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Vitamins C and D: The Immune System Supplements You Need Darrell Miller 8/2/22
The evidence is undeniable: Green leafy vegetables take the prizewhen it comes to protecting eye health Darrell Miller 5/17/19
Eat (or drink) your vegetables: Make smoothies to maximize the lutein in spinach Darrell Miller 5/6/19
Men, here's a diet plan for a better memory: leafy greens, darkorange and red vegetables, berries, and a glass of OJ Darrell Miller 4/27/19
Study shows lutein can boost heart health Darrell Miller 3/27/19
What's The Difference Between Niacin And Niacinamide Darrell Miller 12/19/18
Health Watch: What Do You Know About Vitamin K? Darrell Miller 12/30/17
Cognitive decline may be slowed by leafy greens Darrell Miller 12/29/17
Lutein, found in leafy greens, may counter cognitive aging Darrell Miller 7/31/17
Acid Reflux Symptoms, Causes & Natural Treatments Darrell Miller 5/10/17
10 Muscle-Building Minerals You Don't Want to Miss in Your Diet Darrell Miller 1/28/17
Reverse osteoporosis naturally for strong and healthy bones Darrell Miller 12/10/16
The Benefits of Vitamin C Related to Skin, Nutrition & Health Darrell Miller 12/5/16
How to Build Strong Bones Darrell Miller 11/7/16
A Simple Thing As Taking A Breath Causes Us To Age Darrell Miller 11/22/15
CHANGING YOUR LIFE WITH MAGNESIUM Darrell Miller 10/31/14
Prevent Bone Loss Naturally Darrell Miller 11/17/13
LUTEIN Darrell Miller 10/22/13
What Causes High Blood Pressure And What Can Reduce And Prevent It? Darrell Miller 12/28/12
What Is Vitamin B-2 Riboflavon Good For? Darrell Miller 11/17/12
What Are The Health Benefits Of Magnesium? Darrell Miller 3/3/12
Why Involving Lutein In Your Diet Is Important Darrell Miller 2/29/12
Benefits Of Zeaxanthin Darrell Miller 2/7/12
Five Tips for Healthy Bones and Teeth Darrell Miller 5/19/11
Folic Acid Darrell Miller 10/30/08
Folic Acid Darrell Miller 8/19/08
Dandelion Darrell Miller 6/20/08
Beta Carotene Is The Safe To The Liver Form Of Vitamin A Darrell Miller 3/19/08
You Should Say: Please Pass the Broccoli, Not I’ll Pass Darrell Miller 1/22/08
Are Vegan Supplements Good For Strict Vegetarians? Darrell Miller 12/5/07
Learn about Bone Health! Darrell Miller 4/20/07
Is Fish Oil good for my heart? Darrell Miller 10/25/05
Immune Health - Herbs to Maintain A Healthy Immune System Darrell Miller 7/1/05
The important role the liver plays in maintaining health Darrell Miller 6/21/05
Anti-Aging Nutrients Darrell Miller 6/18/05
Vision Quest - help fight eye problems. Darrell Miller 6/18/05
Go Green - green foods may be the SWAT team that sets you free... Darrell Miller 6/12/05
Bone Power - Natures Plus Darrell Miller 6/11/05
Iron: The Body's LifeBlood Darrell Miller 6/10/05
Nutrients for Longevity Darrell Miller 6/10/05
Drinks Everywhere Darrell Miller 6/10/05
Take it to Heart - Lower Cholesterol Darrell Miller 6/9/05




Vitamins C and D: The Immune System Supplements You Need
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Date: August 02, 2022 05:39 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Vitamins C and D: The Immune System Supplements You Need

It's that time of year again. The leaves are changing color, the days are getting shorter, and people are starting to get sick. If you're looking for a way to boost your immune system, you may want to consider taking vitamins C and D. These two essential nutrients have been shown to be beneficial for immune health, and can help keep you healthy during the cold and flu season. Lets discuss the benefits of Vitamins C and D for immunity, as well as how to get them into your diet.

What are Vitamins C and D, and what do they do for the immune system?

vitamins C and D are essential nutrients that play a vital role in supporting the immune system. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect cells from damage, while vitamin D helps to regulate the body's response to infection. Both vitamins are found in a variety of foods, including citrus fruits, leafy greens, eggs, and fatty fish. In addition, both vitamins can also be taken as supplements. While both vitamins are important for immune system health, vitamin C is particularly critical during times of heightened stress or illness, as it helps to boost the body's production of white blood cells. Vitamin D, on the other hand, is essential for maintaining a healthy balance of inflammation in the body. Without adequate levels of vitamin D, the body may become excessively reactive to foreign invaders, leading to chronic inflammation and a higher risk of infection. Together, vitamins C and D play an important role in keeping the immune system functioning properly.

Are there any side effects associated with taking too much of these vitamins?

Although you can get vitamins C and D through your diet, sometimes it's not enough to boost your immune system. The only way to ensure you're getting enough of these essential vitamins is to supplement your diet with pills or injections. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, and leafy green vegetables. However, your body can't store vitamin C, so you need to consume it on a daily basis. Vitamin D is found in fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified milk. However, most people don't get enough vitamin D from their diet and need to supplement it with pills or injections. Supplementing your diet with vitamins C and D is the only way to ensure you're getting enough of these essential nutrients to boost your immune system.

How can you make sure that you're getting the most out of your vitamins C and D supplements for immune health?

When it comes to vitamins C and D, there are a few things you can do to make sure you're getting the most out of them. First, vitamin C should be taken in divided doses throughout the day. This ensures that your body has a constant supply of the vitamin and can make use of it more efficiently. Second, vitamin D can be taken once per day. Finally, remember to take your vitamins with food. This ensures that your body gets the full benefits of the nutrients and doesn't waste any of them. By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that you're getting the most out of your vitamins C and D.

What are some other ways to boost your immune system during the cold and flu season?

