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Keep a Jasmine flower in your room to reduce stress and anxiety. Study finds as calming as valium
May 09, 2019 04:37 PM
People who frequently experience bouts of anxiety and frequent periods of stress may find it hard to wind down after a hard day at work. This can then result in the inability to relax and inability to sleep. That is why anxiety and stress are recognized as the two most prominent leading causes of insomnia. Insomnia on the other hand takes a major toll on one’s physical health and mental well-being. What could be the solution? Researchers have found that this could be keeping a jasmine plant in the house. The scent which the jasmine plant releases has been linked to a reduction in anxiety and stress. The author states that the Jasmine plant is a flower that blooms at night with a sweet fragrance and exciting smell. Companies use it to make teas, incense, essential oils, and then perfumes. Its health benefits are immense and it has been used to treat diabetes, hepatitis, and cancer. It can now be proved that it can used to reduce anxiety and stress in individuals. It is estimated that about 40 million adults are affected yearly by anxiety and stress. The author then states the pathways in which jasmine works.
"One way to combat a high level of toxins in the air is to keep a jasmine plant nearby. Research concludes a jasmine plant in your room can serve as relief for sleeplessness, anxiety, and stress, among other illnesses. Simply breathing the aromatic scent of the plant can help to significantly calm your anxieties."
Read more: https://www.healthnutnews.com/keep-a-jasmine-flower-in-your-room-to-reduce-stress-and-anxiety-study-finds-its-as-calming-as-valium/
4 Natural Ways To Remove Age Spots - How To Remove Aging Signs And Dark Spots
October 04, 2017 12:14 PM
There are 4 natural ways to remove aging signs from your skin. You can also get rid of dark spots that are on your skin. Our face and hands are affected the most. Our eating habits as well as our skin care routines are both very important things. They are important because they prevent and reduce aging spots on our skin. Age spots are a common sign of aging and they could appear around 40 years.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5gF-zAHRds&rel=0
"Spending a couple of hours outside is important for our bodies to generate vitamin D. However, spending too much time, especially during the summer, damages the top layers of our skin and accelerates the degenerative process."
Have you tried the new eco-friendly Health Ranger Dishwasher Detergent?
April 02, 2017 03:44 PM
Most dish washing detergent contains chemicals that are potentially hazardous to humans. New eco-friendly dish washer detergent are safe and actually work better than normal dish washer detergent. A single box of the detergent has more than conventional commercial brands found in most stores. Health Ranger Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Detergent is cheaper than the more dangerous non green product. Most dishwasher detergent contain 1,4-dioxane a contaminate that doesn't have to be listed. The worst detergents have many parts per million of 1,4-dioxane inside.
"There’s a new product line at the Health Ranger Store, and it’s carefully formulated to protect the environment:"
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-03-25-have-you-tried-the-new-eco-friendly-health-ranger-dishwasher-detergent.html
Low levels of manganese in welding fumes cause neurological problems
January 10, 2017 10:59 AM
Recently a new study has found that welders that are exposed to airborne manganese at some estimated levels that are under safety standards set by federal law have developed neurological problems. In general the current standards that are set for safety might not be adequate enough to protect welders from the dangers that come with it.
""We found that chronic exposure to manganese-containing welding fumes is associated with progressive neurological symptoms such as slow movement and difficulty speaking," said Brad A. Racette, MD, a professor of neurology and the study's senior author."
How to eat for an energy boost
November 28, 2016 12:59 PM
Many companies are trying to cash in on the need for many people to get more energy. There are so many products these days that claim they will give you extra energy that it is ridiculous. While vitamin B does play a role in helping your body get energized, overdoing it on the vitamin will not make you any more energetic. The keys to giving your body energy are to eat slow-digesting carbohydrates and get the right amount of sleep. By eating three to five meals a day of slow carbs, your body energy stays more constant.
"Vitamins and minerals don’t give us energy, per se. Energy comes from calories — specifically, calories in the form of glucose, which is found in carbohydrate-containing foods — and from sleep."
What Are The Benefits of Cedar Essential Oil ?
Cedar essential oil is a type of oil which is typically extracted from the leaves and branches of cedar trees. For over a hundred years, cedar essential oil has been used to treat a whole range of health problems including respiratory problems, skin diseases, fungus and eczema.
Cedar oil can be cooked with tea to treat coughs, headaches and colds. It can also be mixed with bathing water to treat gout and rheumatism arthritis. This oil can be used to wash swollen feet in order to treat burns and other common problems.
Cedar essential oil is commonly used in making woodsy and rustic perfumes. The oil is normally mixed with lavender, pine and citrus to assist in boosting the smell of the perfume. Cedar acts as powerful fresheners which means it can help keep your room smelling better. It can as well be used for staving away bacteria and insects.
Cedar can freshen up your day. Consider adding it to your diffuser each day for better health and wellness.
What Is Patchouli Oil?
February 22, 2014 08:12 AM
What is patchouli
Patchouli oil is normally distilled from the flowers and leaves of a plant known as Patchouli, a bushy herb which is native in Asian. It is famous for its beautiful scent and has been used in perfumes for centuries. It is recently used as an alternative herbal medication for chronic diseases as well as an insect repellent.
Health benefits of patchouli
Patchouli oil offers several health benefits including treating digestive conditions such as diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, prevention of wrinkles, speeding healing of wounds and disappearance of bruises, fighting infection and healing snake bites. Elements of patchouli oil are found in many beauty and skin care products. Patchouli oil is very ornamental in preventing anxiety as well as a wide variety of allergies. It is used in herbal curing of hypertension, haemorrhoids, fluid retention and weight reduction. It is one of the major ingredients for treatment of depression.
When patchouli oil is applied undiluted on the skin, it can improve the skin condition by smoothening sagging and chapped skin. It clears dandruffs on the head and deals with skin undesirable conditions such as acne, dermatitis and eczema. The oil is also used to reduce stress in therapeutic and aroma therapeutic healing. It contains several desirable properties including being anti- inflammatory, antifungal, relaxant, stimulant and insecticidal, a digestive aid, diuretic, tonic, decongestant, deodorant, anti-infectious, antiseptic, antimicrobial and antitoxic. It is one of the most widely used products in medicine development.
Patchouli oil is naturally sweet and attractive to use. It offers an inspiring scent that feels very sweet. Its influence is known to relax both the body and the mind. It has been used in spiritual healing for hundreds of years. It is used to align the heart chakra with the sacral and root chakras. In meditational healing, it helps people release insecurities, obsessions, and jealousness while enhancing one’s desire for a satisfying and fuller life.
What Is Atlas Cedar Oil And What Are The Health Benefits?
February 09, 2014 09:18 AM
What is atlas cedar oil
Atlas cedar oil is one of the oldest embalming oils. The oil was initially extracted in Egypt and used by spiritualists as an embalming component. In the contemporary world, this oil has been widely acknowledged and accepted as an aromatherapy product. This oil is processed through steam chemical distillation from pieces of cedar wood.
Health benefits of atlas cedar oil
Medically, the oil has an antiseptic capacity. It has been widely used as a form of antiseptic for wounds to prevent infection of the wounds and prevent them from becoming septic. It helps keep tetanus germs at bay.
Atlas cedar oil has been globally used in the treatment of arthritis particularly among the old. This oil has an anti inflammatory benefit and has been used largely on patients living with the arthritis condition.
It is also a antispasmodic. This oil is used in massaging the legs and the hands and has a known effect of reducing the profound effects of arthritis. Similarly, this oil has been widely applied to control dandruff and combat acne. It has proven very helpful in relieving spasms which occur in the body such as the intestines and the nerves.
Further, this oil is used as an astringent. It has been clinically adopted for dental use to firm the gums and prevents falling of teeth. It is also used as cure for toothaches.
Lastly, this oil can be used as an expectorant. Patients suffering from severe coughs can use this oil to combat irritate coughs. This cough gets rid of phlegm from the lungs and the air pipe and controls the cough.
This oil has been accepted as to have the effects of calming negative emotions and control anger. It comes in handy when one is faced with stressful situations and helps in calming the nerves especially during mediation time.Further, the atlas cedar oil is the attractive aroma it produces. With this effect it has been used in the preparation of perfumes and other scented beauty products. Due to this strong aroma this oil has been globally used as a aphrodisiac.
Boost Your Blood Health with Blood Blend
November 24, 2011 11:30 AM
What Blood Blend Does For You
Blood Blend helps to keep your blood pure and free from toxins, while also maintaining a high hemoglobin count. Hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen from your lungs to your body cells, enabling cellular respiration to take place. Without an adequate supply of oxygen your cells die, with a significant threat to life. Toxins are becoming increasingly more common in this modern industrial age, particularly prevalent in traffic and industrial emissions and also in tobacco fumes, modern pharmaceuticals and the pesticides and herbicides used in modern farming.
Without some means of helping your body to remove these toxins, your liver can become overwhelmed - it is not easy for it to handle alcohol metabolism, break down drugs such as Tylenol or paracetamol and also deal with toxins that enter your body through your lungs and skin. Toxins can easily pass into your bloodstream and then reach every part of your body. By taking Blood Blend, your blood will become more oxygenated and toxin-free, and your liver will be given a healthy boost in its detoxification properties. It is one supplement that you should take, particularly if you live in a city or are exposed to such toxins.
Taking Blood Blend to Prevent Anemia
Many people suffer anemia for one reason or another: perhaps they are recovering from illness or serious blood loss, and the condition is not uncommon in women with heavy menstrual periods. Some are anemic through a poor diet, and in some cases this can be a life-threatening condition. Blood Blend is designed to help reduce the effects of anemia by maintaining a healthy blood supply. This carefully balanced blend of herbal roots has been chosen for its detoxifying properties and its ability to improve your blood hemoglobin count. Not only that, but it is synergistic, meaning that the blend is more effective than the individual components separately.
Hemoglobin is a metalloprotein, containing iron, which forms the basis of the oxygen transport system in your blood. It is what makes oxygenated blood look bright red, and used blood look bluish-red and forms 97% of the dry weight of your red blood cells. Without a good, steady source of iron, your hemoglobin drops, ultimately leading to anemia. Blood Blend prevents this by providing a rich supply of iron. Oxygen is needed for the cellular respiration that generates ATP energy in each cell in your body, and without it your cells die, ultimately leading to gangrene. Hence, iron is needed for life.
Blood Blend not only provides this iron, but also the potassium that helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Too low a blood pressure is as dangerous as it being too high, and Blood Blend helps to keep this balanced. Add to that the blend's detoxification properties, and it is the perfect way to maintain a healthy, clean blood supply at a pressure sufficient to maintain a healthy circulation rate without overtaxing your heart.
Some Extra Properties of Blood Blend
Blood Blend is a powerful synergistic mixture of six herbs designed to maintain a healthy circulation of clean blood round your body, and a healthy liver that effectively detoxifies your blood. By taking a Blood Blend supplement, you will maintain a healthy level of hemoglobin in your blood as well as reducing the toxins absorbed through your skin, inhaled or taken unintentionally in your food. However, because of the nature of the six herbs used, the blend also offers other health benefits, not part of its primary function.
For example, echinacea not only purifies the blood and lymphatic system, but also supports the immune system, and is useful in reducing the symptoms and duration of colds and flu. It stimulates white cell production, and combats inflammation. Echinacea can be used to treat sore throats, bronchitis, sinus infections and even bacterial pneumonia. Sarsaparilla is both antibiotic and anti-inflammatory, while dandelion root is an excellent diuretic, improving the function of the liver and the kidneys. Licorice lowers LDL cholesterol levels, while yellow dock reduces inflammation of the bowel.
Like many herbal treatments, Blood Blend does what it says on the tin, but also offers many other ancillary health benefits that increase its value as an excellent maintenance supplement to take for general good health.
Herbs, Serrapeptase, and your Sinus
February 18, 2010 04:26 PM
Sinusitis occurs when the nasal sinuses become inflamed. There are sinuses that are located above the eyes (frontal sinuses), inside the cheekbones (maxillary sinuses), behind the bridge of the nose (sphenoid sinuses), and in the upper nose (ethmoid sinuses). Sinuses are air-filled pockets in the skull that are connected to the nose and throat by passages designed to drain away mucous. The sinuses are the first line of defense to protect the lungs from infection. The majority of sinusitis cases affect the frontal and/or maxillary sinuses. However, any or all of the sinuses may be involved, with each individual tending to have problems with a particular set of sinuses. If the sinuses are too small or happen to be poorly position to handle the volume of mucous produced, they can become clogged. This causes pressure in the sinuses to increase, which causes pain. Those sinuses that are clogged for a long time are extremely prone to infection.
Sinusitis can be either acute or chronic. Acute sinusitis is usually caused by bacterial or viral infections of the nose, throat, and upper respiratory tract, like the common cold. Over 50 percent of all cases of sinusitis are caused by bacteria. Air travel can also lead to acute inflammation of the sinuses, due to the changes in air pressure. Chronic sinusitis problems, on the other hand, may be caused by small growths in the nose, injury of the nasal bones, air pollution, dental complications, emotional stress, smoking, and exposure to irritant fumes and smells. Allergic sinusitis may be the result of hay fever of food allergies, especially those allergies to milk and dairy products. People who have compromised immune systems are susceptible to fungal sinusitis, which is a potentially dangerous condition that requires aggressive treatment.
