Search Term: " epilepic "
Marijuana found to lower blood flow to the brain: Study authorssuggest this may increase risk of dementia, but this effect also makes itmedicinally useful for epileptics
May 10, 2019 02:17 PM
Scientific literature on how marijuana works on the body is rapidly expanding. Right now, there are a plethora of studies on how marijuana works on the human brain. Some studies have shown that it can be effective in treating disorders of the brain like epilepsy. Recent tests show that marijuana can increase the risk of dementia because it restricts the flow of blood to the brain. These brain areas are essential for memory development. The area most affected is the hippocampus which can result in Alzheimer’s if prolonged. The researchers for the study used single photo emission computed tomography (SPECT) to measure blood flow to the brain after taking marijuana and they reported that there were very low and abnormal blood flow levels observed. This is when compared with persons who did not take marijuana. 982 patients were selected from a wide variety of data sources that was available to the researchers concerning persons who previously used or were still using marijuana. The results of the study showed that persons taking marijuana were at a risk of dementia due to the low blood flow to their hippocampus.
"Users were analyzed using a brain SPECT and by conducting mental concentration tests against a sample of 100 people who had not used marijuana to determine whether there were significant differences that arose between users and non-users of cannabis."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-19-marijuana-lowers-blood-flow-to-the-brain-may-be-useful-for-epileptics.html
What You Should Know About CBD Oil
May 25, 2018 07:16 PM
All marijuana strands have two components within them: THC and CBD. THC is the component that has psychoactive effects on those who consume it, but CBD carries the benefits of marijuana without those psychoactive side effects. It has been shown to work well in epileptic patients, along with those who suffer from a long list of other medical ailments. Unfortunately, the tests done to prove these claims were all pre-clinical, which means they were not tested on humans instead of mice and test tubes.
"THC can affect the CB1 receptors, and it’s responsible for weed’s high. CBD is a little more complicated; it can affect both types of receptors, but often in indirect ways. The exact mechanisms aren’t fully understood."
Read more: https://vitals.lifehacker.com/what-you-should-know-about-cbd-oil-1825430458
Epilepsy, Endocannabinoids and Phytocannabinoids
November 29, 2017 03:59 PM
Patients suffering from epilepsy have begun being treated with cannabis and its variant cannabinoids with some success. The concentrations for dosing vary by patient but some cannabinoids like THC, THCA and CBC have been used for epilepsy seizure treatments. However, in studies, whole plant use seems to be most effective since it contains more than 80 cannabinoids. There are receptors in the CNS for cannabinoids and there's also a specific uptake in the liver so although safe, it may compete with other medications.
"Cannabidiol and several other cannabis components can help patients with seizure disorders, and sometimes it's best to combine CBD with conventional anti-epileptic meds."
Read more: https://www.projectcbd.org/about/patient-experiencesurveys/epilepsy-endocannabinoids-and-phytocannabinoids
Yet another study finds that daily fish oil supplements protect the brain by balancing hormones like estrogen
September 02, 2017 04:14 PM
There has been yet another study done that showed how daily fish oil supplements help to protect your brain by balancing the different hormones in it, like estrogen. It was found that the frequency and duration of seizures got smaller. Experts have found an important link between DHA and brain estrogen levels. The research was done with mice that showed the link. The study was conducted with three groups of mice and they were given different types of oil in their diet.
"The findings may show potential in alleviating the growing number of epileptic attacks around the world."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-08-30-yet-another-study-finds-that-daily-fish-oil-supplements-protect-the-brain-by-balancing-hormones-like-estrogen.html
Advantages And Disadvantages Of CBD Oil
July 25, 2017 12:14 PM
There are some advantages and disadvantages of CBD oil. CBD oil is a derivative of cannabis. The origin of this oil is the marijuana plant. It does not intoxicate anyone that uses it. There have been several controversies that have emerged because its parent plant is used for recreational use. But, there are many indications of the health benefits it offers. Marijuana consists of some quantity of CBD. One of the benefits of CBD oil is decreased anxiety.
