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HIV-1 people can boost their immune system with Korean red ginseng
February 11, 2019 11:11 AM
Korean red ginseng may have critically important for people infected by HIV. HIV, which weakens the immune system by targeting T helper cells, can be controlled by antiretrovirals, but these can grow less effective over time. Patients who consumed Korean red ginseng had slower annual loss of T helper cells, and these patients had a longer survival duration as a result. Dosage levels had no real impact, but taking Korean red ginseng for longer periods of time enhanced the benefits.
"The herb displays anti-inflammatory activity and helps manage the immune system. It also contains saponins that exert adjuvant actions against inflammatory disease."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-05-hiv-1-people-can-boost-their-immune-system-with-korean-red-ginseng.html
Rosemary displays a powerful anti-anxiety effect, similar todiazepam but without the side effects
January 30, 2019 03:10 PM
Many people suffer from anxiety and are in search of natural treatments instead of anti-anxiety drugs. According to researchers from Iran, rosemary could be a possibility. Many anti-anxiety drugs prescribed have a list of side effects making it even more difficult for people who suffer already. Rosemary is a shrub like plant found mostly in southern Europe. It is already known for killing bacteria, promoting blood flow, lowering blood sugar levels and more. The study concluded that the mice injected with rosemary appeared to have reduced anxiety similar to the mice injected with anti-anxiety medications.
"Natural products are good alternatives to anti-anxiety drugs because of their potency and safety."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-12-11-rosemary-displays-powerful-anti-anxiety-effect-no-side-effects.html
Why California Poppy is a Great Pain Reliever
March 31, 2012 07:49 AM
What Makes California Poppy So Good For Pain?
If you reside in California, chances are good that you are familiar with the California Poppy. Named as the state flower in 1903, the yellow poppy fields surround the bays as a sign that springtime is here. The botanical name is Eschscholtzia californica and this orange cup-shaped flower grows wild as an annual perennial in California and other southwestern states from April through August. It did not take long for settlers to realize that natural beauty was not all that the California Poppy had to offer.
The entire plant, from root and stem to leaves and seeds has been found to provide varying displays of physical and psychological healing properties. Although placed in the sub-opiate Papaver family, the yellow California Poppy is in no way an active source of opium as is its cousin, the red poppy. While the red poppy works to depress the central nervous system, the yellow poppy provides analgestic and antispasmodic chemical reactions that work on nerve and muscle pain.
For years, raw California Poppy root has been used as an immediate form of relief for toothache pain. By chopping off a segment of the root and applying directly to the source of the gum pain, instant relief is felt. This rare phenomenon is believed to be credited to the variety of benzophenanthridine alkaloids produced in the root. Many medical compounds such as morphine and codeine have been paralleled to this natural ingredient for the pain alterning state that is delivered. It is believed that only 20% of all plants contain this form of alkaloid that is known to relieve pain.
A Tincture for Pain
There are many organic sites that offer a tincture made from the roots and leaves of the yellow poppy. Fresh herbs that are compressed into concentrated form are found to be more effective than those that are dried. The active ingredients are mixed with an alcohol based liquid and used in a liquid or placed under the tongue. A measured amount can alleviate pain from menstrual cramping or intestinal discomfort. Anxiety or stress related headaches are also treated with tincture that reportedly gives relief within minutes. A tincture made with California Poppy has a shelf life of five years when stored in a cool, dark area.
Raising California Poppy
California Poppy is a wonderful way to add a splash of color around the outside of your house and also reap the benefits of the medicinal properties. The bright orange flowers love the sunshine and will stretch to find. You will be able to keep a natural pain reliever on hand for making tincture, extract or tobacco. Smoking California Poppy gives a relaxing way to end a hard day and relieve pressure and pain from sore muscles. Acting as a sedative, you will find yourself drifting off into a blissful sleep. California Poppy can also be used for restless leg syndrome and many have experience luck in treating ADD and other neurological problems.
Ever since the days of the native Indiana, California Poppy has helped to relieve pain occuring from different sources and remains a great healer to this day.
How Does Grapefruit Seed Extract Help Fight Candida Yeast Infections?
August 08, 2011 06:51 PM
Grapefruit seed extract is processed from the seeds, pulp, and vesicles of the sour citrus fruit known as grapefruit. Nutrition experts have attributed several medicinal properties to the plant. In addition, practitioners of herbal medicine make use of the seeds and membranes of the fruit in health tonics. It has long been linked to the treatment of earache, sore throat, digestive problems, and yeast infections.
Citrus x paradisi is a hybrid species of pomelo and orange. Its fruits are much larger than oranges but smaller than pomelos, growing up to 15 centimeters in diameter on average. It is widely known as a naturally occurring hybrid, like sweet orange. The juice of popular varieties of the fruit comes in colors red and pink in respect to its ripeness. Some cultivars are sweet, but most are sour at the same time.
Many organic compounds isolated from grapefruit have long been observed to show pharmacological activity. For one, consumptions of the fruit itself have been reported to interact with numerous drugs. It either enhances the potency of drugs or inhibits their pharmacological activities. Researchers have enumerated a long list of drugs whose bioavailability increase in the presence of grapefruit extracts.
Proponents of grapefruit seed extract believe that it possesses antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. They began promoting its medicinal uses at the turn of the 20th century. At that time, physicians took note of the many benefits tied to grapefruit in the earlier century. Furthermore, they produced the first extracts from the seeds and white membranes of the fruit mixed with glycerin.
Grapefruit seed extract is an all natural remedy for Candidiasis. As its name suggests, Candida yeast infections are caused by different species of fungi that belong to the genus Candida. These fungi are part of the normal flora of the human body that comprises bacteria and other microorganism. While they are not harmful in general, they are capable of producing harm and spurring inflammation.
Oral thrush is one form of Candidiasis that infects mucus membranes located in the mouth cavity. Populations of yeast build up in the surface of the mouth and bring on inflammatory responses. The infection often appears as cream-colored deposits or slightly raised red patches. Candidiasis of the skin, sex organs, and other parts of the body look similar as they are all inflammatory in nature.
The effectiveness of grapefruit seed extract in the treatment of Candidiasis yeast infections has been compared to conventional medications. Its use is supported by anecdotal evidence that is largely positive. While the results of studies are conflicting at best, researchers have compared the extract to benzethonium chloride, a chemical compound that displays strong antibacterial and antifungal activity.
Grapefruit seed extract is a viable remedy for Candidiasis yeast infections. In fact, it may be used as a therapeutic prophylactic for infections caused not only by fungi but also viruses and bacteria. Due to its putative effect, it is added as an active ingredient to many personal care products.
How Does Prickly Pear Leaf Help with Blood Sugar Control?
August 02, 2011 02:02 PM
Prickly pear leaf is obtained from a group of cacti known for their positive effect on blood sugar. It is an important source of food and medication for Native Americans since prehistory. It contains unique compounds that display potent antioxidant activity. Studies have shown that its phytochemical content displays potential in the management of blood sugar and the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Also known as nopales in its place of origin, all plant species referred to as prickly pear belong to the genus Opuntia. This genus comprises more than 200 species, but only a few are noted for their culinary uses. In Mexico and most of Latin America, it is consumed as a vegetable in general. The juice extracted from the prickly pear leaf is utilized in different niches of many industries. In food and drug industries, it is highly valued for its alkaloids and polyphenols that exhibit bioactive properties.
Many health problems recorded in the past few decades have been linked to uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Complex carbohydrates present in the human diet are broken down into simple sugars. In particular, glucose refers to the sugar that enters the systemic circulation. Glucose takes on a central role at the cellular level. It fuels the physiological functions of all cells and tissues, including the brain and the heart. That being said, diets high in simple sugars have been tied to elevated blood sugar.
Researchers and medical professionals have noted several factors that lead to metabolic disorders. Genetic abnormalities are something we don’t have control of. On the other hand, lifestyle factors are quite the opposite. It has been reported that sedentary lifestyle and food choices play a major part in the development of illnesses related to glucose metabolism. Experts are convinced that some foods are detrimental to health, but there are sources of nutrition that help maintain healthy glucose levels.
Prickly pear leaf belongs to the group of foods that are good for blood sugar. Glycemic index measures how carbohydrates present in our diet influence blood sugar concentration. Simple sugars are always considered unhealthy forms of carbohydrates in that all of them possess a high glycemic index, which means glucose is released into the bloodstream at a very rapid rate. Foods that are easily digested to simple sugars, such as white bread and sweetened beverages, affect blood sugar in the same manner. Organic compounds that occur naturally in prickly pear leaf have a twofold effect. First, it helps lower the glycemic index of carbohydrates in our diet, and thus promotes a gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream. Second, it improves the hormone activity of insulin and fights its functional decline that results in insulin resistance, a common medical condition that precedes type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Grab some prickly pear leaf and take control of your life.
What is Fenugreek Seed and How Does It Boost Your Health?