Sinusitis is characterized by symptoms such as fever which is usually low-grade but can be higher in some cases, cough, headache, earache, toothache, facial pain, cranial pressure, difficulty breathing through the nose, loss of the sense of smell, and tenderness over the forehead and cheekbones. If pain results from tapping the forehead just over the eyes, the cheekbones, or the area around the bridge of the nose, the sinuses may be infected. Sinusitis occasionally produces facial swelling which can be followed by a stuffy nose and a thick discharge of mucous. Those who suffer from sinusitis can have other unpleasant symptoms as a result of previous symptoms. Postnasal drip can cause a sore throat, nausea, and bad breath, while difficulty breathing can cause snoring and loss of sleep.
The following nutrients are considered to be helpful in dealing with and preventing sinusitis: acidophilus, bee pollen, flaxseed oil, a multivitamin and mineral complex, Quercetin, raw thymus glandular, vitamin A with mixed carotenoids, vitamin B complex, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, colloidal silver, DMSO, garlic, MSM, proteolytic enzymes, Pycnogenol, sea mussel, serrapeptase, and zinc lozenges.
Additionally, the following herbs may be helpful in preventing and treating sinusitis: anise, fenugreek, marshmallow, red clover, bayberry, bitter orange oil, cat’s claw, ginger root, goldenseal, horehound, mullein, nettle, olive leaf extract, and rose hips. Serrapeptase is an enzyme that is able to help keep sinus fluid thin and flowing properly. Serrapeptase also possesses anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce sinus inflammation which will ease pain and speed healing of the sinus cavity.
Protect The Liver with Glutathione And Cysteine
April 23, 2009 01:54 PM
The tripeptide L-glutathione is synthesized in the body from L. glutamic acid, L-cysteine and glycine, a reaction that can occur in any cell of the body although it is essential that it also occurs in the liver. Should glutathione concentrations drop, they can be increased by supplementing with cysteine or any other of the three amino acids that are used in the biosynthesis of this important if substance
The tripeptide exists in two forms: the reduced form (GSH) which contains a sulfhydryl (SH) functional group attached to the cysteinyl part of the molecule, and the oxidized form glutathione disulfide (GSSG). As electrons are lost from the reduced form, two molecules combine to create a dimer formed by a disulfide bridge, the process which can be reversed through reduction of the GSSG. Such electrons are lost during its reaction with free radicals, in which the free radicals are neutralized by the donation of an electron from the oxidized version of glutathione.
The definition of a free radical is a molecule that is lacking one electron from an electronic pair. Its prime purpose is then to steal an electron from the nearest molecule to it. In doing so, it can not only destroy that molecule, but also destroy body cells and lead, not only to premature aging, but also to some potentially fatal conditions.
It is an unusual peptide in that it involves a link between the cysteine amino grouping and the carboxyl functional group of the glutamic acid. It is a powerful antioxidant, acting as an effective free radical scavenger and protecting the body cells from the effects of free radical oxidation. However, it is on its detoxification effect in the liver that we shall focus here prior to discussing some other uses to which the body puts glutathione in its two manifestations.
Much of the detoxification is connected with the thiol group in the molecule. Take mercury for example. The thiol grouping forms a strong Hg-sulfydryl chemical bond within the liver, in the form of a glutathione-mercury chelate. In this form mercury is unable to exert any toxic effect on the body and can be excreted in the normal manner. The same reactive pathway is followed by other heavy metals that can bond to thiol groupings. In this way L-glutathione can protect the liver from the effects of a number of toxic heavy metals such as cadmium and chromium.
This is an important property of the amino acid, particularly in industrial and urban environments where the population is more prone to exposure to heavy metals than their rural counterparts. However, the end result on the glutathione is that it is removed from the body, and, particularly with city dwellers, a supplement may be required to maintain a healthy concentration of this amino acid in the body and in particular in the liver. Therefore, although L-glutathione is not considered an essential amino acid, in that it is biosynthesized within the body, a supplement is sometimes required, particularly by those who live in large cities.
It is important to consider the form in which the glutathione supplement is administered. This is because of the presence of gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase within the digestive system. This enzyme appears to destroy L-glutathione before it can be absorbed in the intestine so normal oral forms of supplementation are likely to be ineffective. Possible forms of effective administration include buccal (between the cheek and teeth) and hypodermically.
An alternative means of supplementation is to take substances such as selenium, methionine, alpha-lipoic acid, vitamin C and glutamine that stimulate the biosynthesis of glutathione. Also, since the substance utilizes the raw materials of L-cysteine, glutamic acid and glycine in its intracellular production, supplementation with these amino acids should also help to produce L-glutathione.
That said, let's return to its antioxidant properties and its effect on the liver that contains the largest stocks of glutathione in the body. It is generally regarded as the most important antioxidant in the body. It protects cellular cytoplasm from oxidation by reducing disulfide groups and maintaining a highly reducing environment within the cytoplasm. It reacts with hydrogen peroxide and other oxidative agents, and is converted to the oxidized form GSSG. It is then reduced back to GSH through the combination of the reducing agent and an enzyme. The reducing agent is nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH), the enzyme being glutathione reductase.
The implications that this strong reducing effect has on the liver are significant. Reduced GSH L-glutathione levels have been found in patients suffering from HIV, hepatitis C and other liver diseases. Supplementation with GSH has been found to restore normal levels of glutathione to the liver, and it has been demonstrated that the treatment has improved such conditions significantly.
Atherosclerosis is a condition of the arteries caused by the deposition of plaques formed from oxidized low-density lipoproteins, otherwise known as bad cholesterol. The strong antioxidant effect of GSH prevents this from LDLs from being oxidized and deposited on the arterial wall. There are other results of glutathione supplementation that indicate the effectiveness of antioxidants in the treatment of serious liver conditions, and there are no doubts that combating the effects of free radicals and oxidizing agents within the liver has a positive effect on many potentially serious liver diseases.
Many of these are exacerbated by the generation of free radicals by relatively modern pollution sources such as pesticides, petrol and diesel emissions, tobacco fumes and various other chemical emissions. A strong antioxidant such as L-glutathione cannot be anything other than an effective means of reducing the biological effect of these oxidants. It protects not only the liver but also the lungs and cardiovascular system.
For all these reasons a supplement consisting of L-glutathione or its constituent parts, glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine, provide significant protection against the stresses and strains of modern living. Increased pollution levels and heightened oxidative stress levels within the body are playing havoc with our body defenses, and GSH is an important one of them that can easily be enhanced by supplementation. There are no known reactions to L-glutathione supplementation, but pregnant women and babies should receive expert medical advice prior to taking it.
November 10, 2008 10:30 AM
Guggul is a natural herb supplement that may help lower cholesterol, yet few in the Western hemisphere know much about it. Guggul is otherwise known as the Mukul myrrh tree, and is a plant of the Burseracae family with small red or pink flowers.
It is found across central Asia over to North Africa, although is very common in the northern areas of India where the climate is more semi-arid than equatorial. Guggul does not like a lot of water and can thrive in ground where the soil has few nutrients. Its Latin name is Commiphora wightii, and it grows about 12 feet high.
It has been predominantly used in the Ayurvedic medicine of ancient India, and like many such ancient remedies and treatments, is now used in modern medicine to treat specific conditions: conditions such as some forms of heart condition, where it has been found to be able to lower your blood cholesterol levels, weight loss and some forms of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
However, it has been used so successfully over the years, particularly in India, which it is now in danger of extinction and is contained in the Red Data List of the World Conservation Union that lists endangered species. So what is so special about this plant that makes it so popular? To get the answer to that we have to go back a bit in its history, although not quite as far as the two or three thousand years that it is known to have been used in traditional Hindu medicine.
The active ingredient is found in the sap of the tree, and is used to fight against obesity and other diseases that can be caused by excess weight or cholesterol, such as arthritis, obesity and atherosclerosis. Until recently it has had very little support for its claims from conventional medicine. It was in the 1960s that an ancient Sanskrit text was found that recommended guggul as a treatment for high cholesterol levels. Since that discovery, research has focused on the plant's anti-cholesterol properties, and a great deal of evidence has been gathered supporting the claims of that ancient text.
So much so that the Indian government has approved the use of guggul for the treatment of high cholesterol levels, largely because it has been found very effective in reducing the levels of 'bad' LDL cholesterol in the blood while increasing the levels of the beneficial HDL cholesterol. Several trials have supported this, including one study involving 228 patients that showed the extract to be equally as effective as the anti-cholesterol drug clofibrate.
That is not all, and other studies included one in which a decrease in LDL cholesterol of almost 13% was measured in a double blind study involving 61 subjects, of which around half received a placebo. An average 12.7% reduction in LDL cholesterol, 12% in triglycerides and 11.7% in total cholesterol was experienced by the group given the guggul extract. Every 1% drop in total cholesterol is associated with a 2% decrease in the risk of heart disease.
Guggul reduces the levels of harmful cholesterol in your blood by converting it into bile. The plant extract contains substances given the name guggulsterones that block the activity of a protein that regulates the metabolism of cholesterol in your body known as FXR (the Farsenoid X Receptor). This protein can increase the risk of you contracting heart disease by preventing the liver from converting cholesterol into bile acids, so that the concentration of cholesterol in your blood continues to build up.
The problem with bile acids is that once they reach a certain concentration in your body, the FXR comes into play and stops more being produced. Guggulsterones prevent the FXR from doing this, and so helps the liver to destroy more cholesterol. There is a reason for the body not allowing too much bile acid to be generated, but for those with excess cholesterol, it is more beneficial for this regulation to be prevented, and more cholesterol to be destroyed by the liver.
It is the resin of the plant that is prized, being extracted from the bark in much the same way as rubber is tapped. It is also used in fragrances and perfumes in addition to its medicinal uses, and the dosage generally recommended is 1500 mg (1.5 grams) twice daily. However, it is not recommended for those suffering liver disease, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease or any form of diarrhea, and should not be taken by those on beta blockers.
It is not only for its cholesterol-lowering properties that guggul is prized, however. Another property it possesses is its ability to render blood platelets less sticky, and so reduce the risk of coronary disease, and prevent the formation of blood clots and thrombosis.
Another use it has found is in the field of weight loss, where it has been found effective in reducing the weight of obese adults. It does so by the activation of lipolytic enzymes and increased levels of triiodothyronine (T3), believed to be due to the formation of T3 from T4 (thyroxine) in the liver.
T3 increases the metabolic rate, and the rate of the breakdown of glycogen and gluconeogenesis: the biosynthesis of glucose. It also causes cholesterol to be broken down and increases the rate of lipolysis - the breakdown of fats stored in fat cells in the body. Studies have shown that those taking guggul lost up to 6 times the weight of a control group within 15 days, and the practice is going along with the theory.
Not only that, but when you are on a diet, your body is likely to respond by decreasing levels of triiodothyronine, and so reducing the rate at which fat burns. Hence, your diet does not help you top reduce weight as quickly as it could. Guggul, however, stimulates the production of T3, and so you are not only taking less fat into your body, but are also burning it up at an accelerated rate.
Other uses to which the resin has been put are based upon its anti-inflammatory properties. It has been found to be an effective treatment for some forms of arthritis and also in the treatment of acne. The active inflammatory ingredient is believed to be myrrhanol A, a polypodane-type triterpene, which would also explain the antioxidant effect of guggulipid on lipid peroxidation.
Guggul is a versatile plant, and a good supplement to take for anybody suffering increased lipid or cholesterol levels, and who wants to increase the weigh-loss effect of their diet. However, make sure that you purchase a supplement standardized on its guggulipid content.
Green Tea Extract
October 23, 2008 01:43 PM
Green tea is a form of tea made from the leaves of the Carmellia Sinensis, a shrub that is native to China and has spread to other areas of Asia including Japan and the Middle East. Drinking it is believed to impart many health benefits, including the prevention of obesity, heart disease and some forms of cancer and it has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 400 years.
Tea is known to have been consumed in China for around 5,000 years, and used, not only in Chinese medicine, but also in that of Japan, Thailand and India for a number of ailments including regulating blood sugar, treating wounds and digestive problems. The drinking of green tea to benefit the heart and other vital organs is described in the Kissa Yojoki (Book of Tea), written in 1191 by Eisai, a Japanese Zen priest.
This two-part book talks about the various medicinal benefits of green tea, such as preventing fatigue, curing beriberi, quenching thirst, clearing the thoughts, maintaining health of the urinary tract and improving digestive problems. It also explains how to grow tea and how to prepare and use the leaves. The methods of treatment of various ailments and medical conditions are described in the second part of the book.
The active ingredients in green tea are catechins, polyphenols with strong anti-oxidant properties. Antioxidants are important components of your diet due to their effect on free radicals. These are small molecules, generally oxygenated, such the superoxide cation and hydrogen peroxide that are generated during normal metabolic processes and also ingested in pollutants such as traffic and factory fumes and insecticides. Free radicals are also formed by the effect of the ultra-violet component of sunlight on your skin and other tissues.