While there are many products on the market that claim to boost your immune system, there is no magic pill that can protect you from colds and flu. However, there are a few simple steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting sick. First, make sure you're getting enough sleep. Sleep helps your body to repair and regenerate cells, which is essential for maintaining a strong immune system. Second, eat a healthy diet. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables will give your body the nutrients it needs to fight off infection. Finally, try to reduce stress. Stress can weaken your immune system, so it's important to find ways to relax and de-stress. Taking these simple steps will help you stay healthy during cold and flu season.

It's important to get enough vitamins C and D to boost your immune system. You can do this by supplementing your diet with pills, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep. By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that you're getting the most out of your vitamins C and D supplements and keep your immune system functioning properly during cold and flu season.

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The evidence is undeniable: Green leafy vegetables take the prizewhen it comes to protecting eye health
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Date: May 17, 2019 04:28 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: The evidence is undeniable: Green leafy vegetables take the prizewhen it comes to protecting eye health





One consequence of glaucoma is vision loss or blindness. It is estimated that leafy green vegetables like kale, broccoli and other vegetables are full of minerals and vitamins that prevent diseases like diabetes and heart disease. The question the author wants to answer is whether these leafy vegetables can help in preventing glaucoma. The conclusion of the author is that there is a link between leafy green vegetables and prevention of glaucoma. In fact, it can help prevent the disease. This conclusion was based on a recent study that was conducted by researchers at the Harvard Medical school. Glaucoma is a eye disease that can affect one’s vision leading to vision loss progressively. The common glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma. It leads to vision loss without any symptoms or sign. It is estimated that three million Americans are affected with glaucoma and 120,000 people will lose their sight due to having glaucoma. But why is glaucoma produced? This is due to an imbalance in the drainage of the aqueous humor. The researchers analyzed people’s diet and came to the conclusion that leafy green vegetables should be used as a treatment option.

Key Takeaways:

  • Eating more green, leafy vegetables can assist in decreasing the risk of developing glaucoma.
  • A key to why these vegetables are effective is that they help with blood flow near the optic nerve.
  • These vegetables also help with lowering other diseases like those that affect the heart and diabetes.

"The study was published in the Journal of American Medical Association Ophthalmology, and it was conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School."

Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-17-green-leafy-vegetables-improve-eye-health.html

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=6334)


Eat (or drink) your vegetables: Make smoothies to maximize the lutein in spinach
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Date: May 06, 2019 03:40 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Eat (or drink) your vegetables: Make smoothies to maximize the lutein in spinach





Spinach, one of the healthiest vegetables available, and it contains a high amount of lutein. The best way to get this lutein is to blend it in a smoothie or add it to a green juice. Because lutein is fat-soluble and stored in the immune cells, the researchers for this study were looking for ways to boost lutein levels in the blood and take advantage of its many health benefits. The research team that came from Sweden used Spinach to understand this process and they processed spinach in various ways, examining various heating and steaming methods to best bolster lutein content in spinach. They found that heating makes spinach to lose its lutein content and the more it is boiled, the more lutein that is lost. They found that the best way to consume spinach to preserve its lutein content is to take it cold. Therefore that is why adding spinach to smoothies is recommended for maximum consumption of lutein in spinach.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dark green vegetables contain abundant quantities of lutein and this natural fat-soluble pigment can be used to fight inflammation in immune cells for people with coronary heart disease.
  • It has also been found that lutein can be stored in immune cells which means one can have a reserve or store of lutein in the body.
  • The research team wanted to find out which method of cooking makes lutein in spinach most available and they fried, steamed, and boiled the spinach for several minutes.

"There are many different ways of preparing spinach, but a recent study suggests that blending it in a smoothie or adding it to your green juice is the best way to maximize its lutein content."

Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-21-eat-or-drink-your-vegetables-make-smoothies-to-maximize-the-lutein-in-spinach.html

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=6266)


Men, here's a diet plan for a better memory: leafy greens, darkorange and red vegetables, berries, and a glass of OJ
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Date: April 27, 2019 10:00 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Men, here's a diet plan for a better memory: leafy greens, darkorange and red vegetables, berries, and a glass of OJ





According to a recent Harvard University study, the optimal diet for men who want to maintain strong cognitive health consists of eating leafy green vegetables, berries, orange and red vegetables, and orange juice. Researcher Changzheng Yuan studied 28,000 men over the course of 20 years, tracking their dietary habits and periodically testing their cognitive skills. The group that consumed the most vegetables, about six servings per day, performed better on thinking skills tests than the group that ate half that. There was also a positive association found between eating fruits and overall brain health.

Key Takeaways:

  • One study, centering on cognition, set out to track nearly 3000 men for two decades.
  • All the study participants were human adult, male professionals in the health field.
  • Every participant was questioned about specific food usage upon their entry and at four year intervals thereafter.

"Yuan noted that participants who ate all these fruits and vegetables at the start of the study – 20 years ago – enjoyed better cognitive and memory skills."

Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-05-a-diet-plan-for-a-better-memory.html

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=6204)


Study shows lutein can boost heart health
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Date: March 27, 2019 02:24 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Study shows lutein can boost heart health





Many people consume lutein, either as a supplement in in vegetables containing lutein, because it can provide protection from diseases of the eye. A recent study has shown that lutein can protect the heart as well. Researchers found some correlation between higher levels of lutein in the bloodstream and a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a medical term for a group of conditions including abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, and high triglycerides. Lutein, a carotenoid, is found in dark, leafy green vegetables.

Key Takeaways:

  • Carrot and kale contain the carotenoid lutein that is useful for good eye health. But it has been shown that this compound is also good for the heart.
  • Lutein, a carotenoid, can both help protect the eyes and improve eye health, while reducing the risk of developing both cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
  • To carry out their study, the scientists first concentrated on current research on lutein. They gathered 4,377 studies that were narrowed down to 71 most relevant studies.

"Dr. Elizabeth Leermakers decided to look into “lutein’s positive effects against inflammation and oxidative stresses in the eyes,” and together with a team of researchers, she searched for links between the presence of lutein (or a lack of the carotenoid) and diseases caused by stressors like heart attack, metabolic syndrome, and stroke."

Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-27-lutein-can-boost-heart-health.html

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=6099)


What's The Difference Between Niacin And Niacinamide
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Date: December 19, 2018 08:31 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: What's The Difference Between Niacin And Niacinamide

When it comes to Vitamin B3, not all forms of Niacin are created equally. Aside from the risk of allergens and impurities, there are also separate forms with critical distinctions. The pure form is made solely of nicotinic acid which causes the flushing effect when it is taken by humans. The flushing effect is a redness that starts in the face and expands outwards through the rest of the body. It can make the skin feel warm, dry, and itchy for half an hour. The flushing effect is associated with vascular dilation that helps open up the tiny capillaries and blood vessels to clean out all the toxic junk they may have accumulated.

Nicotinic Acid Lowers Cholesterol

Nicotinic acid is also associated with increasing HDL levels in the body to prevent heart disease and plaques from accumulating on the interior walls of arteries. Nicotinic acid is also known to lower the LDL and VLDL bad cholesterols that clog up arteries and lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Other Benefits of Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 plays a critical role in building enzymes that help us carry out over 200 physical functions in the body. It is not produced naturally but is absorbed from foods such as yeast, green vegetables, milk, eggs, legumes, and fish. Aside from cardiovascular health, it plays a critical role in nervous health and sex hormone production.

How Does Niacinamide Differ?

Niacinamide is a water-soluble form of Niacin that is used to treat deficiencies or for therapies when patients need to take higher doses regularly to treat pellegra and the deficiencies that lead to it. When an excess of Niacin is built up in the body, your body may store it in this form. The chief distinction between this water-soluable hybrid and nicotinic acid is the effect on cholesterol and vascular dilation. Although flushing can be reduced by taking nicotinic acid daily and building up a tolerance to the effects, it is harder on the liver and more burdensome on the body to metabolize it in the high doses used for therapy of many illnesses: ADHD, Schizophrenia, nervous problems, migraines, and arthritis, among others. It is the preferred choice for maintaining a consistent and steady level of Vitamin B3 in the body and loaded into many beauty and skin products for women.

What Other Forms Can I Take?

You can take any form of the vitamin on a daily basis or supplement it with nicotinic acid when you need some additional flushing effect. You will notice that Niacinamide causes some symptoms of drying and itching that are similar to flushing when you take it in high doses. The no-flush formulation is called inositol hexanicotinate and made up from Vitamins B3 and Inositol Vitamin B8. The inositol acts as an additional buffer that makes inositol hexanicotinate easy to digest and take 1600 mg without side-effects: nausea, itching, flushing, dizziness, gout, liver damage, diabetes. Although multi-vitamin formulas and even fortified foods like breakfast shakes and cereals suggest that you are getting a full dose of B3 in each serving, this is very unlikely. The better choice is to take specifically formulated capsules rather than multivitamins if you are using it for therapeutic reasons.

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Health Watch: What Do You Know About Vitamin K?
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Date: December 30, 2017 03:59 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Health Watch: What Do You Know About Vitamin K?





Most people are familiar with benefits of vitamins. The most common vitamins with which people are familiar are A, B, C, D and E. However few people know about the benefits of vitamin K. It derives from the German word Koagulation which is similar to the English word coagulation. That refers to blood clotting. Most people are not deficient in vitamin K unless they suffer from malnourishment. Babies are usually given a shot of vitamin k within a day of birth to stimulate coagulation. There are a number of forms of vitamin K with K1 being the most common. It is also the one present in green vegetables. When people have blood clots, strokes or abnormal heart rhythms, doctors often prescribe anti K drugs such as warfarin which act as anticoagulants. Food high in vitamin K can aid in having a healthy heart. Foods that are high in vitamin K include green vegetables such as kale, spinach, collard greens, parsley, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Fruit , milk and meat also have vitamin k in different quantites. Vitamin K also comes in K2 and K3 versions which also aid in bone health. In fact study of 72,000 women over a decade followed by the The Nurses' Health Study found that those with less than 109 micrograms a day of vitamin K were 30% more likely to suffer a hip fracture. Overall Americans are not eating enough vitamin K. Eating more would promote healthier cardiovascular systems and stronger bones.

Key Takeaways:

  • Vitamin K is required by the human body for coagulation or clotting of blood.
  • Dietary sources of Vitamin K include but are not limited to kale, blueberries, spinach, mustard greens, and broccoli.
  • Some anticoagulant medications may interfere with the action of Vitamin K.

"K2, as well as K1, are believed to play an important role in bone health; low levels have been associated with an increased risk of both osteoporosis and arthritis."

Read more: http://www.caledonianrecord.com/features/health/health-watch-what-do-you-know-about-vitamin-k/article_b2ae97dd-2bd4-57df-8a42-307a4d5fe6a0.html

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=5465)


Cognitive decline may be slowed by leafy greens
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Date: December 29, 2017 07:59 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Cognitive decline may be slowed by leafy greens





New research out of Chicago's Rush University Medical Center have shown positive links between a daily serving of green, leafy vegetables and a cognitive function. This functional slip may even be slowed by eleven years due to green, leafy vegetables. The study lasted almost five years, and helped demonstrate this hypothesis. Most importantly, none of the participants showed signs of dementia before the study, so their cognitive function was still high before the study even if the average age was 81.

Key Takeaways:

  • Eating just 1 serving of leafy green vegetables a day can help preserve memory and thinking skills.
  • The study was conducted over 4.7 years with participants aged 81 years old with no dementia
  • Although all participants had a decline in brain functioning, those who ate the most leafy vegetables saw the least decline-0.05 standardized units slower than participants who ate less greens

"According to a new study conducted by Chicago's Rush University Medical Center, just one serving of leafy green vegetables per day could help preserve memory and thinking skills as we get older."

Read more: https://newatlas.com/leafy-greens-cognitive-decline/52737/

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Lutein, found in leafy greens, may counter cognitive aging
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Date: July 31, 2017 12:14 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Lutein, found in leafy greens, may counter cognitive aging





A website that reports on science news has an article summarizing a scientific study about lutein. This is a substance found in leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale. A university study was conducted on subjects in the age 25 to 45 range. The study found that those subjects who had higher levels of lutein were neurologically closer to younger people. The article cited its source and included a link to the study. A photo of an avocado smoothie is included.

