
It is found predominantly in the Western Ghats, and also to the west of the mountains, around coastal Goa. It is a vinous plant that climbs on other bushes and trees, known in Sanskrit as Meshasringa, or ram's horn after the shape of the leaves from which the supplement is extracted. For what it's worth, the official name seems a mix of Greek and Latin (gymnos(Gr) - naked and Silva (L)- forest) for naked forest. That, however, is irrelevant to its uses, so let's have a look at the science involved and the active ingredients in the plant.
The main constituents are terpenoid saponins known as gymnemic acids, so one can assume that they were first found in this plant. They are glycosides, including hodulcine and ziziphin, which act as sweetness inhibitors so that there is no sweet taste in anything that is sweetened by sucrose. There are over 20 types of gymnemic acid in the leaves, of which the strongest, Gymnemic Acid 1, can suppress the sweetness even of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.
These are not irreversible effects, and last only about 10 minutes, after which normal sweetness is detectable by your tongue. During the active period, however, a solution of normal sugar will taste like ordinary unsweetened water. However, is this just a matter of taste, or does it affect the sugar itself?
Studies have shown that animals fed the leaves of Gymnema sylvestre develop hypoglycemia, probably because it stimulates the pancreas to generate insulin that reduces the level of sugar in the blood. Further studies have shown the presence in the leaves of a number of types of acylated derivatives of deacylgymnemic acid. There are well over a dozen types of saponins known to be contained within the leaves.
Other chemicals found include anthraquinones, flavanoids, chlorophylls, querticol, phytin, a number of glycosides and anthraquinones. The bush also contains alkaloids, although these are constituents in most plants used in ancient remedies. This is by no means all of the chemicals discovered, and many of the minor benefits of using it could be due to the minor constituents of this amazing little leaf.
A study of the above constituents will reveal a few antioxidants, and it is no surprise that the extract from Gymnema sylvestre also possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Gymnemic acid is believed to have a similar chemical structure to saccharose, and the plant extracts can be used not only to reduce a craving for sugar, but also to treat digestive problems and high cholesterol levels. So what scientific evidence is there other than the obvious effects reported by those that use it?
A study in the UK in 2005 found that an aqueous extract of Gymnema sylvestre caused the secretion of calcium and insulin from mouse and human cells to be increased at a specific concentration without affecting the cellular function. This means that the supplement can be used to stimulate the secretion of insulin with people with Type 2 diabetes without otherwise affecting health. Its usefulness to diabetics is obvious, but there are other health benefits to those that are not diabetic.
Anything that modulates a sweet tooth must be of use to those seeking to lose weight, particularly if they feel the need for sweet foods. In fact Gymnema tends to reduce food cravings for carbohydrates and sweets, and can be used by those seeking a natural means of curbing their appetite for sweet and sugary foods. Because excess weight can lead to diabetes,
Although there have been many discussions about the biochemical mechanism of the gymnemic acids in this effect on taste, recent evidence suggests that the phytochemicals act on both your taste buds and on those parts of the intestine responsible for absorbing nutrients from digested foods.
Not only that, but studies have also indicated that Gymnema sylvestre removes the bitterness of acerbic chemicals such as quinine in the same way that it removes the sweetness form cakes and candies, and if you drank tonic water it would taste just like water. On the other hand, if you ate an orange, you would taste the acidity but not the sweetness.
The way to use this remarkable supplement is to follow the instructions, and within about a week you will be able to control your appetite much better, and any cravings for carbohydrates you previously had will be much reduced. After a month or so, you will notice an accelerated rate of weight loss if you had been overweight, and diabetics will find a significant reduction on blood sugar between insulin shots.
Gymnema sylvestre can take care of any sugar or carbohydrate cravings, and is of significant use to the overweight, obese or to diabetics, and the mechanism by which it works has now been all but understood, although there are still some biochemical secrets that this amazing plant has yet to reveal. This amazing herb can be found at your local or internet vitamin store.
Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D
August 06, 2008 12:32 PM
Osteoporosis has always been known to threaten women, as it afflicts 8 million females in the US, but this bone-thinning disorder is becoming a serious public health issue among men also. More than 2 million men may be at risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures, with 6% of them over age 50 will experience a hip fracture as a result of this disease. Even though osteoporosis does not affect men as often as it does women, the risk for men increases with age, with the risk factors being similar to those of women. Osteoporosis often shows no symptom until a bone fracture occurs, which makes early detection extremely important.
With new bone material constantly replacing the old, more bone is produced than removed during childhood, which lets the skeleton grow. Bone mass peaks for most people during their 30s, with the processing reversing itself afterwards. The amount of bone slowly begins to decline as the removal of old exceeds the formation of new. Because female hormone production drops rapidly at menopause, this condition is immediately associated with increased bone loss. Hormonal changes in men occur much more slowly, with testosterone levels declining about 1% each year after the age of 40, remaining unnoticeable until after age 60.
Women lose bone more rapidly than men up until after age 65, when the rates equal out. The absorption of calcium decreases in both sexes, while excessive bone loss increases the fragility of bones, leading to fractures in the hip, spine, and wrist. Women begin to get spine fractures in their late 50s, while men take about 10 years longer for this to begin, which can partially be attributed to their larger skeletons, which takes longer for osteoporosis to develop.
Along with being brought on by advancing age and lower testosterone levels, osteoporosis can develop due to small stature, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, gastric cancer, HIV infection, celiac disease, various medications, and growth hormone deficiency. Because nothing can be done about one’s stature, some basic lifestyle adjustments, such as not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks each day, and increasing exercise, can help a man protect his bones. A man should also look for treatment for any other underlying medical conditions that affect bone health.