The effect of free radicals on your body can be devastating, and they not only destroy cell membranes but also oxidize such molecules as the low density lipids (LDL) that carry cholesterol around your bloodstream. This allows the LDLs to be absorbed by the white blood cells and then deposited as fatty plaques in the walls of your arteries. The end result is a thickening and hardening of the arteries that leads to a condition known as atherosclerosis, where the blood supply to the brain and heart muscle is restricted, which can in turn lead to strokes and heart disease.
Their effect on your cells is to cause cancer and premature aging, among others, and free radicals are also believed to play a part in conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and also inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and diabetes. They can also cause damage to your DNA.
It is essential, therefore, that these free radicals are destroyed as quickly as they are generated, and that is what antioxidants do. You might be more familiar with the antioxidants Vitamins A, C and E, and phytochemicals such as flavonoids and carotenoids, but there are many substances available to you that are even more powerful such as the polyphenols found in green tea.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most powerful of these with antioxidant properties at least twenty five times that of Vitamin E, and 100 times that of Vitamin C. EGCG comprises around 10-50% of the total catechin content of the tea and studies indicate that it likely helps to protect against DNA damage by free radicals, to protect against oxidation of LDL, provide protection against the damage of ultra-violet radiation and to protect you from the free radicals that are generated by smoking tobacco and general airborne pollution.
There are suggestions that the bioavailability of EGCG can be increased by consuming black pepper when drinking green tea, possibly due to the presence of piperine in the pepper. The piperine appears to retard the intestinal glucuronidation of EGCG and so allow more of it to be absorbed as opposed to excreted. So if you are using green tea for health reasons, spice up your food with a small amount of black pepper - that's all it needs. You don't have to smother your food in it! It should be stressed that these tests were carried out on animals, although the biochemistry involved is much the same.
The oxidation of fat by your metabolism to provide energy is a very important factor in weight control. If the contribution of the fats you ingest to the energy generated by your metabolism is low, then the fats can go on to be deposited in your body. This is not only unsightly, in that it can basically make you look 'fat', but is also dangerous to your health. Fat deposits around your midriff and round the major organs of your body can be extremely damaging and a severe risk to your health.
It has been shown by a recent study in the UK (Birmingham University) that those taking green tree extract displayed a 17% increase in fat oxidation over those given a placebo. Not only that, but the ratio of fat oxidation to the overall energy expenditure showed a similar differential between the study and the control group. This provides evidence of green tea extract being able to control your weight by burning fat, and also to improve the tolerance to glucose and sensitivity to insulin of healthy people.
Many other health claims have been made for green tea extract, although many of these have little, if any, scientific basis. Among these are the claims that it can treat multiple sclerosis and be used to treat cancer, although claims that it can prevent the destruction of cell membranes due to its oxidative effect are supported by the biochemistry, if not the medical proof. There are cases where theoretical biochemistry can explain many of the applications of ancient remedies without needing modern day studies to support it.
Some of the research supporting the green tea theories include:
1. In 2006, a study was announced that had followed over 40,500 Japanese men and women, aged between 40 and 79, that had no history of coronary heart disease, stroke or cancer starting in 1994. It was found that those who drank at least 5 cups of tea per day had a 16% lower risk of dying from any cause and a 26% less risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than those that drank less than one cup of tea each day. Since cardiovascular disease and cancer are the major causes of death world-wide, these are significant results.
2. Again in 2006, it was reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that studies indicated that a higher consumption of green tea was associated with a reduction in human mental impairment when compared to the average.
3. Yale University School of Medicine reported later that year that, in spite of smoking more than their western counterparts, Asians suffered lower rates of cancer and heart disease, and put that down to them drinking over 4 pints of green tea daily. It was the polyphenol content of green tea and its antioxidant effect that was proposed for this result, known commonly as the 'Asian paradox'. A specific reason given for this was the antioxidant effect preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and its subsequent deposition in the artery walls.
4. Another component of green tea is the amino acid L-Theanine that promotes relaxation, and it is believed that this could help to fight stress by inhibiting the excitation of cortical neurons.
There is a lot more evidence for the health benefits of green tea, and once again it appears that the ancients have been proved correct. Perhaps we should pay more attention to ancient remedies, although without the proper evidence much of it is ignored - for the time being at least. Green tea, however, has generally been accepted due to the research and studies carried out on ECGC (Epigallocatechin gallate) and in additional to the traditional form, is also available as a dietary supplement.
Green Coffee Bean Extract
October 22, 2008 04:59 PM
It is known that aging is largely a result of the effect of free radicals on our body cells, and that green coffee bean extract can be used to fight against these. While we intuitively understand what the term ‘aging’ means, very few people can actually describe it in words, although there are several theories of why it occurs.
The most viable of these include the Error Catastrophe Theory, related to faulty molecular transcription and errors in cellular function, the Crosslinkage Theory, in which progressively increasing cross-linking between proteins slows the body functions down, and the Neuroendocrine Theory, in which changes in homeostasis and hormone levels occur through time due to an increasing loss of sensitivity of receptors to feedback inhibition.
However, by far the most acceptable and best understood theory is the Free Radical Theory of Aging, which green coffee beans have been found to help fight, and it is on that which we shall focus here.
The Free Radical Theory of Aging
Free radicals are oxidants created by unpaired electrons. Electrons generally go around in pairs, but occasionally molecules lose one of these electrons, creating a situation where it possesses an unpaired electron. In this condition, that molecule has only one purpose in life and that is to oxidize other molecules by stealing an electron from them.
Oxidation can cause untold damage to cell membranes, and also to other molecules that are vital to life, such as DNA. The end result is aging, and the onset of many diseases and conditions connected with aging. Free radicals are believed to be behind inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and Crohn’s disease, strokes, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer among many others. Each of these is associated with aging.
Free radicals are generated in the body in four different ways:
1. Energy is generated by the intercellular mitochondria by the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). By-products of the mechanism by which this is done include hydrogen peroxide, the superoxide anion, and a hydroxyl radical. Over 20 billion molecules of antioxidant are produced in each individual cell daily, and every one of these has the capability to do damage to your body. The figure for inefficient cell metabolism is significantly higher.
2. Peroxisomes are eukaryotic cell components that contain oxidative enzymes, whose function is to produce hydrogen peroxide that is then used by another enzyme, catalase, to oxidize other toxic substances. It is used by the liver, for example, to oxidize about a quarter of all the alcohol we drink to acetaldehyde, and also to remove other toxins from the body. The down side is that the hydrogen peroxide can escape and degrade the cell membranes.
3. Chronic infections give rise to a high activity of white blood cells, which utilize oxidants of various kinds to destroy viruses, bacteria and parasites. These include hydrogen peroxide, superoxide and nitric oxide which can also destroy the cells they are protecting.
4. Cytochrome P450 is an enzyme used to clear the body of toxic chemicals in our food such as pesticides and drugs. They also give rise to oxidative by-products.
In addition to these, free radicals are also produced by air pollution consisting of smoking, factory emissions and traffic fumes. Trace metals such as lead, iron and copper, are rich free radical sources, as is the ultraviolet component of sunlight, and caffeine, from tea and coffee, can also contribute to the store of free radicals in your body.
So where does green coffee extract come into this, and how should it be used. Free radicals tend to react very rapidly to accelerate aging, and in order to counter them, and hold the effects of aging at bay, it is necessary to destroy them almost as quickly as they are produced. This is carried out by antioxidants, of which there must be a plentiful supply available in each body cell.
Antioxidants donate electrons to free radicals, and so effectively neutralize them before they can attack the membranes of the cells in your body, or any of the other tissues that they can degrade. Many of the vitamins have a powerful antioxidant effect, among them vitamins A, C and E. Other antioxidants available in our diet include beta carotene and other carotenoids, flavonoids and glutathione, and also cofactors such as lipoic acid. All of these can destroy free radicals by the donation of an electron.
Green coffee beans have also been found to possess a strong antioxidant effect, due largely to the plant phenols, such as caffeic acid that forms chlorogenic acid with quinic acid, both cholorgenic and caffeic acid being string antioxidants. Green coffee bean extract is standardized to 99% chlorogenic acid. This substances not only reacts rapidly with free oxygen radicals but also helps to prevent to formation of hydroxyl radicals.
It has been established that green coffee bean reacts twice as fast as green tea or grape seed extracts, and speed of reaction is critical in the destruction of free radicals that have to be destroyed before they do damage. Other antioxidants found in extracts of green coffee beans include heterocyclic compounds such as pyrroles, furans and maltol.
The extract is made from beans of Coffea Arabica, this containing higher concentrations of chlorogenic and caffeic acids than the Arabica plant. The extract is also produced to be naturally low in caffeine, thus avoiding the negative effects of drinking coffee for its stimulating properties. When the green coffee bean is roasted, the antioxidant effect is found to decrease, and after roasting and brewing both the Arabica and the Robusta beans have reduced in activity to much the same level.
Studies on some of the conditions exacerbated by free radicals have indicated the effectiveness of green coffee beans as an antioxidant. It is believed to help reduce atherosclerosis caused by the oxidation of low density lipids (LDL). Oxidized LDLs tend to be easily absorbed by phagocytes to form plaques and foam cells in artery walls, thus narrowing and hardening the arteries, causing a deprivation of oxygen and nutrients to the heart and also increased blood pressure. Antioxidants from the green coffee bean prevent this from happening, and so help to reduce this serious effect of aging.
A good supply of antioxidants will also prevent the cell membranes from being destroyed, one effect of which is to age the skin. Antioxidants in the form of green coffee bean extract can help to maintain a youthful appearance while also aiding in the prevention of the more serious effects of free radicals that can shorten life.
There are no doubts that free radicals contribute significantly to accelerated aging, and that the antioxidants contained in green coffee beans can help hold back the physical signs of aging, while also helping to destroy those free radicals that threaten life by promoting cancer, atherosclerosis, and other similar conditions.
October 15, 2008 09:46 AM
To fight off aging you have to understand what causes it, and the take steps to avoid these causes. It is fairly obvious that all causes of aging cannot be circumvented, but there are things that can be done to keep some of them at bay. Here, we are specifically concerned with the aging of your skin, which is the most visible form of aging. The first aspect of aging to understand is that there are two types: intrinsic and extrinsic.
Intrinsic aging is natural aging, and is largely genetic. Starting when you are fairly young, normally in the early to mid 20s, intrinsic aging is typified by wrinkling, hair loss or graying of the hair, hollowing of cheeks and other areas where the fat underneath the skin that normally contributes to your physical appearance is lost, and also bone loss that causes your skin to sag due a gradual loss of the structure that sculpts your physical appearance.
The age at which this occurs, and its speed is determined by your genes; although the process generally begins around the mid 20s, the speed with which it progresses is genetically controlled.
This is where grape seed extract can help. Extrinsic aging is not genetic, but environmental. Ten majority of this type of aging is due to exposure to the damaging UV light of the sun, which cause the typical 'leathery' look of the skin of people raised in areas such locations as the hotter parts of Australia and the USA, without the benefit of the native skin pigmentation that filters out these harmful ultra-violet rays.
Other factors that can cause the same degradation of your skin cells are smoking, the way you sleep and gravity. The sun generates free radicals (more on these later) that can destroy skin cells, cause freckles, leathery skin and a blotched complexion and also skin cancer. Smokers are more likely to develop leathery and wrinkled skin than non-smokers, and as the elasticity of your skin reduces, gravity cause jowls to develop and also a more pronounced lower lip.
Even your sleeping position can make you appear to age quicker, particularly using the same sleeping position on your pillow each night that cause what are known as sleep lines, that are really wrinkles that are difficult, if not impossible to remove. However, one of the most relevant factors is pollution, and the effects of car emissions, pesticides and other agricultural chemicals, paint fumes and 1001 other forms of chemical pollution that produce free radicals.
Where grape seed extract is involved in fighting off aging is in extrinsic aging is by destroying the free radicals. All substances, from the air to the oceans, are formed of atoms that contain electrons. Stable molecules contain an even number of electrons, or what are known as 'electron pairs'. When a molecule loses one electron it is known as a free radical, whose prime purpose in its very short life is to steal an electron from the nearest molecule. This 'short' lifetime can as long as a day or as short as thousandth of a second: it depends on is size and the degree of steric hindrance to the reaction with the spare electron.
Now that the reasons for aging and the nature of free radicals are better understood it is easier for you understand why grape seed extract can help to fight aging caused by the effects of free radicals on your skin.
Grape seed is a waste product of the wine industry. You cannot make wine from grape seeds, so they are removed from the final product by filtration or sedimentation. It contains a large number of phytonutrients, the most important being polyphenols in the form of flavanoids, lipids and carbohydrates. It also contains proteins that don't have much of an effect on aging. Flavonoids (also spelled flavanoids) are powerful antioxidants that destroy free radicals; they are twenty times as powerful as Vitamin E and over fifty times more powerful an antioxidant than Vitamin C.
Both of these vitamins are regarded as strong antioxidants in their own right, which is an indication of how good grape seed extract is at killing free radicals. It's like a combination of Harry Callahan, Paul Kersey, John McClane and the whole of the Magnificent Seven after the scavengers in your body cells. They succeed, and do it in spades!