"CBD oil can help in managing anxiety attacks by changing the response produced by brain receptors towards serotonin."
Read more: http://reportshealthcare.com/advantages-disadvantages-cbd-oil/
Cannabidiol bill for epileptic seizures moves closer to becoming law
April 14, 2017 11:44 AM
Author Janet Williams writes about a bill in Indianapolis that would further the usage of medical marijuana for use among patients with epilepsy. The article lists the how the votes were cast and which side they favored. The author also makes a point to mention that the medical marijuana would be high CBD product rather than the typical form which contains majority THC, meaning that the medical product would not be for "getting high", but in fact would be medicine for epilepsy treatment with no psychoactive properties.
"Cannabidiol, or CBD is found in the seeds, stalk, and flowers of cannabis plants like hemp and marijuana. CBD has been found to minimize seizures in epileptic patients and has a negligible level of THC, the compound that creates the “high” feeling in marijuana."
Read more: http://thestatehousefile.com/cannabidiol-bill-epileptic-seizures-moves-closer-becoming-law/30969/
Is CBD Crystalline the Most Effective Cannabis Medicine?
January 03, 2017 02:59 PM
Information regarding the use of medicinal marijuana has been in high demand over the past few years. This article discusses the positive impacts and benefits of CBD. There are several conditions that cannabinoids have been shown to benefit. Check out the article for those conditions and the progress researchers have been making
"CBD provides no psychoactive effects when ingested, but being that it is derived from cannabis, the potential life-saving compound is still considered a Schedule 1 substance with “no medicinal value.” This obstacle blocks many professional research facilities from conducting experiments with CBD to truly put its healing abilities to the test, at least in the United States."
CHANGING YOUR LIFE WITH MAGNESIUM
October 31, 2014 06:05 AM
Do you want to get some information about Magnesium?
Magnesium has been found to be working in other ways to contribute in preserving the nervous system. Before the end of 20th Century, specialized doctors had established that injection of magnesium in our bodies exerts a depressant effect on the nerves. In fact, the main use of this mineral in early times was to induce sleep. Significantly, any hibernating animal have high levels of magnesium. The mineral has also shown effectiveness in control of convulsion in pregnant women, the shakes in alcoholic and epileptic seizure.
MAGNESIUM CALMING THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
One of paradoxical effect is that, a magnesium deficient person who end up taking magnesium will feel energetic than never before yet the mineral is not a stimulant but rather a depressant. Actually, magnesium normally relieves the irritability of nervous system and the excessive energy, which will result to fatigue.
With this, it will not be surprising to say that when an individual magnesium levels is sub-normal then the nerves will not be in a position of controlling functions such as muscle movement, mental processes and respiration. Irregular heartbeat, twitching, irritability and largely nervous fatigue are the most frequent symptoms of magnesium depletion.
Often, deficiency of magnesium is because of failure on individual side to obtain to use dietary sources such as eggs, wheat germ, green vegetables, cocoa, almonds, soybeans, desiccated liver among many other. However, in some instances, coexisting illness can impair absorption of this mineral, for example the intestinal infections. In such an instant, ingested magnesium may be lost completely in the body and majorly in the nervous system.
PENN of Columbia University published the information of essential of magnesium to nervous system first in 1966. He studied the conduction of electricity by the nerves. The main finding was that calcium is the prime conductor mineral of the electrical current. It was concluded from the finding that Magnesium would in turn maintain the required level of calcium in the nervous system. Actually, Magnesium is Do you want to get some information about Magnesium? The nutrient that is likely to change your living standards by improving your nerve health.
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Wintergreen Oil- Used For Pain, Arthritis, Headaches and More
February 26, 2014 09:06 AM
What is wintergreen
Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) is in the heather family of organic plants and is local to North America. It is a little evergreen herb that develops just something like 6 inches high with thin crawling stems. It has hanging white blossoms which are accompanied via red berries. Local Americans used to bite the stems to build respiratory limit. Early American pilgrims had their youngsters bite the leaves for some weeks each one spring to avoid tooth rot and throughout the American Revolution, it was a substitute for Black Tea. They so reveled in the essence that it has proceeded right up 'til today as the character of root brewskie, mulling over gum and toothpaste. The oil hails from steam refining of the leaves and produces an in number, entering fragrance. The science of wintergreen is very nearly indistinguishable to that of birch .
