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The Many Benefits of Chromium Amino Acid Chelate
November 08, 2022 11:58 AM
Though it may not be a household name, chromium is a essential trace mineral with a wide range of benefits. Perhaps most importantly, chromium helps to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Additionally, chromium supports cholesterol levels already in the normal range, and enhances the effectiveness of insulin. In other words, this essential mineral helps your body to burn glucose for fuel. With so many benefits, it's no wonder that chromium supplements are becoming increasingly popular. Read on to learn more about this essential mineral, and how it can improve your health.
What is Chromium?
As we mentioned above, chromium is a trace element, which means that our bodies require only very small amounts of it in order to function properly. Though we only need small amounts, chromium plays an important role in regulating blood sugar levels and supporting healthy cholesterol levels.
Chromium is found naturally in many foods, such as broccoli, grape juice, whole grains, potatoes, meat, and poultry. However, due to modern-day farming practices and processing methods, the level of chromium in these foods has decreased significantly over the years. This means that even if you're eating a healthy diet, you may not be getting enough chromium. And that's where supplements come in.
Benefits of Chromium Supplements
Chromium supplements are an easy and convenient way to make sure you're getting enough of this essential mineral. Chromium supplements have been shown to improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes, as well as reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people with high cholesterol.
Additionally, chromium supplements can help with weight loss by reducing food cravings and increasing feelings of fullness after meals. If you're struggling to lose weight or control your blood sugar levels, adding a chromium supplement to your daily routine may be just what you need.
Chromium is an essential trace element with many important health benefits. If you're not getting enough chromium from your diet, consider taking a supplement. Chromium supplements can help to regulate blood sugar levels and support healthy cholesterol levels. Additionally, they may also help with weight loss by reducing food cravings and increasing feelings of fullness after meals. Talk to your doctor about whether or not achromium supplement is right for you.
The Best Natural Over-the-Counter Sinus Remedies: Effective Solutions for Your Sinus Problems
April 30, 2022 11:04 AM
Sinus problems are a common occurrence during the winter months. Cold weather, dry air, and allergens can all contribute to sinus congestion and inflammation. If you are looking for an over-the-counter sinus remedy that will provide relief from your symptoms, you have come to the right place! In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most effective over-the-counter sinus remedies on the market. We will also provide tips on how to choose the right one for you. So don't suffer any longer - read on for information on the best over-the-counter sinus remedies available today!
What are the most common symptoms of sinus problems?
Sinus problems are very common, and the symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the issue. One of the most common symptoms is a feeling of congestion or fullness in the sinuses. This can be accompanied by pain and pressure in the forehead, cheeks, or around the eyes. Other common symptoms include a runny nose, cough, sore throat, and fatigue. In some cases,sinus problems can also lead to fever and difficulty breathing. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor so that you can get proper treatment.
What are the causes of sinus problems?
Sinus problems are a common and often frustrating issue, with a wide range of underlying causes. From environmental irritants like pollen and dust to infectious agents like bacteria and viruses, there are an almost limitless number of possible culprits behind sinus troubles. Additionally, certain foods, medications, or other habits can also affect the delicate balance of mucus in the sinuses. Ultimately, understanding the various factors that influence a person's susceptibility to sinus problems is the key to effectively managing these conditions. By identifying any triggers or risk factors one can minimize the impact of sinus issues on everyday life.
What are the best natural over-the-counter sinus remedies available today?
Sinusitis is a condition that affects the sinuses, the small, air-filled cavities located around the nose and eyes. It occurs when these cavities become inflamed, often due to a viral infection. Sinusitis can be extremely painful, causing congestion, headaches, and facial pain. While there are many over-the-counter medications available to treat sinusitis, some people prefer to use natural remedies. One popular natural remedy is steam inhalation. This involves inhaling steam from a pot of boiling water or from a humidifier. The steam can help to loosen mucus and reduce inflammation. Another popular option is saltwater irrigation, which involves using a neti pot or nasal sprayer to rinse the sinuses with warm saltwater. This can help to flush out irritants and ease congestion. Natural remedies are often safe and effective, making them a good option for treating sinusitis.
Luckily, there are a number of effective natural over-the-counter remedies that can help to alleviate symptoms like congestion and inflammation. For example, nettle leaf is a popular herb with a long history of use in naturopathic medicine. Rich in minerals and anti-inflammatory compounds, it can help to clear out toxins from the sinuses while also soothing swelling and reducing pain. Other possible remedies include quercetin, an antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables that has been shown to have antihistamine effects, and anti-histamine formulas containing herbs or plant oils that naturally regulate histamine levels. Ultimately, the best remedy for your individual sinus issues will depend on your specific symptoms and preferences.
Nettle leaf to relieve sinus allergy symptoms.
As we have said, allergies are a common problem, affecting millions of people worldwide. They can cause a range of symptoms, from mild sniffling and sneezing to severe congestion and difficulty breathing. Many people rely on over-the-counter medications to alleviate their allergy symptoms, but these drugs can have undesirable side effects. Fortunately, there are natural alternatives that can be just as effective in relieving allergy symptoms. One such remedy is nettle leaf. Nettle leaf has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including allergies. It works by inhibiting the release of histamine, which is one of the main compounds that triggers allergy symptoms. In addition, nettle leaf has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce congestion and swelling. If you're looking for a natural way to relieve your allergy symptoms, nettle leaf may be worth trying.
Quercetin and allergies
Quercetin is a potent antioxidant that has been found to be effective in preventing and treating a variety of health conditions, including allergies. Many people are familiar with quercetin as an antihistamine, an effect that is due to its ability to inhibit the production of "histamines" in the body. Histamines are the chemicals responsible for triggering allergic reactions such as watery eyes, runny nose, itching, and sneezing. By blocking their production, quercetin can effectively reduce or even eliminate these symptoms. Furthermore, quercetin has also been found to strengthen lung function by reducing inflammation in the airways and protecting against oxidative damage. Overall, quercetin may be an ideal natural remedy for alleviating allergy symptoms.
Cayenne and Allergies
Cayenne is a popular spice that is prized for its pungent, spicy flavor. In addition to being used in cooking, however, cayenne has also been shown to be an effective remedy for certain allergies. Studies have found that the active ingredient in cayenne, capsaicin, can help to block inflammatory responses in the body and neutralize histamine, the chemical that triggers allergic reactions such as sneezing and watery eyes. As a result, regular consumption of cayenne may help to reduce allergic symptoms and improve overall quality of life for those affected by allergies. Whether through fresh peppers or cayenne powder or supplements, incorporating this powerful spice into your diet may be a great way to treat your seasonal allergies naturally.
Is there a supplement that combines them all? Yes, Solaray Sinus Source?
Yes, there is a supplement that combines all the key ingredients typically found in nature-based sinus cleansers and decongestants. This supplement is called Solaray Sinus Source, and it contains a combination of three active ingredients: nettle leaf, quercetin, and cayenne pepper. Each of these ingredients has been shown to provide natural relief from sinus problems, helping to reduce inflammation, congestion, and other unwanted symptoms. By combining these powerful botanicals into one convenient formula, Solaray Sinus Source provides a safe and effective way to support healthy sinuses. So if you're looking for a natural solution to your sinus woes, look no further than this powerful blend!
4 magical herbs that can help you lose weight faster
April 26, 2019 01:34 PM
We're constantly met with over-the-counter supplements loaded with chemicals and preservatives that promote claims of being able to shrink your waistline, but what if there were more natural options? Consuming ginseng helps regulate your blood sugar levels, as well as boost your metabolism. Garlic is almost a magical herb in how it is able to help you fight off cravings due to your body being able to sustain levels of fullness for longer periods of time.
"Those 7 days or 1-month weight loss challenges cannot give you a long-term result."
Read more: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/food-news/heres-4-magical-herbs-that-can-help-you-lose-weight-faster/articleshow/68283825.cms
What are chia seeds and how do you eat them?
October 05, 2017 10:14 AM
Chia, a member of the mint family comes from South America and has been eaten since the time if the Aztecs. It's recently been recognized as a modern superfood, but many still don't know what it is or how to eat it. Read here about the health benefits of chia seeds, especially their protein and calcium content. Chia seeds are easy to incorporate into your diet, they can be eaten, mixed in smoothies or even ground into flour.
"Chia seeds are rich in fibre, which is important for a healthy digestive system; this, and their ability to hold onto water can add to a feeling of fullness when eating, which may help when dieting."
Read more: http://home.bt.com/lifestyle/food/food-latest/what-are-chia-seeds-and-how-do-you-eat-them-11364216007534
Why vegetarian staples like beans and peas are more filling than meat
December 20, 2016 12:59 PM
Legume-based meals have been shown to keep you feeling fuller longer than meat based products. Protein-rich legumes contain more fiber than mean based products which help you feel full longer. There are many legume recipes available to try if you are looking for something without meat that will keep you from feeling hungry.