Not only do the ingredients of grape seed extract kill off free radicals with the efficiency of a Delta Task Force, but are also anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti just about anything else you can think of. However, let's have an even closer look and find out exactly what polyphenols are present in this so-called wonder juice.
Procyanadin was originally named Vitamin P in 1936 by its discoverer, Prof. Jacques Masquelier, and is believed to bond with collagen to protect you from premature aging by retaining and even improving the elasticity of your skin. An added benefit is that it also improves the elasticity of your blood vessels, and so helps to fight off the effects of high blood pressure and places less strain on your heart. The overall effect on your face is to practically give you a chemical face lift and also provide protection from the damaging effect of the UV component of sunlight through its lethal attitude towards the free radicals that UV radiation generates.
Another component of grape seed extract particularly that of muscadine grapes is resveratrol; a phytoalexin that has strong anti-inflammatory properties and can also fight off the effects of aging. Phytoalexins are antibiotics produced by plants that are under attack, and, in addition to helping you age slower, confers other benefits to your body including helping your brain to carry out its work more efficiently.
All in all, grape seed extract confers many benefits to your health and is also believed to possess powerful anti-cancer properties. However, it is for its ability to fight off aging that most people use it as a supplement, and in this respect it has been found to be extremely effective. Any antioxidant is of benefit to your body, but grape seed extract is of particular benefit due its high antioxidant potency.
DIM For Estrogen Balance
July 10, 2008 03:26 PM
Diindolylmethane from broccoli can help with estrogen balance: There is plenty of evidence to suggest that, but before discussing the whys and wherefores, let's first have a look at the substance, where it comes from and why it should have any effect on estrogen or its balance.
Diindolylmethane is an indole contained in brassicas such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts and cauliflower. It is a dimer of indole-3-carbinol, which is itself formed by the autolytic degradation of glucosinolate glucobrassicin which is found in brassicas. Both this and the dimeric diindolylmethane are currently being tested for their antioxidant, anticancer and antiatherogenic properties, although this type of research has been mainly made on animals. When the cell walls of brassicas are ruptured, the enzyme myrosinase is released, that breaks down the glucobrassicin.
Because diindolylmethane is oil soluble it is more bioavailable to the body in the presence of vitamin E and other lipophilic substances, and these are normally included in oral supplements. However, back to estrogen and its effects upon human estrogen balance. Estrogen is the name for a group of steroids that function substantially as the female sex hormone. They have many effects on the body, including regulation of the menstrual cycle, breast development and promote the formation of secondary female characteristics such as reduced height and muscle mass.
Estrogen is also present in the male, where it regulates several factors pertaining to the reproductive system. It does not, however, take part in the process that determines sexual desire. If all of these properties are considered it would seem logical to believe that estrogen levels could be used to control weight increase, although claims that it can be use to enhance sexual performance seem ill founded: based more on hope than on science!
What science appears to have found, however, is that estrogen dominance, due to an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone levels in the body, can give rise to increased weight, and even obesity, in women. It can also lead to uterine, ovarian and breast cancers, and cervical dysplasia which, while not cancer, can give rise to cervical cancer if not treated. Estrogen imbalance, therefore, is not good news and something to be avoided if it possibly can. So what can be done to avoid it?
The answer is to find a hormonal balance, and this is where diindolylmethane (DIM) comes in. The substance has been found to have a positive effect on the balance between estrogen and progesterone, although eating broccoli will not be sufficient to do the job properly. Insufficient DIM is released by breaking the cell walls of broccoli through chewing to have much effect on the balance, about a kilo of broccoli a day being needed to have any noticeable effect. It is the diindolylmethane supplements that are able to have the desired effect in restoring the hormone balance and eliminating the undesirable effects of estrogen imbalance.
But why should estrogen imbalance occur? What are the factors that cause this dangerous condition, and if it is so common how did our ancestors manage without today's science? The answer to the second question lies in that to the first, but before we discuss that don't go thinking that your ancestors managed through thick and thin. Perhaps yours did, but your life expectancy is significantly greater than that of your parents when they were born. In fact, you don't have to go too far up your family tree to when you would be doing well if you hit forty! So the argument about your ancestors doesn't wash.
In fact, an estrogen imbalance can be caused by several factors: a slow estrogen metabolism that leads to an excess of estrogen because it is not broken down quickly enough is common, but far more common is the effect of pollutants such as pesticides, car exhaust fumes, emulsifiers, household cleaners and even some soaps. They contain chemicals known as xenoestrogens that our body believes to be real estrogens. They can stick to estrogen receptors on healthy cells, and can also prevent true estrogen from binding to the cell it should bind to. This results in an increase in free estrogen that cannot bind to the estrogen receptors that it should. Your ancestors did not have these problems with such 'estrogen mimics' and so managed just fine.
There is also the fact that estrogen can be broken down in the liver by means of two different routes: one leads to a form of estrogen that metabolizes to provide many benefits, such as strong bones and a reduction in heart disease, while the other has the opposite effect of causing cancers, depression, osteoporosis and problems with your immune system. That is by no means the full list: you don't want to see that, believe me!
You might think that if estrogen is dominant over progesterone, then taking progesterone would resolve the problem. It would seem to be a good cure. In fact, it is not a good idea since progesterone can be metabolized into yet more estrogen, making the problem even worse. The real answer is to take a supplement containing the substance that solves the problem by changing the estrogen metabolism pathways in the liver: diindolylmethane. More of the so-called "good" estrogen metabolites are formed, and less of the bad. The actual estrogen levels are not changed, but the way in which the excess estrogen causes harm is changed. That way, it doesn't matter what the imbalance is, the estrogen cannot do ham to your body.
DIM possesses many potential positive benefits when used as a supplement. It can reduce your chances of getting breast, cervical and ovarian cancers, and also acts as a strong antioxidant, and helps to strengthen your immune system. It might help you to lose weight, but more studies are needed before this can be claimed conclusively. However, there is evidence at the moment that it has a weight reducing effect.
Its effect on sexual health is largely unfounded, but the effect of a placebo in this area can be astounding: that indicates how much psychology has to do with sexual performance. Nevertheless, the known and projected benefits of diindolylmethane are so significant that taking a supplement would seem a reasonable thing to do, and although your mom was right about you eating your broccoli, brassicas alone are not a rich enough source for a significant effect.
Cherry Fruit Extract
April 28, 2008 02:45 PM
Cherry fruit extract contains organic compounds known as flavanoids, which is a form of phytochemical frequently found in highly colored fruits and vegetables. If you eat a fruit such as pomegranate, blueberry, blackberry or cherry, or if you eat red peppers, aubergines and broccoli, you are eating foods that are rich in flavanoids.
Such foods provide you with remarkable health benefits that your ancestors knew about but did not understand. They ate these highly colored foods because they knew they helped prevent certain medical conditions, and to help others get well faster. They knew nothing about phytochemicals – chemicals contained in plants – or flavanoids, but knew about the results of eating them.
In fact, flavanoids are very powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, and each of these require more detailed explanation since between them, oxidants and inflammation are responsible for most of the non-infectious common ailments of the human body. First, let’s have a look at antioxidants.
In chemical terms oxidation is the removal of an electron from an atom or molecule. There are species within your body known as free radicals whose sole purpose in their short life is to steal an electron from the nearest molecule to them. This is almost instantaneous, and most free radicals are very short lived. The concept of free radicals roaming your body and your bloodstream waiting to pounce on the first unwary molecule is a fairy tale. In fact the vast majority react as soon as they are formed.
When they do react, they remove an electron from a stable molecule, render it unstable and thus destroy it. If that molecule is part of a cell, and enough of them are robbed of their electrons, then the cell is destroyed. One result in visible terms is wrinkling of your skin, as your skin cells become destroyed, and hence you age quicker. In terms that you are not immediately aware of, oxidation can lead to many unwanted changes in your body.
For example, the low density lipids, that carry the cholesterol in your blood to areas of the body where it is needed, are oxidized by free radicals which causes the LDL to deposit along with their cholesterol on the walls of your arteries as a layer of plaque. Eventually that will build up to constrict the artery and cause a condition known as atherosclerosis – the arteries become blocked, and you can suffer from heart attacks and strokes.
These free radicals are formed by the normal metabolism of the body when energy is created in the cell mitochondria, by pollutants such as pesticides, cigarette smoke and traffic fumes, and by radiation such as excessive exposure to the UV radiation in sunlight.
Flavanoids, contained in cherry fruit extract, are antioxidants, which prevent this oxidation of body cells from taking place. They do so by being in the right place at the right time. If a flavanoid molecule is close to a free radical when it is generated, then the antioxidant will reduce the free radical and neutralize it.
If you eat a lot of cherries, or drink cherry fruit extract, you will be consuming a massive amount of flavanoids molecules that are ready and willing to destroy these free radicals. However, that is not all that flavanoids do. They are also, as has already been stated, anti-inflammatories.
The inflammatory response is the reaction of the body to a foreign presence such as bacteria. The tissues around the infected area receive an increased blood supply, and the cell walls produce gaps allowing the large immune system blood cells, or macrophages, to pass through. The temperature around the area increases due to the concentration of blood, and this itself is controlled by the body since bacteria die off after a certain body temperature has been reached, hence the reason for fever in the immune response.
The area swells up due to the concentration of fluid and protein, and becomes painful due to pressure on nerve endings. Anti-inflammatories, such as the flavanoids, work to relieve the symptoms of inflammation without interfering with the way the immune system deals with infection.
Many inflammatory conditions occur without any apparent reason, and while anti-inflammatories might not be used to suppress the immune system, it is used in such conditions as rheumatoid arthritis where the inflammation is a mis-firing of the immune system. Cherry fruit extract can be used to alleviate many similar conditions such as gout, and osteoarthritis where its use is well known and recorded.
It can also be used to help reduce the effects of atherosclerosis through its anti-oxidant properties, and cherries contain, not only a good supply of flavanoids, but also anthocyanins, another group of powerful antioxidants. They also contain vitamin C which is also a strong antioxidant.
Another property of flavanoids is their collagen strengthening properties, which they achieve by cross-linking the fibers to form a string fibrous network. That can be used to strengthen the walls of veins, and render them less liable to stretch or expand, thus providing them with the rigidity needed to prevent varicose veins caused by the puddling of blood below weak valves. They have the same effect on arteries, providing increased strength and a reduction in the blood pressure needed to pump blood round the body.
A good intake of cherry fruit in your diet will help to improve the condition of your cartilage and other connective tissue in addition to your veins and arteries, and is particularly appropriate for athletes who place great stresses on connective tissues such as the tendons that transfer muscular energy to the levers – the long bones.
In summary, then, cherry fruit extract and the flavanoids and anthocyanins it contains, posses properties to help relieve the symptoms of gout, and various forms of arthritis, to reduce the likelihood of cholesterol oxidation that leads to heart disease and strokes, to help strengthen the walls of veins and arteries and to improve the strength of connective tissue such as cartilage and tendons.
In other words, to improve the quality of life of the majority of the population that suffers from one or more of these conditions. After learning about the health benefits of cherries and all the mounting evidence in research, my question to you is why did the FDA make cherry farmers pull the health benefits of cherries from their websites with threats of legal action if not removed? Makes a person wonder who is on our side and who isn’t?
Broken Cell Chlorella - Single Celled Micro alga
April 21, 2008 05:06 PM
Chlorella is what is known as a micro alga, a single celled vegetable organism that grows in fresh water. Microalgae are microscopic species of plant life that are likely responsible for the biological evolutionary history of our planet. Most people associate algae with seaweed: marine plant life. However, this is a restricted view since algae are also common on land, although are rarely conspicuous and still require an aqueous environment if not necessarily a salt water ocean.
The reason for this is that algae have no vascular tissue to draw moisture up into the body of the plant as terrestrial plants do, and they tend to be found in tropical regions, on snow in areas of the Arctic and also on exposed areas of stone and rock in symbiosis with fungi in the form of lichens. They can also be found in freshwater ponds and rivers, and chlorella is one of these.
Its scientific name is Chlorella pyrenoidosa, and it occurs worldwide. It is said to have the highest concentration of chlorophyll of any other known plant in addition to its other highly nutritional content. The superlatives are almost limitless for such a small plant that most of the general population is unaware of. It is the first plant known to have a true nucleus, it has been around for about two and half billion years, and it can multiply itself fourfold making it the fastest growing species of plant known on earth. It beats other fast-growing algae and bamboo out of site.
So what of its nutritional content? It is believed by NASA to be the ultimate foodstuff for long-term travel in space and an ideal crop for colonizing communities. Were a space community to be established on Mars, chlorella would be the first to be cultivated under these big glass domes we all see in the movies! It is more than just a foodstuff though; it is also the most powerful known natural detoxifier for the human body, which makes it practically the ideal food. Why is this?
If any food deserves to be referred to as a ‘superfood’ it is chlorella. It consists of over 60% bioavailable protein, and contains six members of the vitamin B complex (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 12) and also vitamins A, C, E and K. It is therefore very high in antioxidants and excellent for destroying free radicals as soon as they are formed, and before they can cause problems such as atherosclerosis and excessive cell damage.