Generally wintergreen has been utilized for respiratory conditions however the essential utilize as of late has been as a part of liniments and treatments for bulky issues, for example, lumbago, sciatica, neuralgia, myalgia, and so on it is known for its capability to diminish bone agony.
Can Melatonin Be Used For Fibromyalgia?
December 28, 2012 04:19 PM
Fibromyalgia is a condition that may be very frustrating and has no known cure currently. Due to its complexity and also the number of symptoms that occur during an infection with fibromyalgia, one may be moody, anxious, depressed or irritable. Melatonin, a natural hormone which controls sleep patterns, can help relieve some symptoms of fibromyalgia and promote one's feelings of well-being.
Melatonin hormone is produced by the brain's pineal gland. It is majorly responsible for controlling the sleep-wake cycle; called the circadian rhythm. The secretion of melatonin is influenced by exposure to light. Whenever it gets dark, melatonin production rises. Conversely, during exposure to sunlight, the production of melatonin is lowered. Several people employ the use of melatonin supplements to promote symptoms of insomnia, since it can aid to reset one's body clock and even make it easier to fall and stay asleep.
How melanin treats Fibromyalgia
Disturbances of sleep and the frequent disruption of circadian rhythms occur during fibromyalgia. Melatonin has always been proven to synchronize the circadian rhythms and promote the quality of sleep. Excess damage by free-radicals is quite common in fibromyalgia patients. Melatonin as well as its metabolites have been discovered to be potent scavengers of free radicals and indirect antioxidants.
Elevated Nitric Oxide In Patients
Some studies have shown that synthesis of nitric oxide is elevated in fibromyalgia patients. Melatonin acts as a potent inhibitor of a rate-limiting enzyme in the production of nitric oxide. Depression is at times a symptom or maybe an overlapping fibromyalgia condition.
Melatonin As An Antidepressant:
Melatonin has also been proven to be an antidepressant. There is a component of melatonin that has been synthesized in the pharmaceutical industry and is now being enhanced as an antidepressant. Lyrica, antiepileptic drugs, have been proven to be effective in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Melatonin has been found to work as an antiepileptic too.
Benefits Of Blue Cohosh Root
December 27, 2012 10:38 AM
The Blue Cohosh Root is a perennial flowering plant belonging to the family 'Berberidaceae'. It is also known as 'Squaw Root' and produces fruits that resemble blue-berries. The foliage too has a bluish hue to it.
History Of The Blue Cohosh
Blue Cohosh is the native plant of North America. In the ancient times, it was commonly referred to as the 'Womens Herb' believed to bring relief during menstruation, relieve cramps, regulate erratic periods and facilitate or induce labour before delivery. Studies suggest that women consumed an infusion of the root a couple of weeks before they were due for giving birth.The plant, supposedly, acted on the uterus in some way. Also, the root was decocted into a strong drink which was then used as a contraceptive.
Blue Cohosh root may be used for certain medicinal purposes though its safe use is still a contentious issue. It might have a role in stimulating the uterus or acting as a laxative and relieving painful colic conditions. Some people believe it to be a beneficial remedy for sore throat, hiccups, muscular spasms, epileptic cases, joint problems etc. The root has similarities to the hormone called 'estrogen' which is found in the female body. The root can be used in its fresh or dried form both. It can be used alone or as a blend of other herbs. Some people also use it as a coffee bean substitute.
Those who should avoid blue cohosh are:
However, it is recommended that it should be taken under professional advice and supervision of a physician to prevent any untoward side-effects. People suffering from heart ailments, diabetes or diarrhoea and pregnant women should avoid the root. There are incidents that prove the negative effect of the Blue Cohosh on the kidneys if used excessively. It is best to use the Blue Cohosh in a controlled and supervised manner.