July 07, 2011 11:16 AM
Fenugreek seed and your health
Fenugreek seed is a spice often added to curries and other Indian dishes. It is a good source of protein and nutrients. In folk medicine, it has been used in the treatment of pain and irritation characteristic of inflammation. It is historically utilized to promote lactation. More recent studies have shown that it displays antiviral properties. In particular, it has been tested in allaying symptoms of cold infections.
Trigonella foenum-graecum is a plant species that belongs to the legume family. As such, it has been cultivated as a vegetable even before the ancient times. It is believed to be an indigenous species of the Fertile Crescent, a historic region that comprises the modern countries Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria. To this day, it remains an important crop, herb, and food source in these countries.
Combats Diabetes Mellitus
Fenugreek seed has been the subject of scientific research in the past few years. Drawing on its use in traditional medicine, it has been employed in the management of blood sugar. It improves the effect of the hormone insulin in regulating glucose levels. In fact, it has shown great potential in treating both type I insulin dependent diabetes mellitus and type II noninsulin dependent diabetes mellitus.
Alters Blood Lipid Profile
The phytochemical content of fenugreek seed enables it to effectively lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Clinical trials have recorded changes in lipids present in the systemic circulation after intake of fenugreek seed products. It is now postulated that it blocks the metabolic pathway for the synthesis of low density lipoproteins or bad cholesterol. Some sources say that it raises good cholesterol levels.
Increases Milk Production
Fenugreek seed is rich in organic compounds that promote the secretion of milk products within the mammary glands of lactating women by as much as 900 per cent. Traditionally, the seeds are ground into powder and consumed in large quantities by pregnant women. Today they are made into capsules, which have been reported to display the same benefits and remain popular in the Indian subcontinent.
Relieves Viral Infections
There is a growing body of literature devoted to the putative antiviral properties of fenugreek seed. A number of researchers have attested that the seed displays biochemical activity that interferes with the replication of viruses. For instance, topical applications of fenugreek extracts have shown desirable results in removing viral skin conditions, and oral intake has been effective in easing the common cold.
Promotes Skin Health
Fenugreek seed is a natural conditioner and moisturizer. It promotes retention of moisture in the skin and protects the outer layer of the skin from irritants. It has been used as salves to wounds, rashes, boils, bruises, allergies, and insect bites. It is made into a syrupy mixture that is directly applied to the hair. It regulates the production of sebum in the hair follicles and helps control dandruff.
Grab some fenugreek seed and feel the difference!
What is the Difference between Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea?
July 06, 2011 10:32 AM
Echinacea Health Benefits
Echinacea is a group of plant species that belongs to the same family as dandelion, sunflower, and daisy. These flowering shrubs are best known as ornamental plants in gardens. Also, they are widely recognized as medicinal herbs in alternative medicine. Modern herbalists have attributed a diverse variety of healing properties to this herb, drawing on its traditional uses among the Native Americans.
Elk root, black samson echinacea, or narrow-leaved purple cornflower refers to Echinacea angustifolia. Its native range stretches from Manitoba in the north to Texas in the south. It is an herbaceous plant, as all species of echinacea are. It grows up to 28 inches in height, extending from a branched taproot. Its stems and leaves are hairy while other species are smooth. Its flowers resemble a cone in shape.
Echinacea angustifolia is so named in the vernacular due to the fact that elks knowingly consume the plant when sick or wounded. Elk root is an herb important to folk medicine practices of Plain Indians, such as the Cheyenne and Apache. It displays analgesic properties, and thus has been in use as a pain reliever for external wounds and internal inflammation, including allergies, rheumatism, and arthritis.
Research on elk root has been promising. It is one of the species of echinacea believed to enhance the immune system and improve immune responses. In particular, it is good for the respiratory system. It has been used in the treatment of the common cold, sore throat, and nasal congestion. In addition, it exhibits antimicrobial properties, which effectively wards off infections of the respiratory tract.
Eastern purple cornflower, or simply purple cornflower, refers to Echinacea purpurea. It enjoys a wide distribution in North America, though they thrive in large concentrations in the wild in regions close to the east coast. Unlike all other species of echinacea, it grows from a woody base with fibrous roots instead of a taproot. Its flowers are arranged in a cone, sitting atop a stem that grows up to 40 inches.
Echinacea purpurea is arguably the most extensively studied of all species of echinacea. Traditionally, it has been utilized by many different tribes in North America as a cure-all medicinal herb. Clinical trials have shown that juice extracts obtained from this plant species are useful for the short term treatment of cold infections, though contraindications in children and pregnant women were noted.
Echinacea purpurea displays chemopreventive potential. Laboratory studies have discovered that it contains alkamides, which bind to cannabinoid receptors and inhibit tumor growth and pain chemicals in the process. Also, it has been linked to immunotherapy largely owing to its properties that appear to increase the activity of immune cells. It shows promise as an adjunct treatment for cancer.
Either way, Echinacea can help boost the body so the body can fight back against disease. Make sure you have some in your medicine cabinet just in case you feel a cold coming on!
Can Dietary Collagen Help the Skin and Joint Tissue?
June 30, 2011 10:45 AM
Collagen and Your Health
Collagen is the most common form of protein in humans and other mammals. It is a major constituent of the extracellular matrix that provides structural support to animal cells from the outside. It displays great tensile properties, which is responsible for the strength and elasticity of the skin. Since it is a component of fibrous tissue, it is also found in ligaments and cartilages that make up joint tissue.
Dietary collagen has long been postulated to contribute to the biochemical composition of cells present in the skin and joints. Proponents of collagen supplements believe that dietary collagen is assimilated into the extracellular matrix and fibrous tissue. The scientific community has been doubtful about the efficacy of topical applications of collagen, but oral supplements have been promising in clinical trials.
Molecular collagen is composed of polymers of amino acids linked by peptide bands, which are too big at the cellular level to get absorbed through skin. On the other hand, intestinal absorption of dietary collagen remains a matter of controversy. That being said, nutraceutical companies have developed formulations of supplements that facilitate the best possible absorption rates and better bioavailability.
Tough bundles of collagen fibers comprise several polypeptide chains of fibrous structural proteins. All fibrous tissues have cells and extracellular matrix in between. High concentrations of collagen found in cartilages, ligaments, tendons, fascia, and even bones give these fibrous tissues tensile strength, the reason why the joints are capable of bearing a certain level of longitudinal stress without tearing apart.
Structural proteins make up the outer layer of the human skin and its appendages, such as the scalp, hair, and nails. The most important of these proteins are collagen, keratin, and elastin. Collagen fibers are responsible for the tensile properties of the skin. Keratin provides strength whereas elastin exerts an elastic effect. Collagen fibers affect the process of healing and its degradation leads to wrinkles.
Oral route of administration is believed to produce the health benefits linked to dietary collagen. While researchers have ruled out the health claims tied to collagen creams and lotions, they have reported encouraging results about dietary collagen. In fact, collagen supplements utilized in the management of rheumatoid arthritis and treatment of skin disorders have produced significantly positive outcomes.
One clinical trial that involved more than 200 participants diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis point to the medicinal potential of collagen as an adjunct treatment for rheumatism and osteoarthritis. There was a noticeable decrease in joint pain, morning stiffness, and restrained mobility, which were noted as statistically significant. For this reason, supplementation of collagen has attracted more research.
Dietary collagen is now becoming increasingly visible in the nutraceutical industry in that sales have increased in the past few years. It has become the subject of numerous studies well underway, and as such developments in collagen supplementation are expected to produce formulations specialized for higher bioavailability. The good news is dietary collagen has not been linked to any adverse effects.
Get some collagen today and feel the difference it can make in your diet!
Boost Energy, Improve circulation Heart Disease, And More with Methycobalamin (B12)
June 16, 2011 11:45 AM
Methylcobalamin is an organic compound that displays vitamin B12 activities inside the human body. It is one of the active forms of vitamin B12, and as such believed to be the most bioavailable of all vitamin B12 supplements. In fact, all other forms of vitamin B-12 in the market are converted into methylcobalamin when ingested. Its high absorption rate enables it to produce visible health benefits.
Influences Energy Production
Vitamin B12 is an indispensable component of many cellular activities. It is quite pervasive at the cellular level, inasmuch as it is directly involved in chemical reactions that lead to the production of adenosine triphosphate(ATP), the primary source of energy that fuels all metabolic processes within cells.
In particular, methylcobalamin participates in DNA synthesis, allowing each cell to effectively perform its physiological roles. Healthy levels of methylcobalamin protect the cells from DNA damage, and contribute to the rate of metabolism. Vitamin B12 deficiency seriously affects energy production.
Promotes Circulatory Health
Studies on anemia led to the discovery of vitamin B12. The causes for anemia were uncovered at the turn of the 20th century. High consumptions of liver appeared to cure anemia as liver are high in the dietary mineral iron. It was also later identified that vitamin B12 also cure one specific case of anemia.
Pernicious anemia is one of the many types of megaloblastic anemia, in which red blood cells appear large but immature. This results from a deficiency in vitamin B12. Methylcobalamin supplements have shown the best recovery rate for this type of anemia, promoting circulatory health in the process. The presence of methylcobalamin in the blood powers DNA synthesis and nourishes red blood cells.
