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Hibiscus extracts can be used to provide natural food coloring WITH health benefits
March 28, 2018 09:17 AM
While the hibiscus is known as a very ornamental bloom, gracing many gardens, it has an economic role to play as well, serving as a product of high significance in both the food and cosmetic industries. This dual nature of the plant arises from the fact that the hibiscus is both highly nutritious and also the source of a safe coloring agent that can be used even in foods.
The periodical, 'Food Science and Human WellnessWellness', explored the viability of hibiscus-generated food coloring for cupcakes and found the resulting product to be both cost-effective and 'clean, ' with the added benefit of adding necessary flavonoids into the human diet. These anthocyanins, aside from the nourishment they provide, appear to be linked with the easing of numerous health complaints, including, hypertension, inflammatory conditions, coughing and excess weight.
"Extracts from hibiscus calyces could be used as a natural food coloring, which can provide health benefits at the same time, according to a study published in the journal Food Science and Human Wellness."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-03-26-hibiscus-extracts-can-be-used-to-provide-natural-food-coloring-with-health-benefits.html
Research pilot explores industrial hemp
September 07, 2017 12:14 PM
Although the Washington state legislature has allowed hemp to once again be grown in the state, there are still some questions and uncertainties about growing the product. For now, those growing hemp are doing it for research purposes to monitor what the future growers will need it to do in order to create an industrial hemp harvest. Despite the four different types of licenses being granted, there is still some caution because of the plants close relationship it to marijuana. Hopefully some restrictions will change and beneficial aspects of the hemp can be produced, such as CBD oil.
"Hector Castro, Olympia-based communications director for the WSDA, says although the program is new, it’s generated a lot of interest from farmers and others who see potential in harvesting hemp."
Read more: https://www.spokanejournal.com/local-news/research-pilot-explores-industrial-hemp/
The Science Of CBD Oil [Infographic]
August 17, 2017 04:14 PM
Cannabis is a booming business right now. Colorado was a state that legalized marijuana back in 2012 and the revenue generated from legal marijuana sales has grown so much that it is now a rival of the GDP of a few island nations. The medical cannabis industry is is one of the major sectors being developed right now. People have known about the benefits for decades and only now are these claims being researched and understood better.
"So far CBD oil has been found to treat addiction, inflammation, Multiple Sclerosis, epilepsy, mad cow disease, acne, diabetes, fibromyalgia, insomnia, PTSD, schizophrenia, Crohn’s disease, and many others."
Read more: http://www.valuewalk.com/2017/08/cbd-oil/
Why Everything We Know About Salt May Be Wrong
May 14, 2017 06:44 AM
Salt and it's effects on the body were recently studied on Russian cosmonauts. They found that the more salt the cosmonauts ate, the less thirsty they were but they became hungrier. This contradicts opinions that salt intake makes you thirstiest. It was also discovered that eating more salt caused increase in urine volume but blood concentrations so salt remained the same no matter how much was eaten. Likely, the body generated the water that was secreted to account for urine volume. It's possible this can lead to weight loss as it was observed in mice in high salt diets in a separate study.
Read more: Why Everything We Know About Salt May Be Wrong
8 PARTS OF THE BODY THAT ARE INJURED DUE TO YOUR EXCESS STRESS!
March 05, 2017 03:59 AM
The modern life may provide comforts, but it can also attribute to tons of stress that come with it. There are many things that can cause stress, and many Americans state that they cannot sleep due to an excess amount of stress each night. This can wreak havoc on your body, and you need to make sure you limit your stress. A good diet, and proper rest can play and important role in making sure you limit this stress.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzoIU_O5THc&rel=0
"A recent study by the American Psychological Association (APA) has shown that 40% of the adult population has trouble sleeping due to excessive stress.A recent study by the American Psychological Association (APA) has shown that 40% of the adult population has trouble sleeping due to excessive stress."
Fructose is generated in the human brain
February 24, 2017 10:59 AM
Fructose has been labeled as one of the sugars to avoid when selecting food at the store. However, a recent study out of Yale has shown that the brain can produce fructose from any sugar that is ingested. Some sugar is fine for a diet, but avoiding fructose will not keep your body free of the chemical. This leads to risk of high blood sugar and other health issues. The study may affect many diets and the understanding of obesity.
Why high-dose vitamin C kills cancer cells
January 22, 2017 02:59 PM
High doses of vitamin c can kill cancer cells. In the past cancer therapy through vitamin c has not always proven that effective. However, that is because they were trying to get people to ingest it through the mouth. the key is to let hit the bloodstream immediately. The Vitamin C selectively kills the cancerous cells and not the normal cells. This is because normal cells are smarter and handle the hydrogen peroxide better.
"Normal cells have several ways to remove hydrogen peroxide, keeping it at very low levels so it does not cause damage. The new study shows that an enzyme called catalase is the central route for removing hydrogen peroxide generated by decomposing vitamin C."
A metabolic switch to turn off obesity
November 01, 2016 04:04 PM
Here’s some good news to cheer you up. If you’ve been fighting a losing battle trying to lose weight, maybe you should quit beating yourself up about it. A new University of Montreal study of mice says when an enzyme is blocked in some neurons in the mouse brain, it becomes impossible for the mice to lose weight even when they stick to an ideal regime. So now you can blame it all on the ABHD6 enzyme.
"A research team at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) has generated genetically engineered mice, deprived of the ABHD6 enzyme in a localized area of the brain, namely in a specific population of hypothalamic neurons."
How Hyaluronic Acid Benefits The Skin
May 20, 2014 09:19 AM
What is hyaluronic?
Hyaluronic corrosive is found in a great deal of hostile to maturing items. It helps your skin by enhancing the tone and composition. It is discovered characteristically in the body and serves to grease up specific territories.
Your skin produces hyaluronic corrosive regularly. This happens in the deeper layers and keeps the skin stout and smooth. As we get more seasoned, our body thinks that it is hard to hold dampness so the skin starts to lose its tone and suppleness. Without sufficient dampness, the skin is inclined to hang and as it loses flexibility, wrinkles and scarcely discernible differences show up.
Hyaluronic Acid's Function
This corrosive functions as against maturing element by helping your body to transform collagen. Collagen is an exceptionally imperative connective tissue found in the skin, which helps it to keep its structure. Surveys Hydroxatone has indicated that including this as a segment the skin gets back its sound shine and energy.
Hyaluronic corrosive additionally helps the skin to repair itself from natural harm, for instance the climate or airborne poisons. Audits Hydroxatone has indicated that this cream works well in light of the fact that the Hyaluronic corrosive can infiltrate profound into the skin. Notwithstanding decreasing wrinkles, it has been indicated to support with skin aggravation and in lessening pimple inflamation scars.
Superior to Botox
There is other mainstream approaches to lessen wrinkles, for example, Botox or plastic surgery. Then again, the principle issue with these systems is, separated from being considerably more exorbitant; they are extremely equivocal on the body and can have awful reactions. Hyaluronic corrosive is not dangerous: it is even generated regularly by the body. It is much less expensive to utilize and has not been indicated to have any significant symptoms. Likewise, dissimilar to Botox infusions, creams holding this corrosive might be utilized anywhere on the face.
Hyaluronic corrosive can hydrate the skin successfully. Truth be told, it can hold 100 times its weight in water. One reason for wrinkles is skin dryness, so by holding more dampness in your skin, you can diminish the appearance of wrinkles as well as keep more from showing up.
Hyaluronic corrosive works successfully in against maturing. A substance discovered regularly in the body, it could infiltrate profound into the skin and serves to hold dampness. A cream holding this corrosive is a much more secure strategy than surgery and its belongings are longer enduring.
Things to Know Before Using Arnica Cream for Pain Relief or Bruise Treatment
April 26, 2014 09:36 PM
Arnica medicinal qualities
The medicinal qualities of Arnica, or scientifically Arnica Montana, are known since long. This is a plant indigenous to Northern Europe. This herbal medicine is widely used as pain reliever. Rich in antioxidants. Arnica contains high amount of flavonoids such as carotenoids, tannins and inulin. It helps to alleviate pains of arthritis, bruises and injuries in short period of time. Since it has some dominant side effects, it is recommended that arnica should be taken under prescription of medics. However, arnica cream is available for common usage.
Healing qualities of arnica ointment:
Uses of Arnica
Things to Consider
Can Hyaluronic Acid Cream Help Improve Skin Health?
March 16, 2014 04:22 PM
Unfortunately our skin health will always deplete as we age and it is a normal thing to happen to anyone. There are various ways that one can improve his or her skin health. As much as there are several method for one to use, Hyaluronic acid cream has generated much hype in this particular topic.
Can Hyaluronic Acid Cream Help Improve Skin Health? A question in everybody’s mind at the moment The answer to that question is a resounding yes, and here are reasons why this is so.
This is a naturally occurring acid that exists in our body. It is a component of the connective tissue that helps in strengthening various parts of our body, including blood vessels, cartilage, and definitely the skin. It helps the skin remain hydrated
Research shows that as we get older, the hyaluronic acid quantity in the skin diminishes, leading to a dry skin.
Hyaluronic Acid Cream
This is a skincare product that has been designed with the same properties as the natural hyaluronic acid that exists in our body. The cream, when applied will deeply penetrate your skin membrane helps the cells take in and retain moisture. This will eventually give your skin a supple and soft appearance that was wearing out.
All in all hyaluronic acid cream has proved to be an effective skin care product that will hydrate and plump drying and aging skin. Through research, this product is known to have been formulated with cosmetic-grade hyaluronic acid. Although to some people the name may paint a picture of a harsh erosive product that might do harm to ones skin, hyaluronic acid is tremendously gentle and nourishing to the skin. Apparently it proves to be so tender that it is even recommended for the sensitive skin.
Hyaluronic acid cream can help improve skin health.
Is Cocoa Butter Good For The Skin? Why?
March 06, 2014 03:27 PM
Doubtlessly, there are few preferred healthy skin items over cocoa butter and some few that likewise makes you feel great deductively notwithstanding feeling extraordinary because of the way your skin looks so great, but Cocoa butter is good solid skin reinforcement, and for additional data on characteristic healthy skin items with a great experimental foundation. Therefore it is good for the skin.
Reasons to why cocoa butter is good for your skin:
Powdered cocoa butter contains a lot of diverse antioxidants which behave synergistically presenting a massive bothersome resistant to the cost-free radicals which eliminate your skin layer cells along with lead to quick getting older. Therefore, therefore, is it doesn't suitable natural skin care solution.
Let's have a look at which record again. Precisely why your 'ideal' natural skin care solution? In order to solution which question, we need to have a look at precisely what antioxidants tend to be, along with precisely what hot cocoa butter can perform them, along with after that the reason why it is advisable than additional natural skin care merchandise on the market.
Totally free radicals tend to be small substances kinds in the body's fat burning capacity while vitality is generated coming from blood sugar in the mitochondria of each and every cell phone within your body. Fortunately they are shaped simply by experience of toxins including pesticides, along with particularly the several poisonous pieces of cigarette light up. Cigars along with water lines tend to be believe it or not harmful than tobacco, along with filtration system guidelines make not any difference towards the production connected with cost-free radicals.
What exactly that they do is always to eliminate cells, when they're pores and skin cells you continue to grow older. Your skin layer wrinkles along with dries up, and you begin to take on the style connected with an individual many years over the age of you're. These people try this by way of a procedure often known as oxidation, along with antioxidants can certainly keep the idea. These people reduce the effects of your cost-free radicals, and forestall your skin layer cells coming from getting ruined.
Contents of cocoa
Powdered cocoa butter contains several different antioxidants that can eliminate away from numerous diverse cost-free radicals along with superoxides, as well as hydrogen peroxide. Vitamin e is really a powerful antioxidant -- your strongest of all the so-called antioxidant vitamin supplements in fact, and will quickly eliminate away from hydrogen peroxide along with any oxidizing agent. Others tend to be vitamin supplements A new along with G, however they can not strategy the potency of vitamin E.
Furthermore, it contains phytochemicals (posh title pertaining to place chemicals) including flavanoids which might be also powerful antioxidants. Polyphenols are very effective in neutralizing cost-free radicals, and the hot chocolate mass polyphenols tend to be in particular successful. In fact, hot chocolate butter boasts a greater antioxidant awareness and then possibly blueberries as well as other so-called superfoods.
In order that hot cocoa butter to work, it will email numerous of the pores and skin cells as is possible, that involves do away with the idea properly directly into your skin layer. The epidermis is incredibly absorbent all of which will eliminate cost-free radicals in the reduced absolute depths of the pores and skin as soon as they're created, along with ahead of they are able to do injury.
It is clinically demonstrated which hot chocolate butter will certainly keep pores and skin degradation a result of the harmful consequences from the UV light in the rays of the sun -- UV rays builds cost-free radicals which are very effective in doing damage to pores and skin. Merely go through the influence connected with sunburn! However, there is additional in order to hot chocolate butter than which.
It contains a substantial percentage connected with vitamins as well as lime scale, potassium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, copper along with metal, all of which come in a highly bioavailable style which make them far better which business vitamins. Not just that, though. Furthermore, it contains tryptophan, involved in the development connected with serotonin, your 'feel good' neurotransmitter, and also dopamine along with phenylethylamine, many beneficial materials. It is a mental faculties food as well as food to your pores and skin.
Benefits of herb chaste berry for women
January 17, 2014 08:20 AM
Premestrual Syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome impacts over 70% to 90% of ladies before menopause in the US and less for ladies in Southeast Asia in light of their contrast in living style and social structure. The event of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) have more than multiplied in the course of recent years because of the acknowledgement of it as a therapeutic condition that is initiated by bad eating methodology with high in soaked sustenance. Premenstrual syndrome is characterized as flawed capacity of the ovaries identified with the ladies' menstrual cycle, it impacts a ladies' physical and enthusiastic state, and frequently meddles with every day exercises as an aftereffect of hormone change. The syndrome happens one to two prior week’s monthly cycle and after that decays when the period begins. In this article, we will talk about how standing berry tree impacts ladies with PMS.
I. Definition Chaste berry tree is an exceptionally significant herb; it has been utilized as drug since old Greek for menstrual issue incorporating absence of ovulation. Today the herb is well known for treating side effects of hormone lopsidedness.
II. How chaste berry tree impacts ladies with premenstrual syndrome it hard to accept that chaste beery tree holds no plant estrogen yet has been adequately utilized within treating premenstrual syndrome due to the accompanying lands
1. Iridoid Chaste beery tree holds iridoid incorporating aucubin and agnuside which are frequently intermediates in the bio combination of alkaloid. It serves to enhance invulnerable framework battling against irritation and serves to avoid muscle spam bringing about decreasing menstrual ache and spasms.
2. Androstenedione is the normal antecedent of male and female sex hormone generated by adrenal organ, chaste berry tree holds androstenedione which not just serves to tie the levels of terrible estrogen additionally equalize the levels of testosterone in the ladies figure bringing about decreasing the male example for some ladies with PMS.
3. Key oil Chaste berry tree holds cineol, pinene, castine and different substances, it serves to unwind the apprehensive framework and muscle that serves to diminish side effects of anxious pressure, for example, tension discouragement, menstrual agony and spasms brought about by over animated uterus muscle. It likewise serves to expand liver capacity for overall health.
4. Alkaloid As and alkaloid, it serves to diminish the manifestations of breast delicacy and bosom ache brought about over preparation of prolaction prior and then afterward ovulation.
5. Progesterone The chaste berry tree serves to repress if the levels of progesterone in the event that it is excessively high or raise the levels of progesterone in the event that it is excessively low, in this way, diminishing the danger of hormone awkwardness between estrogen and progesterone.
