Search Term: " examined "
Study identifies a natural preservative in the arjun tree
May 17, 2019 03:56 PM
Terminalia arjuna has been studied closely by researchers from India and New Zealand. Commonly known as the arjun tree, this plant was used on chevon sausages to test the properties of preservation. The study suggest that the it produced significantly lower values for total plate count, psychrophilic count, yeast and mold count, and free fatty acid values. The results showed an improved lipid oxidative stability and storage quality while refrigerated, thus suggesting that the arjun tree can be a novel natural meat preservative.
"Researchers from India and New Zealand explore the potential of Terminalia arjuna as a novel natural preservative in meat products."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-09-study-identifies-a-natural-preservative-in-the-arjun-tree.html
A compound found in goldenseal proven to possess cancer-fightingproperties
May 07, 2019 04:20 PM
Berberine is a yellow compound found in goldenseal that has traditionally been used as both a dye and a medicine. Recently, a group of Japanese researchers found that berberine may induce cell death in cancer cells — especially leukemia cells — and prevent their proliferation. Berberine may also be quite effective in moderating blood sugar and promoting the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract. It may also help in losing weight and moderating cholesterol levels.
"The research team found that after five to 15 minutes of treatment, berberine exhibited powerful antiproliferative activity in the cells."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-26-compound-goldenseal-cancer-fighting-properties.html
Omega-3 fatty acids can treat male infertility
March 27, 2019 12:08 PM
Medical experts located in Iran and Australia have been studying the connection between the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and how it can impact male fertility. The study consisted of 143 men that had their semen tested in order to see if it had appropriate levels of DHA and EPA, which are two main components in active fertile responses in men. After consistently taking in omega-3 fatty acids, a recognizable increase in both DHA and EPA were shown.
"In conclusion, the findings of the systematic review and meta-analysis suggest that supplementing infertile men with omega-3 fatty acids may significantly improve sperm motility and seminal DHA concentration."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-25-omega-3-can-treat-male-infertility.html
Study confirms the healing potential of black cumin for asthmaticpatients
February 27, 2019 09:57 AM
A recent Annals of Saudi Medicine article suggests that black cumin can have significant benefits for the respiratory health of people with asthma. Researchers from Saudi Arabia’s Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University conducted a clinical trial involving 76 asthma patients. They supplemented the patients’ maintenance inhaler regimens with either one gram or two grams of black cumin, or else a placebo. Subsequent evaluation found that those who had received any amount of black cumin supplementation saw better improvement in lung function relative to those who did not receive any.
"Research suggests that black cumin, also known as Nigella sativa, can help people with asthma."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-20-healing-potential-of-black-cumin-for-asthmatic-patients.html
Daily green tea consumption found to slash dementia risk by up to86%
January 10, 2019 04:26 PM
Green tea has long been touted for its many health benefits. It is full of antioxidants that help remove oxidation and free radicals from the body system. New studies reveal that it is also very effective in offsetting the risk factors of developing dementia later in life. Dementia effects the brain's memory system and in later stages the body's neurological system. Green tea helps to break down the plaque like build up of beta amyloid in the brain by over 80% and reducing the risk of development of dementia by over 50% in patient populous with a genetic history.
"Beta-amyloid plaques is shown to trigger the onset of cognitive disorders in patients. Researchers note similar effects regardless of whether the tea was green or black."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-02-daily-green-tea-consumption-found-to-slash-dementia-risk-by-up-to-86-percent.html
Can vitamin C reduce your risk of osteoporosis?
July 31, 2018 08:53 AM
A recent British Journal of Medicine article by a group of Iranian researchers examined a vast swathe of research to see whether Vitamin C consumption helps prevent osteoporosis by increasing bone density. Although the design of the research was only adequate to prove correlation and not causation, the evidence did indicate that higher Vitamin C intake does tend to be associated with healthier and denser bones. As Vitamin C tends to be found in nutrient-rich produce, more research would be needed to see if this is due to Vitamin an soecifixally or to other nutrients commonly found in the same foods.
"Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that is needed by many of our bodily systems."
Read more: https://www.medicalnewsbulletin.com/can-vitamin-c-reduce-your-risk-osteoporosis/
Here's how the body prevents helpful bacteria from causing disease
February 11, 2018 03:59 PM
The body is pretty amazing in how it can detect foes. The system is literally called "friend/foe" and it is the immune system's response to all bacteria. Researchers examined mice for a particular strand of bacteria known as Helicobacter hepaticus. This invader caused a response from T cells and immediately was acted upon as "foe." Specifically Th17 were the T cells that were able to kill the bacteria, but they have another which shuts this cell down when finding friendly ones, not causing the inflammation chain that it normally does.
"Certain bacteria, such as those from the Helicobacter family, are generally considered helpful but can cause disease when genetic or environmental factors alter the normal balance."
Read more: https://www.breakingnews.ie/world/heres-how-the-body-prevents-helpful-bacteria-from-causing-disease-827150.html
Eating walnuts may help ward of several diseases: experts
November 12, 2017 03:59 PM
Walnuts are being examined by Indian researchers for their health benefits. Well known to have MUFAs and Omega-3 fatty acids, these nuts are heart healthy and can help lower triglycerides. Indian researchers are looking into the benefits of nuts to help with the rise of obesity on the subcontinent. As the wages have gone up in cities, so have the waistlines. By researching and hopefully introducing more healthy options to people's diets, they are hoping to have an impact on the subcontinent as a whole.
"Eating a diet rich in walnuts may help prevent several diseases prevalent in India such as cardiovascular disorders, cancer and diabetes, according to an international team of researchers."
Read more: http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/eating-walnuts-may-help-ward-of-several-diseases-experts-4915514/
Wheat Germ Oil and Fish Oil Combination Benefits In Hemodialysis Patients
September 08, 2017 09:14 AM
A recent study has shown that giving fish oil and wheat germ oil to hemodialysis patient maintains healthy blood calcium levels. The study used a placebo control group and it was a double blind study. This is a positive finding for those concerned about mineral bonus when they are on hemodialysis. The study however was also hoping to find that these omega fatty acid supplements would also affect other minerals as well as information in the system of these patients. They did not receive the results they were looking for and further research may be necessary.
"A recent randomized, placebo-controlled trial published in International Urology and Nephrology, examined the impact of combined supplementation of fish oil (FO) with wheat germ oil (WGO) on mineral-bone and inflammatory markers in HD patients."
Read more: https://www.medicalnewsbulletin.com/wheat-germ-oil-fish-oil-hemodialysis-patients/
Using omega 3 fatty acids to treat Alzheimer's and other diseases?
July 19, 2017 11:14 AM
There are many diseases out there without a cure, but many have several treatment options. Omega fatty acids is now a treatment method that is being examined for benefits to patients with Alzheimer's and similar diseases. Could it be something this simple that aids in treatment of this all too common condition and so many others? The information that you need to know is right here and what you learn might very well shock you!
Read more: Using omega 3 fatty acids to treat Alzheimer's and other diseases?
Not all Vitamins are equal – D3 is better than D2, research finds
July 11, 2017 09:14 AM
Not every single vitamin is created equal. The vitamin known as D3 turns out to be better than D2 and research can back this up. Researchers took a look at the health benefits of of veggie containing Vitamin D2 and D3, that is provided by animals. Research done from the University of Surrey found that D3 is 2 times better for you than D2. Vitamin D is very important for our bodies and not to be underestimated.
"Research from the University of Surrey found that D3 is twice as good for you as D2."
Read more: https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/health/not-vitamins-equal-d3-better-d2-research-finds/
CBD and Your Brain
June 14, 2017 12:14 PM
CBD is found in cannabis sativa otherwise known as marijuana and is useful in treating many neurological disorders such as depression, anxiety and even epilepsy. Unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive effects. CBD has been found to protect brain cells from harm in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's. Best of all CBD has literally zero side effects! Research shows that CBD has opened many doors leading to a cure for depression and anxiety. CBD has been proven to reduce swelling, pain and inflammation caused by injury and arthritis even when applied topically. CBD may not be a medical cure all but it has been proven to be a very useful tool in the treatment of many medical conditions.
"When various brain injuries from animal models were examined, it was found out that CBD boosted a number of viable brain cells."
Read more: https://www.cashinbis.com/cbd-and-your-brain/
Clinical tests reveal that black cumin seed (Nigella Sativa) may treat hypothyroidism
April 14, 2017 08:44 AM
It has been discovered that eating some black cumin seeds may help to treat an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto's thyroiditis which is the most common ailment that affects the thyroid. A recent study divided participants into two groups- a group taking the black cumin seeds and a group taking placebo. The study showed that those who took the black cumin seeds showed improvement in lab test compared to those who took placebo. Read this article for more details into this study.
"Consuming a few grams of powdered Nigella sativa (NS), more commonly known as black cumin seeds, may improve the autoimmune thyroid condition known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, according to a study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-04-11-clinal-tests-reveal-that-black-cumin-seed-may-treat-hypothyroidism.html
Weight training, jogging promotes bone growth in men
March 26, 2017 06:44 AM
12 months of weight training with walking and jogging can release a hormone that promotes bone growth in men while inhibiting a protein that causes bone loss. Two groups of men over sixty were examined after being split into two exercise groups for a 12 month period. One group did resistance with weights, squats and lunges. The other group did exercises involving jumping. Both groups exhibited a low level of sclerostin, a hormone that inhibits bone formation. By using exercise to decrease this protein, bone growth can occur.
Read more: Weight training, jogging promotes bone growth in men
13 Ways Marijuana Impacts Males And Females Differently
March 25, 2017 08:44 AM
As legalization becomes more widespread in the United States, our understanding of the complexity of the effect of cannabinoid use is improving. A British pharmacology journal published a study in 2010 that examined sex related differences among marijuana users. For example, men tended to use more frequently, more heavily, and experience more often the binge food craving effect of weed. Women it seems may feel many of the physical effects more acutely then men. Genetics and hormones play a role in our health and behavior, and it appears they impact the effects of marijuana as well.
"Regardless of how you feel about its use as a recreational substance, evidence is strong that marijuana has significant medical benefits for a wide array of conditions."
Read more: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/how-marijuana-impacts-males-and-females/
Weight loss that works: A true story
March 05, 2017 07:59 AM
Sometimes there is no better inspiration for weight loss than hearing another person's story. Anyone who's ever struggled with their weight understands firsthand how you really feel. They want to provide you with as much help as they can. This is onesuch story. If you want to lose weight, perhaps you've now found the secret.
"Esteemed Yale physician and nutrition expert David Katz examined over 58 popular diets and found that the most successful in terms of both weight loss and nutrition consist of “real food.” By that he means plants, whole grains, nuts and seeds, as well as meat (ideally, from animals that ate plants)."
Link between dietary restriction, longevity examined
February 09, 2017 12:59 PM
The link between dietary restriction and longevity has been examined. Research has been done and shows that cutting back on calories can actually expand the life span of roundworms. This is important because it shows that we can enhance our health and not have to put huge dietary restrictions on ourselves.
"The life-prolonging effects of dietary restriction, or calorie restriction, occur in just about every animal tested."
Study: Cannabinoids May Treat Persistent Inflammatory Pain
February 04, 2017 02:59 PM
It has been discovered that Cannabinoids can treat persistent inflammatory pain. This is according to new research that has been published in the journal of neuroscience and it was also published online. The researchers say their data shows how it can help. There are also other studies done that have shown the same thing.
"This study joins a list of dozens that have shown that cannabinoids can treat and prevent inflammation, including one released just last month in the FASEB Journal which found that cannabis may treat chronic inflammation."
Anti-inflammatory diet could reduce risk of bone loss in women
February 02, 2017 12:59 PM
Women listen up that anti-inflammatory diet that is high in vegetables, fruits, fish and whole grains could boost your bone health and prevent fractures. Researchers examined data from the landmark Women’s Health Initiative to compare levels of inflammatory elements in the diet to bone mineral density and fractures and found new associations between food and bone health. Suggesting your diets and health could impact your bones.
"Women with the least-inflammatory diets had lower bone mineral density overall at the start of the study, but lost less bone than their high-inflammation peers, the researchers found."
Lutein and brain health: Enriched formula leads to selective increases in multiple brain regions
January 31, 2017 12:59 PM
Lutein has been tested in more primates than humans and its link to brain and ocular health is fairly significant. Scientists have noted an increased need in lutein among babies- in utero and also after they are born. Lutein can be added to and consumed in infant formula. Lutein is a strong antioxidant and can be very useful for developing babies.
"All of the brain regions examined – the prefrontal cortex, the occipital cortex, the superior temporal cortex, the striatum, the cerebellum, and the hippocampus – all displayed selective increases in lutein deposition, with the highest amounts in the occipital cortex."
Can a blood test determine whether you'll be alive in 5 years?
December 11, 2016 08:59 AM
If you could find out your approximate age of death, would you want to do so? Soon to be available in the U.K , the test measures the length of telomeres, a DNA structure which controls the longevity of dividing cells. The shorter the telomere, the faster you are aging. A very specific blood test can determine telomere length and, based on the length can use an algorithm to assess longevity based on current lifestyle.
"There is growing evidence that a simple blood test could determine your risk of dying in five years."
Arginine and Ornithine Supplementation for Enhanced Athletic Performance
January 19, 2014 07:41 AM
Arginine and ornithine
Arginine and ornithine are two amino acids that are incorporated in protein that is found in many dietary sources, such as meat, egg whites, soy or fish. Although these two amino acids can be supplied to your muscles from food sources, several research studies have examined the benefits of arginine and ornithine supplements. Fitness researchers found positive and promising results in terms of muscular growth, endurance and fatigue prevention. These supplements are especially known and popular among bodybuilders and other types of strength athletes, as it has been clearly demonstrated that they improve athletic ability on a biochemical level.
NADH 10 mg And 20 mg Enhanced with Bioenergy RIBOSE
December 10, 2009 04:23 PM
NADH 10 mg And 20 mg Enhanced with Bioenergy RIBOSE™
NADH is the biologically-active form of vitamin B-3 (niacin), and is involved in a wide range of functions throughout the body. An easier way to understand it, is to think of NADH as a biological spark plug that makes it possible for us to become and remain energetic, active, and functioning at our best. Remove the “spark” and some of the most basic human functions will inevitably suffer. This is not speculation. It is the result of decades of scientific investigation that has examined the link between nutrition and chronic conditions; notably those related to cellular life cycles and apoptosis, excessive fatigue, enzyme decline, free radical expansion, cognitive disparity, intracellular balance, normalized aging, and many more important aspects of human health.*
Based on a wealth of ongoing studies, we have a great understanding of the benefits of NADH. Not only is it an effective source of cellular energy, it is also one the body’s versatile electron donors—the molecule most frequently degraded during oxidation. Because of these characteristics NADH is, however, also very unstable with regard to light and oxygen, which leads to a very rapid loss of overall effectiveness. Additionally, poor lifestyle choices, such as the use of tobacco, excessive consumption of alcohol, drugs, and prescription medications, sleep deprivation, genetically-engineered foods, and a host of others can all inhibit the activity of NADH within the body. Hope is not lost, however.
NOW® NADH contains a patented form of NADH from Panmol® - the first natural stabilized, stomach acidresistant form of this unique vitamin B3 supplement. Panmol® uses a patented process to naturally preserve its effectiveness. The end result is a highly stable, and bioavailable NADH which can easily withstand the harsh, acidic environment of the stomach and digestive tract; a breakthrough in the battle against many of todays’ most chronic conditions. NOW® NADH is available in both 10 and 20 mg potencies. Both varieties have been further enhanced with 200 mg of Bioenergy RIBOSE™ to support its cellular energy support properties.*
Who Stands to Benefit from NADH
With a proper supply of amino acids and/or B3 vitamins (niacin) the human body is, in fact, capable of producing a limited reserve of NADH. Under chronic strain however, the body’s need for NADH increases. As we age, the body’s ability to manufacture NADH becomes increasingly limited. With this in mind, the following groups stand to benefit the most from incorporating NOW® NADH into their supplement regimen.
• Those who work in stressful, cognitively-demanding professions
Huperzine And Memory
December 04, 2008 01:20 PM
Chinese club moss goes by the name Huperzia serrata, and gives its name to the sesquiterpene alkaloid it contains: huperzine A. This alkaloid has been found to be a superstar in the arena of brain-saving treatments for conditions such as Alzheimer's and age-related senility. Studies in China have found up to 60% improvements in the cognitive functions of such patients, and its potential has been recorded in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This is no mere folk remedy, and is the subject of serious study.
Known as Qian Ceng Ta, Chinese club moss has been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries for the treatment of fever and inflammation, which is not surprising considering that most plants contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. However, what is unusual is the fact that it has also been found effective in treating some forms of dementia and depression, and also helps to reduce the incidence of panic attacks in those susceptible to them.
Not only that, but the plant has been found to possess diuretic properties, and a reduction in the swelling associated with water retention could also help to reduce the pain and other effects of swelling and inflammation. However, for now it is its effect on the brain that we are concerned, and research has indicated the likely mechanism by which huperzine A works.
Huperzine is an enzyme inhibitor - specifically inhibiting the enzyme acetylcholinesterase that breaks down acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in the processes of memory, learning and mood. Outside the brain, it is involved in the movement of skeletal muscle tissue as well as in the regulation of cardiac and other smooth muscles such as those of the blood vessels.
When acetylcholinesterase (AChE) attacks acetylcholine (ACh), the latter attaches to a chemical site on the enzyme where it is then destroyed. It is a deliberate function of the body, designed to terminate a synaptic transmission. The purpose of a neurotransmitter is to allow the transmission of an electrical impulse form one nerve cell to another over a gap between them known as a synapse. Once the transmission has been completed, the enzyme can destroy the neurotransmitter, and then another takes its place. In fact one molecule of AChE can destroy around 5,000 molecules of ACh.
However, with age and for other reasons, these neurotransmitters can become depleted so that it becomes increasingly more difficult for brain cells to communicate with each other, and their destruction becomes undesirable. There are drugs available to help prevent this happening (e.g. donepezil, galantamine and tacrine), and so help to improve the memory and mental function of people as they grow older or contract conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.
Huperzine A has been found to take up the site in the acetylcholinesterase molecule that would normally have been used by the acetylcholine, and so save it from destruction. The more Huperzine A molecules present, the more acetylcholine available to pass messages between brain cells, and the stronger the cognitive function of the subject or patient. The pharmaceutical drugs mentioned in the previous paragraph work in exactly the same way.
This is a very specific reaction, one molecule adopting exactly the same space as the other, and has been proved scientifically by comparing the physical shapes of the two molecules. It's just like a jigsaw puzzle, where only one piece can fit into each position. Except here there are two: Huperzine A and acetylcholine both fit into the exact same place in the chemical structure of the acetylcholinesterase molecule.
The biochemistry of the reactions involved is very complex, and shall not be discussed here, but the upshot is that Huperzine A can do exactly the same job as modern drugs to avoid this hydroxylation of the ACh needed for the proper functioning of your brain.
In fact, clinical trials have indicated Huperzine A not only to be comparable in effect to the drugs current used, but also likely safer with respect to the possible side effects. This has still to be confirmed, but the National Institute on Aging is currently carrying out a trial to evaluate this claim in tandem with its effect on Alzheimer's disease. It has also been examined at Harvard University for its effect on epilepsy on patients with whom alternative pharmaceutical treatments have been unsuccessful.
Another suggested benefit of Huperzine A is that it is an NMDA (N-methyl D-aspartate) receptor antagonist that provides protection against damage to the brain by an excess of glutamates, and that it can also help to protect nerve cells from damage. Since NDMA is responsible for the transmission of some types of pain, the antagonist can also act as an analgesic.
There are other benefits that Chinese club moss can provide, and myasthenia gravis is one of them. Although relatively rare, this is a serious condition in which acetylcholine receptors are deactivated on muscle cells. This is achieved through the autoimmune system malfunctioning and creating antibodies against the receptors, and the end result is paralysis and respiratory failure.
Huperzine A reduces the AChE available and so might possibly enable the acetylcholine to work more effectively and delay or even stop the deterioration of muscle function. When people hear of muscle paralysis they frequently forget that breathing requires muscle function, as indeed does your heartbeat. This is currently surmise, and studies are being carried out to determine whether or not this usage of Huperzine A is viable.
Another promising application of Chinese club moss extract is in preventing organophosphate poisoning. These pesticides permanently suppress acetylcholine. This results in seizures due to a lack of interruption of the signals from nerves to muscles. The seizures can result in rapid death from uncontrollable seizures, or from permanent contraction of the diaphragm muscle that allows breathing. Although no human studies have yet been carried out, animals given Huperzine A prior to organophosphate exposure have survived without seizures.
There are no doubts that Chinese club moss and the Huperzine A extracted from it are effective in preventing the suppression of acetylcholine, and in permitting the proper activity of this important neurotransmitter. It is finding an increasing number of potential uses beneficial to the human body, not the least of which would be a partial remedy for some of the effects of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Lutein 20mg (FloraGlo)
September 26, 2008 03:49 PM
Maintains Healthy Visual Function*
It has been well established that lutein is present in high concentrations in the retinal tissue of the human eye. However, a study was conducted in human volunteers to determine whether taking lutein in supplement form actually increased the density of the carotenoid pigments present in the macula. In this study of eight individuals, researchers estimated the density of the macular pigments prior to having each individual take 10 mg of lutein daily in supplement form for 12 weeks. Plasma lutein concentrations were measured at 4-week intervals. During the first four weeks of the study, plasma levels increased five-fold from pre-supplement measures, and then remained at this level for the duration of the study. It was also shown that, due to increased deposition of lutein in optical tissues, macular pigment density increased by an average of 5.3% at the 4-week mark, and continued to increase until the duration of the study.1
A study was also conducted to investigate the possible role of specific nutrients in protecting the lens of the eye against aging, a risk factor for compromised visual function. The study was comprised of 376 individuals aged from 18 to 75. Of the nutrients measured, it was found that the lenses of individuals with higher concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin showed less of an effect from the aging process. The investigators concluded that these carotenoids might play a protective role in supporting the maintenance of healthy vision.2
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) was a landmark study of the effects of diet and antioxidant supplementation on eye health. The study enrolled over 3500 subjects aged 55 to 80 years who were followed for approximately 6 years. Among the data collected in this multi-faceted study was a self-administered Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ). The AREDS Report No. 22 examined the data from the FFQs and determined that, of the nutrients evaluated, only lutein and zeaxanthin were directly related to maintaining eye health with statistical significance3. These findings corroborated similar results of an earlier multi-center study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that also found that those with a higher intake of lutein and zeaxanthin maintained healthier eye function.4 These promising results have spurred the design of a second major clinical trial (AREDS2), which is currently enrolling participants to study the impact of supplemental xanthophylls (FloraGLO® Lutein and zeaxanthin) and other nutrients on age-related eye health.5
In addition, a double-blind placebo controlled trial was performed in ninety individuals who had signs of compromised visual function. Individuals were divided into three groups and received either 10 mg FloraGLO® lutein, 10 mg FloraGLO® lutein plus a multivitamin/multimineral formulation, or placebo for 12 months. In both the FloraGLO® lutein and FloraGLO® lutein plus other nutrients groups, improvements were seen in mean eye macular pigment optical density, visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. No improvements were noted in the placebo group.6 These results demonstrate FloraGLO® lutein’s beneficial effect on maintaining healthy visual function.