Prevents Heart Disease
Methylcobalamin is particularly good for the heart and the blood vessels. Its presence in the bloodstream influences the levels of organic compounds, such as homocysteine, which are implicated in the death of myocardial cells and the formation of risk factors of cardiovascular diseases. The same endogenous compounds are incriminated in life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks.
Elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood raise the levels of asymmetric dimethylarginine, or ADMA, which directly cause cardiovascular disease. Regular intake of methylcobalamin has been observed to lower serum levels of homocysteine, which in turn lower ADMA concentrations in the bloodstream.
Improves Neuropathic Disorders
Neuropathy refers to damage to nerve cells to the extent of producing symptoms, such as muscle weakness, impaired reflexes, gait abnormalities, muscle twitch, tingling sensation, difficulty swallowing, speech impairment, urinary incontinence, and erectile dysfunction, among others.
Vitamin B12 is one of the many causes of peripheral neuropathy. Not surprisingly, supplementation of methylcobalamin significantly improves symptoms in very little time. Methylcobalamin has also shown encouraging results as an adjunct treatment for diabetic neuropathy. As a result, it also corrects the symptoms tied to neuropathic disorders, notably reflex impairment and muscle weakness.
Pick Up some Methylcobalamin (b-12) today and feel the difference!
How Oregano Oil Protects Your Digestive System
June 10, 2011 12:08 PM
Oregano oil protects your digestive system in several different ways, although each of these are generally due to its antibacterial, antiviral and antioxidant properties, and oregano also displays strong anti-parasitic properties. In fact it is for that last property that many take it and even apply it externally to their skin.
However, apart from killing off intestinal parasites such as worms, oregano oil stimulates the excretion of digestive juices when take taken orally, and helps to alleviate a number of digestive problems. Tapeworm and round worm are destroyed by the mixture of active constituents, and it is effective in killing of the E. Coli bacteria and also Giardiasis, an infection that causes diarrhea that is also known a 'beaver fever'.
Other than that, oregano oil also offers many benefits when applied topically, and it is generally used to treat a number of common conditions that if left untreated could leave you with some very unpleasant side effects.
What is Schizandra Fruit Good for?
May 17, 2011 02:57 PM
Schizandra and your Health.
Schizandra fruit refers to the berries of schizandra. It is widely used in China and the plant is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is a highly prized ingredient to a health tonic historically prepared for Chinese royalty and nobility. In recent years it has become available to more people across the globe as cultivation increases to meet large-scale productions. Also, herbal supplements that contain extracts of schizandra fruit are becoming popular.
Schisandra chinensis is an indigenous plant species of, as the name suggests, China. However, its native range goes as far north as Asiatic Russia. It is cultivated for its leaves, bark, and berries. The name of the fruit in Chinese translates as “the berry that possesses all five basic flavors,” inasmuch as the Chinese believe it contains organic compounds responsible for its unique taste: salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and spicy. The berries are often dried and made into tea that can be served hot or cold.
Scavenges Reactive Oxygen Species
Reactive oxygen species, or ROS, are natural by-products of cellular respiration, the process of energy metabolism that takes place within each individual cell. These include peroxides, singlet oxygen, and free radicals. ROS can interrupt cellular activities and even damage DNA synthesis, the reason why each cell has its own antioxidant defense. That being said, cells are overwhelmed by ROS as we age.
The process of aging has been tied to the weakening antioxidant defense of cells. Free radicals are also believed to be responsible for the fast progression of many life-threatening diseases, such as cancer. Schizandra fruit is a natural remedy for oxidative stress, the cellular damage brought on by ROS. The berries are rich in antioxidants that help replenish the antioxidant stores of the body.
displays Hepatoprotective Properties
Schizandra fruit is particularly good for the liver. Practitioners of Chinese herbal medicine believe that its berries rejuvenate the liver, the kidneys, and the circulatory system by washing away the toxins these tissues have amassed over the years. The cleansing properties of juices and tinctures that contain schizandra have been ascribed to the organic compounds naturally occurring in the fruit.
Lignans are a class of polyphenolic substances that occur naturally in nature. Schizandrin, deoxyschizandrin, gomisin, and pregomisin are lignans unique to the schizandra fruit. The antioxidant properties of lignans are well established, but those found in the berries of this plant species have an affinity toward hepatocytes, or liver cells. It protects liver cells from oxidative damage and raises the capacity of liver to deal with drugs and their harmful metabolites during first pass metabolism.
Increases Physical Working Capacity
Schizandra fruit is a symbol for youth in the East, and for good reason. For one, it is an adaptogen that increases tolerance to stress and raises the physical capacity of the human body. It is also an aphrodisiac believed to enhance libido and improve sexual performance. Modern herbalists believe its aphrodisiac effects are attributable to its stress-relieving properties.
You too can experience the health benefits of schizandra by picking up a bottle at your health food store.
Can Lycopene Help with Prostate Problems
May 09, 2011 11:14 AM
Lycopene and The Prostate.
Lycopene is an organic compound often associated with tomatoes. It is almost always touted to prevent prostate cancer, though the scientific community has not come to a conclusion yet. Scientists are nevertheless positive that it is good for the prostate, for it displays antiproliferative effects on prostate cells. Laboratory studies are very promising as it appears to inhibitory effect on tumor growth.
Prostate health has long been tied to consumptions of foods rich in lycopene. It is a carotenoid that is bright red in color, and as such can easily be obtained from brightly colored plant products, such as watermelon, papaya, pink guava, and apricots in addition to tomatoes. Like other carotenoids, it displays antioxidant properties. In fact, it is the most efficient scavenger of singlet oxygen of all antioxidants that are classified as carotenoids.
Reverses Oxidative Damage
There have been numerous studies on lycopene in the past few decades, and many of them have noted its antioxidant potential. It has become common knowledge that lycopene is good for the prostate, but not all people know that the prostate gland is its primary storage in the human body. Indeed lycopene interferes with the health of cells and tissues that make up the prostate gland.
One study that tracked down malignant prostate tissues prior to scheduled surgical removal studied the effects of regular intake of lycopene. It was documented and published that lycopene concentrations in the prostate doubled and the oxidative damage to DNA in prostate tissues decreased, suggesting a dose-related efficiency in the prevention of cellular damage brought on by free radicals and other reactive oxygen species.
Induces Apoptotic Death
High consumptions of lycopene appear to directly counteract with cancer cells and tumor growth, not only in the prostate gland, but also in the lungs, breasts, ovaries, stomach, and cervix. It has also been tied to other disorders of the prostate, such as prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. It has been noted to slow down cell proliferation that leads to the enlargement of the prostate.
More imporatantly, lycopene seems capable of inducing the cellular process called apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in prostate tissues, most notably in carcinoma regions. This is also evidenced by a significant decrease in prostate-specific antigen in the blood, the reason why lycopene has gained the attention of researchers for prostate health, spurring a number of studies in recent years.
Maintains Prostate Health
Lycopene levels in the human body are largely dependent on dietary intake. As a general rule, the higher the intake of lycopene is, the healthier the prostate becomes. First, it neutralizes reactive oxygen species such as singlet oxygen and free radicals. It also inhibits the multiplication of prostate cells, effectively preventing benign prostatic hyperplasia, which is believed to afflict up to 80 percent of the male population. For those suffering from prostate enlargement, it slows the progression of the disease.
If you are, 40 years old or more you should consider taking lycopene as a preventative daily!
Liver Protection With Lipoic Acid and R-Lipoic Acid
May 05, 2011 03:42 PM
Early biochemistry studies pioneered by Linus Pauling associated R-Lipoic acid with orthomolecular medicine in that proponents argued that it biological roles provide protection against diseases. Succeeding research in the latter half of the 20th century supported its status as an essential nutrient, but more recent studies proved that all it is produced in vivo by almost all mammals, including human beings. In the past few years Lipoic acid has been strongly linked to glutathione as its supplementation appears to raise levels of endogenous glutathione.
Strengthens Antioxidant Defense
Lipoic acid is believed to raise the antioxidant capacity of the human body. Its biological roles benefits all cells, most notably hepatocytes, the cells that make up a significant fraction of the liver. For one, it affects productions of glutathione throughout the body. Glutathione is tripeptide that protects cells from the damage caused by reactive oxygen species, such as free radicals. Furthermore, it is a major transport of toxins found in the systemic circulation, facilitating their excretion through the urine.
R-Lipoic acid has been observed to be the form of Lipoic acid that is capable of activating nuclear factor erythroid-derived-2-like 2, commonly abbreviated as NFE2L2, the protein that binds to DNA sequences responsible for regulating the antioxidant defense of the human body. Proponents believe that oral intake of R-Lipoic acid produces more visible results than its racemic counterparts.
displays Higher Bioavailability
Research on Lipoic acid is one of the most advanced, starting in the 20th century and spanning over 5 decades. It is widely accepted that the forms available in the market are not bioequivalent. Most of the studies in the 1950’s utilize the enantiomer S-Lipoic acid and R/S-Lipoic acid race mixture because they were cheaper to produce. Recent developments in chiral chemistry have increasing allowed for large-scale productions of R-lipoic acid.