Boost Energy With CoQ10 And L-Carnitine
November 21, 2013 08:43 PM
CoQ10 and L-Carnatine
CoQ10 and L-Carnitine offer double protection for the heart and the brain in just a single tablet. You obtain all benefits for your heart at 100% from CoQ10, while L-Carnitine supports your memory, learning ability, and focus. The exclusive combination of CoenzymeQ10 and L-Carnitine encloses an absorbable, water soluble capsule of CoQ10 and L-Carnitine, which is important for proper usage.Why are CoQ10 and L-Carnitine Supportive in Energy Boost?
CoQ10 Energy Boost
CoQ10 is a vital nutritional element found in all body cells, in particular the mitochondria, in which most energy is generated. The major function of this coenzyme is to assist in the process of oxygen and food conversion into energy. As people grow older their ability to naturally, to produce this coenzyme decays.
At the same time as Coenzyme Q10 is taking part in the production of energy in each cell of your body, it is considered be remarkably imperative for the high energy requirements of the heart. The heart needs vast energy amounts, because it is the hardest worker in your entire body. Coenzyme Q10 seems to be indispensable for this process. It offers you sufficient antioxidant provision, protecting the body cells from damage of the free radicals, and proffering a dynamic function of the immune system.
L-Carnitine Energy Boost
L-Carnitine transports indispensable fat acids into the same organ where CoQ10 plays its major function - the mitochondria. There, with the help of L-Carnitine, all fatty acids are turned into energy. However, the beneficial function of L-Carnitine does not end here. In addition, it also supports the transportation of toxins outside the body. You can think of the problems that might occur if these vital body processes are not fully operational. At the same time however, the major impact of L-Carnitine over the body is directed towards the brain:
Benefits of Extended Release Guggulipid
January 03, 2013 04:10 PM
Guggul is one of the holistic ancient herbal extracts derived from the Commiphora wightii plant that had been predominant in India although some parts of northern Africa and Asia still had some traces of the same. Over the years, Guggul resin gum derived from the plant has been used to promote a healthy living, and has a good number of recent scientific research findings to back it up. Some of the health benefits associated with the use of Guggulipids supplements (also known as the Guggulsterone Supplements) include lowering of Low Density Lipoproteins (Bad Cholesterol), reducing inflammation, and significantly lowering the risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases, tumors and cancers.
Extensive scientific research shows that Guggulipids play an important role in inhibition of its synthesis in the liver and its hydrolysis into bile salts. It also acts on the thyroid gland which in turn controls the Basal Metabolic Rate that directly relates to the rate of cholesterol catabolism in the body. Additionally, a cascade of reactions in the liver during the process of cholesterol hydrolysis down-regulates the uptake of cholesterol in the gut which ensures that the body is at a healthy blood cholesterol level.
The anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and anti-cancer effects are highly associated with the stimulation of the liver to release C-Reactive Protein. Even though the CRP protein is primarily produced by the body in response to inflammation and cell death, presence of the CRP in the blood stream prior to an acute inflammation or cell death plays an important role in toning down inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid inflammation as well as killing abnormal cells before they develop into tumors and cancerous cells.
However, Guggulsterones are rapidly regenerated in the body in the same rate that other steroid hormones are degenerated which makes the use of extended release Guggulipid supplements very essential. This makes it possible to have the body under constant supply of the component for optimal guggulsterone health benefits.
Black pepper extract - Bioperine
December 21, 2012 01:52 PM
Perhaps the biggest question that goes through our mind on the mention of the phrase black pepper extract is what the benefit of black pepper extracts is. Piperine is the active ingredient of black pepper extract. Used together with other natural nutritional supplements, Piperine not only enhances absorption but also bioavailability.
Going back to history, black pepper helped a great deal in shaping the development of the modern world medicine. Ayurvedic medicine that dates back to 6,000BC, used this extract to enhance digestibility. The internal heat generated by consumption of the pepper positively influences the ability of the body to absorb nutrients. As a matter of fact the one's nutritional status is not only dependent on what one eats but in his or her ability to absorb as well as transform nutrients into forms that are usable by the body. For maximum benefits it is important that Black pepper extract (Piperine) is taken a couple of hours after meal.
Can Melatonin Help Me Sleep?
December 20, 2012 12:22 PM
What is melatonin?
Melatonin can be described as a hormone generated in the pineal gland found in the brain. It controls the body circadian rhythms such as sleep-wake cycle. The levels of melatonin in the blood increase before you fall asleep due to darkness (Lack of sunshine).
Where to find melatonin
Melatonin occurs naturally in humans and plants. Natural melatonin quantity produced decrease with age. Older people produce very little quantities of it.
It is a synthetic medication that is produced in the laboratories. It is available in pill or liquid forms. The pills can be put in the cheek, underneath the tongue or swallowed. This permits direct absorption in the body. Melatonin supplements are available in health food shops.
It is also found in foods, in small quantities, such as milk, chicken meat, turkey, and peanuts but in small quantities.
Melatonin and sleep
Melatonin does not work for every kind of insomnia or sleeping disorders. Your body needs to be ready for sleep for melatonin to be effective. It is safe to use melatonin supplements in low doses long term.
Melatonin treats insomnia, autism in children, and as a sleep reliever after withdrawal from benzodiazepine drugs use. It is also very significant for changing sleep/wake patterns for people who work schedules changes regularly. It can also be used to calm individuals before anesthesia is administered for surgery purposes.
The body has an internal clock that regulates sleeping cycle and waking hours. The body clock regulates the amount of melatonin produced each day. Melatonin production is affected by light.
For effective treatment of cycle sleep, make sure you take the supplements at the appropriate time of the day (Night time).
Use the right method and dosage for it to be helpful.
Consuming the sleep supplement at the inappropriate time of the day can lead to biological clock reset. It is essential to understand the right quantity, time of taking and its effectiveness. Taking 1-10mg of melatonin every day restores the pace in people experiencing insomnia synchronizing them to duration of 1day.
Melatonin helps enhance sleep.
It enhances sleepiness feeling and can intensify the duration of sleep. This supplement has been applied successfully for improving sleep in healthy people and also decreasing jet lag feeling during travels. Remember to consult a physician if you are experiencing sleep issues. Give melatonin a try start with lower doses like 1 mg before bed time and gradually increase till it becomes effective.
Health Benefits Of Liquid Vitamin C
November 21, 2012 04:15 PM
Vitamin C is one of the most important body nutritional supplements that play an important role in the body. Vitamin C has a lot of benefits to the body and has many immediate effects when taken mostly in liquid form. They are also known as antioxidants that are mainly known to help in clearing off the harmful free radicals that are responsible for gradual cell damages.
Liquid vitamin C also assists in the immune system hence warding off possible infections. This also ensures that wounds and damaged tissues are speedily healed; vitamin C also ensures that collagen formation is taking place as well as fat metabolism and iron absorption. In most cases, vitamin C cannot be bodily generated and due to different body functions some people may need greater doses of these vitamins.
Liquid vitamin C is known to be efficient in delivering the vitamin into the body's system and is more absorbed when in liquid form. For people who require high doses of vitamin C, vitamin supplementation is however recommended for such people so as to ensure that their body systems are well supplied with vitamins and are strong enough to fight infections.
Vitamin C deficiency in adults is very common since many people fail to realize the importance of taking these vitamins and they lack enough vitamins in the body which leads to prone infections such as colds, gum damages and poor wound healing. There are no critical risks when it comes to liquid vitamin C overdose especially for those people who require vitamins at large volumes. Under normal circumstances, rare cases of headaches, fatigue, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting may be experienced when an individual overdoses. Using the products as directed will provide great health benefits. Try it today and feel the difference.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Rhodiola?
March 16, 2012 08:25 AM
Benefits and Ingredients of Rhodiola
Rhodiola is a plant that can be found in the cold regions. Usually, this plant is growing in the Arctic region of eastern Siberia, the Rocky Mountains, the mountains in Central Asia and several mountains in Europe. Rhodiola is included in the Crassulaceae family in which it stores water in its succulent leaves. For European and Asian people, it has been a traditional plan with several benefits. For Russian, it has been consumed as an energy booster for centuries. In Russia, it has been a supplement for athletes, herbalists, physicians, and cosmonauts, which have a function to boost the physical and mental performance.
Rhodiola is also popular as a potent adaptogen. Adaptogens have been known as natural plant substances in which their function is increasing the body's non specific resistance. On the other hand, they will normalize the function of the body too. It is very useful to consume them or Rhodiola when the stress occurs. A degree of generalized adaptation will be generated. As the result, the physiology handles the stressful situation in a resourceful manner. Besides, this plant can be used as a therapy in aesthenic condition. It is a condition in which one's work performance declines. In addition, he or she will have poor appetite and also sleep disturbances.
Sometimes, muscle will get trouble especially for those who like doing workout. Unfortunately, the problem might take long time. In this case, they have to wait patiently. For the time being, the recovery process can be shortened using Rhodiola. Studies have been reported that consuming this plant is able to make the muscle recovery process faster. It is because of its function to increase the level of RNA, enzymes, and proteins, which are very crucial to muscle recovery. Therefore, it is well recommended to consume Rhodiola after exhaustive workout.
Concentration and Memory
This plant becomes useful for students since the studies have been held to gain information, whether it influences the brain. From the studies, it has been known that this plant is able to enhance concentration and memorization. Rhodiola has a function to increase the brain's bioelectrical activity which makes the memory energy increase. A study has proven this fact by conducting the research to forty students. They have been given 50 mg of Rhodiola twice a day for 20 days. As the result, those students who consume it have significant improvement in mental performance, physical fitness and psychomotor function. Besides, they also get significant enhancement in their subject mark because they get more motivation to study.
Another benefit is to protect and stimulate the immune system since Rhodiola reinstates homeostasis or metabolic balance in the body. On the other hand, it also boosts the natural killer cells in the spleen and the stomach. Having known the benefits which can be taken from this plant, people might have the desire to know the ingredients of this plant. There are several ingredients found in this plant such as the class of rosavins including rosavin, rosin and rosarin. Another ingredient is salidrosides. It has been reported that rosavin and salidrosides become Rhodiola ingredients which is responsible for anxiolytic and antidepressant actions.
Stay Young-Looking with PABA
May 23, 2011 03:44 PM
Most people have not heard of PABA, short for para-aminobenzoic acid. It has often been referred as Vitamin Bx and a member of the B vitamin complex, but this is wrong because it is not an essential, nutrient: life can go on satisfactorily without it, so it is not a vitamin.
It is an intermediate in the biosynthesis of folate by bacteria. Since folate cannot be produced naturally by human metabolism it has either to be taken in the diet or synthesized by colonic bacteria such as E. coli using PABA as an intermediate. However, humans can get folate, the natural form of folic acid, from their diet, so PABA is not essential and hence not the vitamin that some claim it to be.
Nevertheless, it is useful, and apart from its application in sunscreens as a UV filter, PABA is a powerful antioxidant and can neutralize the free radicals and free roaming electrons that are believed to be the cause of aging. A supplement of PABA can destroy free radicals as soon as they are generated by your metabolism and atmospheric pollution and prevent the cell damage they cause. It is this cell damage that gives the appearance of aging: wrinkled skin, age or liver spots and a tough leathery appearance. By taking a regular supplement of PABA you can go a long way towards avoiding this and retaining your youthful appearance for a lot longer.
Five Tips for Healthy Bones and Teeth
May 19, 2011 03:36 PM
1. Take calcium in your diet: dairy products, green vegetables or legumes. If you cannot take any of the dietary components for some reason, then a calcium supplement with magnesium should be sufficient. Fermented dairy products are best (yoghurt, kefir, or Calcium Supplement).
2. You need Vitamin D, which is generated in your skin by sunlight. So either get sufficient from sunlight or take a Vitamin D supplement.
3. Reduce consumption of foods containing oxalic acid (rhubarb, plums, spinach, cranberries) and presoak those that contain phytic acid (nuts, seeds, grains, legumes). Oxalates and phytates reduce calcium absorption by binding to the calcium - calcium oxalate is the predominant mineral that forms kidney stones.
4. Cut down your consumption of coffee, alcohol, chocolate, sugar and honey - they inhibit the absorption of calcium.
5. Exercise regularly - exercise helps to prevent loss of calcium and also helps to increase your bone density and mass.
By taking each of these 5 tips, you should be able to avoid excessive loss of calcium that can lead to osteoporosis and other problems associated with low calcium absorption. Calcium is also essential for the proper function of your central nervous system and in the maintenance of a healthy blood pressure.
Can Magnesium Relax the Muscles?
March 04, 2011 04:27 PM
Magnesium The Miracle mineral
The biological role of magnesium is no longer the mystery it once was. Today we are well informed that the presence of minute quantities of magnesium in the human body is necessary for life. Moreover, a well balanced diet incorporating healthy levels of this trace element has been associated with lower susceptibility to fatigue, muscle weakness, and neurological conditions. Deficiency, on the other hand, brings on a long list of symptoms, including muscle spasms, insulin resistance, and even heart failure. It is an important factor of muscle health, and, not surprisingly, an effective muscle relaxant.
Facilitates Muscle Recovery
In the past few years there was a health concern in connection with the high incidence of magnesium deficiency among the general population, spurring the government to be actively involved in promoting the availability of elemental magnesium in the foods that we eat. Today with many food products fortified with magnesium, it is now becoming common knowledge that this dietary element is indispensable. What the average guy may not know is how important it is to the overall health of the muscles. First off, a significant fraction of magnesium is present in the muscle cells. The energy that you feel during physical exertion, which of course involves the muscles, is generated at the cellular level in the presence of magnesium. However, even when magnesium levels are depleted, each muscle cell still has to endure with the continuing muscular contractions, resulting in a slower rate of recovery.
Prevents Muscle Fatigue
Do be aware that longer hours at work take a toll on your muscular system. Doing the same things for long periods of time entails the repetitive use of the same muscles, straining these muscles and literally pushing them to the limit. Cumulative trauma disorder, or sometimes called repetitive strain injury, is in fact more common among individuals with low levels of magnesium, the muscles being more susceptible to stress as the body uses up its magnesium reserves. The same is the case with staying up all night or engaging in activities with fewer rewards in that the nervous system plays a role in controlling your muscles. The role of magnesium in combating muscle fatigue transcends its presence in muscle tissues for it is also actively involved in keeping undesirable neurological responses in check.
Strengthens Muscle Cells
Magnesium is not an herbal remedy for muscle spasms, but a vital constituent of strong, healthy muscles. That being said, there are formulations that must be taken at recommended dosages to produce a relaxing effect on the muscles. This will of course relieve the symptoms associated with muscle problems, including pain, tremors, and stiffness. What must follow is the incorporation of this mineral to your diet or supplementation to ensure that your muscles are protected against their continued exposure to daily wear and tear. Keep in mind that supplying your body with magnesium translates to developing healthier muscles, whether you lead an active life or spend long hours at the workstation.
Have your had your magnesium today?
How does Malic Acid help with Fibromyalgia?
February 09, 2011 01:18 PM
Malic Acid And Fibromyalgia
If you feel sensitized to pain by otherwise harmless stimuli, then you may be experiencing symptoms of fibromyalgia, which has been recorded to affect up to 4 per cent of the population worldwide. It is characterized by a feeling of weakness in the muscles of the limbs, conscious awareness of abnormal heartbeat, problems concerning bowel movement, and disturbances to sleep patterns. All of these are complaints reported to have been addressed by supplementation of malic acid.