Calcium, one of the best known nutrients associated with healthy bones, needs help to provide maximum protection. Therefore, other skeleton-strengthening minerals necessary are magnesium, which regulates calcium transport within the body; zinc, which is required for collagen; and boron, which is a trace element that helps the body to use calcium, magnesium, and other minerals. Boron is also important because it activates vitamin D.
Finally, vitamin D is another key bone nutrient. In order to ensure adequate D intake, at least 10 minutes of sunlight a day or dietary supplements is important. In colder, cloudier times, vitamin D supplementation is highly recommended. Additionally, B vitamin deficiencies have often been associated with an increased chance of developing osteoporosis. The best way for a man to avoid osteoporosis is to be aware of his risk. The knowledge of osteoporosis in women has led to a downward trend in women breaking hips, but the incidence is still going up for men.
June 05, 2008 11:13 AM
An overactive bladder is a common complaint for pregnant women and men with enlarged prostates. Nearly 30 million people in the United States complain of incontinence. The problem is prevalent, yet can still be embarrassing. Even minor leaking can stop you dead in your tracks.
Pressure on the bladder makes it feel as if you always have to go to the bathroom. There is nothing worse than having to run to the restroom throughout the day, whether you are at work, at home or on a vacation. Making frequent pit stops is not in your best interest. Having an accident is worse.
Possible Bladder Problems
Bladder problems can occur in a number of ways. Be aware of these issues and don't be afraid to talk to your doctor to get help if you experience any of the following:
* Weak muscles that allow urine to leak
Supporting a Healthy Bladder
There are some simple habits you can get into that will help support a healthy bladder. Consistency is the best policy to avoid potential problems down the line.
* Drink a minimum of eight glasses of water per day
Create a Healthy Bladder with Butterbur
Butterbur is taken from the root of a purple flowering plant that has been used for fighting fevers, asthma, colds and urinary problems.
Butterbur is a supplement that supports healthy bladder functioning. It is an anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory. It works to relax the muscles of the bladder and reduce pressure. It is also good for liver problems, gastrointestinal disorders, kidney stones, ulcers, painful menstrual periods, and muscle spasms. Butterbur acts as a natural pain reliever, making bladder problems easier to handle.
People are becoming more reluctant to take prescription drugs for things like urinary tract infections. Antibiotics build up to the point where our bodies resist them and then no longer work. There are also unhealthy side effects that come with prescription drugs.
Naturally, this is leading more people to search for home remedies. Butterbur is an herb that can help relieve bladder problems without relying on an antibiotic. Of course, healthy habits that prevent urinary tract infections and other bladder problems are recommended. Early detection and treatment are in order when the bladder is not functioning well though.
Research shows that butterbur can reduce the sudden urge to urinate. It can restore the bladder to a healthy state and reduce your trips to the restroom. Make sure you are eating healthy foods, drinking cranberry juice, getting regular exercise and taking a butterbur supplement to relieve bladder problems.
Bilberry Extract Is A Powerful Antioxidant That Strengthens Veins
April 12, 2008 11:06 AM
Bilberry extract is taken from the Vaccinium myrtillus, or bilberry, a small blue berry that has been used traditionally for the treatment of conditions now known to be due to inflammation and the action of free radicals on the body.
Among these is atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, caused by the free radical oxidation of the low density lipids that carry cholesterol around the bloodstream, and that cause deposition of fatty plaques on the arterial walls and eventually constricts them to a stage that can cause heart failure or a stroke, depending on whether the arteries are close to the heart or in the brain.
However, additional to treating this condition, bilberry has also traditionally been used for the treatment of varicose veins and also for certain eye conditions. In fact it was during the Second World war that the Royal Air Force in Britain received reports from pilots that their night vision improved after eating bilberries. Not only their vision, but the restoration of night vision after exposure to glare.
This was extremely important to war-time pilots who had to be able to rapidly adapt their vision to fly their plane after exposure to searchlights and explosive detonations. That is the reason for anything that appeared to promote this essential adaptation to be reported.
The pharmacology of these effects have been found to be due to the anthocyanosides in which bilberries are particularly rich. Anthocyanosides consist of an anthocyanaidin backbone, to which one of either arabinose, galactose or glucose can be bound. Since bilberry contains five of these anthocyanadins, then there are fifteen different anthocyanosides in the fruit concentrate.
The area of the retina that appears to control night vision, and the transition from day to night sight, is called the epithelium which is connected with purple vision. Anthocyanosides seem to have an affinity for this part of the retina, and in so doing plays an important part in this type of vision, specifically night vision although it is also beneficial in improving day vision.
Although bilberry also contains vitamins A and C, hydroquinone and tannins, it is the anthocyanosides that provide it with its unique antioxidant properties, and also its effect upon collagen fibers. It can cross-link collagen fibers to help overcome weaknesses in the connective tissues such as cartilage, tendons and the walls of blood vessels.
Its effect as an antioxidant is to prevent the cleavage of collagen by the cyzymes that are secreted by leukocytes generated by the immune system. By preventing histamine release, and release of prostaglandins and other proteins and cells mobilized during the immune inflammatory response to the detection of foreign invasion into human tissue, anthocyanosides can help to reduce inflammation and to protect against other extreme reactions of the immune system that can harm the organism it evolved to protect.
The most powerful property of anthocyanosides are their antioxidant properties: perhaps even its only property once all of the conditions it helps to protect against are fully understood. An antioxidant combines with free radicals and destroys them. Free radicals are particularly vile chemical entities that require an electron to make them stable, and they take this electron from the nearest source. This can result in oxidation and destruction of many bodily tissues leading to premature aging, atherosclerosis, eye damage and many other problems that result from the destruction of body cells and tissue.