Benefits Of Blue Cohosh Root
December 21, 2012 05:04 PM
The Blue Cohosh Root is a perennial flowering plant belonging to the family 'Berberidaceae'. It is also known as 'Squaw Root' and produces fruits that resemble blue-berries. The foliage too has a bluish hue to it. History Of The Blue Cohosh Blue Cohosh is the native plant of North America. In the ancient times, it was commonly referred to as the 'Womens Herb' believed to bring relief during menstruation, relieve cramps, regulate erratic periods and facilitate or induce labour before delivery.
Studies suggest that women consumed an infusion of the root a couple of weeks before they were due for giving birth. The plant, supposedly, acted on the uterus in some way. Also, the root was decocted into a strong drink which was then used as a contraceptive.
Blue Cohosh root may be used for certain medicinal purposes though its safe use is still a contentious issue. It might have a role in stimulating the uterus or acting as a laxative and relieving painful colic conditions. Some people believe it to be a beneficial remedy for sore throat, hiccups, muscle spasms, epileptic cases, joint problems etc. The root has similarities to the hormone called 'estrogen' which is found in the female body.
The root can be used in its fresh or dried form both. It can be used alone or as a blend of other herbs. Some people also use it as a coffee bean substitute. However, it is recommended that it should be taken under professional advice and supervision of a physician to prevent any untoward side-effects. People suffering from heart ailments, diabetes or diarrhea and pregnant women should avoid the root. There are incidents that prove the negative effect of the Blue Cohosh on the kidneys if used excessively.
How Does Taurine Help the Brain?
May 13, 2011 01:09 PM
Taurine is an amino acid often added to energy drinks. There have been several theories on how taurine affects brain chemicals and improve cognitive function. For many years, it has been compared to caffeine due to its effects on the human brain that appear to enhance mood. Its exact mechanisms of action remain a mystery to the scientific community, but recent studies are believed to be closing in.
It has long been known that taurine crosses the blood brain barrier, allowing it to exert some effects on several neurotransmitters found in the central nervous system. It has been tied to the alleviation of many mental illnesses, such as epilepsy, post traumatic stress disorder, clinical depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety, making it the subject of a number of studies in the past few years.
Rebalances Brain Chemicals
It has been postulated that taurine influences the activities of neurotransmitters in the brain, but only recently has brain scientists been able to actually track its activities in the brain. A team of researchers at Cornell University managed to find a site for the neurological activity of taurine, with initial results pointing to its relationship with gamma the neurotransmitter aminobutyric acid, or GABA. The researchers do not discount the possibility that taurine may even have a receptor of its own.
Whether taurine interacts with brain chemicals is no longer debatable as it creates homeostasis in the central nervous system. It acts on receptors that the researchers discovered to be the same receptors present in GABAergic mechanisms. That being said, scientists remain inconclusive as to how its interaction with GABA receptors provides energy-boosting benefits as it is marketed in the food and drug industries.
Prevents Neuron Damage
The scientific community is convinced that taurine has neuroprotective properties. High levels of taurine in the brain have been observed to protect brain tissues from cerebral ischemia. Taurine has been linked to many metabolic pathways that are known to promote neurological health, such as the activation of glycine receptors and the regulation of enzymes called cysteine-dependent aspartate-directed proteases.
In addition, taurine serves as antioxidants that protect nerve cells from cellular damage brought on by oxidative stress. The presence of taurine within cells reduces damage from calcium excesses and increases mitochondrial events. For decades, supplementation of taurine has benefited sufferers of brain ischemia, epileptic seizures, panic attacks, anxiety symptoms, and even alcohol withdrawal.
Enhances Cognitive Function
Taurine has already been associated with physiological functions the hypothalamus controls, such as sleep-wake cycle and responses to fatigue. In several laboratory studies, administrations of taurine by way of intraperitoneal injection have successfully induced social interaction in animal subjects. It is one of the amino acids that affect cognitive development, especially in children. While it is one of the most abundant amino acids in the brain, it is depleted as we age, making supplementation a good option.