The medical community remains inconclusive as to what causes fibromyalgia, some claiming it’s not a disease at all. While symptoms may not be necessarily medical signs, there are innumerable cases that describe complaints we collectively refer to as fibromyalgia. Throughout the past few decades, medical professionals around the world have considered these symptoms as one musculoskeletal disease whereas most neurologists have contended that fibromyalgia is attributable to the abnormalities within the nervous system. Today the American College of Rheumatology has charted nine paired tender points in an effort to describe the symptoms for this condition better.
Known Causes in Scrutiny
The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia more often than not appear simultaneously with stress-induced medical conditions such as chronic fatigue, anxiety disorders, and depression, but they are known to develop independently. A tissue in the brain responsible for long-term memory and spatial navigation called hippocampus have shown abnormalities among patients of fibromyalgia, thereby affecting sleep patterns, perception of pain, and related cognitive functions.
In the latter half of the 20th century it is postulated that serotonin leads to fibromyalgia. Serotonin being a neurotransmitter that governs mood, attention, and pain were found to be significantly decreased in the blood plasma and cerebrospinal fluid among patients who reported to experience this condition. That being said, the introduction of serotonin inhibitors used in treatment of depression has also shown alleviations of pain-related symptoms across the tender point index.
Malic Acid and Prognosis
Malic acid was discovered as a constituent of apple juice as early as the 18th century. Reduced levels of malic acid contribute to the maturity of fruits. In human beings it plays a fundamental role as an intermediate in a metabolic pathway that influences the chemical conversion of bioactive compounds like carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into carbon dioxide and water, which in turn convert the molecules contained in the cytoplasmic fluid of cells into energy generated in the mitochondria.
The availability of malic acid inside the human body modulates functional activities at the cellular level by speeding up the metabolism of bioactive compounds and consequently the production of energy in use by the cells. That being said, malic acid provides vitality to muscle cells, raising their endurance against stress. In addition, there have been reports that intake of malic acid help elevate levels of serotonin, leading to improved response to pain and better management of fibromyalgia.
For now, the tender point index is the primary diagnostic tool for evaluating fibromyalgia, and the use of malic acid has been recorded to reduce pain in these points.
Have you had your Malic Acid today?
The Krebs Cycle - Our Lifes Blood!
January 13, 2011 05:00 PM
The Krebs Cycle, also known as the Citric Acid Cycle, is an important series of biochemical reactions that are intrinsic to cellular respiration and the generation of energy from oxygen and glucose in aerobic organisms. Although humans can generate energy anaerobically, they cannot do so for long periods and oxygen is essential for life because it fuels the Krebs Cycle. Without this cycle, there would be no available energy to maintain our vital processes.
What is The Krebs Cycle
We shall first discuss exactly what the Krebs Cycle is and then its importance in the body. The process takes place within the mitochondria of the body cells.
A. The cycle begins with the ten-step pathway of glycolysis, during which glucose is converted to two molecules of pyruvate: no oxygen is required for this step. Basically:
Glucose + 2NAD+ + 2P + 2ADP = 2Pyruvate + 2NADH + 2H+ + 2ATP
The pyruvate can then undergo aerobic or anaerobic respiration to generate energy. The Krebs Cycle is the aerobic route, and significantly more efficient that the alternative fermentation.
B. The two pyruvate molecules are then oxidized to two of Acetyl CoA with the release of carbon dioxide. The two acetyl groups of the Acetyl CoA are donated to Oxaloacetate in the presence of water to form Citrate.
C. Citrate then undergoes a number of chemical reactions to arrive back at Oxaloacetate again and the cycle starts all over again by reacting with more Acetyl CoA from Pyruvate and oxygen to form Citrate again. During the cycle more ATP is produced and electrons and other species are sent into the Electron Transfer Chain where most energy is generated.
During this cycle three major events occur:
1. During the various transformations of Citrate, specifically when Succinyl-CoA is converted to Succinate, one Guanosine Triphosphate group (GTP) is generated, which then donates a phosphate to Adenosine Diphosphate (ADP) to create the energy molecule Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP).
2. Over the whole cycle, three molecules of Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) are reduced to NADH that donates its electrons to the electron transport chain that is responsible for the generation of large quantities of ATP.
3. A molecule of Flavine Adenosine Dinucleotide (FAD) is reduced to FADH2, again donating its electrons to the electron transport system and the generation of energy.
Factor 2 and 3 are of more significance to energy generation than factor 1, and are the major means by which the Krebs Cycle generates energy.
Electron Transport Chain
The Krebs Cycle takes place within the mitochondria, structures that are contained in each of your body cells. Also within these mitochondria are a series of membranes that are very important in the generation of energy.
The major energy produced in your body cells comes from the Electron Transport Chain, a series of chemical reactions between an electron donor and an electron acceptor. Such reactions drive the transport of hydrogen ions (H+) across the membranes in the mitochondria.
The electron donors are species such as NADH, FADH2 and succinate and the electron acceptors are oxygen molecules. Hence the importance of oxygen in the process of aerobic respiration. The H+ ions are driven across the membranes and result in the conversion of ADP to ATP energy. In essence, the hydrogen atoms and electrons take part in a progressive chain of redox reactions, and at the end react with oxygen molecules and change it to water.
The Ultimate Products
Ultimately, through the whole chain and cycles of:
Glucose to pyruvate (glycolysis) Pyruvate to Acetyl CoA + CO2 (oxidation) Acetyl CoA to Citrate and the entire Krebs Cycle (reduction and oxidation) Krebs Cycle products to the Electron Transfer Chain Electron Transfer Chain to Water and ATP (redox) Final oxidation of hydrogen atoms to water
Basically: Glucose + Oxygen + 30ADP = Carbon Dioxide + Water + 30ATP
This is not balanced of course, and the ATP could be anything from 29 to 38, though 29.85 is the most accurate calculation to date. The entire process of glycolysis, oxidation, Krebs Cycle and Electron Transport Chain is powered by a series of enzymes and a small amount of ATP energy.
Glucose and oxygen are used up as the raw materials and ATP energy molecules are the product. It has been calculated that the total ATP yield obtained from one molecule of glucose lies between 29.5 and 30 molecules of ATP.
The Importance of the Krebs Cycle to Your Body
Were it not for the Krebs Cycle you would not be able to generate energy efficiently from your food. In particular, the carbohydrate content of your food. Carbohydrates are available in your diet from two sources: simple and complex carbohydrate foodstuffs such as cereals and grains, and fats and oils from animal and vegetable sources. They are also available from proteins, which are composed of amino acids at the head of the molecule with a carbohydrate tail.
Carbohydrates by definition contain only carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules, and can be converted to glucose within your body. Proteins can be deaminated and then the carbohydrate portion again converted to glucose. In fact, your body will initially use the carbohydrates in your diet as a source of glucose for its glycolysis to pyruvate, then the fatty tissue in your body, then the proteins will be deaminated so your body can get to the carbohydrate they contain.
Were it not for the Krebs Cycle, your body could not use the glucose as described above to generate energy. The only option open to it would be anaerobic respiration, or energy production in the absence of oxygen. ATP is still generated, but much less efficiently.
Anaerobic respiration is basically respiration without oxygen. If there was no Krebs Cycle, then this is the only way your body would have to create energy.
Because no oxygen is actually needed for glycolysis or the Krebs Cycle, anaerobic respiration can proceed right to the end of the Electron Transport Chain. Then instead of oxygen being used as the terminal electron donor, it has to be another species such as nitrate or sulfate. Because the Reduction Potential of these species is much lower than that of oxygen, the amount of ATP energy produced is also much lower.
Your body tries to compensate by producing even more pyruvate and the excess is removed through lactic acid fermentation. Although this also generates ATP energy enough for short-term use, it leads ultimately to lactic acidosis and a reduction in pH, causing pain and vomiting.
Ultimately, if oxygen is not forthcoming, the brain runs short of the energy needed for it to work and you die. There is insufficient ATP generated from anaerobic respiration to maintain human life.
The Krebs Cycle is of critical importance for the production of energy: not just the energy to enable you to run fast, but to enable your metabolic processes to continue. It is needed for both aerobic and anaerobic respiration, and while lactic acid fermentation can be used by your muscle cells as a brief but effective means of generating short-term energy, it is insufficient to maintain the needs of your metabolism.
Without the Krebs Cycle, mammalian and most other animal life would not be viable and the world would be populated by anaerobic bacteria.
Protect your body from Damaging UV radiation With PABA
September 02, 2010 12:34 PM
PABA - The oral Sun Screen Protection
Para-aminobenzoic acid, otherwise known commonly as PABA, is an antioxidant, meaning that it possesses chemically reducing properties that can destroy the free radicals that disrupt skin cell membranes and so lead to wrinkling. At one time it was used in sunscreens where it was believed to protect against UVB radiation though not UVA radiation. However, after it was discovered that UVA radiation can damage the skin more than UVB, its use has reduced considerably although it can still protect your skin by virtue of its antioxidant properties.
Free radicals are small oxygenated molecules that rupture the membranes of your body cells and also oxidize LDL cholesterol, causing it to form plaques on the internal walls of your arteries. That eventually blocks them and can cause heart attacks and strokes. PABA can destroy these free radicals and ultimately prevent this from happening. In doing so, of course, it also destroys the free radicals generated by the UV radiation in sunlight and so helps your skin to keep looking fresh even when exposed to strong sunlight.
PABA will not offer complete protection against excessive sunbathing but will help, and it is free radicals that give those that live in hot countries that wrinkled and leathery look to their skin. PABA can protect you from that.
Glutathion, Antioxidants, And The Body
July 14, 2010 02:41 PM
Glutathione is a simple protein that consists of three amino acids. These amino acids include glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine. Due to the chemical nature of sulphur-containing cysteine, glutathione is able to effortlessly donate electrons. This ability is the reason why it has powerful antioxidant properties. Intracellular glutathione status is a sensitive indicator of cellular health and of the cell’s ability to resist toxic challenges.
Glutathione is an important water-phase antioxidant that is an essential component in the glutathione peroxidase system. Glutathione peroxidase enzymes are crucial for detoxifying peroxides including hydrogen peroxide, which is generated within cellular membranes and lipid-dense areas of the cell, especially the mitochondrial membrane. Severe glutathione depletion often leads to cell death, while experimental glutathione depletion has been found to induce cellular apoptosis.
A cellular level of glutathione depletion seems to cause extensive damage to the mitochondria. Depletion of mitochondrial glutathione may, in fact, be the ultimate factor that determines a cell’s vulnerability to oxidative(free radical) attack. The mitochondria is the most crucial place for glutathione presence, as the cascade of oxidation-reduction reactions complete the final steps in respiration take place here. Throughout this process, which is called oxidative phophorylation, electrons invariably escape and react with the ambient oxygen in order to generate toxic free radicals. It has been estimated that 2% to 5% of the electrons that enter the mitochondria are converted into reactive oxygen species that generate considerable oxidative stress for the cell. These free radicals cause an immediate threat to other cellular components, such as the DNA, enzymes, structural proteins, and lipids.
The cumulative damage that is caused by oxygen and other free radical species is now determined to be the principal contributor to the degenerative disease process and the progressive loss of organ function that is commonly recognized as aging. Because of this, the cell is constantly challenged to destroy these free radicals before they can inflict any lasting damage. Minimizing oxidative attacks may actually be the ultimate challenge of being alive. Because of this, the reducing power of glutathione is of huge important to the cell.
Glutathione is important for helping to regenerate other antioxidants that are depleted from their constant work to fight off free radical challenges. Regeneration that is glutathione-induced may be the mechanism that is actually used by the cell in order to conserve lipid-phase antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin E, and the carotenoids. It has been confirmed by recent investigations that dietary vitamin C can actually protect us against tissue damage that results from glutathione depletion.
Additionally, supplementation with glutathione or its precursors can also quickly replenish any vitamin C deficiencies. Because of this, glutathione and ascorbic acid, both of which are pre-eminent cellular antioxidants, are tightly linked, as glutathione can conserve vitamin C and vitamin C can conserve glutathione. When they are both present, these two antioxidants protect the entire spectrum of biomolecules that are found within the cell, as well as facilitate the cell’s best performance. It has been said that the glutathione status of a cell may be the most accurate single indicator of the health of the cell. This means that as glutathione levels go, the health of the cell will go as well.
Glutathione is available in capsule or tablet form at your local or internet health food store. Always choose name brands to ensure quality and purity of the glutathione supplement you choose to purchase for consumption.
Antioxidants and your health
May 17, 2010 10:44 AM
There is an impressive amount of scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of supplementing with a wide variety of antioxidants. Consequently, there are many health practitioners who have begun to recommend high dietary intakes of these crucial nutrients in order to prevent against oxidative stress. It was anticipated over two decades ago by leading researchers that high-dose supplementation with antioxidants is developing a significant role in the prevention and treatment of a lot of today’s common illnesses. It should be noted that antioxidants do not work in isolation. When an antioxidant neutralizes a free radical, it, itself, is oxidized and must be regenerated by another antioxidant before it can be used again. Because of this, it is crucial to supplement with a wide variety of antioxidants, in order to reflect what actually occurs in nature.
Vitamin C, an aqueous-phase antioxidant, is the main guard against oxidative attack in the extra-cellular matrix, as well as within the cytoplasm of the cell. Vitamin C happens to be a substrate for eight different enzyme systems that are involved in various cellular functions. Among these functions are collagen synthesis, ATP synthesis in the mitochondria, and hormone biosynthesis. Its main antioxidant partners are vitamin E and beta carotene, both of which help to regenerate vitamin C.
Of all the antioxidants, it seems as if vitamin E offers the greatest protection against heart disease because of its ability to protect the cardiovascular system from oxidative damage. It is lipid-soluble, making it an important component of the cell membrane, where it works to protect the cell against lipid peroxidation and control oxidation-induced inflammatory events. Recently, the gamma tocopherol form of vitamin E has shown a great deal of promise in its ability to reduce the risk of several oxidative stress related disease.
Beta-carotene is a member of a diverse group of photosynthetic pigments. It plays a huge role in human nutrition. As an antioxidant, it possesses a double-bond structure that allows it to react effectively with single oxygen radicals, absorbing and diffusing their energy. Beta-carotene also acts as a precursor for vitamin A by supplying a portion of the body’s requirement for the vitamin. This act alone plays a central role in the chemistry of vision. Beta-carotene and vitamin A both prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, reduce oxidative damage to DNA, and disable oxygen free radicals that are produced by exposure to sunlight and air pollution. These antioxidants are also involved in the activation of gene expression and the control of cell differentiation.
When combined together, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene produce and important antioxidant trio that plays a huge role in fighting oxidative and inflammatory events. There are several other antioxidants that should be noted due to their ability to work synergistically with the vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene trio. These include vitamin A, alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, coenzyme Q10, and the antioxidant mineral, selenium. In order to determine whether a nutrient provides antioxidant support, scientists question whether the product contains vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, beta-carotene, alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, coenzyme Q10, and selenium and to what strength these vitamins and minerals are per serving.
Fight Cold Sores And Build Collagen
April 29, 2009 10:18 AM
Lysine is an essential alpha-amino acid, in that it cannot be biosynthesized by the human body, and therefore must be taken in your diet or as a supplement. It is synthesized in plants from aspartic acid, and metabolized in the body to produce acetyl-Coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA).
Before discussing its action on herpes, we shall first have look at how Lysine helps with the formation of collagen. Collagen is a protein that is produced in the body from lysine and proline, another amino acid. In fact the primary role of amino acids in your diet is as building blocks to form the much larger protein molecules.