Newly published research has demonstrated that lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation may enhance visual performance under glare conditions. Forty healthy subjects took daily doses of 10 mg FloraGLO® Lutein plus 2 mg zeaxanthin for six months. They were evaluated for changes in macular pigment, glare disability and photostress recovery at the onset of the study, and at 1, 2, 4 and six months. After six months, subjects experienced an average increase in macular pigment optical density (MPOD) of 39% compared to baseline, and all but two participants experienced some increase in MPOD. This increase in MPOD was also directly related to measured improvements in visual performance after exposure to bright light, as well as photostress recovery.7 This study suggests another way in which lutein and zeaxanthin can help support optimal visual function in healthy individuals.
Potent Antioxidant Protection*
Most of the beneficial effects of lutein are ascribed to its potent free radical scavenging abilities. It is well-known that lutein is a carotenoid related to beta-carotene and possesses antioxidant activity against a number of reactive oxygen species.8
More direct evidence for the free radical scavenging activity of lutein is found in studies of its effects on human lens epithelial cells. Cell cultures were exposed to ultraviolet light after pretreatment with lutein or alpha-tocopherol. Both nutrients were found to reduce ultraviolet-induced damage to lens epithelial cells. However, lutein was shown to have significantly higher photoprotective activity than alpha-tocopherol9 demonstrating its potential as a high-powered antioxidant.
A further review of the mechanisms of lutein in conferring a protective role reveals evidence for its antioxidant activity in various body tissues. Lutein has been shown to be an effective antioxidant in vitro as well as in experimental models of a number of body systems.10
Supports Healthy Skin*
A recent randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study has demonstrated the positive effects of oral and topical administration of lutein on skin health parameters (surface lipids, hydration, photoprotective activity, skin elasticity and skin lipid peroxidation). Forty female subjects were divided into four treatment groups. Treatment options included oral administration of 5 mg of FloraGLO® Lutein twice daily or placebo and topical administration of 50 ppm FloraGLO® Lutein twice daily or placebo. Each treatment group received either an active oral treatment with a placebo topical treatment, a placebo oral treatment with an active topical treatment, both active treatments, or both placebo treatments. Statistically significant improvements were seen in all five parameters tested in all treatment groups compared to the group receiving only placebos. The greatest overall improvements were seen in the group receiving both active oral and topical treatments, while lesser but still significant improvement was seen in both the active oral only and the active topical only groups. Additionally, oral administration of lutein conferred superior photoprotective activity (as measured by skin surface redness after exposure to ultraviolet light) and prevention of lipid peroxidation (as indicated by levels of malondialdehyde in skin lipids after exposure to ultraviolet light) than either topical lutein or placebo.11
Diverse Cinical Benefits*
Evidence from various experimental trials suggests that lutein may play a protective role on the circulatory and cardiovascular systems. Its antioxidant activity may also extend to the heart, skin, lungs and blood vessels, making it a nutrient with diverse clinical benefits. Lutein possesses the ability to promote the health of many body tissues.12
Suggested Adult Use: One softgel daily with food, or as directed by a health care professional.
Does Not Contain: milk, egg, wheat, sugar, sweeteners, starch, salt, or preservatives.
1. Berendschot TT, et al. Influence of lutein supplementation on macular pigment, assessed with two objective techniques. Invest Opthalmol Vis Sci. 2000 Oct; 41(11): 3322-6.
2. Berendschot TT, et al. Lens aging in relation to nutritional determinants and possible risk factors for age-related cataract. Arch Opthalmol. 2002 Dec; 120(12): 1732-7.
3. Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. The relationship of dietary carotenoid and vitamin A, E, and C intake with age-related macular degeneration in a case-control study: AREDS Report No. 22. Arch Ophthalmol. 2007 Sep; 125(9): 1225-32.
4. Seddon JM, et al. Dietary Carotenoids, Vitamins A, C, and E, and Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration. JAMA. 1994 Nov; 272(18):1413-1420.
5. www.nei.nih.gov/neitrials/viewStudyWeb.aspx?id=120. Clinical Studies Database. Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2). Last Updated 2/28/2008. Viewed 5/15/2008.
6. Richer S, et al. Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-related macular degeneration: the Veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry. 2004 Apr; 75(4): 216-230.
7. Stringham JM and Hammond BR. Macular pigment and visual performance under glare conditions. Optom Vis Sci. 2008 Feb; 85(2):82-8.
8. “Lutein and Zeaxanthin”. PDR Health. www.gettingwell.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/nutsupdrugs/lut_0164.shtml
9. Chitchumroonchokchai C, et al. Xanthophylls and alpha-tocopherol decrease UVB-induced lipid peroxidation and stress signaling in human lens epithelial cells. J Nutr. 2004 Dec; 134(12): 3225-32.
10. Krinsky NI. Possible biologic mechanisms for a protective role of xanthophylls. J Nutr. 2002; 132: 540S-542S.
11. Palombo P, et al. Beneficial Long-Term Effects of Combined Oral/Topical Antioxidant Treatment with the Carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin on Human Skin: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2007; 20: 199-210.
12. Mares-Perlman JA, et al. The body of evidence to support a protective role for lutein and zeaxanthin in delaying chronic disease. Overview. J Nutr. 2002; 132: 518S-524S.
Phytoestrogen - Plant Estrogen
September 25, 2008 05:57 PM
Phytoestrogens mainly belong to a group of phenolic compounds known as flavonoids: the coumestans, prenylated and isoflavones are three of the most active in estrogenic effects. Phytoestrogens are not considered as nutrients because the lack of in the diet will not produce any characteristic deficiency syndromes nor do they participate in any essential biological function. Phytoestrogens are considered archi-estrogens (naturally occurring) and as dietary phytochemicals they are considered as safe and effective in its estrogenic activity.
Phytoestrogen content varies in different foods, and may vary significantly within the same group of foods due to the way these foods are grown such as soil content. Phytoestrogen when consumed as a treatment for menopause was well tolerated and caused no changes in liver enzymes, creatinine levels, body mass index, or blood pressure. Phytoestrogen is found in a wide variety of edible plants and generally display both estrogenic and anti-estrogenic properties.
Canadian researchers examined the content of nine common phytoestrogens foods in a Western diet, foods with the highest relative phytoestrogen content were nuts and oilseeds, followed by soy products, cereals and breads, legumes, meat products, and processed foods that may contain soy, vegetables, fruits, alcoholic, and nonalcoholic beverages. Researchers are also studying if phytoestrogens can prevent prostate cancer, preliminary results are promising. Researchers focused primarily on the compound isoflavones because of its greater abundance in soy plus it exhibit estrogenic properties in the same strength as the other phytoestrogens compounds..
Isoflavones are structurally similar to the estrogen in human body’s, and thus have been shown to possess both estrogenic and anti-estrogenic activity. Isoflavones may directly inhibit bone re-sorption and prevent the onset of osteoporosis. The weak estrogenic effects of isoflavones have been postulated as being protective against various forms of cancer as well. Being that isoflavones are chemically similar to estrogen, one can take isoflavones as an estrogenic replacement with little to no side effects.
Two other clinical trials suggest that over the short term, soy isoflavones may reduce lumbar spine bone loss in peri- and postmenopausal women. Red Clover contains all four estrogenic isoflavones: biochanin formonoetin daidzein Genistein. Much research has been performed on soy and red clover based phytoestrogens sources. We do not eat much red clover and so we will focus more on soy sources.
Soybeans contain large amounts of isoflavones or phytoestrogens such as genistein, daidzein, glycitein, and isoflavones. Soybeans display a biological effect when ingested by humans and animals. Soybean oil is the most commonly used vegetable oil in the United States and Europe. Soybean oil contains approximately 61 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids making it a healthy alternative to other oils currently available on the market for cooking.
Soybeans contain high levels of phytoestrogens and are the most widely used oil in the United States, and is sold as either pure soybean oil or as a main ingredient in vegetable oil. Most of the supplements on the natural foods market contain isoflavones derived from soybeans or red clover and some contain botanicals such as black cohosh.
Phytoestrogen flavonoids and lignan exhibit significant antioxidant activity which is great for those anti-aging minded individuals. The antioxidant activity in flavonoid and lignan helps support breast, heart and bone health. Antioxidants can reduce free radical damage in the body as well as reduce oxidative stress which causes aging. We all know that over time we age, phytoestrogens might help one age more gracefully.
Finally, phytoestrogens, sometimes called "natural estrogens", are a diverse group of naturally occurring non steroidal plant compounds that, because of their structural similarity with estradiol (estrogen), have the ability to cause estrogenic or/and anti-estrogenic effects in the body. Isoflavones are found in high concentration in soy bean and soy bean products changing ones diet to more soy based foods or taking a phytoestrogens supplement can help reduce estrogen related cancers and maybe even prostate cancer.
Denture Bonding Cream
August 04, 2008 12:56 PM
Denture creams, also referred to as adhesives can be a great tool for extra denture suction, which naturally leads to better denture grip. Secure Denture Bonding Cream is not only great for uppers; it is specially designed for lowers. As new technologies develop, denture creams have been prepared with cellulosic materials, such as sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, hydroxyethylcellulose, and hydroxypropylcellulose either alone or in combination with ethylene oxide homopolymers, acrylamide homopolymers and copolymers, or maleic anhydride derivatives to improve the adhesion properties of these creams, but there are some things you should be aware of.
Most denture cream is slowly dissolved by your saliva, and studies have shown that it generally passes through your body without any ill side effects. Denture adhesive creams and similar compositions provide the desirable mechanical and aesthetic properties, at a minimum of cost, making these types of products inexpensive and effective for securing the dentures in your mouth. Being water soluble, these fixatives can dissolve, wash out, and result in the dentures slipping and sliding. Most denture creams are water-soluble and can be washed out by eating or drinking which may not be desirable at times.
These creams act as a real adhesive which create a secure, strong, bond between the dentures and the gums. Look for a cream or adhesive that does not dissolve in water. These creams and adhesives are applied to the face of the denture or plate which is particularly adapted to contact and mold itself to the contour of a particular oral surface in the mouth. Multiple applications of the adhesive are not only inconvenient, but are usually impractical if not impossible depending on the cream or adhesive purchased. When the dentures become loose or pull away from the jaw, it will be necessary to apply more than one application of the denture adhesive per day in order to obtain and maintain sufficient adhesion throughout the day.
Zinc is a very common ingredient in many over the counter and FDA approved products. Zinc is an essential mineral that is found in almost every cell in the body and in foods like red meat, poultry, whole grains and beans and is necessary for the maintenance of good health and nutrition. The potential for absorption of zinc through the gums is minimal but does happen. Zinc denture cream may adversely impact your health and create a copper deficiency in your body if left unchecked. If your mouth absorbs an excess of zinc, this overdose can lead to hypocupremia and neurologic diseases.
Many studies have been performed on zinc over dose and neurological disease. All the studies of denture cream zinc overdose reached the following conclusion: Denture cream containing zinc and chronic excessive use may result in hyopcupremia. Tests for zinc levels in your blood can determine quickly whether you have a zinc overdose in your body. Action should be taken immediately against zinc pPoisoning if you or someone you care about has been experiencing symptoms such as numbness, tingling along nerve pathways and hypersensitivity and you use Poligrip or Fixodent, please consider being examined by your doctor. People who incur permanent damage from zinc poisoning due to use of denture creams may be eligible for compensation for loss, suffering and medical treatments.
In conclusion, good denture cream acts as an inexpensive, though temporary alternative to having your dentures relined. Most creams promise all-day hold however, with out personally testing each cream or adhesive it is likely that one may work for some but not all people. Denture adhesives also come with no warning make sure you read the label and avoid zinc products. However, ill-fitting dentures may impair your health- consult your dentist for periodic examinations and over all oral health.
Fruits and Vegetables for a Healthy Mind!
April 23, 2008 03:06 PM
Although the effects of nutrition on health and school performance are often cited, few research studies have examined the effect of diet quality on the academic performance of children. A new study published in the Journal of School Health studied how good nutrition impacts children’s academic performance by identifying specific dietary factors that are associated with the academic performance. Using multilevel regression methods to examine the associated between indicators of diet quality and academic performance, researchers found that students reporting increased diet quality were significantly less likely to fail the literacy assessment. In particular, students with an increased fruit and vegetable intake and lower caloric intake of fat were significantly less likely to fail the assessment. In particular, students with an increased fruit and vegetable intake and lower caloric intake of fat were significantly less likely to fail a assessment. Dietary fat intake was also demonstrated as important to academic performance. They surveyed 5,000 fifth grade students in Nova Scotia, Canada, gathering information on the dietary intake, height, and weight of each student, and examining socio-demographic variables. Using a food frequency questionnaire, researchers calculated each student’s intake of foods from recommended food groups as well as energy and nutrient intakes. They calculated the diet quality index-international (DQI-I), a composite measure of diet quality. The elementary literacy assessment was used to assess academic performance, requiring students to read a variety of materials and answer written questions based on texts. (Journal of School Health, April 2008, volume 78, number 4, pages 209-2158)
Reduce Your Cholesterol With Natural Vitamins
July 12, 2007 08:58 AM
Thanks to the excellent efforts of health education organizations like the American Heart Association, we’ve learned a lot about cholesterol and how it affects our health.
We know: high cholesterol levels increase our risk for heart attacks and strokes: lowering our cholesterol levels will reduce this risk and keep our hearts and blood vessels healthy; and that diet, weight loss, and exercise will all help us in our quest to lower our cholesterol levels. We also know at times, despite these good efforts, some people’s cholesterol levels are still too high.
Prescription drugs to lower cholesterol are now available and they are heavily advertised by the pharmaceutical companies that make them. What the commercials neglect to say is these medications, collectively called statin drugs, have some serious side effects. Statin drugs can cause elevations in liver enzymes, an indication of liver irritation. They are associated with myopathy, a painful disorder of muscle inflammation and muscle degeneration. Ironically, statin drugs significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body, a deficit that can lead to heart disease.
Statin drugs have also been linked to a rare and at times, fatal condition called rhabdomyolysis. Because of this alarming link, the makers of cerivistatin, a popular stain drug, recalled this medication from the market on August 8, 2001. The Food and Drug Administration a greed with the recall and supported the decision.
Thankfully, there is a safe solution to the dangers of high cholesterol levels. A natural dietary supplement is now available that can lower cholesterol very effectively without any harmful side effects. Backed by many years of scientific research and clinical study, pantethine and plant sterols, also known as phytosterols, are nature’s answer to dangerous prescription cholesterol lowering medications.
To understand how pantethine and plant sterols work to lower cholesterol levels, we need to first review what we know about cholesterol and heart disease.
Q. What exactly is cholesterol?
A. Cholesterol is a soft, waxy, fat-like substance found in every cell of the body. We need cholesterol to help digest fats, strengthen cell membranes, insulate nerves, and make hormones. Cholesterol is made primarily in the liver but also by cells lining the small intestine and by individual cells in the body. While our body makes all of the cholesterol we actually need (about 1,000 milligrams a day), we also get additional cholesterol from foods we eat.
The highest source of cholesterol are egg yolks and organ meats such a liver and kidney. No plant-derived food contains cholesterol, not even peanut butter or avocado, even though these foods are high in fat. However, all foods from animal sources such as meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products contain cholesterol.
Q. How does cholesterol cause heart disease?
A. Although cholesterol serves many important functions in the body, too much cholesterol in the bloodstream can be dangerous. When blood cholesterol reaches high levels, it builds up on artery walls, increasing the risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.
The heart is a muscle, and like all muscles, needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients. The bloodstream transports these nutrients to the heart through the coronary arteries. If the coronary arteries became narrowed or clogged by cholesterol and fat deposits (artherosclerosis) and cannot supply enough blood to the heart, the result is coronary heart disease (CHD). IF not enough oxygen-carrying blood reaches the heart muscle, a sharp, sudden chest pain (angina) may occur. If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is completely cut off by total blockage of a coronary artery, the result is a heart attack. This is most often caused from a blood clot forming on top of an already narrowed artery.
Q. What is LDL and HDL cholesterol?
A. Cholesterol and other fats can’t dissolve in the blood and, therefore, can’t travel on their own. They have to be transported to and from the cells by special carriers called lipoproteins. The two major lipoproteins are low density lipoproteins (LDL) and high density lipoproteins (HDL). LDL is most often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol whereas HDL is known as the “good” cholesterol.
LDLs carry cholesterol throughout the body to the cells. LDLs cause artherosclerosis by clogging up our arteries with the continual buildup of fat. HDL, on the other hand, prevents this fat buildup within arterial walls, by carrying it away from the arteries, to the liver where it is eventually processed and eliminated.
Q. What are triglycerides?
A. Triglycerides are fats used as fuel by the body and as an energy source for metabolism. Triglyceride levels fluctuate easily, changing after every meal. Increased levels are almost always a sign of too much carbohydrate and sugar intake. Triglycerides in high amounts make the blood more sluggish and less capable of transporting oxygen, particularly through the small blood vessels. High triglycerides, along with high LDL “bad” cholesterol, are considered strong and independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
There are several medications physicians can prescribe for people with elevated triglyceride levels. Some of the most effective (as well as the most harmful) are the statins. The powerful, all-natural combination of pantethine and plant sterols can safely and, just as effectively, lower both triglycerides and LDL “bad” cholesterol and increase HDL “good” cholesterol.
Q. What is pantethine and how does it lower cholesterol?
A. Pantethine, a form of pantothenic acid (also known as vitamin B5) is found in foods such as liver, salmon, and yeast. Pantethine lowers cholesterol by blocking its production.
Cholesterol synthesis, or the production of cholesterol in the human body, is an incredibly complex process. It involves many biochemical reactions and enzymes activity requiring several steps.
Studies have shown that pantethine inhibits several of these enzymes and coenzymes. It blocks the activity of one coenzyme involved in cholesterol synthesis, HMG-CoA, by about 50%. This results in significantly lower cholesterol production. But, that’s not all. To compensate for the lowered cholesterol production, the liver pulls LDL out of the bloodstream. The end results? Studies have shown that on average, pantethine can lower total cholesterol levels by 16%, LDL cholesterol levels by 14%, serum triglycerides by 38%, and can raise HDL cholesterol by 10%.
Q. What are plant sterols and how do they lower cholesterol levels?
A. Plant sterols are the fats of plants. They are found in nuts, vegetable oils, corn, and rice. Plant sterols are structurally similar to cholesterol and are able to act as a stand-in for cholesterol and block its absorption.
The liver receives about 800 mg of cholesterol every day from intestinal absorption. Cholesterol is absorbed from the intestines through receptor sites – special channels that are shaped exactly like cholesterol molecules. The cholesterol enters these channels and is then absorbed into the bloodstream. Because plant sterols look like cholesterol, they fit perfectly into these channels. The cholesterol, being blocked from absorption, remains in our intestines where it is eventually excreted.
If we eat enough plant sterols, the amount of cholesterol transported from the intestinal tract to the liver is greatly reduced. And, just like pantethine’s effect on the liver, this cholesterol reduction causes the liver to pull LDL cholesterol out of the blood, reducing both total and LDL cholesterol levels.
Q. Can’t we get the benefit of plant sterols and pantethine just by eating those foods that contain them?
A. These amounts of plant sterol and pantethine found in food just aren’t enough to have much of an effect on our health. In order to lower cholesterol levels, we need to take a concentrated combination of pantethine and plant sterols in just the right ratio.
Plant sterols are bound in fibers in the plants. Even if we ate lots of raw fruits and vegetables, we wouldn’t be getting many of these beneficial plant fats. There are also several forms of plant sterols. Some ratios of these plant sterols are more beneficial than others. On the average, we eat 160 to 360 mg of plant sterols a day.
While pantethine is found in several food sources, it is difficult to get beneficial amounts from our food. There are about 12 mg of pantethine in 3 ounces of brewer’s yeast and 8 mg in an average serving of liver.
Q. How much pantethine and plant sterol combination should I take?
A. Many studies have examined the effects of pantethine and plant sterols on cholesterol levels resulting in the determination of the most effective amounts to take of these heart healthy nutrients.
Manufacturers of high quality nutritional supplements offer pantethine combined with plant sterols in the most beneficial ratio as determined by the research. The best results are obtained by taking a combination of 400 mg of plant sterols and 200 mg of pantethine three times a day.
Q. Should only people with actual heart disease or those with high cholesterol levels be concerned about cholesterol?
A. No, recent studies have shown that cholesterol lowering in people without heart disease greatly reduces their risk for ever developing CHD, including heart attacks and artherosclerosis. This is true for those with high cholesterol levels and for those with average cholesterol levels.
Most physicians would never consider prescribing statin drugs to people without actual heart disease or high cholesterol levels because of the many health risks of the drugs. But the combination of pantethine and plant sterols can naturally and very effectively help those people with heart disease, high cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels (or all three!) as well as those of us just wanting added “health insurance” for our hearts.