The various constituents that make up bilberry act in concert to scavenge the free radicals and increase the supply of oxygen to the eye. The benefits of this are in helping to prevent cataracts and glaucoma, the latter due to the effect of the anthocyanoside cross-linking effect on the structure of the collagen in the eye. It can also help in cases of macular degeneration that affects the central area of the retina which might be due to the same property of there glucoside.
Moving away from the eyes and back to the vascular system, the collagen cross-linking properties of the flavonoids, which is what anthocyanosides basically are, can help to repair damaged vein tissue by strengthening the vein walls themselves, and also by providing support for the cell membranes, or outer layers of the cells.
This in turn builds up more strength in the vein tissue below the outside walls and contributes to an overall reduction in the weakness of the vein. This in turn enables it better to withstand the internal pressure put upon it by the failure of the valve that created the problem. In this way bilberries can be used to help repair the damage done by varicose veins and improve the function of the vein in returning blood to the heart from the extremities of the legs and also to help reduce the pain and swelling of varicose veins.
In addition to these beneficial effects on the vascular system and the eyes, bilberry can also help to decrease the permeability of the blood-brain barrier to pollutants, drugs and other undesirable chemicals by improving the resistance of the capillaries in the brain to the transfer of such substances through their walls. It does so by preventing the collagen of the capillaries in the brain being degraded either by enzymes or other agents, Also, by helping to strengthen that collagen structure so that it becomes more impermeable to the larger molecules that form the pollutants.
A lesser known constituent of bilberry is myrtillin, an anthocyanoside monoglucoside that is also available in all green plants, that possesses anti-glycemic properties. What this means is that it can reduce hyperglycemia and glycosurea, and so reduce blood sugar without reducing the blood sugar level to dangerously low levels. In other words it is an ideal insulin substitute.
Native Americans used green plants for teas for centuries and were free from diabetes until the came into contact with Europeans and adopted their dietary habits. Although the case has to be proved, it appears highly likely that it was the myrtillin that kept them free from a condition that affects so many other races.
Irrespective of that, however, it is for its powerful antioxidant effect that bilberry finds its best use, and also its effects on varicose veins. However, all of the above health benefits that bilberry provides, can likely be laid at the door of the combined antioxidant effect of its vitamin C content and the anthocyanosides – including the glucoside myrtillin.
April 08, 2008 11:58 AM
Celiac disease also known as sprue, is an autoimmune disorder that often goes un-detection. It mimics the symptoms of other conditions including: irritable bowel syndrome, gastric ulcers, Crohn’s Disease, diverticulitis, parasitic infections, skin disorders, iron-deficiency anemia caused by menstrual blood loss, and various nervous system conditions. All of which are very uncomfortable for anyone to experience.
To complicate matters, between fifty to sixty percent of celiac patients have no obvious symptoms, which makes this disease particularly difficult to diagnose. This has led to the assumption that the disease was uncommon in the United States. However, recent estimates suggest that one in one hundred and thirty three people have the disease. Do you know if you have it?
In the Year 2000, a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the incidence of Celiac disease among 1200 children and adolescents tested for the disorder ranged from one in fifty seven to one in thirty three. Symptoms in children differ somewhat from those of adults in that fatigue, irritability and behavior changes are more common in children with Celiac disease. Infants with Celiac disease may lose weight and "fail to thrive."
Older children may have delayed growth or unexplained anemia due to malabsorption. Like adults, Celiac disease children have abdominal gas, pain and foul smelling stools. Liquid Supplements are recommended for individuals with Celiac's Disease.
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.
B Complex to Restore the Adrenal Glands from Stress
February 07, 2008 05:18 PM
The B vitamins comprise a range of water soluble vitamins that frequently work together to impart a number of general benefits to your body’s health. In general they support and maintain the metabolic rate, maintain the function of the nervous system, support the immune system, maintain healthy skin and muscles and help to promote cell growth and division. They work together to suppress the causes and symptoms of cardiovascular disease and stress and they are dispersed throughout the whole of the body by means of the circulation system of the blood.
In very general terms they collectively ensure that the body is provided with energy from the metabolism of carbohydrates and glucose. They are also needed for the metabolism of fats and proteins, and also the maintenance and health of the nervous system in general.
There are many natural sources, including lentils, potatoes, liver, turkey, brewer’s yeast, and also, of course, dietary supplements.
Vitamin B Complex can help to restore the adrenal glands from stress, but to understand how it does so, it is first necessary to understand what these glands are, and the part that they can play in stress.
The adrenal glands are situated just above each kidney, and take the form of two small pieces of tissue in the shape of a pyramid that generate specific hormones and chemical messengers. You have likely heard of adrenaline, the hormone that make you respond to certain types of stress either through flight or by fighting: what is known as the fight or flight reaction. Well, in fact there are two of them, noredrenaline being the other. They are also known as epinephrine and norepinephrine respectively.
Both the adrenal glands are controlled by what is known as the HPA axis, short for the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis which is the stress center of the body. The adrenals are the main steroid-producing plants in the body, responsible not only for the adrenaline hormones, but also for cortisone and hydrocortisone, testosterone, estrogen, cholesterol, progesterone and a number of others. These are produced in the outer cortex of the adrenal glands, whereas adrenaline and noradrenaline are produced and secreted by the medulla.
Adrenaline and cortisol are responsible along with others for the balance of your body fluids, blood sugar and blood pressure and many of the other main metabolic functions of the body, and if the adrenaline is not working properly, it can disrupt the metabolism of your blood glucose into energy, giving you a weak run-down and listless feeling. This is not surprising since your energy is failing at the cellular level.