It also contains more than its fair share of minerals such as calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, and also iodine, folic acid and a high proportion of iron. That is not all: it contains many more nutrients essential for a healthy life, but above all chlorella contains all eight essential amino acids.
Human biochemistry and metabolism need 20 amino acids to function properly, twelve of which can be manufactured by the liver from these eight: leucine, isoleucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine, and sometimes serine is added. These are called the essential amino acids from which all the others that your body needs can be manufactured.
Amino acids are needed to build proteins and DNA, manufacture body cells, repair damaged tissue, help the immune system to protect you from invading bacteria and viruses, ensure that the oxygen you breathe gets to the cells where it is needed to sustain life and carry out many other functions besides. Without them you could not exist. Chlorella contains five times more protein and amino acids than eggs do.
The Chlorella Growth Factor or CGF is a combination of these amino acids, together with nucleic acids, carbohydrates and peptides that have not yet been completely characterized. The CGF promotes the growth of body cells, and stimulates cell repair in a way not seen before in any other food. It has been shown to promote the growth of children in a natural and safe way.
Not only this, but it has been found not to promote the growth of diseased or cancerous cells, only healthy ones. The fact that that this accelerated growth does not happen with adults indicates that the Chlorella Growth Factor supports the natural growing process, although in adults it has been seen to accelerate the repair of damaged body tissue.
Chlorella also appears to strengthen the immune system, and researchers have found the presence of a polysaccharide in the cell walls of the microalgae that acts with CGF to produce an interferon that protects the helper cells that aid macrophages to destroy invading bacteria and viruses. It can help our resistance to influenza, choryza (common cold), fungi such as candida and many other forms of invasion by foreign agents into our bloodstream.
The detox effect of chlorella is largely contained within its cell walls that can bind with persistent toxic substances such as DDT, and bind with heavy metals to safely remove them from the body. In fact it is the ideal anti-toxin for life in today’s environment, full of vehicle exhaust fumes, pesticides and other chemical emissions. It has been claimed to be able to remove mercury from the body, but this has not been established.
Probably the only problem with the ingestion and the efficiency of the body to use Chlorella to its full extent is the strength of the cell walls. Chlorella has very strong cell walls, which could also account for the concentration of nutrients within them. the traditional method to overcome this was to mill them using small glass or ceramic beads to break the cell walls down, but the Japanese have come up with a more effective means. High frequency sound waves are used to break the cell walls down supersonically, a technique known as ‘cracking’, and once cracked the cells can release up to 65% of its nutrients, compared to the 50% of the milling method.
The nutritional content of single celled microalgae such as chlorella is amazing, and if the was only one food that you were able to eat, then this would be it. There is no other known species of plant or animal life that provides the range of vitamins, minerals, proteins and amino acids that chlorella does, and it truly is the king of all superfoods.
Beta Carotene Is The Safe To The Liver Form Of Vitamin A
March 19, 2008 08:17 AM
The fact that beta carotene is stated to be a safe form of vitamin A suggests that vitamin A is in some way unsafe. In fact an overdose of vitamin A can lead to any one of a number of conditions, including nausea, jaundice, vomiting, abdominal pain and headaches. This vitamin is fat soluble, and so any excess is not easily washed out of the body but can build up in the tissues.
Toxicity in the liver can occur at fairly low concentrations, and the toxicity of the vitamin is increased by excessive alcohol intake. However, toxicity only occurs with vitamin A already formed such as that obtained from liver.
There are several forms of vitamin A, including the retinoid form originating from animal sources and the carotenoid forms that have a vegetable origin. Carotenoids are converted to vitamin A in the liver, but the higher the concentration of beta carotene in the body, the smaller the percentage that is converted to vitamin A, so beta carotene is a safer source of vitamin A than retinoids. It is only the finished form of vitamin A that is toxic, and beta carotene is therefore self-regulating in its production.
This vitamin is stored in the body in the form of the alcohol (retinol) and of retinyl esters. Studies have indicated that as much as 95% if the stored vitamin is in the form of the ester. The liver is responsible for releasing vitamin A to the body as it is required. One of its better known effects is on vision, and the old wives tale that carrots help you to see in the dark has an element of truth in it.
In order for it to aid vision, retinol is oxidized to the aldehyde, retinal, that forms a complex with a molecule of opsin, a light sensitive protein found in the retina. Rhodopsin, as the complex is called, is an essential component of the biochemical chain of events that lead to the perception of light. It is extremely sensitive, and enables you see in very low levels of light. In other words it is essential for good night vision, so carrots do help you to see in the dark! When a photon of light hits a molecule of rhodopsin, it leads eventually to an impulse being sent up the optic nerve to the brain.
One of its properties is its reaction to white light. When rhodopsin is exposed to white light it loses its pigmentation, and hence its photoreceptor properties and can take 30 minutes to regenerate. That is why you lose your night sight if your retina is exposed to bright light. The more rhodopsin you can generate the quicker you develop night sight.
The other biochemical processes of the vitamin include the synthesis of some glycoproteins and maintenance of normal bone density. Without vitamin A, calcium is not properly absorbed by the body and glycoproteins are involved in this process. A deficiency of vitamin A can lead to the abnormal development of bone and other health problems, so there are limits between the levels of vitamin A in the body that must be maintained: above or below these limits will lead to health problems, some of which can be extremely serious.
Most of the biochemistry of vitamin A in the liver is initiated by the presence of alcohol, and otherwise it is though to passively store the vitamin until needed when it is released into the blood. There are several ways in which the presence of alcohol allows the liver to deplete its store of retinol, but generally there are a number of enzymes that, in the presence of ethanol, can render vitamin A into a water soluble form that is excreted by the urine.
The benefits of vitamin A other than its effect on night sight and the healthy development of bone tissue, includes a powerful antioxidant effect that neutralizes free radicals that can destroy body cells. These free radicals are generated by the body’s metabolism in generating energy from blood glucose, and are also created through exposure to pollutants such as cigarette smoke and traffic fumes. They are electron deficient, so when they are generated they grab an electron from tissue close by which destroys the cells involved. This can lead not only to the appearance of premature aging as the skin cells are damaged but also to serious health problems such as atherosclerosis and some forms of cancer. Vitamin A helps to protect against these by destroying the free radicals before they can do damage. It also helps build up resistance against infections by supporting the immune system.
Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A either by cleaving at the center of the molecule, or by breaking it down from one of the ends. This latter process is carried out in the small intestine, and the resultant vitamin stored in the liver in the ester form. Only a proportion of what you eat is converted to retinol ester in this way, and the more beta carotene you consume, the less is converted, so you can never suffer from an overdose of beta carotene-derived vitamin A. It might turn you yellow, but you won’t suffer from excess vitamin A since the excess beta carotene is stored in your body fat, including the subcutaneous fat reserves.
Alpha carotene can also be used in the synthesis of vitamin A, but not as actively as beta carotene. The best natural sources are fruits and vegetables, especially the red, yellow and orange varieties such as carrots and apricots, and also the leafy green vegetables, although supplements are also a convenient way of maintaining your beta carotene uptake. It is a much safer supplement than straight vitamin A for the reasons explained earlier. The supplement is not useful just for its antioxidant effect, but also for its ability to protect you from excessive exposure to the sun. While not as effective as a good sun blocker, beta carotene does provide some protection.
There is no doubt that beta carotene is a safer way to maintain an adequate vitamin A uptake due to the fact that you cannot take an overdose, since an overdose of beta carotene does not translate into the same dose of vitamin A, and the change is self-regulating. It is therefore safer to obtain your vitamin A needs from colored fruits and vegetables or beta carotene supplements than from eating liver, from which the retinol is in a form that can cause damage in the event of consuming an excess.
The old adage that you should never eat polar bear livers is a true one, and certainly has a provable scientific basis, so use beta carotene as your main vitamin A source for maximum health benefits in the safest possible way.
Alpha Lipoic Acid is a Powerful Antioxidant
February 15, 2008 02:55 PM
The discovery of alpha lipoic acid at the University Of Texas Chemistry Department in 1951 was not heralded with trumpets of joy at the revelation of such a powerful antioxidant, but was instead largely ignored. This is largely due to the biochemistry involved not being fully understood at that time, but by the 1980s it was a commonly used supplement, recommended for several medical conditions.
Chemically, the substance is a 5-membered cyclic disulphide with a carboxylic acid grouping. Biochemically, it’s extremely powerful antioxidant properties are largely due to the fact that it one of those rare active molecules that are soluble in both water and fats, and in fact is the only such antioxidant currently know. One of the properties that this ability enables it to possess is to cross the blood-brain barrier, and apply antioxidant propertied to the brain.
Antioxidants are essential to human life in that they destroy free radicals. These are compounds with free unpaired electrons that destroy human body cells in their hunt for electrons to pair with. Electrons come in pairs in organic animal tissue, just as they do in organic compounds. However, under certain circumstances this pairing can become destroyed, leaving a molecule with one of its electrons without a partner.
The factors that lead to this situation are many and varied, and our own biochemistry can produce free radicals during the normal chemical processes of life. However, pollution can also lead to the oxidation processes that create free radicals, common such pollutants being cigarette smoke, vehicle exhaust fumes, pesticides and the like. Excessive exposure to the UV content of sunlight can also create free radicals as can eating barbecued and smoked foods, and exposure to carbon monoxide and peroxides. Even the biochemical conversion of glucose to energy in our bodies creates free radicals.
These free radicals can destroy body cells, including DNA, and can create conditions such as premature aging due to destruction of skin cells, destruction of brain cells, strokes, cancers, diabetes, atherosclerosis due to oxidation of LDL cholesterol that deposits in the main arteries of the body, stiffening of the joints and many other undesirable conditions.
Free radicals are destroyed rapidly by antioxidants: the reaction is very rapid and most are destroyed immediately they are formed before they can do harm. Fortunately, if your diet is well maintained, the body possesses many antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E, and other substances such as Coenzyme Q10, flavanoids, xanthenes, polyphenols and carotenoids. Many of these are found in highly colored foods, and if your food is brightly colored, it should contain a good supply of antioxidants.
However, the problem with all of these is that they are either fat and oil soluble or water soluble, which means that they can either be freely carried round the body by the blood or have to be emulsified by the bile and transported via the lymphatic system that places restrictions on their effectiveness in certain organs of the body. The fact that alpha lipoic acid is soluble in both water and fats enables it to be carried to all parts of the body and to every organ, and can cross water/fat barriers that other antioxidants cannot do.
It can therefore be carried via the blood to the brain and carry out an essential antioxidant function within our brains. It took a long time for this property of ALA to be recognized and its consequent health benefits understood. It is, in fact, the ideal antioxidant. The substance provides many known benefits to the body due to its antioxidant properties and also helps the body to generate the maximum possible amount of energy from the blood glucose and thus improve the energy balance of your body.
However, it is with its antioxidant properties that we are most concerned here. One of the benefits of these properties is its effect in holding back the visible effects of aging on your body. Because it is both water and fat soluble, alpha lipoic acid can help destroy free radicals in every part of your skin; the areas served by the blood and the fatty and oily secretions are protected simultaneously by the same strong antioxidant. The end result is a reduction in the destruction of the cells through the dermis and epidermis and a reduction in the degree of wrinkling with age.
Its antioxidant effect in the brain renders ALA in great demand for reducing cognitive impairment with age. In fact studies have indicated that alpha lipoic acid can improve memory and brain function in the aging and the elderly. This effect appears to be increased by the synergistic combination of alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine that work together to prevent cognitive decline in the brain through the effect of free radicals.
There is evidence that during a stroke, ALA works synergistically with vitamin E to reduce the effect of free radical damage on the vulnerable brain cells, and so reduce the longer term effects of the stroke. Together with ALC, it also reduces oxidative stress on the mitochondria of cells and in so doing helps once again to reduce the effects of aging, and maintain the body’s capacity to generate energy from blood glucose.
Cardiovascular disease is the main killer of the western world, largely due to our diets, and this is especially true of the USA. Although Americans appear unable to change their unhealthy diet, alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine can be used to offset much of the damage done. ALA reduces the development of atherosclerosis through its antioxidant properties and the reduction of the adhesion of monocytes to the artery walls.
LDL trapped in the wall of the artery can be oxidized and enable monocytes to also enter under the surface of the arterial wall, where it changes into macrophages and ingests the oxidised LDL, causing the plaque that forms atherosclerosis. As the plaque thickens, the artery becomes increasingly restricted until the blood flow is significantly reduced or even stopped, causing cardiac failure or a stroke.
Alpha lipoic acid can prevent this free radical oxidation from occurring by destroying them before they act on the low density lipoprotein (LDL). Acetyl-L-carnitine works with the ALA to achieve this, as does another substance known as carnosine. Between them, these three musketeers work to keep your arteries clear and your brain functioning as it should, though it is the ALA that is most powerful due to its oil and water solubility properties.
Although alpha lipoic acid is available as a supplement, either alone or in combination with acetyl-l-carnitine, it is also available from natural food sources. It is particularly rich in offal such as heart and kidney, and also in broccoli, spinach and brewer’s yeast. It is also available in beef, and it is here that burgers can perhaps repay some of the damage that it causes. However, it is not a recommended source since burgers still cause more damage to your health than any of their constituent nutrients can allay.