Protect your brain with Taurine by taking it daily!
Anise Seed Is Anti-Fungal Herb And Much More!
February 23, 2011 01:44 PM
Anise Seed And Your Health
Anise seed, or simply aniseed, refers to the seed pods of the herbaceous plant native to the Mediterranean and Southwest Asia. It is famed for its moderate flavor, which is similar to fennel, licorice, and tarragon. The plant species, Pimpinella anisum, has been part of many cuisines on both the West and the East, incorporated in aromatic, sweet-tasting dishes. There is a wide array of uses for anise in the food industry, especially in recent years because of its health benefits. For centuries, it has been utilized to treat digestive problems, and the recent discovery of its high phytochemical levels has been reported to show antibacterial and antifungal properties.
The first undisputed mention of anise seed was in Naturalis Historia by Pliny the Elder, which recorded its widespread use as a breath freshener, a therapeutic remedy for insomnia, and a cure for insomnia. Some translations of biblical accounts also recorded the use of the seeds in ancient Israel and surrounding areas. By the time of Roman antiquity, it had become a popular spice added to seafood dishes, valued for of its sweet fragrance. In the Indian subcontinent and nearby regions, anise has up to now been used as a digestive, taken after meals to avoid indigestion, especially after feasts.
The English herbalist John Gerard noted in his encyclopedia Generall Historie of Plantes the carminative effects of anise seed, which means it decreases pressure in the lower esophagus, thereby removing related digestive ailments such as excessive flatulence. It has become quite commonplace in Europe, not only due to its presence in traditional medicine, but also its increasing visibility in the food and beverage industry. It is used in soups and stews, in confectionery, adding a very strong sweet flavor. Anethole, an organic compound extracted from aniseed is added to liquor to produce a cloudy appearance.
Phytochemical Content or Anise Seed
Anise seed is known to contain many different phytochemicals that are polyphenolic and phytoestrogenic. It has high levels of phenylpropenes, a class of polyphenols that are present in essential oils, the reason why aniseed is one of the most common ingredients used in aromatherapy. These organic compounds have shown to lower the body temperature, act on the nervous system to relieve pain, and have a positive effect on epileptic seizures. In addition, it creates strong phytoestrogen-like activities in the human body, relieving cramps during menstrual period.
Anethole is widely believed to be responsible for the antimicrobial activities of anise seed, acting against bacteria, yeast, and other types of fungi. It is a bacteriostatic antibiotic and a bactericide, which means it inhibits the growth of bacteria by interfering with bacterial cellular metabolism responsible for their replication and, at the same time, actively kill them. This explains why anise seed is effective as a breath freshener in the old days, and removes digestive ailments related to bacteria. Interestingly, aniseed is also anthelmintic; it expels parasitic worms from the body.
That being said, keep in mind that the benefits of anise seed are largely therapeutic.
Anise Seed is one of those herbs you want to keep in the medicine cabinet for quick use when needed.
Fight Free Radical Damage From Toxins With Vitamins And Herbs
July 28, 2010 11:34 AM
There are many things that destroy the immune system. Each day we are bombarded with them in many forms. The following are some of the most common ones that are encountered.
Agene, also known as Nitrogen Trichloride, is used to bleach flour and give it a white appearance. Unfortunately, it can cause epileptic-like fits along with failure of muscle coordination. Excessive use of alcohol also severely impairs the immune system. It increases susceptibility to infection and weakens the central nervous system. Alcohol promotes chronic lung disease, malignancies of the neck and head, intestinal problems, hypoglycemia, diabetes, liver disease, and a whole variety of other problems. B vitamins, folic acid, niacin, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, and protein are depleted by alcohol. All of these nutrients play a huge role in immune health. Aspartame breaks down in the digestive tract into a toxic material known as methanol. In order to prevent methanol from metabolizing into formaldehyde, a poison, a person needs to take another poison, ethanol.
