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Eat (or drink) your vegetables: Make smoothies to maximize the lutein in spinach
May 06, 2019 03:40 PM
Spinach, one of the healthiest vegetables available, and it contains a high amount of lutein. The best way to get this lutein is to blend it in a smoothie or add it to a green juice. Because lutein is fat-soluble and stored in the immune cells, the researchers for this study were looking for ways to boost lutein levels in the blood and take advantage of its many health benefits. The research team that came from Sweden used Spinach to understand this process and they processed spinach in various ways, examining various heating and steaming methods to best bolster lutein content in spinach. They found that heating makes spinach to lose its lutein content and the more it is boiled, the more lutein that is lost. They found that the best way to consume spinach to preserve its lutein content is to take it cold. Therefore that is why adding spinach to smoothies is recommended for maximum consumption of lutein in spinach.
"There are many different ways of preparing spinach, but a recent study suggests that blending it in a smoothie or adding it to your green juice is the best way to maximize its lutein content."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-21-eat-or-drink-your-vegetables-make-smoothies-to-maximize-the-lutein-in-spinach.html
Fiber doesn't just do wonders for your gut: It also can also keepbreast cancer at bay
April 23, 2019 03:29 PM
We're all well aware of the digestive benefits associated with high amounts of fiber in out diets, but research is now showing that increasing your fiber can actually reduce one's vulnerability to breast cancer. Problems with insulin and glucose levels are often a primary culprit in the development in breast cancer, and fiber actually has the ability to regulate glucose levels. Since glucose levels remain more stable after regularly taking in fiber, the odds of developing breast cancer can be reduced.
"On its way out, insoluble fiber brushes the insides of the colon. This helps eliminate harmful substances so that they don’t accumulate in the body."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-28-fiber-keeps-breast-cancer-at-bay.html
Eating fried food just twice per week increases your chance of early death
August 17, 2018 09:53 AM
Nature News puts out an article on a possible link between routinely eating deep fried foods and premature deaths. One of the possible causes of an early death is acrylamide, which is present in some foods, one of which is deep fried potatoes. To cut down on risks, Nature News recommends cutting back on eating deep fried foods more than once a week(preferably even less often) and finding healthier substitutes. Substitutes could include vegetables or oven baked sweet potato fries.
"To stay healthy and lower your risk of premature death, limit your intake of fried foods like French fries and potato chips."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-08-16-eating-fried-food-just-twice-per-week-increases-your-chance-of-early-death.html
Acid Reflux Symptoms, Causes & Natural Treatments
May 10, 2017 03:44 PM
Acid reflux is a common condition that can cause a range of issues ranging from mild discomfort all the way up to causing cancer. The signs of acid reflux vary but are typically a discomfort burning feeling in the chest. Treatments can range from specialty diets to prescription drugs. Some foods to avoid are alcohol, fried foods and spicy foods. Foods high in healthy fats and enzymes tend to help reduce acid reflux. Probiotics and chamomile are two other natural options to help control reflux.
"Contrary to popular belief (and what many pharmaceutical companies say in advertisements), acid reflux symptoms are not caused by too much acid in the stomach."
Read more: https://draxe.com/acid-reflux-symptoms/
What happens to your body when you eat 3 EGGS every day!
May 07, 2017 05:14 AM
Eggs really give you the best bang for your buck. loaded with vitamin A,E etc. it’s hard to find other foods with such a varied nutrient profile.eggs are great source of Choline It’s so important for the brain. 2 eggs supply as much protein as 1 serving of meat, without exposing you to as much fat and acidity as most meats. So eat more eggs to gain muscle. It’s good.Eggs contains both calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D actually boosts your body’s ability to absorb calcium. Calcium is also necessary for blood clotting, nerves signals and muscles contractions.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEjPm1sN1cA&rel=0
"Eggs are the most common word when it comes to preparing our breakfast in the morning. Boiled, fried, scrambled, sunny-side-up, you name it. But how many eggs a day is the right amount for our bodies. A few years back, the health organization warned us about the cholesterol which eggs contain. However, eggs like many other foods, such as coconut oil and avocado, were misjudged when claimed as bad for our health."
This Cancer-Causing Chemical May Be in Potatoes, Cereal and Your Morning Coffee, Too
March 15, 2017 11:59 AM
Acrylamide, a chemical created when carbohydrate rich foods are cooked at high temperatures can be found in potato chips, French fries, cereal, toast and coffee among other foods. The chemical has been shown to cause cancer in animals with mixed studies in humans. It can be avoided by shortening cooking times or boiling instead of frying or baking/broiling and don't overcook your food. Soak your potatoes before cooking and avoid potato chips. Keep in mind it firms from plant-based foods so be aware when you cook these types of foods
"In November 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a consumer update advising people to reduce consumption of foods in which acrylamide is plentiful, noting this toxic byproduct is found in 40 percent of calories consumed by the average American."
A New Marijuana To Relieve Pain Without The High
January 19, 2017 02:59 PM
The pure medical value of marijuana is apparently being isolated without getting the user high, LatinosHealth reports. The two main molecules in marijuana are THC (which contains the "high"), and CBD, which does not get the user high, but can relieve pain. Efforts are being made to isolate the CBD side of marijuana for pure medical use.
"Earlier researchers were of the opinion that CBD had no use in the human body while THC was used to treat pain, nausea, loss of appetite and other problems but that notion has changed as CBD has been used in the treatment of diseases like epilepsy, anxiety, schizophrenia, heart disease and cancer."
10 foods that are healthy, except when they aren't
January 17, 2017 12:59 PM
On a diet and looking for those healthy foods to consume and lose weight? It is important when looking into those healthy foods to make sure they are really healthy. Some cereals can be a convenient and healthy breakfast but watch out for those sugary cereals they can cause a blood sugar spike and a crash before lunch time. Another healthy choice is sushi but beware sushi that is battered and fried can contain 200 more calories and three times the amount of fat.
"Popcorn, cereal, sushi: We love them, and we may tell ourselves they are healthy. But are they? Most of the time, it depends on how they're prepared."
I Tried To Quit Sugar, But Failed Without Realizing Why
January 07, 2017 02:59 PM
There's a right way and a wrong way to give up sugar in your diet. While giving up added sugars can have health benefits, doing so requires diligence. It's not enough to simply give up white sugar and corn syrup. Honey, maple syrup, and other sugars added to common foods such as ketchup can sabotage your plan to kick your sugar addiction. And coming off sugar -- like quitting any addiction -- requires a period of adjustment that can sometimes be uncomfortable. But starting with a plan and knowing what to expect can help you be successful in licking your sugar habit.
"I told myself I would stop eating refined sugar, which I loosely defined as corn syrup and the grainy, white stuff we add to cookies and cakes."
Avoid These 10 Foods Strictly To Prevent Chronic Inflammation
December 28, 2016 10:59 AM
Inflammation is supposed to protect us from infectious disease, but can flare up in response to some foods and cause needless discomfort. To minimize inflammation, try avoiding fatty foods, fried foods, oily foods, and foods that contain MSG. Also, sugary foods, sodas, and refined carbohydrates should be avoided. Finally, stay away from dairy, processed meats, and alcohol: these can all trigger inflammation.
"Inflammation is a natural process to protect the body from bacteria and virus and other harmful agents that affect the body negatively."
Prevent chronic inflammation with a healthy diet
November 17, 2016 06:59 AM
It has come to light in the past 20 years that fat cells are little factories that pump out hormones and immune system chemicals that can increase inflammation throughout the body. This is quite different from the energy storehouses we thought they were. In order to reduce inflammation, and the risk of certain diseases, the best thing we can do it eat foods that decrease the amount of fat stores. This means avoiding fried and sugary foods and instead opting for fresh fruits and vegetables that help fight inflammation.
"Inflammation in the body is a double-edged sword. Short-lived inflammation, directed by your immune system at invaders like bacteria or viruses, protects your health."
Too much heat in the kitchen may increase your risk of heart disease
November 14, 2016 04:54 PM
The high temperatures you are cooking your food at may actually lead to heart disease. Cooking food at very high temperatures can actually create new compounds that are harmful to us. Specifically, the oils and how hot they get may actually be the culprits. By just heating and frying alone you could be turning those healthy vegetables into deadly bites full of extra chemicals instead.
"If you're a fan of a well-seared steak or a crisp fried samosa, you may need to pace yourself, as a new study has found that you could be increasing your risk of heart disease."
Diabetes nutrition: Eating out when you have diabetes
November 03, 2016 06:04 PM
For people with diabetes, the condition can make eating out feel restrictive. Fortunately, with the right choices it doesn't have to be that way. Avoiding buffets can being mindful to portion size are important. Additionally, many restaurants allow the ability to substitute unhealthy food choices for healthier options. Finally, be aware of extra sources of calories that aren't part of the original dish.
"Many restaurants offer healthy alternatives. And you can plan what you want to order by looking at menus online, some of which provide nutrition information."
The Dangers of Vegetable Oil
More often than not, when we see the words vegetable oil, we assume that it is good for us since vegetables are essentially beneficial for the body. The truth of the matter is that this kind of oil is mostly derived from seeds such as sunflower, soybean and corn, not from any kind of vegetable at all. Aside from this, their extraction requires a process that uses up a lot of energy and is not good for the environment.
Unsaturated fats, otherwise known as trans fats, are fats that are usually solid at room temperature but processed in such a way that they are not when they come in the form of oils derived from seeds. These contribute to diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity. The sad part is that although there are so many calls to action regarding minimizing the presence of trans fats in food; there is very little that has been done regarding their presence in vegetable oils. How trans fats were developed or discovered will show how scary it actually is. It was discovered while looking for an alternative to tallow which is an ingredient for candle wax. It was cheap and convenient to harness and use. The reason why it is widely used is because of its extended shelf life. It can also be reused several dozen times for frying without changing flavor or adding a rancid taste to the food fried in it.
The process of extracting the oils from their sources requires a lot of heating and, for some, even exposure to acids and metals which contribute to the "mutation" that these oils undergo. Hydrogenated vegetable oil confuses our bodies into thinking that they are good for us. This is mainly due to the processes that changes their form. HVO alters the structure of our cells, making them weak and lowering the good cholesterol as well as raising the bad. Our bodies welcome these fats and do not treat them as a danger although their presence does, in fact, increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other diseases.
Vegetable oils can also cause imbalances in the composition of our fatty acids. Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are not produced by our bodies. Therefore, we need to supplement these from our diets and daily consumption in pretty much the same amounts to balance their presence in the body. Polyunsaturated fats from HVO that causes the mutation in our cell membranes can lead to oxidative chain reactions which are harmful to our cells. In essence, our cells are made weak and the chances of alterations to our DNA are increased. Omega 6 is abundant in HVO because it helps to slow the deterioration of the vegetable oil. It can cause an imbalance to the cell membrane causing inflammation in various parts of the body. One component of Omega 6 that is highly dangerous is linoleic acid. It has been linked to obesity, high levels of bad cholesterol and even damage to the brain's hypothalamus.
These are just a few of the dangers that come with using so called vegetable oils. These dangers are kept under wraps because of the massive income that the food industry will lose if it changes the oils used for cooking and preparing food.
What Is Vanadyl Sulfate And How Does It Relate to Diabetes?
December 22, 2011 09:24 PM
What is Vanadyl Sulfate
This is a well known inorganic compound of vanadium and in some circles it has been commonly referred to as another name for vanadium. This water soluble sulphate is known to be the most stable diatomic ion in the scientific world and has been known in the medical industry as something that has the same effect as insulin. It basically is a metallic element and is a soft and ductile element which is physically described as silvery white in colour and when it is in powder form it looks as if it is light gray.
History and Discovery
It is commonly known that this metallic element was discovered by a Spanish professor named Andres Del Rio who in 1801 was able to find the element erythronium in Mexico however at the time Professor Del Rio felt it was nothing new so he did not pursue to prove it any further and this is when a Swedish Chemist named Nils Gabriel Sefstrom got the credit for its discovery and it remained as the more known fact until a German Chemist by the name of friedrich Wohler was able to prove otherwise in 1831. He was able to prove that both discoveries were the same.
Uses and Functions
The main belief in the medical world and as proven is that it is able to function like insulin and it is able to mimic insulin’s effects to the body. As such you might have guessed what follows. It is able to help with diabetes because various studies suggest that it is able to lower the blood sugar levels in the body which is exactly what the purpose of insulin is especially when it is in high doses. Other studies also has confirmed that it also can possibly help with conditions like heart disease and high cholesterol which are diseases that diabetes usually affect as well although further studies needs to be done to this respect.
Safety and possible side effects
Vanadium has been shown to be safe for use by adults although it needs to be a fairly low dose unlike the one that is needed for diabetes. Possible side effect ranges from diarrhea to nausea and some abdominal discomfort. Furthermore, it is safe to say that this should not be taken by breast feeding women as it may have undesired side effects.
August 14, 2009 11:49 AM
Mustard is also referred to as mustard greens, Indian mustard, and leaf mustard. This herb is a species of the mustard plant. One of its sub-varieties includes Southern Giant Curled Mustard, which is very similar in appearance to headless cabbage such as Kale. However, it has a distinct horseradish-mustard flavor. It is also known as green mustard cabbage.
The leaves, seeds, and stems of the mustard plant are edible. The plant can be found in some forms of African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Soul food cuisine. The leaves are used in African cooking, and the leaves, seeds, and stems are used in Indian cuisine. The plant has a particularly thick stem, it is used to make the Indian pickle and the Chinese pickle. The mustard made from the seeds of this plant is called brown mustard. The leaves are also used in many Indian dishes.
This species of mustard plant is more pungent than closely-related greens like kale, cabbage, and collard greens. It is often mixed with these milder greens in a dish of mixed greens, which may even include wild greens like dandelion. Mustard greens are high in both vitamin A and K. Mustard greens are often used in Chinese and Japanese cuisines. Asian mustard greens are typically stir-fried or pickled.
The ancient Greeks used mustard for its medicinal value. Additionally, it was used for its flavoring. The Romans also used this herb. They added crushed seeds to wine for a spicy flavor. John Parkinson and Nicholas Culpeper, English herbalists, both recommended mustard for ailments like epileptic seizures and toothaches. The herb was used by Native Americans and early colonists for rheumatism and muscle pain.
Mustard is a strong stimulating herb. It is responsible for promoting the appetite and stimulating the gastric mucous membranes to aid in digestion. An infusion of the mustard seed stimulates urine and helps to promote menstruation. Additionally, it is a valuable emetic for narcotic poisoning, as it empties the stomach without depression of the system. Mustard is often used externally as a plaster or poultice for sore, stiff muscles. A plaster of mustard can also be used to treat congestion, warm the skin, and clear the lungs.
The seeds of the mustard plant are used to provide alterative, analgesic, blood purifier, caminative, digestive, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, irritant, rubefacient, and stimulant properties. The primary nutrients found in mustard are calcium, cobalt, iodine, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B12, and C. Primarily, mustard is extremely beneficial in dealing with indigestion, liver disorders, and lung disorders.
Additionally, the herb is very helpful in treating appetite loss, arthritis, blood impurities, breath odor, bronchitis, emphysema, sore feet, fevers, gas, hiccups, kidney problems, pleurisy, pneumonia, snakebites, sprains, and sore throat. Before supplementing with this, or any other nutrient, it is important to consult your health care provider. In doing so, you will ensure yourself optimum health benefits. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by mustard, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
Essential Fatty Acids
September 16, 2008 08:54 AM
A lot of people tend to shy away from anything that has the word fatty involved with it, thinking that it will cause them to gain unnecessary weight. What a lot of people don’t know is that there are good fats and bad fats. The beneficial ones actually can help decrease the desire for food and for harmful fats. Fats are essential to health, as they help to balance the body’s chemistry and provide padding for the vital organs in the body. Fats give a source of energy for body processes and also help with the transportation and absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are all fat soluble.
There are three main categories of fats: saturated fats, unsaturated fats, and essential fats. Saturated fats are made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules. The carbon atoms from fatty acids hold together in a chain-like fashion and they can attach a hydrogen atom to them. When each potential place for a hydrogen atom has been filled and there is no more room for any more hydrogen atoms, these fats are considered saturated. The fat will be harder or thicker in consistancy the longer the chain.
These types of fatty acids are found in red meat, butter, cheese, sour cream, palm kernel, and coconut oils. When someone has a diet that is high in saturated fats, these fats clump together in the body and form deposits that lodge in cells, organs, and blood vessels and can lead to many health problems like obesity, heart disease, and breast and colon cancer.
Unsaturated fats are called this because at least two adjacent carbon atoms on a chain are not attached to hydrogen atoms. When at least two pairs of carbon atoms are empty, it is known as a polyunsaturated fatty acid. The more saturated the fat, the more easily it will stay hard at room temperature.
Essential fatty acids are crucial nutritional compounds that our bodies need in order to perform many functions. They can be found in the seeds of plants and in the oils of cold-water fish. Essential fatty acids can not be made in the body, so they must be found in a supplement or in the diet. Many factors, which include stress, allergies, disease, and diet high in fried foods, can increase the body’s need for essential fatty acids.
Fatty acids are the basic building blocks of all fats. A fatty acid is considered essential if the body is unable to synthesize it and the only way it can be obtained is through diet. Additionally, it is considered essential if a deficiency will cause disease. A deficiency of fatty acids can cause poor reproduction, lowered immunity, rough and dry skin, and slow growth.
Essential fatty acids are vital for many functions including: lowering triglyceride levels; helping to eradicate plaque from the walls of arteries; lowering blood pressure; altering the production of leukotrienes; constructing body membranes; helping strengthen cell and capillary structures; prolonging blood-clotting time, which helps wounds to heal; helping the body manufacture hemoglobin; assisting in the manufacture of cholesterol; preventing the growth of bacteria and viruses assisting in the functions of glands and hormones.
Essential fats nourish the skin, hair, and nails; increasing the rate at which the body burns fat; helping the body maintain proper temperature; assisting in the body’s production of electrical currents that are vital for a regular heartbeat; and acting as a precursor to the production of prostaglandins. It is essential that everybody obtain good fat in their diet to maintain health, if one can not eat the proper foods, supplement forms of essential fatty acids are available.
Essential Fatty Acids (omega-3) ( Primrose Oil)
September 11, 2008 09:04 AM
A deficiency in essential fatty acids can be linked to many ailments. When the body lacks linoleic acid in the diet, adverse symptoms result. Such symptoms include: acne, changes in personality or behavior, gallbladder dysfunction, slow healing wounds, cardiovascular problems, prostate inflammation, thirst due to excessive perspiration, arthritis, miscarriage, poor growth, kidney problems, muscle tremors, skin disorders, and sterility in males. Low contents or a lack of linolenic acid in the diet can also cause many adverse symptoms. These symptoms include poor growth, learning disability, tingling in the extremities, impaired motor coordination, and poor vision.
When adequate amounts of dietary fatty acids are obtained in the deficient person, adverse symptoms will disappear. Unfortunately, long-term deficiencies of essential fatty acids can eventually lead to death. Because the human body requires forty-five known essential nutrients and requires linoleic acid more than any other, researchers estimate that the body needs at least three to six grams a day of linoleic acid in order to prevent deficiency symptoms. This is equivalent to one to two percent of your daily caloric intake.
However, a much larger amount can be helpful to encourage and preserve optimum health. Although the requirements are different for each person, factors such as stress, diet, and amount of physical activity that is engaged in daily must be taken into account. For example, an obese person who eats a lot of saturated fats will need a lot more essential fatty acids than a thin person who is cautious about the amount of saturated fats that are included in their diet. Saturated fats interfere with the absorption and metabolism of linoleic acid.
A well-balanced diet will include primary nutrients such as vitamins B3, B6, C, zinc, and vitamin A. This will help the body to utilize essential fatty acids much more efficiently. It should be mentioned that the ability of lipids to hold high levels of oxygen has negative effects for those who are obese. By having increased oxygen in fat reserves, one can experience lipid oxidation, which leads to free radical formation, which in turn increases many tissue pathologies. In order to avoid this process, a diet or supplementation that is rich in antioxidant nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and E is encouraged. Many factors can get in the way of fatty acid metabolism. These include a diet that is high in saturated fats and cholesterol, aging, alcohol, high blood sugar, viral infections, and aspirin use.
It is recommended that people stay away from fats that have been altered from their normal, health-giving state to the point in which they actually cause damage to the cells of the body. In an ideal state, a person who is health conscious will avoid any foods that are deep-fried, as they are especially dangerous to the human body. However, because we are all humans, it is almost impossible to eat a perfect diet in this day and age.
Therefore, taking an essential fatty acid supplement is a great idea that is recommended by many health experts to offset the damage that is often done to your body by consuming the unwanted, yet inevitable, bad fats. Essential fatty acids can regulate hormone production in the body and stabilize ones emotional state if it is due to a hormone imbalance. Have you had your essential fatty acids today?