Like any other supplement, you should seek medical advice before taking any substance if you have a health condition. Nevertheless, the benefits of alpha lipoic acid are such that it is difficult to see it doing anything but good. However, please consult your physician if are taking other drugs.
Astaxanthin, a Member of the Carotenoid Family, is a Powerful Antioxidant
January 31, 2008 09:00 AM
Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family responsible for the red color of many types of algae. Being a carotenoid, it is a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger as well as support proper eye function.
However, such a bland statement belies the true worth of astaxanthin in its fight against free radicals. It is of particular benefit in its ability to absorb the high energy of singlet oxygen, releasing it as heat, and returning the singlet oxygen to its ground neutralized state. Singlet oxygen is a particularly harmful and reactive oxygen species of free radical that is formed in the body as part of our normal metabolism, and that contains a high level of free energy that can be used to oxidize and destroy the cells of your body.
In achieving this, astaxanthin is regarded as one of the most potent plant derived antioxidants known, being up to ten times more active than beta carotene, Lutein or its cousin canthaxanthin. So why are antioxidants so valuable to our biochemistry and what would happen if they did not exist?
Free radicals are thieves that use your body as their operating ground. They operate by stealing an electron from a molecule that comprises part of you, and in some cases when this occurs the cell from which the electron is removed is destroyed. Generally electrons go around in pairs, but occasionally an electron pair can lose one of the electrons during a chemical reaction. Many such reactions occur naturally inside the body, especially during the production of energy from blood sugars in the mitochondria, and such a molecule containing a single unpaired electron is called a free radical. Free radicals are also generated by the reactive components of many pollutants such as traffic fumes and cigarette smoke, tars and pesticides, and also by the effect of UV radiation in sunlight.
The only purpose of a free radical is to steal an electron from the first source it can find. Such reactions occur very rapidly after the free radical has been generated, and if this electron belongs to another body cell, then the cell is destroyed leading to effects such as premature aging or even cancers. Free radical oxidation of the LDL lipids that carry cholesterol around the blood causes the deposition of fatty plaques inside arterial walls that eventually become constricted or even blocked, leading to heart disease or strokes.
That is why antioxidants that destroy these free radicals are so prized, and the more of them that there are in your body then the less affect the free radicals will have on you. You will retain your youthful looks longer, and will be less liable to suffer from heart disease, cancers, circulation problems and conditions such as diabetes. Many abnormal conditions can be laid at the door of free radicals.
The stronger the free radical, the more harm it can do to you and a strong antioxidant such as astaxanthin is a very powerful weapon in your armory against them. Astaxanthin is a member of the oxygenated xanthophylls, and its high level of antioxidant power likely comes from the ketonic and hydroxyl functional groups of the ionone ring structure. It is more polar than most carotenoids, and this is a likely reason for its ability to span the cell membrane layers, with the active groups close to the hydrophilic-hydrophobic interface. They are thus more readily available at the sites where most free radicals tend to be found and provide immediate protection to the cell membrane and also to the intracellular mitochondrial membrane.
Many antioxidants destroy free radicals by donating an electron, and become oxidized themselves. Astaxanthin, however, does not do this, but instead adds the free radicals to its long double bonded chain hence avoiding oxidation and rendering it much more powerful than normal antioxidants. It is unusual among antioxidants in that it is also able to cross the blood-brain barrier, and so reduces oxidative stress that can cause neurological disorders in general, and also problems with eyesight. It can also attach itself to lipoproteins to enable it to be carried throughout the bloodstream, being available anywhere that free radicals are generated. The carotenoid is also active against active oxygen species that are responsible for inflammation.
Another property is its ability to neutralize the oxygenated free radicals formed by the photo-oxidation properties of UVA and UVB radiation. Included in these are the previously mentioned highly reactive singlet oxygen and also triplet oxygen that astaxanthin is able to neutralize without becoming oxidized. In fact reactive oxygen species in general can cause oxidative stress, and they have been thought responsible for many forms of disease and health conditions, and the powerful effect of astaxanthin in targeting many of these has led it to be regarded as highly beneficial to the immune system and to health in general.
Another benefit is the ability of the substance to help prevent the oxidation of high density lipoproteins (HDL) that are responsible for carrying cholesterol in the blood back to the liver for destruction. Free radical oxidation of HDL impairs its ability to transport cholesterol, and so decreasing the level of such free radical oxidation will by definition increase the quantity of good HDL available, and hence reduce the concentration of cholesterol in the blood. Studies have proved this to be the case, and astaxanthin supplements are very beneficial to those suffering from high blood cholesterol levels, and helps protect them from heart disease and strokes.
The substance is naturally available from a wide range of marine sources, such as lobsters (where it was first discovered), shrimp, salmon, trout and in a wide variety of red and green algae. The substance is also used as a red pigment. Carotenoids are essential, meaning that they are not produced in the human body and can only be obtained in our diets.
For that reason, the most convenient way to take it, apart from continually eating shrimp and lobster, is as a supplement. Astaxanthin is available either as a powerful antioxidant in its own right, or in combination with other substances with which it acts to provide a very strong deterrent to any free radicals that think they can freely roam your body.
Artichoke Promotes Healthy Fat Digestion and Metabolism
January 30, 2008 10:37 PM
In discussing the health benefits of the artichoke, and the way it promotes healthy fat digestion and metabolism, we are talking here about the true artichoke: the globe artichoke. The alternative Jerusalem artichoke is not an artichoke at all, but a member of the sunflower family. The globe artichoke is a type of thistle.
It is in fact a perennial thistle that originated in the Mediterranean area and is now cultivated world wide. The edible portions are the lower parts of the bracts and the base of the buds, known as the heart while the inedible portion in the center of the bud is known as the ‘choke’. Globe artichokes were introduced to the USA in the 19th century by French and Spanish immigrants who settled in Louisiana and California respectively. Contrary to popular opinion its name did not come from the ‘heart’ and the ‘choke’, but from the Arabic for ground thorn: ‘ardi shauki’.
In today’s world of fast foods, a high consumption of fats and red meat and excessive alcohol consumption, your liver is put under a great strain. Its main function is as a chemical factory, to produce the chemicals, such as enzymes and other proteins, needed to maintain life and also to metabolise the nutrients we need from the food we eat. If you overtax your liver it will not work as it should, which results in poor digestion and assimilation of the nutrients in your food and an increase in the toxins in your blood.
You will feel tired and run down, with digestion problems and many other health complaints. Liver abuse can result in malnutrition, which also results in cirrhosis which is not curable. You should seriously appraise your diet, and identify the eating and drinking habits that are causing the problem, and give your liver a rest. Artichoke extract is a great liver tonic, and your liver will respond well to a break from alcohol and fatty foods, and a course of artichoke leaves and extract.
The main active ingredient of the artichoke is cynarine (1,5-dicaffeylquinic acid), a substance that stimulates the production of bile, and hence renders the artichoke an excellent starter for any meal. This is yet another example of science finding a logical reason for people eating artichokes for centuries in order to promote the health of their liver and digestive system. It is not only for its cynarine content that the globe artichoke is useful, however, but also the luteolin and chlorogenic acids that it contains.
The stimulation of bile production by the cynarine is one the more important of the effects of artichoke on your well being. Bile emulsifies fats and renders them into an easily digested form. Most of the digestive chemicals are water soluble, and without this emulsification of the fat with water then most of the fats we consume would pass through the body unchanged. We would the vats majority of the fat soluble nutrients in our food, including vitamins A, D, E and K.
Bile enables us to digest fats and to absorb vitamins from our food, and also promotes the general health of our digestive system. It is biosynthesized in the liver from various enzymes and triglycerides and then stored in the gall bladder until needed. Its use is prompted by the presence of fats in the system, and this is stimulated by the cynarine in the artichoke leaves.
Its ability to improve bile flow has been recognized by scientist’s world wide, and artichoke juice has been used by the French for many years as a liver tonic. However, it is not just for the liver and the digestive system that artichokes are useful in maintaining good health. They also have an effect on the cholesterol levels in your blood. This is believed to be due to the inhibition of the activity of enzyme HMG CoA Reductase that helps the liver to generate cholesterol. Inhibiting the activity of this enzyme reduces the amount of cholesterol produced.
This can have the effect of reduced the possibility of you developing atherosclerosis, a condition caused by deposition of low density lipid (LDL) cholesterol through the effect of free radical oxidation of the lipid. The less cholesterol to be transported by your blood, then the lower levels of the low density lipid needed to do this. This effect is also possibly due to the fact that bile is formed from cholesterol and triglycerides, and so stimulated bile production would possibly leave less cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Artichoke also possesses antioxidant properties that would contribute even further to this effect by preventing the oxidation of the LDL by free radicals. These free radicals, formed in the body both naturally and by the effects of pollutants such as pesticides, cigarette smoke and traffic fumes, are destroyed by antioxidants. In atherosclerosis the LDL lipids are oxidised and deposited under the surface cells of the blood vessels, and are then digested by certain blood cells forming a hard fatty deposit that can eventually block the arteries affected.
The result can be a heart attack or a stroke, depending on where in the body the blood vessels are affected, and if the cholesterol levels in the body are decreased through it being used to produce bile, then the concentration of LDL lipids used to transport it will also be reduced and the condition will be less likely to occur..
Apart from the liver, the gall bladder is also given a boost by artichoke because that is where bile is stored, and a regular flow to and from the gall bladder maintains its health. The only thing you should be aware of if is that if you are prone to gallstones then the increase in bile flow could cause the stones to be stuck in the bile duct. You should therefore refer to your physician before embarking on a course of artichoke extract if you have a propensity to develop gallstones.
Apart from the phytonutrients already discussed, the globe artichoke also contains a good supply of fiber and minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium and phosphorus, and also some trace elements that your body needs. It is therefore more than just a bile stimulant, but provides a wide range off essential nutrition to your body. It is know to aid conditions such as gout, high blood sugar, and digestive complaints such as flatulence, bloating and abdominal cramps.
Apart from cooking and eating the tender parts of the leaves, or bracts, you can make an infusion of the parts that you don’t eat. Chop up the tougher leaves and pour boiling water over them as if making tea. Leave it to infuse for a few minutes and then drink. Honey can be used to take away the bitter taste; honey rather than sugar due to its greater nutritional content.
Natural Bar Soaps for the Kitchen and Bathroom
January 23, 2008 11:59 AM
Good natural bar soaps that contain only substances that are good for your skin are available, although most people pay little attention to them. Many people might be unaware of the fact but the skin is the largest organ of the body. As such, the skin needs taken care of just as much as any other major organ, yet few people pay much attention to what they bring into contact with it. Although a lot of money is spent on body products, do you really know what your skin needs for optimum health and what substances can do it harm?
Your skin carries out many functions other than keeping the bits inside that should be kept inside. It is a natural thermostat, containing the sweat glands that dampens it and allows evaporation to cool you down. It contains hairs and subcutaneous fat, both of which help you to remain warm when the external temperature is low. Your skin is designed to remain supple, and so allow free movement of the various parts of your body.
It is an ideal waterproof covering for your body that also protects you from infection. Although infection can set in if the skin is ruptured through cuts or grazes, the skin itself rarely suffers from surface infections when related to the number of infectious agents it is constantly in contact with.
The health of your skin is very important, especially in view of the fact that it regularly comes into contact with some very hazardous substances. What may not have occurred to you is that one of the many functions of your skin is to eliminate some of the body’s waste products. It does this when you sweat and the toxins that are emitted can harm it. Although not often infected, it does suffer from complaints such as psoriasis, eczema and acne that are not primarily caused by bacterial agents or viruses, and hence not true infections.
These conditions, however, are caused largely through the emission of toxic agents through the sweat glands. Acne for instance is caused by excessive emission of sebum that combines with dead skin cells to form acne which can also become infected with bacteria. Psoriasis is the excessive formation of skin cells at too rapid a rate, the true causes of which are as yet unknown. Skin cells can become cancerous due to excessive exposure to sunlight or ultra violet radiation, and skin cancer is the most common type of cancer that your doctor is liable to come across.
If you suffer from any specific skin condition, such as acne, or even dry skin that can be caused through excessive exposure to degreasing agents or dry winds, then your skin will need special care. The soap you use is very important in the way you care for your skin, and many people will use soaps that contain many ingredients that they cannot pronounce let alone understand.
Your skin needs cleansed regularly since it comes into contact with many dangerous and toxic substances. Apart from the everyday pollution of traffic fumes and factory emissions, there are also the substances that contaminate your skin at work and at home. At home specially, domestic cleaners can be very harsh on your skin, consisting of substances that are intended to clean away greases and oils, the very types of substance that protect your skin from the elements. When you clean your oven or your sink without gloves, you also clean off the protective oily layer on your skin and leave it open to bacterial attack.
Your skin can also become sensitized to many substances, so that whenever it comes into contact with them it promotes an allergic reaction that can cause irritations so severe that your life can become very miserable. Many people are allergic to various types of soap or detergent because they have become sensitized to them, and are unable to use that type of cleanser after sensitization.