Key Takeaways:

  • Spinach and kale can keep you both physically and mentally fit.
  • Lute in, found in green leafy vegetables , is important to get from food sources because it's not naturally found in the body.
  • This study proved lute in helped attention function in older adults but more studies are necessary to assess memory and learning.

"The study, which included 60 adults aged 25 to 45, found that middle-aged participants with higher levels of lutein -- a nutrient found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, as well as avocados and eggs -- had neural responses that were more on par with younger individuals than with their peers."

Read more: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170725122004.htm

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=5066)


Acid Reflux Symptoms, Causes & Natural Treatments
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Date: May 10, 2017 03:44 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Acid Reflux Symptoms, Causes & Natural Treatments





Acid reflux is a common condition that can cause a range of issues ranging from mild discomfort all the way up to causing cancer. The signs of acid reflux vary but are typically a discomfort burning feeling in the chest. Treatments can range from specialty diets to prescription drugs. Some foods to avoid are alcohol, fried foods and spicy foods. Foods high in healthy fats and enzymes tend to help reduce acid reflux. Probiotics and chamomile are two other natural options to help control reflux.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are a variety of symptoms of acid reflux including nausea.
  • Acid flux can be solved by changing your diet to foods including green vegetables.
  • There are many conventional methods in easing acid reflux including fasting.

"Contrary to popular belief (and what many pharmaceutical companies say in advertisements), acid reflux symptoms are not caused by too much acid in the stomach."

Read more: https://draxe.com/acid-reflux-symptoms/

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=4583)


10 Muscle-Building Minerals You Don't Want to Miss in Your Diet
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Date: January 28, 2017 10:59 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: 10 Muscle-Building Minerals You Don't Want to Miss in Your Diet





Exercise alone will not get you into the shape you want. You must also put good things into your body. The most important part of a good diet is to get the essential nutrients your body needs to function properly. Copper, iodine, zinc, and magnesium are just a few of the minerals that your body uses every day to regulate its functions. There are many others that we can get from certain healthy foods, that will help your body perform at its best and burn off the fat.

Key Takeaways:

  • A good source of copper is liver, of all things. But if that doesn’t get your mouth watering, you can also find it in foods like almonds, sunflower seeds, and shellfish.
  • Foods rich in zinc include poultry and red meats, or beans and nuts for vegetarians.
  • You’ll get plenty of magnesium by eating green vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

"If you want to look good, you have to eat well. There’s really no getting around it. You can spend hours at the gym and probably build a good physique."



Reference:

https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=//www.cheatsheet.com/health-fitness/muscle-building-minerals-dont-want-miss-diet.html/%3Fa%3Dviewall&ct=ga&cd=CAIyGmY4MTYyZmQ1NTMyNTY3NGQ6Y29tOmVuOlVT&usg=AFQjCNF5vElW-LeIIzRKwHh2SLHgjD_15w

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=3840)


Reverse osteoporosis naturally for strong and healthy bones
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Date: December 10, 2016 10:59 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Reverse osteoporosis naturally for strong and healthy bones





Want to know how to keep your bones healthy and avoid osteoporosis? You should! There are three lifestyle changes you can make to avoid and even reverse osteoporosis naturally: eat foods that support your bones, use specific natural remedies, avoid these common things, and exercise. It's never too late to begin protecting your bones!

Key Takeaways:

  • Bones, like the rest of our body parts, are living material. They’re in a constant state of remodeling, breaking down and building up.
  • We know that for women, post-menopause, estrogen levels take a nosedive and bone loss speeds up. Estrogen plays a role in laying down healthy new bone in the body.
  • Foods good for your bones are broccoli, leafy green vegetables (can you ever get enough kale?), tofu, almonds, beans, and sesame seeds.

"Dairy, like cheese and ice cream in particular, is acidic, whereas your body is better off with food with a more alkaline pH. When you eat a lot of dairy, your body pulls calcium from your bones to try to neutralize the acidity."



Reference:

https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=//www.belmarrahealth.com/reverse-osteoporosis-naturally-strong-healthy-bones/&ct=ga&cd=CAIyGmU0N2NhMzY3ZTc4ODMzY2U6Y29tOmVuOlVT&usg=AFQjCNEtkCfVoHtYAg07PQUzJTzimkw9yQ

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=3613)


The Benefits of Vitamin C Related to Skin, Nutrition & Health
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Date: December 05, 2016 07:59 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: The Benefits of Vitamin C Related to Skin, Nutrition & Health





Vitamin C is one of many essential nutrients that our bodies require to function properly. The list of benefits of getting the proper amount of this vitamin is quite long. Some of the main effects of vitamin C include stimulating the immune system to avoid illness and help in collagen production to discourage signs of aging and maintain connective tissues. Many foods can have vitamin C artificially added these days, so it’s important to read labels. Foods that naturally provide this wonder-supplement include citrus fruits, green vegetables, strawberries, milk, and potatoes.

Key Takeaways:

  • body requires a lot of vitamins on a daily basis in order to stay healthy. Vitamin C is one of these and its benefits are very much a major player in making sure the body stays healthy.
  • The development and maintenance of connective tissues such as such as fat, muscle and your bone structure.
  • It’s a powerful antioxidant that protects blood cells and your eyes.

"Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate is an necessary nutrient for humans and certain other animal species, in which it functions as a vitamin."



Reference:

https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=//infloria.com/the-benefits-of-vitamin-c-related-to-skin-nutrition-health/&ct=ga&cd=CAIyGjVkYjY3ZDViNDdiNGM3ZTc6Y29tOmVuOlVT&usg=AFQjCNFNxtVG6xULNyHsFOpIuoK3SHMIUw

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=3571)


How to Build Strong Bones
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Date: November 07, 2016 02:31 AM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: How to Build Strong Bones

You often heard your mother keep saying it when you were younger; also you hear your doctor say it even now "If you don't drink your milk, your bones will get weak."