The main reason for adrenal fatigue is stress. Either emotional or physical stress or even poor nutrition can be responsible for reducing the functioning of the glands to such an extent that they no longer provide the steroid hormones in the proper balanced quantities needed to maintain the proper functioning of your metabolic processes. Unlike Addison’s disease, which a complete stoppage of the functioning of the adrenal glands, in Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome the glands still function, but at a reduced capacity and the various products they are responsible for generating are secreted in reduced and imbalanced quantities.
However, fatigue is not normally the first reaction of the body to stress. As normal stress levels increase the bodies response is generally to secrete higher levels of adrenaline, and the cortex produces extra cortisol and other hormones. As stress continues beyond the intermittent stage and becomes more constant, the adrenals produce a more sustained high level of hormones, that generally raise blood pressure and also increase the level of sugar in the blood in order allow a sustained increase in energy levels. Corticosteroids are produced to maintain this higher level reaction to stress.
Finally, when the adrenals can sustain this high level of activity no longer, adrenal fatigue sets in which is when the worst symptoms of the stress are evident: exhaustion, both physically and mentally, excessive fear, guilt and worry, and under-activity of the HPA axis leads to depression, hopelessness and severe illness, often due to a weakened immune system.
So where does the B vitamin complex come into this? Vitamin B complex includes niacin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and vitamins B6 and B12. As already stated, the complex is useful in supporting many of the critical functions of the body from healthy bones to healthy blood cells, and nervous systems. It also helps to maintain your reproductive system and can be used in cases of nerve-related conditions such as sciatica and neurological conditions.
Pantothenic acid, vitamin B5, is particularly useful in dealing with stress in that it enhances the activity of the adrenal glands. It also increases your energy levels due to its effect on the Krebs Cycle through its action as a precursor of acetyl Coenzyme A and acetylcholine which is a primary neurotransmitter. This helps to reduce fatigue and the pain of headaches caused by excessive stress and consequent reduction in adrenal output. Pantothenic acid is also essential during the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, and is important in the maintenance of healthy nerves, skin and glands.
In fact the whole of the vitamin B family work together to make sure that your whole nervous system and metabolism remain healthy. People with high stress jobs often take the vitamin B complex to help reduce that stress and also anger. Excessive stress and anger can lead to anxiety and overwork the adrenal glands, and B complex can help to restore these to their normal function.
If you are concerned about your adrenal health, you can have a simple test carried out on your saliva, blood or urine by a trained medical practitioner. Many doctors do not know to carry out this test since it is not a normal test as would be used to detect Addison’s Disease, or complete adrenal failure, but only adrenal fatigue, so ask specifically for an adrenal fatigue check.
A quick self-test is to shine a light into an eye using a flashlight while looking in a mirror. They pupil should contract and return to normal after about 30 seconds. If it fails to do so, or even dilates, then that is a sign of adrenal fatigue. However, you must have it confirmed by a proper test.
All in all, a B complex supplement is a good way to restore adrenal glands from stress, and it also helps your nervous system in general, in addition to aiding the metabolic processes of your body. However, make sure that your symptoms are what you think they are by seeking professional medical advice.
Acai: The Super Antioxidant From Brazil
February 03, 2008 02:07 PM
Acai is an Amazonian palm tree, and possesses small purple fruits that the Amazonian natives of Brazil have used since time immemorial as food and as a remedy for certain health conditions that are now known to be associated with the activity on free radicals on body cells.
The active constituents of acai are powerful polyphenols and anthocyanin antioxidants that protect your body cells from oxidation by free radicals. In fact the plant has been referred to as ‘the super antioxidant from Brazil’ by many medical writers who have recognized its right to be termed as such. To understand that, you first have to understand what an antioxidant is and how it works. The chemical names of the active substances it contains will be meaningless without that background knowledge.
Oxidation occurs in your body even before you are born. What is does in general terms is to destroy your body cells, and the more it progresses the more your body is prone to cancers and cardiovascular diseases, and the more visible becomes the aging process. Chemically, oxidation is the loss of one or more electrons by an atom or molecule. Oxidation within your body is highly associated with what are known as free radicals. To explain these we have to consider the chemistry of electron pairs and free radicals, though this is not too technical so read on.
Normally electrons exist in pairs of opposite spin: in simple terms each pair makes up a single negative charge. Take hydrogen: its atomic structure contains one proton and one electron. However, the hydrogen atom cannot exist by itself since the most stable configuration is that electrons exist in pairs with a net zero spin, so the hydrogen molecule consists of two hydrogen atoms with their own protons sharing an electron pair. This is true of all covalently bonded molecules.
However, certain influences, such as pollution through tobacco smoke, pesticides, engine exhausts and the excess UV radiation of sunlight can cause a molecule to lose an electron. This creates what is known as a free radical: a molecule without an electrical charge but with an unpaired electron. Since the most stable configuration for it is to have a paired electron, the molecule will steal an electron from the most suitable candidate it finds.
In practise this will be a body cell, and the cell that loses the electron gets destroyed causing aging of the skin and many other undesirable effects, including cancers. This stealing of an electron is chemically referred to as oxidation. Antioxidants prevent this occurring to your body cells by being reactive themselves and preferentially mopping up these free electrons.
Polyphenols and anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants, and that is why the people of the Amazon rainforests have used acai not only as a food, but also for their health. It is only relatively recently that, as with many of the ancient health remedies, the scientific basis behind its use has been proved. The early Brazilian natives may not have understood biochemistry or what free radicals were, but they sure knew what was good for them.
As with many other foodstuffs containing powerful antioxidants, it is likely that it was the highly colored berries that first attracted them. That does not suggest that all brightly colored foods are good for you, but the brightly colored pigments and dyestuffs contained within them also tend to act as antioxidants due the same electron configuration that provides them with their color. Many of these chemicals are also use as food dyes, and have been used so since before their chemistry and antioxidant effects were known. The color comes from the same electron activity that makes them destroy free radicals. That is why most highly colored foods contain significant quantities of phytochemicals.