Many scientists today believe that R-Lipoic acid is superior to racemic forms. Its rate and extent in availability after oral administration has been noted to be far better, and thus its efficacy is expected to be more remarkable. It is postulated that its higher bioavailability allows it to effective fill the roles of endogenous lipoic acid, not to mention manage to influence the master regulator of antioxidants.
Shows Vitamin-like Properties
The popularity of R-Lipoic acid lies in vitamin-like properties. Researchers are particularly enthusiastic about its purported benefits on human health, though more studies are needed. It is one of the organic compounds needed for enzyme function just like vitamins, and supplementation is believed to produce preventative benefits against diseases. Its pervasive roles at the cellular level enable it to affect energy metabolism, leading to healthy weight loss.
What Is Thyme and How Can It Help My Lungs?
April 12, 2011 04:28 PM
Thyme And Lung Health.Thyme is a flavorful herb known for its significant presence in Western cuisines. It is grown for its strong flavor and pleasant aromatic odor, which are often attributed to an organic compound called thymol. The health benefits of thyme are ascribed to its unique combination of phytochemicals that protect the lungs and the rest of the respiratory system. The chemical compounds naturally occurring in thyme are extracted and added to many health and hygiene products.
Thymus vulgaris, the common thyme largely utilized as a culinary herb, is the same species where most thyme extracts are derived from. However, other species that belong to the genus Thymus have also been observed to produce similar health benefits. There are over 300 species of thyme, but the most widely cultivated in addition to the common thyme are T. herba-barona, T. serpyllum, T. x citriodorus, and T. variegata, and T. zygis. These species are known for their medicinal properties and commonly used in herbal preparations.
Fights Respiratory Tract Infections
In the pharmaceutical industry, thyme is best known for its high terpene content. Terpenes are organic compounds found in many plants that are noted for their antiseptic properties. Thymus species are very rich in thymol, which accounts for more than 50 per cent in essential oil extracted from Thymus vulgaris. Thyme is historically noted for its ability to ward off infections.
In ancient times, crushed leaves were added to poultices to disinfect wounds and dried leaves were made into tea to fight off sore throat. Today thymol is the main ingredient of many hygiene products such as natural sanitizers and the mouthwash Listerine. Thymol is so effective that adding it to water and gargling with the solution fights off infections of the respiratory tract and relieves inflammation.
displays Antispasmodic Properties
Upper respiratory tract infection is often accompanied by respiratory spasms characteristic of coughs. Thyme also contains flavonoids, such as apigenin, luteolin, naringenin, and thymonin, all of which are spasmolytic in nature. Symptoms of cough may vary, depending on the nature of the condition. Fits of severe coughing may result from different causes, but are often caused by bacterial infection. The flavonoids content of thyme is thought to act on pulmonary tissues and bronchial tubes, creating a soothing effect that results in the amelioration of respiratory spasms and the expulsion of bacteria.
Promotes the Discharge of Mucus
Thyme is a reputed expectorant with a long association with folk medicine of the Mediterranean region. For centuries, certain European communities have relied on thyme to effectively expel infected matter from the lungs and the bronchi. Herbal preparations come in tincture, tea, syrup, and even steam. The inhalation of thyme essential oil has been reported to be very helpful in easing the discharge of mucus. Thyme contains terpenoids in addition to thymol, which all act to increase the fluidity of mucus and exert antimicrobial activity when they reach the lungs, making it easier to cough up phlegm while disinfecting the respiratory tract at the same time.
Give Thyme a try and feel the difference!
Is Pycnogenol a Good Antioxidant?
April 01, 2011 03:10 PM
Pycnogenol And Your Health
Pycnogenol is the latest innovation in the antioxidant supplement industry. It makes use of oligomeric proanthocyanidins, select bioflavonoids, and organic acids that have been well investigated in a span of more than 30 years. As a trademarked product, it has been cited in more than 230 published works and systematic reviews that came into the conclusion that it is safe and effective. In fact, it is now an ingredient in over 300 health products.
Pinus pinaster is an indigenous plant species of western Mediterranean from which the patented pycnogenol is extracted from. It is most populous in southwestern France, but it can also be found in large numbers in Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Morocco. Unlike new ingredients in some dietary supplements, pycnogenol is all-natural and completely derived from the Maritime Pine, which may well be known in the now-obsolete scientific name Pinus maritima.
Neutralizes Reactive Oxygen Species Fast
Antioxidants work on the principle of replenishing the antioxidant reserves of each cell especially at times when our body is most susceptible to physical fatigue. Radical chemistry has taught us that reactive oxygen species, or ROS, are natural by-products of oxygen metabolism. There is nothing we can do to inhibit their releases, but our body does have a mechanism to neutralize them. Free radicals are one of the best known ROS and they are particularly reactive, causing a damaging chain reaction called oxidative stress.
What makes pycnogenol different from other antioxidant supplements? It is the fastest-acting antioxidant out there with an absorption rate of only 20 minutes. In contrast with other known antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin E, pycnogenol is believed to readily cross the blood-brain barrier, expanding its uses in the central nervous system. This is the reason why it has been suggested to be of value in treatment of known disorders of the nervous system. More importantly, it works up to a record-high 72 hours before it gets excreted by the body.
Fight Inflammation and Cardiovascular Disease With Pycnogenol
displays Potent Anti-Inflammatory Activities
There have been numerous citations that pycnogenol is an effective inhibitor of inflammation intermediaries. It is postulated that it influences the productions and releases of eicosanoids that govern inflammatory responses. It has associated with the treatment of osteoarthritis, and preliminary results are encouraging. Also, it is believed that pycnogenol interferes with the effects of histamine via its receptors, and acts on mast cells responsible for mediator release. This is the reason why it is widely accepted as a viable treatment option for asthma, multiple sclerosis, allergic rhinitis, acute dermatitis, atopic eczema, and other skin conditions.
Contributes to Overall Circulatory Health
Pycnogenol is one of the antioxidants under scrutiny for its medicinal potential in the prevention of major diseases that afflict the circulatory and cardiovascular systems. For one, it has been observed to significantly lower systolic blood pressure, making it an effective therapy for hypertension. It has shown to alleviate chronic venous insufficiency and remove varicose veins. Moreover, regular supplementation of pycnogenol appears to improve performance in endurance athletes.
Pycnogenol is an excellent herb to add to anybodies diet. Give Pycnogenol a try today!
What is Vinpocetine and How Does it Help with Memory?
March 24, 2011 02:18 PM
Vinpocetine And Brain Health
Vinpocetine is a derivative of an organic compound found in the plant species Vinca minor, or common periwinkle. It is best known for its neuroprotective effects and used in Europe and Japan in treatment of age-related cognitive decline. More often than not, its activities inside the human body are described as vasodilator, which means it increases blood flow. It has also seen a growing presence in the North American market as a dietary supplement.
Vinpocetine is available as a prescription drug in certain European countries and Japan and has shown to be speed up prognosis of patients who suffered cerebrovascular accident, or CVA, which is commonly referred to as stroke. Most cases of cerebrovascular accident are brought on by ischemia, or very poor circulation of blood to certain parts of the brain. This is exactly what vinpocetine is beneficial for, and recommended dosages have so far yielded very encouraging results.
Improves Blood Circulation in the Brain
It has long been postulated that one of the mechanisms of action of vinpocetine is limiting the effects of Na+ channels that are sensitive to voltage. This creates a neuroprotective effect believed to contribute to mental clarity and sustained attention. Striatal nerve endings produce extracellular Ca+ ions that induce neuronal damage through a phenomenon called excitotocity. High levels of Ca+ ions are now alleged to be correlated with voltage-sensitive Na+ channels. Striatal nerve endings see a decline in Ca+ ions when Na+ channels are influenced by vinpocetine, and in the process lessen excitotoxicity.
Attenuates Ischemic Neuronal Damage
In addition to limiting neuronal damage induced by excitotoxicity, which in turn results from cerebral ischemia, vinpocetine plays an active role in the upkeep of brain cells after being subjected to ischemic damage. As a vasodilator, it not only counters the effects of ischemia but also significantly increases the brain’s access to bioactive molecules like oxygen and other nutrients exclusively distributed by the circulatory system.
It also inhibits the enzyme phosphodiesterase, which is specialized for the breakdown of cyclic adenosine monophosphate, or cAMP, and cyclic guanosine monophosphate, or cGMP. By so doing, vinpocetine contributes to glucose metabolism and energy production in the brain, and at the same time, improves the distribution of bioactive compounds in the central nervous system.
displays Neuroprotective Activities
Vinpocetine and its precursor belong to a group of indole alkaloids known as tryptomines, which are present in the human brain and the rest of the central nervous system in minute quantities. These organic compounds make up several psychoactive drugs and in the human body act as neuromodulators and neurotransmitters in the form of melatonin and serotonin.