Gac Fruit Oil
August 25, 2008 07:04 PM
Most people have never heard of gac fruit, yet it is very popular in South East Asia, particularly in China and Vietnam. The fruit is grown on vines that reach the size of a cantaloupe and from North East Australia across to China and Vietnam it is used as both a food and a medicine. It is only fairly recently that it has found use in the West as a health food
So what’s so special about this fruit, known also as baby jackfruit and sweet gourd? Its bright red color should provide a clue, since it is jam packed full of beta carotene, lycopene and other strong antioxidants that not only helps to support the immune system, but also helps to retard the effects of aging. It has been used in Vietnam in particular to overcome the effects of an endemic deficiency in vitamin A, and is rich in provitamin A carotenoids. It is also widely used in Chinese medicine to treat a variety of complaints.
Antioxidants and Free Radicals
Antioxidants can boost health in a number of ways, and it might help you understand better the benefits that gac fruit can provide to explain what antioxidants do and why they are such an essential part of our diets. Every millisecond of every day of our lives, our natural metabolism of the conversion of blood glucose to energy generates small oxygenated molecules known as free radicals.
Free radicals are molecules that possess an unpaired electron and are highly unstable. Electrons generally travel in pairs, and when one of that pair is lost through a chemical reaction, the other electron has only one purpose in its short life: to pair up with another electron and it will do whatever it has to in order to achieve that. It is called a free radical, and its life is short. Free radicals destroy body cells, and this can have a dramatic effect, both visually on your skin, and internally on your general health.
Apart from those generated by your body’s own biochmemistry, free radicals are present in car emissions and other pollutants such as pesticides, smog and fried and barbecued foods. They are also formed in your skin by excessive exposure to the UV component of the sun’s radiation. That is why the skin of those living in hot climates tends to age earlier.
Free radicals are what make you look older as you grow older: they destroy skin cells as they are formed, but that is one of the least of their effects. They can also oxidize low density lipids (LDL) that carry cholesterol around your body, causing it to deposit fatty plaques on the walls of your arteries, which is a serious cardiovascular condition known as atherosclerosis.
Antioxidants can donate an electron to free radicals without then becoming free radicals themselves, and so destroy them as they are formed. However, the antioxidant can then lose its reducing power. Free radicals do not roam the blood seeking victims as many imagine them to, but react almost instantly, as soon as they are formed. It is important, therefore, that antioxidants are present in or close to every cell of your body. To achieve this, they must be bound to a fatty molecule, and the problem with many phytonutrients is that they have no associated fats or oils to carry them into the fatty tissues of the body.
Nutritional Constituents of Gac Fruit
Not so with gac fruit, because in addition to the beta carotene and lycopene content, it is also rich in long-chain fatty acids, particularly linoleic and alpha linoleic acids. Not only that, but its beta carotene content is around ten times that of carrots, and it contains 70 times the lycopene of tomatoes! Vitamin C is another very powerful antioxidant, and gac contains 60 times the Vitamin C of oranges. It is also rich in other free radical busters, such as xeoxanthins and alpha-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E.
Altogether, gac fruit contains a free radical killing arsenal that should be enough to scare even the most courageous free radical back to where it came from. Other constituents of gac are numerous minerals, particularly zinc and iron.
That is why the sweet gourd is such a prized fruit, and why Southeast Asian women have skins that western women of the same age would die for! Antioxidants help to prevent the disruption and destruction of skin cells that are the major reason for aging looks, and why skin creams are packed with vitamins A and E, both strong antioxidants.
Health Benefits of Gac
Most of the health benefits of gac are provided by its antioxidant properties. Thus, if you have a high cholesterol level, gac can help you to avoid atherosclerosis by preventing the oxidation of the LDL cholesterol, which is the precursor to it depositing on your artery walls. The body needs cholesterol, but levels should be kept to within certain limits or the resultant atherosclerosis can narrow your arteries leading to cardiac problems and strokes, particularly in the very narrow arteries of the brain.
Gac also supports the immune system and helps to maintain prostate health, largely through its alpha tocopherol, or vitamin E content. Vitamin E is easily destroyed by free radicals, which is where the beta carotene is of benefit. This is the body’s first line of defense against free radicals, and each molecule can neutralize up to 20 free radical molecules before it is destroyed. This helps to save other antioxidants such as vitamin E.
Lycopene is particularly beneficial to the prostate and current research indicates that it can help to prevent prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease, plus some other diseases such as macular degeneration that affects your sight. Perhaps this is one reason why the gac fruit membranes are used in Vietnam to promote healthy vision, and they also help to cure dry eyes. Lycopene remains in your body fat longer than normal beta carotene, and recent studies have found that men with high amounts of lycopene in their body fat are up to 50% less likely to suffer heart attacks as those with low amounts.
Gac fruit is jam-packed full of nutrients and antioxidants, and has no known side effects. It is used in Asia for weddings and other special occasions, and is grown on lattices in many gardens, although it has a short season. However, gac fruit is not known as the “Fruit from Heaven” for no reason, and if you were allowed the choice of only one fruit in your life, then this would be the one.
Loose Weight By Cutting Dietary Fat Absorption
December 08, 2007 06:24 PM
You can lose weight by cutting dietary fat absorption, although in order to understand the need for this you have to appreciate the effect that fat has on your weight. Not only fat, but any form of calories.
The word ‘calorie’ appears to have a bad press, and there have been a lot of ill informed comments made about calories and whether calorie controlled diets are effective or not. Quite frankly, it is all said in ignorance. Whether you agree or not, the calorie is a measurement of energy and the calorie content of foods is what is calculated to be the energy value of these foods.
Once inside your body, that energy is either used up or converted to body mass. It is not necessarily converted to fat, since that extra weight could be in the form of muscle tissue. However, it is converted to body mass and so you can put on weight. The basic equation is that if you take in more energy than you use, then you add weight, and if you use more energy than you take in, then you lose weight. It is slightly more complex than that, but it is basically true.
That does not mean that if you eat a pound of dripping (the fat that drips off cooking meat) you will add a pound of weight. It is the calorific value of the dripping in terms of energy, whether measured in calories or in joules, that is the relevant factor, and if that is 4000 calories, which is about average for various types of dripping, then if you use up 4001 calories in exercise, you can safely spread your pound of lard on toast and eat it without putting on weight (you will have also to use up the calories in the toast).
It is the calorie equation that is important, and if this is negative then you will lose weight. You have to: it is a law of science! Whether your calories are in the form of cookies, candies, avocados (loads of them) or dripping, it is all the same. A meat calorie is the same as a vegetarian or vegan calorie. If you eat more than you use you put on weight.
Different foods contain different quantities of energy, or calories. If you buy a Big Mac you eat 570 calories, and 5 from your Super Pepsi. If the guy next to you has an English Muffin, he will have 140 calories. However, if he then goes home and slouches on the sofa watching TV and you go to the gym for a serious workout, he is liable to put on weight and you lose it. It’s all in the equation!
However, you don’t just use calories in exercise. Your metabolism is also important. In fact 65% - 75% of the calories you use in a day are used up by the body at rest: the metabolism that takes place 24/7 to keep you alive. The heartbeat, breathing and brain activity for example, all use up energy. So not all is doom and gloom, and you can burn up these calories even while you are sleeping.
However, there is another way to prevent the fat you eat from turning into weight. (Incidentally, if you exercise a lot, that weight will likely be in muscle mass, but if not then it will certainly be fat). You have a clue to the way that can be done in the first sentence of this article: ‘dietary fat absorption’.
If the fat is not absorbed into the body, then it is not available to be metabolized into body fat. It will pass through the body unchanged. It is not the fat you consume that makes you gain weight, but the amount of that fat absorbed through your intestines. But how is it possible to selectively prevent the fat in your diet from being emulsified by the bile and absorbed through the intestinal wall?
By means of chitosan. This is a fiber that absorbs part of the fat from the food you have eaten and hides it away from your digestive system. It cannot be broken down into sugars and then into fat to add to your unwanted weight. However, because it works after your meal, you get to eat what you want – that ‘finger lickin’ good’ stuff you love, but don’t suffer the consequences of failing to exercise to work it off. It’s like you just ate lettuce without the fried chicken with the crispy fatty skin.
So what is this miracle substance, chitosan? Biologists would recognize the name as being associated with chitin, the acetyl-glucosamine polymer that forms the carapaces, or shells, of crabs, lobsters and other marine shellfish. Chitosan is formed by deacetylating the chitin and is mainly used to enhance the growth of plants, and also as a filtration aid. So what does it do to help to remove some of the fat from your diet after you have eaten it?
The mechanism by which it does this is not fully understood, and in fact is still disputed in some quarters. However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and it appears to act according to the claims. There are two possible mechanisms, one of which is connected with the deacetylation of the chitin molecule. Because of this, the resultant chitosan molecule has cationic groups on the polymer chain. Cations are positively charged, and can react with acids, not the least of which are the bile acids that break down lipids (fats) to render them into a form suitable for absorption.
It is possible for the chitosan to react with the bile acids and prevent them from breaking down the fats into a condition that enables them to be passed through the intestinal wall. However, it has also been proposed that dietary fibers work by increasing the thickness of the boundary layer of the intestine through which the fats would have to pass. This would have the effect of reducing the lipid uptake.
It is also possible that since chitosan is a fibrous substance, it attracts the fats through its charge and absorbs them into a swelling ball of fats and fiber that is not only impermeable by the bile acids, but also passes through the intestinal tract unchanged and eventually excreted. In fact, there is not proof for any of these projected mechanisms, and all are theoretically possible. The fact is that it appears to work, but must be taken for several weeks for the effects to be noticeable.
It is possible to lose weight by dietary fat absorption, and whatever mechanism is used by chitosan, it is well worth trying if you like your fatty foods but also want to lose weight. Combine chitosan with a good exercise regime and you might find that you can control your weight whatever you eat. Chitosan is available over the counter at any health food store.
Digestive Enzymes To Improve Wellness For Kids
November 04, 2007 03:19 PM
It is very safe to say that most people experience some type of digestive difficulty, as digestive disturbances are very common, especially for those who do not practice healthy eating. The numerous advertisements for antacids and acid blockers clearly identify the degree of this problem. But, what about our children? It has been proven that kids are suffering from digestive problems more than ever before due to unhealthy eating habits and nutritionally deficient diets that are high in saturated fats and processed sugars and carbohydrates. The food that is served in school cafeterias often contains too much fried food and not enough fresh produce. Additionally, parents have to constantly fight a losing battle against advertisements for junk food. Many children follow in the footsteps of their parents, picking up the same bad eating habits, which frequently leads to poor digestion and health problems. Overeating, eating too fast, or not chewing food well hinders digestive capability leading to symptoms such as gas, heartburn, bloating, burping, bad breath, diarrhea, constipation, and general discomfort or fatigue after meals. Although these symptoms are common, they should not be considered normal as they are distress signals sent by our body telling us that the digestive process is not going smoothly and we are not receiving the full nutritional benefit of the food we eat. If digestion is not efficient or complete, inflammation may develop, which causes “leaky gut syndrome,” leading to various allergic reactions.
The brain is especially susceptible to protein fragments, which come from the incomplete digestion of grain gluten and dairy casein. Researchers believe that these fragments, which are called exorphins, are the main factors in the cognitive symptoms and abnormal behaviors of those kids with ADHD and autism. A recent study on thirty-six autistic children found that a majority of these children had digestive disorders including esophageal reflux and inflammation, gastritis, duodenitis and low carbohydrate digestive enzyme levels. Some doctors believe that seventy-five percent of the children that they treat have major deficiencies of pancreatic enzymes.
Enzymes are often called the spark of life or the missing link in nutrition because no plant or animal can exist without them. Digestive enzymes are protein catalysts which break down food so the body can absorb nutrients. Therefore, enzyme supplementation can be extremely helpful, especially when it is done in conjunction with dietary changes. And, yes, kids can take enzymes supplements, too. In children with digestive symptoms, enzyme supplements help to establish proper weight because better assimilation of nutrients helps growth and repair while still supporting a healthy metabolism. Digestive enzymes come in mild-potency enzyme formula which covers all of the food groups for children. Children should take a powder which is safest so there are no caps to swallow and chock on and powdered enzymes allow children to get their digestive enzymes through one scoop which can be added to your child’s favorite juice. Some formulas add potassium carbonate, this form of potassium adds a fun fizz to whatever beverage is used, but is not recommended in milk or water. Look for a powdered supplement that is sweetened with xylitol, a safe and natural sugar substitute which supports tooth and gum health. Since more children than ever suffer from the consequences of incomplete digestion, digestive enzymes are a safe and effective way to support digestion and assimilation of important nutrients into your child’s diet in an enjoyable way.
Eating Healthy for Athletes
October 13, 2005 07:10 PM
Eating Healthy for Athletes
If you are an athlete, it's important for you to consider your diet carefully. Whether you've been a serious lifelong athlete or have just started to exercise regularly, this applies to you. It's been shown that people who are starting to get into shape need more proteins and other nutrients than even seasoned athletes.
So what makes up proper nutrition for athletes? Well, remember that you need to consume lost of calories if you are exercising regularly. If you aren't overweight, keep in mind that you must eat more than you normally would if you weren't training. Here's a general rule of thumb: consume 8.5 calories for every kg that you weigh. So if you weigh 100 kg (which equals 220 pounds), that would require a consumption of 850 calories for one hour of working out.
It is almost never wise to cut back on your dietary consumption at the same time as embarking on a regular exercise program. If you are considering this, be sure to consult your doctor first. At any rate, an athlete in training should never try to lose more than 2 or 3 pounds each week, at most.
Research suggests that above all, eating a variety of healthy foods is the most important thing you can do. Keep a strong balance, whether you're an athlete or even if you're not.
That means you should be taking in most of your calories from carbohydrates, which include vegetables, grains, oats, wheat, rice, bread, pasta, etc. The exact number that you should aim for is 57% of your diet.
The next largest group is the fats, which should make up about 30% of your diet. Fats are both vegetable based - eg corn oil, and animal based - non-vegetarian shortening. Butter and shortening occur in many foods like cakes, and are examples of saturated fats. In general most of your fat intake should come from the unsaturated fats found in vegetable fats. You should use olive oil for salad dressings and for cooking.
The rest of your diet, 13%, should be comprised of protein. This means fish, poultry, lean red meat, and so on. You can also get protein from nuts.
Proper nutrition means avoiding or consuming only small portions of fried food, cookies, alcohol, candy bars, and that kind of junk food. Instead, eat plenty of fresh, raw vegetables, whole grains, fish, and lean meats.
Remember, exercise expends lots of energy and uses up important nutrients. Athletes should be sure they are eating enough to stay healthy and strong, and to ensure that they have all the vitamins and minerals their bodies need.
There are, however, a huge number of supplements currently available. Most of them have not been scientifically proven to work. Still, some athletes--such as marathon runners and others in endurance sports-- may require iron supplements. This tends to be the case with women more so than men, but you can get tested if you suspect you need more iron.
You can also see a nutritionist with a good reputation to take an overview of your diet. Also, you may have to supplement while on the road, since diet while traveling tends to be poor.
The other common dietary supplement used by many athletes is an energy snack or drink. These are very useful for athletes in training since they are often easier to consume than a full meal. Ideal if you are having trouble eating a couple of hours before a work out or soon after (both of which are good ideas). Remember though that these bars and drinks are packed with calories, so do count towards your dietary intake.
Nutritionist Ann Sertanze gives advice online through RHS Nutrition, a specialist website offering nutritional advice for people of all ages. Pay a visit to com
Common Sense Guidelines for Avoiding the Flu and Colds
July 28, 2005 02:07 PM
Common Sense Guidelines for Avoiding the Flu and Colds
1. Eat a healthy diet. The most important way to prevent being infected is through a proper diet. Raw vegetables, fruits, sprouts, nuts, and seeds should be eaten in abundance. Fresh fruit juices such as apple and grape can help the body flush out toxins. Do not overeat. Avoid sugar, soft drinks, white flour products, chocolate, fried foods, alcohol and tobacco.
2. Exercise for health. Exercise at least three times per week to help strengthen the immune system. Regular exercise is known to help enhance the body’s resistance to disease. Exercise can improve the white blood cell count in the body, which fights germs. It stimulates the lymphatic flow and blood circulation, which allows for the blood flow to increase to the brain and all areas of the body. It can help release hormones that actually help you to feel good. Exercise can help relieve anxiety and stress in the body. It can help increase energy and an overall sense of well being.
3. Get plenty of rest. A good night’s sleep helps the immune system fight off illness. This keeps your immune cells powered up, according to research done at the San Diego Veterans Affairs Medical Center. In the study, 42 healthy volunteers were allowed only four hours of shut-eye overnight, which resulted in 30 percent drop in natural killer cells (key players in the battle against viral infections). Sleep deprivation also decreased immune cells, such as T-lymphocytes.3
4. Wash hands regularly. Viruses are easily transmitted during casual contact like shaking hands or touching a doorknob. Wash hands after coming into contact with someone who is ill. Keep hands away from face and mouth.
5. Use paper cups in the bathroom. Viruses can often spread through the family. Using small, disposable paper cups in the bathroom may stop some of the transmission. Toothbrushes should also be replaced regularly to avoid recontamination.
6. Wash towels and linens often. If someone in the family becomes ill, wash towels daily. Hot water should be used in washing to kill the viruses involved.
New Man Food
July 27, 2005 04:31 PM
New Man Food
Listen up, guys. Masculinity isn’t defined by what you eat. It’s all about how well you hold up through the years, which means taking care of yourselves. So ditch the doughnuts, double burgers and draft beer, and adopt a healthier diet. Here’s how!
Back in 1982, a best-selling, humorous manifesto of masculinity known as Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche epitomized the male backlash against feminism, by then a formidable force in the American cultural landscape. But the joke, it turns out almost 25 years later, is on the men- and not just because quiche doesn’t have that many fewer calories than a Quarter Pounder. We may have maintained out mach-ness all these years by eating “manly food,” but we’ve become unhealthy and ultimately weaker because of it.
In 2000, the National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey revealed that among men 20 years and older, a whopping 65.1 million (67.2%) were considered overweight and 26.6 million (27.5%) were considered obese. Only 30.6 million (31.8%) of men 20 to 74 were considered to have a healthy weight. The fallout from such a fatness factor is that more men are dying each year of heart disease and related illnesses and more money than ever is being spent on health care (to say nothing of how poor male health affects the women and children who depend on the men in their lives). Another cheeseburger, guys?
Those numbers, though shocking at first, shouldn’t be that surprising. As a gender, men are more vain, ego-driven and stubborn than women. How does this manifest itself when it comes to wellness? Until a man is hit with his first health crisis, no matter what the age, he thinks he’s indestructible.
That’s why it’s so difficult to convince men to get regular medical checkups (which they should do especially when they hit 50). It’s not that many American men aren’t trying to lose pounds. It’s just that they are a bit misguided in their efforts. Weight-conscious men really gravitated to the Atkins diet. Why? Because at the same time the plan says to cut carbohydrates and increase protein, it gives men carte blanche to eat mass quantities of high-fat “manly” foods like beef and pork. Trading pounds for clogged arteries doesn’t seem like a good deal.
So the time has come for all American men to turn their testosterone-driven energy into changing their nutritional lifestyle. We have to stop eating the same high-caloric and fat-laden foods we usually consume in large doses and start pursuing a diet based on variety, moderation and balance. It’s time to start eating “new” man food: the kind of foods that will make us feel (and look) like a new man.
Out With the Old
But before we can embrace the new, we must wean ourselves off the old, particularly the male habit of eating food in humongous portions. Easier said than done because all of us, men and women, have found it hard to resist the marketing power of super sizing. Who among us wants to feel like and idiot because we didn’t double the size of popcorn, soda or french fries for a mere 49 cents? But resist we must.
We also have to steer clear of the killer Fs-fried food and fat. New York-based nutritionist Annie Hauck-Lawson, PHD, RN, says that also requires willpower because fried foods can be addicting. “They taste so good and fat conveys a lot of flavor,” she admits. “So the best strategy is going cold turkey to get that taste off the palate.” Hauck-Lawson also suggests not beginning a meal with fried foods or fatty meats.
“The start of the meal is when you’re the most hungry so you’ll eat the most during the first course.” She says. “If you start most lunches and dinners with a broth-based soup or a big salad, you’ll load up on high-fiber, high nutrient foods rather than high-fat foods and you’ll be too full to eat the bad stuff. Besides, food can be broiled with herbs and spices instead of being fried and still be delicious.”
Nutritionists like Hauck-Lawson strongly advise men to eat more fiber-base foods, which means adding more fresh fruits and vegetables (about five servings a day), whole grains and beans to the diet. Fiber may not sound manly, but it aids digestion, reduces the risk of colon cancer by moving waste out of your system, supports healthy cholesterol levels and makes you feel full so you won’t gorge yourself on those super-sized portions.