Many soaps contain active ingredients that are intended to carry out specific functions. Thus, some contain antibacterial agents to inhibit the growth of specific types of bacteria on your skin, while others contain detergents to improve their cleaning power. However, some detergents can be very harsh on your skin, and try to avoid bar soaps containing PEG-6 methyl ether or butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). These can be harmful to your skin. There are others, and if your skin is sensitive try to avoid soaps containing animal products or petroleum derivatives.
Take tetrasodium EDTA, which is present in common bar soaps. It enhances the penetration of substances through your skin, which means that it can also enhance the penetration of the lees welcome ingredients in the soap as well as the moisturizers. Substances as sodium etidronate that is a synthetic preservative that might cause irritation to your skin and mucus membranes. There are several other synthetic detergents that are ingredients in bar soaps, and many kitchen soaps contain the same ingredients as personal or bathroom soaps, the difference between them being only in their moisturizer and perfume content.
Other ingredients than can cause potential problems are limonene, linalool and camphor, all of which can give rise to unwelcome conditions such as irritation or respiratory problems. The first two of these are common in bar soaps, as are benzaldehyde and benzyl alcohol which are irritants. Alpha-pinene, found in some bar soaps, is a sensitizer than can damage your immune system. Unless you know what a specific ingredient is, don’t use the soap. Instead you should use pure natural bar soaps containing antioxidants that are good for your skin.
A pure soap should contain the fat or oil that it is made from, good examples being coconut or palm oils, water, a water softener to enable the soap to cleanse the skin properly, an example being one of the penetrates, a moisturizer such as glycerine or lanolin and possibly a perfume derived from natural sources. Salt is also frequently used, and is a good bactericide.
Wherever possibly, you should choose a natural soap containing antioxidants. Citrus soaps, for example, contain vitamin C although many soaps contain antioxidants such as beta carotenes, vitamin A and vitamin E. Since soap consists of both oils and water, you can have both oil and water soluble antioxidants in your soap. The antioxidants help to protect your skin from the ravages of pollution and the effects of the sun’s rays, both of which generate free radicals that can accelerate the aging and wrinkling of your skin.
A good antioxidant, moisturizer and wetting agent in your bar soap will help to protect your skin from the effects of atmospheric pollutants, the drying effect of the sun and wind and also effectively cleanse the skin surface and pores of everyday dirt. If this is associated with an absence of synthetic chemicals that can cause irritation then you will be giving your skin the best protection that you can. This is true of soaps intended either for the kitchen or the bathroom.
Give Your Health A Boost With Silica Hydride A Powerful Antioxidant
January 18, 2008 05:25 PM
Hydride ions are strong proton acceptors and hence fatal to free radicals. Silica hydride is consequently a powerful antioxidant that can be used to protect your body against the ravaging effects of these free radicals that destroy the cells of your body, and due to its other unique properties this is a molecule that could be a very useful participant in the various redox reactions that occur naturally within our bodies every microsecond of every day of our lives.
A free radical is a positively charged molecule that is deficient in an electron. Whereas stable compounds consist of electron pairs, a free radical consists of electron pairs and one unpaired electron. Although such a compound is not stable, it does not immediately disintegrate but grabs the nearest electron it can find. This would normally be an electron in the nearest body cell to it, whether it is a blood cell, a cell in an artery wall or a skin cell. The result is that the cell that loses the electron is disrupted.
Free radicals are formed in the body through its normal biochemistry, and also promoted by pollutants such as cigarette smoke, pesticides and traffic fumes. Excessive exposure to the ultraviolet radiation of sunlight or sunbeds also creates free radicals, as does excessive exercise, believe it or not. As stated earlier, these chemicals have only one purpose in your body: to grab an electron from wherever they can, and in doing so they destroy the cells that make up your body tissue.
This can lead to premature aging, heart disease and many other problems with your health. Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E are important parts of your diet, and silica hydride is an other supplement which has been relatively recently discovered to have antioxidant properties. A component of glacial streams, this substance is generally in colloidal form, or in the form of small particles maintained in suspension by the interaction of positive and negative charges on the surface of the tiny particles of which it consists.
The interface between the silica and water can be saturated with reduced hydrogen to form a surface that is overall negatively charged and can hence neutralize free radicals that are seeking the free electrons available from the negative charge. This is otherwise described as a reducing or anti-oxidant effect. All anti-oxidants play their part in neutralizing the properties of free radicals that result in the destruction of body cells.
This leads to premature aging of your skin, if a skin cell is affected, if it is a cell in your artery wall, then the artery will become damaged, and if a blood cell then you can suffer from any one of a number of abnormal blood conditions. The stealing of an electron from one molecule by another is scientifically termed 'oxidation', and the substances that prevent this from occurring are called antioxidants, or reducing agents.
An antioxidant will destroy free radicals by providing the extra electron, or chemically, a negatively charged hydrogen ion. This occurs practically instantaneously, in microseconds in fact, as soon as the free radical is formed, so you need a good supply of antioxidants in your body at all times. Free radicals do not roam your bloodstream looking for likely candidate cells to destroy – they do it right away with the nearest available, so antioxidants must be present at the time that the free radicals are created.
Other beneficial effects of such antioxidants are an increase in the potential for the mitochondria to generate energy within your cells, an increase in the hydration of body cells and a decrease in lactic acid build–up that occurs as the result of exercise. The negative charges of silica hydride atoms are very strong antioxidants and can dramatically increase the energy production of mitochondria. It has been shown to do so by up to six times in Chinese hamsters. There is more on this claim for such a significant effect on your energy production later.
In addition to its action as an antioxidant, silica hydride is an electron donor to other antioxidants that have been neutralized by reaction with a free radical. When antioxidants do their work they are not destroyed, but neutralized. They act by giving an electron to the free radical, and are then one electron deficient themselves. This could virtually turn them into free radicals also were it not for the other electron donors available. Silica hydride is one of these. Thus, Coenzyme Q10, another very powerful antioxidant, can have is potency regenerated by silica hydride. If you take a silica hydride supplement, you are not only taking an effective antioxidant, but also a substance that can recharge the batteries of other powerful antioxidants.
Another side effect of this substance is that the reacted hydrogen atoms can also be used in the body to maintain a slightly alkaline pH which is an additional health benefit. pH is a measure of the acidity and alkalinity of the body fluids, and should be maintained slightly alkaline, other than in the stomach where the digestive juices are strongly acidic.
Silica hydride is not essential to the body, so you cannot suffer from a deficiency of it. It is not known to be contained in any foodstuff or water source, and appears to be available only as a supplement. Consequently no optimum dosage has been determined, though the supplements available contain from 200 to 250 mg per capsule. Likewise, side effects from it are unknown since there have been few scientific studies carried out on it. It has, however, been described as the ‘perfect antioxidant’.
Some of the claims made for the substance include reducing lactic acid concentration during exercise. Lactic acid production during exercise causes tiredness and cramps, and silica hydride is said to increase the body’s production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) a substance essential for the production of energy in your body. This is through the reduction of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) to the reduced form NADH as a part of glycolysis and the citric acid cycle. Glycolysis is the metabolism of glucose to energy by the mitochondria.
If the claim that silica hydride effects this reduction of NAD to NADH six or seven times stronger than normal were true, then it would indeed be a significant energy booster invaluable to most athletes.
L-Glutathione Can Eliminate Toxins in the Liver
December 07, 2007 11:54 AM
L-glutathione is the reduced form of glutathione, and is a tripeptide synthesized in the animal and plant tissues from glycine, cysteine and glutamate. Commonly known as GSH, it contains thiol groups that are maintained in a reduced state, and is a very powerful antioxidant, considered to be the key antioxidant and protective substance in the body.
Glutathione can reduce any disulfide groups in the cytoplasm within the body of the cell, and ensures that the cytoplasm is a strongly reducing medium protecting against oxidation. It has a synergistic effect with other antioxidants to protect the body against free radicals and oxidizing agents that cause so much damage to the body through what is commonly referred to as ‘oxidative stress’. However, there is more to it than that and it attaches itself to toxic chemicals and drugs in the liver and renders them into a state suitable for elimination from the body.
These toxic materials include poisonous pesticides, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and chromium and many other substances that we come into contact with due to present day pollution of our atmosphere and foodstuffs. Glutathione can also help protect the body from the effects of chemotherapy and evidence is suggesting possible links with the control of some cancers, diabetes, atherosclerosis and many other degenerative conditions caused by free radical attack and the effects of pollutants.
The way that GSH acts in the cells is that the redox state of the glutathione-glutathione disulfide couple is critical to the health of the intercellular and intracellular fluid. GSH in the reduced state of glutathione reacts with an oxidative agent such as hydrogen peroxide to form the oxidized form, glutathione disulfide and water. It hence mops up oxidizers such as peroxides and free radicals within the cytoplasm of the body’s cells, and also in between the cells. The disulfide is then converted back to GSH by the combined action of the enzyme glutathione reductase and NADPH (the reducing agent nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate).
The cycle then repeats so that two molecules of glutathione continue to reduce damaging oxidizing agents without themselves being consumed. In so doing, the NADPH becomes oxidized. A continuous supply of NADPH is needed to allow GSH to undergo these biochemical reactions, and up to 10% of our blood glucose is used by the pentose phosphate pathway by which NADPH is synthesized.
Since this cycle consumes no glutathione, it would appear that a supplement is unnecessary. However, this is not the case since the molecule takes part in other reactions in the body, particularly in the elimination of toxic heavy metals from the body. Mercury is highly reactive with the thiol that GSH is, and so will bind to form a stable Hg-sulfydryl bond in the liver. This mercury-glutathione chelate is unable to bind to other proteins or gain access to the body cells, and is eventually harmlessly secreted. The same is true of many other heavy metals that are reactive with thiol’s.
In this way the body is protected from the harmful effects of these heavy metals. However, it results in the loss of the glutathione, and the pollution of modern day living can take a heavy toll of the GSH content of our bodies. For this reason a glutathione supplement is recommended, especially for city dwellers that may be exposed to more heavy metals than those residing in rural areas.
However, the form in which this supplement is taken is very important, because the human digestive tract contains a significant amount of gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase. That is an enzyme which apparently destroys glutathione before it can be absorbed. However, it can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream by dissolving the pill between the teeth and inner cheek. It has also been suggestion that the supplement could be administered by injection.
Others have suggested that rather than administer a supplement, individuals could take other supplements that contain the materials needed to stimulate the formation of GSH. Substances such as vitamin C, selenium (important in GSH biochemistry), methionine, alpha-lipoic acid and glutamine could all help to increase the body’s production of glutathione. A supplement of the constituent parts of cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid should also help. The dosage ranges recommended vary widely from 50mg to 500mg daily, and the effects of supplementation are not yet well know.
Some specific conditions that this wonder antioxidant is useful in treating include liver disease such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and so on. Patients suffering from these diseases show a massive reduction in their GSH content and prior GSH treatment appeared to offer a significant degree of protection in controlled clinical investigations. Patients suffering from chronic hepatitis C have been found to be associated with reduced GSH levels, particularly if also HIV positive.
Similar deficiencies have been noted in some lung conditions such as asthma and other pulmonary conditions. In such cases it has been demonstrated that administration of GSH supplements sufficient to restore normal levels of the substance improved the patients’ conditions by a significant amount. Its effect on atherosclerosis appears to be significant since a decreased level of GSH peroxidase has been recorded in such patients in addition to an increase in lipid peroxides, indicating that oxidation of the arterial wall had been occurring.
Anti-viral therapies that rely on GSH biochemistry for their action have been found to be less effective in those with low GSH levels, and other studies have confirmed that supplementing with GSH improves the response to interferon treatment. These results indicate the activity of oxidizing agents and free radicals in liver conditions, and in fact this has been demonstrated by tests carried out in New York and Philadelphia in the 1990s.
This suggests that the liver is prone to damage by oxidative stress, and that GSH levels may be able to be used as an indication of potential liver disease. What is evident is that a strong case can be made for glutathione supplementation as protection against potential liver, pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases, especially by those exposed to specific polluting agents such as primary or secondary tobacco smoke, auto and diesel fumes and chemicals and pesticides.
L-glutathione is useful, not only for the elimination of toxins in the liver, but also in protecting this large and vital organ from the oxidative stress that modern living brings. L-Glutathione and its precursors are sold over the counter at your local or internet health food store.
Support A Healthy Digestive System With Discount Vitamins
November 21, 2007 10:31 AM
Discount vitamins can help to support a healthy digestive system, but to explain how they do you first need to know how the system of pipes, tubes and chemical plants that make up the digestive system basically works.
The digestive system is a system of tubes through which your food is passed during the various stages of digestion, and also organs that produce the chemicals needed to break down your food into the nutrients needed by the body. The digestive system begins with the mouth, where the teeth cut and grind the food, and mix it with saliva containing the enzyme amylase that begins the digestive process by converting starch into maltose and dextrin, which are later converted to glucose. Amylase cannot work in the acidity of the stomach, which is why you should chew starchy foods such as bread and potatoes before it is swallowed and passed down the esophagus to the stomach.
The stomach is a natural food processor, containing concentrated hydrochloric acid that breaks the food down into smaller molecules. Once the food has been mixed and processed it passes into the small intestine where the real digestion begins. The liver and pancreas manufacture digestive juices and pass them into the intestine as the food is expelled from the stomach. These juices are mixed with the food, break it downs chemically into nutrients which are then absorbed through the walls of the intestine. The waste is passed into the colon, from which they are later expelled.