Vinpocetine in particular displays activities that are primarily anti-inflammatory in nature. Several studies point to its effects on the enzyme complex called IkB kinase, which regulates cellular responses to inflammation, by preventing the translocation of a protein complex called responsible for the process of inflammation within cells.
In a Nutshell, vinpocetine can help you think clearer and protect the brain from inflammation and free radical damage. Give vinpocetine a try today!
The Amino Acid Glycine Is A Component Of Collagen And Essential For Good Health?
March 23, 2011 03:45 PM
What Is The Amino Acid Glycine And How does it Work In the Body
Glycine is the smallest amino acid found in the human body. It is present not only in water-based environments but also in fatty tissues. Being one of the earliest amino acids to be discovered, it has been a subject of numerous studies in the last century. The abundance of data points to its indispensable role in maintaining the overall health of the body since it is quite ubiquitous at the cellular level.
Supplies Amino Acid Requirement of Proteins in Cells
It is a widely accepted fact that glycine is an amino acid necessitated for the production of proteins that the human body uses and accounts for more than 30 per cent of the protein group called collagen. Human cells in particular utilize glycine in manufacturing fibrous and muscle tissues, the reason why it has been in use in treatment of degenerative diseases. The total absence of glycine in the human body is impossible, given the role it plays in protein synthesis, but low levels of glycine can be harmful.
Converts into Glucose and Helps Regulate Blood Sugar
Glucogenic amino acids are a number of amino acids that can be converted into glucose. First on the list is glycine, which does not only aid against a sudden drop in blood sugar but also provides the body with enough glucose to support cellular functions. Feelings of weakness characteristic of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue are often attributable to an impaired capacity to produce enough energy. The process of gluconeogenesis converts non-carbohydrate compounds into glucose as a response.
displays Inhibitory and Excitatory Neuronal Activities
While GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in human beings, glycine is also known to display inhibitory activities in the central nervous system. The spinal cord, brainstem, and the forebrain have all been identified to employ this amino acid in gylcinergic neurotransmission, which may be inhibitory or excitatory. It is postulated that glycine plays a major role in various mental disorders, and several studies concerning its psychoactive potential are well underway.
Scavenges Free Radicals and Reactive Oxygen Species
Although it is not considered an essential amino acid, which means the body produces quantities adequate to support physiological functions, depleting levels of glycine is not uncommon especially in individuals suffering from malnutrition and malabsorption. Glycine supplements have seen a surge in popularity in the latter half of the century as they are also known for their antioxidant activities. Enzymes responsible for antioxidant defenses necessitate glycine, which is an antioxidant in itself.
Supplementation of glycine has risen in the past few years especially when studies associating this amino acid to degenerative diseases have started to surface. A number of scientists believed that age-related and other degenerative diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis may be classified as deficiency diseases in that these diseases can easily be prevented or reversed with diet modifications. The incorporation of glycine in food products has also been reported to contribute to the upkeep of protein complexes needed by joints, muscles, and other parts of the body.
Aloe and Inflammation
October 13, 2010 12:40 PM
It is well known by those that use it as such that Aloe Vera is a powerful anti-inflammatory that fights inflammation both internally and externally. If you suffer from arthritis, it can be used to reduce the swelling and the pain caused by the inflammatory response of your immune system to the aggravation caused by wearing joints and infected synovial fluid.
Aloe Vera A gel or Cream
Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by your immune system attacking your own joints, and Aloe Vera goes a long way towards mediating this and reducing its effects. It is by no means a cure, but offers relief from pain and swelling while also supporting your immune system. It also displays its anti-inflammatory properties in soothing the effects of acne, eczema and other inflammatory skin conditions such as sunburn.
So if you suffer any of these inflammatory conditions, or intend spending time in the sun this summer, make sure you have some Aloe Vera cream or juice close by - you might need it!
Try Aloe Vera Today!
June 29, 2005 05:27 PM
Antioxidants By Ellen J. Kamhi, Ph. D. with Dorie Greenblatt Antioxidants. A term we hear often, but do we really pay attention to the enormous role these substances play in our systems? And what are they exactly anyhow? Where do they come from and how do they work?
Antioxidants are a group of naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and enzymes found in plant foods. These vital substances help to protect our cells from free radicals, the culprits responsible for causing damage to our bodies very quickly.
Free radicals are groups of unstable atoms looking to obtain electrons in order to become stable themselves. They can pull electrons off cell membranes, causing the cell membranes to have free radical activity as well. This unleashes a vicious cycle of cell destruction, known as a “free radical cascade.” Free radical damage is linked to a plethora of diseases. Luckily there are literally thousands of antioxidants to help us win the “free radical battle”.
Antioxidants can be differentiated by their colors. Those of a red, orange or yellowish color fall into the group known as carotenoids, while those with a blue, purple, black color are from the phenolic family. Of course, there are also some yellow green phenolics too, like the polyphenols from Green Tea.
The carotenoid group of antioxidants are fat-soluble and therefore offer protection for the fat containing parts of the body. This is especially useful in protecting our lipid containing cell membranes. These carotenoids hang out in our membranes, thereby protecting them from free radical damage. What’s even more important is the ability of carotenoids to enhance the activity of other fat-soluble antioxidants such as vitamins A, E and Co Q-10. Some of the best carotenoid sources are lycopene, curcumin and lutein.
Lycopene, a red carotenoid derived from tomatoes, has been shown to contain strong protection capabilities against free radical damage. Curcumin, a yellow carotenoid from turmeric, displays a more protective antioxidant activity than that of Vitamin E or Vitamin A in protecting DNA breakdown (by free oxygen). It also serves as a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Lutein, another carotenoid antioxidant, is a primary component of the retina and macula areas of the eye. Lutein’s antioxidant properties may help protect the macula from light induced free radicals. Evidence shows it may help reduce the risk of age related macular degeneration as well.
The phenolic groups are the water-soluble antioxidants. This group protects the blood, lymph and other bodily fluids, as well as the organs containing those fluids. Some of the best phenolic antioxidants are those found in Green Tea, particularly a group known as catechins. Catechins have proven to have immune- enhancing benefits. Another family of important phenolic antioxidants are those called anthocyanins. These too have proven to act to protect the immune system. Finally, we can’t forget one of the best-known water-soluble antioxidants: Vitamin C !
The need for antioxidants is widespread. We normally think of smokers as the primary group who would most benefit from antioxidants, but the truth is that anyone under stress is a prime candidate for taking antioxidants. In addition, anyone who carries a strenuous physical or mental work load or who exercises often needs the protection of antioxidants, since free radical levels are increased by an active metabolism. And, of course, those individuals who don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables in their diet should also consider using a well-rounded antioxidant formula.
Nature’s Answer offers an outstanding selection of antioxidant formulas available in liquid and/or capsule form. These include Lycopene and Green Tea Extracts (liquid, softgel and vegetarian capsule), Bio-Flavonoids & Rose Hips (low organic alcohol liquid herbal extract) and Grape Seed Extract (vegetarian capsule). For a well-balanced potent antioxidant blend, try Antioxidant Supreme™, a standardized herbal extract formula containing the best of the carotenoid and phenolic antioxidants in one convenient vegetarian capsule. This formula, in particular, provides concentrated natural sources of antioxidants for “supreme” overall protection.
Marilu Henner: Energy Personified!
June 14, 2005 11:50 AM
Marilu Henner: Energy Personified! by Stephen Hanks Energy Times, January 3, 2005
Marilu Henner is an actress, dancer and author, a health, fitness and cooking guru and a devoted mom. Now she's also an advocate for nutritional supplements. In this revealing interview, she offers her thoughts on the battle to support consumer rights and to create a better health care system in America.
"So, you want to know what my schedule is after I finish talking with you?" Marilu Henner says, in an almost breathless voice. "Today's Tuesday, right? Tomorrow morning I leave Los Angeles [where she lives] for New York City so I can do the Tony Danza Show first thing Thursday morning, Then, I take a 9 am flight back to LA because my son has a sleepover birthday party. I have a 7 am flight to New Jersey the next morning because I'm speaking about mental health at a conference at a big country club. The next morning, I catch a 7 am flight back to LA for my son's soccer games, one at noon and the other at 2. Whew!"
Trying to keep up with Marilu Henner would make anybody feel out of breath because the woman is energy personified. At 52, her schedule includes acting in movies, on television and in the occasional Broadway show, writing books (she's authored seven, including Total Health Makeover and Healthy Life Kitchen), teaching online diet and exercise classes through her website (marilu.com), taking Pilates classes three times a week and raising two sons, Nicholas (10) and Joseph (8).
But now, on top of all that, the former star of the TV show Taxi has become a health and nutrition activist, speaking out in favor of the use of dietary supplements whenever she can. This past September, Henner testified at a hearing of the House Subcommittee for Human Rights and Wellness to advocate increased funding for research and full implementation of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). During her testimony, Marilu described why she believes consumers should have access to more information about supplements and why the products should be made more accessible through both government initiatives and private health plans. "I believe that dietary supplements should be part of a campaign to improve our nation's health," Henner testified.