"The men also self-reported changes in hunger before they ate and every half hour after for three hours."
How Fiber Can Help Reduce Cholesterol
May 26, 2014 12:28 PM
What is fiber?
Many medical researches have proven that fiber plays an important role within the body. Fiber is an element found in plants (such as fruits, whole grains and vegetables) that our bodies have no ability to digest. Without adequate fiber in the diet, people may have irregularity, sluggishness and constipation.
Benefits of fiber
Because fiber helps in moving stool through the digestive tract as well as colon, it helps in preventing colon cancer. It will always keep your colon healthy and clean. This makes it an important element in the body. Other benefits of fiber involve reducing incidences of heart disease, blood pressure, lowering inflammation and glucose levels, lowering cholesterol, and weight loss. Fiber also has the ability to reduce weight loss since it creates fullness within the intestines, which helps people by enabling to eat less. In addition, you need to make sure that you have sufficient amount of fiber within the body due to its numerous benefits.
How fiber works to lower cholesterol?
Research has proved that soluble fiber is effective in lowering the amount of cholesterol in the body. One way in which soluble fiber lowers blood cholesterol is by reducing the bile amount reabsorbed within the intestines. How does it works? When fiber often interferes with the absorption of bile within the intestines, more bile is always excreted in feces. To obtain cholesterol needed to make more bile salts, liver often increases the production of more LDL receptors.
These receptors are always responsible for pulling more cholesterol out of the LDL molecules within the bloodstream. The bile salts made from your liver has the ability to pull more LDL cholesterol from the blood. In addition, you need to learn the difference between the soluble fiber and dangerous cholesterol; since this will always help you to enhance your health. Research has proved that soluble fiber of about 5g to 10 g that reduce LDL cholesterol by about 5 percent.
How Does Tart Cherry Work To Fight gout and Inflammation?
May 25, 2011 12:46 PM
Health Benefits Of Tart Cherry
Tart cherry may be the newest addition to the growing list of superfruits. This species of sour cherries have been cultivated for centuries, but only recently has research started to uncover its medicinal potential. It is believed to contain a larger number of phenolics and anthocyanins than its sweet counterparts. Plus, it has been linked to more studies in the past few years.
Prunus cerasus are species of cherries native to Europe and parts of Asia. Tart cherries have less than 10 varieties cultivated around the world, but they have steadily grown in popularity. There are two major cultivars: the bright red amarelle and the darker morello. Among the popular cultivars are Montmorency, Balaton, and Griotte de Kleparow.
Counteracts Pain Chemicals
Anthocyanins have long been associated with the alleviation of joint pains and related symptoms, and tart cherry are among the best sources of these organic compounds. Anthocyanins are actually pigments that give fruits such as apples and cherries their red coloration. As a general rule, fullness of color is directly proportional to the anthocyanin content of fruits. Cancer research on anthocyanins is considered unrivaled due to the availability and reliability of documented data. The anthocyanins found in tart cherries counteract the inflammatory mediators that initiate tumorigenesis, which are the same chemicals responsible for sensitizing joints to pain.
Promotes Purine Metabolism
Gout ensues when purine metabolites in the form of uric acid crystallizes and in the process triggers local inflammatory responses. High levels of uric acid in the blood may form into urate crystals anywhere, but often precipitate in the joints of the lower extremities. The big toe is particularly vulnerable to gout, but it may also manifest in the form of joint pains and kidney stones. Unfortunately, human beings lack a functional enzyme that breaks down uric acid and re-balance uric acid levels. This is when tart cherries come to the rescue. They contain phytochemicals that regulate purine metabolites and promote the excretion of uric acid.
Accelerates Muscle Recovery
It is a common belief in the nutraceutical industry that tart cherries are one of the best sources of antioxidants. Free radicals are natural by-products of cellular respiration, and they become so abundant during workout that the muscles begin to feel sore. It takes a longer time to recover from radical damage when the antioxidant defense of cells is compromised. The antioxidant profile of tart cherries enables the skeletal muscles to recuperate fast after intense physical exertion.
Improves Sleep Disorders
Tart cherries have been commercially touted to cure insomnia. While this remains to be proven, tart cherries are in fact excellent sources of melatonin, the primary hormone responsible for inducing sleep in response to dark environments. Sleep disorders may result from a variety of factors, including stress, and sudden lifestyle changes may interfere with the chemical reactions that govern our biological clock. Tart cherries provide a ready source of melatonin, which normalizes circadian rhythm and enables the brain to relax.
Fight back against gout and inflammation pain with Tart Cherry.
Control Depression And Appetite With 5-HTP
March 05, 2010 12:21 PM
It has become a national obsession to find a quick fix for obesity. In the long run, prescription drugs have not proven to be safe or effective. Additionally, just about all diets fail. There have been some natural supplements that have been found to be both beneficial and safe. One of the most promising of these supplements is griffonia, which is extremely high in 5-hydroxytryptophan, which is also referred to as 5-HTP.
Considerable research has been done on 5-HTP as to its safety and use in weight loss and depression. 5-HTP is made from tryptophan, which is a natural amino acid that is found in foods. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, meaning that it cannot be produced within the body. Therefore, it must be obtained from food, specifically, proteins. 5-HTP is convereted to an important monomine neurotransmitter called serotonin within the liver and brain. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that transmit signals between neurons in the brain. Serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that closes the gap between neurons, is essential for many bodily functions.
It is believed to play a role in both depression and obesity. Unlike serotonin alone, it can cross the blood-brain barrier. This makes it possible for the brain to manufacture more serotonin. 5-HTP may actually help to promote the production of serotonin, which makes more available in the body. Research has determined that increasing amounts of 5-HTP can help deal with weight loss and depression. 5-HTP is made from tryptophan, which is a natural amino acid that is found in foods.
5-HTP may be able to revolutionize the treatment of emotional and physical problems that are related to the lack of serotonin. This amino acid has been used effectively in Europe for decades. Recent clinical studies that therapeutically administered 5-HTP confirmed that this supplement is effective in treating depression, fibromyalgia, binge eating, chronic headaches, and insomnia.
Recent research determined that a group of women given 5-HTP ate less than those women who were given a placebo. Weight loss through appetite control was linked to the intake of 5-HTP. Women who took 5-HTP over a five week period lost an average of three to four pounds. Other studies on humans have produced the same results. It seems that 5-HTP provides a feeling of fullness, causing women to eat less.
Depression has been linked to low levels of serotonin. 5-HTP has been shown to improve mood swings and depression by elevating serotonin levels in the body. One study compared 5-HTP supplementation with the use of Prozac, which works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. In both cases, there was fifty percent improvement in depression. However, those who were taking 5-HTP showed a higher tolerance for the treatment and had a lower failure rate.
Those suffering from obesity and depression may be helped by the use of 5-HTP. This natural supplement may be able to help reduce the appetite and improve moods. 5-HTP acts as an alternative to prescription drug therapy, which is well-known for the adverse side effects that it provides. It is important to consult your health care provider before using this, or any other supplement. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by 5-HTP, please feel free to contact a representative from your local or internet health food store.
December 19, 2009 11:11 AM
Glucomannan is derived from the extracted mucilage of the konjac root. This plant is part of the same family as yams, but does not have the calories. Glucomannan is a 100 percent natural form of fiber. The principle use of this herb is as a bulking agent to promote the feeling of fullness.
Glucomannan is a water-soluble polysaccharide. This nutrient is considered to be a dietary fiber. Often, glucomannan is a food additive that is used as both an emulsifier and thickener. Products that contain glucomannan are marketed under a variety of brand names, but are also sold as nutritional supplements for constipation, obesity, high cholesterol, acne vulgaris, and type II diabetes. Glucomannan can be found making up about forty percent by dry weight of the roots of the konjac plant. This nutrient is also a hemicellulose, which can be found in large amounts in wood of conifer plants and in smaller amounts in the wood of dicotyledons.
Glucomannan helps to reduce cholesterol, maintain regularity, and promote intestinal health. The herb also aids in normalizing blood sugar levels, relieving stress on the pancreas, and discouraging blood sugar abnormalities such as hypoglycemia. Glucomannan also absorbs toxic substances that are produced during digestion and elimination. The herb binds toxic materials and eliminates them before they can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Research has determined that glucomannan and lecithin together reduce cholesterol levels. Lecithin is responsible for breaking down fat and cholesterol, and glucomannan eliminates those broken-down particles from the body. This herb expands to about fifty times its original volume when it is taken with a glass of water.
Diabetic patients have reported that they experienced benefits with glucomannan. One study, in which patients were given glucomannan daily for ninety days, found the mean fasting glucose levels to have fallen by 29 percent by the end of the ninety days. At the end of the period, the mean fasting glucose levels fell by 29 percent. Most participants in this study reduced their insulin requirements. Glucomannan may also help cholesterol levels. Animal studies have determined that there is a significant reduction in cholesterol levels when given this herb.