And when you’re eating all those nutritious and healthy new man foods, please don’t offset the benefits by washing it down with soft drinks. Did you know that a can of cola contains 39 grams of refined sugar, which is equivalent to seven teaspoons of the sweet stuff? Okay, we know what you’re going to say when we mention water as an alternative. B-O-R-I-N-G! But you can’t ignore a liquid that is crucial to your hydration, digestion and metabolism. If you must drink something interesting with your meal, try an organic red wine, which can have a positive effect on cholesterol and blood pressure. (When the liquid is the meal, a smoothie can fill the bill.)
During and after your transitional phase into the new man food lifestyle, nutritional supplements can ensure that you get enough vitamins and minerals from your diet. Besides taking a general multivitamin designed for men, you should incorporate heart- and prostate-healthy supplements such as omerga-3 fatty acids (especially if you aren’t eating more fish), magnesium, lycopene (found in abundance in tomatoes), zinc and vitamin D, which supports bone health and offers cancer protection. (You should see a licensed practitioner for guidance on which supplements are best for someone in your age group.)
What it boils down to, guys, is choices. We can choose to be set in our unhealthy eating ways or act like men and do the work it takes to make the adjustments. “men have been stereotyped as meat and potatoes freaks and that view is fairly accurate,” says Hauck-Lawson. “Trying to get men to eat healthier has been difficult.” But then she offers a carrot that men just might bite on. “Look at it this way: if a man eats more fish, fruit and vegetables for the nutrients he needs to stay healthy, he looks smart. And to women, smart is sexy.”
July 25, 2005 10:37 PM
Pain - Post Op and Relaxation
July 13, 2005 09:24 AM
Relaxation, Music Reduce Post-Op Pain. New research has found that relaxation and music, separately or together, significantly reduce patients' pain following major abdominal surgery. The study, published in the May issue of the journal Pain, found that these methods reduce pain more than pain medication alone. Led by Marion Good, PhD, RN, of Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, the study is supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), at the National Institutes of Health. "This is important news for the millions of Americans who undergo surgery and experience postoperative pain each year," said Dr. Patricia A. Grady, director of the NINR.
"Better pain management can reduce hospital stays and speed recovery, ultimately improving patients' quality of life." Dr. Good and her research team studied three groups of patients undergoing abdominal surgery. In addition to the usual pain medication, one group used a jaw relaxation technique, another group listened to music, and a third group received a combination of relaxation and music.
Findings revealed that, after surgery, the three treatment groups had significantly less pain than the control group, which received only pain medication. "Both medication and self-care methods which involve patient participation are needed for relief," said Dr. Good.
"These relaxation and music self-care methods provide more complete relief without the undesired side effects of some pain medications." The findings have important implications for the 23 million people who undergo surgery and experience postoperative pain annually in the United States. Pain can hamper recovery by heightening the body's response to the stress of surgery and increasing tissue breakdown, coagulation and fluid retention. Pain also interferes with appetite and sleep and can lead to complications that prolong hospitalization.
Dr. Good and her research staff worked with 500 patients aged 18-70, who were undergoing gynecological, gastrointestinal, exploratory or urinary surgery. Prior to surgery, those in the music, relaxation or combination groups practiced the techniques. The relaxation technique consisted of letting the lower jaw drop slightly, softening the lips, resting the tongue in the bottom of the mouth, and breathing slowly and rhythmically with a three-rhythm pattern of inhale, exhale and rest. Patients in the music group chose one of five kinds of soothing music--harp, piano, synthesizer, orchestral or slow jazz.
On the first and second days after surgery, all patients received morphine or Demerol for pain relief by pressing a button connected to their intravenous patient controlled analgesia pumps. The groups receiving the additional intervention used earphones to listen to music and relaxation tapes during walking and rest, while the control group did not. The research team measured the patients' pain before and after 15 minutes of bed rest and four times during walking to see if the sensation and distress of pain changed.
Dr. Good found that during these two days postsurgery the three treatment groups had significantly less pain than the control group during both walking and rest. "Patients can take more control of their postoperative pain using these self-care methods," says Dr. Good. "Nurses and physicians preparing patients for surgery and caring for them afterwards should encourage patients to use relaxation and music to enhance the effectiveness of pain medication and hasten recovery."
Dr. Good's findings have implications for future research into the effectiveness of self-care methods on other types of pain, including chronic pain, cancer pain, and pain of the critically ill.
Vitamin D Lack Linked to Hip Fracture. Vitamin D deficiency in post-menopausal women is associated with increased risk of hip fracture, according to investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass. In a group of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fracture, 50 percent were found to have a previously undetected vitamin D deficiency. In the control group, women who had not suffered a hip fracture but who were hospitalized for an elective hip replacement, only a very small percentage had vitamin D deficiency, although one-fourth of those women also had osteoporosis. These findings were reported in the April 28, 1999, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study, conducted by Meryl S. LeBoff, MD; Lynn Kohlmeier, MD; Shelley Hurwitz, PhD; Jennifer Franklin, BA; John Wright, MD; and Julie Glowacki, PhD; of the Endocrine Hypertension Division, Department of Internal Medicine, and Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, was supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR. These investigators studied women admitted to either Brigham and Women's Hospital or the New England Baptist Hospital, both in Boston, between January 1995 and June 1998.
A group of 98 postmenopausal women who normally reside in their own homes were chosen for the study. Women with bone deterioration from other causes were excluded from the study.
There were 30 women with hip fractures caused by osteoporosis and 68 hospitalized for elective joint replacement. Of these 68, 17 women also had osteoporosis as determined by the World Health Organization bone density criteria. All the participants answered questions regarding their lifestyle, reproductive history, calcium in their diet, and physical activity.
Bone mineral density of the spine, hip, and total body were measured by dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) technique, as was body composition. Blood chemistry and urinary calcium levels were analyzed. The two groups of women with osteoporosis did not differ significantly in either time since menopause or bone density in the spine or hip. They did, however, differ in total bone density.
The women admitted for a hip fracture had fewer hours of exercise than the control group. Fifty percent of the women with hip fractures were deficient in vitamin D, 36.7 percent had elevated parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels (a hormone which can stimulate loss of calcium from bone), and 81.8 percent had calcium in their urine, suggesting inappropriate calcium loss. Blood levels of calcium were lower in the women with hip fractures than in either elective group.
These researchers propose that vitamin D supplementation at the time of fracture may speed up recovery and reduce risk of fracture in the future. Current Dietary Reference Intake Guidelines contain a daily recommendation of 400 IU of vitamin D for people aged 51 through 70 and 600 IU for those over age 70.
"We know that a calcium-rich diet and regular weight-bearing exercise can help prevent osteoporosis. This new research suggests that an adequate intake of vitamin D, which the body uses to help absorb calcium, may help women to reduce their risk of hip fracture, even when osteoporosis is present," observed Dr. Evan C. Hadley, NIA Associate Director for geriatrics research.
"Osteoporosis leads to more than 300,000 hip fractures each year, causing pain, frequent disability, and costly hospitalizations or long-term care. "Prevention of such fractures would greatly improve the quality of life for many older women and men, as well as significantly reduce medical costs." The bones in the body often undergo rebuilding. Some cells, osteoclasts, dissolve older parts of the bones. Then, bone-building cells known as osteoblasts create new bone using calcium and phosphorus.
As people age, if osteoporosis develops, more bone is dissolved than is rebuilt, and the bones weaken and become prone to fracture. Also in many older persons, levels of vitamin D in the blood are low because they eat less or spend less time in the sun, which stimulates the body's own production of vitamin D.
Experts do not understand fully the causes of osteoporosis. However, they do know that lack of estrogen which accompanies menopause, diets low in calcium, and lack of exercise contribute to the problem. Eighty percent of older Americans who face the possibility of pain and debilitation from an osteoporosis-related fracture are women. One out of every two women and one in eight men over the age of 50 will have such a fracture sometime in the future. These fractures usually occur in the hip, wrist, and spine.
Sleep Apnea, Diabetes Link Found. Adults who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea are three times more likely to also have diabetes and more likely to suffer a stroke in the future, according to a new UCLA School of Dentistry/Department of Veterans Affairs study published today in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Sleep apnea, a serious condition marked by loud snoring, irregular breathing and interrupted oxygen intake, affects an estimated nine million Americans. The culprit? Carrying too many extra pounds.
"The blame falls squarely on excess weight gain," said Dr. Arthur H. friedlander, associate professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the UCLA School of Dentistry and associate chief of staff at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Los Angeles. Surplus weight interferes with insulin's ability to propel sugars from digested food across the cell membrane, robbing the cells of needed carbohydrates. Diabetes results when glucose builds up in the bloodstream and can't be utilized by the body. Being overweight can also lead to obstructive sleep apnea, according to friedlander.
"When people gain too much weight, fatty deposits build up along the throat and line the breathing passages," he explained. "The muscles in this region slacken during sleep, forcing the airway to narrow and often close altogether." Reclining on one's back magnifies the situation. "When an overweight person lies down and goes to sleep," friedlander said, "gravity shoves the fat in the neck backwards. This blocks the airway and can bring breathing to a halt."
friedlander tested the blood sugar of 54 randomly selected male veterans whom doctors had previously diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. He discovered that 17 of the 54 patients, or 31 percent, unknowingly suffered from adult-onset diabetes. Using the same sample, friedlander also took panoramic X-rays of the men's necks and jaws. The X-rays indicated that 12 of the 54 patients, or 22 percent, revealed calcified plaques in the carotid artery leading to the brain.
These plaques block blood flow, significantly increasing patients' risk for stroke. Seven of the 12, or 58 percent, were also diagnosed with diabetes. In dramatic comparison, the 17 patients diagnosed with diabetes showed nearly twice the incidence of blockage. Seven of the 17 men, or 41 percent, had carotid plaques. Only five of the 54 patients who displayed plaques did not have also diabetes. If he conducted this study today, friedlander notes, he would likely find a higher number of diabetic patients. After he completed the study in 1997, the American Diabetes Association lowered its definition for diabetes from 140 to 126 milligrams of sugar per deciliter of blood.
"This is the first time that science has uncovered a link between sleep apnea and diabetes," said friedlander. "The data suggest that someone afflicted with both diabetes and sleep apnea is more likely to suffer a stroke in the future." "Persons going to the doctor for a sleep-apnea exam should request that their blood be screened for diabetes, especially if they are overweight," he cautioned. More than half of the individuals who develop diabetes as adults will need to modify their diet and take daily insulin in order to control the disease, he added.
Stress, Surgery May Increase CA Tumors. Stress and surgery may increase the growth of cancerous tumors by suppressing natural killer cell activity, says a Johns Hopkins researcher.
Malignancies and viral infections are in part controlled by the immune system's natural killer (NK) cells, a sub-population of white blood cells that seek out and kill certain tumor and virally infected cells. In a study using animal models, natural killer cell activity was suppressed by physical stress or surgery, resulting in a significant increase in tumor development.
These findings suggest that protective measures should be considered to prevent metastasis for patients undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, according to Gayle Page, D.N.Sc., R.N., associate professor and Independence Foundation chair at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. "Human studies have already found a connection between the level of NK activity and susceptibility to several different types of cancer," says Page, an author of the study.
"We sought to determine the importance of stress-induced suppression of NK activity and thus learn the effects of stress and surgery on tumor development. "Many patients undergo surgery to remove cancerous tumors that have the potential to spread. If our findings in rats can be generalized to such clinical settings, then these circumstances could increase tumor growth during or shortly after surgery." The research was conducted at Ohio State University College of Nursing and the Department of Psychology at UCLA, where Page held previous positions, and at Tel Aviv University.
Results of the study are published in the March issue of the International Journal of Cancer. In laboratory studies, Page and her colleagues subjected rats to either abdominal surgery or physical stress, and then inoculated them with cancer cells. In the rats that had undergone surgery, the researchers observed a 200 to 500 percent increase in the incidence of lung tumor cells, an early indicator of metastasis, compared with rats that had not received surgery.
The experiment also showed that stress increased lung tumor incidence and significantly increased the mortality in the animals inoculated with cancer cells. "Our results show that, under specific circumstances, resistance to tumor development is compromised by physical stress and surgical intervention," says Page.
"Because surgical procedures are life-saving and cannot be withheld, protective measures should be considered that will prevent suppression of the natural killer cell activity and additional tumor development. "Researchers do not yet know how to prevent surgery-induced immune suppression, but early animal studies have shown increased use of analgesia reduces the risk."
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, and the Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Health. Lead author was Shamgar Ben-Eliyahu, Ph.D., and other authors were Raz Yirmiya, Ph.D., and Guy Shakhar.
July 12, 2005 09:52 AM
HISTORY or Milk Thistle
Natural substances which afford us protection from toxins and potential carcinogens have recently come to the fore front of scientific attention. Compounds known as antioxidants, which can help minimize the damaging effects of chemical stru c t u res called free radicals, are extensively used today. One of these protectant substances is not as familiar to most people as vitamin C or beta-carotene. It is an herb called Milk Thistle and it has some extraordinary protective properties. Milk Thistle, also known as Silymarin has enjoyed a long history of use in European folk medicine. Centuries ago, Romans recognized the value of this herb for liver impairments. They routinely used the seeds and roots of the plant to restore and rejuvenate a diseased liver. Pliny the Elder, an ancient Roman, re c o rded how the juice of Milk Thistle, when mixed with honey was used for carrying off bile. Dioscorides extolled the virtues of Milk Thistle as an effective protectant against snake bites. The genus silybum is a member of the thistle tribe of the daisy family. Two species of the plant exist and both are native to southern Europe and Eurasia. Plants which grow in the Southern United States actually have more potent seeds than their European and Asian counterparts. Milk Thistle is a stout and sturdy looking plant, which can grow up to 12 feet tall. The flower heads can expand to six inches in diameter and are a vivid purple color. They usually bloom from June to August. Very sharp spines cover the heads. The leaves are comprised of hairless, milky bands, and when young, are quite tender. Historically, the seed of Milk Thistle was used as a cholagogue which stimulated the flow of bile. The seed was also used to treat jaundice, dyspepsia, lack of appetite and other stomach disorders. Homeopathic uses included:
peritonitis, coughs, varicose veins and uterine congestion. While tonics were sometimes made from the leaves of Milk Thistle, the most valuable part of the plant was contained in its seeds.
Milk Thistle is also known as Marian Thistle, Wild Artichoke, Variegated Thistle or St. Mary’s Thistle. Reference to Milk Thistle as “Vi rgin Mary” stems from its white milky veins. Legends explained that these veins were created when Mary’s milk fell on the thistle. Subsequently, a connection between the herb and lactation arose, which has no scientific basis for its claims. Milk Thistle is frequently confused with Blessed Thistle, which does act to stimulate the production of mother’s milk. Gerarde, a practicing herbalist in 1597, said that Milk Thistle was one of the best remedies for melancholy (liver related) diseases. In 1650, Culpeper wrote of its ability to remove obstructions in the liver and spleen. In 1755, Von Haller recorded that he used Milk Thistle for a variety of liver disorders. Subsequently, Milk Thistle became a staple agent for the treatment of any kind of liver aliment. European physicians included it in their written materia medica. Unfortunately, for an extended period during the 18th century, the herb was not stressed, however in 1848, Johannes Gottfried Rademacher rediscovered its medicinal merits. He recorded in great detail how Milk Thistle treated a number of liver ailments and spleen disorders. His research was later confirmed in medical literature. In the early 20th century, Milk Thistle was recommended for female problems, colon disorders, liver complaints and gallstones. Almost every significant European pharmaceutical establishment listed Milk Thistle as a valuable treatment. In recent decades, Milk Thistle has been primarily used as a liver tonic and digestive aid. Nursing women who wanted to stimulate the production of their milk used Milk thistle as a traditional tonic. As mentioned earlier, modern day medical science now refutes this particular action of Milk Thistle, however, its benefit to the liver has been confirmed.
German herbalists have routinely used Milk Thistle for treating jaundice, mushroom poisoning and other liver disorders. This therapeutic tradition contributed to modern German research into Milk Thistle, resulting in its use as a widely prescribed phytomedicine for liver disease. Silymarin or Thisilyn, as it is also known, is a relatively new nutrient in the United States. Since 1954, scientists have known the Milk Thistle contained flavonoids, however, it wasn’t until the 1960’s that they discovered the just how unique silymarin is. Silymarin was considered an entirely new class of chemical compound, and its therapeutic properties continue to impress the scientific community.
Progesterone Cream - Supports Hormonal Balance
June 28, 2005 09:40 AM
Recent medical reports have profoundly shaken popular beliefs about the safety of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for women in menopause. You may be one of the six million women who are searching for alternatives. Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM and PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM can help address normal menopausal discomforts, when used as part of a care for their own health needs. Source Naturals is committed to joining with your health food retailer to help insure that right.
Menopause and Hormonal Balance
Public confidence in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) suffered a major blow when the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health halted a large clinical trial out of concern for the safety of participants. Women are looking for natural alternatives to risky HRT.
Source Naturals Progesterone CREAM and PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM address the hormonal fluctuations that bring on the first disturbing hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. Used together or separately, these creams address declining levels of progesterone and estrogen.
Progesterone Cream from Woman-Friendly Soy
Progesterone is a steroid hormone made by the corpus luteum of the ovary at ovulation, and in smaller amounts by the adrenal glands. It is a precursor to most other steroid hormones, including cortisol, androstenedione, estrogen and testosterone. Because it is the precursor to so many hormones, progesterone is crucial for overall hormone balance. Yet progesterone levels can drop to near zero during menopause. Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM supplies natural progesterone from soy.
Unlike creams which don’t divulge their progesterone content, Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM is guaranteed to contain 500 mg of progesterone per ounce! This pure white cream softens and smoothes skin. Along with natural progesterone, it contains aloe vera, wild yam extract, natural vitamin E, lecithin phospholipid, jojoba oil, and extracts of ginseng root and grapefruit seed. Natural rosemary oil is added as a fragrance. Available in both tubes and jars for your convenience.
Phyto-Estrogen Cream: Plant Compounds Renowned for Menopause Estrogen levels drop 40-60% at menopause. Phytoestrogens—estrogens from plants—have been shown to bind to the same receptor sites as estrogen, helping maintain normal menstrual cycles and menopausal transitions. When there is too little estrogen (the situation during menopause), phytoestrogens substitute for the lack of human estrogen. Conversely, when estrogen levels are high (as in some women who experience PMS), phytoestrogens compete with human estrogen for binding to receptors and decrease overall estrogenic activity.
Source Naturals PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM is an almond-colored cream that can be massaged into smooth skin areas to add oil-rich, moisture-binding protection. PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM offers some of the finest phytoestrogens in the botanical world, including 60 mg of soy isoflavones per ounce. PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM also contains pomegranate seed juice (a natural source of estrone), red clover tops extract, black cohosh root extract, and dong quai root extract, along with aloe vera gel, natural vitamin E, cocoa butter, grapefruit seed extract, rosemary oil, and natural cherry almond fragrance.
Warning: Phyto-Estrogen Cream is not for use by women of childbearing age. DO NOT USE if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you may become pregnant.
Source Naturals offers you the first progesterone and phytoestrogen creams to utilize unique liposomal delivery of key ingredients. Liposomes are micro-penetrating lipid spheres made from lecithin, which pass through skin layers more easily than non-liposomal creams—for highest possible penetration of skin cells. Both creams are available in 2 and 4 oz jars. PROGESTERONE CREAM is also available in 2 and 4 oz tubes.
Lifestyle Tips for Menopause: A Strategy for Wellness
Eat Well: In certain cultures, hot flashes are practically unknown. It is generally true that women in these cultures eat foods rich in phytoestrogens. For example, in Southeast Asia, where soy proteins comprise 20% to 60% of daily protein intake, epidemiological studies suggest an association between a positive, trouble-free menopause and soy consumption.
Lignans—phytoestrogens found in flaxseed oil and unprocessed olive oil—may also have a protective effect. You should eat fresh, organic vegetables, fruits, cereals, beans, whole grains and small portions of fish or hormone-free chicken. Increase fluids and eat low-fat dairy foods. Avoid fatty meats, sugar, processed foods, fried foods, and chemicals. Adequate calcium intake— 1,500 mg per day—is crucial.
Use Supplements: Source Naturals HOT FLASH is an excellent complement to PROGESTERONE and PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAMS. A recent comprehensive scientific review of natural menopause products (Annals of Internal Medicine 11/19/02) singled out soy isoflavones and black cohosh for their benefits in addressing hot flashes. Unlike most products, HOT FLASH contains clinical potencies of both soy isoflavones and standardized black cohosh extract. In addition, HOT FLASH contains additional herbs, renowned for use in menopause: vitex, licorice root and dong quai. To be sure you are covering all your nutritional bases, take a good daily multiple like MENOPAUSE MULTIPLE, especially designed for women 40+ years old.
Maintain a Healthy Weight: Women who are overweight have an increased risk of heart disease, while those who are thin or underweight are more susceptible to osteoporosis and hot flashes.