The deep purple color of the acai fruit led chemists to determine its content of polyphenols, such as anthocyanins, that are common in other highly colored foods such blueberries, peppers and aubergines. High concentrations of anthocyanins such as cyandin-3-glucoside and the rutinoside analogue were found, together with flavonoids such as orientin, deoxyhexose and scoparin. A total of twelve flavonoids were discovered that explains the highly antioxidant properties of the fruits. Laboratory and other tests have indicated that over 80% of the antioxidant effect of acai is due to polyphenols other than the anthocyanins. It is likely that these are the twelve flavonoids identified to date and any others that have still to be detected.
However, it is not only for its antioxidant properties that acai is such a healthy fruit, since it contains many other nutritional components. It contains fatty acids, including linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid and also beta-sitosterol that are believed to reduce the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood. The fruit also contains a high level of amino acids, essential for the synthesis of proteins and DNA.
So what exactly does this mean for you in real terms? Antioxidants can do different things for different people, and the acai berry is said to have more than thirty times the antioxidant power of red wine. When you consider that many doctors believe one glass of red wine to provide sufficient antioxidant for the average person, you are getting a very high dose with acai berries, so what does it do for you?
Due its effect in destroying the free radicals caused by pollution, acai and similar powerful sources of antioxidants are becoming increasingly important to our diets. What was a sufficient antioxidant intake even twenty years ago is not longer sufficient. Acai can help to combat early aging by reducing the rate at which your body cells are destroyed by free radicals. It also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, and the associated high risk of strokes or heart attacks.
Acai juice itself has an unusually high fiber content, and helps maintain the health of your digestive system. An associated benefit of this is that you are less liable to contract colon cancer than if you did not consume it. Due to a reduction in the rate of destruction of body cells, including brain cells, elderly people benefit through maintenance of their brain function, and a lower likelihood of degenerating cognitive ability. It helps you to maintain concentration and memory, and can also reduce the risk of you getting cataracts.
Antioxidants are also known to help maintain the immune system, and act as anti-inflammatories, and it is believed that acai juice can help to reduce the symptoms of arthritis. If you use acai berries as part of a daily diet, you should receive the benefits that it provides, although a more measured dosage in the form of a supplement will enable you to control your intake of acai, and if one thing is certain it is that you will be far healthy with a regular dose of the superantioxidant from Brazil than without.
Which Form Of Calcium Is Best For You?
January 15, 2008 05:10 PM
There is no warning signal that lets you know if you have a calcium deficiency. Actually, a calcium deficiency is usually undetectable until damage that is irreversible has already occurred. A calcium deficiency is extremely hard to detect because the calcium level in the blood may seem to be normal, even if extreme cases of deficiency are actually occurring. This is because the body has a calcium bank, which can be found in teeth and bones. Calcium is needed in order to control muscular contractions such as the heart, blood-clotting, transmission of nerve impulses, and other requirements which take priority.
You may not know for sure whether you have calcium deficiency until you experience loose teeth, receding gums, or a bone fracture. At this point you will realize how brittle and chalky your bones have become. There is no known cure for osteoporosis, and it seems to be affecting people at younger ages more and more. The progression towards this illness takes years, but it is going on unnoticed in a great percentage of our population right as we speak.
There are many reasons why calcium deficiency is so widespread. First, calcium is not easily absorbed, as no more than 10-20% of what is found in foods is actually consumed and metabolized. This is because a meal that is high in fats can form insoluble calcium soaps which cause calcium to pass through the system without being absorbed. Also, the calcium in certain vegetables can actually be inhibited from releasing by oxalates that are found naturally in foods such as rhubarb, kale, spinach, broccoli, grains, and cereals.
Furthermore, vitamins A and D must be present in the body in order for absorption to occur. Additionally, calcium requires an acid environment for absorption, which is a huge problem for older people who have less production of digestive acids. More so, amino acids are needed for the formation of calcium-amino acid complexes and magnesium and phosphorus must be present in a precise ratio’s. Without all of these factors, you can lose a lot of the benefit, no matter how much calcium you are taking in.
A great variety of calcium supplements can be found in your health food store. These supplements can range from a simple calcium carbonate to bone meal, dicalcium phosphate, dolomite, calcium lactate, calcium gluconate, and many others. Although they all contain calcium, they vary in the amount of actual calcium content from 40% in calcium carbonate to 9% in calcium gluconate. Calcium carbonate has the highest percentage calcium per gram, but it acts as an antacid which makes this supplement somewhat useless since calcium can only be absorbed in an acid environment.
Acid breaks down the bonds between the calcium element and its bonding partner like carbonate or amino acid chelate. Calcium Carbonate has a carbon bond the strongest bond of its kind; this makes it extremely unwise for those people who are older or suffer from a digestive acid deficiency. Calcium carbonate that is derived from oyster shells is no different from any other form. However, oyster shells carry an additional risk of being contaminated with naturally occurring heavy metals found in the oyster bed environment. Calcium phosphate is probably the best source of calcium, since the principle calcium in the body is actually calcium hydrogen phosphate which is easy to digest.
Whether you choose calcium carbonate or calcium citrate, ask your local health food store which calcium is best for you depending on your age and whether you have a digestion disorder or not. With poor diets and lack of exercise, calcium supplementation is a must for most people. Have you had your calcium today?
Elderberry Can Boost The Immune System In The Winter
December 03, 2007 09:44 PM
The immune system is frequently overworked when the days get shorter and the temperature starts to drop, and elderberry can boost the immune system in winter for those that find themselves susceptible to all the colds, flu and other viral infections that seem to come out of the woodwork at that time.