Collagen is fibrous, and forms the connective tissue such as cartilage, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and skin. Even the external parts of the ears. It literally holds our skeletons together, and wraps the whole body up in skin, so if we had no collagen we would literally fall apart! Collagen is also used by body cells to form the matrix that the body cells use to attach to each other and is one of the most important types of tissue in your body.
It is so ubiquitous that over 30% of the protein contained in your body is collagen, and it is designed for its structural strength as opposed to its ability to take part in chemical reactions as other proteins are. Lysine and Vitamin C are essential for the maintenance and formation of collagen.
There is not a lot of lysine in collagen - only about 4%, but it is very active in the cross-linking that forms the fibrils of collagen. Fibrils are the hair-like structures formed in a triple helix arrangement by three protein chains twisting round one another. The fibrils are bundled together in a straight line that has amazing tensile strength. The tensile strength of collagen is, weight for weight, stronger than steel!
In order for lysine to take part in this process effectively, some molecules have to be hydroxylated and others oxidized, forming aldehydes. Things can go wrong here, and deficiencies in the metabolic process can lead to some heritable conditions, or diseases of connective tissue. Among these are lathyrism, Cutis-Laxa and the Menkes kinky hair syndrome.
However, lysine is a very versatile amino acid, and not only is it necessary for the biosynthesis of all proteins, but is also heavily involved in the production of enzymes, hormones and antibodies. It is an important component of the calcium absorption process, and also, as previously stated, can be used in the treatment of herpes simplex.
This form of herpes is known commonly as 'cold sores', and is a result of the activity of the herpes virus. Viruses do not reproduce in order to ensure the 'continuation of the species', but replicate. In order to achieve this it requires the help of another amino acid, arginine. This is a common amino acid whose sources include grains, seeds, peanuts, raisins and chocolate.
Lysine and arginine competes for the absorption and entry of tissue cells, and reduces the strength of arginine, so preventing the growth of herpes. For this reason a supplement of lysine can be used to reduce the effects of the herpes simplex virus, and lessen the symptoms of the cold sore.
However, it is not only cold sores but other forms of herpes that lysine can help to relieve. Herpes zoster is a virus that causes shingles. This virus is generated by the reactivation of the dormant varicella-zoster virus left in the tissues after chickenpox. It is a recurrent condition, and lycine can help to reduce recurrences as well as its severity. Apart from being an effective defense against herpes, and forming collagen, the amino acid imparts several other benefits to the human body.
Among these is osteoporosis. L-lysine is involved in calcium absorption in the intestine, and also helps to reduce the loss of calcium in the urine. In osteoporosis we have to try to make every calcium molecule ingested in the diet to be incorporated in the bone structure. L-arginine can work with lysine to enhance the activity of the body cells that produce bone.
Canker sores are often mistaken for cold sores, but they are actually quite different. They are small sores inside the mouth, and appear in the form of very painful ulcers. The cause is unknown, but is believed to be a virus, and lysine appears to help the condition. Although there have been no proper clinical tests carried out on its use as a remedy for canker sores, lysine appears to help, and a supplement is recommended as a treatment by many doctors. It will do no harm, and anybody suffering from these tiny but painful sores will try anything.
Although lysine deficiency is rare, it can occur, particularly amongst those observing a vegetarian macrobiotic diet, and also in athletes who frequently undertake vigorous exercise, especially with too little recovery time. The effects of a deficiency are fatigue, nausea, appetite loss, anemia, slow growth and kidney stones. The latter is likely due to a failure to absorb calcium, that L-lysine promotes, and the formation of calcium oxalate and other insoluble salts in the kidney.
Dietary sources include beans and other legumes, and although it should be available in cereals, baked foods and doughnuts, for example, the carmelization of sugars binds the lysine to the sugar, and so reducing its bioavailability. However, you can also get it in cheese, eggs, tofu and red meats.
If you are taking an arginine supplement, you should consult your physician prior to taking lysine. The reason for this is that lysine and arginine share biochemical pathways, and arginine can reduce the effective concentration of lysine.
However, it has not been tested by the FDA, nor approved, and any use is at your own risk. This risk appears to be very small, although its manufacture is not regulated. However, do not let this bother you: the proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say.
Many have found lysine to be effective with collagen or herpes problems, and a supplement of between 3,000 and 9,000 mg per day is recommended for those with herpes viral infections. It is not recommended for children under two years old. Lysine is available at your local or internet health food store at discount prices. Look for name brands to ensure purity and quality of the product you purchase.
Another Great Cold Sore Remedy is Red Marine Algae!
Strengthen The Liver and Kidneys With Leucine
April 27, 2009 02:08 PM
L-leucine is an amino acid that is used by the body to fuel exercise and muscle-building to provide you with that athletic edge that gets you ahead of your opponents. It does so in a number of ways, none of them specifically by the direct generation of energy as such.
It is also an essential amino acid, since it cannot be manufactured by your body and hence must be taken as a supplement or as part of your diet. Foods rich in leucine include nuts, whole wheat products such as wholemeal bread, and brown rice. It is a hydrophobic amino acid, meaning that it does not like water.
It is also one of three essential branched chain amino acids, the other two being L-valine and L-isoleucine, and offers many benefits to athletic performance that shall be discussed below It also helps to preserve the body's stores of glycogen, used as an emergency energy source. Other than these properties, it possesses others, such as the maintenance of the nitrogen balance in the body.
So how does it work to fuel your body while you are exercising? The answer is not as you might think. L-leucine doesn't increase your energy levels as creatine does when it elevates your ATP (adenosine triphosphate) levels. ATP is the molecule of energy that is synthesized in your body cells, and is then converted back to ADP, the diphosphate, with the release of energy in the form of muscular contractions.
This amino acid is what is referred to as a 'limiting' substance, in that the other amino acids cannot do their jobs in your body unless you have sufficient L-leucine in proportion to them. Specifically, you need two parts of L-valine and two parts of L-leucine to one part of L-isoleucine for optimum usage of the food that you eat.
Therefore you cannot just take the supplement without considering how much should be taken to ensure this balance. Excess will be wasted and a deficiency would fail to make proper use of the protein content of your food.
If you suffer from a deficiency, therefore, your body cannot make best use of the protein in your diet to the extent that muscle tissue will not be generated during exercise. In fact it causes catabolism, or the breakdown of muscle tissue, resulting in a loss of performance and possible increase in fatty tissue as opposed to lean muscle. The only way to build muscle is take in sufficient nitrogen in the form of amino acids and protein, along with L-leucine to put that protein to best use.
One of the major properties of L-leucine is in stimulating the synthesis of skeletal muscle tissue and by using a supplement, the protein balance can be positive after a workout. It has been shown that this protein balance is generally negative until specifically L-leucine is consumed.
The way it works is to activate a muscle-generating pathway known as mTOR (mammalian Target of Rapamycin). mTOR is normally activated when the levels of ATP in the muscle cells is high, and when these levels drop then mTOR is deactivated. The activity of mTOR is sensitive to the concentration of L-leucine, and when the concentration of the amino acid in the body rises it informs mTOR that the protein in the diet is sufficient to manufacture skeletal muscle tissue, and so mTOR s activated.
Exactly how this is done is unknown, but is a fact the mTOR depends upon both L-leucine concentration and also ATP levels. This amino acid also decreases catabolism through a number of different mechanisms, one of which involves increasing insulin levels.
In fact, when insulin and L-leucine levels increase at the same time, there is a synergy that promotes the synthesis of new protein. Not only that, but the response of insulin to the presence of carbohydrates is enhanced, this resulting in an enhancement of your body's metabolism.
The amino acid can also be used to help those suffering from kidney and liver problems because it increases liver protein synthesis. It is therefore a useful adjunct both to diabetics and those suffering from liver and kidney disease.
However, because L-leucine is an essential amino acid with so many important properties, a deficiency can have specific consequences. Catabolism has been stated earlier as one such reaction to a deficiency, and others include decreased energy levels and irregularities in the levels of blood sugar.
Everything about this substance is not good however, and when taken by itself in excess, it can reduce the amount of the other amino acids in the blood, particularly of the other two branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). This in turn upsets the balance of amino acids, and reduces further the ability of the body to produce muscle tissue until a balanced supplement is taken.
Leucine also helps to maintain the nitrogen balance. It is essential for the human body to maintain a positive nitrogen balance, and L-leucine supports this. In fact, one study has demonstrated that after 12 hours infusion with L-leucine, nitrogen balance was improved by as much as 23%.
A supplement alone is not always sufficient to maintain a positive nitrogen balance. It is generally essential that you rest your body for a sufficient length of time to allow protein to be generated. If you don't take the required amount of rest, a surplus of protein could be used to maintain energy levels rather than replace lost protein and maintain a good nitrogen balance.
A positive nitrogen balance is essential for the generation of muscle tissue, such as in bodybuilding for example, since all proteins contain nitrogen and the net nitrogen intake must exceed the excretion rate. Not in gaseous form, of course, but in the intake of amino acids and proteins. The more positive your nitrogen balance is, the faster you will recover after exercise. It is essential for anabolic exercise.
L-leucine, therefore, is a supplement that can help to maintain your current muscle mass while undergoing strenuous exercise, in addition to increasing it while resting. It offers other health benefits, one being helping to maintain clarity of thought in the aged. However, it is for its effect on muscular build-up and the athletic edge that provides that the supplement is most commonly taken.
L-Alanine Non Essential Amino Acid
January 05, 2009 04:31 PM
L-Alanine is one of 20 amino acids that are used by the body to manufacture the proteins essential for life. Each protein possesses specific biological properties that are imparted by the sequence of amino acids it contains. Proteins control the chemistry that takes place within the cells of our body, and comprise all of the enzymes that catalyze the body's biochemistry.
Amino acids are also the building blocks of DNA that determines the genetic make-up of individuals, and that also provides recipes or templates for the production of proteins from amino acid sequences. There is a different DNA template for every protein required by the body that determines which of the 20 amino acids are needed, and in what order they are to be combined with one another to manufacture the desired protein.
10 of these 20 amino acids can be synthesized by your body's biochemistry, the other 10 being essential parts of your diet. If you fail to include just of these 10, then your body will break down its proteins until it has obtained a sufficient supply of that amino acids for its needs. That involves muscle and other tissue degradation, and is one of the symptoms of malnutrition. Amino acids are not stored, and a daily supply is essential to avoid these symptoms.
L-Alanine is one of the ten that the body can manufacture, and used by the body to help build protein and also to enable the body to make use of glucose to generate energy. It does so as part of what is known as the glucose-alanine cycle. During anaerobic exercise, such as in weightlifting and sustained running, muscles produce lactate and also alanine.
The alanine is passed on to the liver where it is converted to energy via its conversion to glucose. This is not a particularly efficient means of creating energy because a byproduct of the process is urea, the removal of which in turn requires energy. However, it serves its purpose as an energy source once the liver is depleted of glycogen. In fact that is the major use to which alanine appears to be put by the body: the conversion of glucose to energy.
The way the glucose-alanine cycle works is that a process known as transamination produces glutamate from the amino groups of amino acids that are degraded during exercise. Glutamate is then converted to pyruvate by means of the enzyme alanine aminotransferase, with the production of alanine and alpha-ketoglutarate. This is a reversible reaction, and after the alanine has been carried by the bloodstream to the liver, the reaction reverses with the regeneration of pyruvate that undergoes gluconeogenesis (generation of glucose).
The result of this is glucose that returns to the muscle tissue to provide more energy. The glutamate is broken down to the ammonium ion in the mitochondria, which in turn enters the urea cycle with the production of urea.
In a nutshell, then, the glucose-alanine cycle removes glutamate and pyruvate from muscle tissue to the liver where glucose is generated from the pyruvate and returned to the muscle. Since gluconeogenesis involves the expenditure of energy, and this occurs in the liver rather than in the muscle, all the energy in the muscle can be used for muscle contraction.
L-Alanine possesses other properties, among them the ability to help maintain the health of the prostate. A study of benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate) indicated that treatment with L-alanine, glutamic acid and glycine over a period of three months reduced the symptoms. However, make sure that you consult your physician before using alanine in this way. This is not because there are any known adverse side effects, because there are not, but because it I always wise to so with any supplement taken with a view to treating any medical condition.
A less obvious application derives from the fact that it forms a stable free radical when deaminated. Deamination can be initiated by radiation, and so the concentration of this free radical can be measured to ensure that the correct dose of radiation is being given in dosimetric radiotherapy. It is not always easy to control the dose accurately, and this property of alanine allows it to monitored and to ensure that it is neither too low to have the desired effect, nor dangerously high.
Although it is a non-essential amino acid, and can be produced by the body, a dietary supply or supplement is advantageous if extra energy is required. Good dietary sources of L-alanine include meats, seafood, eggs, nuts, beans, seeds, brewer's yeast, corn and legumes among others. Supplements are also available, and useful for body-builders, weightlifters and others involved in anaerobic exercise. Due to the glucose-alanine cycle, it can possibly provide energy when lactate build-up would otherwise lead to muscle cramps.
Those for whom a supplement could be useful are athletes and others who are trying to build muscle and stamina, or reduce their body fat and also the obese and overweight for the same reason. There is also evidence that a combination of the amino acids alanine, glycine and arginine can help to reduce arterial plaque from oxidized low density lipoproteins, and can also help to reduce high blood pressure.
Deficiencies are rare, although groups that do not eat meat should be careful to eat foods with a good alanine content. There are no known side effects of a deficiency since the body will generate what is needed for normal purposes, and while the supplement appears to have no side effects, it is advisable that pregnant and lactating women should first seek medical advice. The same applies if you suffer from hypertension or diabetes. High doses of alanine might also affect those with kidney or liver disease.
Although the benefits of supplementation of L-alanine might not be immediately obvious, the results and the science indicate that it is effective in making better use of blood glucose in that the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) created in the muscle tissue is allowed to be expended on muscle contraction while the glucose-alanine cycle provides the energy needed for gluconeogenesis.
December 23, 2008 11:44 AM
Although it is important to stress that the fatty acids found in flax are essential, flax also contains substances called lignans. Lignans are special compounds that demonstrate impressive health benefits, as they seem to be responsible for assisting the immune system in many ways, along with helping to prevent some types of cancers.
Because flax contains lignans, it is an even more beneficial to the body when consumed in this form. Flax is one of the most abundant sources of lignans, a type of phytoestrogen that interferes with estrogen metabolism in animals and humans. This property gives lignans the ability to help in the prevention of both fat and hormone-sensitive types of cancer. Lignans also benefit the body by providing antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral activity that helps the immune system to function optimally.
All of the benefits of flax are still yet to be known, but it has been established that flax is also a good source of fiber. There have been several studies which confirm that flaxseed can be a cholesterol-lowering agent similar to oat bran, fruit pectin, and other food ingredients that contain fiber. Because flax packages both omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber together, it presents two ingredients which provide healthy blood lipid patterns. Flaxseed contains beneficial amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber, giving it potential cancer-fighting ability especially in colon cancer.
When selecting a healthy diet, it is important to consider your sources of essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are fragile and easily damaged by air, high temperatures, and food processing, so you are unlikely to get all of the EFAs that you need, even if you are careful to use vegetable oils for cooking. Most of the oil that we consume today has been heavily processed, which damages essential fatty acids. When choosing flax oil, you’ll want to take into account the same considerations, looking for oil that has not been damaged by processing and is packaged to block all light from contact with the oil.