Energy Times recently caught up with Marilu at her Los Angeles home for a freewheeling conversation. Here, this vibrant yet down-to-earth celebrity displays her passion for health, nutrition and consumer issues.
Energy Times: You've become one of the most high profile celebrities to advocate a consumer's use of dietary supplements. What was your motivation to get involved in such a public way?
Marilu Henner: As a teenager, I had been a yo-yo dieter. I could be around 135 pounds and balloon up to 174. I knew I needed a different way of looking at my life. I couldn't concentrate on those stupid diets where I could lose 20 pounds in a week and then gain it all back over a weekend. But after my mom died at 58 in 1978, I said to myself, "It's not really about my body anymore, it's really about my health." I just became obsessed with health. I read everything I could get my hands on. I starting taking human anatomy classes, going to medical libraries and seeing nutritionists and doctors. And I started experimenting on myself, turning myself into my own guinea pig. It took me about eight years to put together a program. I always say that my health birthday was 1979, but it wasn't until 1987 that I could say I was living a completely healthy lifestyle.
ET: Were you ever really heavy when you were performing in a show? MH: Sure. When I first performed the role of Marty in "Grease" more than 30 years ago I weighed about 175 pounds. But I hid it well. When you wear those 1950s clothes you can get away with it.
ET: When did you start incorporating supplements into your health program? MH: Before I became pregnant with my first son in 1993, I had never been a supplement taker. But I started taking prenatal vitamins and dietary supplements when I was breastfeeding and they made me feel really good. After the pregnancy, I just kept taking them because I was getting the essential nutrients that I couldn't get from food alone. I was getting great stuff from my food, but with all the travel I do-you know, the eating on planes and in restaurants-I couldn't always shop for organic food. I had a doctor who understood the value of dietary supplements and encouraged me to use them. I've taken them ever since and I recommend them to my family and friends, as well as to people through my books and classes.
ET: What supplements other than vitamins do you find helpful in your total nutrition program? MH: I take vitamin E, omega-3 fish oils, antioxidants, garlic, coral calcium and echinacea supplements.
ET: So let's get back to why you decided to testify before Congress in support of supplement use. MH: I know that as soon as you put a celebrity face on an issue, people tend to pay a little more attention. When I was in Washington, I was able to tell Congress the personal stories I've heard about people who turned their lives around-from debilitating illness to vibrant health-when they got the information they need to make good choices. By good choices, I mean rejecting the manufactured foods of our society, with their over-reliance on sugar, meat and dairy, and the chemicals, hormones and steroids that usually accompany these products. Instead, we should be moving towards an organic, vegan diet that produces a sense of physical health. I also believe that a healthy diet includes the use of appropriate dietary supplements.
ET: Do you think that government is moving fast enough to reduce the restrictions on safe supplements? MH: Things could always move faster. But I remember years ago writing letters on behalf of people who wanted supplements without needing a prescription. When I would tell people about the benefits of soy products or supplements, they'd think I was nuts. Now those ideas are mainstream. The floodgates are open and people want to know more. You can't even keep up with all the information. I think that the government knows they're not going to get away with making people have a prescription to take their vitamins.
ET: What is the citizen's responsibility in all this? MH: We're in a real transitional phase and people should take responsibility to educate themselves. You have to question your doctors and recognize when something is or isn't working. You have to find a health practitioner who really knows their stuff.
ET: As you said, there's so much information out there, how do you decipher it all? How can someone be an educated information consumer?
MH: I know it's very difficult because there are so many options. Believe me, I've been doing this a long time and I'm glad I did the research. I think you have to read everything. You have to find a nutritionist/herbalist/doctor who's the real deal and knows what they're talking about. You have to recognize the symptoms in your own body and try to figure it out. I think if you start out with a good multivitamin, a calcium supplement, fish oils and vitamin E, that can be your base and you can't go wrong.
ET: Isn't a diet built on buying organic foods much more expensive? MH: Sure, it's a little more expensive. But there's nothing more expensive than bad health. There's nothing more expensive than food being thrown away because it doesn't taste right. Organic fruit tastes so much better than the perfect-looking fruits and vegetables sprayed with pesticides.
ET: What's your advice to people who want to start a workout and weight-loss program? MH: I'm always saying to people, "Look, you walk your dog, your cat stretches, your hamster runs on a hamster wheel. You're an animal, too, so go move, go do something." I know a lot of people believe that when you want to lose weight you have to go on these 1,200-calorie-per-day diets.
Well, my weight is always between 120-124 pounds and I eat close to 2,000 calories a day, but everything I eat is of quality. And I burn a lot of calories because I wear comfortable shoes and I move around in my life. I'm always strong, I never get sick and I feel like an animal.
ET: How do you view the future of healthcare policy in this country and where do you think nutritional supplements fit in? MH: I strongly believe that the general public needs more access to dietary supplements to maintain essential good health. American research and development has come up with really great products, but the American Medical Association and the drug companies have stigmatized supplements. So what's the result? Most Americans don't have access to safe supplements because they are not covered by their health plans, nor recognized as effective by the federal government. This really needs to be changed.
I think we should take 90% of what we're spending on drugs that barely keep people alive and start spending it on prevention, nutrition and changing lifestyle habits. In this country we're all about curing the disease rather than curing the patient. We don't look at the patient holistically and try to find out how the disease developed. Your doctor should be in charge of keeping you well, not keeping you in that strange state of, what I call, "dis-ease." It's like the medical and pharmaceutical establishment wants to keep you just sick enough so you'll continue to be a paying customer. They've convinced people to think they've got to take a pill to cure themselves rather than use their own bodies.
ET: Do you think medical schools will start training doctors to treat patients holistically and focus more on preventative medicine?
MH: I think we're seeing a lot more nutrition and alternative medicine specialists these days. And the general public is becoming more aware of health and nutrition issues then they were years ago. There's this groundswell of people saying "Wait, I need more information. Wait, my doctor's no longer God. I can't just keep taking these pills and trying to figure out all these warning labels and side effects."
ET: Do you plan on becoming more politically active on these issues? MH: Absolutely, I want to work with any organization that wants to improve school lunch programs, improve the healthcare system and get people more involved in understanding nutrition and disease prevention.
Truth in Labeling
June 14, 2005 10:44 AM
Truth in Labeling by Diane Stanton Energy Times, June 14, 2004
Do you or don't you read food labels when you shop? If you don't, you're missing out on a prime source of information about your meals. If you want control of your health, focus on package labels and pick your foods carefully.
The large print on food labels focus on what are called macronutrients: carbohydrates, fat and protein. Some of the smaller categories convey information about vitamins, fiber, and minerals, as well as the totals of fat and saturated fat contained in food. So, you have no excuse for claiming ignorance about your diet: the truth is in the labels.
Food labels can be confusing to the uninitiated. Go into a big food store and you can be faced with what seems to be a forest of food information: more than 15,000 labels. Add to that fact that every year more than 30,000 new food products can be introduced to the marketplace, and what you're faced with is a jungle of food labels.
That overwhelming wealth of food label information doesn't mean you should throw up your hands in dismay and give up reading and deciphering labels. You should arm yourself against that sea of labels with knowledge and, by understanding them, end your confusion and build your health.
A hundred years or so ago, food labels were only required to list the name of the food contained inside the package. The contents, quality and processes used to make the food were often a mystery. Little or no disclosure to consumers was made about how their food was created.
By the early 1920s, the federal government, via the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), began requiring food companies to list the net weight of food on labels as well as the names and addresses of food processors and distributors. Finally, by the 1970s, listing basic nutritional information was mandated in a uniform way so that shoppers could have some basis for comparing foods. Then, in 1990, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act made major alterations to the kinds of labels that had to be included on food packages.
The FDA and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) required significant changes to food labels that were supposed to make it easier for consumers to eat healthier diets. The labels requirements of 1994 included five major changes:
Consumer questions regarding food labels have led researchers to look into ways to help shoppers comprehend what food labels tell them. These studies are designed to help consumers match up their nutrition requirements with the foods they buy.
For instance, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, scientists have devised a label tool called See It, Do It, Teach It to help people improve their diets through comprehension of food label information. " One of the goals of the project was to help...teenaged girls and menopausal women understand how they can get the daily requirement for calcium into their diet in order to help prevent osteoporosis," says Karen Chapman-Novakofski, PhD, associate professor and nutritionist in the school's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.
According to the See It, Do It, Teach It program, you should think of food labels as consisting of two sections:
" Much more attention has been paid to what people should limit rather than the nutrients needed. The average consumer doesn't know, for instance, how much vitamin A 10% of the Daily Value is, or how much calcium 25% of the Daily Value is," Dr. Chapman-Novakofski says.
Upping Calcium Intake
In their eight-week study of people's calcium consumption (Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 4/04), the University of Illinois research team found that people didn't know how much calcium was in the food they ate.