Q. Are pantethine and plant sterols safe?
A. Yes, both pantethine and plant sterols are very safe. Some people may experience some mild stomach upset when they first take pantethine. Taking the combination of pantethine and plant sterols with meals generally solves this problem.
Americans have listened, learned, and most importantly, taken to heart the vast and vital information on the need to keep our cholesterol levels under control. The result? More and more Americans are lucky enough to die of old age. The Centers for Disease Control recently released a report stating that the average American life expectancy has reached a new high of 76.9 years, thanks in no small measure to fewer people who are dying from heart disease,
The authors of this report stated that we could push our life expectancy even higher. We can attain healthy, old age by eating right, exercising regularly, and taking other simple steps to promote good health and prevent serious illness and heart disease. Taking the all-natural combination of pantethine and plant sterols is one simple, yet powerful step, to keep our hearts and blood vessels healthy for a long, long time.
Supplements for Children
June 26, 2007 09:51 PM
Supplements for Children
While most parents try hard to make nutritious meals for their family, most children find the appeal of refined, fast, and junk food simply overwhelming. And, sadly, increasingly easy to buy and consume, as well. From kindergarten through 12th grade, in both grade schools and high schools, vending machines offer calorie laden candy bars, sugar-filled soft drinks, and snack foods loaded with fat and salt. Many school cafeterias actually sell fast-food to children for lunch every day. In fact, it seems almost everywhere children go and gather, visually enticing but nutritionally lacking snacks and soft drinks are sure to be available.
Determined to counteract this disturbing trend, parents everywhere are urgently seeking solutions to help their children get the nutrition they need. One answer is supplemental multivitamins. There are certainly plenty of multivitamins formulated for children currently on the market. However, these products vary considerably in quality and content. Some lack certain vital nutrients. Some taste terrible. Still others are loaded with sugar and artificial flavorings. The good news is that there are superior multivitamins and exceptional immune boosting products formulated specifically for children that actually taste great. In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will discuss childhood nutrition and how to help ensure your children’s health with high quality, 100% natural flavored nutritional supplements.
Q. Do children really benefit from vitamin supplements? Can’t I make sure they get the vitamins and minerals they need from meals?
A. Even the most nutritionally vigilant parent cannot be 100% certain what nutrients are in the food they serve their children. That’s because there’s so much variability in the food we prepare. For instance, fat-soluble vitamins can withstand normal cooking, but vitamins A and E are gradually destroyed by exposure to air. Water-soluble vitamins such as B1, B6, folic acid, and pantothenic acid are destroyed by heat. Vitamin B2 is destroyed by light and heat, while light and air destroy vitamin C. Certain food preservatives and preparation methods also destroy the vitamins in food. To further complicate matters, some fruit and vegetables are grown and harvested in such a way that does not promote nutrient content – so even raw foods may be lacking.
Then there are those crazy food phases all children seemingly go through. While these phases are generally harmless in the long run, a recent alarming exception was in the news. A five-year old boy ate nothing but cheese pizza, Pop-tarts, biscuits, and water, refusing fruits, vegetables, juices and vitamins. He slowly developed limp, swollen gums, and small purple spots appeared on his skin. After five months of this extremely deficient diet, he was unable to walk or get out of bed because the pain was so severe. Doctors diagnosed the boy as having a severe vitamin C deficiency after ruling out other ailments such as leukemia. Within a week of getting vitamin C supplements, the boy’s pain and other symptoms were completely resolved. Obviously, this little boy’s story is unusual. However, even mild food phases (such as “If It’s Green It Must Be Yucky” or “The Only Good Crust Is A Cut-Off Crust”) can result in awfully lop-sided nutrition.
Q. Can multivitamins help my child’s performance in school?
A. Most teachers firmly believe that nutrition and learning go hand in hand. They are convinced that children who are well nourished possess the mental stamina that’s needed to learn and retain even difficult concepts. But can multivitamins help children become better students?
Two independent research teams recently conducted randomized trials to find the answer. The researchers followed 245 school-children aged 6 to 12 years for three months. They gave half of the children multivitamin tablets every day, and half of the children placebos. When the children were tested, the children in the multivitamins group showed an increase in their nonverbal intelligence scores. Nonverbal intelligence is closely associated with academic performance.
Q. I can’t get my children to take 100% natural flavored multivitamins because they don’t taste very appealing. Isn’t there some way to make a 100% natural multivitamin taste good enough for my children to willingly take?
A. Yes, there is! Because most children need chewable multivitamins, manufacturers need to contend with the truly terrible taste of certain minerals. Magnesium, iodine, copper, and iron are probably the worst tasting. Some solve this dilemma by skimping on the amounts of these minerals in their children’s formulas. Others cover up the bad taste with either massive amounts of sugar or artificial flavors, or both.
However, a select few multivitamin makers have discovered how to offer a natural flavored, great tasting children’s multivitamin that contains these vital minerals. The best children’s vitamins are prepared in a base of natural fruit that provides both antioxidants and other healthy phytonutrients. Children’s multivitamins made in such a fruit base have very low sugar content, as well, providing as little as four calories a day. Fructose – fruit sugar – is the preferred sweetening agent, in addition to the fruit content.
Q. What vitamins should be in a multivitamin for children?
A. There are several vitamins and minerals that children need to take each and every day. They include biotin, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamins B12, B1, A, B6, C, D, E, and K. Let’s review a few. We’ll start with folate, one of the B vitamins. This vital vitamin helps the body use protein, helps make DNA, helps cells grow and divide, and keeps the nervous system healthy. In fact, folate is so important to children that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated that folate must be added to many foods most children eat daily. Since 1998, cereal, enriched bread, flour corn meal, rice, and pasta have been folate-fortified with this B vitamin.
One of folate’s vital actions is the reduction of homocysteine levels in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid (the building block of protein) that is normally produced in the human body. Research has shown that high levels of homocysteine can irritate blood vessels, make blood clot more easily than it should, and cause blockages in arteries increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes .
However, study after study has proven that taking folate reduces harmful homocysteine levels. While most of this research has been in adults, a recent study looked at children’s homocysteine levels. Researchers examined over 3500 children and discovered that high homocysteine levels increased the risk for heart disease in these children, especially as they grow. The researchers leading this study reinforced how critical folate is for all children.
Other critical vitamins for children are the vitamins C and E. The rates of childhood asthma have increased significantly here in the
Q. Which minerals do children need?
A. It is absolutely crucial that children get calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, and phosphorus every day. Sadly, however, the majority of our children are not getting the recommended amounts of many of these vital minerals. Children in
According to statistics from the National Institutes of Health, only 13.5 percent of girls and 36.3 percent of boys age 12 to 19 in the
Lack of adequate calcium has immediate consequences for children, as well. The number of fractures among children and young adults has increased as a direct result of poor calcium intake. Pediatricians are also seeing children with rickets, a bone disease caused by low levels of vitamin D. Rickets became almost nonexistent after vitamin D was added to milk in the 1950s, but, due to lower milk consumption, is now appearing at greater rates around the country. And milk itself can be problematic for some children. Aside from alarming reports of hormones and herbicides in commercial dairy factory milk, even organic milk is not tolerated by all because of lactose intolerance and allergies.
Zinc is another mineral that’s vital for children. Because zinc is critical for normal growth and development, children need to take it every day. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, however, found more than half of US children ages two to 10 years fail to get the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for zinc. What’s even more troubling is that zinc is vitally connected to children’s ability to process information, pay attention, as well as remember and retain new information
Zinc does a lot to keep children healthy. More than 200 enzymes in our bodies rely on zinc. However, it’s zinc’s ability to connect with our immune systems to help fight infections that is crucial for children. While researchers are not certain how zinc precisely boosts a child’s immunity, they think that zinc might fight pneumonia and other infections by either enhancing the body’s immune status, preventing the infection from establishing itself, or improving the immune system’s ability to rid itself of the infecting organism. It’s possible that zinc does all three.
Q. No matter what I do, my children seem to come down with bad colds each year. Besides giving them a multivitamin, are there other nutritional supplements that can keep my children healthy?
A. Absolutely! In fact, there are 100% natural flavored children’s immune formula nutritional supplements that contain their good buddy zinc, vitamins B6, C, and A (as beta carotene), plus elderberry extract. Elderberry extract has been used as a traditional medicine for hundreds of years to treat colds and flu. And as it so often happens, scientific research has validated this use. In fact, scientists have discovered that elderberry keeps viruses from invading other cells and replicating. It also spurs important immune cells into action to fight invading germs.
While we previously discussed vitamin C’s ability to help children with asthma breathe easier, it also provides powerful immune protection. It speeds up the healing of wounds, such as those knee and elbow scrapes so common in childhood. However, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and can’t be stored in the body. It must be replenished every day. When children are under increased stress (like when they get sick with a cold or flu), their vitamin C levels are more rapidly depleted.
Vitamin B6 is also water-soluble and can only work in children’s bodies for eight hours. Then more B6 must be obtained. Vitamin B6 strengthens the immune system by helping white blood cells make antibodies. Vitamin A helps make lysozymes, important anti-infectious agents found in tears, saliva, and sweat. It also stimulates the thymus gland, an important immune organ, especially in children, to work better.
Q. Should children take an immune formula every day or only when they are sick?
A. It can be taken several ways. Some parents may want to give the formula when school first starts or other times that their children are exposed to lots of germs. For a child who suffers from asthma or seasonal allergies or just seems to get sick frequently, parents could provide the immune formula every day, increasing the dose when needed. And still others might feel it’s best to give their children the immune formula only whey they do catch a cold or have the flu.
No matter how it is given, the 100% all natural flavored, immune boosting nutritional supplement can provide powerful protection against all those disease-causing germs your children are exposed to every day.
The nutritional choices we make for our children today will have a profound effect on their health tomorrow. Recent research has revealed that diabetes, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, and cancer in adults often result form nutritional deficiencies that occurred in childhood.
Thankfully, the reverse is just as true. This means that children who are well nourished with an optimal intake of minerals, vitamins, and helpful herbs can grow into healthy and happy adults. Providing high quality multivitamins and immune boosting nutritional supplements for our children can be an important part of that process.
Breast Cancer and Natural Supplements
May 11, 2007 10:47 AM
Breast Cancer and Nutritional Supplements
There is probably nothing more frightening for a woman than the discovery of a lump in her breast. Cancer and all its consequences quickly come to mind. This quick association may materialize, in part, because no woman is immune. Most have a friend, a sister, a mother, or a coworker who has been diagnosed with the disease. And they know how difficult dealing with this disease can be. Fortunately, 80% of all breast lumps are not cancerous. Most are cysts or a benign clump of tissue.
Over her lifetime, a woman’s breasts undergo many, many changes. From before puberty and on, breast tissue is continually evolving. Breasts often feel different before menstrual cycle, returning to normal a few days after. Pregnancy certainly causes changes in a woman’s breasts, as does breastfeeding. And as women age, breast tissue becomes less dense.
Because of these continual changes, breast tissue especially requires adequate nutrition. While everyone benefits from a healthy diet, there are additional nutrients from which women can specifically benefit.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will discuss breast cancer and the vast amount of research that has explored the role nutrition plays in this serious and still deadly disease. Specifically, we will discuss how two B vitamins, calcium D-glucarate, broccoli extract, green tea, maitake mushrooms, and iodine can all help prevent breast cancer.
Q. How can these nutrients prevent breast cancer?
A. Scientists learn a lot about disease from simply observing what is happening around them. One observation that has been recognized for many years is that certain cultures have very low incidence of breast cancer. Women n
Moms (and dads) have also learned a lot about diseases simply by observing what is happening in their families. They have notices that certain vegetables play a large role in the prevention of all types of diseases, including cancer. And, accordingly, they have been urging their offspring to eat their vegetables for several generations.
Building on these observations, scientists have designed and carried out many studies to determine what it is about these nutrients that can prevent breast cancer. What they have discovered, so far, follows. Let’s start with the B vitamins.
Deficiencies of this vitamin can result in a serious type of anemia. Nerve damage can also occur if B12 levels are too low. Researchers are now investigating whether breast cancer may, in part, be caused by a B12 deficiency as well.
Another study, this one taking place in a laboratory setting, discovered that vitamin B12, applied directly against experimental breast cancer cells, actually stopped the cancer cells from growing. The researchers conducting the experiment believe that giving vitamin B12 to women with breast cancer as part of a chemotherapy regime, might help keep the cancer in check.
Low folic acid intake is linked to the development of all cancers. This is because folic acid is crucial to the making and continual repair of DNA, the molecule that carries our genetic code. A recent study discovered that high intakes of folic acid might actually reduce the risk of breast cancer. The researchers looked at the diets of over 2600 women. During interviews with the researchers, the women reported what they usually ate. Once the data was collected, the results showed that women, who ate lots of foods that contained folic acid, had much lower rates of breast cancer.
There is no clear-cut, single cause of breast cancer. Many factors are required for the disease to appear. One such factor is estrogen. A recent study showed that women who developed breast cancer tended to have higher levels of estrogen circulating in their bodies than women without breast cancer. This means that women who got their periods before age eleven or entered menopause after age fifty-five have a higher risk of breast cancer. This also supports the theory that the number of menstrual cycles a woman has affects her risk for breast cancer.
Another factor is drinking alcohol. Because alcohol raises estrogen levels, if a woman consumes even moderate amounts of alcohol her risk of breast cancer also is increased. The link between alcohol and breast cancer may even be stronger than other dietary links. However, an important study has discovered that folic acid may uncouple this link.
A very large study of over 34,000 women recently studied the effect of folic acid on the risk of breast cancer. This project was part of the Nurses’ Health Study, an ongoing, long-term study that looks at nutrition’s role in the development of disease. The women in the folic acid and breast cancer study were followed for 12 years. The participants completed detailed food questionnaires that provided the researchers with important data.
The women were divided into four groups:
1. Women with low folic acid levels and drink alcohol
2. Women with high folic acid levels and rink alcohol
3. Women with low folic acid levels and don’t drink alcohol
4. Women with high folic acid levels and don’t drink alcohol
Within these four groups the women were further divided into subgroups according to the amount of alcohol they consumed each day and their specific folic acid intake.
The researchers found that women who consumed the lowest amounts of folic acid and drank at least one alcoholic beverage a day had the highest rate of breast cancer. In contrast, women who had high intakes of folic acid and also drank at least one alcoholic beverage a day, had the same rate of breast cancer as the women with high folic acid intakes who did not drink. In other words, women who had high levels of folic acid in their diet erased their alcohol-related increase in breast cancer risk.
It seems estrogen can be both friend and foe. While women need the hormone to soften skin, thicken hair, and fill out hips and breasts, estrogen can also nourish breast tumors, helping them grow bigger, stronger, and more deadly. Thanks, in part, to good nutrition, American women get their periods early and go through menopause alter in life. Women today also have fewer pregnancies; families with one or two children are quite common.
All of these factors increase the time women’s bodies are exposed to estrogen. As we discussed before, longer exposure means increased opportunities for estrogen to cause trouble. It is also a troubling fact of modern life that we are continuously exposed to cancer-causing chemicals and toxins. These toxins come in part from contaminants in the food we eat and pollutants in the air we breathe.
The body does have a system that eliminates some of the excess estrogen and toxic chemicals before they can cause harm. In the liver, they are bound or attached to a chemical called glucuronic acid. The bound toxin or estrogen is then excreted in bile and eventually eliminated as a waste product in the stool.
However, an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase can break this bond between estrogen and glucuronic acid. When this happens, the hormone or toxin is released from its bone, capable of causing harm once more. Increased beta-glucuronidase activity is associated with an increased risk for various cancers, particularly hormone-dependant cancers like breast cancer.
Fortunately, scientists have discovered that a natural substance found in foods calcium D-glucarate (CDG) can stop the activity of beta-glucuonidase. CDG keeps the harmful estrogen bound to glucuronidase. While CDG is found in fruits and vegetables, the amounts may not be sufficient to maintain effective levels to stop beta-glucuronidase.
CDG has been shown in experimental studies to significantly stop beast cancer growth. And several human trials are currently underway with CDG to determine its capability to decrease the breast cancer risk in women at high risk for the disease.
There are some very interesting connections between breast tissue and thyroid tissue. Iodine is an essential trace element present in a hormone of the thyroid gland and is involved in several metabolic functions. One iodine function is the protection of breast tissue from cancerous cells.
In a laboratory study, researchers exposed breast cancer cells and breast tissue without any cancer to a type of seaweed that contains high levels of iodine. The seaweed killed all of the cancerous cells, yet did not harm the normal breast cells. Japanese women frequently eat this type of seaweed and have very low rates of breast cancer. The study’s researchers believe one reason for this low incidence of breast cancer may be the iodine in the seaweed.
And, for some as yet unknown reasons, women who have thyroid cancer are at higher risk of developing breast cancer. While they are unsure why this happens, researchers are continuing to study this link, and support of healthy thyroid function remains an important consideration.
For quite some time, scientists have observed that cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, significantly reduce the risk of disease, including cancer. It seems a phytochemical in broccoli sulforaphane, is one of the chemicals responsible for this beneficial activity. Sulforaphane increases certain enzymes in the body called phase 2 enzymes that deactivate cancer-causing chemicals.
Breast cancer cells exposed to sulforaphane in several lab experiments showed that the compound inhibited the growth of the cancer cells up to 80 percent. Researchers are in the process of setting up clinical trials to study sulforaphane’s effect in women who have breast cancer.
There is a tall amount of research, including finding from the Nurses’ Health Study, that suggest green tea beverage consumption is associated with a lower incidence of breast cancer. In fact, researchers have long noted the low rates of breast cancer in
The active compound in green tea responsible for breast cancer inhibition is epigallocatechin-3 gallate or EGCG. When breast cancer cells are exposed to EGCG in lab experiments, the cells stop growing, lose their ability to replicate, and die.
In a recent study, researchers discovered that drinking green tea prevented the recurrence of breast cancer in women who have previously been diagnosed and treated for the disease. This study involved over 1100 Japanese women. The women who drank green tea every day had very low rates of their breast cancer returning.
For thousands of years, maitake mushrooms have been linked to good health in those who eat them. Called “dancing mushrooms” (possibly due to their wavy, rippling appearance or possibly due to the little dance of joy mushroom hunters perform when they find them in the woods), maitakes contain an important compound called D-fraction.
Not only does the D-fraction in maitake mushrooms stop the growth of cancerous tumors, it also alerts and stimulates immune cells (including macrophages and natural killer cells) to fight the disease. Maitake also inhibits some of the mechanism that promotes metastasis, or spread, of cancer cells in the lymph and bloodstream.
Because of this success, maitake is now being used in clinical trials of women with breast cancer. One study reported significant improvement of symptoms, including reduction of the tumor. The maitake was given to breast cancer patients in addition to standard chemotherapy.
Q. Should these nutrients be used in place of traditional treatment for breast cancer?
A. Absolutely not. None of these nutrients can cure breast cancer. However, they can be a part of a validated plan of treatment. If you have breast cancer, talk to your health care practitioner about these nutrients. Remember, nutritional supplements are just that: supplements to food, medication, and treatment. They are intended to enhance and prevent, not replace.
Despite apprehension in performing self-breast exams, women are very proactive in their health. Yearly mammograms and pap tests have been an important part of their lives for many years, and newer and more accurate diagnoses are emerging. The prevention of health problems in themselves and their families has always been a high priority for women. And for women, nutrition has played an important part of health problem prevention.
Nutritionally speaking, what benefits your breasts benefit your whole body. However, as we have learned, there are specific links between nutrition and developing breast cancer that seem to be fairly strong.
Making a few changes may reduce the risk of developing the disease. The nutrients listed here, vitamin B12, folic acid, calcium d-glucarate, iodine, broccoli, green tea, and maitake mushrooms can be an important part of a woman’s preventative health regimen.
Memory And Focus
May 08, 2007 02:05 PM
Memory & Focus
Some people think getting older often means getting slower. It’s true that as we age, we may find we can’t walk quite as fast, climb as many flights of stairs, or play sports as hard as we could when we were twenty. However, we k now that a healthy diet, regular exercise, and the right dietary supplements can make a huge difference in our health, strength, and mobility as we age.
This is true for our mental abilities as well. We may not think as quickly as we used to, might misplace our keys more often, and experience more “tip-of-my-tongue” word searches. These so-called “middle-aged moments” most often have minor consequences: a missed appointment or the forgotten name of an acquaintance. However, in a small number of cases, these mental slips can also be the first sign of serious diseases of aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease of other dementias.
The good news is, just like our physical health, we can improve how we function mentally. Eating healthy foods, taking the right supplements, and participating in regular mental exercise can significantly increase our mental endurance, improve our memory, and optimize our ability to focus.
In fact, groundbreaking and ongoing research has discovered that specific herbs and vitamins, particularly Ginkgo Biloba, Bacopa monnieri, folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12, and the important co-enzyme and antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid, all have powerful effects on memory and focus. These nutritional supplements have been scientifically shown to quickly reduce mild age-related memory chances, as well as greatly reducing the risk of developing more serious problems like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or other brain diseases later on in life.
Q. What is the difference between age related memory decline and dementia?
A. As we get older, our nerve cells need more time to spark and connect, slowing the process of bringing memories and events to mind. Another theory is that, as we age, we accumulate more knowledge and memories. The mind then has to sort through much more data to reference a memory. Almost everyone middle-aged and older notices this slowdown. Memory decline and problems with mental focus are a normal part of aging.
While it’s true that the older we get, our chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease increase, this illness is not a normal part of aging. Alzheimer’s is an irreversible, progressive dementia that slowly kills nerve cells in areas of the brain where memory, learning, though, and language take place. Often first appearing as people begin retirement, Alzheimer’s disease makes the “golden years” a time of loss and devastation. Memories vanish, relationships are erased, and independence is gradually lost.
After Alzheimer’s disease, the second most common cause of dementia in older people is multi-infarct dementia. Caused by a series of mini-strokes that damage or destroy brain tissue over time, multi-infarct dementia usually affects people between the ages of 60 and 75. Men are slightly more at risk. High blood pressure is the most significant risk factor for multi-infarct dementia.
Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, strokes, Huntington’s disease, Creutzfelt-Jakob disease, and alcoholism can also cause progressive and irreversible dementia.
While normal age-related memory and focus loss may mean we can’t remember where we put our car keys, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia may mean we can’t remember what our car keys are used for.
Q. Are any types of memory and focus loss reversible?
A. Yes. As women enter menopause, they frequently experience trouble remembering. This memory interference is caused by hormone fluctuations and can affect speech, thinking, and attention. Symptoms of menopause-related memory loss and poor focus include recognizing faces less well than in the past, missing scheduled appointments, and misplacing articles. Once a woman passes through menopause, her ability to remember and focus most often improves.
Certain medications, such as the heavily prescribed cholesterol lowering drugs called stains, can temporarily interfere with memory. Low vitamin B levels, artherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and thyroid disease can cause disruption of mental focus and memory loss. These problems usually resolve with treatment of the underlying disorder.
A certain type of stoke, called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) can cause memory loss that may be reversible. A TIA is a brief episode of stroke symptoms that come on quickly. Sometimes referred to as a “mini-stroke” or “warning stroke,” a TIA is caused by a temporary interruption in the blood supply to the brain. But, unlike a stroke, a TIA does not lead to permanent brain damage. While a TIA is usually short-lived, it is likely to occur again if not properly managed and can be a warning of future stroke.
Q. I seem to forget a lot of things. How can I be sure I don’t have Alzheimer’s disease or some other dementia?
A. If you, or other around you, are concerned about your memory, you should be examined by your health care practitioner. Once the cause of your memory and focus problem is diagnosed, treatment can begin. All causes of memory loss and mental focus disruption can be treated, even Alzheimer’s disease. While presently irreversible dementias cannot be cured, the progression of the disease may be slowed, and in some cases, stopped..
Research on memory loss and mental focus disruption has increased dramatically in the past few years. Discoveries regarding Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as well as age-related loss of memory and focus have recently been made. Most importantly, many new treatment options, including the use of nutritional supplements, have been developed.
Q. How can nutritional supplements improve memory and focus?
A. Several herbs and vitamins have been demonstrated to improve memory and mental focus. While some nutritional supplements work now to improve memory and focus, others work to prevent problems we might develop later.
One of the most researched herbs, Ginkgo biloba, has been found to be effective in improving currently experienced memory and focus loss; in other words, problems we are having now. Ginkgo has been studied in individuals who have age-related memory loss, as well as in those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. It seems that ginkgo can improve many brain functions, such as speeding up memory recall, protecting brain cells from chemical changes and free radical damage, improving blood flow to the brain, and helping nerve cells communicate with each other better.
Several studies examined ginkgo’s effect in healthy people who were experiencing normal age-related memory and focus problems. They determined that ginkgo improved memory, attention, and clarity of thinking. Ginkgo can also help restore memories that may be lost in TIAs, those mini-strokes that were discussed earlier.
In studies of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, the results showed that ginkgo slowed down the disease in those severely afflicted and actually improved those with very mild or moderate disease. In one of these studies, ginkgo was compared to four prescription cholinesterase inhibitors, medications commonly used to treat individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Using written mental tests, the researchers found that ginkgo worked just as effectively as the prescription drugs. While those taking one of the cholinesterase inhibitors dropped out of the study because of disturbing side effects, ginkgo had no side effects and improved symptoms equally as well.
Q. Hoe does Bacopa monnieri help memory and focus?
A. Like ginkgo, bacopa works on the memory and focus problems we are experiencing now. Bacopa grows in
Q. How does alpha lipoic acid help memory and focus?
A. Alpha lipoic acid (
Researchers have discovered unmistakable free radical damage in Alzheimer’s disease. Accordingly,
In a recent study, people with Alzheimer’s disease were given tests that measured through and memory. They were then given
Q. How do vitamins B12 and B6 help memory and focus?
A. Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient in the regulation of nerve transmissions. It is required by the nervous system for normal brain function, and it may also help with mood.
Researchers have learned that people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias (including Parkinson’s disease) have elevated homocysteine levels. IN fact, t he amount of homocysteine in the blood corresponds to the severity of the disease. Most people with a high homocysteine level don’t have enough folate, vitamin B5 or vitamin B12 in their diet. Replacing these vitamins helps return the homocysteine level to normal.
Reducing homocysteine levels may prevent the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease, or other brain diseases, and improve the symptoms of those already afflicted.
Q. What about folic acid?
A. Folic acid has long been recognized as a vital nutrient for the brain and spinal cord. Recent research has demonstrated that folic acid has significant importance in Alzheimer’s disease.
An ongoing study of Alzheimer’s disease that began in 1986 has been studying 678 members of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in the hopes of learning how the disease develops, how it might be prevented, and how to treat it. Data collected in the study includes biographies the sisters wrote upon entrance to the order, blood samples from the sisters while they are living, and information gained from the voluntary donation of their brains after death.
Aptly named the “Nun Study,” ground breaking discoveries have already been made. It seems that diet and nutrition have a dramatic influence in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Sisters who had high levels of folic acid showed little evidence of Alzheimer’s-type damage in their brains after death. And, those nuns who had Alzheimer’s disease in spite of high folic acid levels had profoundly less brain damage from the disease. In fact, some sisters who had no outward evidence of Alzheimer’s disease while they were living had surprisingly extensive damage in their brains after death.
Q. Besides taking ginkgo, bacopa, B vitamins, folic acid, and ALA, is there other things I can do to prevent Alzheimer’s disease?
A. You may not know if you have a serious B-vitamin deficiency. Routine lab work does not measure the amount of B vitamins in your blood. You might want to ask your health care practitioner to have your B vitamin level in your blood measured, especially if you are having memory and focus problems. Keep in mind that this type of lab work is fairly expensive, however.
Supplements do not replace the need for a healthy diet, especially a diet with high levels of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and omega-3 fatty acids. Keeping your body healthy helps keep your brain healthy as well.
It also seems that the use-it-or-lose-it theory applies to our brain as well as our body. Research has shown that people who seek opportunities to keep mentally active, such as reading books, newspapers, and magazines, solving crossword puzzles, playing card games, and visiting museums, lower their risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dealing with age-related memory loss may be both frustrating and frightening. As the population of
In fact, more and more research shows prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is a reality. And age-related memory loss can successfully be improved as well. Taking the scientifically validated nutritional supplements ginkgo, bacopa, vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, and
George’s Aloe Vera Vs. Other Brands
April 21, 2007 02:07 PM
Why isn’t George’s Aloe Vera thick and greenish in color? Why doesn’t it have that bitter taste most other Aloe Vera products have?
The thick greenish substance just beneath the rind in the latex layer of the plant is where the aloins and anthraqinones are located. These substances are irritants and when ingested can cause cramping and diarrhea and in some cases nausea. George’s Aloe is a refined product. We remove the antagonistic compounds that cause the bitter taste and irritation to the GI tract.
For several years we examined various species of Aloe Vera whereby separating the chemical components of the Aloe Vera leaf. We singled out a variety of the Barbadensis Miller as the species with the most unique beneficial qualities. We continued to study the effects of Aloe as a food supplement; we found the digestive tract seemed to be the most important factor, other than our parent’s genes and chromosomes in determining our health and well being. A newborn’s food conversion efficiency approaches 100%. However, as we mature our digestive membrane system loses its efficiency and our body thus makes changes to compensate. The aches, pains and malfunctions of the body can result from changes in the digestive process and many of which may have occurred over a number of years.
Dozens of maladies can be derived from what your digestive system has produced. We hypothesize that our “always Active” Aloe actually cleanses the digestive membranes, thus causing them to function in a fashion similar to that of your infant days. Consequently, the body makes adjustments that if combined with a daily regimen, can result in better health. We urge daily consumption of our “Always Active” Aloe and are convinced that your body will note your use by returning to its more efficient method of operating. Changes are slow, so you may not notice a significant improvement for 2 to 3 weeks, and may not notice any improvement unless you drink the “Always Active” Aloe daily. For optimum results, we recommend drinking 2 ounces twice daily of our “Always Active” Aloe. If you are not 100% satisfied, we will promptly and cheerfully refund your money. You be the judge.!
Safe Solutions for Chronic Pain
March 30, 2007 12:09 PM
Safe Solutions for Chronic Pain
One of the biggest challenged in healthcare today is the problem of pain. There are simply too many people living each and every day with ongoing, unremitting chronic pain. And there are far too many healthcare providers who – for a variety of reasons – are failing to adequately address this serious problem.
Recently, 368 doctors who routinely care for patients with chronic pain agreed to take part in a unique study. The doctors were surveyed about the pain medicines hey prescribe, what kind of treatment goals they hope to achieve, and how they felt about their ability to help their patients. They were also presented with four chronic pain vignettes or mock case studies and asked to select the best treatment for each scenario from multiple choice answers.
Sadly, many doctors chose the worst treatment options in the case studies. The medications they reported using in their practices did not reflect current pain treatment standards. They tended to set low treatment goals 0 instead of aiming for a least a 75% reduction of pain for their patients, they settled for 10% to 20% reductions. And many of the doctors admitted they lacked confidence in their ability to relieve their patients’ pain and suffering.
Adding to the challenge are the almost daily news announcements about dangerous side effects in certain pain medications. Synthetic prescription COX-2 inhibitors, once hailed as the safest of drugs, have been linked to heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and intestinal bleeding. The over-the counter (OTC) drugs aspirin and ibuprofen kill over 16,000 people each year. And acetaminophen, the most widely used pain reducer in the
As a doctor specializing in chronic pain disorders, I know that optimal pain management can be a real challenge. However, I also know:
-You do not have to live in chronic pain.
-Your chronic pain, no matter what the cause, can be reduced, and usually
-Chronic pain can be relived both effectively and safely with powerful all-natural
Q. What is chronic pain?
A. Sudden, or acute, pain occurs when pain signals immediately fire in your nervous system alerting you to an injury, like a broken ankle, or an illness, such as appendicitis. Once the injury heals or the illness is cured, the transmission of pain signals stop.
Ongoing – or chronic pain – is much different. Chronic pain persists. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years. There may have been an initial injury, such as sprained back muscles, or an initial illness, such as a serious infection. There might be an ongoing cause of pain, such as arthritis, cancer, or fibromyalgia. Chronic pain also occurs without any past injury or evidence of body damage.
The most common kinds of chronic pain are headache, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, and neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to nerves or to the nervous system itself). While chronic pain differs in its origin and where it occurs, it is generally your body’s way of saying that something urgently needs attention, and will not o away unless its underlying causes are addressed.
These causes can usually be determined if you remember the acronym “SHIN”. This stands for Sleep, Hormonal deficiencies, Infections/Inflammation/Impingement, and Nutritional deficiencies. When these are treated, pain often resolves.
Q. Why is it so hard to effectively reduce chronic pain?
A. Unfortunately, many physicians’ entire education in pain management consists of “giving nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (pronounced en-sayds), COX-2 inhibitors, or acetaminophen and considering narcotics if the patient has cancer.
Some NSAIDs, like aspirin and ibuprofen, are available over-the-counter, while others, like the synthetic COX-2 inhibitors are only available with a doctor’s prescription. These mediations are usually inadequate and often toxic when used for chronic pain. And they do not address the problem(s) that the pain is trying to alert you to.
Q. What exactly are COX-2 inhibitors?
A. COX-2 inhibitors do pretty much what their name implies – they inhibit a natural enzyme in our body called the clclooxygenase-2, or COX-2, enzyme. There are two COX enzymes – COX-1 and COX-2 and both complete several actions in our bodies. One very important action that both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes share is the speeding up of our body’s production of prostaglandins. These hormone-like substances are made by the cells of the body and have several important functions.
Some of the most powerful prostaglandins cause inflammation, pain, and fever when we are sick or injured. Prostaglandins also protect the lining of the stomach from the damaging effects of acid. Other prostaglandins make sure our platelets (important blood cells) make blood clots when needed. Still others help our kidneys get rid of unwanted salt and water. And researchers have just recently recognized the importance of still another prostaglandin that protects our heart and blood vessels.
The NSAIDs reduce pain by reducing prostaglandin production by blocking or inhibiting the COX enzymes. In theory – less prostaglandins, less pain and welling seems reasonable. But if you really stop and think about it, it’s pretty easy to understand why this method of pain relief might result in significant consequences.
Pain and inflammation are often needed for healing. And just as needed is the protection of our stomach lining, blood clotting ability, assisting kidney function, and keeping our blood vessels healthy. And scientists are beginning to understand if you interfere with one natural response, you may be disrupting the body’s ability to prevent extremes and imbalances.
That’s why using aspirin and ibuprofen can result in stomach ulcers, kidney problems, and internal bleeding. And that’s why using synthetic COX-2 inhibitors can result in high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes.
Q. Why are we just now learning about the dangers of COX-2 inhibitors and other NSAIDs?
A. That’s a good question!
Many people over the age of 65 have chronic pain conditions and are frequent users of OTC and prescription NSAIDs. This age group also experiences heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease in greater numbers. So, if a 70 year old woman who’s been using Celebrex for the past two years for arthritis in her knees suddenly has a heart attack one morning, it would not be entirely unexpected.
For the past five or six years, researchers have been studying the possibility that NSAIDs may prevent certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and other health problems. The ongoing, close scrutiny of large group of people taking these medications by scientists who were conducting these studies has resulted in the discovery of these dangers.
Q. What kind of natural compounds relieve chronic pain?
A. There are many – glucosamine, Omega-3 fatty acids, the B vitamins – the list goes on and on. Instead of disrupting normal bodily responses, these natural compounds work in harmony with our body to eliminate chronic pain. Three very powerful and very effective all natural plant compound pain and inflammation relievers are Sweet Cherry, Boswellia serrata, and White Willow Bark.
For many years there have been anecdotal or personal reports that claimed eating Sweet Cherries, specifically Prunus avium, wipes out back pain, arthritis, and gout. While anecdotal reports generally don’t account for much in the world of science, he sheer numbers of testimonials proclaiming the Sweet Cherry’s amazing ability to reduce pain made researchers sit up and take notice.
When Sweet Cherries were examined in the lab, it was easy for scientists to understand how this natural fruit is able to relieve pain. It seems Sweet Cherry’s bright red color is the key. Like many deeply colored fruits, Sweet Cherries are full of flavonoids called anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins.
These powerful plant compounds scavenge and destroy altered oxygen compounds called free radicals. Many degenerative, chronic diseases have been associated with the tissue damage caused by free radicals, including arthritis, heart disease, peripheral artery disease, and cancer. Cherry fruit extract is a natural anti-inflammatory compound, making it an excellent treatment for arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain and inflammation diseases.
A pain relieving plant compound that comes from the bark of a tree, Boswellia serrata has been used by Indian healers for hundreds of years to reduce painful inflammation. When 20th century researchers looked at extracts of Boswellia Gum Resin in the laboratory they discovered the presence of powerful plant compounds, called boswellic acids.
Researchers found Boswellic Acids reduce inflammation in several ways. They open constricted blood vessels, improving blood flow to joints. They balance levels of leukotrienes – specific chemicals in the body that cause inflammation. And Boswellic Acids block two inflammatory chemicals that increase in asthma and inflammation of the colon. In addition to being helpful in treating these 2 illnesses, Boswellia has also been clinically studied and found to be quite effective in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis without any evidence of ulcers or stomach irritation.
Another bark extract, White Willow Bark is one of the oldest and most effective pain relievers. For over 2,000 years extracts from the bark of the White Willow tree have been used to ease aches and pains and reduce fevers. It is the original source of aspirin, but when used as the entire plant medicine, White Willow Bark is much safer than aspirin and quite effective.
White Willow Bark’s active ingredient is salicin and the combination of other compounds in the bark significantly enhances its pain killing power. In two large clinical trials of patients with chronic low back pain. White Willow Bark was found to be not only safer and much more effective than standard prescription therapies, it was also 40 percent more cost effective.
Salicylic acid from White Willow Bark lowers the body’s levels of prostaglandins, easing both acute and chronic pain. White Willow Bark reduces the pain and swelling of arthritis, headache, back and neck pain, muscle aches, and menstrual cramps. But, unlike aspirin, it doesn’t cause stomach bleeding or other known adverse effects.
Q. Do Sweet Cherry, Boswellic Acids, and White
A. They do indeed. Because they reduce both pain and inflammation by a broad combination of actions, these natural extracts have been proven to be excellent against arthritis, back pain, and pain from inflammatory intestinal diseases (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), and would be expected to be helpful in most kinds of pain.
Sweet Cherry, Boswellic Acids, and White Willow Bark relieve inflammation without causing stomach irritation, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attacks, or strokes. That’s because these natural pain killers don’t disrupt the balance of enzymes or interfere with the body’s ability to prevent extremes and imbalances.
However, as with any pain therapy, Sweet Cherry, Boswellic Acids, and White Willow Bark work best when they are used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan to relieve the most common underlying causes of chronic pain or SHIN.
In addition, although these excellent natural remedies can often offer quick pain relief, natural remedies for severe chronic pains work best when they are given at maximum allowed doses and given 6 weeks to show their full effectiveness in combination with treating the pain’s underlying causes. The best chronic pain relief results when doctors and patients work together to meet the goals of treatment.
Some important last notes: Many causes of chronic pain are serious and life threatening. Everyone who is living with chronic pain must consult their doctor or other healthcare practitioner to determine the reason for their ongoing discomfort. In other words – make sure you know why you are having chronic pain and what’s causing the pain you want to relieve.
There are some types of chronic pain that only respond to opioids, or narcotic pain relievers. Morphine sulfate is an excellent pain medication and is used to relieve surgical pain, the pain of heart attacks, and pain from serious injuries. Morphine is also the very best drug for chronic cancer pain and non-malignant chronic pain. While many people fear opioids, these powerful pain killers can dramatically improve quality of life. If you are suffering with chronic cancer pain and you are hesitant to use morphine or another opioid, I urge you to discuss your concerns with your doctor other healthcare provider. No one with cancer should live with untreated or under-treated pain.
Even chronic pain can often be eliminated when SHIN is in combination with powerfully effective natural pain relievers. But, because some people may need to take pain relievers the rest of their lives, the medications they use must be safe as well as effective. The very safest come from natural plant compounds that have been studied for their ability to relieve chronic pain. You can become pain free and Sweet Cherries, Boswellic Acids, and White Willow Bark can help.
Peppermint Oil for IBS
March 24, 2007 11:01 AM
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a painful and frequently frustrating disorder of the intestines that’s often difficult to treat. Fortunately, there are scientifically studied natural products that effectively reduce the distressing symptoms of IBS.
Q. What is IBS?
A. IBS causes crampy pain, gassiness, bloating, and alterations in bowel habits. IBS is termed a functional disorder, because when the colon is examined, there is no visible sign of disease. While IBS causes significant pain and distress, no actual damage is occurring in the intestines.
There is a wide variability in IBS. Symptoms may be mild and fairly well tolerated. Or, the pain, discomfort, and bowel dysfunction may be disabling, limiting social interactions, employment, or travel.
While some individuals with IBS have diarrhea (frequent, loose stools with an urgent need to move the bowels), others have constipation (hard, infrequent stools that are difficult to pass). And, still others may experience both. Individuals with IBS also may have painful abdominal cramps and feel an urgent need to move the bowels, but are unable to do so.
A. The small intestine receives digestive material from the stomach and delivers it to the large intestine (colon). About two quarts (2,000 ml) of digestive material enter the colon from the small intestine every day. The colon absorbs water and salts from the material, which is progressively moved through the colon. This progressive movement continues until most of the fluid and salts are absorbed into the body and stool is formed. The stool passes to the left side of the colon, where it is stored until a bowel movement occurs.
Because researchers haven’t been able to find actual damage in the colon, it once was suggested that individuals with IBS have emotional problems or are overly susceptible to stress. While stress may cause symptoms of IBS to intensify, it doesn’t cause the condition.
Recent study has determined the colon muscle of an individual with IBS spasms after only mild stimulation. It’s thought the symptoms of IBS are produced by hyperactivity of the intestines. In other words, the intestines of individuals with IBS are more reactive to stressors and diet than usual. Almost everyone has experienced abdominal queasiness in response to everyday stress or certain foods. This may result in a brief bout of diarrhea or an upset stomach. However, this response is exaggerated in individuals with IBS.
Q. How prevalent is IBS?
A. IBS is very common. In fact, it’s one of the most frequent problems seen by family physicians. It’s the most common disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists (physicians specializing in the treatment of digestive disorders). The overall prevalence rates range from 10% to 20% of the general population in most industrialized countries. As a result, the pain and disabling symptoms associated with IBS result in significant socioeconomic costs, as wall as reduction in quality of life for many individuals.
A. Normal bowel function varies from person to person. Some people move their bowels daily, while others may only have two to three stools a week. A normal bowel movement is soft, formed, and is easily passed without cramping or pain.
IBS, however, causes abdominal cramps and pain, which are often severe and disabling. Bowel movements may be irregular and alternate between diarrhea and constipation. The diarrhea may be quite loose and watery. Mucous may be passed. There is often much straining, urgency, and feeling of incomplete evacuation (emptying). Abdominal bloating and passing of gas is common. Nausea, lack of appetite, heartburn, and belching may also be present. Sleep may be disrupted resulting in fatigue and lack of energy. Understandably, persons with IBS often feel anxious and depressed.
Diagnosis of IBS is usually based on the continuous presence or recurrence of these symptoms for at least three months. Other intestinal conditions must be ruled out. These include Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, inflammatory conditions of the stomach or pancreas, ulcers, infectious disease, or gastroesphageal reflux disease.
Q. Are there clinically demonstrated natural alternatives to the over-the-counter drugs prescribed by my doctor?
A. Yes, both enteric-coated peppermint oil and clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs) have significant scientific research behind them. Both have been demonstrated to benefit individuals with IBS.