Not all flax oils are the same, with there being a great deal of variation in quality and purity as a result in differences of how the oil is expressed. Most flaxseed oils are mechanically pressed out through an expeller, in which great amounts of heat and pressure can be generated. The higher the temperature, the better the yield of oil, but the lower the quality of oil. Many manufactures willingly sacrifice quality for quantity. The best way to measure the quality of oil is by taste, with the degree of bitterness being a close approximation of the level of lipid peroxides. The best source of high quality flaxseed oil can be found in health food stores where inventory turnover is highest.
Some good guidelines to go by in selecting a good flaxseed oil include: making sure the flaxseed oil is derived from 100% certified organic flaxseed; making sure the oil is as fresh as possible and not past the expiration date; making sure that the oil is expeller-pressed or cold pressed; using flaxseed oil that is high in lignans to gain the most benefit.
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.
Grape Fruit Pectin Fiber
October 21, 2008 12:56 PM
Grapefruit pectin fiber is a source of soluble fiber that can bind to cholesterol and inhibit the formation of atherosclerosis. It is also effective in maintaining good blood sugar levels, and promoting a healthy colon. However, before discussing how grapefruit pectin fiber works in these ways, it is first necessary to explain how they occur in the first place.
First cholesterol. This is a steroid lipid, most of which is biosynthesized by your body rather than being present in your diet. Although it has a bad name health wise, cholesterol is actually essential to good health because it helps your digestive system break down fast, it strengthens cell walls and is a major ingredient in the manufacture of vitamin D by your liver. It is also essential for the formation of several hormones, including cortisone, cortisol and aldosterone by the adrenal glands, and also of estrogen and testosterone. A bloodstream without cholesterol is therefore not good for you.
Given that cholesterol is essential for good health, then why does it have such a bad press? The root cause of that is that cholesterol is not water soluble, and to be carried round the bloodstream to where it is needed it needs some transport. For that, it uses low density lipoproteins (LDLs). However, it’s not a return journey, and to get back they must use another form of lipid known as a high density lipoprotein (HDL). The protein part is water soluble, wile the lipid part can attach to the cholesterol and carry it around the bloodstream.
The problem arises with free radicals, which are oxygenated molecules that are generated by the body’s metabolism, and also created from pollutants, such as pesticides and cigarette smoke, and the UV portion of daylight. These can oxidize the low density lipoproteins so that they can be attacked by phagocytes (while blood cells) deposited as plaques in the artery walls. This hardens and thickens the arteries, reducing the heart’s blood supply which in turn can cause strokes and heart attacks.
This can be prevented in a number ways, the major of which are by consuming plenty antioxidants in your food, mostly contained in phytochemicals (plant chemicals), reducing your LDL cholesterol levels to the minimum needed by your body, and also by increasing the HDL levels in your bloodstream by as much as possible.
Grapefruit pectin fiber can bind to cholesterol, and prevent it from being deposited in the artery walls by the oxidized LDL. A sixteen week double blind study (neither the subjects nor those carrying out the test and analyzing the results knew who were given the placebo) found that grapefruit pectin successful reduced the low density cholesterol level of 27 subjects by 10.8% and overall plasma cholesterol by 7.6%. These volunteers were at a medium to high risk of atherosclerosis due to a high LDL cholesterol concentration in their blood.
Animal studies have also been carried out, whereby animals were fed a high cholesterol diet, and those fed a high fat diet were found to have an average of 45% narrowing of their arteries, and those fed the same diet, but with added grapefruit pectin fiber, were found to have only 25% narrowing, thus corresponding with the results of the human volunteers.
It is essential that you maintain a stable level of sugar in your blood since the body reacts to low blood glucose by making you feel hungry, and thereby forcing you eat. If you are trying to lose weight you will find it very difficult if your blood sugar levels fluctuate. Grapefruit pectin can reduce the rate at which carbohydrates enter your bloodstream, and therefore the rate at which sugars are absorbed.
Studies have also indicated that pectin can even out your blood sugar concentration, so that you experience fewer fluctuations or sudden spikes that can make you feel either very hungry, and so binge on carbohydrates, or very satisfied so that you eat nothing at all. The maintenance of a stable level of glucose in the blood is necessary for a normal life since it is that that determine your need to eat food. If your blood sugar is low, the desire to eat high calorie carbohydrate food is uncontrollable.
This is the theory behind the so-called ‘grapefruit diet’. You eat a grapefruit prior to a meal, and allow it to be digested. The grapefruit pectin will make you feel full and so eat less, so that you can eat normal foods, but still lose weight. Many people take the grapefruit pectin in supplement form for its ease and economy of use. It is also more convenient since you don’t have to carry grapefruit around with you everywhere you go.
A Healthy Colon
Like any other soluble fiber, grapefruit pectin fiber is a dietary fiber that can help to maintain the health of your colon. In fact it is the only one of the basic four fibers of lignin, cellulose, hemicelluloses and pectin that is soluble. Although referred to as soluble, pectin softens and expands and provides substance and added weight to faeces in order to allow it to pass easier through your colon.
Other than ensuring the easy passage of your stool through your colon, and avoiding constipation, grapefruit pectin fiber can help to prevent excessive growth of bad bacteria in the intestine, and because it accelerates the passage of substances through the colon, there is less time for toxic or cancerous substances to be in contact with your bowel lining. It is that which causes bowel cancer, and grapefruit pectin fiber can help to prevent it.
Fiber can also help to prevent diverticulosis, where the intestinal wall develops small sacs and becomes weakened. It also prevents hemorrhoids, eases the symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). In short, it offers many benefits for the health of your colon, and can help to cure many bowel conditions.
However, it is important that you don't just rush into using any form of dietary fiber, but take it gradually. You start with a small intake, and then increase it slowly; since it is not absorbed through the intestine too much can lie in your colon and ferment, causing any number of intestinal problems. When used properly it can ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, but if used to excess, or too quickly, can actually cause the same symptoms, in addition to blocking the absorption of essential minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium.
Grapefruit pectin fiber can do a great deal for health, including maintaining good blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and helping to keep your colon healthy. It is available in convenient supplement form, but make sure that you drink sufficient liquid each day in order to prevent the fiber blocking your intestine rather than allowing free passage of waste product into, through, and out of your colon.
October 11, 2008 10:26 AM
The non-essential amino acid glycine is needed to generate muscle tissue and also for the conversion of blood glucose into energy. It is referred to as being ‘non-essential’ because the body can manufacture its own glycine, and is therefore not an essential component of your diet. Other uses to which glycine is put by the body includes the maintenance of a healthy nervous system, and is necessary for the proper functioning of the digestive system.
Amino acids play three essential roles in the human body:
1. They are the building blocks of proteins: proteins comprise about half of the dry weight of the majority of your body cells, and without them there would be no life. They are produced using monomers known as amino acids, and there are about 20 different amino acids used to make the vast variety of proteins that make up the human body. Proteins are needed to form enzymes, the catalysts that permit the majority of chemical reactions within our bodies, and also genes, the building blocks of DNA.
2. More relevant here, amino acids play an important role in the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) from ADP (adenosine diphosphate) by phosphorylation with creatine phosphate. The more creatine phosphate available, the more ATP can be produced. Since ATP is the molecule responsible for the generation of energy, then the more ATP available the more energy is generated. Although creatine is available from many food sources, it is destroyed by cooking, and over half of what you use is made from the three amino acids, glycine, arginine and methionine. The energy produced in this way is very short-lived, and last only a few seconds - more on that later.
3. Glycine is heavily involved in the production of collagen, which is the substance that maintains the flexibility of your skin and other connective tissues while still maintaining their strength and firmness. Without glycine your skin would become slack due to the degrading effect of sunlight, free radicals and oxidation.
The non essential amino acid, glycine, is believed to offer other benefits to the human body, but it is the second of those above, the production of ATP, which interests us here. ATP is an extremely important nanomolecule, second in importance to the body only to DNA, and possibly also RNA since the two are linked. RNA makes copies of your DNA structure for use in cell division and growth.
When a cell expends energy for whatever reason, such as when I am typing this, or when your heart beats, or even when your liver synthesizes a protein, one of the phosphate groups is removed from the adenosine triphosphate molecule, and converts it to adenosine diphosphate (ADP). The ATP is then said to be 'spent', just as your energy is spent when you are tired and can exercise no more.
The ADP is then immediately reconverted to ATP in the mitochondria, a part of every cell in your body. A cell can contain hundreds, or even thousands, of mitochondria, the number depending upon that particular cell's need for energy. Hence, cells in your muscles, or in your liver where most of the body's chemistry takes place, contain thousands of mitochondria whereas those in your scalp contain a lot less. Once changed to ATP, a phosphate is again lost when energy is expended, and so the cycle continues.
Glucose is needed allow the ADP to be converted to ATP, hence the need for sugars, or the carbohydrates from which they are manufactured in your body. Each cell can contain up to a billion molecules of ATP, although the couch potatoes among you probably have a lot less! Your store of ATP molecules last about 2 to 5 seconds before being changed to ADP although more rapidly for athletes that expend a lot of energy. Then the energy stored in the form of glycogen in the liver kicks in for another 4 - 6 seconds.
Additionally, you cannot expend more energy that the (eventual) sugars that you take in your diet, which can be in the form of ordinary 'sugar' (sucrose), fruit (fructose), glucose, carbohydrates that are metabolized into sugars, or any other member of the sugar family (e.g. lactose, maltose, etc.).
Glycine is one of what are called glucogenic amino acids, which refers to their ability to provide glucose to the blood. Because it helps to maintain proper blood glucose levels, it is often prescribed for conditions that are caused by low glucose levels, such as hypoglycemia that shows symptoms of fatigue and tiredness, and also anemia and what is known as CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome).
The one activity of the human body, in fact that of any mammal, for which ATP is essential, is the heartbeat. Without that no mammal could survive, or any other creature that relies on a circulation system for life. The only reason you heart has to beat is to pump your blood around your body, and it is your blood that contains the oxygen and nutrients needed to sustain life. Your cardiovascular health relies on lots of ATP being available to power each and every heartbeat.
Analysis of the heart during the final stages of heart failure has revealed that there is a general decrease in the myocardial arginine: glycine amidinotraferase (AGAT) gene expression, which is indicative of the necessity of this enzyme for proper heart function. The enzyme is responsible for the first stage in the biosynthesis of creatine from glycine.
Creatine is well known to athletes, and while it is available naturally from some food sources, it can be destroyed during cooking, and at least 50% of the creatine needed by the body is produced in the liver, pancreas and kidneys. It is creatine phosphate that is broken down into creatine and phosphate, the latter of which is used by the mitochondria to regenerate ATP from ADP.
The study carried out on the reduced AGAT levels found in heart failure patients indicates the importance of glycine to heart health. Without a good supply of glycine, there will insufficient creatine produced biochemically to generate the phosphate needed to for the ATP to produce the energy required to keep the heart pumping with the required strength. The energy provided by the mitochondria is used locally by the cells in which it is produced, and within a few seconds of that production. As explained earlier, ATP stores are used up within 2 - 5 seconds, and glycogen stores within another 4 - 6 seconds.
That is why sprinters cannot keep running at maximum speed for more than around 10 seconds or so, because the immediate availability of glycine, and hence creatine, are insufficient to last longer than that. That is one reason why they have to finish those 100 meters as fast as possible, because otherwise they would run out of energy. Other than trying to win, of course!
However, when it comes to the heart, ATP stores are essential, and the cells in your heart require a constant supply of ATP from creatine, which itself depends upon your intake or biosynthesis of glycine. Since dietary sources are insufficient to meet all your needs, and destroyed by cooking, a glycine supplement is the only way to ensure a sufficient intake. You cannot undernourish your heart and remain healthy.
ATP biosynthesis is essential if that of glycine theoretically is not, but the fact that 50% of your glycine requirement has to be produced by your body and the other 50% is sensitive to heat during cooking, a supplement of glycine could be essential to many people.
August 28, 2008 09:33 AM
Garcinia Cambogia is found naturally in India and parts of Asia, and also on the Pacific coast of South and Central America all the way from Peru up to Mexico, and likes a humid forested environment. Also known as Brindall berries, garcinia is believed to act as an appetite suppressant and allows you to lose weight by diminishing your desire for food.
The Malabar tamarind, as it is also known, is about the size of an orange resembling a small pumpkin, and an extract from the fruit and rind is used in several weight loss products. The health risks presented by synthetic diet pills render a natural product extremely attractive were it to be effective. So can Garcia curb your appetite? What is the scientific evidence for it, and what biochemical route would it take?
Although tests on animals have been very positive, human results have been inconsistent. In some double blind tests using a placebo, weight loss was up to three times that of the control, but in others there was no apparent difference between those taking garcinia, and those given a placebo. However, doubts have been raised of the validity of some of the negative tests, so what does science tell us?
The active ingredient in the cambogia extract is hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which is a powerful inhibitor of ATP citrate lyase, an enzyme that catalyzes the reaction between citrate and Coenzyme A to Acetyl CoA and oxaloacetate. Since the acetyl CoA is necessary in the synthesis of fatty acids and lipogenesis (the conversion of glucose to fatty acids), then anything that inhibits the biosynthesis of acetyl CoA must help to reduce the amount of fat stored in your body.
By inhibiting this reaction, that occurs outside the mitochondria so is not a direct part of the Citric Acid Cycle, HCA should theoretically suppress the formation of fats from carbohydrates, reduce food intake and thereby induce weight loss. But that is not the only mechanism.
A study at Georgetown University in Washington found that after 8 weeks of taking the garcinia extract, there was a 5.4% reduction in body weight and body mass index, and a significant reduction in low density lipoproteins (LDL) and triglycerides with an associated rise in high density lipoproteins (HDL). This is good news for those suffering from high cholesterol levels, since the LDL lipoproteins are those that carry cholesterol to the major blood vessels, and which when oxidized by free radicals deposit fatty plaques on the artery walls. These plaques constrict the arteries and the resultant atherosclerosis can lead to cardiac problems and strokes. HDL lipoproteins carry cholesterol back to the liver for destruction, and is known popularly as ‘good cholesterol’.
The studies also indicated modifications to certain indicators of the status of fat deposits in the body and of appetite modifiers in the brain. In this respect they found 38% decreases in serum leptin and increases in serotonin levels of 44%, and the excretion of fat metabolites in the urine increased from between 32% and 104%.
These are significant findings, and further research has indicated that HCA helps to suppress appetite. Serum leptin is an indicator of the level of fat stores in the body, and as the leptin levels in the blood reduces, the hypothalamus is given an instruction to increase the appetite so as to increase the fat levels again. However, it is believed that HCA possesses leptin-like properties, and this signal is either not generated or is modulated.
The increase in serotonin has the same effect. It is known that serotonin controls the appetite, although the exact mechanism has not yet been established. What is known is that serotonin activates certain neurons and melanocortin-4 receptors (MC4R) in the brain, that not only curb appetite but also block the effect of other neurons that would normally increase appetite by blocking the effect of MC4Rs.
This is how the banned anti-obesity and serotonin inciting drug Fen-Phen operated, and it appears that the hydroxycitric acid in garcinia cambogia extract acts in a similar, but safer, way. The problem with drugs such as Feb-Phen was that they created cardiac problems which could be dangerous to obese people whose hearts might have been weakened.
However, now that the biological pathway by which serotonin controls weight is believed to be known, if not fully understood, the way is becoming clearer as to how safer weight loss pills, acting through appetite suppression, might be developed. It also provides a valid scientific explanation for the effect of garcinia cambogia extract which might in itself prove to be that safer way.
The biochemistry supports the evidence of its effect on those wanting to lose weight, and also bolsters the claims that those tests and trials found to be negative were in some way flawed. Until the full chemical pathway is understood, the factors that can lead to flawed tests are unknown, although one could be the use of excessive fiber in some trials that could reduce the effect of the extract.