Before supplementing with glucomannan, it is important to speak with your health care provider. In the same sense, you should be sure to tell your health care provider about any complementary and alternative practices that you use. It is important to give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This ensures both coordinated and safe health care.
The root of the glucomannan plant is used to provide anorectic, antacid, cholagogue, digestive, nutritive, and purgative properties. The primary nutrients provided by this herb are calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, selenium, silicon, sodium, vitamins A, C, B1, and B2, and zinc. Primarily, glucomannan is extremely helpful in treating blood sugar disorders, high cholesterol, constipation, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, and obesity. Additionally, the herb is very beneficial in dealing with atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, diabetes, gastric problems, hypoglycemia, and pancreatic problems.
Apple Cider Vinegar
August 13, 2008 03:05 PM
Apple cider vinegar is an old folk remedy claimed to be beneficial in treating a long list of ailments. It is sold today by "health food" companies and others who claim it has remedial properties. Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made by the fermentation of apple cider. Unlike white vinegar, apple cider vinegar is a light yellow-brown color and is often sold unfiltered and unpasteurized with a dark, cloudy sediment called mother of vinegar (consisting mainly of acetic acid bacteria) settled at the bottom of the bottle.
Over the centuries, vinegar has been used for countless purposes: making pickles, killing weeds, cleaning coffee makers, polishing armor, and dressing salads. While many of the folk medicine uses of vinegar are unproven (or were disproved), there is some medical research backing them up.
The main ingredient of apple cider vinegar, or any vinegar, is acetic acid. Apple cider vinegar is also said to contain an abundance of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. Do not use a metal container when making vinegar or storing it; acid in the mixture will corrode metal or aluminum objects making the solution unfit for consumption.
When it comes to losing weight, experts say you are what you drink. Apple cider vinegar has recently found new use as a weight loss and weight management aide, and has been included in many over the counter weight loss nutritional supplements. Anecdotally, ancient Egyptians used apple cider vinegar for weight loss. The acetic acid in this vinegar can curve the appetite which benefits those trying to loose weight and keep it off.
Some say apple cider vinegar can help arthritis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and assist in digestion. It is also thought to help the body maintain a healthy alkaline level. The acidic nature of this vinegar has been said to help scalp problems such as dandruff, itchy scalp, baldness and thinning hair. Apple cider vinegar can also help gastric problems as well.
Civil War, soldiers used vinegar to prevent gastric upset and as a treatment for various ailments including pneumonia and scurvy. Research suggests that this vinegar can delay gastric emptying. Ten patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus and diabetic gastro paresis were studied; when the study was over the patients were able to demonstrate a significant delay in already delayed gastric emptying after the ingestion of vinegar. So delaying the rate at which the stomach empties can keep a sense of fullness for those looking to loose weight.
The effect of vinegar on blood glucose levels is perhaps the best researched and the most promising of apple cider vinegar's possible health benefits. Several studies have found that vinegar may help lower glucose levels. For example, a small study compared the effect of vinegar with white bread on blood glucose and insulin levels. Keeping blood sugar lower is important to diabetic patients which can help reduce the use of insulin. Subjects with type 2 diabetes showed a slight improvement in insulin sensitivity, but postprandial blood glucose and insulin levels were not affected when apple cider vinegar was added to a meal.
In conclusion, apple cider vinegar could theoretically interact with diuretics, laxatives, and medicines for diabetes and heart disease so you must be careful. Apple cider vinegar should always be diluted with water or juice before swallowed. If you have diabetes, check with your doctor before using apple cider vinegar. Furthermore, blood glucose must be monitored more frequently in patients with diabetes treated with insulin experiencing gastro paresis to prevent adverse hypoglycemic episodes. All those taking medications should consult a doctor because the acid in this vinegar can enhance absorption and increase Side effects.
Pinolenic Acid - Appetite Control
April 25, 2008 02:50 PM
Mention "pine nuts" and peoples’ mouths are apt to start watering for a taste of garlicky pesto or fragrant pilaf. Ironically, the same ingredient that is so irresistible in gourmet cooking may help curb our out-of-control appetites. But only a particular variety of pine nut—Pinus koraiensis from Korea—will do.
Source Naturals PineSlim is a Korean pine nut oil (PinnoThin™). A small-scale study suggests that PineSlim may reduce feelings of hunger by increasing concentrations of appetite-suppressing hormones. The study also suggests that a feeling of fullness is experienced 30-60 minutes after taking PineSlim. For best results, PineSlim should be taken while following the Maximum Metabolism Weight Loss Plan™ enclosed in every bottle.
Enjoying good food is part of a healthy lifestyle, but too often we don’t know when to stop. PineSlim can help by addressing one of the most basic of the dozen deep metabolic systems identified by Source Naturals as critical to your optimal health: Hormones/Metabolism.
Less Calories for Improved Health
According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, an estimated 66% of U.S. adults are overweight. A normal body fat level is one of the factors associated with many markers of good health, including insulin efficiency, healthy inflammation response, good circulation, and normal cell regeneration. One of the best ways to achieve healthy weight is by curbing the amount of calories we take in—but that’s not always easy to do. Now an ancient Asian food source may help.
Korean Pine Nuts—Traditional Asian Food
The Korean pine nut (Pinus koraiensis) has been used as a food source for centuries and is often served as a snack at social events in China. Korean pine nuts grow on evergreen trees that produce seeds (commonly referred to as nuts) that are rich in oil, particularly oleic, linoleic, and pinolenic acids.
Pinolenic acid is a fatty acid, which may influence healthy blood pressure. According to recent research, pinolenic acid also may increase concentrations of the satiety hormones glucogon-like peptide-1 (GLP- 1) and cholecystokinin (CCK).
Both GLP-1 and CCK are hormones that have been found to increase satiety and suppress appetite in normal-weight humans. They are believed to work by delaying gastric emptying. Retaining food in the stomach for a longer period of time may prolong a feeling of fullness.
In a randomized, double-blind trial, 18 overweight women received 3.00 grams of Korean pine nut oil (PinnoThin™)—the same amount as one daily dose of Pine Slim—or an olive oil placebo before a carbohydrate meal. Hormone measures of CCK and GLP-1 were taken from blood samples, and subjective measures of appetite were recorded. The study demonstrated a significant increase in appetite-suppressing CCK and GLP-1 hormones at 30-60 minutes after supplementation.
Your Source for Advanced Nutrition
The plant world offers an abundance of health promoting compounds. Today exciting discoveries are emerging from research into the health benefits of botanicals. The development of PineSlim reflects Source Naturals’ commitment to manufacturing supplements on the cutting edge of nutritional science. We are glad to partner with your local health food store in bringing you nutritional resources that help you take charge of your health.
Causey JL (3/28/06) Korean Pine Nut Fatty Acids Induce Satiety-producing Hormone Release in Overweight Human Volunteers, American Chemical Society Abstract, “Health Benefits of Lipids” Symposium. ABSTRACT 0117: TECH-3.
Fontana L. (2006) Excessive Adiposity, Calorie Restriction, and Aging. JAMA. 295(13): 1577-1578. Masoro EJ. (2005) Overview of caloric restriction and ageing. Mech Ageing Dev. 126: 913-922. Sugano M, Ikeda I, Wakamatse K, Oka T. (1994)
Influence of Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis)-seed oil containing cis-5,cis-9,cis-12-octadecatrienoic acid on polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolism, eicosanoid production and blood pressure of rats. British Journal of Nutrition. 72:775-783.
Brown Rice Protein
April 14, 2008 01:05 PM
Did you know that the world produces over 1.3 trillion pounds of rice annually? Brown rice grows in over 40,000 varieties, if you are one looking for the health benefits of rice, the type of rice you choose makes a huge difference.
The USDA recommends that more than half your daily grain diet should be from whole grains (less processed grains) which retain more of their natural nutrients.
When brown rice is processed the outer shell is removed. Brown rice is milled and polished into white rice removing all the valuable nutrients giving the rice its health benefits and fiber. Processing destroys 67% of vitamin b3, 80% of vitamin b1, 90% of vitamin b6, 50% of magnesium and phosphorus, 60% of its iron, and all the fiber giving rice its colon health benefits. Processing destroys the essential fatty acids in rice as well.
One cup of brown rice supplies 88% of the daily recommended manganese, a mineral essential for energy production as well as supporting the nervous system and aids in the production of antioxidants and enzymes that improve over all health. The same cup of brown rice provides 27% of the daily needed selenium and other vital minerals to support a health immune system and thyroid function. Brown rice is an excellent source of B vitamins. One can obtain 14% of their daily fiber from one cup of brown rice, so what’s stopping you from adding it to your diet.
Detox your Body with Wasabi Rhizome
January 29, 2008 10:30 AM
The Wasabi rhizome, the underground fleshy stem of the wasabia japonica plant, is prized not only for its fiery flavour but also its effect in detoxifying the liver. However, make sure that you are getting the real McCoy since many restaurants in the USA do not use the genuine paste.