Weak bones, joint pains due to lack of calcium and other vitamin deficiencies are fast becoming common. If you are amongst those who suffers from either, it is important that besides your weekly visit to your chiropractor, you also chalk out a healthy diet that is essentially good for your bones. There are plenty of bone-building foods that contribute to stronger bones, lesser joint pains and healthier bodies.


Foods Essential for the Bones

  • Nuts- Most nuts, particularly walnuts contain omega 3 fatty acids that help in reducing bone breakdown. Brazil nuts are an excellent source of magnesium, much needed for bone formation and strengthening. Peanuts and almonds are packed with potassium and are an excellent source of protein which helps keep the bones strong.
  • Milk- Milk and most dairy products like cheese and yogurt are excellent sources of calcium. Everybody knows the role calcium plays in building strong bones, teeth, and nails. Thus at least 2 cups of milk and milk products must be consumed daily to get the body's required calcium content.
  • Seeds- Almost all seeds like flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and even sesame seeds are extremely rich in nutrients and vitamins, specifically the bone-building mineral magnesium.
  • Leafy Vegetables- Vitamin K cuts calcium loss in urine, and its deficiency is known to increase the risk of hip fractures. Leafy green vegetables contain Vitamin K, Calcium, and Magnesium which are crucial to bone development.
  • Eggs- The yolk of an egg can give you about 6 % of the Vitamin D required by your body. Whole eggs are thus considered very good for bones. They are also high in protein.
  • Soy Milk- Lactose intolerance is common amongst Americans and soy milk is thus an excellent option for all those looking to get their dose of calcium but allergic to milk. Tofu is another food rich in calcium that can be consumed for better bone mass.
  • Fish- Salmon, Sardines, and Tuna are all excellent food to consume for bone building and strengthening. These fish contain extremely high levels of vitamin D and also omega 3 fatty acids essential for health and constant bone formation.

Multivitamins and calcium supplements will provide only so much of the required vitamin content of your body; moreover, they are expensive and not always natural. Finally, they are medicines that should be avoided.

Bones are made up of live cells that break down and build up every day and to assist and speed up this process, particularly of formation, ample amount of bone-building foods must be consumed. Most foods that contain Vitamin D and K or are rich in Calcium and Magnesium are perfect for strong, healthy bones and a painless lifestyle

So now you understand the natural method to build strong bones by retaining your calcium through a diet high in vegetables content and vegetables and then some more vegetables!



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A Simple Thing As Taking A Breath Causes Us To Age
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Date: November 22, 2015 05:28 PM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: A Simple Thing As Taking A Breath Causes Us To Age

We are often told that stress level accelerates the process of aging. But, is there any kind of scientific evidence to prove this perception? Some of the results of scientific studies have already suggested that, oxidative stress has a negative impact on both physical and emotional health.

Breathing oxygen leads to the formation of ROS or reactive oxygen species within the body, which is essential for the cellular signaling process. Aerobic metabolism results in the generation of small amounts of ROS and free radicals. This is necessary for the normal functioning of the human body. But, there is a specific reason for which the ROS carry negative connotations. Whenever our body’s antioxidant defense mechanism malfunctions, the balance between oxidant and antioxidant gets spoiled. The circulative level of ROS moves out of control and causes a disturbance in the redox signaling and control and further damages the macromolecules, cells and tissues. The DNA damage response is a hierarchical procedure.

It has been widely recognized that, oxidative stress is one of the primary factors, which makes the aging process faster.

Best Anti-Aging Diet

What you eat has a great impact on how you are feeling and how you are aging. If you eat right, it will contribute to a great extent to keep your skin young and healthy. Antioxidants help stop unstable molecules from damaging healthy cells. You will get antioxidants in colorful fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, blueberries, leafy greens, dark red tomatoes, etc. So, your goal is to consume at least half plates of fruits and vegetables in each of your meals.

Vitamin C, zinc and beta carotene are three main antioxidants, which protects the eyes from macular degeneration and poor vision. Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, mustard greens, spinach and collard are great sources of these nutrients. Foods like oranges, corns and pepper also help to keep your eye healthy. Vitamin C is also beneficial for the skin. Some studies have also suggested that, daily consumption of yellow and green vegetables helps lessen the wrinkles of the skin.

Resveratrol is another powerful antioxidant, which is highly present in grapes and red wine. It not only lowers the aging process, but, also lowers the chances of cancer and heart disease. Studies have also revealed that, nuts are rich sources of unsaturated fats. They are also great sources of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals like antioxidants. Thus, it helps to keep the skin healthy and young.

Beans and lentils are great sources of fiber and plant-based protein. They are very beneficial for protecting you from early aging. So, you can easily consume them instead of red meat, which have saturated fat and are not great for your heart.

Dairy products like low-fat milk, yogurt, etc. are also great options for slowing down your aging process. If you do not eat dairy, you can replace them with soya milk, almond milk or cereals.

Try out these antioxidant rich foods and stay young for many years to come. Antioxidant Supplements are also available in the market.

References

//www.brunswicklabs.com/blog/default-blog/oxidative-stress-effects-on-lipids-proteins-and-dna

//www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/healthy_aging/7_anti_aging_superfoods

//www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/anti-aging-diet?page=2


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CHANGING YOUR LIFE WITH MAGNESIUM
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Date: October 31, 2014 06:05 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: CHANGING YOUR LIFE WITH MAGNESIUM


Do you want to get some information about Magnesium?

Magnesium has been found to be working in other ways to contribute in preserving the nervous system. Before the end of 20th Century, specialized doctors had established that injection of magnesium in our bodies exerts a depressant effect on the nerves. In fact, the main use of this mineral in early times was to induce sleep. Significantly, any hibernating animal have high levels of magnesium. The mineral has also shown effectiveness in control of convulsion in pregnant women, the shakes in alcoholic and epileptic seizure.

MAGNESIUM CALMING THE NERVOUS SYSTEM

One of paradoxical effect is that, a magnesium deficient person who end up taking magnesium will feel energetic than never before yet the mineral is not a stimulant but rather a depressant. Actually, magnesium normally relieves the irritability of nervous system and the excessive energy, which will result to fatigue.