One of the effects of HCA is to limit the ability of your body to convert carbohydrates into fat (the Acetyl CoA inhibition mentioned above). That, combined with suppression of your appetite and a higher rate of thermogenesis, prevents the body from storing excess carbohydrates as fat. Instead you will have increased energy levels, so you should exercise to use this up while taking garcinia extract. For this reason it is popular with athletes and bodybuilders seeking an energy source that has not yet been banned from sport.
Although diet pills based on the same principle had side-effects and could make the user feel on edge, there are none known with garcinia. However, it is possible to reduce the absorption of some essential nutrients due to appetite suppression, so do not exceed the recommended dose. An excessive amount can also led to gastric discomfort, but none of these effects have been noted when the recommended doses have been adhered to.
However, if you are diabetic, pregnant or a nursing mother, you should consult with your physician or health professional before taking the extract. Garcinia Cambogia presents no specific risk to such people, and this warning should be given for all non-prescriptive treatments that your physician might be unaware of you taking.
Gac Fruit Oil
August 25, 2008 07:04 PM
Most people have never heard of gac fruit, yet it is very popular in South East Asia, particularly in China and Vietnam. The fruit is grown on vines that reach the size of a cantaloupe and from North East Australia across to China and Vietnam it is used as both a food and a medicine. It is only fairly recently that it has found use in the West as a health food
So what’s so special about this fruit, known also as baby jackfruit and sweet gourd? Its bright red color should provide a clue, since it is jam packed full of beta carotene, lycopene and other strong antioxidants that not only helps to support the immune system, but also helps to retard the effects of aging. It has been used in Vietnam in particular to overcome the effects of an endemic deficiency in vitamin A, and is rich in provitamin A carotenoids. It is also widely used in Chinese medicine to treat a variety of complaints.
Antioxidants and Free Radicals
Antioxidants can boost health in a number of ways, and it might help you understand better the benefits that gac fruit can provide to explain what antioxidants do and why they are such an essential part of our diets. Every millisecond of every day of our lives, our natural metabolism of the conversion of blood glucose to energy generates small oxygenated molecules known as free radicals.
Free radicals are molecules that possess an unpaired electron and are highly unstable. Electrons generally travel in pairs, and when one of that pair is lost through a chemical reaction, the other electron has only one purpose in its short life: to pair up with another electron and it will do whatever it has to in order to achieve that. It is called a free radical, and its life is short. Free radicals destroy body cells, and this can have a dramatic effect, both visually on your skin, and internally on your general health.
Apart from those generated by your body’s own biochmemistry, free radicals are present in car emissions and other pollutants such as pesticides, smog and fried and barbecued foods. They are also formed in your skin by excessive exposure to the UV component of the sun’s radiation. That is why the skin of those living in hot climates tends to age earlier.
Free radicals are what make you look older as you grow older: they destroy skin cells as they are formed, but that is one of the least of their effects. They can also oxidize low density lipids (LDL) that carry cholesterol around your body, causing it to deposit fatty plaques on the walls of your arteries, which is a serious cardiovascular condition known as atherosclerosis.
Antioxidants can donate an electron to free radicals without then becoming free radicals themselves, and so destroy them as they are formed. However, the antioxidant can then lose its reducing power. Free radicals do not roam the blood seeking victims as many imagine them to, but react almost instantly, as soon as they are formed. It is important, therefore, that antioxidants are present in or close to every cell of your body. To achieve this, they must be bound to a fatty molecule, and the problem with many phytonutrients is that they have no associated fats or oils to carry them into the fatty tissues of the body.
Nutritional Constituents of Gac Fruit
Not so with gac fruit, because in addition to the beta carotene and lycopene content, it is also rich in long-chain fatty acids, particularly linoleic and alpha linoleic acids. Not only that, but its beta carotene content is around ten times that of carrots, and it contains 70 times the lycopene of tomatoes! Vitamin C is another very powerful antioxidant, and gac contains 60 times the Vitamin C of oranges. It is also rich in other free radical busters, such as xeoxanthins and alpha-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E.
Altogether, gac fruit contains a free radical killing arsenal that should be enough to scare even the most courageous free radical back to where it came from. Other constituents of gac are numerous minerals, particularly zinc and iron.
That is why the sweet gourd is such a prized fruit, and why Southeast Asian women have skins that western women of the same age would die for! Antioxidants help to prevent the disruption and destruction of skin cells that are the major reason for aging looks, and why skin creams are packed with vitamins A and E, both strong antioxidants.
Health Benefits of Gac
Most of the health benefits of gac are provided by its antioxidant properties. Thus, if you have a high cholesterol level, gac can help you to avoid atherosclerosis by preventing the oxidation of the LDL cholesterol, which is the precursor to it depositing on your artery walls. The body needs cholesterol, but levels should be kept to within certain limits or the resultant atherosclerosis can narrow your arteries leading to cardiac problems and strokes, particularly in the very narrow arteries of the brain.
Gac also supports the immune system and helps to maintain prostate health, largely through its alpha tocopherol, or vitamin E content. Vitamin E is easily destroyed by free radicals, which is where the beta carotene is of benefit. This is the body’s first line of defense against free radicals, and each molecule can neutralize up to 20 free radical molecules before it is destroyed. This helps to save other antioxidants such as vitamin E.
Lycopene is particularly beneficial to the prostate and current research indicates that it can help to prevent prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease, plus some other diseases such as macular degeneration that affects your sight. Perhaps this is one reason why the gac fruit membranes are used in Vietnam to promote healthy vision, and they also help to cure dry eyes. Lycopene remains in your body fat longer than normal beta carotene, and recent studies have found that men with high amounts of lycopene in their body fat are up to 50% less likely to suffer heart attacks as those with low amounts.
Gac fruit is jam-packed full of nutrients and antioxidants, and has no known side effects. It is used in Asia for weddings and other special occasions, and is grown on lattices in many gardens, although it has a short season. However, gac fruit is not known as the “Fruit from Heaven” for no reason, and if you were allowed the choice of only one fruit in your life, then this would be the one.
August 18, 2008 12:01 PM
Whether coconut oil is good for weight loss or not, it is becoming an increasingly popular component of a weight loss diet. So how justified is this in view the fact that fats and oils are not normally regarded as being the best form of food to take if you want to lose weight?
Apart from any other considerations, fats are actually very important components of any diet. Consider, for example, how many vitamins are fat soluble: vitamins A, D, E and K are all fat soluble, and without fats in your diet vitamins would not be able to circulate and be taken to where they do most good. Fats are also essential building blocks for hormones and cell membranes. In short, you cannot survive without fats. Coconut oil is a fat.
In referring to coconut oil here, we are discussing virgin oil, not the refined form that is high in cholesterol. Refined, or processed coconut oils, is hydrogenated, which renders it more in nature to the longer chain fatty acids. Virgin coconut oil contains what are known as medium chain fatty acids (MCFA), which are easily metabolized by your liver into energy.
The longer chain fatty acids, also called triglycerides, are not easily broken down into smaller components, and tend to be stored in the body as fat. This fat can be particularly dangerous if stored round the midriff, and so long chain fatty acids are dangerous to your health. This does not apply to MCFAs, and a possible mechanism for this is discussed later.
An inability to distinguish between the different types of fats and oils in your diet is largely due to a lack of education in the chemistry of fats, and the lumping together of all fats and oils under the 'fatty' flag. Perhaps it is the use of the word 'fat' for the overweight condition and the fact that the triglycerides and other chemicals are known generically as 'fats' that triggers a connection between the two, but although this is logical, and in some cases justified, it is not always the case. There are fats and fats, just as there are lubricating oils and greases, and edible cooking oils and greases.
The fatty acids in coconut oil are composed of relative small carbon chain lengths. Caprylic acid and capric acid contain 8 and 10 carbon atoms in the backbone compared to the 18 of the stearic acid that is commonly contained in animal fats. The longer the carbon chain in the molecule, the more difficult it is to break down, and the more likely it is to be stored in the body as a dense fatty deposit that places a strain on the heart.
Due to the shorter chain length the medium chain fatty acids hold less energy per unit weight. Apart from any other reasons then, coconut oil contains fewer calories than other fats and so if used as the bulk of your fat requirement, will be less liable to generate body fat. Not only that, but as inferred earlier, due to the smaller molecule these calories are more readily released as energy for use by your body rather than stored unused.
However, that is not the whole story on either count: coconut contains saturated fats, and also monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, although in small quantities. These, however, are present in only small amounts, although would still be expected to undergo oxidation and produce the rancid taste commonly found in aged unsaturated oils and fats. However, even after a year this does not happen, which indicates that coconut oil possesses some form of antioxidant properties. This is confirmed by the fact that people eating a diet rich in coconut oil has less of a need for the strong oil-soluble antioxidant vitamin E.
In fact, the metabolism of fats is usually connected with the carnitine transport system in the mitochondria, although the shorter chain fatty acids do not need carnitine for their metabolism. What happens then is that because carnitine promotes oxidation during stress, and causes oxidative damage to body cells, its absence in metabolism of coconut oil fatty acids results in a reduction in the oxidation that degrades unsaturated fats. Hence the lack of rancidity.
Taking this further, then, this lack of oxidation infers that those that take a diet rich in coconut oil (for example using it for cooking rather than animal and vegetable oils containing longer chain fatty acids) should be partially protected against cell oxidation in general. Oxidative effects such as aging, cardiovascular diseases and some cancers should be reduced, and studies have shown this to be the case. Those consuming coconut oil rather than other oils tend to age more slowly, suffer less from heart disease and tend to experience fewer incidences of cancer.
With regard specifically to weight loss, it is believed that consumption of medium chain triglycerides, as opposed to longer chain triglycerides, results in a higher rate of thermogenesis, or the conversion of carbohydrates to energy (fats are also carbohydrates). The first step in this process requires the presence of Coenzyme A in the form of the enzyme acyl-CoA-dehydrogenase, and measurement of the activity of this enzyme has indicated that medium chain triglycerides exhibit much higher expenditure of energy than the metabolism of long chain triglycerides when being converted to fatty tissue. However, though the energy used up in this reaction, known as lipogenesis, was higher, the formation of fatty tissue was the same.
Hence, MCA uses more energy to produce the same amount of fat as LCA, and therefore, although more energy is used up, no new fat is generated by the liver. Since your dietary fat intake can ultimately have only three fates: burned as energy, stored as the emergency energy source glycogen, or deposited as fat, then it is logical that the more energy generated then the less fat will be stored.
In this way, coconut oil, with a high content of medium chain fatty acids, has a scientific explanation for causing weight reduction when used as a source of fat in the diet rather than animal or other vegetable fats or oils. It is converted to energy rather than fatty tissue, and if you exercise to use up that energy then your weight loss can be significant.
What this theory also states, however, is that coconut oil should be used as a replacement for other fats, and not in addition to it. If you take coconut oil in addition to your normal diet, do not expect to see results.
What is Alpha Lipoic Acid?
July 18, 2008 12:36 PM
You can be sure that a supplement has some remarkable therapeutic possibilities when it makes headlines on the five o’clock news. A recent experiment which showed the conditions of rats that had been fed a diet that was totally deficient in vitamin E tested alpha lipoic acid, which caused the rats to return to full health even though no vitamin E was replenished. The results of this test are profound, as giving these rats an alpha lipoic acid caused existing stores of vitamin E that the body was previously unable to use to be regenerated.
Alpha lipoic acid is a vitamin-like antioxidant that has been used in Europe for a long period of time. It has recently emerged as an extremely impressive therapeutic agent that scavenges free-radicals. Recent studies have suggested that it has the ability to stop some degenerative diseases, the oxidative process of aging, and restores the health of diseased organs. Additionally, it has the ability to make up deficits of vitamin E or C and could potentially be one of the best treatments that have emerged for diabetes. Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is considered to be more potent than vitamins E and C, as well as coenzyme Q10. Unlike other antioxidants, ALA has properties that make it superior because it is able to replace certain nutritional supplements, while potentiating others, and inhibiting tissues from deterioration that is associated with diseases. This supplement is also both fat and water soluble, which allows it to protect lipid and aqueous cell structures.
Alpha lipoic acid is a compound that is synthesized in small amounts in the body, but can also be supplied from food or supplement sources. A vitamin-like substance, it contains sulfur and also plays a crucial role in energy reactions. It can be found in liver, yeast, spinach, organ meats, broccoli, red potatoes, and red meat. When it is orally ingested, alpha lipoic acid is not compromised in the GI tract or the liver.
Numerous studies have been conducted on ALA, all of which confirm its positive effect on metabolic processes, with recent clinical tests supporting its ability to enhance free-radical protection, slow the aging process, and guard against a variety of degenerative diseases. ALA was discovered in the 1930s, where it was originally classified as a vitamin, and later categorized as an essential coenzyme when scientists discovered that it was involved in the energy processes of cell mitochondria. It wasn’t until 1988 that scientists found that it also has powerful antioxidant effects.
Alpha lipoic acid is important because it protects us from free-radicals which are present in a body as a result of the number of toxic substances such as auto exhaust, tobacco smoke, pollution, preservatives, and additives that we are exposed to on a daily basis. These free radicals can actually accelerate the aging process, causing premature tissue breakdown to occur. Additionally, our environment will continue to surround us with these pollutants that create free radicals.
There are things we can do to minimize our health risks, which include exercising, eating nutritiously, and not smoking. However, these measures are rarely enough to decrease our risk for certain degenerative disease a substantial amount. ALA is beneficial because it scavenges oxidants that are left behind and helps to convert carbohydrates, fatty acids and protein to energy that is needed to drive muscle movements.
May 17, 2008 10:07 AM
Discovered by Phoebus Levene in 1905, D-ribose is a monosaccharide, and is a component of RNA that is needed for genetic transcription. It is a stereoisomer of ribose, and although not regarded as an essential nutrient since it is synthesized in the body, it is essential for life. It also takes part in human metabolism, helping to generate energy from food, and is a component of all living cells – animal or vegetable. It is contained in ATP and NADH and we could not live without it.
Because it is contained in all living organisms, D-ribose is a common component of the human diet, and required as a supplement only for specific needs. It for this reason that the human species developed and survived: the chemicals needed for life are either commonly found in nature or are manufactured by the body itself from other raw materials which themselves are common in our diet. The other stereoisomer is L-ribose, and this plays no part in human metabolism.
Energy is needed not only to enable us to walk and to run, but also to drive every part of human physiological activity, and all of the physical and chemical processes of life. Because of its nature energy cannot travel round the body in our bloodstream as if were a chemical entity, but must be released or generated where and when it is needed. For that reason every cell in our body contains an area called the mitochondria in which energy is generated. The molecule of energy, if there is such a thing, is called ATP, or adenosine triphosphate.
ATP controls the production of energy everywhere in the body, and allows muscles to contract and relax. This muscular activity is responsible for all movement, including the circulation of our blood through heart contractions, the diaphragm movement that creates the vacuum that allows us to breathe, and the operation of the digestive system by means of the peristaltic motion of the esophagus and the intestines. Each of the two ways in which ATP is generated involves D-ribose.
One is by means of D-ribose being used to produce new ATP, and the other is the recycling of used ATP. In the latter, D-ribose and ATP react to form ADP (adenosine diphosphate and D-ribose-5-phosphate with the release of energy. This diphosphate then reacts again with the ADP to produce new ATP and D-ribose. The reaction is catalyzed by an enzyme known as a ribokinase, a phosphotransferase that specifically catalyzes reactions involving phosphorus groups with an alcohol receptor group.