Glutamic acid is a substance that is found in monosodium glutamate, a flavor enhancer. It affects the central nervous system and can trigger depression, gloomy fantasies, and rage for as long as two weeks following the ingestion of monosodium glutamate. High-diet fat intake increases the levels of bile acids in the colon. This breaks down into deoxycholic and lithocholic acids, both of which are cancer-causing elements. This can cause cancer of both the colon and the rectum. A diet that is high in animal protein and fat can cause cancer of the pancreas, breast, gallbladder, ovaries, uterus, prostate, and leukemia. Junk food such as sweets, white flour, and white sugar products, put a double amount of stress on the body. When too much junk food is eaten, the appetite for good, wholesome food is dulled.
Caffeine decreases immunity in the body, with fibrocystic breast disease being connected with the consumption of foods that contain caffeine. It is often caused by the chemicals methylxanthine, theophylline, and theobromine, which are found in coffee, black tea, cola drinks, chocolate, and other soft drinks. These elements act on hormones that cause breast tissue to develop fibrocystic lumps. Caffeine takes away the body’s own use of iron and inositol, and is often suspected of causing cancer in the pancreas.
Food dyes and flavorings are the culprits in behavioral problems that occur in children and adults, with some of these problems being learning disabilities and hyperactivity. Sodium nitrate is a preservative that is often found in cured meats like hot dogs, bologna, and ham. It has the potential to produce permanent epileptic changes in brain activity and damage the central nervous system.
High protein diets can deplete calcium in the body, especially when the source of protein is an animal product. There are concentrated doses of hormones and antibiotics that are found in beef which suppress the immune system and promote tumor growth. Poly-unsaturated fats undergo a process that produces rancidity in oils. This process releases dangerous free radicals, which eventually lead to cancer.
Heavy metals like lead and mercury can cause serious damage to the nervous system, with even small amounts being considered toxic. Lastly, the wide use of vaccinations and antibiotics is considered to be one of the main causes of immune system disorders.
Our bodies are under constant attack by our toxic environment. Fortunately, with regular vitamin and herb use, one can help the body restore its immune system to proper function so we can live a happier healthier life.
August 14, 2009 11:49 AM
Mustard is also referred to as mustard greens, Indian mustard, and leaf mustard. This herb is a species of the mustard plant. One of its sub-varieties includes Southern Giant Curled Mustard, which is very similar in appearance to headless cabbage such as Kale. However, it has a distinct horseradish-mustard flavor. It is also known as green mustard cabbage.
The leaves, seeds, and stems of the mustard plant are edible. The plant can be found in some forms of African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Soul food cuisine. The leaves are used in African cooking, and the leaves, seeds, and stems are used in Indian cuisine. The plant has a particularly thick stem, it is used to make the Indian pickle and the Chinese pickle. The mustard made from the seeds of this plant is called brown mustard. The leaves are also used in many Indian dishes.
This species of mustard plant is more pungent than closely-related greens like kale, cabbage, and collard greens. It is often mixed with these milder greens in a dish of mixed greens, which may even include wild greens like dandelion. Mustard greens are high in both vitamin A and K. Mustard greens are often used in Chinese and Japanese cuisines. Asian mustard greens are typically stir-fried or pickled.
The ancient Greeks used mustard for its medicinal value. Additionally, it was used for its flavoring. The Romans also used this herb. They added crushed seeds to wine for a spicy flavor. John Parkinson and Nicholas Culpeper, English herbalists, both recommended mustard for ailments like epileptic seizures and toothaches. The herb was used by Native Americans and early colonists for rheumatism and muscle pain.
Mustard is a strong stimulating herb. It is responsible for promoting the appetite and stimulating the gastric mucous membranes to aid in digestion. An infusion of the mustard seed stimulates urine and helps to promote menstruation. Additionally, it is a valuable emetic for narcotic poisoning, as it empties the stomach without depression of the system. Mustard is often used externally as a plaster or poultice for sore, stiff muscles. A plaster of mustard can also be used to treat congestion, warm the skin, and clear the lungs.
The seeds of the mustard plant are used to provide alterative, analgesic, blood purifier, caminative, digestive, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, irritant, rubefacient, and stimulant properties. The primary nutrients found in mustard are calcium, cobalt, iodine, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B12, and C. Primarily, mustard is extremely beneficial in dealing with indigestion, liver disorders, and lung disorders.