Rest and Relax: It is important to get adequate sleep, take naps if you feel tired, and avoid stress. Meditation and yoga can be helpful in reaching a state of calm. Take Care of Your Skin: A 1997 study of 3,875 postmenopausal women documented the relationship between low estrogen levels and skin dryness and loss of elasticity. Research has associated wrinkling with consumption of full-fat dairy products, butter, margarine, fatty meats and sugar. Drink lots of water—at least 1.5 liters daily. Water flushes out wastes, and acts as an internal moisturizer, keeping skin hydrated and supple. Spring water is beneficial since it contains trace minerals vital to healthy skin. For radiant skin, you should also try the Source Naturals SKIN ETERNAL™ family of creams and serums. This advanced cosmetic system recharges and revitalizes all skin types. Keep Cool. Avoid triggers such as spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, overheated rooms, hot beverages and stress. Wear layered clothing, and choose natural fabrics, such as cotton or wool.
Stay Active: Exercise benefits the heart and bones, helps regulate weight and contributes to overall well-being. Weight-bearing exercises are especially important for increasing bone mass. Kegel exercises (tightening and relaxing of the pelvic muscles) can improve bladder control, and may enhance sexual pleasure. Try Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM): Alternative therapies— herbal remedies, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, naturopathic medicine and much more—can help you cope with the physical and emotional changes of menopause.
Essential Fatty Acids - The “Good” Fats
June 25, 2005 08:24 PM
All About Fats
Some people shy away from anything that has the word “fatty” associated with it. They instantly think it will cause them to gain unnecessary weight. However, there are “good fats” and “bad fats,” and the beneficial ones can actually help decrease the desire to eat the harmful ones. Fats are important for health. Also known as lipids, they help balance the body’s chemistry and provide padding as protection for vital organs. Fats provide a source of energy for body processes, and they help with the transportation and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K. They are also a source of the vital nutrients known as essential fatty acids. Categories of fats include the following:
SATURATED FATS: All fats are composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules. The carbon atoms of fatty acids hold together in a chain-like fashion. These carbon atoms can attach hydrogen to them. When each place that can hold a hydrogen atom is filled and there is not room for even one more, they are described as saturated. The longer the chain, the harder the fat will be and thus, the higher its melting point. These types of long-chain fatty acids are found in “hard fats,” such as those in red meat, butter, cheese, sour cream and palm kernel and coconut oils. When a person’s diet is high in saturated fats, these fats tend to clump together in the body and form deposits, along with protein and cholesterol. They then lodge in the cells, organs and blood vessels. This can lead to many health problems, including obesity, heart disease, and breast and colon cancers.
UNSATURATED FATS: Unsaturated fats are called such because there are at least two adjacent carbon atoms on a chain which are not attached to hydrogen atoms. When at least two pairs of carbon atoms are empty it is known as a monounsaturated fatty acid. When two or more sets are empty, then it is referred to as a polyunsaturated fatty acid. A good rule of thumb is that the more saturated the fat, the more easily it will stay hard at room temperature.
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS: Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are vital nutritional components that our bodies need for many functions. They are found in the seeds of plants and in the oils of cold-water fish. Essential fatty acids—sometimes referred to as vitamin F— cannot be made by the body; they must be sup-plied in the diet. However, at this time, the government has not officially established a Recommended Daily Intake (RDI). Many factors, including stress, allergies, disease, and a diet high in fried foods, can increase the body’s nutritional need for essential fatty acids.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
June 25, 2005 08:10 PM
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
1 . Chit osan Provides a Realist ic Approach t o Fat and Fiber Int ake.
Low-fat, high-fiber advocates have recommended a diet that is calorically fueled between 10 and 20 percent fat and includes 35 to 45 grams of fiber. Unfortunately, most of us, no matter how good our intentions are, will not be able to sustain this type of diet. Therefore, if we are going to face facts, a diet that reduces fat to 20-30 percent of the total caloric value and increases fiber to 20-30 grams/day is much more realistic and will help significantly in controlling weight, avoiding artery disease and promoting good colon health. Taking Chitosan prior to eating a meal can make dietary fat goals much more attainable while promoting a number of desirable health benefits. Because obesity ranks among the top ten diseases (which, by the way, are almost all related to obesity), the availability of a safe, health-promoting fat binder is desirable.
Weight control needs to be realistic and effective. Workable weight loss programs are few and far between and usually involve a life style that many of us can never incorporate. While Chitosan is not a panacea for maintaining our youthful figures, it could be a very powerful dietary complement, facilitating what might otherwise be unattainable. Lowering the amount of dietary fats we eat, exercising more, and making sure we get enough fiber seems to be the winning combination for health and longevity. Chitosan is a valuable tool to use in attaining optimal nutrition and robust health.
2 . Chitosan Is an Effective Fat Binder.
While all the previously mentioned properties of Chitosan are notable, its extraordinary ability to bind fats promises to be its most valuable asset. To reiterate, getting rid of fat after it has been stored as adipose tissue is much more difficult than neutralizing its effects before it enters the blood stream. Chitosan accomplishes this formidable task by converting fat into a form that the body does not absorb and subsequently expels.
Any of us who occasionally eat southern fried chicken, a Big Mac, or a slice of cheesecake every once in a while can profoundly benefit from the fat binding action of Chitosan. As a fat binder, Chitosan can significantly reduce the amount of fat that enters our blood stream. Consider the possibilities. The foods mentioned above are full of excess fat grams. If you take four capsules (1 gram) of Chitosan with ascorbic acid, which is generally recommended, the fat content of that food is dramatically lowered.
Remember the discussion on how the liver has to deal with excess fat?
Chitosan decreases the liver’s work load which lightens the stress put on other body organs by the presence of excess fat. In other words, Chitosan eases the metabolic processes that kick in after we eat excess fat. As far as our metabolic processes know, those fat grams may as well never have existed. 4 . Why Chit osan Is Called t he Fiber of t he Fut ure. After years of fiber “hyping” most of us are well aware of the profound benefits that fiber has for human health and longevity. Fiber is considered a dieter’s best friend. It has also been linked to slower rises in blood glucose which also profoundly affects how we store excess calories and when we feel hungry. Most fibers are hydrophilic which means they repel fat and attract water. Psyllium, for example, is used for its bulk forming action. This type of fiber absorbs water and is easily passed through the intestine, helping to maintain a normal bowel function.
Chitosan is different. While it possesses many of the same benefits as plant fibers like psyllium, Chitosan is “lipophilic” meaning that it “loves fat” It is a positively charged fiber that binds to negatively charged fatty acids. A fiber that attracts fat is unique to say the least.
MECHANISMS OF CHITOSAN FAT- BINDING
June 25, 2005 08:02 PM
MECHANISMS OF CHITOSAN FAT- BINDING
The exact way(s) that Chitosan prevents fat absorbtion is not fully understood but a number of experimental observations support two basic mechanisms. The first mechanism involves the attraction of opposite charges which can be compared to the attraction of opposite magnetic poles. The second entrapment mechanism can be compared to the effect of a net. In the first mechanism the positive charges on chitosan attract the negatively charged fatty acids and bile acids binding them to the indigestible chitosan fiber. This mechanism can explain why chitosan reduces LDL cholesterol levels.
Our bodies make bile acids in the liver using the cholesterol from LDL. When chitosan binds bile acids it increases the rate of LDL loss thus improving the LDL to HDL ratio. If enough bile acids are bound, the fats are not solublized, which prevents their digestion and absorption. The second mechanism (figure 2) describes a netting effect of chitosan fiber.
In this model the Chitosan wraps around fat droplets and prevents their being attacked and digested by lipid enzymes. Fats unprotected by Chitosan are digested and absorbed. The “netting” mechanism has been seen to operate in vivo. 108
Substances that Enhance the Action of Chitosan
Fibers can be likened to a tangled-up chain. Fibers must “unravel” in order for them to be of maximum benefit to us. “Unraveling” is especially critical for chitosan because each link has a hook on which to attach lipids. Chitosan can absorb an average of 4 to 5 times its weight in lipids. Reports of numbers above and below this range have also been reported and may well reflect the rate or extent of unraveling that had taken place. Fiber formulations can be prepared that unravel rapidly and swell quickly. These highly effective formulations are called superabsorbants. When certain substances are added to chitosan, its remarkable fat-binding ability can be significantly enhanced.
D-Ascorbic acid (erythorbic acid) and L-ascorbic acid are C-vitamins which enhance chitosan’s ability to bind lipids. Combining chitosan with ascorbic acid results in even less fat absorption and greater fecal fat losses.77,108 In one study the addition of ascorbic acid to a chitosan enriched diet increased fecal fat losses by 87 percent and decreased fat absorption by over 50 percent.77
Cholesterol oxides cause lesions in artery walls which predispose blood vessels to collect plaque. These dietary cholesterol oxides profoundly influence the initiation of heart disease.Free radicals can also contribute to the formation of cholesterol oxides which are even more likely to damage the heart. Cholesterol oxides have been found in deep-fried foods, powdered eggs, processed meats and in human blood itself. Consequently, taking antioxidants like ascorbic acid is vital to protect against the cellular damage this type of free radical causes.112
In feeding experiments with animals, adding citric acid to a chitosan enriched diet resulted in a decreased feed consumption.77 The most likely explanation for this effect is that the citric acid may be enhancing the swelling action of chitosan leading to a sense of fullness, producing satiety and appetite suppression.
Indoles are remarkable phytochemicals which have the ability to selectively activate certain Mixed Function Oxidases (MFOs).113 These MFO’s help balance estrogen metabolism and prepare dietary toxins for elimination before they are absorbed. The presence of fiber in the intestines provides a bulk agent to carry the metabolized toxins out of the body. Chelat ed Minerals The very best approach to weight loss is to nutritionally augment food choices with nutrient supplementation. Certain biochemical compounds are essential to promoting vigor during the process of thermogenesis. Chelated minerals act to bolster, support and protect the organ systems of the body.114,115
For example, when fat is burned, heat and energy are released. If a lack of certain minerals exists, energy levels will drop. Minerals help to transport needed nutrients to depleted areas of the body, thereby stemming off the fatigue we so often experience after eating a fatty meal. Even more importantly, free radicals are released whenever fat is consumed and burned and the presence of chelated minerals helps to expedite the removal of these metabolites and facilitate the availability of fuel for energy.
Essential Fatty Acids
Prostaglandins control and balance many body functions. The dietary building blocks for making prostaglandins are the essential fatty acids (EFAs). The role of prostaglandins in weight loss has been extensively discussed in a recent review.116 EFAs exert profound lipid-lowering effects.They reduce the synthesis of triglycerides and very low density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) in the liver. EFA supplementation coupled with a low-cholesterol, low-saturated fat in diet produces a complementary effect in lowering serum lipid levels.117 Garcinia Cambogia ( Hydroxy Cit ric Acid) Garcinia Cambogia contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA). This form of citric acid inhibits the liver’s ability to make fats out of carbohydrates.118
Carbohydrates are converted to glycogen stores, not fat stores, giving the body a better energy reserve and an increase in stamina.119 Ephedra And Thermogenisis Thermogenesis means “creating heat.” This is one of the ways our bodies have of burning off excess calories and maintaining a constant weight.120 This is an area of weight management research that is being intensely studied. When we repeatedly yo-yo diet or abuse ourselves by eating too much, our thermogenic ability may be reduced. Numerous animal and human studies have confirmed the benefits of ephedra and methylxanthines in inducing weight loss and restoring thermogenic responsiveness.43,44,121
FEARING FATS: There's Plenty of Cause Overview
June 25, 2005 07:34 PM
FEARING FATS: There's Plenty of Cause Overview
A wealth of scientific evidence now exists which should have turned each and everyone of us into a fat “phobic.”1a-e In other words, virtually every health expert agrees that a high fat diet is directly linked to cardiovascular disease, various types of cancer and premature death. It’s no secret that excess dietary fat poses a tremendous health risk. The United States National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization and many other scientific institutes have confirmed the frightening hazards of fat. Health proponents generally concur that excess fat can significantly shorten one’s lifespan. More than 10,000 medical papers are published every year dealing with obesity and cardiovascular disease, two of the most insidious killers of Americans. Western eating habits, which promote fatty, salty, sugary foods, have created massive widespread disease and tremendous suffering. Studies have shown that fat is the macronutrient associated with overeating -
TABLE 1. Total fat grams in single servings.4
and obesity.2 In spite of this finding we are eating more fat and becoming fatter. The average absolute fat intake has increased from 81 to 83 grams per day over the last ten years.3 Our obsession with fatty foods has exacted an enormous toll in the form of rampant obesity, clogged arteries, hypertension, heart attack, stroke, breast cancer, etc. Many of us remain oblivious to the fat gram count of foods we routinely pop into our mouths, unaware that one fast food entree may contain more fat grams than one should consume in one given day. Take a good look at the following list of foods which have been assessed for fat content. Fast food has become a 20th-century sensation which continues to boom and expand throughout our society. Many of us literally exist on fast food, which is frequently also “fat” food. It’s no wonder so many of us “battle the bulge”, and have skyrocketing cholesterol counts. Our love affair with greasy, fried, rich, creamy foods has burdened our bodies with the dilemma of excess fat “baggage,” resulting in phenomenal amounts of money being spent on weight loss programs. Worse still, thousands of Americans are dying before their time or living extremely compromised lives only because they ingest too much fat. Why is this? The bottom line is that fats taste good!5 Many of us were raised on seemingly innocuous foods that are loaded with fat. Some of these include:
macaroni and cheese battered fish sticks hot dogs cheese-filled casseroles pepperoni pizza burritos pancakes, waffles doughnuts pies and pastries ice cream candy bars ramen soup
Fat is also a major ingredient in most of the snack food we constantly nibble on, including chips, crackers, cookies, and nuts. Check ingredient labels to find the fat gram content of most snack foods. You’ll be surprised to find out just how fatty these foods are. Even a healthy sounding food like a “bran muffin” can contain 36 grams of fat! No wonder they stay so “moist”. In addition to the above foods, fat can add wonderful flavor to breads, vegetables and the like, and is usually used liberally in the form of butter, sour cream, whipping cream, melted cheese, cream cheese spreads, dips, cream sauces, and gravies. Fruits can also be high in fats. Did you know that one avocado has 30 grams of fat? One half cup of peanuts contains 35 grams of fat and only one glazed doughnut has 13 grams of fat. The majority of research points to fat as a much more dangerous culprit than anyone might have imagined. Saturated fats such as lard, palm, coconut oil, and beef tallow are particularly menacing. Research scientists have found over and over again that fats can contribute to the growth of tumors in animal studies.6 The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences reported that even a relatively small amount of extra body fat increases the risk of certain diseases for women and may compromise their longevity.7 Even being mildly overweight may be much more risky than anyone previously assumed.8
The Relat ionship between Breast Cancer, Fat s, Fiber And Indoles
Dr. Leonard Cohen, of the Dana Institute of the American Health Foundation at Naylor, believes that pre-cancerous lesions found in breast tissue will develop into cancer only if they are stimulated by certain agents such as fat.9 Women increase their risk of developing breast cancer when they consume a diet high in fat and animal protein and low in fiber, vegetables and fruits. When women put on weight, they have a tendency to create more estrogen since adipose tissue produces estrogen. Certain forms of estrogen, the so-called “bad estrogens” can act as carcinogens and are anything but desirable.10 High or unbalanced estrogen levels stimulate concerous tissue in the breast. Obesity is also associated with increased breast cancer mortality.11 The three most important ways to inhibit “bad” estrogen from inducing breast cancer are:
June 22, 2005 09:57 PM
America's Most Wanted
June 14, 2005 05:23 PM
America's Most Wanted
by Brian Amherst Energy Times, January 6, 2000
The United States eats well, a little too well, according to experts. Amply supplied with a large supply of high-calorie food, our diets might seem to be chock full of every conceivable nutrient. Well, to the question "Getting all the right vitamins, minerals and other nutrients?" the most appropriate answer seems to be "Not exactly." Eating a lot doesn't equal eating a lot of the most important vitamins and minerals. So, which vitamins and minerals are likely to show up in short supply in the typical American diet? Calcium certainly sits at the top of list. According to the most recent Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals, which is conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), women and girls age 12 and up are not consuming adequate calcium from their diet. Research reveals that about 1200 mg. day suffices for those over age 50 and 1000 mg a day should be adequate if you're between the ages of 19 and 50. Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Stanford University, ". . .osteoporosis is a pediatric disease." For long-range protection against that bone-weakening disease, kids should eat calcium-rich, low-fat dairy products and plenty of leafy greens (broccoli, cabbage, kale) as well as salmon (with bones), seafood and soy. But the calcium campaign does not end in early adulthood. Bone mass begins to deteriorate at about age 30. Menopausal hormonal changes can exacerbate bone brittleness. Medical conditions, including cancer, liver disease and intestinal disorders; prescription drugs; tobacco and alcohol indulgence; or a decline in activity, especially the weight-bearing kind, also jeopardize bone strength. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about one in every two American women will break a bone after age 50 due to osteoporosis. That translates into about half a million fractured vertebrae and more than 300,000 shattered hips. Frequently, those breaks are life-threatening.
The critical role of calcium in many body functions is perhaps the most extensively clinically documented among nutrients. Researchers in the Department of Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, reviewed epidemiological and clinical studies conducted over the past two years on the relationship between dietary calcium and blood pressure (J Am Coll Nutr October 1999: 398S-405S). "Nearly 20 years of investigation in this area has culminated in remarkable and compelling agreement in the data," the researchers report, "confirming the need for and benefit of regular consumption of the recommended daily levels of dietary calcium." Investigators at the State University of New York, Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, presented results of their studies of calcium and vitamin C and gum disease at the June 26, 1998 meeting of the International Association for Dental Research. Two separate inquiries revealed that people who consumed too little calcium as young adults, and those with low levels of vitamin C in their diets, appear to have nearly twice the risk of developing periodontal disease later in life than folks with higher dietary levels of either nutrient.
Calcium: Much Documented Researchers offer extensive evidence of calcium's benefits on many fronts: n Osteoporosis poses a threat to older men as well as women, according to Randi L. Wolf, PhD, research associate at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Wolf presented her award-winning study to an October 3, 1999 meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Dr. Wolf suggests that men increase their consumption of calcium, particularly after age 80, to avoid age-related declines in the amount of calcium absorbed. According to Dr. Wolf, "It appears that the hormonal form of vitamin D, which is the main regulator of intestinal calcium absorption, may have an important role. We are conducting more research to better understand the reasons for why calcium absorption declines with age in men." n Scientists at Tufts University in Boston did some earlier work on the calcium-vitamin D connection and reported it in the September 4, 1997 New England Journal of Medicine. Using the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) increased recommended daily intake of 1200 milligrams of calcium and 400 to 600 international units of vitamin D for people over 50, the Tufts researchers found that with supplementation of the nutrients, men and women 65 and older lost significantly less body bone and, in some cases, gained bone mineral density. n Two studies published in American Heart Association journals show that atherosclerosis and osteoporosis may be linked by a common problem in the way the body uses calcium. The September 1997 Stroke revealed that, in a group of 30 postmenopausal women 67 to 85 years old, bone mineral density declined as atherosclerotic plaque increased. Researchers reporting in Circulation (September 15, 1997) advanced the theory that the osteoporosis-atherosclerosis connection may be related to a problem in handling calcium. n For people who had colon polyps removed, taking calcium supplements decreased the number of new polyps by 24% and cut the risk of recurrence by 19%, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, School of Medicine. The study, published in the January 14, 1999 New England Journal of Medicine, was a first in crediting calcium with anti-cancer properties.
The D Factor
Without adequate vitamin D, your absorption of calcium slips and bone loss can accelerate, increasing the risk for fractures. Fifty percent of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fractures at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston had a previously undetected vitamin D deficiency (Journal of the American Medical Association, April 28, 1999). University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers told participants at the April 14, 1997 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research that vitamin D "significantly inhibits highly metastatic, or widespread, prostate cancer in animals," suggesting its potential for treating men with similar conditions. Few foods that Americans eat, except dairy, contain much vitamin D, but we can usually synthesize sufficient amounts from as few as five minutes' exposure to the sun. But as skin ages, its ability to act as a vitamin D factory decreases. According to Michael F. Holick, the director of the Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center, upwards of 40% of the adult population over age 50 that he sees in his clinic are deficient in vitamin D. Recently, the National Academy of Sciences (the official body that decrees the required amounts of necessary nutrients) increased the daily recommendations of vitamin D to 600 IU for people over 71, 400 IU for those aged 51 to 70 and 200 IU for people under 50. The best dietary sources, apart from dependable supplements, are dairy and fatty fish like salmon. Four ounces of salmon provide about 300 IU.