The heart muscle is operated by means of the calcium pump that depends upon both calcium and ATP for its operation. When ADP and phosphate are created by the effect of calcium and ATP coming together, then energy is provided to the muscle fibers of the heart. ADP then reacts with the phosphate and D-ribose in the presence of magnesium to reform the ATP. ATP is therefore essential for the continuation of the pumping action of the heart that maintains life in all mammals.
D-ribose is also part of the base of RNA and DNA, without which there could be no life. Because the cardiac muscle is easily depleted of ATP, the presence of D-ribose is of extreme importance and it has been proved that cardiac failure begins with the reduction in energy levels of the heart muscle that can be brought about by a lack of ATP in the muscle cells.
An important property of D-ribose is that it is unchanged by the liver, which is the chemical plant of your body in which a large part of the biochemistry needed for life takes place. This means that D-ribose can be taken in the diet and pass through the liver virtually unchanged, and then be transported in the bloodstream to where it is needed for the maintenance of ATP levels. That is why D-ribose is frequently given to treat heart attacks: because it can rapidly replace lost ATP and enable the calcium pump to get to work and keep the heart beating at its normal strength. Maintenance levels of this important sugar would not go amiss.
However, there are other uses to which the body can put this marvelous substance. Among these is the body’s ability to form Coenzyme A from it. This coenzyme is needed in the body for the breakdown of fatty acids, and many other chemical reactions, and also provides the raw material for many other necessary substances in human biochemistry.
Patients with low energy levels can frequently fail to be able to recover from illness. This is because that when illness stresses your body, your mitochondria become overwhelmed with work and begin to fail to produce sufficient ATP to keep the body going. Naturally, as your energy level drops, and your body cells are unable to respond to this, then the condition you are suffering from gets worse, and become stronger leading ultimately to possible death. Your immune system is put under a great deal of stress that uses up what little ATP you have left.
That is why when people start to get really ill, they tend to fade very rapidly: not because of the spread of the disease, but through a reduction in the ATP needed to provide the energy required for the body to fight the disease. Without an adequate supply of energy, your body would rapidly fade.
By taking a D-ribose supplement that passes unchanged right into your bloodstream and taken to where it is needed most, you body can rapidly generate sufficient ATP to keep up the fight against the agent that is making you ill. Your immune system is given a massive energy boost, and more importantly, your heart is kept beating. D-ribose is the answer to the prayer of many sick people, and also to athletes and bodybuilders needing quick bursts of energy. But what did they use before D-ribose was discovered to have the properties that it has?
At one time, it was adenosine monophosphate (that’s right, not ATP or ADP, but AMP) that was administered intravenously to those suffering from chronic fatigue, this substance being synthesized to ATP in the body over a period of time. However, it take a lot of time to be effective, and the injections had to be made daily into the muscle tissue, so it fell out of favor.
Then came an ATP supplement that could be taken orally, but the side effects were unpleasant, and that too went out of favor. However, towards the end of the 1990’s D-ribose was found to overcome all of these disadvantages, and not only be able to be taken orally, but also to work almost immediately by providing the mitochondria with a direct source of the sugar they need to generate energy.
It is now one of the most popular energy providing supplements on the market, and also a remedy for chronic fatigue that helps the patient to overcome energy-sapping medical conditions both directly and by providing the immune system with the energy needed to keep it operating effectively against masses of invading bacteria and viruses. There is nothing better than D-ribose for providing you with the energy boost that you need, whenever you require it, either to provide energy for your sport or to help you overcome illness.
May 09, 2008 11:09 AM
Colloidal trace minerals are just as important to our health and well being as vitamins. Practically since birth we have had it pounded into us that we must eat our vitamins if we are to be healthy. The fact is that vitamins are of little use to you without minerals which are as essential for your metabolism as any vitamin is.
The essential minerals are the inorganic equivalents of the essential organic vitamins. They work together to maintain the biochemistry that keeps you alive. Take calcium, for example. That is a mineral needed for healthy teeth and bones, among many other things, but it is no good without vitamin D. Magnesium and potassium are also needed for healthy bones. Take blood clotting: vitamin K is the blood clotting vitamin, but blood will not clot without calcium.
How is energy generated in your body from the carbohydrates and sugars that you eat? They are converted to glucose that is converted to energy in every cell in your body and used in-situ. Your heart gets the energy to beat from cells in the heart – energy does not float around the blood waiting to be used. It is generated by means of the production of a substance known as ATP – adenosine triphosphate of which phosphorus is an essential component. Without the mineral phosphate none of us would be alive – nor would any form of life for that matter. ATP is the universal molecule of life.
So far we have discussed some of the seven major minerals: calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, sodium and chlorine. There are many more that your body needs, and estimates vary from 45 to 70 trace minerals, without which you would find it difficult to function properly. Although your body can make many of the organic substances needed for life from vitamins, amino acids, fatty acids and proteins, it cannot make minerals which have to be taken in as part of your diet. They must be taken in your regular diet or as a supplement.
In the USA a major mineral is one that is needed in amounts greater than 100 mg (0.1g) a day, and trace minerals are required at less than 100 mg a day. So one that is needed at 100.1 is major, and one at 99.9 mg is trace. Is there a difference in the source of trace minerals, or would any source be good enough? The answer lies in the construction of the human body, and the way in which it absorbs minerals.
Your body is not designed to absorb metallic minerals. The way that such minerals are available in your diet is as part of larger organic molecules, and this is the way they must be taken as a supplement. Thus, you can’t just drink a soluble metal salt because it will pass straight through you with only around 5% absorption, if it doesn’t poison you first. For supplement purpose, metallic minerals are chelated, or combined with larger organic molecules such as proteins and amino acids, and this increases absorption to as high as 50%.
The necessity of trace minerals in the human diet was not discovered, as much as the result of a number of studies on various societies and remedies that appeared to have no basis for their effects. The Hunzas and Azerbaijanis, for example, are known to live very long lives, and investigations into this showed their diet was very rich in colloidal trace minerals from glacial water and food grown in soil enriched by that water.
It was through studies such as this and also investigation into the metabolites obtained from liver extracts that indicated the importance of many trace minerals. Take arsenic, for example. A known poison in larger quantities, trace quantities have been found to be metabolized by the liver, and while no studies have been carried out on the use of arsenic as a trace element in human biochemistry, studies on rats and human liver extracts have indicated that it could have a part to play in normal growth and reproduction.
Trace minerals take part in many enzyme reactions, and physicians now agree that many health conditions could be enzymic in origin. It follows, then, that trace elements are important in maintaining good health. It is certainly true that we cannot live without any of the seven major minerals. And it is just as certain that many of the trace minerals are just as import to human biochemistry as the major ones. It is certainly true of vegetables, which are less complex biological entities than humans, and if tomatoes need at least eight known minerals for good growth then it is certain that we will need a lot more. No studies are needed to convince us of that.
Take zinc, for example. Zinc is essential for proper liver function, wound healing and reproduction: spermatogenesis, the proper development of the primary and secondary male sex organs, and all area of the female reproduction process. Zinc is classed as a trace element, as is selenium, a deficiency of which can lead to heart disease, mental retardation and impaired function of the thyroid. Selenium deficiency is not common in the West but is in China where many areas are depleted of selenium. However, if zinc and selenium are known to be essential, how many of the other seventy or so trace minerals are also essential to human health?
The trace minerals in general are believed to protect us from some degenerative conditions, the effects of environmental pollution and help to protect us from the effects of an excessive intake of toxic minerals. Although there have been insufficient studies carried out on most trace minerals, it is known that they should be taken in chelated form, metallic in nature or not.
It is also known that such minerals should be taken as a balanced mixture as found in nature. A bullet approach, using an individual mineral to treat a certain condition, could lead to an imbalance in the body, and severe side effects, some of which might not yet be known. What is known is that certain minerals are tolerated by each other in specific relative concentrations, but if this balance is upset then they can inter-react and produce unpleasant side effects on, for example, the delicate balance of minerals in the blood.
It is becoming increasingly clear that modern farming methods have resulted in mineral depletion of the soil, and that our normal diet now only contains a small number of the minerals that our forefathers were taking. Plants draw up minerals from the soil when they grow, and we take in these when we consume them or the animals that live on them. Saturation of the soil year in year out by chemical fertilizers low in or devoid of trace minerals has resulted in a sterile environment for our feedstock, and has made colloidal trace mineral supplements almost mandatory for good health.
Today’s plants can contain fewer than 20 minerals, compared to the 70 plus of our ancestors. Life expectancy is increasing in spite of our increasingly poor diet rather than because of it, and is due more to medical advances than to advances in agriculture. A mineral supplement does seem necessary, but when you take one it should be balanced so that no one mineral is in excess at the expense of another.
This helps to reduce the possibility of overdosing on an individual substance while maintaining a natural balance of minerals in your body to make sure that your normal biochemistry is not interrupted by some deficiency or excess that has yet to be discovered. While this might seem a spurious argument, you can be certain that those in the past that used cadmium and lead as cosmetics would rather have known the effects of these toxic substances that eventually killed them.
So use chelated trace mineral by all means, but make sure that they are balanced and tested so that nothing is present that can upset the normal balance of minerals in your body. If they work for tomatoes they should work for you!
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?
Bilberry Extract Is A Powerful Antioxidant That Strengthens Veins
April 12, 2008 11:06 AM
Bilberry extract is taken from the Vaccinium myrtillus, or bilberry, a small blue berry that has been used traditionally for the treatment of conditions now known to be due to inflammation and the action of free radicals on the body.
Among these is atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, caused by the free radical oxidation of the low density lipids that carry cholesterol around the bloodstream, and that cause deposition of fatty plaques on the arterial walls and eventually constricts them to a stage that can cause heart failure or a stroke, depending on whether the arteries are close to the heart or in the brain.
However, additional to treating this condition, bilberry has also traditionally been used for the treatment of varicose veins and also for certain eye conditions. In fact it was during the Second World war that the Royal Air Force in Britain received reports from pilots that their night vision improved after eating bilberries. Not only their vision, but the restoration of night vision after exposure to glare.
This was extremely important to war-time pilots who had to be able to rapidly adapt their vision to fly their plane after exposure to searchlights and explosive detonations. That is the reason for anything that appeared to promote this essential adaptation to be reported.
The pharmacology of these effects have been found to be due to the anthocyanosides in which bilberries are particularly rich. Anthocyanosides consist of an anthocyanaidin backbone, to which one of either arabinose, galactose or glucose can be bound. Since bilberry contains five of these anthocyanadins, then there are fifteen different anthocyanosides in the fruit concentrate.
The area of the retina that appears to control night vision, and the transition from day to night sight, is called the epithelium which is connected with purple vision. Anthocyanosides seem to have an affinity for this part of the retina, and in so doing plays an important part in this type of vision, specifically night vision although it is also beneficial in improving day vision.
Although bilberry also contains vitamins A and C, hydroquinone and tannins, it is the anthocyanosides that provide it with its unique antioxidant properties, and also its effect upon collagen fibers. It can cross-link collagen fibers to help overcome weaknesses in the connective tissues such as cartilage, tendons and the walls of blood vessels.
Its effect as an antioxidant is to prevent the cleavage of collagen by the cyzymes that are secreted by leukocytes generated by the immune system. By preventing histamine release, and release of prostaglandins and other proteins and cells mobilized during the immune inflammatory response to the detection of foreign invasion into human tissue, anthocyanosides can help to reduce inflammation and to protect against other extreme reactions of the immune system that can harm the organism it evolved to protect.
The most powerful property of anthocyanosides are their antioxidant properties: perhaps even its only property once all of the conditions it helps to protect against are fully understood. An antioxidant combines with free radicals and destroys them. Free radicals are particularly vile chemical entities that require an electron to make them stable, and they take this electron from the nearest source. This can result in oxidation and destruction of many bodily tissues leading to premature aging, atherosclerosis, eye damage and many other problems that result from the destruction of body cells and tissue.
The various constituents that make up bilberry act in concert to scavenge the free radicals and increase the supply of oxygen to the eye. The benefits of this are in helping to prevent cataracts and glaucoma, the latter due to the effect of the anthocyanoside cross-linking effect on the structure of the collagen in the eye. It can also help in cases of macular degeneration that affects the central area of the retina which might be due to the same property of there glucoside.
Moving away from the eyes and back to the vascular system, the collagen cross-linking properties of the flavonoids, which is what anthocyanosides basically are, can help to repair damaged vein tissue by strengthening the vein walls themselves, and also by providing support for the cell membranes, or outer layers of the cells.
This in turn builds up more strength in the vein tissue below the outside walls and contributes to an overall reduction in the weakness of the vein. This in turn enables it better to withstand the internal pressure put upon it by the failure of the valve that created the problem. In this way bilberries can be used to help repair the damage done by varicose veins and improve the function of the vein in returning blood to the heart from the extremities of the legs and also to help reduce the pain and swelling of varicose veins.
In addition to these beneficial effects on the vascular system and the eyes, bilberry can also help to decrease the permeability of the blood-brain barrier to pollutants, drugs and other undesirable chemicals by improving the resistance of the capillaries in the brain to the transfer of such substances through their walls. It does so by preventing the collagen of the capillaries in the brain being degraded either by enzymes or other agents, Also, by helping to strengthen that collagen structure so that it becomes more impermeable to the larger molecules that form the pollutants.
A lesser known constituent of bilberry is myrtillin, an anthocyanoside monoglucoside that is also available in all green plants, that possesses anti-glycemic properties. What this means is that it can reduce hyperglycemia and glycosurea, and so reduce blood sugar without reducing the blood sugar level to dangerously low levels. In other words it is an ideal insulin substitute.
Native Americans used green plants for teas for centuries and were free from diabetes until the came into contact with Europeans and adopted their dietary habits. Although the case has to be proved, it appears highly likely that it was the myrtillin that kept them free from a condition that affects so many other races.
Irrespective of that, however, it is for its powerful antioxidant effect that bilberry finds its best use, and also its effects on varicose veins. However, all of the above health benefits that bilberry provides, can likely be laid at the door of the combined antioxidant effect of its vitamin C content and the anthocyanosides – including the glucoside myrtillin.
Ubiquinol Reduced CoQ10
April 07, 2008 01:05 PM
Ubiquinol, which is the reduced from of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), has been recently added to the supplement offerings of many companies and has generated a lot of confusion along with its excitement. As a supplement, ubiquinol is somewhat new, but as a critical part of human metabolism, our knowledge of ubiquinol goes back to the discovery of CoQ10. Although CoQ10 is often thought of as a “static” nutrient in the context of nutrition, it actually interchanges between two useful states: the oxidized ubiquinone, and the reduced ubiquinol.
Coenzyme Q10 is a member of a family of important biological compounds which are referred to as ubiquinones. It is a lipophilic, water-insoluble substance, which takes part in a large array of biochemical oxidation and reduction reactions. It was first identified in 1957 as an essential component of the energy production system in cells. CoQ10 and other members of the ubiquinone family have, since then, been identified as critical metabolic compounds in a range of aerobic organisms. Because of its crucial role in metabolism, humans have the ability to make their own CoQ10, although small amounts can be obtained through diet and as supplements.
In humans, CoQ10 is found in each cell in the body, but is particularly abundant in tissues which have large energy requirements such as the heart, liver, kidneys, and skeletal muscles. Smaller amounts can be found in the brain, lungs, and intestines. There are also substantial amounts that can be found in circulation, which are most often associated with lipoprotein particles. In total, CoQ10 in a normal adult has been estimated to be between 0.5 and 1.5 grams. Inside cells, about half of the CoQ10 is found within the mitochondria, where the final steps of CoQ10 production occur.