Q. What is clown’s mustard and what does it do?
A. The scientific name for clown’s mustard is Iberis amara. Other names for this herb are wild candytuft and bitter candytuft. Clown’s mustard is a white-flowering plant from Spain, where it grows in dry soil on hillsides and in cornfields. It is also grown in Britain, France, and the United States. Iberis amara is a member of the Brassicaceae family. Iberis refers to its place of origin, the Iberian Peninsula. Amara means bitter. The key components of clown’s mustard are glycosides and flavonoids that have specific actions on gastrointestinal tract tone.
Q. Is there scientific evidence that clown’s mustard benefits people with IBS?
A. There has been very impressive research on clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs). And, it has been used with great success in Germany for many years to treat IBS and other gastrointestinal diseases.
In a study of an herbal combination containing clown’s mustard, 20 patients were given the herbal combination for three to 32 days. They all had been diagnosed with chronic functional disorders for at least one to 20 years. The symptoms the patients experienced included pressure and pain in the abdomen, belching, heartburn, vomiting, nausea, fullness, lack of appetite, constipation, and diarrhea. The patients have been treated for their problems with a variety of antacids, anti-spasmodic agents, and motility-inducing substances. For the purposes of the study, the patients stopped taking these medications and received treatment only with the herbal combination.
Abdominal pressure and pain in the abdomen was the most common of all the experienced symptoms, with 11 of the patients rating it as severe. After six days of treatment, only sic of the patients continued to rate their abdominal pain and pressure as severe. After two weeks, this symptom had completely resolved for 16 of the patients. Diarrhea had been rated as severe in five of the patients. By day 14, only one patient continued to have moderate diarrhea.
Medications prescribed and taken for cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases often cause gastrointestinal problems. Because these conditions are chronic, these medications must be taken for a long time, often for life. With long-term use, these medications can cause erosion of the stomach lining and actual ulcers. Many of these medication-caused symptoms are similar to IBS symptoms: pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Most, if not all, of the individuals who have gastrointestinal problems caused from medications experience two or more of these IBS symptoms.
Forty patients who were taking medications for various types of cardiovascular disease and arthritis, and who are experiencing gastrointestinal problems related to their medications, were enrolled in a study. These symptoms included pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Twenty patients received clown’s mustard combined with other herbs that support gastrointestinal motility. Three days after the trial started, a significant improvement of all s symptoms was noted in those taking this combination. By day 14, abdominal pressure and pain, nausea, and heartburn were completely eliminated in the herbal combination group. Several other clinical trials that were conducted in Germany report similar results.
Q. How does this herb compare to prescription drugs?
A. A study compared clown’s mustard (combined with other herbs) to Reglan (metoclopramide), which is frequently prescribed to reduce the symptoms of IBS. While metoclopramide is a very effective medication, it also has numerous side effects. Metoclopramide can cause fatigue, anxiety, agitation, jitteriness, insomnia, yellowing of the skin or eyes, changes in vision, hallucinations, and seizures. Because of these serious side effects, metoclopramide must not be taken longer than 12 weeks.
In comparison study, 77 subjects were randomized to receive treatment of either clown’s mustard in a combination with other herbs, or metoclopramide. All subjects had pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. The subjects took 20 drops of their assigned treatment after meals three times daily. The duration of treatment was one to two weeks.
In both groups, a parallel improvement of all symptoms was observed. At no point in the study was a statistically significant difference in symptoms found. Both treatments significantly reduced pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. In short, both metoclopramide and the clown’s mustard herbal combination worked well at reducing the symptoms of IBS.
However, side effects occurred more frequently and severely in the metoclopramide group. Given the lack of differences noted between the products at reducing symptoms of IBS, it would seem sensible to choose the treatment with the fewest reported side effects and no limits on duration of use.
A. Peppermint oil has been shown to relax intestinal smooth muscle. In Great Britain, peppermint oil is currently being prescribed for IBS by physicians and it has been used as a digestive aid and to soothe upset stomachs for generations.
Peppermint oil has also been studied for use in an important examination of the colon. A colonoscopy is a procedure of viewing the interior lining of the large intestine (colon) using a colonoscope, a slender, flexible, hollow, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine supports the idea that even people who are not at risk for colon cancer should have this test. The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women at average risk of colon cancer should have a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50.
During a colonoscopy, individuals are sedated and almost no discomfort is experienced. The insertion of the colonoscope into the rectum and up through the colon causes some spasming. This is a natural and expected event and the physician performing the exam administers medications that effectively reduce the spasms.
A recent study compared the use of peppermint oil and commonly used medications to reduce the colonic spasming in colonoscopy. The peppermint oil was introduced directly into the colon. Effective reduction of colon spasming was observed in 88% of the patients.
In a critical review and meta-analysis of peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, eight randomized controlled trials were identified. The studies collectively showed peppermint oil is superior to placebo in improvement of the symptoms of IBS. Because of the good results of these trials, the authors of the review urged additional study of peppermint oil in IBS.
However, straight peppermint oil is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream from the stomach. In recent studies comparing enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules and non-enteric coated oil, both preparations provided effective symptom relief. However, the studies concluded the enteric-coated capsules delivered the benefit of the peppermint oil directly to the intestines. In the treatment of IBS, enteric-coated supplemental peppermint is most definitely preferred.
In fact, an enteric-coated peppermint oil capsule containing rosemary and thyme is extremely effective in the treatment of IBS. All three of these oils are classified as volatile oils, derivatives found in plants that impart taste and aroma. The combination of peppermint, thyme, and rosemary oils in enteric-coated capsules provides significant relief in IBS-related pain.
Q. Can clown’s mustard and other herbs be taken with enteric-coated peppermint oil?
A. Yes, peppermint oil capsules and clown’s mustard can be used together. However, depending on the symptoms, individuals with IBS may want to start with one supplement and then add the other if needed.
Q. How do consumers find these formulas?
A. Fortunately, herbal combinations containing clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are both available at health food stores, natural product supermarkets, pharmacies, and from health professionals. Most knowledgeable sales personnel and health professionals can direct consumers to the most effective products.
Q. What should customers look for when purchasing peppermint oil?
A. As mentioned before, enteric coating of the peppermint oil is extremely important. The coating prevents the oil from being absorbed in the stomach. The enteric coated-capsule moves through the stomach to the small intestine and eventually to the colon, where it is released for maximum benefit.
Q. What is the dosage for peppermint oil?
A. The German Commission E approved peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable colon. In enteric-coated form, the Commission E recommends 0.6 ml per day. Enteric-coated peppermint capsules are available.
Q. Are there side effects or other contraindications?
A. Sometimes, the enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules may cause a transient burning sensation in the rectum when moving bowls. Reducing the dose will correct this.
Individuals who must refrain from alcohol should not take clown’s mustard in an herbal tincture, which may contain alcohol.
Q. What else can IBS patients do to feel better?
A. Food allergies or food intolerance may be associated with IBS. Dairy products and certain grains may trigger a painful episode of IBS. Determining those foods that initiate the problems and eliminating them from your diet can be very helpful.
Many people report their symptoms occur after a meal. Hyperactivity of the intestine of IBS is the response. Often, the strength of this response after a meal is in direct relation to the number of calories and he amount of fat in the meal. Reducing saturated fat, limiting calories, and increasing fiber intake may be helpful.
Stress also stimulates the intestinal hyperactivity. Relaxation training may reduce some IBS symptoms. Listening to therapeutic audiotapes, hypnosis, counseling, and biofeedback all have been shown to improve the healing response in persons with IBS.
IBS can be painful and frustrating, capable of causing much distress. While currently there is no cure for IBS, the symptoms can be managed. The pain, abdominal discomfort, and bowel problems of IBS all respond well to treatment with the use of key herbs, including clown’s mustard, and enteric-coated peppermint oil. These herbal combinations can be both effective and safe in treating IBS. Clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil are both effective front-line natural alternatives for IBS treatment.
Folate Helps Impede Prostate Cancer
June 20, 2006 10:58 AM
According to research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology (2006, Vol. 163, no 11: 989-996), folate helped reduce the severity of prostate cancer in men. A team of researchers examined the association between folate intake and prostate cancer among more than 65,800 men from the cancer prevention study II Nutrition Cohort. During nine years of follow-up, 5,158 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer. Dietary folate levels in this group ranged from less than 204 micrograms per day in men with the lowest levels to more than 347 micrograms per day in men with the highest levels. Total folate intake ranted from 223 micrograms per day to more than 640 micrograms per day. While no significant association was observed between folate intake and overall prostate cancer risk, higher folate levels did appear to curb the risk of advanced prostate cancer. The findings also suggested that even a small increase in folate intake reduced the risk of developing advanced prostate cancer.
Olive Leaf Extract
January 02, 2006 10:17 AM
In today’s stressful world, immune system health is more important than ever. History has proven that no matter what we do to combat viruses, bacteria and parasites, they have the remarkable capability to mutate for survival, often returning in a more virulent form than before. New strains of the flu and other microbial invaders are being discovered at an alarming rate, and modern medicine is constantly on the defensive. At the time this was written, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta is predicting a “bad flu season” because a “killer drift variant” strain of flu had been discovered, called type A Fujian. This new strain has already caused deaths abroad, and vaccinations are strongly recommended, especially for the very young and the elderly.
However, mutating microbes are only part of the problem confronting our immune systems. Factors such as environmental pollution and over-processing of foods are believed by many researchers to play a major role in many health conditions. Which means, more than ever before, you need to make sure your immune system is functioning at peak efficiency. Fortunately, there are a number of natural products available that can assist you in reaching this goal.
One of the most effective discovered to date is Olive Leaf Extract (OLE). Natural olive leaf extract is derived from the olive tree (Olea europaea), which happens to have a very long and interesting history. One of the most revered botanicals, the olive tree is mentioned numerous times in the Bible. One of the earliest and most powerful mentions is the delivery of the olive branch to Noah by a dove, a sign that the floodwaters were receding and life was returning. The olive tree was, and still is, a life-giver. It’s fruit is used for food, and the oil is used for cooking and as a source of light to ward off the darkness. Ancient cultures soon discovered that the various components of the olive tree provided a myriad of health benefits as well, benefits confirmed by modern science.
Extract of olive leaves is one of the best, if not THE best, natural antimicrobials and antioxidants ever discovered.* Oddly enough it might have been well recognized in this role much sooner since it was reported in the mid-1850’s that a bitter tea brewed from olive leaves might be a potential cure for malaria. However, not all great discoveries are immediately recognized as valuable, and physicians of that era didn’t give much credence to the reports. It wasn’t until decades later that a simple analysis conducted on olive leaves led to the discovery of an active component, the phenolic compound oleuropein, which has since been associated with many health benefits.
More recently, numerous studies have been conducted on olive leaves and the active components found in the leaves, with a preponderance of positive results. A 1999 study conducted at the University of Rome assessed the antimicrobial activity of oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, two of the most active components in olive leaf extract. They were pitted against many different bacterial strains, including salmonella and staphylococcus, in vitro. The study concluded, “Olea europaea can be considered a potential source of promising antimicrobial agents” for the support of intestinal and respiratory health.* 4
A 2002 study conducted at the University of South Australia compared the effectiveness of some of the typical components of the Mediterranean diet, including oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, as reactive oxygen species inhibitors and free radical scavengers. Researchers also examined their capability in protecting against low-density lipoprotein oxidation in vitro. Results clearly indicated that these components are potent inhibitors of free radical generation, as well as effective free radical scavengers.* 5
NOW® Foods carries a number of olive leaf extract products, including our Olive Leaf Extract 500mg, standardized to contain 6% oleuropein, our Extra Strength product with 18% oleuropein and 100mg of Echinacea Extract, and Olive Leaf Glycerite liquid, which contains 18% oleuropein.
Why would you want a standardized Olive Leaf Extract product over a whole herb Olive Leaf product? We’re glad you asked! Standardization allows for consistently effective herbal products because the active ingredient, or marker compound, is accurately identified and measured, ensuring that the product delivers a certain minimum level of the active component or components. In simpler terms, standardized herbal products allow the consumer to obtain the benefits of an herb without having to consume massive quantities because there is a much greater concentration of active components, which also improves the effectiveness of the herbal product. Purchasing standardized Olive Leaf with a guaranteed concentration of oleuropein is a smart choice.
- US Center for Disease Control, 2005
December 07, 2005 01:27 PM
“Forty-three million Americans report that a doctor told them they have arthritis or other rheumatic conditions. Another 23 million people have chronic joint symptoms but have not been diagnosed with arthritis. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, limiting the activities of more than 16 million adults.” - US Center for Disease Control, 2005
This is of alarming concern, especially if you’re one of the nearly 60 million US adults who live with a joint disorder. Clearly, you don’t need to be reminded of what a struggle it can be. Mundane tasks become major, and major tasks become painful reminders of what life was like when your joints were strong and seemingly indestructible. Many sufferers lose hope, while others hopelessly lose out on so many of life’s activities.
Over the past ten years, notable advances in the nutritional sciences have paved the path for landmark products such as Glucosamine, SAMe, Chondroitin, MSM, and others. As a result, millions have found relief in these products and continue to use them in their quest towards healthy mobility. Fortunately, the science behind these popular joint support supplements has done nothing but steadily improve. Celadrin® is perhaps the most convincing proof to date. Let’s examine.
In short, Celadrin® is novel blend of acetylated fatty acids, esters and other synergistic agents that enhance cell membranes throughout the body, resulting in greater mobility and more normalized joint function. The extremely high user success rate and virtually complete absence of side effects has helped Celadrin® rise to the rank of joint support extraordinaire. Yes, this is a bold statement. However, just one look at the supporting research is enough to convince even the most skeptical critics of what a true breakthrough it is. Celadrin®’s ability to provide fast, cumulative relief continues to be evidenced by extensive clinical research, as well as a steady flow of eye-opening human trials.
Unlike popular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) that simply mask joint discomfort, Celadrin® targets the source by enhancing cell membranes and restoring the vital fluids that cushion bones and joints. Ultimately, this is what makes it possible to enjoy a free range of motion without the bone-on-bone grinding that limits so many from their daily activities. Working in much the same manner that other fatty acids do, Celadrin®’s patented blend of esterified fatty acids spark positive changes at the cellular level. As this occurs, cell membranes become more responsive and less prone to articular cartilage deterioration.
“How long do I need to take it?”
Not only does it work well, studies continue to illustrate Celadrin®’s ability to work fast. This can be attributed to how easily absorbed the active ingredients are. In 2005, a University-led, placebo-controlled study examined 42 patients who struggled with knees that were…let’s just say less than fully functional. After just 30 minutes, 100% of the subjects treated with a topical form of Celadrin® reported significant improvement in joint mobility and support. Even more impressive, each participant demonstrated continuous and restorative benefits over the course of the entire 30 day study.
“How do I use Celadrin®?”
One of the most appealing elements of Celadrin® is the flexibility that users have when it comes to taking charge of their joint health. It is available in both oral and topical forms, and each is equally effective. Some users have reported greater results by supplementing the oral form while applying the topical lotion directly to the target areas in question. Still, no two people are alike. Accordingly, the severity and nature of each individual concern will vary from person to person. Therefore, it can be wise to determine which application works best for your particular situation.
“What if I don’t have joint problems?” For openers, you’re very fortunate. If your joints are strong and fluid, Celadrin® is one of the most effortless ways to keep them that way! Cartilage breakdown is gradual, and occurs over a long, delayed, unsuspecting period of time. In many cases, there is very little warning that your knee or shoulder is about to become part of a frightening and growing statistic. Your joints may feel fine today, but you’d be amazed at how fast that can change. Think of Celadrin® as Cartilage Insurance. You may not see an immediate need to support them right now, but if they do give out, you’ll sincerely wish you had.
“What should I look for in a Celadrin® product?”
As with every dietary supplement and joint-support product, you should always look for a quality formula from a trusted, well-established manufacturer with a history of producing quality products. NOW® Celadrin® products are scientifically formulated, tested for safety and potency and guaranteed to be of superior quality. Each full serving contains 1.5 g (1500 mg) of Celadrin® along with 300 mg of MSM for additional support. NOW® Celadrin® Liposome Lotion contains 7.5 % Celadrin® along with 1.25% USP Pharmaceutical grade natural Menthol. Both are now available at fine independent health food retailers nationwide.* credits: Jayson Kroner [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Benefits of Green Tea
November 05, 2005 03:30 PM
1. Cancer Prevention: The majority of research to date on Green tea focuses on cancer prevention. Population studies in Asia have found lower rates of cancer among those who consume large amounts of Green tea. (10) a Study of Japanese men and women with a 13 year follow up revealed that increased consumption of Green tea was associated with a delay of diagnosis of cancer.(1) Mean age at cancer onset among men and women who consumed over 10 cups of Green tea a day was 7.6 years later than those consuming less than three cups. It was noted that the delay in cancer was only relevant to those below the age of 79. Animal, human and test tube studies have shown that Green tea may reduce the risk of prostate, breast, esophageal, lung, skin, pancreatic and bladder cancers.(2) Of the hundreds of studies done on Green tea, only about 10% have involved humans.(10) While the data is promising, it is still limited. The good news is that this data is providing insight and direction for further studies to be done on the chemopreventive effects of Green tea.
2. Protecting the heart: There is early evidence, though not conclusive, that regular intake of Green tea may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Several well designed studies have demonstrated significant risk reduction in people who drink Green tea regularly.
3. Exercise Endurance: People have long used Green tea for energy. A new study might shed light on Green tea as a tool for endurance. Published by American Physiological Society, the study demonstrated that Green tea extract markedly improved endurance capacity in mice.(5) Swimming time to exhaustion was evaluated in mice fed Green tea extract. The mice that were fed Green tea extract had prolonged endurance capacity by 8-24% and the effect was accompanied by a stimulation of lipid metabolism. It is also noted that the effects were dose dependent. Although not yet confirmed in human studies, these results suggest Green tea might be a useful tool for athletes.
4. Weight Loss: The newest research on Green tea has been in the area of weight loss. Research suggests Green tea promotes weight loss by favorably affecting lipid metabolism in the blood, and through the stimulation of thermogenesis (Fat-Burning).(4)(12) Regarding Green tea and thermogenesis, a study examining the benefits of functional foods for weight control showed that Green tea increased energy expenditure over a 24-hour period. This is probably due to the combination of catechins and caffeine naturally occurring in Green tea.(4) Green tea extract looks to be a promising new tool for weight loss.
October 06, 2005 10:08 PM
Magnesium is a dietary mineral with a wide array of biological activities in the body. Magnesium participates in numerous life-essential processes that occur both inside and outside cells. Magnesium deficiency impacts normal physiologic function on many levels. Adequate magnesium is a fundamental requirement for optimum function of the cardiovascular system, the nervous system and skeletal muscle, as well as the uterus and GI tract. Magnesium deficiency can affect health of the heart, bones and blood vessels and alter blood sugar balance .
Magnesium–Important for Everyone, Deficient in Many The average person living in a modern country today very likely consumes less than the optimum amount of magnesium . An abundance of data collected over the last two decades shows a consistent pattern of low magnesium intake in the U.S. This pattern cuts a wide swath across various age-sex groups. The USDA’s Nationwide Food Consumption Survey found that a majority of Americans consumed less than the recommended daily magnesium intake . Twelve age-sex groups were studied and this low magnesium intake was true for all groups except 0 to 5 year olds.
An analysis of the nutrient content of the diets of 7,810 individuals age four and above included magnesium among several nutrients where the amounts supplied by the average diet "were not sufficient to meet recommended standards" . The FDA’s Total Diet study examined the intakes of eleven minerals, including magnesium, among eight age-sex groups. Data was collected four times yearly from 1982 to 1984. Levels of magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and copper were low for most age-sex groups . Surveys conducted in Europe and in other parts of North America paint a similar picture. Loss of magnesium during food processing is one explanation for this global lack of adequate dietary magnesium .
In particular, the elderly may be susceptible to magnesium deficiency for a variety of reasons, including inadequate magnesium intake, poor absorption due to impaired gastrointestinal function and use of drugs such as diuretics that deplete magnesium from the body . It has recently been theorized that magnesium deficiency may contribute to accelerated aging, through effects on the cardiovascular and nervous systems, as well as muscles and the kidneys .
Women who take both synthetic estrogen and calcium supplements may be at risk for low blood levels of magnesium . Estrogen promotes the transfer of magnesium from blood to soft–tissues. Low blood magnesium may result if the ratio of calcium to magnesium intake exceeds 4 to 1. Magnesium supplementation is thus advisable for women taking estrogen and calcium.
Young adults are not immune to magnesium deficiency. The University of California’s Bogalusa Heart Study collected nutritional data from a cross-sectional sample of 504 young adults between age 19 and 28 . The reported intake of magnesium, along with several other minerals and vitamins, was below the RDA.
Glycine is a highly effective mineral chelator. This is because it is a low-molecular-weight amino acid, hence is easily transported across the intestinal membrane. A study conducted at Weber State University found this particular magnesium glycinate was absorbed up to four times more effectively than typical magnesium supplements.
Magnesium-the Versatile Mineral
The average adult body contains anywhere from about 21 to 28 grams of magnesium. Approximately 60 percent of the body’s magnesium supply is stored in bone. Soft tissue, such as skeletal muscle, contains 38%, leaving only about 1 to 2% of the total body magnesium content in blood plasma and red blood cells. Magnesium in the body may be bound either to proteins or "anions" (negatively charged substances.) About 55% of the body’s magnesium content is in the "ionic" form, which means it carries an electrical charge. Magnesium ions are "cations," ions that carry a positive charge. In its charged state, magnesium functions as one of the mineral "electrolytes."
Magnesium works as a "co-factor" for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. Metabolism uses a phosphate containing molecule called "ATP" as its energy source. Magnesium is required for all reactions involving ATP . ATP supplies the energy for physical activity, by releasing energy stored in "phosphate bonds".
Skeletal and heart muscle use up large amounts of ATP. The energy for muscle contraction is released when one of ATP’s phosphate bonds is broken, in a reaction that produces ADP. Phosphate is added back to ADP, re-forming ATP. ATP also powers the cellular "calcium pump" which allows muscle cells to relax. Because it participates in these ATP-controlled processes, magnesium is vitally important for muscle contraction and relaxation. By controlling the flow of sodium, potassium and calcium in and out of cells, magnesium regulates the function of nerves as well as muscles .