The wasabi is a plant of the cruciferous family, the same family as cabbage, broccoli, turnip, radish, horseradish and mustard, and is native to Japan and Korea and now grown on the Pacific coast of Canada. It grows best in temperate to cold climates, especially in mountainous areas where there are plenty of cold streams.
Anybody who regularly enjoys sashimi and sushi should be familiar with the wasabi rhizome, that green lump of paste lying on the side of the plate. It is hot and fiery, although not in the same way as the chilli pepper that is fiery on the tongue and in the mouth. This tends to affect the sinuses more, and leaves a sweetish taste once the initial heat has dissipated. However, it is not always what it should be.
The last comment there refers to the practise, especially in the USA, of using dyed common horseradish as wasabi paste, so be careful of that since the two are not equivalent in the health benefits they impart to your body. Although of the same family as the horseradish, and sometimes termed the Japanese horseradish, ordinary horseradish does not have the same health benefits as genuine wasabi, and does not contain the same active ingredients so do not confuse the two.
Real wasabi is normally used grated, and there are specific techniques that should be used to grate wasabi rhizomes to bring out the fullness of the flavour. True grated wasabi should be of a natural pale greenish color rather than the brighter green normally associated with sushi restaurant wasabi.
Traditionally, wasabi rhizome is used as a condiment with sushi, although their leaves can also be used in salad dressings and or as a delicacy pickled in soy sauce or sake brine. The genuine vegetable is difficult to cultivate which explains why ordinary horseradish is dyed and used in its stead, and the vast majority of non-Japanese do not know the difference because it is likely to be all they have consumed under the name of wasabi. The health benefits of the genuine article, however, are considerable greater.
So that’s what it is, but what does it do? What are the health benefits of wasabi rhizomes and why are they considered to be so good for your liver? Wasabi rhizomes contain substances that are very effective in detoxifying you liver, and that are also very strong antioxidants that provide you with good overall health benefits in their capacity to destroy the free radicals created by the pollution of modern living.
The active antioxidants in the rhizome are precursors of isothiocyanates, which are known as phytochemicals. These are chemicals that can protect or prevent diseases through its antioxidant properties. The term ‘precursor’ means that the isothiocyanates are synthesized by your body from the nutrients contained in the wasabi rhizome. Other examples of phytochemicals that you may have heard of are carotenoids, flavonoids and polyphenols that also possess antioxidant properties.
Other antioxidants are vitamins A and E, which is why these are used in anti-wrinkle creams, since their anti-oxidant effect helps to prevent the free radicals destroying the skin cells in the dermis and epidermis that leads to the wrinkles associated with aging. Wasabi is equally effective as an antioxidant, although it has other properties that are important to your liver.
The liver is your body’s chemical plant. That is where most of the chemical reactions take place that are essential for life. If your liver is unhealthy you can develop diseases such as hepatitis and cirrhosis, and a healthy liver is essential for life let alone a healthy life. Wasabi helps to detoxify and clean out your liver.
Apart from creating the wide variety of enzymes needed to process your food, and controlling the vast majority of the biochemistry of your body, your liver is also your detoxification plant that coverts toxins into biodegradable molecules that your waste disposal system can evacuate without harm. This occurs in two phases.
Phase I coverts the toxin to a form that your body can further process (the bioactive form), and Phase II breaks it down into a form that your kidneys can handle and eject it in your urine. Isothiocyanates are involved in the production of the enzymes that enable the chemical reactions of Phase II to proceed. They allow your body to cleanse itself of toxins, and without this process you would be less healthy and more prone to cancers and other undesirable conditions and diseases in your body.
It is becoming more important in this modern age with its increasing natural and synthetic pollution that your liver is working at peak efficiency. Your liver is equally as important to you as your heart and brain, and without it you cannot survive. Wasabi also contains glucosinolates that help the isothiocyanates to induce the production of Phase II enzymes, and it is general believed that eating this tuber cab help protect you against stomach, colon and breast cancers as well as help your cardiovascular system and blood clotting.
An interesting fact is how wasabi rhizome came to be traditionally served with raw fish. The isothiocyanates precursors, and the glucosinolates that wasabi also contains, apparently help to destroy the bacteria associated with raw fish, and help prevent disease and illness. It was likely found healthier to include a dollop of this green paste with your sushi than not, and so the use of common horseradish might be somewhat questionable if it has less of an effect.
Make sure, therefore, that your have the real thing, and apart from any specific health considerations associated with eating raw fish, you are best advised to take it as a supplement to help Detox your liver rather than visit sushi bars for your consumption. It will also help your wallet!
Peppermint Oil for IBS
March 24, 2007 11:01 AM
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a painful and frequently frustrating disorder of the intestines that’s often difficult to treat. Fortunately, there are scientifically studied natural products that effectively reduce the distressing symptoms of IBS.
Q. What is IBS?
A. IBS causes crampy pain, gassiness, bloating, and alterations in bowel habits. IBS is termed a functional disorder, because when the colon is examined, there is no visible sign of disease. While IBS causes significant pain and distress, no actual damage is occurring in the intestines.
There is a wide variability in IBS. Symptoms may be mild and fairly well tolerated. Or, the pain, discomfort, and bowel dysfunction may be disabling, limiting social interactions, employment, or travel.
While some individuals with IBS have diarrhea (frequent, loose stools with an urgent need to move the bowels), others have constipation (hard, infrequent stools that are difficult to pass). And, still others may experience both. Individuals with IBS also may have painful abdominal cramps and feel an urgent need to move the bowels, but are unable to do so.
A. The small intestine receives digestive material from the stomach and delivers it to the large intestine (colon). About two quarts (2,000 ml) of digestive material enter the colon from the small intestine every day. The colon absorbs water and salts from the material, which is progressively moved through the colon. This progressive movement continues until most of the fluid and salts are absorbed into the body and stool is formed. The stool passes to the left side of the colon, where it is stored until a bowel movement occurs.
Because researchers haven’t been able to find actual damage in the colon, it once was suggested that individuals with IBS have emotional problems or are overly susceptible to stress. While stress may cause symptoms of IBS to intensify, it doesn’t cause the condition.
Recent study has determined the colon muscle of an individual with IBS spasms after only mild stimulation. It’s thought the symptoms of IBS are produced by hyperactivity of the intestines. In other words, the intestines of individuals with IBS are more reactive to stressors and diet than usual. Almost everyone has experienced abdominal queasiness in response to everyday stress or certain foods. This may result in a brief bout of diarrhea or an upset stomach. However, this response is exaggerated in individuals with IBS.
Q. How prevalent is IBS?
A. IBS is very common. In fact, it’s one of the most frequent problems seen by family physicians. It’s the most common disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists (physicians specializing in the treatment of digestive disorders). The overall prevalence rates range from 10% to 20% of the general population in most industrialized countries. As a result, the pain and disabling symptoms associated with IBS result in significant socioeconomic costs, as wall as reduction in quality of life for many individuals.
A. Normal bowel function varies from person to person. Some people move their bowels daily, while others may only have two to three stools a week. A normal bowel movement is soft, formed, and is easily passed without cramping or pain.
IBS, however, causes abdominal cramps and pain, which are often severe and disabling. Bowel movements may be irregular and alternate between diarrhea and constipation. The diarrhea may be quite loose and watery. Mucous may be passed. There is often much straining, urgency, and feeling of incomplete evacuation (emptying). Abdominal bloating and passing of gas is common. Nausea, lack of appetite, heartburn, and belching may also be present. Sleep may be disrupted resulting in fatigue and lack of energy. Understandably, persons with IBS often feel anxious and depressed.
Diagnosis of IBS is usually based on the continuous presence or recurrence of these symptoms for at least three months. Other intestinal conditions must be ruled out. These include Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, inflammatory conditions of the stomach or pancreas, ulcers, infectious disease, or gastroesphageal reflux disease.
Q. Are there clinically demonstrated natural alternatives to the over-the-counter drugs prescribed by my doctor?
A. Yes, both enteric-coated peppermint oil and clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs) have significant scientific research behind them. Both have been demonstrated to benefit individuals with IBS.
Q. What is clown’s mustard and what does it do?
A. The scientific name for clown’s mustard is Iberis amara. Other names for this herb are wild candytuft and bitter candytuft. Clown’s mustard is a white-flowering plant from Spain, where it grows in dry soil on hillsides and in cornfields. It is also grown in Britain, France, and the United States. Iberis amara is a member of the Brassicaceae family. Iberis refers to its place of origin, the Iberian Peninsula. Amara means bitter. The key components of clown’s mustard are glycosides and flavonoids that have specific actions on gastrointestinal tract tone.
Q. Is there scientific evidence that clown’s mustard benefits people with IBS?
A. There has been very impressive research on clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs). And, it has been used with great success in Germany for many years to treat IBS and other gastrointestinal diseases.