CoQ10 which is not located in areas of the cell and are not charge with producing cellular energy can amount to about 50-60 percent of the total CoQ10 pool. CoQ10 can be found throughout cell membranes and in other cellular structures such as the nucleus, cytoplasm, and endoplasmic reticulum. Some experimentation has also concluded that, while the final steps of CoQ10 production occur in the mitochondria, it can be exported to other sub-cellular locations.
While participating in various oxidation and reduction reactions, CoQ10 is cycled between two stable states: a fully oxidized form referred to as ubiquinone, and a fully reduced form called ubiquinol. CoQ10 cycles through these oxidated/reduced forms in order to achieve its metabolic goals. The cycle of CoQ10 is simple. Ubiquinone picks up electrons and then becomes ubiquinol. Ubiquinol then release its electrons and becomes ubiquinone again. Therefore, it would seem that CoQ10 has a very simple function of moving electrons, as the transfer of electrons is a fundamental step in the production of energy, the regeneration of antioxidants in cell membranes, and the construction of other important biological molecules. Each cell that is in the body needs a source of energy in order to survive. Therefore, sugars, fats, and amino acids are broken down in order to make energy.
In the mitochondria, CoQ10 is abundant, as it carries electrons to aid in the chemical reactions that burn cellular fuel and produce chemical energy to form ATP. Since substantial amounts of ATP are needed to power our cells, the importance of CoQ10 in human metabolism is easily understood. Both forms of CoQ10 are needed to transfer electrons between energy-producing reactions. Outside of the mitochondria, CoQ10 performs a slightly different role as a membrane and antioxidant. About half of the human body’s total CoQ10 pool may be functioning in this capacity. CoQ10 is one of the major antioxidant elements of the LDL particles and is also one of the first to be depleted when LDL is subjected to oxidation.
A discussion of CoQ10 would not be complete without mentioning its documented health benefits. Supplemental CoQ10 has been the subject of a lot of studies over the last half century, especially in applications for cardiovascular health. Many studies have shown benefits of CoQ10 in patients who are diagnosed with chronic heart failure, exercise-induced angina, hypertension, or those who have recently experienced infarction. There is also early evidence showing that CoQ10 may protect the heart from damage during chemotherapy, bypass surgery, or in diabetes. Aside from its cardiovascular uses, CoQ10 has been studied for its benefits in other conditions involving dysfunctions in cellular energetics, neurological degeneration, or oxidative stress damage. Although the clinical evidence for the potential benefit of CoQ10 in many of these applications shows promise, the variability in study outcomes proves it necessary to further research these areas for a more definite answer.
As we have previously seen, CoQ10 functions by cycling between two stable forms, ubiquinol and ubiquinone. This cycle results in the generation of cellular energy and the protection of membranes and lipids from oxidation. Dietary or supplemental CoQ10 also takes part in this cycle. Supplemental ubiquinol may have a distinct advantage over ubiquinone in its facility of absorption. Like many fats and lipophilic nutrients, CoQ10 is usually taken up by the intestinal electrolytes, packaged into lipid particles, and then released into the lymphatic system. From there, these particles are transferred into circulation where they are free to be transported throughout the body as needed.
The absorption of dietary CoQ10 is actually quite poor since it has limited solubility in lipids and depends on other contents of the gut. Some studies have measured that absorption is as low as 2-3 percent of the total dosage. One of the most thrilling consequences of the development of a stabilized dosage form of ubiquinol is its ability to be absorbed more efficiently than ubiquinone. There is evidence that CoQ10 must be reduced in intestinal enterocytes before the release into the lymphatic system. This, paired with absorption/reduction, may be a rate-limiting step of CoQ10 assimilation.
Dietary ubiquinol avoids this reduction reaction, and is directly available for absorption, which explains why ubiquinol-based CoQ10 supplements exhibit enhanced bioavailability over ubiquinone supplements. Preliminary studies in humans have shown that absorption of ubiquinol is at least double the absorption of ubiquinone. Comparisons of blood levels between trials also estimate the improvement in absorption to be significantly higher. Future studies are necessary to more accurately determine ubiquinol’s enhanced absorption, and what effect the patient age or medical condition may have on these results.
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.
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.
You Should Say: Please Pass the Broccoli, Not I’ll Pass
January 22, 2008 04:38 PM
'Please pass the broccoli': not something that many mothers hear from their children. In fact, not many children appear to like any green vegetables let alone broccoli. This is not important at such a young age, but there comes a time when the health benefits that broccoli brings become almost essential to your good health and well being. Parents are right, but your children won’t believe you.
Some say that the nutritional punch of broccoli is stronger than that of any other vegetable. Is this claim justified? Let’s have a look at the evidence and the facts and you can judge for yourself. First the ‘ordinary’ nutrients of broccoli: vitamin C (more than oranges) and A, folic acid and calcium and also lots and lots of fiber. However, this wonderful vegetable contains not only high levels of calcium, but is also the one of the richest vegetable sources of magnesium. Calcium needs magnesium in order to be properly incorporated into your bone structure, and so broccoli is a very important calcium/magnesium source for vegans that do not drink milk or eat any other dairy products.
It is also rich in protein, containing 3% by weight and is also rich in iron. It is therefore an important part of the diet of women during menstruation when iron is important to enable the blood to maintain its proper erythrocyte levels. A deficiency of iron in the diet of women can lead to anemia and render them more susceptible to infection. However, it is more than just iron that renders this vegetable an important part of the female diet. Broccoli has been established to be of major importance in preventing cancer.
It is likely the most potent anti-cancer vegetable in your diet, and it has been established over 20 years of study that broccoli can help to prevent cancers of the breast and the cervix. The indoles that it contains prevent estrogens from promoting tumor growth, and it also contains beta-carotene, a strong antioxidant that destroys the free radicals that can also cause cancer. However, there is more to broccoli than just that.
Broccoli contains the highest concentration of sulforaphane of all the cruciferous vegetables that include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, rocket and turnip, amongst many others. When you chew broccoli, the glucosinolate glucoraphan is converted to sulforaphane, not by the enzymes in your saliva, but by the actual physical damage done to the plant by the act of chewing. It could likely also be generated by hitting it with a hammer! It is glucosinolates that provide the slightly bitter taste many people experience when they eat vegetables such as brussels sprouts and broccoli, and that likely renders them somewhat unattractive to children!
Sulforaphane is an isothiocyanate containing the NCS functional group, and is actually bound loosely to the sugar as sulforaphane glucosinolate. It is the loose binding that allows it be released on chewing. Broccoli sprouts are its richest source, and it is a strong antioxidant which is why it is so effective in reducing the possibility of certain cancers.
When fighting cancers, your body produces phase-II enzymes, and since sulforaphane induces these enzymes, it stops the carcinogens before they can damage your DNA. This is achieved through the enhancement of the transcription of the proteins that suppress the tumors. In layman’s terms, it is the generation of tumor suppressant proteins from DNA that kills off the tumors before they can destroy the DNA.
There is even more however. Indoles have already been mentioned, and those in question are predominantly indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and 3,3-diindolylmethane (DIM). The latter is generated from the digestion of the former and possesses very potent anti-cancer properties. However, this indole can affect your health in ways other than just as an anti-cancer agent. It can modulate the immune system in a way that renders it suitable for the treatment of a number of viral infections, and is also believed to be a possible answer to the problem of bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics. It appears to operate synergistically with Interferon-Gamma, a cytokine that helps to prevent viruses from replicating within the cells of the body, to strengthen the MHC-I Complex, a part of the human genome that supports the immune response to viral attacks.
To put it plainly, broccoli can aid your resistance not only to certain cancers, but also to attack by viruses and some bacteria. It is not only cancers of the cervix and breast that broccoli can help to prevent, but also of the lung, prostate, larynx and bladder. I3C also helps to support the function of your liver in detoxifying your blood as well as supporting the cellular reproduction without which your body could not maintain itself after damage.
Broccoli is therefore an important vegetable to men as well as to women, not only for its anti-cancer properties, but also as a general antioxidant and consequent free radical scavenging properties. Its high fiber content is equally split between soluble and insoluble vegetable fiber, and so meets your dietary needs of both types.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli have been singled out by health organizations the world over as essential to your diet, and you should eat them regularly. Once daily would be good, but more is recommended if possible. As stated at the start, strong tasting vegetables containing glucosinolates might not be attractive to children and younger people, but their phytochemical content (the foresaid indoles and isothiocyanates) render them very potent antioxidants and anti-cancer foods.
Taken in relation to other foods, an ounce of broccoli contains as much calcium as a glass of milk, more vitamin C than a similar weight of orange, and a medium floret has more fiber than one slice of bran bread. It is rich in vitamin A and of course there are the other antioxidants and anti-cancer phytochemicals already detailed.
There are many ways of cooking broccoli to maintain its nutritional content, but if you do not like broccoli, then there are supplements available. You can purchase pure broccoli extract or an extract from a mixture of cruciferous vegetables. The choice is yours, but of one thing there can be no doubt. Broccoli is the king of green vegetables, and the nutrients it contains are not available in any other vegetable in such a concentrated and easy to assimilate form.
Your mom was right: it's not just 'eat your veg', but 'eat your broccoli'. No nutritional advice could be better than that. “Pass the broccoli please mom!”
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.
How to Manage Migraines Naturally: Magnesium - Feverfew - Butterbur - Ginger
December 21, 2007 10:41 AM
Before you can understand how to manage migraines naturally, it is necessary to understand exactly what they are and how certain treatments could work. It is not generally known that the word ‘migraine’ means ‘half the head’ because it frequently hurts only on the right or the left of the head of sufferer. Some people with migraines do feel pain on both sides at once, although this is not generally the case.
A migraine occurs in stages which are activated by fluctuations in the hormone content of the blood. The ‘aura’, when you see spots and flashing lights in front of your eyes, is the first stage of a migraine attack, and during this time the blood vessels in your neck and head are contracting. You could also find it difficult to concentrate and your fingers could feel cold. At this point they do not have the headache that starts when the blood vessels begin to dilate.
Rather than the contracted blood vessels slowly returning to normal, your hormones have an excessively strong reaction, and cause them to dilate rapidly and become much wider than they should be leading to a severe headache due to pressure on the nerves. Different hormones can be involves with each attack, and the range of effective natural treatments reflect this fact. During this period, your brain could swell slightly, your muscles can tense up and other things can happen to the chemical and hormonal balance of your body. That is why some herbal treatments work for some but not for others, and different people find different treatments effective for them. What works for you might not work for somebody else if their migraine has a different cause. Basically, though, migraines occur in two phases, one being associated with an excess of hormones and the other with a shortage.
It is not easy to live with a migraine since it can be completely debilitating. Some just have a severe headache, while others are affected for days at a time. The headache can become before and after the onset of the shimmering lights and other optical effects that are generated by the brain. It would certainly be useful if those prone to migraines had one or more of the possible natural remedies to hand since there is rarely time to seek to seek professional medical help once the migraine begins, and through the use of natural remedies a potentially bad attack could be nipped in the bud, and at least its effect on you reduced.
Magnesium is common in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and cabbage, whole grains, nuts and seeds. It is an essential mineral for human biochemistry, and is also needed with calcium for healthy bone development and maintenance.
Magnesium is a muscle relaxant, and relaxes the muscles of the blood vessels helping them to relax their dilatancy that cause the migraine pain. It is also useful to help the immune function, reduces blood pressure (by the same blood vessel relaxing mechanism) and also the rhythm of your heart. Magnesium therefore provides you with many health benefits, and though the western diet is not generally deficient in magnesium, some areas can be and a magnesium-containing supplement will not do you harm.
However, particularly high dose of magnesium can lead to nausea, diarrhea, low blood pressure and many other unpleasant side effects, so do not take more than the RDA (recommended daily allowance) in your supplement. Many studies have confirmed its effectiveness in reducing the symptoms of migraine, but not all studies have been successful. However, the condition is so debilitating to so many people, that it should be tried although not in excess. Make sure, however, that your doctor is informed since it could interfere with other medication you are taking for your migraine.
Riboflavin, vitamin B-2, is also believed to useful in reducing the duration and frequency of migraine attacks, working in much the same way as magnesium. It is known that there are many cases of people who suffer from vitamin B-2 deficiency also suffering from migraines, and a riboflavin supplement is also worth trying if you are a consistent victim of this condition.
Feverfew is the best known of the herbal remedies for migraine, and has been used for centuries in the treatment of fevers, headache, migraine and other painful conditions such as arthritis. The active ingredient is parthenolide, an anti-inflammatory that is also an anti-hyperalgesic, and that would explain its effect on reducing the pain. It also blocks lipolysaccharide-induced osteolysis by suppressing the activity of a eukaryotic transcription factor protein known as NF-kappaB that can cause a number of immune response problems, including inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, hence its use to relieve that condition.
Its effect on migraines could be explained by this activity in repressing the inflammatory response to certain stimuli that could be brought about by hormonal activity. Because it must be taken for a few weeks before the actual problem arises in order to be effective against it, feverfew is not effective to treat an existing attack, but to prevent future attacks. Double blind studies have proved its effectiveness in many tests, but not in all. However, if you take feverfew as a regular supplement in you diet, you might never have to try magnesium or vitamin B-2 supplements.
Some people swear by the leaves of feverfew, eating one per day which is easy way to take it. It is important, however, that you do so regularly, since it can take for up to 6 – 8 weeks for you to notice a reduction in your attacks. Don’t give up after 5 or 6 weeks, but continue, since the results will be well worth it. If you stop for a week or two you will have to start all over again. You might get a sore mouth and perhaps mouth ulcers to start with, but these will eventually go once your body is used to it.
You are probably best not to take if you are pregnant since it could cause you to abort. Otherwise, however, it has been shown to be effective in many severe cases. Feverfew is bitter, and can be used as a tea with other herbs, such as rosemary, lavender and sage. If you are taking warfarin, aspirin or other blood-thinning drugs, see your doctor first, and the same is true of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). If you are taking these for arthritis, the feverfew itself might be more effective!
If you are taking feverfew as a supplement using commercially available dried leaf then the recommended dosage is around 125mg of the dried leaf. It should contain at least 0.2% of parthenolide (0.25mg/daily), although other studies have indicated that a total of 0.7 mg parthenolide a day should be taken (100mg at 0.7%). Parthenolide is unstable so don’t take it after its sell by or best by date.
Butterbur is also useful in the treatment of migraines. The active ingredient here is petasin, a sesquiterpene ester that also has anti-inflammatory properties, all though it works in a different manner to feverfew. Here, it inhibits the activities of leukotriene generation in neutrophils and eosinophils, which indicates that it also possesses anti-allergenic properties that could help asthmatics that also suffer from migraines. It does not prevent the release of histamine, but does appear to reduce smooth muscle spasm.
You should never take the raw herb, only the extract, because it contains alkaloids that can harm you. The butterbur extract, however, is a perfectly safe supplement and found effective by many people in the treatment of migraine.
If your migraine is at the front of the head, then you should try ginger. Unlike feverfew, ginger works on a migraine as it is occurring, and improvement can be achieved for a bad migraine within half an hour. In fact if, like many people, you can feel a migraine coming on, half a teaspoon of freshly ground ginger can stop the pain before it starts.
Many herbal treatments for migraine include a combination of some of the above remedies, and many people swear by them. However, migraine treatment is very personal, and you should use what works best for you. If you are also taking other medical treatments however, please make sure that you refer to your physician before using any others, and that includes herbal remedies or supplements.