Elderberry is the fruit of the elder tree that is native to Asia, Europe and North America. They are found just about anywhere due to their tolerance for a wide range of climates and soil types, and are frequently found by river banks. There are a number of different types of elder, in both small tree and shrub form, and it is those with the black and blue berries that are useful medicinally, not those with red berries. It is not only the berries that are used, but also the elder flowers. Elderflower wine has long been a favorite country wine, and the berries are used to make jam, pies and also drunk as juice.
Elder has been used for countless years for treating viral diseases such as influenza and colds, and it has also been found by some to be effective for the treatment of cold sores (herpes simplex). Its effect on flu is thought to be that it prevents the virus from entering and infecting the body cells, but more on this later. Historically, it has been used to promote the excretion of waste products through urination and sweating, which might be another reason why it is effective against colds and flu and some general respiratory problems.
The juice contains anthocyanins in the form of anthocyanidin-3-glycosides that appear to be very bioavailable to the body. The anthocyanins are more easily absorbed than those of blackcurrant juice, and are very strong antioxidants. The antioxidant effect is reinforced by the presence of large quantities of vitamin C. This difference in bioavailability has been proved though the administration of both blackcurrant and elderberry juice to volunteers, and testing the presence of the anthocyanins in the urine. This is a measure of their bioavailability, or how easily they are absorbed by the body, and the greater this bioavailability, then the more effective is their antioxidant effect.
Separate studies have indicated that anthocyanins derived from berries in general, not just elderberry, can reduce oxidative stress due to age, and also to help brain function. An improvement in the memory of the elderly has been seen to have improved after a course of berry juices rich in these powerful antioxidants. Elderberry antioxidants also improve the stability of LDL cholesterol by protecting against free radical oxidation, and thus helping to reduce the incidence of atherosclerosis that is promoted by the deposition of the oxidized LDL cholesterol on artery walls. This in turn helps to reduce the possibility of cardiovascular disease.
However, it is its effect on the immune system for which elderberry is generally studied by the medical professions. Elderberry helps to boost the immune system predominantly through the production of cytokines. To explain how these work, a quick summary of how part of the immune system works will first be necessary.
When intrusion into the body by an antigen (foreign body) is detected, the initial response is the inflammatory response. Chemical messengers called cytokines are released into the blood to inform the other parts of the immune system that an invader has been spotted.
The immediate effect is to increase the flow of blood to the affected part of the body by dilation of the blood vessels. The spaces between the cells in the vessel walls increase to allow the larger components of the immune system, such as the phagocytes that consume and destroy bacteria. Proteins also congregate and the temperature at the site rises to promote the reactions that the body uses to eject the invaders. The tissue therefore swells due to all the extra fluid and gets hot. The area becomes painful due to the accumulation of material aggravating the nerves, and if there is an infection, pus will eventually be formed from the dead neutrophils used to kill the bacteria or virus.
There are many different types of cytokine, including those that initiate the inflammatory response and others that stop the immune response once the invader has been killed off. Other cytokines, such as the interferons, stop viruses from multiplying, and others take part in the response only to specific types of antigen. Each cytokine has a specific message to pass to the relevant components of the immune system in order that the immune response is appropriate to the invasion concerned and does not overreact. Hence, a grain of pollen in the nose will elicit a lesser response than a varicella antigen that leads to those horrible chickenpox pustules.
In general terms, cytokines give the immune system a kick start once an antigen is spotted. The elderberry anthocyanins produce predominantly inflammatory cytokines, but also one anti-inflammatory cytokine, and so helping to boost the inflammatory response.
Some viruses use what are known as spike proteins that mimic the molecules of their host in order to gain access to cells by binding to the target cell receptors. However, these spikes are easily recognized by the immune system, and the elderberry anthocyanins are active in promoting this recognition. For that reason, viruses vigorously continue to change and mutate to overcome this, one manifestation of their success in achieving this being in the annual infections of influenza that have overcome last year’s antibodies by means of this mutation.
The influenza virus contains what are known as hemagglutinin spikes on its surface which, when deactivated, cannot break through your cell walls, enter the cell and replicate, thus leading to influenza. That is the mechanism by which the constituents of elderberries help to control influenza and reduce its effect on your body. If not deactivated, the spikes allow the virus to invade the cell and provoke the immune response that you know as the flu.
Many such winter ailments have a similar mechanism, which is why, apart from its general health benefits through its high antioxidant content, that elderberry can boost the immune system in winter.
An Ancient Herb And Its Application In Prostate Health
December 02, 2007 05:55 PM
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer as well as the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among American men. A prostate specific antigen (PSA) test has been shown to detect prostate cancer in its earliest stages. Even though cancer screenings are very important they are just one health concern when it comes to the prostate. As men get older, the prostate may become a source for many other problems that can, but not necessarily always, include cancer. Since the symptoms of some prostate conditions often mimic cancer, many men who learn they have a problem often immediately assume the worst. Therefore, it is important to understand the prostate and how potential changes might affect your health. Additionally, it is good to know what natural supplements you can take to ensure your prostate ages healthfully.
The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland found only in men just below the bladder and around the urethra, which functions as part of the male reproductive system. Throughout life the prostate continues to grow larger, but only after it becomes too large do problems begin to occur. The most common problem for men under fifty is prostatitis (inflamed prostate). This can cause a burning feeling during urination as well as frequent urination. It may be a sign that your body is fighting an infection, which can usually be treated with the use of an antibiotic. Nonbacterial prostatitis, on the other hand, does not respond to antibiotics and requires other forms of treatment. Men over fifty suffer most frequently from prostate enlargement or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Although older men are more at risk for prostate cancer, BPH is much more common. This issue occurs when the prostate becomes so enlarged that it squeezes the urethra, causing problems in urination, urinary tract infections, and in worse case scenarios kidney damage. However, prostate cancer will affect one out of ever six men over the course of their lifetimes, making it the most serious prostate problem, causing 27,00 deaths this year alone.