The Facts About Fats
The American lust for low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets filled with sugary foods has exploded into nothing short of "obsession," according to experts at the General Research Center at Stanford University Medical Center (Am J Clin Nutr 70, 1999: 512S-5S). That mania oftens robs us of the crucial balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids typical of the Mediterranean diet that protect us from heart disease by controlling cholesterol and making blood less likely to form clots. These fatty acids cannot be made by the body but are critical for health: n Omega-3 fatty acid (linolenic acid) comes from fresh, deepwater fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) and vegetable oils such as canola, flaxseed and walnut. n Omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid) found primarily in raw nuts, seeds and legumes and in saturated vegetable oils such as borage, grape seed, primrose, sesame and soybean. The American Heart Association recommends limiting total fat consumption to 30% of daily calories. Saturated fats like those in dairy and meat products as well as vegetable oil should comprise 10% of total calories; total unsaturated fat (fish oils, soybean, safflower nuts and nut oils) should be restricted to 20 to 22% of daily calories.
Be Sure About B12
Vitamin B12 presents a particular problem for the elderly because older digestive systems often don't secrete enough stomach acid to liberate this nutrient from food. (The elderly have no problem absorbing B12 from supplements, because it's not bound to food.) Vitamins generally moderate the aging process but, ironically, that process and the diseases that frequently accompany it affect vitamin metabolism (Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax 83, 1994: 262-6). And because of those changes, we need more of certain vitamins. This is the case for vitamins D, B6, riboflavin and B12. Crucial for health, B12 is necessary to prevent anemia, and, according to recent studies, needed (along with folate and B6) to help stave off heart disease. B12, with thiamine and niacin, boosts cognition (Adv Nutr Res 7, 1985: 71-100). Screening for vitamin B12 deficiency and thyroid disease is cheap and easy and can prevent conditions such as dementia, depression or irreversible tissue damage (Lakartidningen 94, 1997: 4329-32). In the January 5-12, 1999 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the AHA urged doctors to screen levels of homocysteine (the amino acid byproduct of protein digestion that damages arteries, causes heart disease and, possibly, strokes) in patients at high risk for heart disease. They also recommended all Americans to up their daily levels of vitamins B6 and B12, as well as folic acid. Since fruits, vegetables or grains lack B12, vegetarians need B12 supplements. And they're a good idea for the rest of us, too.
Folic Acid Benefits
Folic acid made headlines in the early 1990s when the U.S. Public Health Service declared that "to reduce the frequency of neural tube defects [spina bifida, or open spine, and anencephaly, a lethal defect of the brain and skull] and their resulting disability, all women of childbearing age in the United States who are capable of becoming pregnant should consume .4 milligrams (400 micrograms) of folic acid per day." This recommendation followed voluminous research that showed taking folic acid was associated with a significantly reduced risk of birth defects. (The advisory is based on the fact that nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned. If you think you are pregnant, consult your health practitioner for supplementary advice.)
A Team Player
Folic acid's efficacy intensifies when it works with other nutrients. Among many studies on the preventive powers of folic acid on birth defects, one published in The New England Journal of Medicine (327, Dec. 24, 1992: 1,832-1,835), disclosed an even greater decrease in neural tube defects when supplements of folic acid contained copper, manganese, zinc and vitamin C. As a warrior against homocysteine, folic acid joins the battalion of B12 and B6 in detoxifying this harmful protein. At the University of Washington's Northwest Prevention Effectiveness Center, researchers recently analyzed 38 published studies of the relationship between folic acid, homocysteine and cardiovascular disease and, according to associate professor Shirley A. Beresford, MD, folic acid and vitamin B12 and B6 deficiencies can lead to a buildup of homocysteine.
Canadian researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (275, 1996: 1893-1896) that men and women with low folic acid have a 69% increase in the risk of fatal coronary heart disease. This 15-year study of more than 5,000 people stressed the need for dietary supplementation of folic acid. Folic acid also has been credited with the potential to protect against cancers of the lungs, colon and cervix. It appears to help reverse cervical dysplasia, the precursor cells to cervical cancer, especially for women taking oral contraceptives, which may cause a localized deficiency of folic acid in the cells of the cervix. According to Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning, authors of The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery), folic acid derivatives work with neurotransmitters, the chemicals that permit signals to be sent from nerve fiber to nerve fiber. A lack of folic acid can cause some nervous-system disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia and dementia; it also may be related to some forms of mental retardation. Other supporting roles of folic acid, according to researchers: the formation of normal red blood cells, important for preventing the type of anemia characterized by oversized red blood cells; strengthening and improving white blood cell action against disease; limiting production of uric acid, the cause of gout.
The Best Sources
Many foods are rich in folic acid: beef, lamb, pork and chicken liver, spinach, kale and beet greens, asparagus, broccoli, whole wheat and brewer's yeast. But experts believe that only 25 to 50% of the folic acid in food is bioavailable. Processing also reduces an estimated 50 to 90% of its content. Folic acid supplementation overcomes these obstacles with little risk, as it has no known toxicity. Women taking folic acid who are current or former users of oral contraceptives may require additional zinc. And be sure to augment your folic acid supplement with its synergistic counterpart, vitamin B12.
Focus on Fiber
The American Heart Association came out squarely behind fiber in a June 16, 1997 issue of its journal Circulation: Double your daily intake to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. The American diet is consistently low in fiber, notes Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, author of the article. Twenty-five to 30 grams a day from foods (or supplements) are not only heart healthy but seem to aid weight control.
Getting enough iron? An estimated 25% of adolescent girls in the United States are iron deficient, according to an October 12, 1996 issue of the British medical journal The Lancet, which reported that girls who took iron supplements performed significantly better on verbal tests than those who took a placebo. "Teenage girls should be regularly tested for iron deficiency because rapid growth and the onset of menstruation during puberty increase the body's need for iron," says Ann Bruner, MD, of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and a lead author of the study.USDA data reveal that women up to age 50 also tend to get much less than recommended levels of iron, a lack of which leads to anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells, hemoglobin or volume of blood. For kids, deficiency is more common from six months to four years and during the rapid growth spurts of adolescence when the body is growing so quickly that the body's iron stores may sink to dangerous levels. Vegetarian women run the greatest risk for deficiency, as meat is iron-rich; foods like beans, grains and vegetables also contain some iron. Supplements, of course, supply easily absorbable iron. And to absorb iron from vegetarian sources, take vitamin C with your meals. That boosts the amount of this mineral you will take in. Bear in mind, however, that certain folks-older men and post-menopausal women-generally have adequate dietary supplies of iron. Of greater concern, in fact, is excessive iron, and for these folks iron-free multivitamin and mineral supplements are available.
Ante Up the Antioxidants
Antioxidant nutrients help protect the body from oxygen-scavenging molecules called free radicals. The products of pollution, the body's own metabolic processes and other sources, free radicals are linked to heart disease, cancer and other chronic health problems. The most important antioxidants, which include vitamin C, E, beta carotene, and selenium, are often lacking in the American diet. Plus, optimal amounts of vitamin E cannot be consumed from food. You need supplements. The bottom line: even though we live in a land of plenty, you can still miss vital nutrients. So make sure to consume these vital substances.
Source of Missing Nutrients In the search for the nutrients missing from America's diet, one big help is the sprout. The sprout is truly one of nature's heavyweights: fresh, tiny and moist, its power punch of vitamins, minerals, protein, chlorophyll and disease-busting phytochemicals land it in a weight class far beyond that of its full-grown competitors. Size does NOT matter to this nutritional giant. A championship belt currently wraps around the miniscule broccoli sprout, catapulted into the ring by Paul Talalay, MD, professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Talalay discovered that the seedlings contain substantially more of the cancer-fighting substance sulforaphane than mature plants (Proc. Natnl. Acad. Sci. USA, 94, 10367-10372). Sprouts, the quintessential health food of the Sixties, provide a wonderfully varied and versatile way to get your daily greens. Raw or cooked, strong or mild, vegetable and grass sprouts and their algae cousins add low-calorie texture to recipes and a rich, diverse complement of nutrients and fiber.
Ancient Asia to the Modern Lab
Asians stir-fried sprouts as one of the earliest fast foods as long as 5,000 years ago. The ancient Chinese relied on sprouts for year-round vegetables in colder regions of their vast country. Today, researchers studying sprouts and adult plants have identified their important chemoprotective and other health-bolstering substances. In Paul Talalay's research project at Johns Hopkins, scientists found that three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain up to 50 times more sulforaphane than mature plants, which prompts the body to produce an enzyme that prevents cancer tumors from forming. Uniform levels of the compound saturate the shoots, unlike the chemically uneven adult plants. The Brassica family of broccoli and cabbage is richly endowed with phytochemicals that also help reduce estrogen levels associated with breast cancer. Other phytochemical compounds in the Brassica family are associated with the prevention of stomach and lung cancers. Most of the initial landmark work on phytochemicals' cancer-fighting powers has taken place since 1989 under the aegis of the National Cancer Institute's "Designer Food Program," which isolated, for example, the isoflavones in beans that seem to neutralize cancer-gene enzymes.
Strong Suit: Soy and Spirulina
The isoflavones and phytosterols in soy produce an estrogenic effect that appears to relieve menopausal symptoms and help prevent breast cancer. Soy foods expert Mark Messina, PhD, has done extensive work on the subject, some of which has been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-6. Researchers also have synthesized a bone-strengthening form of soy isoflavones called ipriflavone, following impressive clinical trials in the treatment of osteoporosis (American Journal of Medicine, 95 [Suppl. 5A] (1993): 69S-74S). Spirulina and other micro-algae are fascinating organisms that inhabit a niche between the plant and animals kingdoms. Named for its tiny spirals, spirulina, a blue-green algae, grows in saline lakes but is cultured for maximum nutritional content. In her book Whole Foods Companion (Chelsea Green), Dianne Onstad notes that spirulina contains "the highest sources of protein, beta carotene and nucleic acids of any animal or plant food." Its nucleic acids, she says, benefit cellular regeneration; its fatty acids, especially GLA and omega-3 acids, make it one of the most complete foods. Sprouts, like any other produce, should be rinsed thoroughly before serving. People at high risk for bacterial illness-young children, the very elderly or folks with weakened immune systems-should limit their consumption of raw sprouts. But no matter how you eat them, you may find more spring in your step from these tiny, sprouting nutritional wonders.
Fats: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
June 14, 2005 11:18 AM
Fats: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly by Thomas Sherman Energy Times, October 15, 2004
We need fat to absorb vitamins, to keep our brains sharp, to survive. But not all fats are our friends. Find out which ones are the heroes and the villains in your diet.
In a lot of cases health fads don't live up to their hype. But the case for consuming more good fats-the omega-3 fatty acids found primarily in fish, flax and hemp oils-is strong and growing stronger. As a nation we eat too little of these good fats, and our health would improve greatly if we relied a little less on the bad saturated fat in burgers, skipped the ugly trans fats in fries and indulged in more salmon and other seafoods.
Fish and the Heart
Need proof? A wealth of research supports fish oil's desirable effects, especially on heart health. While many people believe that heart disease is primarily a problem for men, women who have passed through menopause are just as susceptible to heart problems.
" [Our] findings suggest that all women, and most likely men, would benefit from regular fish intake," says Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University in Boston. "A tuna fish sandwich counts, as does almost any other type of fish that is baked, broiled, grilled, or poached." But she points out that fried fish, which is often cooked in hydrogenated oils, is not helpful.
In research on more than 200 women, performed at the Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts, scientists found that the arterial blockages among women who dined on fish were less (and impeded blood flow less) than in women who hardly ever ate seafood. Fish was especially helpful for women who had diabetes, a disease that makes you more prone to heart and circulation problems (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 9/04).
These effects are important: Heart disease is the number one cause of death for women, and older women who suffer from diabetes are particularly susceptible. The number of people with diabetes has been increasing of late, mainly due to the fact that Americans are overweight. Right now about 18 million people have diabetes and another 20 million are expected to suffer this condition in the next four decades.
" This study shows that following the current guidelines of eating at least two servings of any type of fish per week slows down the progression of heart disease in women with coronary artery disease (CAD), especially those who were also diabetic," says Dr. Lichtenstein, coauthor of the study. "We further found that eating one or more servings per week of fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as tuna or other dark-fleshed fish, is equally effective."
Dangerous disruptions in heartbeat, known as arrhythmias, may also be affected by fish oil. "[E]xperiments show that fatty acids from omega-3 fish oils are stored in the cell membranes of heart cells and can prevent sudden cardiac death or fatal arrhythmias," notes Alexander Leaf, MD, medical researcher and professor at Harvard University.
Fat for Your Brain
The right kind of fat is also crucial for the function of your nerves and brain tissue, which is 60% to 70% fat. Incorporating omega-3 fatty acids into those cells can help keep your brain firing on all synapses. It may lower your risk of Alzheimer's disease, an irreversible form of mental deterioration that kills 100,000 Americans a year. About a thousand people a day in the US are found to have Alzheimer's, and experts believe that over the next 40 years 14 million of us will be doomed to being enveloped by the mental fog this condition produces.
Research indicates that our brains probably need omega-3 fats for protection against the kind of damage that causes our mental capacities to slip. Once Alzheimer's starts, deterioration accelerates because brain cells start losing these fats.
In experiments performed at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA (Neuron 9/2/04), scientists looked at how a lack of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, one of the omega-3 fats found in fish), affected the cellular processes that lead to Alzheimer's. They found that the part of brain cells that receive signals from other brain cells, the receptors, are vulnerable to damage from chemical reactions that take place inside the cells. However, DHA offers antioxidant protection against this destruction.
When brain cells were denied DHA, the cells' receptors suffered extra harm. But when fish oil was present, brain cells were protected. In addition, animals that received extra omega-3s were better able to learn and find their way through mazes.
Greg Cole, PhD, senior researcher on this study and a professor of neurology at Geffen, says, "We saw that a diet rich in DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, dramatically reduces the impact of the Alzheimer's gene [which made the animals more susceptible to Alzheimer's]. Consuming more DHA is something the average person can easily control. Anyone can buy DHA in its purified form, fish-oil capsules, high-fat fish or DHA-supplemented eggs." Fishes rich in omega-3s include salmon, halibut, mackerel, sardines and herring.
Protecting Kids from Asthma
A surprising benefit of omega-3s has been found in pregnant women and their newborns: Pregnant women with asthma who eat fish rich in omega-3s during their pregnancy lower their children's risk of asthma.
Not just any fish will do. The study (American Thoracic Society International Conference 5/25/04) discovered that mothers who ate fish sticks during pregnancy doubled the asthma risk in their kids. " Fish sticks are deep-fried, and they contain omega-6 fatty acids, which encourage inflammation of the airways," says study co-author Frank Gilliland, MD, PhD, professor at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. "Oily fish [like salmon and trout] contain omega-3 fatty acids, which appear to be anti-inflammatory, and lead to the reduced potential for developing asthma and allergies."
The USC investigation showed that when women with asthma ate oil-bearing fish during pregnancy, the risk of asthma for their children dropped more than 70%. The more fish that mom consumed, the less likely her baby was to develop asthma. Unfortunately, the study did not find the same benefit in women without asthma.
" A family history of asthma is a very strong risk factor for a child developing asthma," Dr. Gilliland says. "It appears that oily fish interacts with the genes involved in the predisposition to develop asthma, and somehow reduces the risk."
Although most of us try to avoid accumulating unsightly fat around our hips, the right kind of fat plays an integral part in the functioning of our bodies and may even keep us alive. Fats don't get much better than that.
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number
June 13, 2005 07:43 PM
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number by Carl Lowe Energy Times, March 10, 2004
As women age, their physical needs shift. The health challenges that face a woman in her thirties do not match those of a woman in her fifties.
At the same time, some basic health needs stay constant: At any age, every woman requires a wealth of vitamins, minerals and the other natural chemicals that fruits, vegetables and supplements supply. She also constantly needs families and friends to support her spiritual health.
As the internal workings of your body alter, your lifestyle must stay abreast of those adjustments. Peak health demands a finely tuned health program designed with your individual needs-and your stage of life-in mind.
Ages 30 to 45
When it comes to maintaining health, younger women might seem to have it easier than older women. If they exercise and stay in shape, they maintain more stamina than women 10 to 20 years their senior.
Unfortunately, many women in this age group mistakenly think they don't have to be as careful about their lifestyle habits and their eating habits as they will in later decades. But even if your health doesn't seem to suffer from poor eating choices or a sedentary lifestyle right away, your foundation for health in later life suffers if you don't care for yourself now.
By age 45 you should have established the good habits that will carry you successfully through the aging process. As an added bonus, good lifestyle habits pay immediate dividends. If you pay attention to your nutrients and get plenty of physical activity when younger, you'll feel more energetic and probably enjoy better emotional health.
Set Health Goals
According to Gayle Reichler, MS, RD, CDN, in her book Active Wellness (Avery/Penguin), good health at any age doesn't just come to you-you have to plan for it. In order to stick to good habits, she says, "living a healthy lifestyle needs to be satisfying." Reichler believes that you need to picture your health goals to achieve them: "Every successful endeavor first begins in the mind as an idea, a thought, a dream, a conviction." Good health at this age and in later years requires a concrete strategy and visualization of how your body can improve with a healthy lifestyle.
Your long-term health goals at this age should include an exercise program that will allow you to reach a physically fit old age with a lowered risk of disability. In addition, your short-term plans should encompass losing weight, staying optimistic, living life with more vim and vigor, increasing your capacity for exercise and lowering your stress.
As Reichler points out, "Your long-term goal and your ideal vision establish what you want to achieve....[You should do] something good...for yourself every day and every week that makes your life easier and more consistent with your goals."
Develop an Eating Plan
Today, the average American gains about two pounds annually. As a result, every year a greater portion of the US population is obese and overweight. By controlling your food intake earlier in life, you may be able to avoid this weight gain. In his book Prolonging Health (Hampton Roads), James Williams, OMD, recommends basic changes to your diet that can provide long-term support of your health:
Get Supplemental Help
If you're in your thirties or forties and you don't take at least a multivitamin, start taking one today! A large body of research shows that taking vitamin and mineral supplements over a long period of time significantly supports better health.
Calcium and vitamin D are two of the most important supplemental nutrients, helping to build stronger bones now that can withstand the bone-loss effects of aging.
Calcium can also help keep your weight down. One study of younger women found that for every extra 300 milligrams of calcium a day they consumed, they weighed about two pounds less (Experimental Biology 2003 meeting, San Diego).
In the same way, taking vitamin D supplements not only helps strengthen your bones, it can also lower your risk of multiple sclerosis (Neurology 1/13/04). In this study, which looked at the health records of more than 180,000 women for up to 20 years, taking D supplements dropped the chances of multiple sclerosis (although eating vitamin D-rich foods did not have the same benefit). And if you're thinking about having children at this age, a multivitamin is crucial for lowering your baby's risk of birth defects and other health problems. A study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that women who take multivitamins during pregnancy lower their children's risk of nervous system cancer by up to 40% (Epidemiology 9/02).
" Our finding, combined with previous work on reducing several birth defects with vitamin supplementation and other childhood cancers, supports the recommendation that mothers' vitamin use before and during pregnancy may benefit their babies' health," says Andrew F. Olshan, MD, professor of epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health. "We believe physicians and other health care providers should continue to educate women about these benefits and recommend appropriate dietary habits and daily dietary supplements."
In particular, Dr. Olshan feels that folic acid (one of the B vitamins), and vitamins C and A, are particularly important for lowering the risk of childhood cancers and birth defects.
Ages 45 to 55
When you reach this in-between age-the time when most women have moved past childbearing age but haven't usually fully moved into the post-menopausal stage-you enjoy a propitious opportunity to take stock of your health and plan for an even healthier future. One thing that may need adjustment is your sleep habits, as sleeplessness is a common problem for women in this age group. Even if you haven't been exercising or watching your diet until now, it's not too late to start. Making lifestyle changes at this age can still improve your chances for aging successfully.
For instance, it is at these ages that women should have their heart health checked. Research published in the journal Stroke (5/01) shows that having your cholesterol and blood pressure checked at this time more accurately shows your future chances of heart disease than having it checked at a later date after menopause, in your late fifties.
" The premenopausal risk factors may be a stronger predictor of carotid atherosclerosis [artery blockages] because they represent cumulative risk factor exposure during the premenopausal years, whereas the risk factors...during the early postmenopausal years have a shorter time for influence," says Karen A. Matthews, PhD, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In other words, Dr. Matthews' research shows that if you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol before menopause, you are at serious risk for a stroke or heart attack soon after menopause: These are important reasons that you need to start improving your health habits immediately.
Increase in Heart Disease
Before menopause, a woman's hormones and other physiological characteristics usually hold down her chance of heart disease. After menopause, when hormones and other bodily changes occur, the risk of heart attacks and stroke in women rises significantly. (Heart disease is the leading killer of women.) At least part of this increased risk is linked to the postmenopausal decrease in estrogen production.
Dr. Matthews studied about 370 women in their late forties, measuring their weight, their BMI (body mass index, an indication of body fat compared to height), blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Ten years later, after the women had entered menopause, she and her fellow scientists used ultrasound to measure blockages in these women's neck arteries (a sign of heart disease).