In a study of an herbal combination containing clown’s mustard, 20 patients were given the herbal combination for three to 32 days. They all had been diagnosed with chronic functional disorders for at least one to 20 years. The symptoms the patients experienced included pressure and pain in the abdomen, belching, heartburn, vomiting, nausea, fullness, lack of appetite, constipation, and diarrhea. The patients have been treated for their problems with a variety of antacids, anti-spasmodic agents, and motility-inducing substances. For the purposes of the study, the patients stopped taking these medications and received treatment only with the herbal combination.
Abdominal pressure and pain in the abdomen was the most common of all the experienced symptoms, with 11 of the patients rating it as severe. After six days of treatment, only sic of the patients continued to rate their abdominal pain and pressure as severe. After two weeks, this symptom had completely resolved for 16 of the patients. Diarrhea had been rated as severe in five of the patients. By day 14, only one patient continued to have moderate diarrhea.
Medications prescribed and taken for cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases often cause gastrointestinal problems. Because these conditions are chronic, these medications must be taken for a long time, often for life. With long-term use, these medications can cause erosion of the stomach lining and actual ulcers. Many of these medication-caused symptoms are similar to IBS symptoms: pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Most, if not all, of the individuals who have gastrointestinal problems caused from medications experience two or more of these IBS symptoms.
Forty patients who were taking medications for various types of cardiovascular disease and arthritis, and who are experiencing gastrointestinal problems related to their medications, were enrolled in a study. These symptoms included pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Twenty patients received clown’s mustard combined with other herbs that support gastrointestinal motility. Three days after the trial started, a significant improvement of all s symptoms was noted in those taking this combination. By day 14, abdominal pressure and pain, nausea, and heartburn were completely eliminated in the herbal combination group. Several other clinical trials that were conducted in Germany report similar results.
Q. How does this herb compare to prescription drugs?
A. A study compared clown’s mustard (combined with other herbs) to Reglan (metoclopramide), which is frequently prescribed to reduce the symptoms of IBS. While metoclopramide is a very effective medication, it also has numerous side effects. Metoclopramide can cause fatigue, anxiety, agitation, jitteriness, insomnia, yellowing of the skin or eyes, changes in vision, hallucinations, and seizures. Because of these serious side effects, metoclopramide must not be taken longer than 12 weeks.
In comparison study, 77 subjects were randomized to receive treatment of either clown’s mustard in a combination with other herbs, or metoclopramide. All subjects had pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. The subjects took 20 drops of their assigned treatment after meals three times daily. The duration of treatment was one to two weeks.
In both groups, a parallel improvement of all symptoms was observed. At no point in the study was a statistically significant difference in symptoms found. Both treatments significantly reduced pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. In short, both metoclopramide and the clown’s mustard herbal combination worked well at reducing the symptoms of IBS.
However, side effects occurred more frequently and severely in the metoclopramide group. Given the lack of differences noted between the products at reducing symptoms of IBS, it would seem sensible to choose the treatment with the fewest reported side effects and no limits on duration of use.
A. Peppermint oil has been shown to relax intestinal smooth muscle. In Great Britain, peppermint oil is currently being prescribed for IBS by physicians and it has been used as a digestive aid and to soothe upset stomachs for generations.
Peppermint oil has also been studied for use in an important examination of the colon. A colonoscopy is a procedure of viewing the interior lining of the large intestine (colon) using a colonoscope, a slender, flexible, hollow, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine supports the idea that even people who are not at risk for colon cancer should have this test. The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women at average risk of colon cancer should have a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50.
During a colonoscopy, individuals are sedated and almost no discomfort is experienced. The insertion of the colonoscope into the rectum and up through the colon causes some spasming. This is a natural and expected event and the physician performing the exam administers medications that effectively reduce the spasms.
A recent study compared the use of peppermint oil and commonly used medications to reduce the colonic spasming in colonoscopy. The peppermint oil was introduced directly into the colon. Effective reduction of colon spasming was observed in 88% of the patients.
In a critical review and meta-analysis of peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, eight randomized controlled trials were identified. The studies collectively showed peppermint oil is superior to placebo in improvement of the symptoms of IBS. Because of the good results of these trials, the authors of the review urged additional study of peppermint oil in IBS.
However, straight peppermint oil is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream from the stomach. In recent studies comparing enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules and non-enteric coated oil, both preparations provided effective symptom relief. However, the studies concluded the enteric-coated capsules delivered the benefit of the peppermint oil directly to the intestines. In the treatment of IBS, enteric-coated supplemental peppermint is most definitely preferred.
In fact, an enteric-coated peppermint oil capsule containing rosemary and thyme is extremely effective in the treatment of IBS. All three of these oils are classified as volatile oils, derivatives found in plants that impart taste and aroma. The combination of peppermint, thyme, and rosemary oils in enteric-coated capsules provides significant relief in IBS-related pain.
Q. Can clown’s mustard and other herbs be taken with enteric-coated peppermint oil?
A. Yes, peppermint oil capsules and clown’s mustard can be used together. However, depending on the symptoms, individuals with IBS may want to start with one supplement and then add the other if needed.
Q. How do consumers find these formulas?
A. Fortunately, herbal combinations containing clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are both available at health food stores, natural product supermarkets, pharmacies, and from health professionals. Most knowledgeable sales personnel and health professionals can direct consumers to the most effective products.
Q. What should customers look for when purchasing peppermint oil?
A. As mentioned before, enteric coating of the peppermint oil is extremely important. The coating prevents the oil from being absorbed in the stomach. The enteric coated-capsule moves through the stomach to the small intestine and eventually to the colon, where it is released for maximum benefit.
Q. What is the dosage for peppermint oil?
A. The German Commission E approved peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable colon. In enteric-coated form, the Commission E recommends 0.6 ml per day. Enteric-coated peppermint capsules are available.
Q. Are there side effects or other contraindications?
A. Sometimes, the enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules may cause a transient burning sensation in the rectum when moving bowls. Reducing the dose will correct this.
Individuals who must refrain from alcohol should not take clown’s mustard in an herbal tincture, which may contain alcohol.
Q. What else can IBS patients do to feel better?
A. Food allergies or food intolerance may be associated with IBS. Dairy products and certain grains may trigger a painful episode of IBS. Determining those foods that initiate the problems and eliminating them from your diet can be very helpful.
Many people report their symptoms occur after a meal. Hyperactivity of the intestine of IBS is the response. Often, the strength of this response after a meal is in direct relation to the number of calories and he amount of fat in the meal. Reducing saturated fat, limiting calories, and increasing fiber intake may be helpful.
Stress also stimulates the intestinal hyperactivity. Relaxation training may reduce some IBS symptoms. Listening to therapeutic audiotapes, hypnosis, counseling, and biofeedback all have been shown to improve the healing response in persons with IBS.
IBS can be painful and frustrating, capable of causing much distress. While currently there is no cure for IBS, the symptoms can be managed. The pain, abdominal discomfort, and bowel problems of IBS all respond well to treatment with the use of key herbs, including clown’s mustard, and enteric-coated peppermint oil. These herbal combinations can be both effective and safe in treating IBS. Clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil are both effective front-line natural alternatives for IBS treatment.
Slimaluma Plus – Appetite Control
August 29, 2006 01:22 PM
Slimaluma Plus – Appetite Control with Green Tea and Yerba Mate
Now Vitamins Slimaluma plus contains a proprietary standardized extract of Caralluma fimbriata—a succulent, edible cactus that grows native throughout
Here’s how it works. As the stomach fills, it sends a signal to the brain’s hypothalamus region, letting it know that it is time to stop eating. Slimaluma is rich in naturally occurring compounds known as pregnane glycosides that interfere with the timing of this signal. This, in the eyes of researchers, is what causes users to experience feelings of fullness, even if they have not eaten. Slimaluma has also been shown to inhibit the formation of two enzymes involved in fat synthesis, allowing the body to convert more fat into energy, while sparing vital muscle proteins.
Now Vitamins Slimaluma Plus is a non-thermogenic, stimulant-free dietary supplement that is idea for individuals working to achieve a healthy body weight by establishing better eating habits.
Slimaluma is a trademark of Bencor Pacific, Inc.
* these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Buy Slimaluma Plus from Now Vitamins at Vitanet
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
All Calories Are Not Created Equal
June 25, 2005 07:49 PM
All Calories Are Not Created Equal
When we eat more than our daily energy requirements (and most of us do), the extra energy is stored as fat. The human body is designed to stockpile fat very easily. This tendency is related to innate mechanisms intended to protect us against starvation or the threat of a diminished food supply. Fat cells provide extra fuel which can be utilized if necessary to sustain life. Those survival fat pounds settle on the hips, waist, thighs, upper arms and back, not to mention around organs, like the heart and kidney. Some ethnic groups, whose ancestors repeatedly suffered from famines, are especially efficient in energy storage. These include the Pima tribe48 in the United States, the Aborigines of Australia,49 and many of those of African descent.41
Fats are very readily converted to pounds. Carbohydrates and proteins require more complicated digestive processes to convert and store their energy than fat does. Calories from carbohydrates and proteins are usually burned and thrown off as heat (thermogenesis). Naturally, overeating proteins and carbohydrates can result in weight gain, however the body has to work harder to convert these nutrients to fat stores. It takes 20 to 25 percent of the energy in carbohydrate and protein to convert them into body fat. It only takes about 5 percent of the energy content of dietary fat to store it as body fat. Fat is also twice as energy dense (9 calories per gram) as carbohydrates or proteins (4 calories per gram) making fat at least twice as dangerous from a weight gain standpoint.50 Blood taken from an individual soon after they have eaten a double cheeseburger, french fries and a thick milk shake will often be a milky pink color due to the infusion of fat from the digestive system. This fat circulates throughout the system until it is either burned or stored.