Additionally, the herb is very helpful in treating appetite loss, arthritis, blood impurities, breath odor, bronchitis, emphysema, sore feet, fevers, gas, hiccups, kidney problems, pleurisy, pneumonia, snakebites, sprains, and sore throat. Before supplementing with this, or any other nutrient, it is important to consult your health care provider. In doing so, you will ensure yourself optimum health benefits. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by mustard, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
August 19, 2008 08:38 PM
Folic acid is an important vitamin to the developing fetus in that it aids cell development, particularly those cells involved in the development of the baby's spine. A deficiency can result in neural tube defects, in which the neural tube, down through which the central nervous system passes, fails to close properly.
However, let's first discuss the substance itself so that its function in that process can be more easily understood. Neither should we ignore the other benefits that folic acid gives us, or the problems we can have in the event of a deficiency.
Folic acid is a form of Vitamin B9, sometimes referred to as Vitamin M. Its anionic form is known as folate, which is the form in which it is frequently offered in supplements. Incidentally, it gets its name from the Latin for leaf, so is from the same root as foliage. It is water soluble, and like Vitamin C can be leached through the body if not immediately used.
It is available naturally from leafy and green vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli, spinach and peas, but is also available in fortified breakfast cereals, sunflower seeds and some fruits. You would not normally suffer a deficiency, but if you are taking anticonvulsants, have liver problems or undergoing kidney dialysis, then you might need a supplement. Pregnancy, of course, is the important case in which a supplement should be taken, although, surprisingly, many mothers-to-be are unaware of this.
New body cells need folate for their production, particularly when they are dividing and growing rapidly such as during pregnancy and in infancy. The formation of DNA depends on many chemical entities, among them four nitrogenous bases, of which three, thymine and the two purine bases, adenine and guanine, depend on folate for their synthesis. If the growing fetus is lacking folate then DNA synthesis will be hindered. This retards cell division and growth.
Among the conditions this can cause are a form of anemia known as megaloblastic anemia, and neural tube deficiencies, where the sheath that surrounds the main nerve canal up the spine fails to close properly. The best known of such neural tube defects is spina bifida, though any condition caused by a lack of cell division can also occur. Anemia can be contracted by both adults and children, since production of red blood cells takes place constantly throughout your lifetime. These are the reasons why folic acid or folate is used in breakfast cereals.
The biochemistry is fairly simple to understand, and is important because it explains the importance of two other B vitamins, B3 and B12, in DNA synthesis. The initial stages are a six step reaction that forms methyl tetrahydrofolate from folate, starting with the reduction of folate to dihydrofolate, and then a further reduction to the tetrahydrofolate (THF). Vitamin B3 (in the form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate) is an essential cofactor for these reductions. Vitamin B12 is necessary as an acceptor for the methyl-THF so that it can continue along the biochemical pathway - now that is too complex to discuss here!
However, the inference you can rightly draw from this is that a deficiency of Vitamin B12 can cause what is known as a 'methyl trap', whereby the methy-THF cannot be used, and so a deficiency in Vitamin B12 can lead to the same symptoms as a folic acid or folate deficiency.
The implications of that are that vitamin B12 is also an essential component of a pregnant woman's diet. The problem here is that this vitamin is available only from animal sources, including dairy products. Its presence in vegetable organisms such as certain algae and fungi has been proposed, but it is believed that the cobalamin (chemical term for the vitamin) from these sources is not bioavailable to humans.
Vegans, therefore, who do not eat dairy products, will need a Vitamin B12 supplement in addition to folic acid or folate, particularly when they are pregnant and with young growing children. In this respect, a vegan diet is unsuitable for young children until their rapid growth period has stabilized.