Magnesium’s importance for heart health is widely recognized. The heart is the only muscle in the body that generates its own electrical impulses. Through its influence on the heart’s electrical conduction system, magnesium is essential for maintenance of a smooth, regular heartbeat . Magnesium appears to help the heart resist the effects of systemic stress. Magnesium deficiency aggravates cardiac damage due to acute systemic stress (such as caused by infection or trauma), while magnesium supplementation protects the heart against stress . This has been found true even in the absence of an actual magnesium deficit in the body.
Evidence suggests that magnesium may help support mineral bone density in elderly women. In a two-year open, controlled trial, 22 out of a group of 31 postmenopausal women who took daily magnesium supplements showed gains in bone density. A control group of 23 women who declined taking the supplements had decreases in bone density . The dietary intakes of magnesium, potassium, fruit and vegetables are associated with increased bone density in elderly women and men . In an interesting animal study, rats were fed diets with either high or low levels of magnesium. Compared to the high magnesium-fed rats, bone strength and magnesium content of bone decreased in the low-magnesium rats, even though these rats showed no visible signs of magnesium deficiency . While this finding may or may not apply to humans, it raises the possibility that diets supplying low magnesium intakes may contribute to weakening of bone in the elderly.
Maximizing Absorption––Chelated Minerals Explained Mineral absorption occurs mainly in the small intestine. Like any mineral, magnesium may be absorbed as an "ion," a mineral in its elemental state that carries an electric charge. Mineral ions cross the intestinal membrane either through "active transport" by a protein carrier imbedded in the cells lining the membrane inner wall, or by simple diffusion. The magnesium in mineral salts is absorbed in ionic form. However, absorption of ionic minerals can be compromised by any number of factors, including: 1) Low solubility of the starting salt, which inhibits release of the mineral ion, and 2) Binding of the released ion to naturally occurring dietary factors such as phytates, fats and other minerals that form indigestible mineral complexes .
A second absorption mechanism has been discovered for minerals. Experiments have shown that minerals chemically bonded to amino acids (building blocks of protein) are absorbed differently from mineral ions. This has given rise to the introduction of "chelated" minerals as dietary supplements. Mineral amino acid chelates consist of a single atom of elemental mineral that is surrounded by two or more amino acid molecules in a stable, ring-like structure.
Unlike mineral salts, which must be digested by stomach acid before the desired mineral portion can be released and absorbed, mineral chelates are not broken down in the stomach or intestines. Instead, chelates cross the intestinal wall intact, carrying the mineral tightly bound and hidden within the amino acid ring. The mineral is then released into the bloodstream for use by the body. Research by pioneers in the field of mineral chelation and human nutrition indicates that the best-absorbed chelates consist of one mineral atom chelated with two amino acids. This form of chelate is called a "di-peptide." Compared to other chelates, di-peptides have the ideal chemical attributes for optimum absorption . Dipeptide chelates demonstrate superior absorption compared to mineral salts. For example, a magnesium di-peptide chelate was shown to be four times better absorbed than magnesium oxide .
Consumer Alert! Not all "amino acid chelates" are true chelates. In order for a mineral supplement to qualify as a genuine chelate, it must be carefully processed to ensure the mineral is chemically bonded to the amino acids in a stable molecule with the right characteristics. The magnesium bis-glycinate/lysinate in High Absorption Magnesium is a genuine di-peptide chelate ("bis" means "two"). It has a molecular weight of 324 daltons, considerably lower than the upper limit of 800 daltons stated in the definition of "mineral amino acid chelates" adopted by the National Nutritional Foods Association in 1996 .
Bioperine® For Enhanced Absorption Bioperine® is a natural extract derived from black pepper that increases nutrient absorption.* Preliminary trials on humans have shown significant increases in the absorption of nutrients consumed along with Bioperine® .
Scientific References 1. Abbott, L.R., R., Clinical manifestations of magnesium deficiency. Miner electrolyte Metab, 1993. 19: p. 314-22. 2. Durlach, J., Recommended dietary amounts of magnesium: Mg RDA. Magnesium Research, 1989. 2(3): p. 195-202. 3. Morgan, K.e.a., Magnesium and calcium dietary intakes of the U.S. population. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 1985. 4: p. 195-206. 4. Windham, C., Wyse, B., Hurst, R. Hansen, R., Consistency of nutrient consumption patterns in the United States. J AM Diet Assoc, 1981. 78(6): p. 587-95. 5. Pennington, J., Mineral content of foods and total diets: the Selected Minerals in Food Survey, 1982 to 1984. J AM Diet Assoc, 1986. 86(7): p. 876-91. 6. Marier, J., Magnesium Content of the Food Supply in the Modern- Day World. Magnesium, 1986. 5: p. 1-8. 7. Costello, R., Moser-Veillon, P., A review of magnesium intake in the elderly. A cause for concern? Magnesium Research, 1992. 5(1): p. 61-67. 8. Durlach, J., et al., Magnesium status and aging: An update. Magnesium Research, 1997. 11(1): p. 25-42. 9. Seelig, M., Increased need for magnesium with the use of combined oestrogen and calcium for osteoporosis treatment. Magnesium Research, 1990. 3(3): p. 197-215. 10. Zive, M., et al., Marginal vitamin and mineral intakes of young adults: the Bogalusa Heart Study. J Adolesc, 1996. 19(1): p. 39-47. 11. McLean, R., Magnesium and its therapeutic uses: A review. American Journal of Medicine, 1994. 96: p. 63-76. 12. Graber, T., Role of magnesium in health and disease. Comprehensive Therapy, 1987. 13(1): p. 29-35. 13. Sueta, C., Patterson, J., Adams, K., Antiarrhythmic action of pharmacological administration of magnesium in heart failure: A critical review of new data. Magnesium Research, 1995. 8(4): p. 389- 401. 14. Classen, H.-G., Systemic stress, magnesium status and cardiovascular damage. Magnesium, 1986. 5: p. 105-110. 15. Stendig-Lindberg, G., Tepper, R., Leichter, I., Trabecular bone density in a two year controlled trial of peroral magnesium in osteoporosis. Magnesium Research, 1993. 6(2): p. 155-63. 16. Tucker, K., et al., Potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetable intakes are associated with greater bone mineral density in elderly men and women. Am J Clin Nutr, 1999. 69(4): p. 727-736. 17. Heroux, O., Peter, D., Tanner, A., Effect of a chronic suboptimal intake of magnesium on magnesium and calcium content of bone and bone strength of the rat. Can J. Physiol. Pharmacol., 1975. 53: p. 304-310. 18. Pineda, O., Ashmead, H.D., Effectiveness of treatment of irondeficiency anemia in infants and young children with ferrous bisglycinate chelate. Nutrition, 2001. 17: p. 381-84. 19. Adibi, A., Intestinal transport of dipetides in man: Relative importance of hydrolysis and intact absorption. J Clin Invest, 1971. 50: p. 2266-75. 20. Ashmead, H.D., Graff, D., Ashmead, H., Intestinal Absorption of Metal Ions and Chelates. 1985, Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas. 21. NNFA definition of mineral amino acid chlelates, in NNFA Today. 1996. p. 15. 22. Bioperine-Nature's Bioavailability Enhancing Thermonutrient. 1996, Sabinsa Corporation: Piscataway, N.J.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Doctor's Best•1120 Calle Cordillera•Suite 101, San Clemente, CA 92673
The benefits of a manual exam for prostate cancer far outweigh any embarrassment.
July 27, 2005 02:14 PM
2. The benefits of a manual exam for prostate cancer far outweigh any embarrassment.
While women routinely visit the GYN for yearly or even bi-yearly exams, many men find the idea of being examined so intimately to be disconcerting. “It’s not their favorite exam, but it’s not that painful,” admits Dr. E. Roy Berger, MD, FACP, Director of North Shore Prostate Cancer Consultation and Treatment Service at North Shore Hematology/Oncology Associates in East Setauket, New York. “There is no spectrum involved. It’s just a finger.” Education and understanding are the key to men overcoming their anxiety. It’s also an opportunity for women to reassure their significant others that this type of exam is vital to good health and a gratifying love life. “Patients should actually ask their primary care doctor for a digital rectal exam,” suggests Berger. “It’s a matter of mindset.”
Strontium Bone Maker 60 VC - Strengthen Bones
July 27, 2005 12:06 PM
Helps maintain strong, healthy bones.*
In Vitro and Animal Studies
Strontium is a bone-seeking mineral incorporated by ionic substitution for calcium onto the crystal surface of bone.2 In the test-tube (in vitro), strontium inhibits the activity of osteoclasts, bone cells that break down bone, or “resorb” bone as part of the normal bone remodeling process.3 The effect of strontium, in the form of strontium ranelate (a salt of strontium and ranelic acid), was studied in monkeys over a six-month period. Strontium altered the remodeling of bone in the monkeys, resulting in decreased bone resorption with a concomitant maintenance of bone formation. A trend toward increased volume of osteoid, the organic matrix of bone, was observed, although this was not associated with defects in bone mineralization.4 In another animal study, monkeys fed strontium at high doses for six weeks showed a marked increase in bone strontium content. No harmful effects on bone mineral chemistry or structure occurred.5 At low doses, strontium has been shown to increase the number of bone forming sites in thighbones of adult rats, without adverse effects on the mineral content of bone or mineralization of the organic bone matrix.6 Strontium was shown to reverse bone loss induced by estrogen deficiency in rats.7
Human clinical trials have examined the effect of strontium on bone in postmenopausal women. In the dose-ranging (Phase 2) PREVOS trial, women in early menopause were administered strontium ranelate or a placebo for two years. Strontium ranelate was given at daily doses of 125 mg, 500 mg or 1 gram. (Total weight of compound; strontium plus ranelic acid). Compared to women in the placebo group, who lost bone, women on strontium at the 1 gram dose showed statistically significant increases in bone mineral density (BMD) of the hip, thigh and lumbar spine. Biochemical markers of bone formation, such as serum alkaline phosphatase, increased. No effect on markers of bone resorption was observed, leading to the conclusion that strontium ranelate, at the 1 gram daily dose, increased bone formation without decreasing bone resorption proportionally. It was concluded that 1 gram per day is the minimum effective daily dose of strontium ranelate in these women.8
In another Phase 2 trial (STRATOS trial), 353 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, who had experienced at least one spinal fracture, took strontium ranelate for two years at daily doses of 500 mg, 1 gram or 2 grams. Women on the 2-gram dose showed a significantly greater increase in lumbar spine BMD than those on placebo. The number of subjects who had new spinal deformities was significantly reduced.9 As in the PREVOS trial, serum levels of alkaline phosphatase, a marker of bone formation, increased, while markers of bone resorption (breakdown) decreased. The overall conclusion is that the minimum effective daily dose of strontium ranelate (whole compound) is 1 gram in early postmenopausal non-osteoporotic women and 2 grams in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.10
Phase 3 efficacy studies on strontium ranelate have been conducted on 1649 subjects in 12 countries. These studies began with an open-run (non-controlled study period in which subjects took calcium and vitamin D supplements to normalize their blood levels of these nutrients.11 Following this, two parallel groups were administered 2 grams daily of strontium ranelate or placebo for 3-years. The subjects continued to take calcium and vitamin D during the study. In subjects on strontium ranelate, BMD increased in the lumbar vertebrae by 14.4 percent and in the thighbone by 8.3 percent. The number and risk of vertebral fractures decreased.12
Suggested Use: Take two capsules daily. Calcium intake must also be adequate. Do not take this product with calcium supplements.
Strontium ranelate was well-tolerated in the trials discussed above. The incidence of adverse events in subjects on strontium ranelate was statistically equivalent to the placebo groups, and no negative effects on hematology and other biochemical parameters have been observed.
In view of the fact that subjects on the strontium trials also took calcium, and in some cases vitamin D, to maintain normal blood levels of these nutrients, it is important to ensure calcium and vitamin D intakes are adequate when supplementing with strontium. This is underscored by earlier research on animals suggesting that increasing the intake of strontium via diet may demineralize bone when calcium is deficient.13 In rats with chronic kidney failure, strontium has been shown to cause osteomalacia, a condition in which bone is softened due to lack of mineral content. For this reason, people on kidney dialysis should not use strontium supplements.14
1. Shorr E, Carter AC. The usefulness of strontium as an adjuvant to calcium in the remineralization of the skeleton in man. Bull Hosp Joint Dis 1952; 13:59 -66.
2. Dahl SG, Allain P, Marie PJ, et al. Incorporation and distribution of strontium in bone. Bone 2001;28(4):446-53.
3. Baron R, Tsouderos Y. In vitro effects of S12911-2 on osteoclast function and bone marrow macrophage differentiation. Eur J Pharmacol 2002; 450:11-17.
4. Buehler J, Chappuis P, Saffar JL, et al. Strontium ranelate inhibits bone resorption while maintaining bone formation in alveolar bone in monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) Bone 2001;29(2):176-79.
5. Boivin G, Deloffre P, Perrat B, et al. Strontium distribution and interactions with bone mineral in monkey iliac bone after strontium salt (S 12911) administration. J Bone Miner Res. 1996 Sep;11(9):1302-11.
6. Grynpas MD, Hamilton E, Cheung R, et al. Strontium increases vertebral bone volume in rats at a low dose that does not induce detectable mineralization defect. Bone 1996;18(3):253-9.
7. Marie PJ, Hott M, Modrowski D, et al. An uncoupling agent containing strontium prevents bone loss by depressing bone resorption and maintaining bone formation in estrogen-deficient rats. J Bone Miner Res 1993;8(5):607-15.
8. Reginster JY, Deroisy R, Dougados M, et al. Prevention of early postmenopausal bone loss by strontium ranelate: the randomized, two-year, double-masked, dose ranging, placebo-controlled PREVOS trial. Osteoporosis Int 2002; 13:925-31.
9. Meunier PJ, Slosman DO, Delmas PD, et al. Strontium ranelate: dose-dependent effects in established postmenopausal vertebral osteoporosis––a 2-year randomized placebo controlled trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2002;87(5):2060-66.
10. Reginster JY, Meunier PJ. Strontium ranelate phase 2 dose-ranging studies: PREVOS and STRATOS studies. Osteoporosis Int 2003; 14(Suppl 3):S56-S65.
11. Meunier PJ, Reginster JY. Design and methodology of the phase 3 trials for the clinical development of strontium ranelate in the treatment of women with postmenopausal osteoporosis. Osteoporosis Int 2003;14(Suppl 3):S66-76.
12. Meunier PJ, Roux C, Seeman E, et al. The effects of strontium ranelate on the risk of vertebral fracture in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis. N Engl J Med 2004;350(5):459-68. 13. Grynpas MD, Marie PJ. Effects of strontium on bone quality and quantity in rats. Bone 1990;11:313-19.
14. Schrooten, I, Cabrera W, Goodman WG, et al. Strontium causes osteomalacia in chronic renal failure in rats. Kidney Int 1998;54:448-56.
Cancer fighter found in broccoli
July 27, 2005 10:05 AM
Remember when your mother told you to eat your broccoli? Research shows that mother just might know best. In a recently published paper, Dr. Paul Talalay of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine indicates that studies in his lab show broccoli is rich in sulforaphane, a chemical that works as a powerful anti-cancer compound in laboratory mice.
Other studies have shown that a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables—which include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and others— can significantly reduce the risk of cancer of the bowel, stomach and breast. Until now, the exact reasons why these vegetables had this effect we re not very clear. Until now, that is. According to Dr. Talalay, it appears that at least one anticancer ingredient in the vegetables is sulforaphane, which essentially causes cells to expel cancer-causing toxins. In addition, Dr. Talahay said that this study was the first to show that a high-potency compound isolated from vegetables could accelerate the detoxification process in cells.
The published report outlines how the research team isolated sulforaphane from broccoli, then fed it to a group of mice. When cells in the mice we re examined after five days, the scientists found that the chemical had triggered enzymes known to neutralize carcinogens within cells. Be yond this study, Dr. Talalay indicates that research will shift to the long-term effects of the chemical. “Our prediction is that sulforaphane will block tumor formation in animals and presumably in man.” In earlier studies, Dr. Talalay and others have shown that certain proteins in cells, called phase I enzymes, can take innocent chemicals and turn them into cancer-causing agents.
Other proteins, called phase 2 enzymes, tend to block formation of carcinogens. According to the study, sulforaphane is a potent activator of phase 2 enzymes. The Hopkins researchers will conduct tests to determine how much broccoli must be consumed to establish an effective anti-cancer level of sulforaphane in cells.
Over a decade of research has been done on cruciferous vegetables and there are large databases that confirm that cruciferous vegetables substantially reduce the risk of disease, specifically cancer. Studies show substances in these vegetables that have anti-cancer properties which cause the body to speed up production of enzymes, therefore being capable of neutralizing cancer agents. The studies also show these pre vent damage to our DNA and slow the aging process. In women, metabolic processes are regulated which eliminate the bad (and maintain the good) estrogen, therefore substantially reduce the risk of breast cancer. Shortly after the NCI study was released, John Hopkins School of Medicine revealed similar studies.
Hyaluronic Joint Complex - w/Glucosa, Chondr, & MSM - The Next Generation in Joint Formula
June 29, 2005 11:45 AM
Hyaluronic Joint Complex™ with Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM The Next Generation in Joint Formulas
Every movement you make requires your joints to help your body flex, bend and twist into that next position. But with time and use, your joints can begin to break down, resulting in discomfort. Source Naturals understands how difficult it is to live with joint discomfort. That’s why we developed HYALURONIC JOINT COMPLEX. This powerful formula combines the most popular, scientifically researched ingredients for joint health—hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM. Together, these ingredients promote joint, tendon and ligament flexibility and easy joint movement. Joints are cushions made of flexible and protective cartilage—containing outer layers that surround a lubricating fluid. It is this design of your joint and other connective tissues that gives your body structure, height and the ability to move without damaging the bones and muscles that hold you up. HYALURONIC JOINT COMPLEX provides the key nutrients needed to support this complex structure.
BioCell Collagen II®—Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a polysaccharide chain found throughout the body. It is a major component of joint tissue that helps to hold lubricating moisture in joints and cartilage, affecting their resilience, elasticity, and strength. BioCell Collagen II® is a patented hyaluronic acid, which has undergone an absorption enhancing hydrolyzation process that yields low molecular weight hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, and Collagen Type II peptides, unlike other preparations that have not been hydrolized. The low weight allows these compounds to deliver greater support for your joints.
Glucosamine—An Amino Sugar
Glucosamine is an amino sugar—a molecule made from an amino acid and a simple sugar. Amino sugars are the basis of virtually all connective tissues and lubricating fluids in the body. Just as amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, amino sugars are the building blocks of giant molecules called glycosaminoglycans (GAG’s), also known as proteoglycans and mucopolysaccharides. GAG’s are large, spongy, water-holding molecules that form the glue that holds us together. This substance is found in all connective tissue and mucous membranes. Numerous double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have examined the positive effects of oral administration of 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate-the amount in one daily use of HYALURONIC JOINT COMPLEX. To ensure optimal absorption, this formula contains glucosamine sulfate, N-acetyl glucosamine and glucosamine HCl.
Chondroitin sulfate is the most abundant GAG in the body. Its main role is in keeping cartilage fluid and elastic. It is found naturally in the body, where it is one of the critical compounds that makes up connective tissue. Connective tissue is responsible for building and supporting cartilage found in the joints and elsewhere.
Dietary Sulfur for Joint Lubrication
Both glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate provide an additional source of sulfur, a mineral that is important for healthy connective tissue. HYALURONIC JOINT COMPLEX also features MSM, or methylsulfonylmethane, a naturally occurring form of organic sulfur found in body fluids and tissue, cow’s milk, plants and most natural foods. Sulfur may promote joint flexibility due to its role in supporting joint lubrication and movement. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluated the effects of MSM with promising results.
Supporting Ingredients for Joint Health:
Manganese Ascorbate and Vitamin C Manganese is involved in the production of a wide variety of enzymes. These enzymes influence such biological processes as the production of collagen and the metabolism of protein and cholesterol. Manganese is also necessary for the growth and maintenance of tissues, cartilage and bones.
The manganese ascorbate used in this formula also provides 55% vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for the production and stability of collagen, the major protein in cartilage and connective tissue. It also protects cells from harmful free radicals.
Innovative natural products, such as HYALURONIC JOINT COMPLEX, are an integral part of the Wellness Revolution. Taking personal responsibility for your health is at the heart of this revolution. Your local health food outlet is your source for nutritional education and advanced natural products. Source Naturals is pleased to partner with these outlets to bring you HYALURONIC JOINT COMPLEX—the next generation in joint formulas.
The Colds & Flu Report
June 18, 2005 08:38 AM
The Colds & Flu Report by Sherrill Williams Energy Times, October 13, 2004
The nose knows the misery of a cold: stuffiness, watery eyes, sore throat and nagging cough. These annoyances are especially frustrating when there's not enough time in your busy schedule to be sick.
Traditional remedies help: Slurping a cup of Grandma's chicken soup. Sweating in a hot bath. Climbing under the covers until further notice.
While no one can guarantee you won't catch a cold this year, a few simple measures can limit your sick days and give you the best chance to dodge upper respiratory distress. The common cold is a frequent and expensive problem, causing about 15 million lost work days for Americans each year. Some people seem just about immune to the group of viruses that cause colds. But others may endure as many as 12 colds per year. For the lucky ones, a cold's irritations last a couple of days. For the unfortunate, a cold can drag on for a couple of weeks.
Influenza (commonly known as the flu) has many of the same discomforts as a cold, and both disorders originate in the upper respiratory tract. But while a cold usually stays on tract, the flu is often accompanied by fever, prominent headaches and severe aches and pains around the body. Fatigue from the flu can last as long as two to three weeks during recovery. All this distress demonstrates that your body is fighting off the invaders.
Traditional healers advocate the use of the herb echinacea at the first sign of getting sick. Echinacea, commonly known as purple coneflower, is native to North America and was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia until the 1950s.
Rosemary Gladstar, a Vermont herbalist and author of Family Herbal (Storey Books), suggests taking echinacea (Echinacea ssp.) in frequent small amounts in tincture or tea form at the first sign of cold or flu.