A Winning Combination
Most people would agree that exercise combined with a low-fat, high-fiber diet would be a winning combination for maintaining and improving health. Exercise is important in any health maintenance program. It is especially important in weight control since the amount of energy we expend in the resting state, our Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), is a function of our muscle mass and tone.51,52 There is a tendency for us to lose muscle mass and gain fat pounds as we age. In part, this is due to life style changes. Instead of flying kites we fly desks! Nevertheless, our capacity to increase our muscle mass is undiminished with age.53 The lack of exercise rather than the abundance of candy is thought to be the primary cause of childhood obesity.54
Eating a low-fat, high-fiber diet will produce some weight loss even in nor-mal weight subjects.55 The reason for this may well be the balance between fullness and satiety.56 It is a proven fact that we can easily eat an excess of fat before we feel full or satisfied. This is because fats are twice as energy dense (9 calories/ gram) as carbohydrates or proteins (4 calories/gram). By the time we are full, we have over eaten. Increasing our fiber intake helps us feel full. (Of course expensive gastric bypass surgery is another alternative.57) Eating a highfiber diet helps us to feel more than just full. Low-fat, high-fiber diets are found to lead to a general lowering of cancer rates.58 Though the above combination of exercise, low-fat, and high-fiber may work in theory; making the theory work in practice is quite another story.
Technology works against us in some ways as evidenced by this comment a woman made about her husband’s physique: “He has added 20 pounds of lap since he got his lap-top [computer].” And just try to get a low calorie meal over your lunch hour. In Feburary 1996 McDonald’s, an international fast food franchise, announced that it would be dropping its five-year experiment with the low-fat McLean burger (12 grams of fat). Also gone from the menu will be the Chef’s salad and the side salad. The taste of the Big Mac (35 grams of fat) has apparently won out over its McLean competition. The salads seem to be a casualty of convenience. Eating a salad in the car after a quick pickup at the drivethrough can be a bit challenging.
Fortunately, state-of-the-art research in the area of weight loss has discovered that through the addition of certain supplements and nutrients, the process of decreasing the amount of fat we process in the stomach and boosting the amount of fat we burn can be expedited. For those of us who suffer from a “fat imbalance” or a condition where we store more fat than we burn, it is often a matter of life or death to lose fat in order to protect our arteries and heart.
The Secret t o Weight Loss . . . An Ounce of Prevent ion Most weight-reducing strategies have to confront the “after the fact” problem of burning already stored fat. Like most of our medical practices, we routinely become sick or fat and then go about the business of trying to remedy our ills. Despite Poor Richard’s advice that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” we continually eat high-fat diets, and wait until we have to pay the piper before most of us take serious action. It’s much easier to prevent a fat build-up than to reverse the damage that carrying extra fat stores can cause. Going on a diet is nothing less than torture and usually means giving up all the foods we like to eat. Yet dieting seldom gets to the root cause of our excess weight which most often is that we eat too much fat, when not dieting. The body begins to digest lipids in the stomach and intestines.
The diagram in Figure 1 illustrates the steps involved in getting fat into our bloodstream.59 There are four steps in fat digestion: 1) acidolytic breakdown of food in the stomach; 2) enzymatic breakdown (lipolysis) of the fats (triglycerides, TGs) into fatty acids (FAs) and beta-monoglycerides (b-MGs); 3) formation of soluble mixed micelles with bile acids; and 4) absorption through the intestines. If we could tie up excess fat before it was absorbed, we could spare our physiological systems the stress of having to deal with that fat. Ideally then, what we need is a substance that prevents fat absorption.
June 25, 2005 07:28 PM
The lifestyles of western cultures have been determined to be major contributing factors in diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The most commonly cited factors are inadequate fiber intake, excessive consumption of fats, and a lack of exercise. Educational efforts have resulted in an increase in involvement in various exercise regimines. The consumption of fats, however, continues to increase in spite of the dire warnings that have been publicized. A reduction of fat intake, from an average of 40 percent of the diet to less than 25 percent could have dramatic effects on the health and well-being of the population as a whole. Intake of fiberous foods reduces fat consumption generally through the bulking action of the fibers which leads to a feelings of fullness. Some fibers have an ability to entrap fats in their gelatinous matrix and prevent their absorption. The most effective fiber for preventing fat absorption is chitosan. Chitosan’s fat entrapment properties can be enhanced by combination with ascorbic acid and other dietary ingredients. Fat entrapment by chitosan has been shown in animals and can be readily demonstrated. The use of chitosan in nummerous environmental, agricultual, biomedical, and health-related areas is well documented. Chitosan has been found to be safe for oral consumption.
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart
June 13, 2005 10:06 AM
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart by Louis McKinley Energy Times, January 2, 2004
From time immemorial, people have tuned into life's lessons that come from the heart. Sadly, times are changing: If you're like most inhabitants of today's harried world, you may be too distracted to detect important clues about your cardiovascular circumstances.
And while heart lessons may be more complicated than simply connecting the physiological dots, understanding those heart messages are imperative for improving and maintaining your heart health.
Every cell in your body relies on heart-powered blood flow to keep it supplied with nutrients, oxygen, hormones and other natural chemicals necessary for survival. Without that supply of life-giving substances, few cells in the body-including those within the heart itself-can survive very long.
And just as damage to a major roadway can cause mayhem with traffic patterns, damage to blood vessels and the heart can wreak a lumpy cardiovascular havoc that blocks the passage of blood and endangers your heart's well-being.
Your Heart Disease Chances
Within the last ten years, scientific research performed by investigators around the world has focused on the specific factors that most strongly influence your chances of developing heart disease and suffering either a heart attack or a stroke.
While much of your risk depends on your genetic inheritance and family history, several factors that determine your heart health are within your control.
The most important factors you can do something about include:
* Smoking: free radicals generated by burning tobacco causes significant damage to blood vessels and other cells
* Lack of exercise: the human body is designed for consistent, moderate physical activity; without exercise, the body slacks off in creating antioxidant protection for arteries
* Diabetes: when excess blood sugar persists, physiological processes begin that endanger the heart and arteries
* Cholesterol: when oxidized (a chemical process that has been compared to a kind of internal rusting), cholesterol can form artery-blocking plaque; antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and natural vitamin E may help the body limit this process
* High blood pressure: excessive pressure within the blood vessels raises the risk of damage to the heart and arteries; a program of weight loss and exercise can help control blood pressure
* Being overweight: the extra body fat carried around your middle is linked to a greater risk of heart problems
Heart Attack Signs
Do you think you know what a heart attack feels like? Well, if you think it feels like a dramatic pain somewhere in your chest that knocks you to the floor, you're probably wrong. "Most heart attacks do not look at all like what one of my colleagues calls the 'Hollywood' attack-the heart attack you see on television or in the movies," warns Julie Zerwic, MD, professor of surgical nursing who has studied what happens when people develop heart disease and suffer damage to their hearts.
"The symptoms [of heart problems] are not necessarily dramatic. People don't fall down on the floor. They don't always experience a knife-like, very sharp pain. In fact, many people describe the sensation as heaviness and tightness in the chest rather than pain," she says. And, if you're a woman experiencing a heart attack, you may not even feel discomfort specifically in your chest. Instead you may experience a severe shortness of breath. The apparent ambiguity of the discomforts caused by a heart attack lead many people to either ignore them or take hours to realize they need to go to the emergency room at the hospital.
Consequently, much fewer than half of all individuals undergoing a heart attack actually go to a hospital within an hour of the start of the attack. That delay can be a fatal mistake.
"Timing is absolutely critical," laments Dr. Zerwic. "If treatment starts within a hour after the onset of symptoms, drugs that reestablish blood flow through the blocked coronary artery can reduce mortality by as much as 50%. That number drops to 23% if treatment begins three hours later. The goal is to introduce therapy within two hours."
However, in Dr. Zerwic's research, only 35% of non-Hispanic whites go to the hospital within an hour of the start of a heart attack. And among African-Americans, the number of people going to the hospital right away drops to a frighteningly low 13%.
Often, people will lie down or use a heating pad to relieve the tightness they feel in the chest," says Dr. Zerwic. "They may take some medicine and wait to see if that works. All these steps postpone needed treatment."