For those of you wondering why the biochemistry above was discussed: that is your answer. Such discussions can frequently explain why certain supplements are necessary, or certain diets should be reconsidered under particular circumstances. Such things are easier to understand and accept when the logic behind them are explained. A folic acid supplement taken from the onset of pregnancy up to 12 weeks at least, and also a Vitamin B12 supplement in the case of those with a low meat intake, should prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
A daily supplement of 0.4 mg should be sufficient, along with a diet rich in green vegetables, fortified cereals and breads and oranges. Your greens are best steamed since prolonged boiling destroys folic acid - as it destroys Vitamin C. One source of folic acid that you might read about is liver, and its additional iron content might lead you to believe this to be a good component of your diet when pregnant. However, although normally a very nutritious food, liver should be avoided during pregnancy due to its high Vitamin A content. This can be harmful to your baby.
Finally, there are some circumstances under which the dose during pregnancy should be greater. If you have previously had a child with a neural tube defect, or have an NTD yourself (or your partner), if you are diabetic, if you have celiac disease (a gluten allergy) or are taking anti-epileptic medication, you should increase your dose to 5 mg (milligrams) for which you will likely need a prescription from your physician.
NTD is rare, so don't over-worry much about it, but take the above precautions to put your mind at rest since pregnancy is not a time during which you should be nervous but to enjoy. That will pass on to your growing baby, which will then itself be happy.
Increased Brain Power and Memory with Ginkgo
June 25, 2005 11:23 AM
Increased Brain Power and Memory with Ginkgo
Ginkgo’s ability to enhance cognitive function is becoming common knowledge. Boosting the capability of the brain to record information, communicate ideas or recall concepts can all be enhanced by taking ginkgo biloba therapeutically. Evidently, providing a better oxygen supply to brain cells is ginkgo’s primary neural action. The brain is the body’s most sensitive organ to oxygen deprivation. Today, more than ever, the effects of smoking, alcohol and stress in general can diminish brain function and compromise mental alertness. Ginkgo has demonstrated over and over that it can make a significant difference in memory retrieval, fact retention and problem solving.
One of the most impressive aspects of ginkgo is its ability to stimulate circulation and oxygen flow to neural tissue, there by improving cognitive functions and memory. In test cases when ginkgo has been administered, an increase in cerebro-circulation has been noted in both healthy or diseased brain tissue. What makes this finding particularly relevant is that other circulatory enhancers, whether natural or synthetic do not usually possess this capability.
In addition, ginkgo increases oxygen transport at the blood-brain barrier site, while inhibiting the permeability of toxins into brain tissue. As well as boosting blood supply to the brain, ginkgo has demonstrated the ability to increase the rate at which information is transmitted at the nerve cell level.2
In a double-blind study, one group of healthy young women received ginkgo extract, and the other was given a placebo. A memory test was administered and the reaction time in those women who had taken the ginkgo improved significantly. These findings corresponded with EEG tracings which showed increased brain wave activity.3
Short-term memory and basic learning rates can be statistically improved by using ginkgo. Ginkgo’s ability to enhance memory may also be helpful for epileptics who take anticonvulsants. Typically, an anticonvulsant can impair memory function, making it difficult to retrieve names or numbers from memory banks. In addition, although research is lacking, because ginkgo stimulates brain function, it may help to inhibit improper discharging of electrical impulses which is the primary cause of seizures in epileptics. Ginkgo is rapidly gaining an impressive reputation as a brain enhancer. It has demonstrated its capability to improve memory, mental efficiency and the ability to concentrate. It has also been shown to reduce anxiety, headaches, tension, vertigo, and age-related cerebral disorders. Anyone who has suffered a stroke should look into the possible benefits of ginkgo to amplify mental function and clarity.
Considerable research on ginkgo conducted in Eu rope has confirmed that ginkgo does indeed facilitate better arterial circulation as well as improve electrical transmission in the nerves. The latter function also contributes to improved oxygenation and nutrition to the brain.4 Ginkgo is now accepted as a brain booster which improves memory, mental efficiency, cognitive function, communication, orientation and the ability to concentrate. Recently, the notion of using ginkgo for learning disorders has received some attention. Forthcoming research on the subject will help to clarify its potential for treating such conditions.