" Most of the compounds in echinacea are water soluble, so it makes a fine tea," says Gladstar. She also encourages echinacea tea as a gargle or spray to relieve sore throats.
Research at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts validates what traditional healers such as Rosemary Gladstar have known: echinacea works best if taken at the onset of colds or flu. In an animal study, scientists found that echinacea triggered a humoral immune response, an immune reaction that spurs the production of special proteins that latch onto and destroy viruses (Immunopharmacology & Immunotoxicology 2003 Nov; 25(4):551-60).
In another study, researchers found that echinacea enhances immune actions called T cell subsets or helper cell activity (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 2004 Jul; 27(7):1004-9). Helper cells are lymphocytes that take part in the destruction of viruses. In the quest for the kind of immunity that makes you less vulnerable to infection by troublesome viruses, Gladstar says that "echinacea is safe for children, the elderly and everyone in between."
C Is for Colds-And So Is E
The reputation of vitamin C as the anti-cold nutrient has been batted back and forth in the media for decades. Your body can't store up much of this antioxidant water-soluble vitamin, so you have to consume it every day on a regular basis. And while vitamin C may not prevent the common cold, research does demonstrate that it can help reduce a cold's severity and make it go away faster (Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics 1999 Oct; 22(8):530-3).
Adequate vitamin C is crucial for a healthy immune system. Even a marginal deficiency of this nutrient can leave you more vulnerable to the viruses that cause cold and flu. Plus, if you get a runny nose, researchers believe vitamin C can act as a mild antihistamine, slowing that runny nose to a walk.
In a University of Texas study reported at the 60th Anniversary meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in 2003, daily doses of vitamin C were shown to significantly aid immunity.
After two weeks of taking vitamin C, the people in this study had their blood examined. Researchers found increased numbers of NK (natural killer) cells, immune warriors that destroy infected cells. In addition, vitamin C activated T cells, a class of immune cells that also fight viruses.
And now a newsbreak: you can add vitamin E, vitamin C's antioxidant companion, to your cold prevention shopping list, at least if you're a senior citizen. According to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2004; 292(7):828-36), nursing home residents aged 65 and older who took vitamin E enjoyed a 20% risk reduction when it came to developing upper respiratory infections.
Don't Be Sick, Stay Happy
" When you smile, the whole world smiles with you" is a melody that is music to immunity. Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have found that folks who are relaxed, happy and maintain positive emotions are less likely to catch colds. In addition, people who are depressed, nervous or angry are more likely to complain of cold symptoms whether or not they actually have a cold (Psycho Med 2003 Jul; 65:652-7). According to Sheldon Cohen, PhD, "Study participants who had a positive emotional style weren't infected as often and experienced fewer symptoms compared to people with a negative emotional style."
So you don't have to be a passive cold victim this winter. When viruses threaten you, according to Mary L. Hardy, MD, you can also try:
" The first caution I give people is to get a good diagnosis," says Dr. Hardy. "If your cold is not acting like a normal cold, or if it has lasted more than a short amount of time, make sure you don't have a more serious condition, such as pneumonia." In that case, seek professional help.
But if you've contracted a run-of-the-mill winter cold, keep your spirits and immunity up! Even if you've been impulsively singing and dancing in the rain, the chill and wet won't result in a cold if you let a smile be your immune umbrella!
What is the difference between the types of Ginseng?
June 17, 2005 12:45 PM
What is the difference between the types of Ginseng?
Ginseng has been used for thousands of years by the Chinese and Native Americans. The Chinese name, Ren Shen means "Man-Root" because it is shaped like a human. There have been over 3,000 scientific studies published on Ginseng. Studies have examined the anti-tumor, anti-infective, nervous system, lipid lowering, and anti-fatigue activity of ginseng. Experimental research indicates that Ginseng helps the body adapt to stress, protects the body against radiation, and increases sperm count, and stabilizes blood sugar levels.
Ginseng can differ depending upon the species, the way it is prepared, and of course the dose administered. There are two main kinds of Ginseng: American and Asian. American Ginseng, Panax quinquefolium, grows wild in many states although it is cultivated mainly in Wisconsin. American Ginseng generates body fluids and is said to clear heat. Those who can benefit most from American Ginseng are individuals that are under stress, athletes, and people who feel hot and thirsty. They may also have coughing, or coughing up blood, which indicates heat according to traditional Chinese Medicine.
Asian Ginseng, Panax Ginseng, is usually imported to the US from either China or Korea. It is traditionally used to treat cold syndromes, which include cold limbs, weak pulse, exhaustion, and shortness of breath. White Ginseng usually refers to untreated ginseng, and is said to be less warm than red Ginseng. Typically red Ginseng is steamed and cured with other herbs giving it a dark red appearance; most Korean Ginseng is red.
A common substitute for Ginseng in the US and China is Codonopsis, known botanically as Codonopsis pilosula. It has similar effects to Asian Ginseng: it is not as strong and not nearly as expensive. Eleuthero Ginseng, sometimes referred to as Siberian Ginseng, is really not ginseng at all but is in fact a distant cousin. It belongs in a different botanical species: Eleutherococcus Senticosus. Eleuthero Ginseng grows in northern China and Russia. Although it is used to help the body adapt to stress, it is less specific as a medicinal herb than Asian or American Ginseng.
Traditional herbalists rarely use ginseng by itself. Herbs are usually combined with other ingredients in order to increase clinical benefits and reduce negative reactions. For example, Generate Pulse Powder (Sheng Mai San) is a traditional combination, which often combines America Ginseng with herbs to moisten the lungs; therefore it can be used for chronic cough that is difficult to expectorate, and shortness of breathe. Bu Zhong Yi Qi Wan is an ancient formula that has been used for at least one thousand years to treat patients who are exhausted, feel cold, and may have weak limbs and/or chronic loose stools. In this ancient formula, Ginseng is combined with Astragalus and other harmonizing herbs, which help the body assimilate ginseng. Modern formulas with Ginseng or Codonopsis, have been used to help people overcome serious conditions such as impotence, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and fibromyalgia. Modern Ginseng formulas have also been used in conjunction with western medical approaches to treating patients with HIV, and patients undergoing chemo and radiotherapy.
Asian Ginseng is considered a "big gun" and should not be indiscriminately used especially by itself. Headache, elevated body temperature, digestive upset, rash, fever, irritability, and insomnia are possible signs that Ginseng is not appropriate. It should not be taken at the same time as caffeine or other stimulants. Good quality Ginseng is expensive. Superior grade Ginseng can run several thousand dollars per pound. For this reason, it makes no sense to shop for the cheapest Ginseng or Ginseng products.
Cancer fighter is found in broccoli
June 14, 2005 06:09 PM
Cancer fighter is found in broccoli
WASHINGTON (AP) - Remember when your mother told you to eat broccoli? Scientists say they've proved mother knows best.
Dr. Paul Talalay of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said in a paper published today that studies in his lab show broccoli is rich in sulforaphane, a chemical that works as a powerful anti-cancer compound in laboratory mice. Studies have shown that a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower, can lower the risk of cancer of the bowel, stomach and breast. How those vegetables caused the effect wasn't clear.
Now, Dr. Talalay said, it appears that at least one anti-cancer ingredient in the vegetables is sulforaphane. It works by causing cells to expel cancer-causing toxins. He said this is the first time a high-potency compound has been isolated from vegetables and has been shown to accelerate the detoxification process in cells. Dr. Talalay said his team isolated sulforaphane from broccoli, then fed it to a group of mice. When cells in the mice were examined after five days, the scientists found that the chemical had triggered enzymes known to neutralize carcinogens within cells. Research, Dr. Talalay said, will shift to the long-term cancer-fighting effects of the chemical. "Our prediction is that sulforaphane will block tumor formation in animals and presumably in man," he said. Nutrition and medical scientists are trying to find ways to prevent cancer through a diet rich in foods that have anti-tumor properties.
In earlier studies, Dr.Talalay said, he and others have shown that certain proteins in cells, called Phase I enzymes, can take innocent chemicals and turn them into carcinogens, or compounds that can give rise to cancer by disrupting the genetic pattern in cells. Other proteins, called Phase 2 enzymes, he said, tend to block formation of carcinogens. Sulforaphane, he said, is a potent activator of Phase 2 enzymes. "There is mounting evidence that if you are able to raise the Phase 2 enzymes, this will divert the carcinogenic compounds from damaging the [genes]," Dr. Talalay said. "By tilting this balance toward Phase 2 enzymes, we can achieve protection from cancer." The Hopkins researchers will conduct tests to determine how much broccoli must be consumed to establish an effective anti-cancer level of sulforaphane in cells. Over a decade of research has been done on cruciferous vegetables and there are large databases that confirm that cruciferous vegetables substantially reduce the risk of disease, specifically cancer. Studies show substances in these vegetables that have anti-cancer properties which cause the body to speed up production of enzymes, therefore being capable of neutralizing cancer agents. The studies also show these prevent damage to our DNA and slow the aging process. In women, metabolic processes are regulated which eliminate the bad (and maintain the good) estrogen, therefore substantially reduce the risk of breast cancer. Shortly after the NCI study was released, John Hopkins School of Medicine revealed similar studies.
Due to these study results, the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, John Hopkins School of Medicine and the FDA have all reached out to inform the public of the anti-cancer compounds found in cruciferous vegetables, and are advocating the daily consumption of these vegetables. The average American has been eating only 4 and one half pounds of these vegetables per year!
Pep Up and Go!
June 14, 2005 05:45 PM
Pep Up and Go!
by Harris Parker Energy Times, February 2, 2000
Feel your energy flagging?
You've lost count of the number of phone calls you fielded all afternoon-the last was from your son, who missed the late bus home from school-and colleagues needing your decision are lined up outside your office. Your husband has invited clients home for dinner. You wilt like a new hairdo on a damp August day and pray for a miracle to jump-start your engine.
Your pep quotient depends on three essential ingredients: nutrients you consume through your diet and supplements, how much you exercise and your sleep schedule.(Of course, if you're troubled by any kind of disabling, ceaseless fatigue accompanied by mental fuzziness, joint pain, sore throat, swollen glands, headaches and other chronic distress, consult your health practitioner.)
Vitamins and Energy
Certain nutrients are called vitamins because scientists consider them to be crucial for vitality. They generally function as coenzymes, partnering with the enzymes that are catalysts for the chemical reactions constantly taking place in our bodies. Our need to replenish our store of vitamins, which may merge with cell, muscle, enzyme, hormone, blood and bone structure once they have been absorbed, depends on their rate of utilization, according to The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery) by Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning.
While a low-fat diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables helps supply important nutrients, a B complex supplement and a balanced multivitamin can guarantee daily vitamin levels.
Be Energetic with B Vitamins
Vitamins, especially the B vitamins, play extremely important roles in producing cellular energy. The chart on page 39 lists the key vitamins and describes their effects as well as the consequences of not getting enough of them. Their benefit is felt most profoundly in the energy producing process known as the Krebs cycle (which we'll explain in a moment).
Vitamins B2 and B3, for example, supply the major building blocks for substances that are called flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD and FADH) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD and NADH), which are critical elements of energy production in the Krebs cycle as well as a process called oxidative phosphorylation.
Hundreds of Reactions
Even though you may never have heard of NAD and NADH, these molecules are found in very many places throughout your body; they play a role in hundreds of biochemical reactions in all kinds of cells. B vitamins also combine with other materials to build coenzymes, chemicals which help form other chemicals necessary for cellular energy. B vitamins are crucial: miss out on one or more and you may break these metabolic chains necessary for peak energy.
Energy to Spend
The main energy currency of every cell single cell is ATP: a chemical called adenosine triphosphate. This material is used by cells for every imaginable task including reproduction, growth, movement and metabolism. Specialized metabolic cycles within the cell are designed to generate ATP.
Consequently, the more ATP our cells create, the more energy can be generated. The raw materials used to make cellular energy are glucose (blood sugar) and "free" fatty acids. The best way to supply your cells with the sugar they need is to consume complex carbohydrates which also supply fiber and other nutrients. When you eat carbohydrates, they are made into glucose which is stored as a starch called glycogen in muscles and the liver. Your body can rapidly turn glycogen into glucose for extra energy. (The process of making energy from glycogen yields carbon dioxide and water as well as ATP.)
The first step in making glucose into energy is called glycolysis. This complicated process requires nine different steps. During these steps, glucose is made into a substance called pyruvate. The process of glycolysis requires ATP, but yields twice as much ATP as is present when it starts.
From here, the process gets a little more complicated as pyruvate enters into a complex chain of events in tiny cellular structures called mitochondria. (Many metabolic events take place in the mitochondria.) The pyruvate molecules are converted to a molecule known as acetyl coenzyme A and eventually made into carbon dioxide, water and more ATP.
This process is known as the Krebs cycle or citric acid cycle. It also involves a series of events known as oxidative phosphorylation in which NADH formed during the Krebs cycle is oxidized to form ATP.
Why is fat such a concentrated source of energy? Free fatty acids enter the Krebs cycle to help generate ATP much more efficiently than glucose - producing roughly six times more energy per gram than glucose.
And Don't Overlook. . . . . .other supplements that may aid energy production: • Alpha Lipoic Acid, an antioxidant that works in the fatty tissues of cell membranes and in cells' watery interiors • Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone as it exists everywhere in the body, acts like a vitamin because it stimulates some reactions. CoQ10 protects cell membranes, especially of the heart, against oxidation and toxins.
Ginsengs: Energy Generators
With their legendary and slightly mysterious characteristics, the ginsengs are greatly respected natural energy boosters. " Perhaps no herb has excited so much interest in medical circles as ginseng, and yet, strangely, it does not actually 'cure' any one particular ailment," reports Michael Hallowell, the author of Herbal Healing (Avery) and a frequent lecturer on botanic medicine. "Rather, its virtue lies in its tremendous power as a tonic and invigorator. Russian athletes are prescribed large amounts of ginseng because researchers in Moscow have shown that it not only improves stamina, but also increases the efficiency with which blood is pumped to the muscles."
What are the physiological mechanisms that allow ginseng to bolster your get up and go? In order to unravel the legend and lore of ginseng, the first step is understanding the intricacies of the three types: • Asian (Panax ginseng), which produces the strongest and most profound stimulation; • American (Panax quinquefolium), which soothes at a more subtle level; • Siberian (Eleutherococcus senticosus), a stamina booster embraced by a wide range of athletes. All three varieties are treasured for their ability to help people adjust to stress.
The ginsengs are adaptogens, "biologically active substances found in certain herbs and plants that help the body and mind adapt to the changes and stress of life," says Stephen Fulder, MD, author of The Book of Ginseng and Other Chinese Herbs for Vitality (Inner Traditions). "Stress is not an illness in itself. Stress is change, our ability to adapt to all the changes that occur in life, emotional or physical, from exercise, work, chemicals, drugs, food, radiation, bacteria, disease, temperature, or simply too many late nights or too much fun."
The body reacts to stress by producing the hormone adrenaline, which throws the whole body into a state of alert. Metabolism, blood pressure and circulation accelerate; immunity and resistance drastically decline; performance suffers.
Enter the ginsengs, with their varied, subtle tonic qualities. The Greek name for this herb, "panax," means "panacea" or cure-all. But the Chinese, who first referred to it 2,000 years ago, more literally called it "ren shen" or "person root," in reference to its physical resemblance to a miniature human form.
" Most exhibit medicinal properties, but each species has a different chemical makeup and has a unique application in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)," says Kim Derek Pritts, author of Ginseng: How to Find, Grow and Use America's Forest Gold (Stackpole). "In general, all true ginseng contains biologically active saponins (chemicals similar to human hormones), essential oils, carbohydrates, sugars, organic acids, nitrogenous substances, amino acids, peptides, vitamins and minerals."
Building Vital Energy
All the ginsengs strengthen, nourish and build Qi, the TCM concept describing basic vital energy circulating through our bodies. Every physical and mental function, from breathing, thinking, nutrition and circulation, is regulated by Qi. Although many of the Native American tribes used the abundant, indigenous Panax quinquefolium ginseng extensively, particularly to increase mental acuity and boost fertility, the herb never has been as popular in North America as it is in Asia. American ginseng traditionally has been a lucrative export crop to China, where the wild native variety suffers from overharvesting. Even today, according to Paul Bergner in The Healing Power of Ginseng & the Tonic Herbs (Prima), 95% of the American ginseng crop is exported to China, where XiYang Shen, or "western sea root," as it is called, is immensely valued and costs double what it does here.
Jacques MoraMarco, author of The Complete Ginseng Handbook: A Practical Guide for Energy, Health and Longevity (Contemporary), as well as a licensed acupuncturist and doctor of Eastern medicine, suggests American ginseng for a slight energy boost. The moderate effect of American ginseng is considered a more appropriate tonic to the intensity of our pace and diet.
Variations on a Theme
In TCM terms, American ginseng cools and moistens, as well as lubricates and strengthens the body. It is reputed to reduce fevers and night sweats and alleviate hot, dry lung problems like smoker's cough. With its emollient qualities, American ginseng is considered to treat dry, wrinkled skin effectively.
The Bolder Energizer
Asian ginseng, which includes red Korean panax, is a bolder energizer taken by those who feel depleted from anemia, blood loss, cardiovascular weakness, injury, shock or trauma, as well as the disabling effects of age. In general, Asian ginseng is warming and stimulating, urging the body to run faster.
Siberian ginseng, though botanically not a true ginseng, still acts similarly to Asian ginseng in its reputed power to control stress, boost energy, support the immune system, enhance performance and increase longevity. Called Wu Cha Seng in Chinese, Siberian ginseng is perceived by natural practitioners as an ideal herb for the healthy who want to lift both stamina and endurance. Experts believe it counteracts the effects of cortisol, the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to injury, pain or emotional turmoil.
Natural Energy Boosters
The herbal pharmacopeia includes several other natural energy boosters available in various forms-shakes and bars for those on the run-loaded with nutrition absent from commercial snacks. Some choices: • Ginkgo biloba-used in Chinese medicine to heat the body and increase sexual energy. Ginkgo enthusiasts take this herb to increase the supply of oxygen to the brain and generally increase circulation. • Gotu kola-may stimulate the central nervous system and help eliminate excess fluid, thereby reducing fatigue. • Astragalus-a Chinese herb that enhances energy and builds the immune system. It is credited with strengthening digestion, improving metabolism, increasing appetite, combating diarrhea and healing sores. • Schisandra-also a Chinese herb, treats respiratory illness, insomnia and irritability and rejuvenates sexual energy. Its mild adaptogens help the body to handle stress. • Licorice-is a favored endocrine toner in Chinese medicine. It is reputed to support the adrenals, the pair of small glands directly above the kidneys that secrete steroidal hormones, norepinephrine and epinephrine, the "fight or flight" hormones. People with high blood pressure or edema, or pregnant women, should avoid it. • Ashwagandha-an Ayurvedic herb used for thousands of years in the traditional healing of India as a potent strength builder for men and women.
Experienced herbal practitioners acquire an impressive and fascinating store of knowledge and experience-you'll find it helpful to visit one as you begin your course of ginseng or other energy-boosting herbs.
When you visit a TCM practitioner, you'll notice that she evaluates your body's condition through an extremely careful examination of all the different systems: Several pulse points are felt in order to ferret out and detect troubling abnormalities. The condition and color of the tongue is observed to decipher digestive disorders. In addition, your urine may be examined to determine other imbalances and specific health problems.
In many cases, your TCM practitioner will recommend ginseng as an adaptogen that can give you an overall boost. When taking ginseng, follow the directions on the package. Note: in some cases, you may want to consume a little bit less if you suffer headaches, insomnia or high blood pressure. Consult your health practitioner if you are afflicted with either acute inflammatory disease or bronchitis.
Then take comfort in the eternal soothing wisdom of Chinese Traditional Medicine. In the first century A.D., the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (The Divine Husbandman's Classic of the Materia Medica) effusively described ginseng and the tonic herbs in this beguiling and intriguing manner: "The first class of drugs...are considered to perform the work of sovereigns. They support human life and they resemble heaven. They are not poisonous regardless of the quality and duration of administration."
Botanical Arsenal - Plants can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly ...
June 13, 2005 10:31 AM
Botanical Arsenal by Fred Thomas Energy Times, May 3, 1999
The complexities surrounding the various types of cancer stem from the variety of ways in which these diseases can wreak their havoc. Luckily, the equally complex world of plants contains novel compounds that can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly progress.
Research into these botanical compounds is mushrooming. An example: The mighty maitake, a fungus with flair, alternately known as the king (it can grow as large as a basketball, worth its weight in silver to the ancient Japanese); the prince; the Hen of the Woods (it sticks out of from trees when it grows in the wild); and the dancing mushroom to those who leaped for joy when they found one growing in its native northeastern Japan.
Researchers today dub it with a new moniker: Herbal Heavyweight.
Mushroom with Potential
The maitake, with such other medicinal mushrooms as shiitake and reishi, historically has been eaten to promote general well-being and vitality. In the modern lab, however, scientists focus on the potent immune enhancing powers of maitake, which spotlight its cancer fighting potential.
Twenty years ago, maitake, Grifola frondosa, was an obscure, largely unavailable mushroom. A series of significant Japanese studies then catapulted it into prominence-and popularity.
Hiroaki Nanba, PhD, of the department of immunology at Kobe Women's College of Pharmacy on Kobe, Japan, and a leading international researcher on maitake, conducted the preliminary tests on the mushroom, demonstrating that it stimulates immune function and inhibits tumor growth.
In 1986, Dr. Nanba fed powdered maitake to mice injected with tumor cells; 86.3% displayed inhibited tumor growth.
Dr. Nanba and his colleagues went on to run additional mouse tests, finally reporting that this potent mushroom "directly activates various effector cells (macrophages, natural killer cells, killer T-cells, etc.) to attack tumor cells."
From then, maitake mushrooms were headed to fame as cancer ninjas.
Stoking The Immune Engine
Like other mushrooms, maitake is rich in complex polysaccharides, immunomodulators that successive tests after Dr. Nanba's have shown to be effective in cancer and AIDS treatment.