While in the stomach, its glands produce not only the stomach acid but also enzymes that break up proteins into smaller compounds including amino acids. The liver produces a number of digestive juices, including bile that dissolves fats and renders them water soluble to be digested by enzymes from the pancreas. The liver also produces enzymes that further breaks down the food in smaller molecules.
The whole process is controlled by the digestive hormones that are generated by the stomach and small intestine, namely secretin, gastrin and CCK (cholecystokinin). These control the release of the various digestive juices and chemicals into the digestive system, and once the food has been broken down the nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream and transported to the cells of the body where they are needed.
So, starting again from the top, how do discount vitamins and minerals help to support a healthy digestive system? First, we start with the teeth. It is essential for the proper use of food that it is shredded and ground properly before being passed to the body, and that the starches are broken down by the saliva enzyme amylase. The structure of your teeth is dependant on vitamin C and D, and the minerals calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. A deficiency in any of these would result in poor weak teeth, and your food would not be prepared properly for your stomach.
Vitamin B1 keeps your nerves in good working order, without which your appetite could not be regulated. Vitamin B3, or niacin, keeps the digestive tract in a healthy state and functioning properly. Vitamin B9, or folate (folic acid) carries out a similar task, and the B complex vitamins in general, then, keep the digestion process working smoothly and the peristaltic motion that moves the food along, also in good working order.
Manganese and chromium are essential minerals to the digestive system, without which enzyme activity would be limited and without chromium your appetite could not be controlled. Apart from that there is a lot that can go wrong with the digestive system and a good vitamin B complex or Vitamin B1 and B3 supplement, will help to maintain the proper functioning of the system. These vitamins will encourage proper control of the intestinal muscle function, and vitamins C and E will help deal with any inflammation in the bowel, or undue immune system activity. Acidophilus will also help to maintain a good population of healthy bacteria that are essential components of your digestive system. A probiotic supplement taken as instructed should achieve this.
A little considered function of the digestive system, perhaps because it actually takes place in the liver rather than the alimentary canal itself, is the disposal from the body of toxin absorbed by the small intestine. This is the chemical transformation of certain molecules into a form whereby they can be rendered water soluble and expelled in the urine. Substances such as drugs, alcohol, paint fumes and so on are formed into other chemicals that might be even more toxic than the originals for a short time, and since oxidation is used in many of these reactions, free radicals might be formed that can harm the body.
This danger, which is indirectly caused by the digestion of these substances, can be relieved by maintaining a sufficient intake of antioxidants in the form of Vitamins A, C and E to neutralize them. Some liver disease is caused in this way by insufficient vitamin nutrition, and a good discount vitamin supplement can help to prevent it by destroying the free radicals as they are formed.
This detoxification process then proceeds to a phase where the biochemically converted molecules are rendered into the water soluble form so that they can dissolve in the blood and be extracted by the kidneys into the urine. For this, a good supply of the tripeptide glutathione, glycuronic acid and some amino acids is needed. A supplement of these should also help the detoxification process.
Other supplements that can help the digestive system are natural enzymes. These work whether taken on an empty stomach or with food. On an empty stomach, at least two hours after a meal, they will immediately go to work in your blood and improve its condition. Taken with a meal they will help digestion the fats and reduce food waste by improving absorption.
There are many ways in which you can help to maintain a healthy digestive system by the use of discount vitamins, although any problem with your digestive system should be referred to your physician since there are many serious conditions that need expert medical treatment. Vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and other supplements, however, can help to prevent many of these from occurring.
Milk Thistle May Help With Cirrhosis, Gallstones, and Hepatitis Liver Problems
November 14, 2007 12:34 PM
Milk thistle, botanically Silybum Adans, is a member of the daisy family that is native to the Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa but has also been introduced to California and parts of the eastern side of the USA, and can help with problems such as cirrhosis, gallstones and hepatitis. Although it has been recorded as being used in medieval times as a tonic for the liver, it is only relatively recently that its chemical components have been investigated. Analysis indicated the presence of hitherto unknown flavonoids which were given the name of silymarin. In general, flavonoids are strong antioxidants found in many fruits and vegetables that eat up the free radicals that cause so much damage to our bodies.
Free radicals are very unstable molecules that are generated through pollution, such as smoking, car fumes, perticides etc, and that destroy body cells accelerating aging. They also oxidise the low density lipids (LDL) that carry water-insoluble cholesterol through the blood to the arteries where it is needed to repair damage, resulting in excess deposition and the atherosclerosis that can cause strokes and heart disease.
Antioxidants mop these up like a sponge, and are some of the healthiest types of molecules that we can consume. The silymarin group of flavonoids are particularly attracted to the liver where they act as antihepatoxic agents that prevent the liver from becoming poisoned. But why should the liver be poisoned I can hear you ask, and what are the poisons involved? Can we avoid them? It is a very relevant question, and one that will make you wonder, every time you leave your home, especially if you live in a big city or an industrialized area.
Smoking cigarettes, working with volatile organic compounds that you can breathe in, such as paint and printing ink solvents, the exhaust fumes of cars and diesel engines, factory chimneys belching out tons of smoke, analgesics such as paracetamol, pesticides on your fruit and vegetables that you have failed to wash off, alcohol, etc, etc, etc…
All of these have to be removed from your body or you will die, awash with all these poisons that you have ingested, some deliberately and some not. The organ that does this is your liver: the powerhouse chemical plant of your body that carries out millions of biochemical reactions every day. Your liver converts all of these poisons into molecules that can be flushed away through your body naturally. However it places great stresses upon it, and even your liver needs a rest sometimes, or even just a little rejuvenating tonic would keep it happy.
Milk thistle has been used for just that purpose, especially when the liver has been toxified with excess alcohol, pesticide poisoning or even hepatitis. The silymarin initially coats the cells of the liver by binding to the cell membranes of the cell walls, so that the toxins are hindered from entering the cells. Its antioxidant properties then neutralise any free radicals present that are causing the damage to the liver cells.
It also helps to stimulate the production of proteins to help the healing process, and reduces the fibrosis that is the development of fibrous masses outside the liver cells caused by damaged cells excreting materials such as collagens outside the cells into the general body of the liver. Finally, milk thistle helps to prevent the activity of the immune system in causing inflammation of the damaged cells.
Silymarin acts very specifically on the liver, and is often used by physicians in the treatment of such liver conditions as jaundice, hepatitis, liver cancer and cirrhosis. In addition to its own effects it appears that it stimulates the production of glutathione that is also a very powerful natural tripeptide antioxidant produced by the body when it is under oxidative stress. Its effect on cancer and some diseases is not curative, but to allow the liver to continue to detoxify the body when otherwise it might fail and lead to toxicity problems from which the patient might not be able to recover.
Due to the remarkable regenerative powers of the liver, milk thistle is able to stimulate it into repairing its damage and grow fresh cells to replace the damaged ones. This is the reason for its effectiveness in otherwise very serious degenerative diseases. It is often prescribed by doctors for patients who are taking a number of different medications. Which help the liver to metabolize these medications, since without it, it might struggle to provide the true efficacy of the prescribed drugs.
So far we have been concentrating on the liver, but milk thistle has other properties not connected directly with the hepatic function. It can help to promote the production of bile in the gall bladder and so give the digestive system a boost when needed, where it also acts as a mild laxative. However, it can also help patients suffering from both lose stools and constipation due its effect. It can also help to relieve gallstones, though medical tests are generally carried out first to ensure that they are not too large for the milk thistle to handle.
It is also an anti-inflammatory, and is useful in the treatment of acne and other inflammatory responses, and also for inflammations in the gall bladder, kidney and bladder. There are few serious side effects, although, as milk thistle rids the body of toxins, these toxins can cause problems such as diarrhea, headaches and abdominal pain. Keep in mind that you are releasing poisons from the liver into your system so that they can be expelled by the usual means, and they will put up a fight along the way. However, the milk thistle will usually win in the end.
There currently appear to be no long term issues with taking milk thistle as a supplement over a long period, and it is good way to maintain a healthy liver. Keep in mind that the liver is the body’s chemical plant, where most of the biochemical reactions of life take place, and without we cannot survive. It makes sense, therefore, to look after your liver, and milk thistle is one way of doing that; some would say the best way.
So remember that, although milk thistle may help with cirrhosis, gallstones and hepatitis liver problems, you should be prepared for a short struggle before it wins the day. Always consult your family physician for a clear diagnosis before self prescribing herbs as treatment. Your physician can advise you as the correct course of action to take once diagnosed with a liver blood test first. But, to boost overall health and wellness milk thistle is a great herbal supplement to take on a daily basis.
Scents of Balance
June 14, 2005 11:54 AM
Scents of Balance by Rosemary Sage Energy Times, January 5, 2005
Life can feel like an emotional rollercoaster, with the high-stress jitters following the low-mood blues. But aromatherapy-the healing power of scent-can restore equilibrium.
The use of volatile plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological and physical well-being dates back thousands of years. The ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used infused oils and herbal preparations for medicinal, fragrant, cosmetic, even spiritual reasons.
During the late 20th century, people started to relearn the benefits of aromatherapy and these days, aromatherapy's reputation as a soothing, healing art continues to grow. Once you've experienced the odiferous power of aromatherapy's essential oils, you'll keep coming back for more: These gently wafting odors have the power to stimulate or calm, invigorate or relax.
When you enter this scented world, "there you will find nature in one of its most powerful forms-aromatic liquid substances known as 'essential oils,'" says Valerie Ann Worwood in The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy (Thorsons). Essential oils form what Worwood refers to as the "fragrant pharmacy," a collection of concentrated substances used in pharmaceuticals, foods and cosmetics.
When you sniff the aromas of essential oils, "they enter and leave the body with great efficiency, leaving no toxins behind," Worwood points out. "The most effective way to use essential oils is...by external application or inhalation. The methods used include body oils, compresses, cosmetic lotions, baths-including sitz, hand and foot baths-hair rinses...perfumes...and a whole range of room [scenting] methods."
As Worwood explains, essential oils are produced in various parts of different plants. As a result, it takes a great deal of specialized work to extract essential oils. About 60,000 rose blossoms are consumed in the production of an ounce (!) of rose oil.
Just as the antioxidant phytonutrients we eat in vegetarian foods link our bodies to the health-promoting chemistry of plants, the penetrating nature of essential oils are thought to connect our souls to the essences of flora. "From inside comes the voice and from inside comes the scent," observed the 19th century German doctor Gustav Fechner, quoted by Robert Tisserand in The Art of Aromatherapy (Healing Arts Press). "Just as one can tell human beings in the dark from the tone of voice, so, in the dark, every flower can be recognized by its scent. Each carries the soul of its progenitor."
Fechner believed that the power of essential oils to stir our deepest emotions derives from their function as a vital means of communication in the plant world. As Tisserand asks, can't we imagine that flowers "communicate with each other by the very perfumes they exude, becoming aware of each other's presence?"
The Science Behind the Scent
While alternative medical practitioners have acknowledged the effectiveness of aromatherapy for thousands of years, only recently have conventional medical researchers begun seriously looking into how this technique works.
For instance, a study of estragole, a chemical found in basil, fennel and tarragon, determined that it could potentially ease back pain by inhibiting inflammation of the sciatic nerve. (The sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body, runs from the back down the leg.) The researchers discovered that estragole is "active on nerves," a conclusion that aromatherapy practitioners, who employ the scent of these oils to soothe pain, already knew. Science is verifying another piece of information long known to practitioners-that while certain essential oils can calm you down, others prod your alertness. In a study performed at the University of Northumbria in England, scientists found that sniffing the scent of lavender lulls the human brain into a comfortable, rather stupefied state, while rosemary, in contrast, can sharpen recall.
As the English researchers noted, lavender "produced a significant decrement in performance of working memory, and impaired reaction times for both memory and attention-based tasks." That's probably why the odor of lavender is noted for enhancing sleep. On the other hand, the scientists found that rosemary "produced a significant enhancement of performance for overall quality of memory and secondary memory factors." However, they did point out that under the influence of both of these oils, performance slowed when tackling a battery of memory tests. Apparently, the oils mellowed people so that they had little motivation to rush through the paperwork.
As Frazesca Watson notes in Aromatherapy Blends & Remedies (Thorsons): "The aroma of the oils directly affects our moods and emotions and sometimes our short- and long-term memory. Together with a wide range of physiological benefits, the aroma can help with emotional upsets such as depression, anxiety, nervous tension, anger, apathy, confusion, indecision, fear, grief, hypersensitivity, impatience, irritability, panic and hysteria."
Essential oils are especially helpful at defusing stress. Watson notes, "Treatments with essential oils are therefore very helpful for all sorts of stress-related problems, so common in our modern life."
As scientific research into the effects of these oils continue, conventional medical practitioners are sure to embrace them in increasing numbers. But before there were scientists around to confirm the effects of these wonderful scents, the ancient medical practitioners in Egypt and Greece attributed the origins of aromatherapy to the gods. For many people in today's overstressed world, the relaxing assurance of essential oils certainly seems heaven-s(c)ent.