The researchers found that indications of potential heart problems (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight) when women were in their forties did indeed forecast future difficulties.
" Women who had elevated cholesterol, higher blood pressures and increased body weight before menopause had increased blood vessel thickening and atherosclerotic plaque formation in the neck arteries after menopause. Such changes in the carotid arteries are associated with an increased heart attack and stroke risk," says Dr. Matthews.
Heart Health Factors
The four main lifestyle factors you should adjust at this age to support better heart function are diet, stress, exercise and weight. According to Dr. James Williams, "[M]ore than any other cause, dietary factors are the most critical factor in cardiovascular disease." He recommends eliminating "dietary saturated fatty acids as found in flame-broiled and fried meats." He also urges women to eat more fish and poultry, consume organic fruits and vegetables and cut back on refined sugar.
Stress becomes an ever more important heart disease factor at this age as estrogen begins to drop.
" Our study [in the lab] indicates that stress affects estrogen levels and can lead to the development of heart disease-even before menopause," says Jay Kaplan, PhD, of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (The Green Journal 3/02).
Dr. Kaplan's research shows that stress in women ages 45 to 55 may reduce estrogen earlier in life and make women more susceptible to the arterial blockages that lead to heart disease. "We know from [lab] studies that stress can lower estrogen levels to the point that health is affected," he says.
Stress can also hurt bone health: In a study of 66 women with normal-length menstrual periods, estrogen levels were low enough in half of the women to cause bone loss, making the women susceptible to osteoporosis.
Exercise and Weight
Although exercise used to be considered to be mainly a young woman's activity, the thrust of recent research suggests that physical activity actually becomes more important to health as you get older.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that exercising and keeping your weight down is probably the most important thing you can do to lower your risk of heart disease as you enter your forties and fifties (Am J Prev Med 11/03).
Of the people who took part in this study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who performed the most exercise were thinner and had a 50% chance less of dying of heart disease than overweight nonexercisers.
" The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, a researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.
An added benefit of exercise: If you burn up calories exercising, you can eat more and not have to worry as much about being overweight.
Supplements and Diet
If you're a woman at midlife, a multivitamin and mineral is still good nutritional insurance. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables are also important for getting enough phytochemicals, the health substances in plants that convey a wealth of health benefits.
As you enter this age group, your immune system gradually slows down. To help support immune function, eating produce rich in antioxidant nutrients, and supplementing with antioxidants like vitamins C and E as well as carotenoids, can be especially important. For example, a study of people with ulcers found that people with less vitamin C in their stomachs are more likely to be infected with Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers and is linked to stomach cancer (J Amer Coll Nutr 8/1/03).
This research, which looked at the health of about 7,000 people, found that vitamin C probably helps the immune system fend off this bacterial infection.
" Current public health recommendations for Americans are to eat five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day to help prevent heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases," says Joel A. Simon, MD, MPH, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.
Calcium and Bones
At midlife, calcium continues to be a vital mineral for supporting bone health.
According to Gameil T. Fouad, PhD, "It has been routinely shown that a woman's calcium status and level of physical activity (specifically, the degree to which she participates in weight-bearing exercise) are positively associated with bone mineral density. It is less well appreciated that this is a process which takes place over the course of a lifetime."
Dr. Fouad adds that calcium works in concert with other vitamins and minerals to keep bones healthy: "Research in the United Kingdom involving nearly 1,000 premenopausal women over age 40 illustrates those women with the highest bone density tended to have the highest intake of calcium. Surprisingly, this study also demonstrated that calcium does not act alone: those women with the best bone health also had the highest intakes of zinc, magnesium and potassium."
Dr. Fouad stresses that supplements should go together with a lifestyle that includes enough sleep and exercise to help the body stay in top shape.
" As a general guideline," he says, "a woman concerned with her mineral intake should take concrete steps to make sure she is getting adequate rest, is eating a well-balanced diet focused on fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein as well as getting adequate exercise....A multi-mineral containing bio-available forms of zinc, magnesium, copper and selenium is probably a safe addition to anyone's routine. Taking these proactive steps dramatically reduces the chances that deficiencies will arise."
Ages 55 and Beyond
Entering the post-menopausal phase of life can present challenging opportunities for a new perspective on life and health. While some signs of aging are inevitable, experts who have looked at how the human body changes with age are now convinced that healthy lifestyle habits can improve how well you can think, move and enjoy life well past age 55.
As Dr. Williams notes, "In your fifties, the force of aging is undeniably present: Your body shape changes and organ function declines, both men and women have a tendency to gain weight....Heart disease becomes more common, energy and endurance are considerably reduced and your memory begins to slip."
But Dr. Williams also points out that you don't have to age as rapidly as other people do. He believes you should employ a "natural longevity program...[that starts] to reverse the course of aging as early as possible."
One key to staying vital as you age is your outlook on life, an aspect of life that's greatly enhanced by strong social ties.
Avoiding the Aging Slowdown The latest research shows that one of the most crucial ways to slow the effects of aging is to exercise and keep your weight down. It won't necessarily be easy, though. The change in hormonal balance at this age makes the body more prone to extra pounds (Society for Neuroscience Meeting, 11/12/03).
" In women, it has been demonstrated that major weight increases often occur during menopause, the time in a woman's life in which cyclic ovarian function ends and the ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone decline," says Judy Cameron, PhD, a scientist in the divisions of reproductive sciences and neuroscience at the Oregon Health & Science University.
In Dr. Cameron's lab trials, she has found that the decrease in estrogen after menopause "resulted in a 67% jump in food intake and a 5% jump in weight in a matter of weeks."
In other words, the hormonal changes you undergo as enter your late fifties causes your appetite to grow as well as your waistline: Developments that increase your chances of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and joint problems.
Vigilance against this weight gain is necessary to save your health: Start walking and exercising. Research on exercise in people aged 58 to 78 found that getting off the couch for a walk or other physical activity not only helps control weight but also helps sharpen your thinking and helps you become more decisive (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2/16-20/04, online edition). This recent study, done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, found that performing aerobic exercise improved mental functioning by 11% (on a computer test).
" We continue to find a number of cognitive benefits in the aerobic group," says Arthur F. Kramer, PhD, a professor of psychology at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois. "The brain circuits that underlie our ability to think-in this case to attend selectively to information in the environment-can change in a way that is conducive to better performance on tasks as a result of fitness." In simple terms, that means that walking at least 45 minutes a day boosts brain power as well as protecting your heart.
An Herb for Menopause
The physical changes that accompan> y menopause can be uncomfortable. But traditional herbal help is available: Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), an herb used for eons by aging women, has been shown in recent studies to be both safe and effective (Menopause 6/15/03).
" This [research] should reassure health professionals that they can safely recommend black cohosh to their menopausal patients who cannot or choose not to take HRT [hormone replacement therapy]," says researcher Tieraona Low Dog, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico Department of Family and Community Medicine.
While HRT has been used to help women cope with menopause, a flurry of studies in the past few years have shown that HRT increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. Instead, black cohosh, which alleviates such menopausal discomforts as hot flashes, has been shown to be much safer.
Keeping Track of Crucial Vitamins
While continuing to take multivitamins and minerals at this age is important, some experts believe that as we grow older, vitamin D supplementation, as well as taking antioxidant nutrients, is particularly vital. Arthritis is a common affliction of aging, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one particularly destructive form of this joint problem. But taking vitamin D can significantly lower your risk of this condition.
When scientists analyzed the diets of 30,000 middle-aged women in Iowa over 11 years, they found that women who consumed vitamin D supplements were 34% less likely to suffer RA (Arth Rheu 1/03).
Other vitamins are equally important to an older woman's well-being. For example, vitamins C and natural E have been found to lower the risk of stroke in those over the age of 55 (Neurology 11/11/03). In this study, smokers who consumed the most vitamin C and natural vitamin E were 70% were much less likely to suffer strokes than smokers whose diets were missing out on these vitamins.
Rich sources of vitamin C in food include oranges and other citrus fruits, strawberries, red and green peppers, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils such as sunflower seed, cottonseed, safflower, palm and wheat germ oils, margarine and nuts.
Saving Your Sight
After age 55, your eyes are particularly vulnerable. Eight million Americans of this age are at risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that destroys structures in the back of the eye necessary for vision (Arch Ophthal 11/03). But you can drop your risk of AMD by taking supplements of antioxidant vitamins and zinc, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute.
Their research shows that a dietary supplement of vitamins C, natural vitamin E and beta carotene, along with zinc, lowers the chances of progressing to advanced AMD in certain at-risk people by about 25%. Daily supplements also reduced the risk of vision loss by about 19%.
The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin also help protect aging eyes. When scientists compared healthy eyes with eyes suffering from AMD, they found that AMD eyes contained lower levels of these vital nutrients (Ophthalmology 2003; 109:1780). Furthermore, they found that levels of these chemicals generally decline as you grow older.
Healthy at All Ages
When it comes to designing a healthy lifestyle, general rules like these can be followed, but you should individualize your plan to fit your needs. No matter which type of exercises you pick out or what healthy foods you choose, look for a strategy and a plan you can stick to. If you think a selection of foods are good for you but you absolutely hate their taste, chances are you won't be able to stick to a diet that includes them.
The same goes for exercise: Pick out activities that you enjoy and that you can perform consistently. That increases your chance of sticking to an exercise program.
Staying healthy is enjoyable and it helps you get more out of life every day, no matter what stage of life you're in.
Nutritional Calculator - hand-held nutrition calculator that you can carry in your vest...
June 12, 2005 05:45 PM
Nutritional Calculator by Thomas Barclay Energy Times, December 5, 2003
For years, some folks have dreamed of having a hand-held nutrition calculator that you can carry in your vest pocket. Then, at every meal, you could whip out your little machine, hit a few buttons, do some nutritional calculatin' and eat only the best-and leave the rest. Fortunately, we have the next best thing: Internet nutritional calculators as well as books and nutrition nudges that can prod and educate you into consuming a healthier diet. (And if you have a PDA, that vest-pocket calculator is actually within reach.)
When you apply nutritional calculation, you reap instant benefits, giving your body top-notch foods to stay healthy and avoid disease.
For instance, when you log onto a nutritional calculation website like www.daysworth.com (more about these nutritional calculators in a moment), one of the first things you should let it calculate is your saturated fat intake: figuring ways to bring it down could possibly save your life.
All that saturated fat that you may be eating in ice cream, cheeseburgers, fried chicken, etc., leads to a cascade of physiological events that raise the risk of cancer. Consume a cheeseburger, with its 562.83 calories, 15.04 grams of saturated fat and 87.6 grams of cholesterol, and you lead your body to produce too much lithocholic acid, a substance that plays a key role in colon cancer.
"Lithocholic acid is highly toxic, and it builds up in a high-fat diet," notes David Mangelsdorf, PhD, professor of pharmacology at Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Texas Southwestern. "We don't know how it causes cancer; but it is known to cause cancer in mice, and people with colon cancer have high concentrations of it." The problem with cheeseburgers and their fatty contents is that when the liver breaks down that supersized clump of cholesterol, the process ends with an oversupply of lithocholic acid, a bile acid that ends up in the intestines. There it can stimulate the process that leads to cancer cell formation (Science 5/16/02).
"The rate of colorectal cancer is much higher in the United States... than in Japan, where people don't eat a lot of fat and colorectal cancer is almost nonexistent," notes Dr. Mangelsdorf.
"Our bodies can handle slight changes in lithocholic acid that come from a normal diet, but not a high-fat diet," he says. "The current American diet can provide more fat on a daily basis than a human being was ever meant to handle."
Teasing out where your dietary saturated fat is coming from is easy on a website like www.daysworth.com. By simply entering the foods you eat during the day into the calculator on this site, you can analyze your daily intake of calories, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats and protein.
For instance, suppose on Monday you eat:
Breakfast: scrambled eggs and sausage with hash browns, toast and butter, orange juice, coffee and non-dairy creamer.
Lunch: cheeseburger, regular fries, chocolate milkshake.
Snack: Milky Way candy bar, can of cola.
Dinner: fried chicken, mashed potatoes with butter, iceberg lettuce, string beans, glass of root beer and chocolate pudding for dessert.
Snack: potato chips and water.
Enter all of those foods into daysworth.com and you find that your daily calories are about 4,000, your salt (4,700 mg) is too high, your vitamin E (8 units) intake is low and you're missing out on potassium-rich foods and fiber. Other potential nutritional difficulties in those meals include a heavy dose of saturated fat (56 grams) and cholesterol (topping 650 mg).
The calculator will lead you to better sources of vitamin E (like almonds), potassium (almost any fruit) and fiber (whole-wheat breakfast cereals with fruits and nuts).
The latest technological twist: If you have a PDA, you can download the USDA nutritional database. Visit www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp.
Figuring It Out
A host of other sites can help your calorie and nutritional calculation.
For calculating the amount of calories you need during the day you can consult www.wvda.org/calcs, a website run by the West Virginia Dietetic Association.
Nutritional Analysis Tools and System (NATS), which resides at nat.crgq.com/mainnat.html, can help you find foods that will aid your nutrition program. And over at gnutrition.sourceforge.net, you can download nutrition analysis software called Gnutrition. It contains data on 81 nutrients for over 5,000 foods.
Aside from websites, books like The Nutrition Desk Reference (Keats) by Robert Garrison, Jr., MA, RPH and Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, or Food-Your Miracle Medicine (HarperPerennial) can also help you calculate a more healthful diet.
A pleasant surprise as you navigate your way through these calculators: Healthy food tastes good, too! You don't have to sacrifice food to get the nutrients you need. Just calculate, calculate, calculate!
Keeping Your Edge - The state of your outer body reflects the inner you.
June 12, 2005 05:22 PM
Keeping Your Edge by Carl Lowe Energy Times, December 2, 2003
If you want to keep your mental edge, better keep your physical edge. As your body goes, so goes your brain: The state of your outer body reflects the inner you.
A flabby body leads to flabby thinking. Weight gain and toneless muscles on the outside are evidence of an out-of-tune brain and thinking processes as soft around the edges as your stomach. But staying in shape physically can boost your mental powers.
As you age, one of the biggest threats to keeping your thoughts sharp is Alzheimer's disease, a progressive brain deterioration (dementia) that destroys your memory and your ability to think.
Today, about 4.5 million Americans suffer Alzheimer's disease. Over a lifetime, the average cost per person suffering this disease adds up to a staggering $175,000. Consequently, according to the Alzheimer's Association (www.alz.org), this disease drains approximately a billion dollars a year from the US economy.
Thanks to an aging population and the growing girth of Americans, the rate of Alzheimer's threatens to explode into an epidemic over the next two decades.
Experts now believe that if you are carrying around too much weight, those extra pounds puts you at a higher risk of losing your thinking abilities. And being seriously overweight greatly expands your chances of developing this debilitating type of dementia.
An 18-year study of about 400 people in Sweden, all aged 70 at the beginning of the research, concluded that your chances of suffering dementia significantly increases with every extra pound (Archives for Internal Medicine 7/03).
Cholesterol Conquers Minds
In addition to the extra risk to your thinking capacity from body fat, having high levels of cholesterol in your blood also threatens your brain's ability to reason. Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have found that:
* Excess amounts of cholesterol can lead to accumulation of APP, a protein found normally in moderate amounts in both the brain and the heart.
* Excess APP linked to cholesterol can, in turn, lead to the development of larger amounts of a substance called amyloid protein.
* Pieces of amyloid protein can form plaque on the brain, destroying cells and leading to the development of Alzheimer's disease.
"Past research has shown that high cholesterol levels appear to increase APP levels, which in turn leads to increased levels of beta amyloid protein and the risk of accumulation of amyloid beta peptide," says Vassilios Papadopoulos, PhD, professor of cell biology at Georgetown. "Our research showed that high cholesterol levels also increase the rate at which the amyloid beta peptides break off and form the tangles that kill brain cells." Added to that, the Georgetown scientists have demonstrated that high cholesterol seems to cause the body to boost its production of the protein, apolipoprotein E (APOE), a chemical that normally helps take cholesterol out of cells. But when APOE accumulates, this chemical leads to an excess of free cholesterol, which kills nerve cells.
"Our study adds to the growing body of evidence implicating high cholesterol as a significant risk factor in Alzheimer's disease, and breaks new ground in showing the damage caused by excessive levels of cholesterol," says Dr. Papadopoulos.
Since high blood pressure also increases your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (BMJ 6/14/01), devoting yourself to a heart-healthy lifestyle (eating plenty of fiber, cutting back on saturated fat in red meat and avoiding trans fats in cookies and cakes) can increase your chances of keeping your wits about you as you move through life.
As part of that heart-healthy lifestyle that keeps your brain functioning at top capacity, experts recommend regular helpings of omega-3 fatty acids, the type of fats found in fish, flax and hemp.
In research that focused on people between the ages of 65 to 94, researchers have found that eating seafood at least once a week drops your risk of Alzheimer's by about 60% compared with folks who forego fish (Archives of Neurology 7/03).
Along with fish, the scientists recommended munching more nuts, which are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids.
In the report on the relationship between eating and Alzheimer's, Robert friedland, MD, of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, noted: "A high antioxidant/low saturated fat diet pattern with a greater amount of fish, chicken, fruits and vegetables and less red meat and dairy products is likely to lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease, as that for heart disease and stroke."
Wake Up Your Brain
If your thinking has been fuzzy lately, take a nap.
Getting enough sleep right after you learn something new helps maintain your learning abilities, according to research at the University of Chicago. In a test of how sleep can help people remember words and language, these researchers taught students to recognize a unique vocabulary spoken by a machine. After the learning session, students were then tested on their new abilities.
The scientists found that students trained in the morning tested poorly when tested later the same evening. But when students were trained right before bedtime and then tested the next morning, their test scores soared (Nature 9/9/03).
"Sleep has at least two separate effects on learning," according to the researchers. "Sleep consolidates memories, protecting them against subsequent interference or decay. Sleep also appears to 'recover' or restore memories."
The concept of this research originated in observations of birds.
"We were surprised several years ago to discover that birds apparently 'dream of singing' and this might be important for song learning," says researcher Daniel Margoliash, professor of biology and anatomy at the University of Chicago.
While you may not dream of singing like a bird, you may dream of having a sharper intellect. Luckily, the tools for sharpening your mental powers are easy to find and put to good use: Methods for keeping your brain in shape are basically the same techniques effective for keeping your body and heart in shape.
Fats for Life - the quality of the fat you eat is probably much more important than the...
June 12, 2005 02:39 PM
Fats for Life by Henry Wolfe Energy Times, August 6, 2003
For years, many experts argued that the only good fatty foods were the ones you didn't eat. That was a big, fat mistake. Overwhelming evidence now shows that certain fats are not only necessary for optimal health, but that the quality of the fat you eat is probably much more important than the quantity.
Threatening Trans Fats
"The biggest thing wrong with the fats Americans eat today is that they are eating too many trans fatty acids," says Fred Pescatore, MD, author of The Allergy and Asthma Cure (John Wiley). "About 42,000 foods contain trans fats. These fats are linked to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer."
Trans fatty acids are fats that form when food manufacturers add hydrogen to fat molecules, a process called hydrogenation that makes fats stay fresh longer without growing rancid. Trans fats also form when foods are fried.
Hydrogenation extends the shelf life of refined foods like cakes, donuts, and crackers. Unfortunately, it also creates fats that many experts believe can compromise your health. In a study of the health effects of trans fats, 26 people agreed to eat a diet that changed every five weeks, continually shifting the types of fats in their meals (American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2000). All of the diets in the study provided 30% of calories from fat. One fifth of the fat came from either soybean oil, semi-liquid margarine, tub margarine, shortening, stick margarine or butter.
"We were interested in assessing what would happen when we substituted one fat for another," notes researcher Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, professor of human nutrition at Tufts University, Boston.
The study showed that as people ate more trans fatty acids (in the more solid margarines) and fewer polyunsaturated fats (in the liquid oils), their triglycerides increased after each meal. Triglycerides are blood fats that boost heart disease risk.
For instance, when these folks ate stick margarine, which is high in trans fats, their triglycerides climbed an average 18% higher than when they ate semi-liquid squeeze bottle margarine, a type of margarine that is softer because it is less hydrogenated. Stick margarine raised heart disease risk by causing a drop in HDL, or "good" cholesterol. Although butter increased HDL, it also caused a significant increase in LDL, the "bad" cholesterol that raises heart disease risk.
"The best dietary advice we can give people is to minimize their intake of animal and hydrogenated fats in order to reach the American Heart Association's target of 10% or less of total calories from saturated fat and trans fatty acids," Dr. Lichtenstein says. "That would mean consumers choosing low-fat and non-fat dairy products and lean cuts of meat, and the food industry decreasing the amount of hydrogenated fats used in their products." According to a study at Johns Hopkins University (Amer Coll of Card, 52nd Scientific Session, 3/30/03, Chicago), people who eat saturated fat have more visceral fat, fat surrounding their internal organs. This fat around the waist is now seen as a risk factor for heart disease and other illnesses.