With this, it will not be surprising to say that when an individual magnesium levels is sub-normal then the nerves will not be in a position of controlling functions such as muscle movement, mental processes and respiration. Irregular heartbeat, twitching, irritability and largely nervous fatigue are the most frequent symptoms of magnesium depletion.

Often, deficiency of magnesium is because of failure on individual side to obtain to use dietary sources such as eggs, wheat germ, green vegetables, cocoa, almonds, soybeans, desiccated liver among many other. However, in some instances, coexisting illness can impair absorption of this mineral, for example the intestinal infections. In such an instant, ingested magnesium may be lost completely in the body and majorly in the nervous system.

PENN of Columbia University published the information of essential of magnesium to nervous system first in 1966. He studied the conduction of electricity by the nerves. The main finding was that calcium is the prime conductor mineral of the electrical current. It was concluded from the finding that Magnesium would in turn maintain the required level of calcium in the nervous system. Actually, Magnesium is Do you want to get some information about Magnesium? The nutrient that is likely to change your living standards by improving your nerve health.

References

1. THE MAGNESIUM ONLINE LIBRARY.

2. // WWW.MGWATER.COM/


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Prevent Bone Loss Naturally
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Date: November 17, 2013 02:16 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Prevent Bone Loss Naturally

What is Bone Loss

bone loss

Bone loss is the condition that results when the body cannot make new bone quickly enough to replace old bone that is broken down. Contrary to popular belief, bone is not just a solid structure, rather a living tissue that replaces itself through the process of destroying and creating new. If bone loss is not treated, the bones become very weak and are prone to break, a condition known as osteoperosis.

Risk Factors for Bone Loss

There are several different risk factors for bone loss and essentially osteoperosis. While this can include age, gender and even body composition, nutrition can also play an equally important role. Those who do not obtain enough Vitamin D, calcium or magnesium in the diet are more likely to suffer from this problem. However, there are several preventative actions and treatments which may be available.

Prevention and Treatment

Obtaining the recommended daily allowances (RDA) of calcium, Vitamin D and magnesium can help prevent and even aid in the treatment of bone loss. While milk is most often boasted for being the best source, this is not entirely so. First and foremost, not everyone enjoys or can tolerate milk and milk based products, meaning that this may not be the best option. Costly prescription drugs are an option, but these are not necessary.

An acidic body can draw out calcium and other minerals.  Eating lots of green vegetables along with taking a calcium supplement can balance the body and bring its pH up to the needed 7.0 - 7.3 that is needed for good health and wellness.

Alternate Remedies

Those that wish to prevent or obtain alternate treatment for bone loss will have a variety of options available to them. However, supplements may be the best choice for many consumers. Magnesium, Vitamin D and calcium supplements are an affordable option that are available over-the-counter. There are no amounts to keep up with, just a once-a-day oral form that is quick-and-easy. These products are perfectly safe and can be great for the lactose intolerant or those who simply are not a fan of milk. Recent studies suggest that we need a lot more vitamin D in the body.  2000IU to 5000IU are recommended on a daily basis.

References:

  1. What is Bone Loss? eMedicine, WebMD, 2013. Accessed 11, November 2013. //www.emedicinehealth.com/what_is_bone_loss/article_em.htm.

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LUTEIN
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Date: October 22, 2013 11:51 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: LUTEIN

LUTEINluteinfruit

Lutein is referred to as an antioxidant carotenoid which is simply a pigmented nutrient that is. How does Lutein helps the eyes. Lutein is responsible for the yellow colours found in fruits and vegetables. It is present in high quantities in leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, corn, orange juice, grapes, broccoli and yellow carrots and is dark in colour. Lutein is obtained by animals either directly or indirectly from plants and employed by them as an antioxidant and also for absorption of blue light. Each and every individual was born with a certain amount of lutein in your eye but it is not produced in the body.

Where is lutein found in the body

The region of the retina responsible for central vision is called the macula. This area is sensitive to blue light and upon exposure to too much light can cause damage to the eyes. Lutein helps to protect this damage by filtering blue light before it can cause damage to the macula.

Also it is evident that lutein in food protects against cataracts as well as macular degeneration that are the common eye disorders. Lutein together with another carotenoid called zeaxanthin form the yellow pigment found in the retina and absorbs blue light that is a harmful component of the sunlight. Lutein is also may help protect carotid arteries found on the neck from clogging which is an indication of atherosclerosis that is a disease that leads to heart attacks.

Conclusion

If you do not eat properly, the amount of lutein in the eyes may deplete as you age. Your body doesn’t make lutein therefore it is recommended that you replace this through eating fruits and vegetables that are good sources of lutein. You can also get zeaxanthin in oranges, orange bell peppers, honeydew melon and also corn. Lutein and zeaxanthin works together and can also be found in egg yolks. Therefore to maintain that good vision always eat lots of fruits and vegetables and they will boost your vision.

References:

//www.bausch.com/en/reference/lutein for eyes/

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What Causes High Blood Pressure And What Can Reduce And Prevent It?
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Date: December 28, 2012 11:24 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: What Causes High Blood Pressure And What Can Reduce And Prevent It?

High blood pressure is one of the most common conditions people suffer from in first-world countries; throughout the last few decades civilized countries have becomes exponentially more reliant on technology, without forgetting the rise of the fast food industry. In conjunction with the sedentary lifestyles most people lead nowadays, this has led to an increase of people with cardiovascular health problems. According to the American Heart Association, around 33% of adults in the United States are suffering from hypertension.

The silent killer

The disease is not known as the silent killer for nothing, as a person can live with it for years and years without even experiencing any symptoms. However, as time goes by the disease starts to take its toll on the body, with symptoms including dizziness, headaches and nosebleeds. However, if gone unchecked for a long time the condition is going to worsen considerably, eventually leading to the development of serious cardiovascular problems, including coronary heart disease.

What precisely causes high blood pressure?

For starters, one's body fat percentage plays an important role; the more fat a person has, the more the walls of their arteries are clogged, the higher the blood pressure rises. A lack of physical activity has also been known to help the condition develop as it forces your heart to contract itself more often. Intake of products such as tobacco, alcohol, sodium and potassium can all lead to an increase in your blood pressure, as well as your risk of heart disease.