After the initial part of the study, in which participants were shown how to look for calcium on labels, "the post-test revealed that the participants significantly increased their calcium intake to 821 mg per day, up from 372 mg per day," notes Dr. Chapman-Novakofski.
" That's a lot closer to the daily requirements of 1,200 mg per day for men and women over 50, 1,000 mg for men and women aged 19 through 50 and 1,300 mg per day for [youths aged] 9 to  years," she adds.
Parts of the Label
The first item at the top of a nutrition food label tells you the portion size that the label measures. An important point to remember: these sizes are determined individually by each manufacturer. Consequently, all of the other values on the label are measured per portion.
So, if you are comparing foods made by two different companies that employ very different portion sizes in their nutritional calculations, your label comparisons may be complicated.
Another fact to be aware of: the listed portion size may be an odd division of the food within the container and not reflect a common-sense division. For instance, some food packages are labeled as containing 2.5 portions.
And, to make things even more interesting, small boxes of candy that you might think contain barely enough for one helping may be labeled by the manufacturer as having two or more portions. As a result, if you eat the whole box, you often have to at least double the number of indicated calories, etc. to figure out the nutrients and calories you are consuming.
The section of the label that notes calories, calories from fat and percent daily values is listed under the portion size. Here you are told how many calories you consume when you devour one portion and how many of those calories are derived from fat.
This label focus on fat originated when consumers and dietitians were very concerned about Americans' fat consumption and hadn't yet switched their focus to carbohydrate consumption as a prevalent dietary health priority.
Also included on the label: the daily value percentages aimed at showing you how much out of a total day's intake of various nutrients a portion bestows upon you.
These percentage numbers are based on a theoretical analysis of a diet that contains 2,000 or 2,500 calories a day. (A notation at the bottom of the label tells you whether the calculation is based on 2,000 or 2,500.)
If you've been eating a low-carb diet (or are planning this type of diet), the section of the label that lists carbohydrates may be especially useful. Under this heading, the label lists the totals for fiber and sugar.
No matter what diet you are on, dietary fiber is desirable, since it represents indigestible carbohydrates that both pass through you without conveying any calories and keep beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract healthy.
Most people want to limit their sugar totals, however, since this nutrient may raise your risk of being overweight and, when you eat a lot of it, may contribute to immune problems.
Interestingly enough, when food chemists compute what is in food, they perform lab tests known as assays to distinguish its ingredients. (The manner in which these tests are performed are very strictly regulated by the FDA.)
In fact, just about every nutrient listed on a food label is determined by laboratory test except for the carbohydrate content: the amount of water, fat, crude protein and ash are determined this way. But the total carbs are computed by simply subtracting the total of the other ingredients from the total amount of food, a kind of process of elimination.
So while fat and protein are measured with precise lab tests, carbohydrate totals are figured by the leftovers. (The water and ash, by the way, are not usually listed on food labels.)
Within the general carbohydrate group, are several categories of carbohydrates that produce very different effects in your body. These categories can be divided into sugar, sugar alcohols, dietary fiber and a collection of various chemicals that include organic acids, flavonoids, gums, lignans and others.
According to the FDA, the food label only has to list the total carbs, sugar and dietary fiber. But some food companies now list things like sugar alcohols.
Blood Sugar Effects
Not all of these types of carbohydrates behave the same way in your body. For example, when your body digests table sugar, it turns immediately into blood sugar. So sugar and most other carbohydrate is what we call "digestible carbohydrate." Other carbs, such as sugar alcohol or glycerine, can be digested but do not turn to blood sugar. Still others, such as dietary fiber, are indigestible and pass through your body without impacting your blood sugar level.
To date, the FDA has not focused on these important biochemical differences and treats all carbohydrates alike. This means that when you look at a food label, you do not see a number for the carbs that impact your blood sugar level. To do so, simply subtract the number of grams of fiber from the total number of carbohydrate grams.
Recently, the phrases "low carb," "net carb" and "impact carbs" have begun to appear on food labels. These are not defined by the FDA; they were put on labels by by companies to help consumers pick out foods that are acceptable on low-carb diets. To arrive at the total of net carbs, food companies subtract the total amount of fiber and sugar alcohol from the total carbohydrates.
Since the body cannot digest fiber, this nutrient (which is still important for good health) is not calculated into the total amount of carbohydrates. As for sugar alcohols, while-technically speaking-these are carbs and they do have calories, they have little effect on blood sugar and usually are not counted in total carbohydrates.
According to the American Dietetic Association, people with diabetes who are managing their blood sugars using the carbohydrate counting method should "count half of the grams of sugar alcohol as carbohydrates since half of the sugar alcohol on average is digested.
" Fiber is not digested, however. If the serving of food has more then 5 grams of fiber one should subtract the grams of fiber from the total carbohydrate grams." As you can see, when it comes to food, as in most things, knowledge is power. If you want power over your health, you need power over the food you eat. The road to that power is by reading food labels. What's in the food you're eating every day may surprise you.
Cancer at the Millenium - the war on cancer entering its third decade...
June 13, 2005 10:23 AM
Cancer at the Millenium by Harriet Brown Energy Times, May 1, 1999
With the war on cancer entering its third decade, the necessity grows clearer for medical science to engage the enemy on several fronts. Until recently, high-tech medical weapons like vaccines and gene therapy, inspired by a flood of insights into the molecular basis of cancer, garnered most of the hope, hype, headlines and research money. The science was sexy and the prospect of a "cure" dramatic. But, today, advocates of prevention receive equal, if not greater, attention.
Improving our diets and prudently supplementing with vitamins and minerals, can deliver a major preventive impact. Contentious experts concede that at least a third (and probably more) of all cancers can be blamed on a combination of eating too much of the wrong foods and not enough of the right ones.
The Dietary Difference
Though cancer can progress rapidly once it leaps past its inception, it develops over many years and in several stages. Beneficial compounds in food and supplements may intervene along a line that runs from initial exposure to carcinogens to the final step into outright malignancy. Nutrients may: - counteract environmental poisons and the toxic byproducts of liver metabolism
The Big Picture The dietary guidelines advocated by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute (which generally coincide with those of most health organizations) may sound familiar: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Get lots of fiber. Limit fat, especially animal fat. Go easy on meat and avoid the cured variety (they contain nitrites). If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. Watch your total calories, and your weight. Pretty straightforward stuff.
Carotenoids, as their name suggests, are orange and red pigments in fruits and vegetables, most notably carrots and tomatoes, although they're also in everything from sweet potatoes to spinach and brussels sprouts (in the latter their distinctive color is masked by green chlorophyll).
Lycopene, a carotenoid found primarily in tomatoes, displays double the free radical-fighting activity of beta carotene, the most widely studied carotenoid. Of 72 studies looking at consumption of tomatoes or tomato-based products reviewed in the February 1999 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, almost half showed a significant reduction in one or more of a variety of cancers.
Research shows that lycopene may be best at lowering a man's risk of prostate cancer. A 1995 Harvard Medical School study (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995; 87: 1767-76) queried nearly 48,000 male health-care professionals about their consumption of fruits and vegetables. The only foods that reduced their risk of prostate cancer were, apparently, tomato sauce, tomatoes, pizza (tomato paste). For those who ate ten servings a week, risk dropped 45 percent; with four to seven servings, 20 percent. In animal studies lycopene decreased the number and size of mammary tumors (Eleventh International Symposium on Carotenoids, 1996).
Tomatoes are one of the richest sources of lycopene. Cooking tomatoes helps by releasing the lycopene from the plant cell walls. Also, the oil in tomato sauce enhances absorption in the stomach. Lycopene is also available in supplements.
Wine drinkers rejoiced when resveratrol, a constituent of the skin of red grapes, was found to protect their hearts (by blocking oxidation of LDL cholesterol and discouraging blood clotting). Now they have another reason to toast this potent antioxidant. When researcher John Pezzuto at the University of Illinois at Chicago screened about 1,000 plants for anticancer activity, he came up with one whose active ingredient turned out to be resveratrol. In lab tests it squelched both free radicals and inflammation, two well-known cancer inducers (Science, 6/10/97). In a study with mice, resveratrol reduced the number of skin tumors by up to 98 percent compared to control animals. Because the effective doses were high (Pezzuto estimates a person would have to quaff about five gallons of wine a day to get the equivalent) and because more than a drink or two a day may raise the risk of breast cancer, researchers don't recommend nondrinkers take up wine. But supplements of synthesized resveratrol (as well as grape juice) may help.
Saturated fat is an authentic dietary villain. Aside from clogging arteries, it's a suspected contributor to several cancers, though the evidence is greater for some cancers (prostate) than for others (breast cancer)
Of the two other main categories of fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, mono seems benign, if not positively protective. For example, in a study of the influence of diet on breast cancer, Greek researchers discovered that women who consumed higher amounts of olive oil (which is mostly mono) were less likely to be afflicted with breast cancer (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995: 87; 110-116).