Another hidden problem in our fat consumption, according to Dr. Pescatore, hides within canola oil. Dr. Pescatore says that although many consumers believe canola oil is beneficial to health, the refined canola oil sold in the US has had its potential health benefits removed during processing.
"People still think canola oil is healthy and eat too much of it," he says. "The problem with canola is that it is highly processed and refined....Processors hydrogenate canola oil to keep it from getting rancid."
According to Fred Ottoboni, PhD, coauthor of The Modern Nutritional Diseases (Vincente Books), "Canola oil is lightly hydrogenated to take out the omega-3 fatty acids (the healthiest, but most unstable, fats) and then the food manufacturers filter the trans fats out. I don't worry about the trans fats in canola, but the problem is the huge ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3s."
To get more of the omega-3 fatty acids, which are lacking in most Americans' diets, Dr. Pescatore advocates using macadamia nut oil. "Macadamia nut oil is higher in monounsaturated fats than olive oil; it is the healthiest fat with an omega-3 to -6 ratio of one to one."
The Omega-3 Difference
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are basic forms of fat found in oils. Fish oil, hempseed and flax oil are high in what are called omega-3s. Certain plant-derived oils like corn and soy are richer in omega-6 fatty acids.
"Primitive humans ate a diet that contained a one-to-one ratio of omega-3s and omega-6s," says Dr. Pescatore. "Today we (Americans) eat 20 times more omega-6 than -3; that's why we suffer so much chronic disease and chronic inflammation. For instance, the Japanese eat a (much better) diet that contains a two-to-one ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3." "Not all omega-6s are bad," he adds, "we just eat too many of them."
Switching to healthier fat isn't hard. Eat more fish. When cooking, stick to oils like olive oil and macadamia oil. The quality of your oil and your health may improve in a big, fat way.
Supersized Kids - today's children are not just mildly overweight.
June 12, 2005 02:04 PM
Supersized Kids by Carl Lowe Energy Times, August 1, 2003
If your kids are like most American children, they are in serious danger. Because of a lifestyle that packs in too many calories and not enough exercise, today's children are not just mildly overweight; they are fat enough at younger and younger ages to threaten their well-being.
All of the extra body fat kids carry around is not just a cosmetic problem. Unless something is done quickly, this overweight generation may be doomed to a lifetime of chronic illness stemming from their excessive weight.
If you have kids, they are at risk. The time to take action to save them is today. When researchers look at the weight problems of today's youth, they are shocked and dismayed. The juvenile weight problem has resulted in some kids becoming obese-grossly overweight-by their third birthdays. Scientists are also finding that, in many cases, obese 10-year-olds now have livers that are already malfunctioning because of too much body fat. At the same time, their bodies, in an effort to cope with increases in fat, are secreting high levels of insulin, making them prone to type 2 diabetes, a disease usually found in older adults.
When pediatric endocrinologists at the University at Buffalo analyzed the heights and weights of young children who were referred to them, they found frightening levels of obesity (Pediatric Academic Societies meeting 5/3/00).
"Childhood obesity not only affects a child's self-esteem, it also is associated with multiple medical consequences," says Teresa Quattrin, MD, professor of pediatrics and director of the study. "High insulin levels are believed to be related to type 2 diabetes, formerly known as 'adult-onset diabetes.' In fact, the incidence of type 2 diabetes in children has risen significantly in recent years, along with a high prevalence of obesity." "Children at risk of obesity must be identified very early, even at the preschool level," she adds. "Obese children often have obese parents, so an effective family-based multi-factor intervention program should begin as soon as obesity is diagnosed." Experts estimate that up to one in three US children and adolescents is already obese, and the numbers are rising. Children who are overweight are much more likely to grow up to become overweight adults and to suffer all of the health problems associated with adult obesity.
Experts believe that the best way to get children's weight under control is to get family eating under control. And the eating changes do not have to be drastic to produce effective results.
"Obesity is a family illness," says Debra Haire-Joshu, PhD, director of the Obesity Prevention Center at Saint Louis University School of Public Health. "Children...learn to become obese in an environment that encourages it. If parents are eating poorly, that's what they're providing their children."
To help children eat a moderate diet, according to Dr. Haire-Joshu, parents have to eat healthier first. In her research (Preventive Medicine, 6/03), the Saint Louis University School of Public Health joined with Parents As Teachers (PAT), a national, free educational program for parents of children from birth to age 3, to show parents simple ways to eat healthier that they could share with their children.
The researchers found that when they instructed the entire family on eating fewer calories, fewer fried foods and more fruits and vegetables, everyone, including the young children, benefited.
"What we showed in the study is parents who institute very simple changes can significantly impact their health. When parents have kids, they want the best for their kids. We get them at a very teachable moment," Dr. Haire-Joshu says. But society and the media produce an environment that encourages kids to eat gooey, calorie-dense food and stay glued to the television.
"Our society receives consistent messages to eat more and move less. This is a way to balance some of those messages to very young families," warns Dr. Haire-Joshu.
Dr. Haire-Joshu says that her study shows parents are more likely to start on healthier diets when the dietary changes are relatively small. For example, instead of completely revamping meals, families that ate fried foods at five dinners during the week tried cutting back to four fried dinners. Or mothers who consistently ate at fast food restaurants were encouraged to add lettuce and tomato to a smaller burger than the supersize they usually ordered.
Don't wait. Make those kinds of changes today to help your kids control their weight. Their health is at stake.
The Blood Sugar Blues - help lower blood sugar
June 12, 2005 08:08 AM
The Blood Sugar Blues by Carl Lowe Energy Times, July 10, 2003
The cells in your body run on the sugar they get from blood. Normally, this energy distribution system functions efficiently. When things go awry, however, blood sugar fluctuations can cause serious problems.
If your blood sugar stays too high, your pancreas, heart and other organs suffer. But stabilize your blood sugar and you can stabilize your health.
Problems linked to too much blood sugar are widespread. Diabetes, in which the body becomes increasingly unable to regulate blood sugar levels, is one of the most serious and widespread conditions. Plus, researchers now know that elevated blood sugar, even if you don't suffer diabetes, elevates your risk of heart disease and pancreatic cancer (JAMA 5/17/00).
Researchers at the Northwestern University Medical School have shown that with every bump up in your blood sugar levels, your chances of contracting pancreatic cancer rises significantly.
"Because the prevalence of type 2 (adult onset) diabetes and obesity, including childhood obesity, is steadily increasing, identifying a potential causal association between hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and pancreatic cancer could have important preventive and prognosticative implications for this cancer," notes Susan M. Gapstur, MD, a professor at Northwestern.
In other words, measuring your blood sugar can go a long way towards measuring the odds of developing this devastating condition. In the United States, pancreatic cancer is the fifth most deadly cancer. The disease is difficult to discover, and tumors in the pancreas usually remain hidden until the cancer has spread throughout the body.
Blood Sugar and Heart Problems
A collection of researchers now believes your blood sugar level so closely predicts your heart disease risk that blood sugar may be a more accurate heart disease predictor than cholesterol. According to a study in England (BMJ 2001; 322:15), the higher your blood sugar level, the higher your risk of heart disease and other serious health problems.
In particular, a type of blood sugar called glycated hemoglobin may provide an indication of what kind of trouble your heart and arteries may face in the future.
Glycated hemoglobin is blood glucose (sugar) that has latched onto your red blood cells. The levels of this type of attached sugar climbs when blood sugar levels consistently stay too high. After a while, this sugar not only sticks to blood cells, it also starts sticking to other tissues, an occurrence that can lead to cardiovascular disease.
While about one in twenty people in their late 40s or older has diabetes, experts estimate that almost three out of four have at least some degree of elevated glycated hemoglobin.
Higher and Higher
Men and postmenopausal women are at highest risk for elevated blood sugar. Your blood sugar also generally increases:
You can lower your risk of forming glycated hemoglobin by taking the antioxidant vitamins C and E and drinking three or four alcoholic drinks a week (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2000: 71(5)). In addition, losing weight and exercising also drops your glycated hemoglobin.
When glucose enters the bloodstream after a meal, it has a variety of possible destinations. It can be picked up by brain cells, which use glucose as their only source of fuel (this explains why low blood sugar can cause headaches, dizziness and shakiness). Glucose also can enter muscles, which can burn either glucose or fat for energy. Or glucose can enter fat cells for storage-not a desirable option for someone who is already overweight.
One reason blood sugar may rise to unhealthy levels is a condition called glucose resistance or intolerance, which occurs when insulin, the hormone-like substance that shepherds glucose into the body's cells, can't do its job efficiently. That leads to blood which is too rich in both sugar and insulin.
Researchers believe that the element chromium can help the body use insulin more effectively, which, when combined with adequate exercise, allows glucose to more easily enter muscle cells.
"In experiments, chromium supplementation has actually been found to improve glucose tolerance in some diabetics and in people with impaired glucose tolerance," says nutrition researcher and teacher Shari Lieberman, PhD, in The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book (Avery/Penguin).
In a number of investigations, chromium has not only helped improve glucose tolerance, but it has also decreased circulating insulin, glycated hemoglobin and cholesterol levels (Journal of the American College of Nutrition 1998; 17:548-55). (People with elevated glucose levels often suffer from elevations in cholesterol as well. In the search for ways to improve cholesterol levels, Germany's Commission E, an herbal authority respected around the world, has approved the use of garlic to help support healthy cholesterol.)
Ginseng and Blood Sugar
American ginseng, an herb known as an adaptogen (which means it helps the body cope with everyday stress) is another tool for controlling blood sugar. Research at St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto shows that taking American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) about 40 minutes before you eat can reduce your blood sugar (Archives of Internal Medicine 4/9/00).
According to Vladimir Vuksan, MD, lead investigator for the research team, these findings may have important implications for the treatment and prevention of diabetes. "Although preliminary, these findings are encouraging and indicate that American ginseng's potential role in diabetes should be taken seriously and investigated further. Controlling after-meal blood sugar levels is recognized as a very important strategy in managing diabetes. It may also be important in the prevention of diabetes in those who have not yet developed the disease," says Dr. Vuksan.
Fat vs Sugar
Supplemental helpings of the fatty acid conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) have also been shown to control blood sugar and lower your risk of diabetes (Journal of Nutrition 1/03). "In previous work, we found that CLA delayed the onset of diabetes in rats," says Martha Belury, PhD, the senior author of the investigation and an associate professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University. "In (our latest) study, we found that it also helped improve the management of adult-onset diabetes in humans."
Dr. Belury's research shows that CLA may help lower levels of leptin, a hormone believed to regulate fat levels. By reducing leptin, CLA may help reduce body fat, which, in turn, may lower the risk of diabetes and high blood sugar.
A consistent, long-term exercise program is one of the single best ways to convince your body to temper blood sugar levels and lower your risk of developing diabetes (Clinical Exercise Physiology 2/15/02).
"It now appears that there is...a long-term beneficial effect from regular exercise, most likely due to the fact that a significant amount of fat is lost," says exercise physiologist Cris Slentz, PhD. "Long-term exercise leads to loss of fat in the gut (stomach) region, which is especially beneficial since this fat is thought to be directly linked to increased risk of diabetes and heart disease."
Dr, Slentz's study examined how exercise influences the way the body uses sugar in people who have a high risk of diabetes.
In this research, five overweight individuals who had never exercised before engaged in an intensive workout program for nine months. Afterwards, they went back to their couch potato lives.
Dr. Slentz and other investigators measured their blood sugar before they started the exercise program and then remeasured these levels at one day, five days and thirty days after the nine-month regimen ended.
The researchers also looked at these people's insulin sensitivity, a measure of how well their bodies controlled blood sugar.
"Insulin sensitivity, or its ability to stimulate glucose metabolism, was higher after nine months of exercise, and the fasting insulin levels were lower," Slentz said. "Just as importantly, 30 days after stopping exercise, insulin sensitivity was still 24% higher than pre-exercise levels, indicating that beneficial effects of exercise persisted."
In this study, people pedaled exercise bikes, walked on treadmills and climbed stairs. By the end of the research, they were working out about an hour a day.
So if you've put off devoting yourself to an exercise program and taking care of your blood sugar, you now have more reason to start as soon as possible. Paying attention to blood sugar pays off.
June 11, 2005 05:13 PM
Homeopathic Essentials by Jane Lane Energy Times, February 1, 2000
The principles of homeopathy are elegantly basic and, to some, maddeningly elusive. This system of medical treatment employs The Law of Similars or "like cures like," and calls on natural plant, animal and mineral substances that induce the body to heal itself.
That homeopathy works is virtually incontrovertible. With its ancient roots and European practice spanning hundreds of years, homeopathy employs minute doses of diluted extracts to replicate symptoms of a malady, which then vanishes. But the very fact that it works puzzles many experts who have researched the phenomenon.
Understanding The Tradition
Homeopathy evolved from its earliest practice recorded by 10th-century BC Hindu sages to its codification by Hippocrates in 400 BC. " Through the like, disease is produced and through the application of the like, it is cured," he wrote, expressing the fundamental principle of homeopathy, according to Homeopathic Medicine at Home (Tarcher Perigee) by Maesimund B. Panos, MD, and Jane Heimlich. Samuel Christian friedrich Hahnemann, the erudite and intellectually audacious German physician and chemist, seized upon the essentials of homeopathy in the early 1800s.
Through Hahnemann's work, homeopathy developed into an intricately systematized science, veering into the arcane for the contemporary individual seeking relief for everyday ailments.
Modern practitioners and manufacturers of homeopathic remedies benefit from Hahnemann's daring research (which included potentially lethal experiments on himself) and complex doctrines.
They've streamlined and modernized Hahnemann's concepts to provide more relevance to modern ills and sensibilities.
The Bold Experiments
Hahnemann denounced the medical practices of the 18th century, which involved cauterizing, bleeding, blistering and purging patients to expel the pernicious fluids or humors believed to cause disease.
He also reviled the kind of omnibus prescription drugs of the day, which loaded many substances into one compound. In 1790, Hahnemann conducted his groundbreaking experiment establishing the basis of homeopathy.
The customary treatment for malaria at the time was Cinchona officinalis or Peruvian bark-quinine. Medical wisdom attributed its efficacy to its bitterness and astringency. Hahnemann rejected this explanation, noting that other botanicals are far more bitter and astringent, yet are powerless against malaria.
To prove his theory, Hahnemann took some cinchona compound and promptly developed the symptoms of malaria. His deduction: Like cures like, or The Law of Similars. A substance that, in minute doses, induces certain symptoms in a healthy person cures a sick one.
The Set of Laws
A set of fairly complex laws developed from Hahnemann's initial Law of Similars.
The Law of Proving refers to the process of ascertaining the effectiveness of a homeopathic therapy by administering a substance to a healthy person to record in minute detail its effects. Practitioners also use the standard double-blind method using a placebo or unmedicated tablet against a homeopathic compound.
The first proving was performed in 1790 and the procedure endures today, using only humans, not laboratory animals, for greater accuracy. As homeopathic preparations are not toxic, proving has never produced lasting adverse reactions. Descriptions of provings are compiled into books called materia medicas, including Boericke's Materia Medica and Repertory and The Lectures of Homeopathic Materia by James Tyler Kent, used regularly in contemporary practice.
The books are highly indexed collections of symptoms and the remedies that cure them called repertories. The most extensively used repertory is Kent's Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.
In 1800, the third Law of Potentization was devised, regulating the processing of homeopathic remedies through successive dilutions and shaking.
This law represents perhaps the profoundest mystery of homeopathy and demands the boldest leap of faith: The higher the dilution, the more intense the potency of the medicine. Substances that are inert in their natural state act as medicine. And as they are so dilute, homeopathic remedies do not act directly on the tissues, accounting for their non-toxicity. Adding to the inherent safety of homeopathic therapies is the discipline's adherence to the single remedy. Centuries ago, homeopaths seemed to have been prescient about current drug interaction troubles.
(Historical information courtesy of Homeopathic Medicine at Home by Panos and Heimlich.)
How It Works: The Vital Force Homeopathy embraces a philosophy centered on the concept of "vital force," an intelligent, dynamic life force within each individual responsible for maintaining one's life and balance on all levels. The vital force creates a defense mechanism similar to the immune system, but incorporates protection against imbalances on the emotional and mental planes as well.
Homeopathy equates disease with imbalance. As the defense mechanism attempts to restore balance, symptoms appear: pain, swelling, rashes and fevers on the physical side; grief, jealousy, anxiety, anger, confusion and loss of memory on the emotional and mental end.
Homeopaths regards these symptoms as evidence of the vital force's curative exertions, not merely annoyances to be eliminated. Symptoms guide the homeopath in his or her attempts to harmoniously augment the efforts of the vital force.
Homeopathic remedies are prepared according to the standards of the United States Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia and are recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration. " Homeopathy respects the complexity and uniqueness of each individual," observes pharmacist and naturopathic doctor James LaValle (and his co-authors) in Smart Medicine for Healthier Living. "To identify the correct homeopathic remedy, you must carefully observe your unique-even quirky-behaviors and responses." Indeed the emphasis on the "unique, even quirky" may lead to the perception of homeopathy as a sketchy pseudo-science. Homeopathy simply does not fit the drug model of allopathic medicine.
Its ability to help people, however, has been repeatedly evaluated through rigorous scientific research. A comprehensive review in the British Medical Journal (302, 1991: 316-323) of more than 100 clinical studies of homeopathy published during the last 30 years revealed that 77% of those studies produced positive results for the people involved. A host of additional studies provides clinical evidence:
Take it to Heart - Lower Cholesterol
June 09, 2005 06:05 PM
Take it to Heart by Dawn Lemonathen Energy Times, January 2, 2002
Lifestyle is key to bettering your odds of beating heart disease. A few simple, everyday heart-friendly habits can help your heart help you. Right now, heart attacks and other cardiovascular complications like stroke have reached sky-high levels across the US.
Nearly 60 million Americans suffer from one of the various forms of cardiovascular disease and these often fatal complications cause more than 40% of all deaths in the United States. Statistics show that nearly a million Americans succumb to heart problems every year. The humongous cost: Heart disease and stroke consume almost $260 billion annually. Heart disease is the top cause of death for older Americans and remains the leading cause of death for all Americans age 35 and older. Coronary heart disease (CHD), also known as ischemic heart disease, is the most frequent cause of death for adults in the United States-accounting for more than 500,000 deaths a year. And even though most women have had their consciousness raised about their risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer, in fact, their chances of dying from one of the forms of heart disease is double their risk of succumbing to one of the forms of cancer. And ten times more women die from cardiovascular problems than die from breast cancer.
Cholesterol and Heart Health
Nuts and Heart Health
Vegetarianism vs Heart Disease
Heart Science - A Five-Tiered Approach to Heart Health ...
June 02, 2005 12:07 PM
Your heart is crucial to every function of your body. It is the sole organ which pumps oxygen-rich blood through the entire circulatory system, feeding your cells and making life possible. Only recently are Americans realizing the importance of a proper low-fat diet, regular exercise, giving up cigarette smoking, and cutting down alcohol consumption to maintaining a healthy heart. Unfortunately, there has been a huge gap in the number of nutritional supplements which provide nutrients and herbs to support normal heart function. That’s where Source Naturals HEART SCIENCE comes in. Two years in the making, and backed by numerous scientific studies, the nutrients in HEART SCIENCE are some of the most soundly researched of all. Combining high potencies of these super-nutrients, HEART SCIENCE is the most comprehensive, cutting edge nutritional approach to proper heart care available.
Source Naturals HEART SCIENCE— The Five Tiered Approach to Heart Health
Your heart never rests. Even while you sleep, your heart must keep working, relying on the constant generation of energy by the body for its very survival. If this vital organ stops beating for even a short amount of time, all bodily functions cease and life ends. Source Naturals HEART SCIENCE helps support heart function on the chemical, cellular, structural, and energetic levels. This broad spectrum formula includes ingredients specifically geared for
Energy Generators for An Energetic Organ
Every day, the human heart beats about 104,000 times, pumping over 8,000 liters of blood through the body! Because it requires so much energy to perform efficiently, the experts at Source Naturals included specialty nutrients in HEART SCIENCE such as Coenzyme Q10 and L-Carnitine — integral factors in the body’s energy production cycles — to enhance the body’s energy supply.
There are three main interconnected energy generating cycles in our cells — the Glycolytic (sugar-burning) cycle, the Krebs’ (citric acid) cycle, and the Electron Transport Chain. Together they supply about 90 to 95% of our body’s entire energy supply, using fats, sugars, and amino acids as fuel. Coenzyme Q10 is one of the non-vitamin nutrients needed to maximally convert food into ATP (the energy producing molecule). It is the vital connecting link for three of the four main enzyme complexes in the Electron Transport Chain, the next step in energy generation after the Krebs’ cycle. Using the raw materials generated by the Krebs’ cycle, the Electron Transport Chain produces most of the body’s total energy! The heart is one of the bodily organs which contains the highest levels of CoQ10, precisely because it needs so much energy to function efficiently.