Signs of a possible heart attack include:
* Chest discomfort: Heart attacks most frequently cause discomfort in the center of the chest that can either go away after a couple of minutes (and come back) or persist. The discomfort may feel like strong pressure, fullness or pain.
* Upper body discomfort: An attack may set off pain or discomfort in either or both arms, and/or the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
* Shortness of breath: Chest discomfort is frequently accompanied by shortness of breath. But it's important to note that shortness of breath can take place even in the absence of chest discomfort.
* Other signs: You can also break out in a cold sweat, or feel nauseated or light-headed.
A Woman's Sleep Signs
If you are a woman who suddenly experiences a marked increase in insomnia and puzzling, intense fatigue, you may be in danger of an imminent heart attack.
In an attempt to understand how women's symptoms of heart problems differ from those of men, researchers talked to more than 500 women in Arkansas, North Carolina and Ohio who had suffered heart attacks. (Technically, what they had experienced is referred to as acute myocardial infarction.)
They found that chest pain prior to a heart attack was only reported by about 30% of the women surveyed.
More common were unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances and shortness of breath (Circulation Rapid Access, 11/3/01).
"Since women reported experiencing early warning signs more than a month prior to the heart attack, this [fatigue and sleep problems] could allow time to treat these symptoms and to possibly delay or prevent the heart attack," says researcher Jean C. McSweeney, PhD, RN, nursing professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. In Dr. McSweeney's study, more than nine out of ten women who had heart attacks reported that they had had new, disturbing physical problems more than a month before they had infarctions.
Almost three in four suffered from unusual fatigue, about half had sleep disturbances, while two in five found themselves short of breath.
Other common signs included indigestion and anxiety.
"Women need to be educated that the appearance of new symptoms may be associated with heart disease and that they need to seek medical care to determine the cause of the symptoms, especially if they have known cardiovascular risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight or a family history of heart diseases," says Dr. McSweeney.
Dr. McSweeney warns that, until now, little has been known about signs that women are having heart trouble or heart attacks. The fact that most of Western medicine's past attention has been on heart problems in men has obscured the warning signs in women. As part of Dr. McSweeney's studies, she and her fellow researchers have discovered that more than 40% of all women who suffer a heart attack never feel any chest discomfort before or during the attack.
"Lack of significant chest pain may be a major reason why women have more unrecognized heart attacks than men or are mistakenly diagnosed and discharged from emergency departments," she notes. "Many clinicians still consider chest pain as the primary symptom of a heart attack."
Vitamins for Diabetes and Heart Disease
Having diabetes significantly raises your chance of heart disease, which means that keeping your blood sugar levels under control can reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack.
Today, 17 million Americans have diabetes and, as the country's population in general gains weight and fails to exercise, the number of people suffering this problem continues to grow.
The first line of defense against diabetes consists of exercise and weight control. All you have to do is take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day to drop your chances of diabetes (American Journal of Epidemiology 10/1/03).
"We have found that men and women who incorporate activity into their lifestyles are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who are sedentary. This finding holds no matter what their initial weight," said Andrea Kriska, PhD, professor of epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
To help your body fight the development of diabetes, researchers also recommend vitamin C and natural vitamin E.
Researchers working with lab animals at the University of California at Irvine have found that these antioxidant vitamins can help insulin (the hormone-like substance secreted by the pancreas) reduce harmful blood sugar. In addition, these vitamins shrink the chances of organ damage that can be caused by diabetes (Kidney International 1/03).
In this investigation, these vitamins also helped reduce blood pressure, another risk factor that raises heart disease risk.
"Blood pressure was lowered to normal, and free radicals were not in sufficient numbers to degrade the sugars, proteins and nitric oxide," notes Nick Vaziri, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California. "We think this shows that a diet rich in antioxidants may help diabetics prevent the devastating cardiovascular, kidney, neurological and other damage that are common complications of diabetes."
Free Radical Blues
Dr. Vaziri and his group of researchers found that untreated diabetes raised blood pressure and increased the production of free radicals, caustic molecules that can damage arteries and the heart. Free radicals can change blood sugar and other proteins into harmful substances, boosting tissue and heart destruction.
In Dr. Vaziri's work with lab animals, he found that treating diabetes with insulin lowered blood pressure and helped keep sugar and protein from changing into dangerous chemicals, but allowed the free radicals to subvert nitric oxide, a chemical the body uses to protect itself from free radicals.
In this investigation, adding vitamins C and E to insulin insulated the body's sugars, proteins and nitric oxide from oxidative assault. This produces a double advantage: Lowering the risk of heart disease and other damage to the body from diabetes.
Maitake, an Oriental mushroom that has been shown to have many health benefits, can also be useful for people with diabetes who are trying to avoid cardiovascular complications. Laboratory studies in Japan demonstrate that maitake may help lower blood pressure while reducing cholesterol (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1997; 20(7):781-5). In producing these effects, the mushroom may also help the body reduce blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of tissue damage.
Tobacco smoke is one of the most notorious causes of heart problems. In the same way a hard frost exerts a death grip on a highway, the smoke from cigarettes can freeze up arteries and hamper their proper function. A healthy artery must stay flexible to comfortably allow adequate circulation.
But "...when blood vessels are exposed to cigarette smoke it causes the vessels to behave like a rigid pipe rather than a flexible tube, thus the vessels can't dilate in response to increased blood flow," says David J. Bouchier-Hayes, MD, professor of surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who has studied the deleterious effects of tobacco.
This rigidity is called endothelial dysfunction. When arteries are rigid, blockages gum up vessels, clots and other impediments to blood flow appear, and your risk of heart attack and stroke increases (Circulation 2001 Nov 27; 104(22):2673).
This condition can also cause chest pain (angina) similar to that caused by a heart attack, and should be evaluated by a knowledgeable health practitioner.
Although all experts recommend you stop smoking to lower your heart disease risk, some studies have found that Pycnogenol(r), a pine bark extract that helps the body fight inflammation, may ease some of smoking's ill effects.
In a study of platelets, special cells in the blood that can form dangerous blood clots, researchers found that Pycnogenol(r) discouraged platelets from sticking together (American Society for Biochemical and Molecular Biology 5/19/98). By keeping platelets flowing freely, this supplement may alleviate some of the heart-threatening clots that tobacco smoke can cause.
In Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional therapy from India, an herb called guggul has also been used to lower the risk of blockages in arteries. This herb, derived from the resin of the mukul tree, has been shown to reduce cholesterol by about 25%. People taking this herb have also reduced their triglycerides (harmful blood fats) by the same amount (Journal Postgraduate Medicine 1991 37(3):132).
The Female Version of Heart Disease
For one thing, women often don't suffer from the crushing chest pain that for most people characterizes a heart attack; instead, many women experience back pain, sweating, extreme fatigue, lightheadedness, anxiety or indigestion, signs that can be easily misread as digestive troubles, menopausal symptoms or indicators of aging.
The genders also differ in how heart disease poses a threat. While men seem most endangered by the buildup of blockages in arteries, women apparently are more at risk from endothelial dysfunction. But more study needs to be done since, in many cases, researchers have been unable to pin down the precise mechanism that causes many women to die of heart disease.
Scientists have found that the number of women in their 30s and 40s who are dying from sudden cardiac arrest is growing much faster than the number of men of the same age who die of this cause. But research by the Oregon Health & Sciences University and Jesse E. Edwards Cardiovascular Registry in St. Paul, Minnesota, shows that while doctors can pinpoint the coronary blockages that kill men, they can't find specific blockages in half of the female fatalities they have studied (American Heart Journal 10/03).
"This was an unexpected finding. However, the study underscores the need to focus on what is causing these younger women to die unexpectedly because the number of deaths continues to increase," says Sumeet Chugh, MD, a medical professor at Oregon.
Since the failure of arteries to relax probably contributes to heart disease in many women, eating red berries, or consuming supplements from berries such as chokeberry, bilberry or elderberry, may be important in lowering women's heart disease risk. These fruits help arteries expand and allow blood to flow freely.
Red berries are rich sources of flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocynanins. The anthocyanins are strong antioxidants that give the berries their color. Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that these chemicals can interact with nitrous oxide, a chemical produced by the body, to relax blood vessels (Experimental Biology conference 5/20/02).
As researchers work to devise lifestyle roadmaps that can steer you around the perils of heart disease, they are finding that exercise is a key path to avoiding cardiovascular complications.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that those who exercised and kept their weight down (or took weight off and kept it off) experienced a significantly lower risk of heart problems (Preventive Medicine 11/03).
"The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. Burning calories in physical activity may be the secret to reducing heart disease risk and living longer, she says.
Dr. Fang's research used information collected from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1975 and then computed how much people exercised, how their body mass indices varied and which of these folks died of heart disease during the next two decades.
In the study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who worked out and consumed more calories cut their risk of heart disease death in half.