Prostate problems such as BPH are usually treated with prescription drugs, which often lead to unpleasant side effects such as mild dizziness, sleep problems, decreased sex drive, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, and fainting. For those people who don’t want to experience these side effects, there is a natural safe alternative available: saw palmetto. Saw palmetto is the best known of prostate-supportive herbs coming from palm tree berries. However, it does not work for all men or those with extreme cases of BPH. The prostate gland also needs zinc, which is hard to find in a typical diet. By adding zinc supplements to your daily regimen, you can easily stabilize hormones and possibly prevent prostate problems.
A great natural solution that comes risk-free and can help with a large range of prostate health issues is epilobium, which contains properties that have supported prostate health for centuries. Epilobium is a small willow herb used in traditional medicine for the treatment of prostate disorders and valued for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Because traditional use and modern research have proven that epilobium may help with BPH and prostatitis and has shown promising results for inhibiting cancer cell growth, it’s a great choice for prostate health.
Stevia: Sweeten Your Life With Out The Weight Gain
November 13, 2007 02:55 PM
It is possible to sweeten your life with stevia, and without any weight gain, since it as exceptionally sweet herb. In fact it is member of the sunflower family, and is native to parts of South and Central America where it has been used as a sweetener since time immemorial. Also known as sugarleaf, it is a commercial crop, and is available as a dietary supplement.
Extracts of stevia have been found to be up to 300 times as sweet as cane sugar, although does not metabolize in the body to glucose. In fact it is thought to enhance the glucose tolerance of some diabetics, and can be used by people suffering from that condition as a natural sweetener, thus dispensing with the need for artificial sweeteners.
It is also useful for those on diets, especially carbohydrate controlled diets, and any other sweet-toothed person wanting to lose weight and still enjoy their favorite drink or desert. Many recipes have been published using stevia for the preparation of delicious sweets. So why is stevia so sweet and what other uses does it have?
Basically the sweet taste comes from glycosides, which are molecules in which a sugar is bonded to another molecule. The two main glycosides in stevia are called stevioside and rebaudioside. These are formed through glucose combined with the diterpene steviol in different ways, though some minor glycosides also contain rhamnose. Although they contain glucose, the glucose is not released into the bloodstream during digestion and the subsequent biochemistry.
Japan began the cultivation of the plant in the 1970s rather than produce artificial sweeteners that were suspected carcinogens (saccharin and cyclamate). Japan is now the world’s biggest consumer of stevia, even being used in the Japanese Coca Cola plants. Around 40% of Japan’s total sweetener volume is stevia. However, apart from its use as a natural alternative sweetener to sugar, stevia has specific properties, already alluded to, that renders it of particular attraction to certain groups of people, and we shall now take a closer look at these.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that is essential to regulate the glucose content of the blood. It stimulates the cells of the body to take in blood glucose and convert it to glycogen that can be used for energy. Without insulin the blood sugars would increase in concentration without regulation leading to very serious health issues that would eventually result in death.
Diabetes is a condition in which the body either does not produce sufficient insulin, does not use the insulin it produces properly, or produces no insulin at all. Hence, a sweetener that did not exacerbate this situation by being eventually metabolized to glucose, as most sugars are in the body, would be of great benefit to diabetics. This is exactly what stevia is. It is a very powerful sweetener, 250 – 300 times sweeter to the taste-buds than sucrose, normal table sugar, and it does not metabolize to glucose. It is heaven-sent sweetener for diabetics that have a sweet tooth.
It is very safe for them and has been consumed for centuries without any side effects. In fact, studies have indicated that stevia might even regulate the pancreas and help to stabilize the levels of blood glucose in the body, rendering it an effective and safe supplement for those suffering from hypoglycemia (excess blood sugar), diabetes and candidiasis, a yeast infection that thrives on sugar.
Apart from that, stevia is also popular with those who are on a calorie controlled diet – or any other diet for that matter, since an excessive sugar intake invariably leads eventually to weight increase. The 21st century western diet is drowning in sugar, with up to 10 spoonfuls of sugar in every small bottle of cola. There is sugar in cookies, hot dogs, bread, soy sauce, ketchup, cans of beans and peas, and even sugar in cigarettes, though that is the least of the health worries there!
For the first time in history, there are now more overweight and obese people in the world than hungry people, yet the sugar corporations claim that there is no scientific proof that sugar leads to weight increase. Worldwide, diabetes kills 6 people every minute, and obesity caused by the consumption of too much sugar leads to Type II diabetes. It had been shown that fructose is a major player in that corn syrup (fructose) is contained in many soft drinks and foods.
One of the major problems with refined sugars is that they contain nothing but pure carbohydrate. All the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients have been removed, so that when they are consumed, your body has to provide these nutrients needed to metabolize the sugar to glucose and then to energy. Humans cannot live on sugar alone, and in fact you are better drinking water than corn syrup or cane sugar solutions since at least water does not make demands on your existing nutrient store.
It was noted in 1929 by Sir Frederick Banting, one of those scientists credited with the discovery of insulin, that there was a significantly large proportion of diabetes among the sugar plantation owners that ate large quantities of refined sugar, whereas there was none detected in the cane harvesters who were able to chew on only the raw cane. The raw cane contains the minerals and vitamins needed to metabolize the sucrose.
Stevia is a potential answer to this problem, and it is such an obvious one that there are a lot of politics regarding its use. The big USA sugar corporations will undoubtedly be opposed to it, and the FDA has refused to allow its use as a food additive, only as a dietary supplement, yet its use in Japan has been very successful. It is also used throughout East Asia, including China, Korea and Taiwan, and also in South America, Israel and some areas of the Caribbean. It is available as a green powder in its crude form, and also brownish syrup redolent of licorice, but also as a more refined white powder that is likely best used as weak solution due to its sweetness.