When it comes to polyunsaturated fats, however, things get complicated. The fat that predominates in corn, sunflower and other vegetable oils, called omega-6, has long been associated with cancer risk in animal experiments. Likewise the type found in margarines, trans fats, which are partially saturated vegetable oils. On the other hand, the omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA, which are found primarily in deep- and cold-water fish like cod, mackerel, and halibut, protect against both heart disease and cancer. In an epidemiological study covering 24 European countries, British researchers established that mortality rates for colon and breast cancers declined as fish and fish oil consumption rose (British Journal of Cancer 1996: 74; 159-64). And Finnish scientists discovered that the breast tissue of women who had breast cancer contained significantly less DHA and EPA than the breasts of healthy women (Nutrition and Cancer 1995: 24; 151-160).
Experts believe the omega-3s' anticancer effect derives from its ability to tamp down the prostaglandins that stimulate inflammation. Chronic inflammation unleashes a steady stream of free radicals, which can damage DNA and thereby trigger cancer. Omega-3s also help the liver detoxify potentially harmful substances.
Fortunately for the fish-phobic, nonmarine sources of omega-3 fats include flaxseed and hemp oils.
Minerals to Lower Cancer Risk
n Calcium: possibly protective against colon cancer. In a recent trial (New England Journal of Medicine, 1/14/99) researchers gave people with a history of precancerous colon polyps either two 600 mg calcium tablets a day or a placebo for nine months and found fewer polyps. n Selenium: powerful antioxidant and supporter of immunity. Researchers find that cancer rates in various regions is lowered when soil and vegetables contain more selenium
In a selenium-depleted area in China afflicted with one of the highest incidences of stomach and esophageal cancer mortality in the world, scientists asked different groups to take various combinations of nutrients. After five years they found a significant reduction in the cancer rate among those who had gotten supplements of selenium, vitamin E and beta carotene (Biological Trace Element Research 1985; 7: 21-29). In the U.S. researchers studying the potential effectiveness of selenium supplementation for preventing nonmelanoma skin cancers came up with a surprise. The 200 mcg a day the subjects received for an average of 4.5 years had no impact on skin cancer but did significantly cut the rates of lung, colorectal and prostate cancers (Journal of the American Medical Association, 12/25/96).
More recently Harvard researchers determined that men with prostate cancer had much lower levels of selenium in their toenails (a measure of consumption) than healthy men (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 8/119/98).
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale, have long been singled out for their association with protection against cancer. In a 1996 survey of 94 population studies and clinical trials focusing on consumption of cruciferous vegetables, 67 percent showed a reduced risk, the strongest link being with lung, stomach, colon and rectal cancers (Cancer Epidemiological Biomarkers 1996; 5: 733-748).
Scientists at Johns Hopkins showed that sulforaphane, from these plants, stimulates enzymes that help detoxify carcinogens generated in the liver. When they injected rats with a cancer-causing chemical, only 26 percent of the rodents pretreated with sulforaphane developed mammary cancer, compared to 68 percent of controls. Even animals who did come down with cancer had tumors that appeared later and smaller.
Other researchers have focused on a cruciferous-vegetable compound called indole-3-carbinol, which has proved especially effective against breast cancer cells. Recently, scientists at the University of California at Berkeley found that indole-3-carbinol, rather than acting as an anti-estrogen, (as had been thought), actually stops breast cancer cells by turning off a protein critical to their replication (Jrnal of Bio Chem, 2/13/98). Consequently, when treating certain forms of cancer, some doctors have paired indole-3-carbinol with the chemotherapy drug tamoxifen - which counteracts estrogen - and found that the combination has proven more potent than either separately.
Several decades ago British physician Denis Burkitt proposed that the low incidence of colon cancer among native peoples in South Africa was attributable to the fact that their diet was rich in fiber. The fiber, it was hypothesized, bulked up the stool, speeding its passage through the bowel and reducing the time carcinogens contact its lining; it also helped neutralize cancer-promoting bile acids.
This concept has been backed up by numerous studies. Recently, Harvard researchers sprinkled cold water on this idea, finding that an examination of the eating habits of more than 80,000 female nurses, could find no protective effect against colon cancer or precancerous polyps from consuming fiber (NEJM, January 21, 1999). Most experts' take on this apparent refutation: Maybe the "high fiber" intake in this case wasn't high enough, and this is just one study among many.
Fighting Breast Cancer
Fiber has also been linked to reduced rates of breast cancer. At first it was thought that if fat was a breast-cancer culprit, fiber might just be a marker for a low-fat diet. But a look at Finland undermined that idea: Finnish women eat both a lot of fat and a lot of fiber, and their breast cancer rate ranks much below that in the U.S., (where we eat gobs of fat and little roughage).
Fiber helps take estrogen out of circulation as it passes through the liver, while the isoflavones in many high-fiber plants and vegetables are themselves weak estrogens, which compete for slots on breast tissue's estrogen receptors. The special fiber in flaxseed oil called lignans act against estrogen in two ways: by binding its receptors and by inhibiting the enzyme that converts other hormones into estrogen.
Fiber comes in two basic forms, insoluble (e.g., wheat bran, celery, the skins of fruits and vegetables) and soluble (e.g., oat bran, citrus fruits, beans). Until a few years ago, scientists believed that cancer protection came mainly from insoluble fiber, but that thinking has turned around.
A soluble fiber called citrus pectin has been shown to halt the tendency of prostate, lung, breast and skin cancers to metastasize, or spread (e.g., Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995; 87: 3448-353). Typically cancer turns deadly only when it gets into the bloodstream and invades new territory. Modified citrus pectin appears to stop this aggression by preventing cancer cells from attaching to healthy tissue.
While the name inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) sounds like a mouthful, many of us consume mouthfuls of this natural substance every day - in foods like corn, rice, whole-grain cereals, oats and wheat.
But now scientists have isolated IP-6 and found that this powerful antioxidant can slow the destructive cellular processes that lead to tumors. In a study published in Anti-Cancer Research (Nov/Dec 1998), scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine demonstrated that IP-6 could shrink liver tumors in laboratory animals.
The researchers believe that IP-6 can help prevent cancer and also be useful in lowering the risk of health problems like kidney stones and heart disease. Research like this continues to expand our knowledge of how to lower the risk of cancer. In the next millennium, with more and more information making its way into the media and onto websites, our power and the responsibility to reduce our risk of cancer will continue to grow and offer new possibilities.
Full Spectrum Arjuna & Arjuna CardioComfort
June 02, 2005 10:12 AM
Arjuna bark has been used in Ayurvedic herbalism for more than three centuries to support a healthy heart. Today, scientific research is confirming arjuna’s benefits and providing the knowledge that enables development of highly effective arjuna formulations. Planetary Formulas offers you two premier arjuna products, unsurpassed for dependability and efficacy. FULL SPECTRUM ARJUNA combines arjuna bark with arjuna bark extract, for a broad spectrum of beneficial constituents. ARJUNA CARDIOCOMFORT combines arjuna with additional botanicals renowned for supporting cardiovascular health. Both reflect Planetary Formulas’ commitment to herbalism at its best—uniting traditional herbal wisdom with the findings of modern clinical and pharmacological research.
FULL SPECTRUM™ ARJUNA
The arjuna tree (Terminalia arjuna) grows to heights of 60-90 feet throughout India. Its thick, white-to-pinkish gray bark has been used in traditional Ayurvedic herbalism for generations, primarily as a cardiac tonic. Arjuna has been found to help support heart health, to have antioxidant properties similar to vitamin E, and to help maintain cholesterol levels already in the normal range, according to preliminary clinical studies. It has also been found to help maintain healthy phospholipid and triglyceride levels, according to animal research. Arjuna may work by supporting healthy cardiac muscle function and pumping of the heart. These effects are associated with its saponin glycosides, while its flavonoids and oligomeric proanthocyanidins are associated with antioxidant activity and vascular support.
This broad-range formula combines arjuna bark with additional botanicals, including salvia, hawthorn and guggul. Salvia is the most widely used herb in China for supporting healthy circulation. Hawthorn is the most widely used herb in North America and Europe for supporting a healthy heart. Research suggests that hawthorn increases coronary blood flow, displays antioxidant activity and supports normal heart contraction. Guggul is a traditional Ayurvedic botanical, shown in modern research to support cholesterol levels already in the normal range. Together these botanicals provide a comprehensive herbal approach for supporting a healthy heart.
CLINICALLY DERIVED FORMULAS
FULL SPECTRUM™ ARJUNA and ARJUNA CARDIOCOMFORT were developed by Planetary Formulas’ primary formulator, renowned herbalist and clinician, Michael Tierra, L.Ac., O.M.D., and are used on a daily basis in his clinical practice. This means your customers can be assured of obtaining the benefits they are seeking from an herbal product.
Developed exclusively for Planetary Formulas by world renowned herbalist, acupuncturist, and author Michael Tierra, L.Ac., O.M.D., who has more than 30 years of clinical experience.