CoQ10 is one of the most promising nutrients for the heart under investigation today. It has been postulated that as a result of its participation in energy production, CoQ10 improves heart muscle metabolism and the electrical functioning of the heart by enhancing its pumping capacity.8 Many factors such as a high fat diet, lack of exercise, and cigarette smoking can lead to suboptimal functioning of the heart, and therefore failure of the heart to maintain adequate circulation of blood. Interestingly, people whose lifestyles reflect the above factors also tend to have depleted levels of CoQ10 in the heart muscle.10
Researchers suggest taking between 10-100 mg per day of CoQ10;18,29 HEART SCIENCE provides an impressive 60 mg of CoQ10 per 6 tablets. Similar to CoQ10, L-Carnitine is important for energy production in heart cells. It is a natural amino acid-like substance which plays a key role in transporting fatty acids, the heart’s main source of energy, to the mitochondria, the “power plants” of each cell, where they are utilized for the production of ATP. Heart and skeletal muscles are particularly vulnerable to L-Carnitine deficiency. Studies have shown that supplementation with LCarnitine improves exercise tolerance in individuals with suboptimal heart and circulatory function, and seems to lower blood lipid status and increase HDL (good) cholesterol.16, 22 Each daily dose of HEART SCIENCE contains 500 mg of this extremely important compound.
Like CoQ10 and L-Carnitine, B Vitamins help improve the ability of the heart muscle to function optimally. Each B Vitamin, after being converted to its active coenzyme form, acts as a catalytic “spark plug” for the body’s production of energy. Vitamin B-1, for example, is converted to Cocarboxylase, which serves as a critical link between the Glycolytic and Krebs’ Cycles, and also participates in the conversion of amino acids into energy. A deficiency of B coenzymes within contracting muscle cells can lead to a weakened pumping of the heart.21
HEART SCIENCE is formulated with high quantities of the most absorbable forms of B Vitamins providing maximum nutrition for the high energy demands of heart cells.
B Vitamins also play a crucial role in the conversion of homocysteine, a group of potentially harmful amino acids produced by the body, to methionine, another more beneficial amino acid. While it is normal for the body to produce some homocysteine, even a small elevation in homocysteine levels can have negative implications. It is well documented that individuals who are genetically predisposed to having elevated homocysteine levels (homocysteinemics) tend to have excessive plaque accumulation in the arteries and premature damage to endothelial cells (cells lining the blood vessels and heart).26 Researchers have found that even those without this genetic abnormality, whose homocysteine levels are much lower than those of homocysteinemics, still have an increased risk for premature endothelial damage and the development of plaque in the arteries.24, 26 One study conducted among normal men and women found that those with the highest levels of homocysteine were twice as likely to have clogged arteries as were those with the lowest levels.24 Furthermore, it was found that the lower the research subjects’ blood levels of folate and B-6, the higher their homocysteine levels.24 Another study found that Folic Acid administered to normal men and women who were not even deficient in folate caused a significant reduction in plasma concentrations of homocysteine!3 In order to regulate homocysteine levels, it is critical to provide the body with sufficient amounts of B-6, B-12, and Folate, whether through the diet or through supplementation. HEART SCIENCE includes high levels of these three nutrients, providing B-6 in the regular and coenzyme form for maximum utilization.
The Dangers of Oxidized LDL Cholesterol
While many people have heard that high cholesterol levels may negatively affect normal heart function, few people understand exactly what cholesterol is, or how it can become harmful. Cholesterol is a white, waxy substance produced in the liver by all animals, and used for a variety of necessary activities in the body. Your liver also manufactures two main kinds of carrier molecules which transport cholesterol throughout the system: Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) and High Density Lipoprotein (HDL). Cholesterol is either carried out by LDL from the liver to all tissues in the body where it is deposited, or carried back by HDLs which remove cholesterol deposits from the arteries and carry them to the liver for disposal. Because of this, LDL cholesterol is considered damaging, while HDL is considered protective. Problems occur when there is too much LDL cholesterol in the body and not enough HDL.
When the body becomes overloaded with fat, an over-abundance of LDL particles are manufactured to process it, and they in turn become elevated in the body to a degree that the liver cannot handle. Rich in fatty acids and cholesterol, these particles are highly susceptible to free radical attack (oxidation). Once oxidized, LDL particles are no longer recognized by the body, which attacks them with immune cells. Immune cells which are bloated by oxidized lipids (called foam cells) are a key factor in the development of “fatty streaks” — the first sign of excess arterial fat accumulation. The bloated immune cells accumulate in artery lesions and create plaque in blood vessels, leading to obstruction and constriction of the vessels. Plus, these lodged foam cells continue to secrete free radicals into the bloodstream, making the problem worse.
The development of lesions in the arteries is not an uncommon problem. Arterial (and all blood vessel) walls are composed of a chemical matrix which holds the endothelial cells in place. That endothelial layer is the first and most important line of defense in preventing large molecules, such as cholesterol and fat, from entering the vessel wall. This matrix is composed of proteins, collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans (amino sugars). Arterial lesions can be caused by suboptimal collagen and elastin synthesis due to three factors: 1. Vitamin C deficiency (since Vitamin C is a key building block for collagen and elastin); 2. excessive consumption of rancid fats, or heavy usage of alcohol or cigarettes; and 3. free radical damage. Once these lesions are created, the body attempts to repair them by depositing LDL cholesterol — similar to the way one would patch a tire. If that cholesterol is not oxidized, i.e. chemically changed to a harmful, unstable molecule, then this process does not create a problem. But when arterial lesions are “patched” with foam cells, arterial walls suffer page 3 page 4 even more damage, because those foam cells release free radicals which can further damage cell membranes.
Unfortunately, most people have a lot of oxidized cholesterol floating through the bloodstream. The typical American diet, with its low antioxidant intake and overconsumption of fried and overcooked foods, contributes to the overall levels of harmful oxidized cholesterol. In fact, the average American intake of antioxidants is low even by USRDA standards, making Americans particularly prone to having high levels of oxidized cholesterol.
Fortunately, there are concrete steps you can take to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, and its subsequent ill effects on health. In addition to cutting out high-cholesterol and fatty foods, supplementation can protect existing cholesterol and all tissue cells — from oxidation. Antioxidants, substances which scavenge and neutralize free radicals, protect the cardiovascular system by halting the oxidation of cholesterol, and helping to prevent plaque accumulation in the arteries and the continual secretion of free radicals by foam cells. Supplementing the diet with high amounts of Vitamin C, a key antioxidant, also encourages a more healthy “patching” of existing lesions by using collagen (made from Vitamin C) instead of cholesterol. HEART SCIENCE contains generous amounts of the following antioxidants for their protective benefits:
The Regulating Trio
Three nutrients — Magnesium, Potassium, and Taurine — work closely together in the body to help maintain the normal electrical rhythm of the heart, promote proper fluid balance, and prevent excessive Calcium levels from building up in the heart and artery linings.
Artery Lining Protectors
Your arteries form an integral part of your cardiovascular system, carrying blood away from the heart to nourish other parts of the body. In a healthy heart, blood surges through the arteries with every beat of the heart. The arteries expand with each pulse to accommodate the flow of blood. When arteries become hardened and narrowed by the build-up of plaque, they can’t expand and are not able to transport blood efficiently throughout the body. This inability to open up increases blood pressure, putting a strain on the heart as well as the arteries. HEART SCIENCE includes ingredients specifically geared to protect against plaque formation within arteries and maintain the flexibility of these vital blood vessels. N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG) is a key amino sugar which forms the building blocks of mucopolysaccharides. Mucopolysaccharides, which are long chain sugars, are an integral component of connective tissue. They combine to form gel-like matrixes which are present throughout tissues in the body, helping to maintain the elasticity of blood vessels which must continually adapt to the changing pressures of blood flow. Each daily dose of HEART SCIENCE provides 500 mg — a substantial amount — of this vital tissue building block. There is evidence indicating that Silicon, a natural mineral, may protect against plaque formation in the arteries. Silicon is found mainly in connective tissues, where it helps bind the body’s chemical matrix. Bound Silicon is found in high amounts in arterial walls. Researchers have found that there is a steady decline in the Silicon content of the aorta and other arteries as we age. This may be due to the low fiber content of the typical American diet, since fiber is a key dietary source of Silicon.23 HEART SCIENCE includes 400 mg of Horsetail herb extract, a natural source of Silicon. Hawthorn Berry is without question the herb most widely used to encourage normal heart function. The beneficial actions of Hawthorn Berry on cardiac function have been repeatedly demonstrated in experimental studies. Supplementation with Hawthorn Berry has been shown to improve both the blood supply to the heart by dilating coronary vessels, and the metabolic processes in the heart, resulting in normal, strong contractions of the heart muscle.34 Also, Hawthorn may inhibit the angiotensen converting enzyme, which is responsible for converting angiotensen I to angiotensen II, a powerful constrictor of blood vessels.34 Bromelain, a natural enzyme derived from pineapples, has become well-known for its neuromuscular relaxing properties. Researchers have reported favorable results when using Bromelain for soothing vascular linings. Initial research also indicates that Bromelain may break down fibrin, the glue which holds platelets together to form blood clots.6
Capillaries are the smallest, yet some of the most important, blood vessels. If you think of your cardiovascular system as a series of roads which transport blood and oxygen, then your arteries are akin to interstate highways, your arterioles are the main city boulevards, and your capillaries are local residential streets. Capillaries are so small, in fact, that single red blood cells actually have to fold up to fit through them. Because of their tiny size and the intricate nature of their network throughout the body, capillaries are responsible for actually nourishing each individual tissue cell! Along the length of the capillaries are small openings called slit pores through which oxygen, glucose, and nutrients leave the capillaries and enter the surrounding interstitial fluid. From there, they cross cell membranes and nourish the cells. Similarly, the waste products of cells enter the fluid and cross over into the capillaries, where they are then transported to the liver and kidneys for disposal. If the capillary slit pores are torn or have lesions, then blood proteins and Sodium will leak out and cause the interstitial fluid to take on a more gel-like nature. This makes the transfer of oxygen and nutrients to the cells more difficult, as well as the disposal of cell waste products, turning the fluid into a stagnant swamp instead of a flowing river. In addition to its powerful antioxidant actions, Proanthodyn also helps protect collagen and elastin, the main constituents of tissue in the capillaries, and throughout the body. It is absolutely essential for capillary walls — which are only one cell thick — to be strong and stable, so that they do not allow blood proteins to leak into the interstitial fluid. Once the interstitial fluid takes on a gel-like consistency, the surrounding cells literally become starved from lack of nutrition. The exciting news is that the proanthocyanidins contained in Proanthodyn are among the few substances yet discovered which can help strengthen capillary walls, ensuring the liquid nature of the interstitial fluid.2 Plus, proanthocyanidins help keep capillary and artery walls flexible, allowing for proper blood flow to the heart.
The 1990’s mark a decade of increased awareness among Americans of important health issues. Much of the discussion has revolved around protecting that precious center of life we call the heart. Simple lifestyle change is one of the most effective ways to maintain and protect the functioning of the cardiovascular system. In order to take a holistic approach to heart care, make sure you include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (organic, if possible) in your diet, and cut down on fatty and cholesterol-forming foods. Reduce your salt and alcohol intake to a minimum. Try to get regular, sustained aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week. Don’t smoke – or if you do smoke, try to eat even more fresh fruits and antioxidant-rich vegetables to counter the amount of free radicals being produced in your body. Lastly, consider adding Source Naturals HEART SCIENCE to your health regimen. HEART SCIENCE, the most comprehensive formula of its kind, provides targeted protection to the entire cardiovascular system. By approaching the promotion of normal heart function on five different levels — through the inclusion of ingredients which supply energy, decrease harmful homocysteine levels, fight cholesterol build-up, help regulate electrical rhythm, and protect artery and capillary linings — HEART SCIENCE is the perfect addition to a holistic approach to heart care.
Source Naturals HEART SCIENCE™
Improve Your Diet and Stop Being S.A.D.
May 27, 2005 09:24 AM
Improve Your Diet and Stop Being S.A.D.
The Standard American Diet (or S.A.D.) is exactly that ? sad! Sadly lacking in essential nutrients and sadly loaded with an excess of the wrong things, like fat, cholesterol, salt and sugar. How can we improve our diets and truly nourish our bodies?
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Why are fruits and vegetables so important? Not only are they high in vitamins and minerals, but they also contain bioflavonoids?naturally occurring plant constituents that act as antioxidants and support the integrity of our connective tissue. And fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, so crucial in maintaining our digestive tract health.
What fruits and vegetables don't contain is just as important as what they do contain: fruits and vegetables are free of cholesterol, additives and preservatives, contain no added sugar or salt, and are low in fat?nature's perfect foods. All you have to do is look at the bright, crisp colors?the vibrant greens, yellows, oranges, reds and purples?to know how good fruits and vegetables are for you.
Eat More Whole Grains
Whole grains, like oats, brown rice and barley, help us meet important nutritional goals. They are low in fat and high in fiber, and, because the germ of the grain has not been lost in the milling process, they are higher in essential fatty acids, vitamin E and B vitamins compared to processed grain products like white bread or pasta. And they're delicious! Have a bowl of hot oatmeal with fresh fruit and nuts for breakfast?or make a hearty barley-vegetable stew for dinner. Your body will thank you!
Increase Your Fiber Consumption
Fiber exercises our digestive tract?toning and strengthening the muscle that surrounds our intestines just the way lifting weights tightens and tones our skeletal muscles. Low-fiber diets increase our risk for a variety of bowel problems, from constipation and hemorrhoids to diverticulosis and diverticulitis to colon cancer. Increasing fiber in the diet is good for the digestive tract, helps regulate blood sugar and may also help reduce cholesterol levels.
What are the best dietary sources of fiber? All plant foods (whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds) contain fiber. And all animal products (meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products) contain zero fiber?that's right, none!
Eat Healthy Fats and Oils
Fats and oils have gotten a bad rap. Somehow the idea has been promoted that all fats are bad and we should eat as little fat as possible. The truth is that fat is an essential part of our diet, and dietary fats are used for many important functions in the body, from energy production to cell membrane maintenance to nerve conduction. While much of the focus has been on the amount of fat we should eat, the type of fats we eat is at least as important.
High-quality fats are rare in the standard American diet. Most of the fats and oils we eat have been damaged by exposure to heat or light during processing or cooking. This damage destroys essential nutrients and creates free radicals, chemically unstable molecules that can wreak havoc in the body. For this reason, fried foods and highly processed fats like margarine and shortening are best avoided. Health concerns have been raised about margarine, as it contains trans fatty acids?a configuration of fatty acids not found in nature.
And our ratio of fat consumption is skewed. Most Americans consume too many saturated fats and not enough polyunsaturated oils. How do you tell which fats are saturated and which are not? Saturated fats are solid at room temperature (think butter, lard and coconut oil). Polyunsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature (like corn oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil). In addition to polyunsaturated oils, olive oil, a monounsaturated oil, is also a heart-healthy choice and one of the best oils to use.
Reduce Your Consumption of Animal Products
While animal products (meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products) contain many valuable nutrients, as a nation, we tend to overdo it. A diet high in animal products is a diet high in cholesterol, and is strongly linked to the number-one killer in the industrialized nations: cardiovascular disease, which includes high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
How do you know which foods contain a lot of cholesterol without having to read labels? All animal products contain cholesterol. All plant foods (grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables and nuts and seeds) contain zero cholesterol. It's that simple. Eating a predominantly vegetarian diet is one way to maintain your cardiovascular health.
Avoid Stimulants?Like Caffeine
Most people think caffeine "gives" them energy. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Caffeine in fact robs the body of energy?by withdrawing from your energy 'savings account' now, leaving you less reserves to draw upon later. The pick-me-up feeling artificial stimulants provide is inevitably followed by an energy crash.
Reduce Your Caloric Intake
About a quarter of the U.S. population is now considered to be obese, and the numbers are rising. Our children are increasingly overweight, from a steady diet of junk food and TV-watching. As a nation, we are overfed and undernourished?our diets are too high in "empty" calories and too low in essential nutrients.
Being overweight significantly increases the risk for a variety of cancers, including colon, prostate, breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer. Animal studies have shown that the only consistent way to extend the life spans of laboratory animals is to put them on a lower calorie diet. Thinner rats live longer?and we suspect the same is true for humans.
Are you too serious about your diet? Do you miss out on social opportunities because you are too busy counting calories or grams of fat? Lighten up! To paraphrase one poet, "?Tis better to eat steak and beer with cheer than sprouts and bread with dread!" Don't allow your dietary restrictions to rule you or limit your social life.
Eating out is possible, even on a restricted diet. Most restaurants are willing to accommodate your requests. It's just a matter of learning how to order the healthiest meal possible. Good options include poached fish with lemon, salads with vinaigrette dressing, and plain baked potatoes. Get in the habit of ordering sauces on the side and avoid filling up on empty calories, like white bread rolls.
Take Time To Savor Each Meal
We often make the mistake of eating hurriedly, standing at the sink wolfing something?anything!?down so we can move on to the next activity in our busy lives. But digestion actually functions better when we take the time to slow down. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for enhancing circulation to the digestive organs and promoting the flow of digestive juices. There is only one catch?we must be relaxed for our parasympathetic nervous system to predominate. So, take a deep breath and relax, there's plenty of time!
Glycerylphosphorylcholine -- Supports Cognitive Function in AD ...
May 24, 2005 09:52 AM
Cognitive Improvement in Mild to Moderate Alzheimer's Dementia After Treatment with the Acetylcholine Precursor Choline Alfoscerate: A Multicenter, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial Maria De Jesus Moreno Moreno, MD Instituto Nacional de la Senectud, Mexico City, Mexico
in both men and woman they consistently improved after 90 and 180 days versus baseline with adiministration of GPC three times a day, whereas in the placebo group they remained unchanged or worsened. Statistically significant differences were observed between treatments after 90 and 180 days.
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Multicenter clinical comparison of the effects of choline alphoscerate and cytidine diphosphocholine in the treatment of multi-infarct dementia. Curt Ther Res Clin Exp. 1991;49:683-693. 20. Muratorio A, Bonuccelli U, Nuti A, et al. A neurotropic approach to the treatment of multi-infarct dementia using L-c~-glycerylphosphorylcholine. Curt Ther Res Clin Exp. 1992;52:741-75l. 21. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Washington, DC: APA; 1994. 22. McKhann G, Drachman D, Folstein M, et al. Clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease: Report of the NINCDS-ADRDA Work Group under the auspices of Department of Health and Human Services Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease. Neurology. 1984;34:939-944. 23. Folstein ME Folstein SE. "Mini-mental state": A practical method for grading the cognitive state of patients for the clinician. J Psychiatr Res. 1975; 12:189-198. 24. Loeb C, Gandolfo C. 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An efficacy and safety analysis of Exelon in Alzheimer's disease patients with concurrent vascular risk factors. Eur J Neurol. 2000;7:159-169. 32. Knapp MJ, Knopman DS, Solomon PR, et al, for the Tacrine Study Group. A 30-week randomized controlled trial of high-dose tacrine in patients with Alzheimer's disease. JAMA. 1994;271:985-991. 192 M. Moreno 33. Lindstrom MJ, Bates DM. Newton-Rapshon algorithms for linear-mixed effects models for repeated measure data. J Am Stat Assoc. 1998;83:1014-1022. 34. Thai LJ, Carta A, Clarke WR, et al. A 1-year multicenter placebo-controlled study of acetyl-L-carnitine in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Neurology 1996;47:705-711. 35. Rogers SL, friedhoff LT, for the Donepezil Study Group. The efficacy and safety of donepezil in patients with Alzheimer's disease: Results of a US multicentre, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Dementia. 1996;7:293-303. 36. Rogers SL, Doody RS, Mohs RC, friedhoff LT, for the Donepezil Study Group. Donepezil improves cognition and global function in Alzheimer disease: A 15-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Arch Intern Med. 1998; 158:1021-1031. 37. Corey-Bloom J, Anand R, Veach J, for the ENA 713 B352 Study Group. A randomized trial evaluating the efficacy and the safety of ENA 713 (rivastigmine tartrate), a new acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, in patients with mild to moderately severe Alzheimer's disease. Int J Geriatr Psychopharmacol. 1998;1:55-65. 38. Rosler M, Anand R, Cicin-Sain A, et al. Efficacy and safety of rivastigmine in patients with Alzheimer's disease: International randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 1999;318: 633-638. 39. Amenta E Bronzetti E, Del Valle M, Vega JA. Effects of alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine in neuroanatomy of aging brain in experimental animals [in Italian]. Basi Raz Te~: 1990;20:31-38. Address correspondence to: Scientific Department, Italfarmaco SpA, via dei Lavoratori 54, 20092 Cinisello Balsamo, Milan, Italy.