Stress is a factor which often gets overlooked, but the truth is that when you tense up, your heart starts pumping blood faster, which consequently increases the pressure in your arteries. Finally, there is the one factor which cannot be controlled: genetics. Indeed, if a person has a family history of hypertension, that person is likely to suffer from it as well.

While it is possible to treat high blood pressure with chemical over-the-counter pharmaceutical remedies, they often bring about a slew of side effects which can cause problems even worse than the ones experienced with the blood pressure.

Natural Remedies

Fortunately, there are a few natural remedies which can be used to fight the condition.

For starters, you can take magnesium supplements which are sold by numerous companies, generally in the form of capsules. Magnesium is the most common mineral needed by the body and it helps to regulate one's blood levels. If you don't feel like taking supplements, you could always eat foods rich in magnesium, which basically translates to consuming lots of green vegetables, nuts, seeds and unrefined grains. 

Hibiscus tea

Hibiscus tea is another apparent miracle of nature; drinking it on a regular basis will slowly decrease one's hypertension. A clinical study was actually conducted in order to determine the tea's effectiveness, and it was found that it can noticeably improve the condition of those suffering from mild or moderate hypertension.

Coenzyme Q10

Finally, you might want to look into the Coenzyme Q10, a natural supplement which has undergone clinical studies. More precisely, there was a twelve-week double-blind placebo-controlled study involving eighty-three subjects with hypertension. They were treated for the entire duration with 17.8 mm Hg of the Coenzyme Q10, and in the end their pressure was significantly reduced.

Needless to say, there are countless more natural remedies which can help deal with high blood pressure, with the best part being that most of them don't cost much and are readily available for purchase anywhere. In some cases, you can even do it at home by yourself. All in all, as long as there are natural methods to try it is highly recommended that you stay away from pharmaceutical treatments; not only will they burn a hole in your wallet, they may very well leave you worse for wear.

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What Is Vitamin B-2 Riboflavon Good For?
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Date: November 17, 2012 02:11 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: What Is Vitamin B-2 Riboflavon Good For?

Vitamin B-2 is one of the B-complex, water soluble vitamins that is required for the proper functioning of the human body. They can be found in different dietary sources including but not limited to eggs, dairy products, grains and cereals, green vegetables, mushrooms, oily fish and meat. 

A B-2 Deficiency:

It is concluded that the deficiency in this vitamin can disrupt the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein. Symptoms of deficiency includes high sensitivity to light, inflammation the mouth, sore tongue, anemia, skin rash and fatigue, and it affects mostly malnourished people like alcoholics and the elderly.

Benefits of vitamin B-2 Riboflavin.

Apart from helping to increase the level of body metabolism, the vitamins is also useful in helping to prevent and treat diseases e.G. Riboflavin deficiency states and newborn jaundice. It can also help for the prevention of cataracts of the eyes and reduce migraine headaches intensity. Riboflavin plays a major role in the development of reproductive organs. It also help to support the growth of body tissue like the skin, nervous system, mucous membranes and the connective tissue. vitamin B-2 helps to improve the body immunity by energizing the body's natural defense and disease suppressing systems. Known to be very helpful as a natural supplement in the treatment of nervous system conditions like Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.

Constant intake of vitamin B-2 will help in the digestion of carbohydrates, fats and protein so that the body cells can derive more minerals and vitamins from them, for utilization. Absorption of other vitamins and minerals like folic acid, vitamin B1, Iron and vitamin B6 is also made very possible.

To have stress free digestion you'll need to have a digestive system with functioning mucus membranes. Riboflavin is helpful in making the mucus membrane in the digestive track work at optimum levels. Recent research also suggests that vitamin B-2 can help improve the body's response to iron therapy, which is a method used to boost red blood cell production in sickle cell anemia patients.

So my question to you is, are you getting enough B-2 in your daily diet?

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What Are The Health Benefits Of Magnesium?
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Date: March 03, 2012 08:05 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: What Are The Health Benefits Of Magnesium?

Magnesium

Magnesium is of paramount importance for the overall health. It is required by the body in sufficient amount to facilitate certain metabolic processes. Unfortunately, most people are so focused on the need to supply the body with vitamins, iron and calcium that they forget about this important mineral. It is found in green vegetables, peas, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and whole grains. Its deficiency can result in serious effects like weak muscles, loss of appetite, vomiting and nausea. The following are some health benefits of magnesium.

magnesium Benefits

Magnesium benefits for the bones and muscles Magnesium is important for the formation of strong bones and teeth. However, it is not directly responsible but it helps the body to absorb calcium to keep the bones strong.Its supplements are used to treat back ache as it relieves muscle tension and stress also.It can be used by people with calcium deficiency although it should not replace calcium. The person should continue taking calcium even when taking magnesium.Magnesium is used in muscle contractions treatment as it helps the muscles to relax.Athletes and sportsmen are advised to consume lots of magnesium as it aids in blood circulation during physical exercises to ensure that muscles have enough oxygen.

Benefits of magnesium for heart health Magnesium is very important for health. It aids heart rates and also prevents the formation of blood clots which can cause stroke.In addition, to preventing heart diseases, it can aid in recovering from heart disease.It is also regulates breathing and thus is used in treatment of respiratory illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis.It regulates blood sugar levels to prevent high blood pressure.

Magnesium Absorption

Other benefits of magnesium Absorption: magnesium aids the absorption of potassium, phosphorus and sodium which are important for the general health of our bodies.Prevent diabetes: it regulates the production of insulin in the body to make sure the blood glucose levels are maintained at the right levels.

Pregnancy: in pregnant women it reduces safe delivery and reduces labor pain also. Not only that, it regulates blood sugar levels to ensure the health of the unborn baby and the mother.

Depression: by regulating blood pressure it relieves the symptoms of depression which include stress, anger and anxiety. Migraine: Magnesium is beneficial for people suffering from migraine as well as those with insomnia.Anti aging: It prevents the signs of aging such as wrinkles by nourishing the body cells. It is also effective in preventing degenerating diseases such as cancer.