It is totally free of calories; this may come as a surprise to many since it tastes so sweet. It is an excellent sweetener for children’s drinks since it does not cause cavities: unlike sugar it is not degraded by bacteria to produce the corrosive acid that eats into the enamel. It does not metabolize to a burst of energy that is practically addictive, since that generally then leads to tiredness and the need for more sugar to make up for it.
Stevia does not cause diabetes in any form, is not a food for yeast and it is beneficial to the pancreas. In short, it is a completely safe food supplement that has been used for centuries without ill effect, and if you want to prevent yourself from adding weight and protect against the possibility of Type II diabetes in particular, then stevia should be your sweetener of choice.
7-Keto, The Next Dhea With No Side Effects
November 10, 2007 12:24 PM
7-Keto is a natural derivative of DHEA that is claimed to be free from many of the side-effects of regular DHEA supplements. DHEA is dehydroepiandosterone, which is the most abundantly produced of the adrenal hormones. After production in and release into the bloodstream by the adrenal glands that are situated just over the kidneys, DHEA undergoes metabolism to the male androgen hormones, and the female estrogens.
As you age, the production DHEA declines, starting at about 30, with a 50% decline by time you reach 40 and almost 85% at 70. This is true of the levels of many hormones in the body, though some, like the steroidal aldosterone, remain constant throughout life. The general rate of metabolism also reduces with age resulting in an even lower conversion rate of DHEA to the male and female hormones.
At the same time as this occurs, there also occurs a significant reduction in the biosynthesis of protein in the body, which results in a loss of muscle mass as you age, and also in the regeneration of bone tissue that results in what is commonly termed age-related osteoporosis. Brain cells die at an increasing rate leading to many neurological conditions and the immune system is also affected negatively.
Due to the concurrence of these aging effects, many scientists have related the general hormonal decline with the other effects of aging. The have asserted that if these hormones were restored, than many of the effects of aging could be delayed. Osteoporosis would be delayed due to the body’ s increased ability to restore lost bone mass, the metabolic rate would improve and fat would be burned at a faster rate and continue to build muscle, the brain would lose its functionality at a significantly lower rate and the immune system would continue to protect the body against disease.
In other words we might be able to live longer, but if not that then at least the quality of life would be maintained longer as we aged. This is a very welcome and desirable situation, but the taking of hormones as supplements has long been regarded as fraught with danger due to the possibility of undesirable side effects, some of them potentially very serious. DHEA was considered as one of these hormones that could be used as a supplement to achieve positive results in reducing these age-related changes because it exhibited these effects in tests on animals.
However, in order that a specific substance can be declared responsible for any metabolic improvement that involves liver biochemistry, some form of receptor has to be identified, and this failed to materialize in DHEA. There appears to be no such DHEA receptor, although that does not necessarily imply that DHEA is not responsible in some way. It might very well be a DHEA metabolite that is responsible, and that has still to be identified. It is certainly true that DHEA administered to both animal and human subjects has resulted in an increase in the testosterone and estrogen levels of the subjects. Such an increase is not desirable due to a number of potential side effects as previously inferred.
These are particularly liable to occur with people who already have an adequate level of natural DHEA production within their body. The side effects include acne, irregularity in the menstrual cycle, itchy scalp, increased body odor and an excess of androgenic hormones can lead to hair loss, or male pattern baldness. Interruptions in the heart rhythm, or palpitations, are another very serious side effect of DHEA supplementation, and high doses over a long period introduce a theoretical risk of certain cancers.
However, the discovery of 7-Keto, a natural derivative of DHEA claimed to be free from many of these side effects, has altered the situation. 7-Keto is a powerful antioxidant that speeds up the metabolism of fat and helps to reduce body weight. It also helps to replace lost fat with muscle mass, though it must be stated that this effect is only valid after the natural production of DHEA has slowed down. It is not a body-building supplement.
It was Professor Henry Lardy, of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin, who tested over 150 DHEA metabolites over 10 years and identified 7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone as having the greatest biochemical effect without having any detectable side effects. This material was trademarked 7-KETO by the Humanetics Corporation, and one of its known effects is to burn fat quicker by stimulating thermogenesis. It had also been shown to strengthen the immune system and to improve the memory. All of this without any measurable increase in any of the sex hormones. It was released after a careful and intensive series of safety tests on both humans and animals found it safe for human consumption.
It should be stressed that 7-Keto is not a hormone, and is not chemically the same as DHEA: it is a different chemical altogether that is produce when DHEA degrades in the body. Because of this it can be promoted as a non-androgenic or estrogenic form of DHEA. It is thought that all of the conditions that decline as we age that can benefit from a supplement of DHEA, will also benefit from a supplement of 7-Keto. However supplementation is only required from the ages of 25 – 30, when the natural amount of DHEA and 7-Keto in the body start to decline.
It causes neither high blood pressure nor any form of cancer, and was submitted to the FDA prior to being made publicly available. It is important to stress that the substance is neither a steroid nor does it metabolize to steroidal hormones, and is also not a sex hormone. It also has no effect on the body’s sex hormones. The whole point of 7-Keto is that it has the effect of DHEA without having any connection whatsoever with steroidal hormones or any hormonal substances. It is totally innocuous and safe to use, without the risk of heart palpitations, lost hair or any of the other side effects of DHEA.
Without a doubt, 7-Keto is a DHEA substitute that has none of the side effects of its precursor. So if you are over the age of 30 and feel the need for an energy boost, give 7-keto a try.