The polysaccharides in maitake have a unique structure, rendering them some of the most powerful to be studied (Chem Pharm Bull 1987:35:1162-8).
What makes maitake a particularly hot property is beta-D-glucan, its primary polysaccharide. Studies show that the body absorbs it readily, at which point it effectively stimulates interleukin-1, natural killer cells and macrophages, anti-tumor warriors that battle solid cancers (Chemotherapy 1990;38:790-6; also International Conference on AIDS, Amsterdam, 1992).
Effective And Safe
In addition to lab tests, trials on people have shown that maitake may offer powerful therapy against liver and stomach cancer (studies in China), breast and colon cancer (US research) and Kaposi's Sarcoma, the virulent cancer attacking AIDS sufferers.
Importantly, studies show that no side effects or interactions accompany maitake's efficacy.
Maitake fortunately has won the interest and enthusiasm of the scientific community. Currently, researchers at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, headed by Denis Miller, MD, are completing an exhaustive test of the anticancer and immunostimulatory actions of maitake on folks with advanced colorectal cancer. These investigators hypothesize that the polysaccharide beta-glucans derived from the fruitbody of maitake fight tumors and boost immune function. "Though it cannot be said that maitake ...[is] the cancer cure," said Dr. Nanba in his closing remarks at the Adjuvant Nutrition in Cancer Treatment Symposium in Tampa, Florida, in October 1995, "one can safely say that they do maintain the quality of life of patients and improve the immune system, resulting in the possible remission of cancer cells with no side effects."
More Bodily Benefits
Maitake maven Dr. Nanba also has tested-with strongly positive results-the effect of maitake on blood glucose, insulin and triglycerides in mice, whose levels of all three substances declined when they were fed the mushroom (H. Nanba working paper, Anti-Diabetic Activity by Maitake Mushroom, 1994).
With colleagues, Dr. Nanba showed that maitake lowered blood pressure in hypertensive rats (Chem. Phann. Bu//36:1000-1006,1988). Other studies suggest it may accelerate weight loss.
This admirable adaptogen (meaning it helps the body adapt to stress and normalize its functions) is water soluble and may be eaten in food or taken as a supplement. Vitamin C is believed to intensify maitake's beta-glucans and enhance their absorption.
It's not just what you eat that may help protect against cancer, but what you drink as well. Research from China and Japan, where tea is the everyday drink and rates of several cancers like breast and prostate are lower, may persuade you to turn over a new leaf in your own beverage choice. One of the first studies to spark interest in tea came from Shanghai (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, June 1, 1994), where people who drank two to three cups a day were found to have about a 60% reduction in the risk of cancer of the esophagus. The reason: tea leaves contain compounds called polyphenols, potent antioxidants.
In fact, in tests at the University of Kansas, three of these, known as catechins, far outshone the common antioxidant vitamins C and E. Clinical trials are just starting, but early results are encouraging. A team of Chinese scientists reported that in a third of people with precancerous mouth sores who drank three cups of a mixture of green and black tea the lesions shrank significantly.
Researchers at the Saitama Cancer Center in Japan found that green tea seems to improve the prognosis of breast cancer. They followed a group of women with early-stage tumors for seven years. Those who drank more than five cups of green tea a day were only half as likely to suffer a recurrence as patients who consumed fewer than four cups a day.
And at the University of Indiana, toxicologist James Klaunig found that the lungs of cigarette smokers who drank the equivalent of six cups of tea a day suffered 40 to 50 percent less damage from the toxins in smoke, potentially lowering their risk of lung cancer and other pulmonary problems. Simultaneously, research from Purdue University suggests tea's cancer-discouraging powers go beyond being an antioxidant. Scientists Dorothy and D. James Morre showed that a tea catechin dubbed EGCG inhibits a growth-promoting enzyme on the surface of many cancer cells-happily without affecting normal cells. And researchers at the Ohio State University College of Medicine found that EGCG counteracted another enzyme, urokinase, that helps cancer cells spread. To top it off, Mayo Clinic scientists recently showed that EGCG prompted prostate cancer cells to commit suicide (Cancer Letters, Aug. 14, 1998).
So far, most tea research has focused on green tea, and investigators agree it's more potent than the black tea most Americans favor. But because both kinds come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis (it's the processing that makes the difference as black tea is fermented, green tea isn't) both contain cancer-fighting polyphenols, just in different quantities. As long as the tea you drink (even decaffeinated) is fresh brewed, it's likely to provide some benefit; powdered and prepared teas probably don't. And adding milk may dilute the effect.
Astragalus Against Tumors
Astragalus, an herb commonly used in Asia to boost stamina, has impressed western doctors for its potential for helping people cope with chemotherapy. As John Diamon, MD, W. Lee Cowden, MD and Burton Goldberg point out in the Definitive Guide to Cancer (Future Medicine), "Astragalus appears to protect the liver against the harmful toxic effects of chemotherapy and may be effective in treating terminally ill liver cancer patients." (They cite a study in the Jrnl of Ethnopharmacology 1990, 30:145-149.) In addition, they point out, research in Japan supports using a ginseng-astragalus combination to improve the function of natural killer (NK) cells which can boost immunity (Japanese Jrnl of Allergy, 37:2, 1998, 107-114).
Other studies confirm astragalus' potential in fighting off cancer. Research at the General Hospital of PLA, Beijing, showed that flavonoids (pigments) in astragalus could help protect cell membranes from oxidative damage caused by ultraviolet exposure (Chung Kuo Chung Yao Tsa Chih, 21(12):746-8; 1996 Dec).
A study of laboratory animals at Cunma University in Maebashi, Japan, found that Astragalus could help preserve immune function against the harmful side effects of chemotherapy (Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih, 15(2):101-3, 1995 Feb).
Like a flame attracting moths, garlic bulbs have irresistibly drawn the attention of medical researchers. A study at Aarhus University, Denmark, found that skin cells in laboratory dishes treated with garlic supplements lived longer, healthier lives than untreated cells (Jrnl Ethnopharm, 1994. 43:125-133).
Meanwhile, a long list of research demonstrates that garlic's phytochemicals may fight tumors and reduce the carcinogenicity of the pollutants and chemicals that assault us daily. A study in China reported in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine showed that garlic helped slow tumors in lab animals (1983, 11:69-73). Another study in the Journal of Nutrition found that compounds in garlic could "suppress the growth of human colon tumor cells" (126, 1355-1361).
Added to those benefits, Robert A. Nagourney, MD, reports in the Journal of Medicinal Food (1:1, 1998, 13-28), garlic may "modify the carcinogenicity of foodstuffs." In other words, studies show that garlic can make chemicals in foods like pork less likely to cause your cells to become cancerous. (Ind J Physiol Pharmacol, 39:347-353).
DNA, the stuff that genes are made of, face constant threats from free radicals, caustic molecules that can alter cellular structure and possibly cause genetic mutations that lead to cancer. But research into what are called oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC), flavonoids (pigments) derived from fruits vegetables, grape seed extract and the bark of maritime pine trees shows that OPC may be able to shield DNA from injury.
In particular, studies of a grape seed extract called Activin have demonstrated this substance can help liver cell DNA escape a destructive process called peroxidation (FASEB, 11:3, 2/28/97).
In these experiments, Activin demonstrated the ability to inhibit the growth of tumor cells as well as slow the replication enzymes of HIV viruses. This protective ability proved to be more potent than that of vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin E.
What does the future promise to reveal? Scientists believe that many unexamined plants probably contain undiscovered phytochemicals that hold great potential for helping us fight the cancer epidemic.
Certainly, if the next few years produce as many results as the past decade, the next millennium will witness a long line of cancer-prevention discoveries. Before long, you should be able to take advantage of these potent substances.
As you gulp your garlic, tip your tea cup, mull your maitake, acquire Activin and await your astragalus, you may meditate on what may soon be added to our growing anti-cancer arsenal. Undoubtedly, scientists with a botanical bent will be uncovering more coveted anti-cancer secrets before too long.
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart
June 13, 2005 10:06 AM
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart by Louis McKinley Energy Times, January 2, 2004
From time immemorial, people have tuned into life's lessons that come from the heart. Sadly, times are changing: If you're like most inhabitants of today's harried world, you may be too distracted to detect important clues about your cardiovascular circumstances.
And while heart lessons may be more complicated than simply connecting the physiological dots, understanding those heart messages are imperative for improving and maintaining your heart health.
Every cell in your body relies on heart-powered blood flow to keep it supplied with nutrients, oxygen, hormones and other natural chemicals necessary for survival. Without that supply of life-giving substances, few cells in the body-including those within the heart itself-can survive very long.
And just as damage to a major roadway can cause mayhem with traffic patterns, damage to blood vessels and the heart can wreak a lumpy cardiovascular havoc that blocks the passage of blood and endangers your heart's well-being.
Your Heart Disease Chances
Within the last ten years, scientific research performed by investigators around the world has focused on the specific factors that most strongly influence your chances of developing heart disease and suffering either a heart attack or a stroke.
While much of your risk depends on your genetic inheritance and family history, several factors that determine your heart health are within your control.
The most important factors you can do something about include:
* Smoking: free radicals generated by burning tobacco causes significant damage to blood vessels and other cells
* Lack of exercise: the human body is designed for consistent, moderate physical activity; without exercise, the body slacks off in creating antioxidant protection for arteries
* Diabetes: when excess blood sugar persists, physiological processes begin that endanger the heart and arteries
* Cholesterol: when oxidized (a chemical process that has been compared to a kind of internal rusting), cholesterol can form artery-blocking plaque; antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and natural vitamin E may help the body limit this process
* High blood pressure: excessive pressure within the blood vessels raises the risk of damage to the heart and arteries; a program of weight loss and exercise can help control blood pressure
* Being overweight: the extra body fat carried around your middle is linked to a greater risk of heart problems
Heart Attack Signs
Do you think you know what a heart attack feels like? Well, if you think it feels like a dramatic pain somewhere in your chest that knocks you to the floor, you're probably wrong. "Most heart attacks do not look at all like what one of my colleagues calls the 'Hollywood' attack-the heart attack you see on television or in the movies," warns Julie Zerwic, MD, professor of surgical nursing who has studied what happens when people develop heart disease and suffer damage to their hearts.
"The symptoms [of heart problems] are not necessarily dramatic. People don't fall down on the floor. They don't always experience a knife-like, very sharp pain. In fact, many people describe the sensation as heaviness and tightness in the chest rather than pain," she says. And, if you're a woman experiencing a heart attack, you may not even feel discomfort specifically in your chest. Instead you may experience a severe shortness of breath. The apparent ambiguity of the discomforts caused by a heart attack lead many people to either ignore them or take hours to realize they need to go to the emergency room at the hospital.
Consequently, much fewer than half of all individuals undergoing a heart attack actually go to a hospital within an hour of the start of the attack. That delay can be a fatal mistake.
"Timing is absolutely critical," laments Dr. Zerwic. "If treatment starts within a hour after the onset of symptoms, drugs that reestablish blood flow through the blocked coronary artery can reduce mortality by as much as 50%. That number drops to 23% if treatment begins three hours later. The goal is to introduce therapy within two hours."
However, in Dr. Zerwic's research, only 35% of non-Hispanic whites go to the hospital within an hour of the start of a heart attack. And among African-Americans, the number of people going to the hospital right away drops to a frighteningly low 13%.
Often, people will lie down or use a heating pad to relieve the tightness they feel in the chest," says Dr. Zerwic. "They may take some medicine and wait to see if that works. All these steps postpone needed treatment."
Signs of a possible heart attack include:
* Chest discomfort: Heart attacks most frequently cause discomfort in the center of the chest that can either go away after a couple of minutes (and come back) or persist. The discomfort may feel like strong pressure, fullness or pain.
* Upper body discomfort: An attack may set off pain or discomfort in either or both arms, and/or the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
* Shortness of breath: Chest discomfort is frequently accompanied by shortness of breath. But it's important to note that shortness of breath can take place even in the absence of chest discomfort.
* Other signs: You can also break out in a cold sweat, or feel nauseated or light-headed.
A Woman's Sleep Signs
If you are a woman who suddenly experiences a marked increase in insomnia and puzzling, intense fatigue, you may be in danger of an imminent heart attack.
In an attempt to understand how women's symptoms of heart problems differ from those of men, researchers talked to more than 500 women in Arkansas, North Carolina and Ohio who had suffered heart attacks. (Technically, what they had experienced is referred to as acute myocardial infarction.)
They found that chest pain prior to a heart attack was only reported by about 30% of the women surveyed.
More common were unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances and shortness of breath (Circulation Rapid Access, 11/3/01).
"Since women reported experiencing early warning signs more than a month prior to the heart attack, this [fatigue and sleep problems] could allow time to treat these symptoms and to possibly delay or prevent the heart attack," says researcher Jean C. McSweeney, PhD, RN, nursing professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. In Dr. McSweeney's study, more than nine out of ten women who had heart attacks reported that they had had new, disturbing physical problems more than a month before they had infarctions.
Almost three in four suffered from unusual fatigue, about half had sleep disturbances, while two in five found themselves short of breath.
Other common signs included indigestion and anxiety.
"Women need to be educated that the appearance of new symptoms may be associated with heart disease and that they need to seek medical care to determine the cause of the symptoms, especially if they have known cardiovascular risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight or a family history of heart diseases," says Dr. McSweeney.
Dr. McSweeney warns that, until now, little has been known about signs that women are having heart trouble or heart attacks. The fact that most of Western medicine's past attention has been on heart problems in men has obscured the warning signs in women. As part of Dr. McSweeney's studies, she and her fellow researchers have discovered that more than 40% of all women who suffer a heart attack never feel any chest discomfort before or during the attack.
"Lack of significant chest pain may be a major reason why women have more unrecognized heart attacks than men or are mistakenly diagnosed and discharged from emergency departments," she notes. "Many clinicians still consider chest pain as the primary symptom of a heart attack."
Vitamins for Diabetes and Heart Disease
Having diabetes significantly raises your chance of heart disease, which means that keeping your blood sugar levels under control can reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack.
Today, 17 million Americans have diabetes and, as the country's population in general gains weight and fails to exercise, the number of people suffering this problem continues to grow.
The first line of defense against diabetes consists of exercise and weight control. All you have to do is take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day to drop your chances of diabetes (American Journal of Epidemiology 10/1/03).
"We have found that men and women who incorporate activity into their lifestyles are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who are sedentary. This finding holds no matter what their initial weight," said Andrea Kriska, PhD, professor of epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
To help your body fight the development of diabetes, researchers also recommend vitamin C and natural vitamin E.
Researchers working with lab animals at the University of California at Irvine have found that these antioxidant vitamins can help insulin (the hormone-like substance secreted by the pancreas) reduce harmful blood sugar. In addition, these vitamins shrink the chances of organ damage that can be caused by diabetes (Kidney International 1/03).
In this investigation, these vitamins also helped reduce blood pressure, another risk factor that raises heart disease risk.
"Blood pressure was lowered to normal, and free radicals were not in sufficient numbers to degrade the sugars, proteins and nitric oxide," notes Nick Vaziri, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California. "We think this shows that a diet rich in antioxidants may help diabetics prevent the devastating cardiovascular, kidney, neurological and other damage that are common complications of diabetes."
Free Radical Blues
Dr. Vaziri and his group of researchers found that untreated diabetes raised blood pressure and increased the production of free radicals, caustic molecules that can damage arteries and the heart. Free radicals can change blood sugar and other proteins into harmful substances, boosting tissue and heart destruction.
In Dr. Vaziri's work with lab animals, he found that treating diabetes with insulin lowered blood pressure and helped keep sugar and protein from changing into dangerous chemicals, but allowed the free radicals to subvert nitric oxide, a chemical the body uses to protect itself from free radicals.
In this investigation, adding vitamins C and E to insulin insulated the body's sugars, proteins and nitric oxide from oxidative assault. This produces a double advantage: Lowering the risk of heart disease and other damage to the body from diabetes.
Maitake, an Oriental mushroom that has been shown to have many health benefits, can also be useful for people with diabetes who are trying to avoid cardiovascular complications. Laboratory studies in Japan demonstrate that maitake may help lower blood pressure while reducing cholesterol (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1997; 20(7):781-5). In producing these effects, the mushroom may also help the body reduce blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of tissue damage.
Tobacco smoke is one of the most notorious causes of heart problems. In the same way a hard frost exerts a death grip on a highway, the smoke from cigarettes can freeze up arteries and hamper their proper function. A healthy artery must stay flexible to comfortably allow adequate circulation.
But "...when blood vessels are exposed to cigarette smoke it causes the vessels to behave like a rigid pipe rather than a flexible tube, thus the vessels can't dilate in response to increased blood flow," says David J. Bouchier-Hayes, MD, professor of surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who has studied the deleterious effects of tobacco.
This rigidity is called endothelial dysfunction. When arteries are rigid, blockages gum up vessels, clots and other impediments to blood flow appear, and your risk of heart attack and stroke increases (Circulation 2001 Nov 27; 104(22):2673).
This condition can also cause chest pain (angina) similar to that caused by a heart attack, and should be evaluated by a knowledgeable health practitioner.
Although all experts recommend you stop smoking to lower your heart disease risk, some studies have found that Pycnogenol(r), a pine bark extract that helps the body fight inflammation, may ease some of smoking's ill effects.
In a study of platelets, special cells in the blood that can form dangerous blood clots, researchers found that Pycnogenol(r) discouraged platelets from sticking together (American Society for Biochemical and Molecular Biology 5/19/98). By keeping platelets flowing freely, this supplement may alleviate some of the heart-threatening clots that tobacco smoke can cause.
In Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional therapy from India, an herb called guggul has also been used to lower the risk of blockages in arteries. This herb, derived from the resin of the mukul tree, has been shown to reduce cholesterol by about 25%. People taking this herb have also reduced their triglycerides (harmful blood fats) by the same amount (Journal Postgraduate Medicine 1991 37(3):132).
The Female Version of Heart Disease
For one thing, women often don't suffer from the crushing chest pain that for most people characterizes a heart attack; instead, many women experience back pain, sweating, extreme fatigue, lightheadedness, anxiety or indigestion, signs that can be easily misread as digestive troubles, menopausal symptoms or indicators of aging.
The genders also differ in how heart disease poses a threat. While men seem most endangered by the buildup of blockages in arteries, women apparently are more at risk from endothelial dysfunction. But more study needs to be done since, in many cases, researchers have been unable to pin down the precise mechanism that causes many women to die of heart disease.
Scientists have found that the number of women in their 30s and 40s who are dying from sudden cardiac arrest is growing much faster than the number of men of the same age who die of this cause. But research by the Oregon Health & Sciences University and Jesse E. Edwards Cardiovascular Registry in St. Paul, Minnesota, shows that while doctors can pinpoint the coronary blockages that kill men, they can't find specific blockages in half of the female fatalities they have studied (American Heart Journal 10/03).
"This was an unexpected finding. However, the study underscores the need to focus on what is causing these younger women to die unexpectedly because the number of deaths continues to increase," says Sumeet Chugh, MD, a medical professor at Oregon.
Since the failure of arteries to relax probably contributes to heart disease in many women, eating red berries, or consuming supplements from berries such as chokeberry, bilberry or elderberry, may be important in lowering women's heart disease risk. These fruits help arteries expand and allow blood to flow freely.
Red berries are rich sources of flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocynanins. The anthocyanins are strong antioxidants that give the berries their color. Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that these chemicals can interact with nitrous oxide, a chemical produced by the body, to relax blood vessels (Experimental Biology conference 5/20/02).
As researchers work to devise lifestyle roadmaps that can steer you around the perils of heart disease, they are finding that exercise is a key path to avoiding cardiovascular complications.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that those who exercised and kept their weight down (or took weight off and kept it off) experienced a significantly lower risk of heart problems (Preventive Medicine 11/03).
"The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. Burning calories in physical activity may be the secret to reducing heart disease risk and living longer, she says.
Dr. Fang's research used information collected from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1975 and then computed how much people exercised, how their body mass indices varied and which of these folks died of heart disease during the next two decades.
In the study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who worked out and consumed more calories cut their risk of heart disease death in half.
Exercise Is Essential
"Subjects with the lowest caloric intake, least physical activity, and who were overweight or obese had significantly higher cardiovascular mortality rates than those with high caloric intake, most physical activity, and normal weight," Dr. Fang notes. The individuals in the study who were overweight and didn't exercise had a bigger risk of heart disease even if they tried (and succeeded) at eating less.
"This suggests that heart disease outcome was not determined by a single factor, but rather by a compound of behavioral, socioeconomic, genetic and clinical characteristics," according to Dr. Fang.
According to researchers, if your job requires a great deal of physical activity, your health will be better if you get another job. Exercise on the job not only doesn't decrease your risk of heart disease, it may actually raise it. The reason: On-the-job activity is linked to heart-endangering increases in job stress.
Research into this subject, performed at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, found that while recreational exercise slowed hardening of the arteries, workers who had to exert themselves during the workday had arteries that were blocked at a younger age (American Journal of Medicine 7/03).
In this study, researchers examined about 500 middle-aged employees as part of what is called the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study.
"We found that atherosclerosis progressed significantly faster in people with greater stress, and people who were under more stress also were the ones who exercised more in their jobs," says James Dwyer, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School. According to Dr. Dwyer, "This suggests that the apparent harmful effect of physical activity at work on atherosclerosis-and heart disease risk-may be due to the tendency of high-activity jobs to be more stressful in modern workplaces.
"It appears from our findings that the psychological stresses associated with physically active jobs overcomes any biological benefit of the activity itself."
On the other hand, the scientists found that heart disease drops dramatically among those who exercise the most in their spare time. In the study, people who vigorously worked out at least three times a week had the lowest risk. But even those who just took walks enjoyed better heart health than people whose most strenuous activity was working the TV remote. Dr. Dwyer says, "These results are important because they demonstrate the very substantial and almost immediate-within one or two years-cardiovascular benefit of greater physical activity."
Lowering your risk of heart disease is substantially up to you. Listen to what your heart tells you it needs; then, exercise your right to fetch some cardiovascular necessities.