Exercise Is Essential
"Subjects with the lowest caloric intake, least physical activity, and who were overweight or obese had significantly higher cardiovascular mortality rates than those with high caloric intake, most physical activity, and normal weight," Dr. Fang notes. The individuals in the study who were overweight and didn't exercise had a bigger risk of heart disease even if they tried (and succeeded) at eating less.
"This suggests that heart disease outcome was not determined by a single factor, but rather by a compound of behavioral, socioeconomic, genetic and clinical characteristics," according to Dr. Fang.
According to researchers, if your job requires a great deal of physical activity, your health will be better if you get another job. Exercise on the job not only doesn't decrease your risk of heart disease, it may actually raise it. The reason: On-the-job activity is linked to heart-endangering increases in job stress.
Research into this subject, performed at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, found that while recreational exercise slowed hardening of the arteries, workers who had to exert themselves during the workday had arteries that were blocked at a younger age (American Journal of Medicine 7/03).
In this study, researchers examined about 500 middle-aged employees as part of what is called the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study.
"We found that atherosclerosis progressed significantly faster in people with greater stress, and people who were under more stress also were the ones who exercised more in their jobs," says James Dwyer, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School. According to Dr. Dwyer, "This suggests that the apparent harmful effect of physical activity at work on atherosclerosis-and heart disease risk-may be due to the tendency of high-activity jobs to be more stressful in modern workplaces.
"It appears from our findings that the psychological stresses associated with physically active jobs overcomes any biological benefit of the activity itself."
On the other hand, the scientists found that heart disease drops dramatically among those who exercise the most in their spare time. In the study, people who vigorously worked out at least three times a week had the lowest risk. But even those who just took walks enjoyed better heart health than people whose most strenuous activity was working the TV remote. Dr. Dwyer says, "These results are important because they demonstrate the very substantial and almost immediate-within one or two years-cardiovascular benefit of greater physical activity."
Lowering your risk of heart disease is substantially up to you. Listen to what your heart tells you it needs; then, exercise your right to fetch some cardiovascular necessities.
The Science of Healthy Hair
June 10, 2005 03:44 PM
The Science of Healthy Hair
by Susan Weiner Energy Times, January 5, 2002
From the strength-giving mane of Sampson to the magically long locks of Rapunzel, hair has had the power to captivate since biblical times. Today, its lure is just as compelling and hair remains an important form of self-expression and self-image. A healthy head of hair is more than an asset to your appearance. A hairstyle can reflect a mood, an attitude or a personal style, while unkempt hair may reveal the status of one's emotional or physical health. Even a "good" hair day vs. a "bad" hair day can significantly determine how your frame of mind takes shape. We can't always control the frizz factor or the humid weather that makes our curls fall flat, but many natural approaches are available to allow us to put our best looking follicle forward. Whether your hair is sleek and stylish, long and slinky, spiky punk rock-hip or wash-and-wear, botanical-based products and proper nutrition can bring out the very best in your locks.
Don't Fool Mother Nature
No matter how often you cut, dye, perm or blow-dry your hair, Mother Nature, with the help of your DNA, has blessed you with a quite specific quality and quantity of hair. Styling may work to change the appearance of your hair, but nothing can change your genetics. Every hair on your body, from the soft down on your arms to the coarser, longer hairs on your head, grows from a cell-lined indentation called a follicle. The hair follicle consists of three cylinders; the central cylinder determines whether your hair is straight, wavy or curly. Each hair shaft alternately grows or goes into a dormant phase. "At any one time, approximately fifteen percent of the one hundred thousand or so hairs on the head are resting, while the rest are growing or lengthening," say Arthur Balin, MD, PhD, and Loretta Pratt Balin, MD (The Life of the Skin: What It Hides, What It Reveals, and How It Communicates, Bantam). Hair constantly comes and goes, falling out consistently even when it is healthy. Consequently, a normal head can shed up to one hundred resting-phase hairs a day. When hair is subjected to harsh chemicals and treatment, even more may fall out. If you're concerned with hair loss, gently pull on a small section of hair; if fewer than five hairs come out, hair loss is within normal range.
What's Your Type?
Normal hair is an elusive commodity in these stressed-out days of over-washed, over-dried and chemically treated hair. If your tresses look frizzy, tangle easily or generally lack moisture, they're probably dry. Dry hair lacks the proper oil content to maintain an ample sheen and is usually dull-looking. To gain back a natural shine, cut back on shampooing and use a natural conditioner formulated for dry hair. Look for essential oils such as jojoba, evening primrose, blue chamomile, and white camellia, and B vitamins (such as panthenol) and aloe vera, suggests Aubrey Hampton, founder of Aubrey Organics. Drinking plenty of water, eating a diet that's not ultra-low in fats and using a humidifier may also help improve dull-looking dry hair, points out David E. Bank, MD (Beautiful Skin: Every Woman's Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age, Adams Media). (Excessively dry hair may be a significant sign of metabolic disease. If you don't notice a marked improvement in your scalp after taking measures to improve dry hair, or your hair is abnormally dry, consult your health practitioner to see if stronger cures should be implemented.)
Too Much Oil
Hair that appears greasy within 24 hours after shampooing is oily. In that case, try gentle shampoos and herbal rinses with essential oils including quillaya bark, amino acids mixed with saponins, non-coloring henna and peppermint. For an oily scalp and dry ends, condition only the ends. Styling products should be oil-free. For thin or flyaway hair, products with natural thickening agents such as panthenol can help pump up the volume. Color treated and damaged hair can benefit from sulfur-containing amino acids; check your natural foods store for hair care products that contain horsetail, coltsfoot and cysteine. Tea tree oil products are effective when you are trying to control dandruff and a problem scalp.
If the label lists sodium lauryl sulfate, steer clear, warns Hampton. And, says Dr. Bank, sodium C-14-16 olefin sulfonate, a harsh chemical found in cheap shampoos, is the worst of the worst when it comes to offensive hair care ingredients. "You also need to watch out for sodium chloride-table salt-in the ingredient list. It's a cheap ingredient to thicken shampoo and strips the hair of oils."
Feed Your Head
To optimize shine and fullness, improve your nutrition, says Bruce Miller, MD, author of The Nutrition Guarantee (Summit Publishing Group). "Good nutrition is as essential to healthy, attractive hair as it is to clear, glowing skin," notes Dr. Miller. "Your hair directly reflects your care and feeding of it." Your hair consists of about 97% protein, containing nineteen of the twenty-two amino acids that form protein, explains Dr. Miller. If you skimp on quality protein, your hair may reflect this amino acid imbalance by breaking, cracking and splitting. Hair follicles pass on the nutrients you consume, nourishing the new cells that form the growing hair shaft. As the hair gradually pushes upward, the shaft is continually lubricated by the busy sebaceous glands. For a smoother transition through the shaft and undamaged hair, lecithin provides a welcome dose of lubrication, as well as the important B vitamins choline and inositol, vital to healthy hair. In fact, the B vitamins are crucial to the growth of full bodied, healthy hair. The B complex strengthens, forms and smoothes the hair shafts, and helps maintain an even hair color, even warding off the beginning of gray hair. For thick and shiny hair, vitamin A works in conjunction with the B vitamins. Zinc can strengthen the hair shafts by thickening them. Thicker and stronger hair shafts increase your chances of holding on to your hair and suffering fewer lost hairs. When it comes to hair retention, genetics count. The more hair your parents retained, the greater your chance of keeping yours.
If you're interested in optimal hair health, think nutrition. Eating for the sake of your curls is a lot like eating for overall health: plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy grains and lean sources of protein, including tofu and other soy-based foodstuffs. To support healthy hair, some experts advocate foods high in biotin, including brown rice, brewer's yeast, bulgur, green peas, lentils, oats, soybeans, sunflower seeds and walnuts. The natural phytochemicals in green tea may aid hair, while ginkgo biloba improves circulation to the scalp. Don't forget your daily vitamins and be sure to take an iron and B12 supplement.
Herbs from China show great promise for helping hair. He Shou Wu, made from Polygoni multiflori (the eastern wild rose), is reputed by devotees to restore color, slow hair loss, and help hair grow back. In Chinese medicine, this botanical has been used as an adaptogen to boost overall health and longevity. Within the context of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), He Shou Wu is supposed to strengthen the liver and kidney meridians and support healthy blood. Many Asians use the herb to promote higher levels of qi, the TCM concept that encompasses your life's overall energy.
Show a Little Tenderness
Long-term exposure to sunlight and seawater can damage hair, as can combing or brushing wet hair. Treat your hair with kid gloves, use natural products that are gentle on hair, and avoid chemical treatments. If you're looking to lose weight, avoid crash diets; a sudden drop in nutrition can cause deficiencies and lead to hair damage and loss. Keeping a wonderful head of hair means staying ahead of the curve with proper nutrition, the right supplements and a continuous program of TLC. In that way, you can maintain the crowning head of hair you've always coveted.