What are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency?

Magnesium deficiency can result in diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Osteoporosis and nerve malfunctioning are other symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Osteoporosis is a bone disease which increases the risk of fractures and injury. Other symptoms are listed below. Asthma Depression Headache Leg cramps Migraine Loss of appetite Diarrhea.

The symptoms are always subtle but they should not be neglected because by addressing them early one can prevent complications such as heart disease.

The above listed health benefits of magnesium are a clear indication that people should include the mineral in the diet.

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Why Involving Lutein In Your Diet Is Important
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Date: February 29, 2012 07:39 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Why Involving Lutein In Your Diet Is Important

Why Involving Lutein In Your Diet Is Important

The sense ofsight is very important because it allows us to see things and appreciate its beauty and we have our eyes to thank for that. Our eyes are being used every waking second of our lives so that we can see the world around us and be able to do things that we want to do. But the sad thing is that our eyes just like any other organ in our bodies get damaged if we do not take care of it properly. There are a lot of people who have regret their terrible sense of sight because of not taking care of it properly while others regret totally losing their sight. There are plenty of ways to take care of your eyesight and one of the most important things to do is to eat food that has the nutrient lutein.

Where is lutein found?

Lutein is a carotenoid that is normally found in fruits, vegetables or anything that comes from plants. It is normally seen as a yellow discoloration but there are times when a vegetable has so much lutein that it ends up having the color orange. Xantophyll where lutein is found was first thought to be a side effect of plants not having enough chlorophyll but further studies suggests that xantophyll has its own purpose and it is used to protect plants from the harsh blue light that comes from the sun. The sun releases a spectrum of light and among this entire light spectrum, the blue light has the most energy and it can damage the plants and it is the job of the xantophyll to absorb the blue light to prevent damage.

What Does Lutein Do?

When lutein is taken is ingested by a person, the lutein makes its way to the macula lutea of the eye. This is the main reason why the color of the macula is yellowish. The job of the macula is to absorb the blue and ultraviolet light that comes from the sun to prevent eye damage. When there is a lack of lutein, the macula is not able to absorb as much blue light which allows the blue light to reach the retina. This leads to damage on the retina which can lead to having impaired vision.

Food Sources Of Lutein

Lutein can be found in the most common fruits and vegetables that you find in the market today. One of the best sources of lutein is carrots which can only that what your parents said about carrots being good for your eyes are true. Other vegetables where lutein can be found include spinach, squash, corn, broccoli and other green vegetables. In fruits, lutein can be found from the citrus family and this includes oranges, grapefruit, lemons and some fruits from different families like peaches and papaya. There is one animal source of lutein and they are found in egg yolks. The only down side of egg yolks is the fact that it contains a lot of cholesterol which is bad for the body. Make sure you have enough lutein to protect the condition of your eyes.

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Benefits Of Zeaxanthin
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Date: February 07, 2012 08:14 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanet.net)
Subject: Benefits Of Zeaxanthin

With aging, our eyes and the associated muscles weaken. They can degenerate and lose our ability to see properly. Eyes enable us with vision to see the world, and losing the eyesight will halt affect our daily activities and movements. People are frequently worried about losing their sight, and try to find supplements that can prevent the loss of vision. However, this debility can be prevented.

Supplements should be ideally be all natural, healthy, and with no side effects. Zeaxanthin is an important nutrient for eye health. This is found in found in green leafy vegetables, and also in other foods like eggs. Zeaxanthin fulfills most of the requirements that most people look in a supplement.

WHAT IS ZEAXANTHIN

Zeaxanthin and lutein are carotenoids that filter out the harmful high-energy wavelengths of light, and also act as antioxidants in the eye. This helps to maintain and protect healthy eye cells. Out of the six hundred carotenoids found in nature, only these two, Zeaxanthin and Lutein are deposited in high quantities in the retina (macula) of the eye. Unfortunately, our body does not synthesize the zeaxanthin and lutein it requires.

This is the reason why green vegetables, eggs and other sources of these carotenoids are essential to proper nutrition. Daily intake of zeaxanthin and lutein through diet, beverages, fortified foods or nutritional supplements and is very important for the protection and continuation of good eye health.

Studies have indicated that zeaxanthin and lutein can help to lessen the chance of chronic eye illnesses, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Zeaxanthin, is also a bioflavonoid, that besides its benefits to ocular health, has been linked to providing many health benefits, including its anti-inflammatory property. Because of zeaxanthin being a carotenoid category bioflavonoid, its main action is over the blood vessels; it works by supporting the blood vessels around the retina area with their proper function.

ZEAXANTHIN BENEFITS

Zeaxanthin is both an anti-inflammatory phytochemical and an antioxidant; hence this has been used as a preventative measure for macular degeneration and cataracts. Its antioxidant properties keep eyes from being damaged from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sunlight. Overall, zeaxanthin keeps the eye healthier, and looking younger.

ZEAXANTHIN AGAINST CATARACT: Our natural eye collects and focuses light on the retina, and to properly provide this function continuously, the lens must remain clear throughout life. A major cause of cataracts is oxidation of the lens, which clouds it. Antioxidant nutrients, like zeaxanthin and lutein neutralize the free radicals or the unstable molecules associated with this oxidative stress associated with retinal damage. Thus, these phytochemicals play a role in cataract prevention. Higher dietary intakes of vitamin E, zeaxanthin and lutein can considerably reduce the risk of cataract formation.

ZEAXANTHIN AGAINST AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION (AMD): Zeaxanthin and lutein reduces the risk of AMD. In fact, studies like AREDS2 (Age-Related Eye Disease Study) are being conducted with supplements containing ten mg lutein along with two mg zeaxanthin each day, how it affects or lowers the chance of developing this degeneration.

FOOD SOURCES OF ZEAXANTHIN

Zeaxanthin is naturally found in some green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach. Other sources of zeaxanthin include egg yolk, yellow squash and bell-peppers. This makes zeaxanthin available as a completely natural nutrient, with no side effects.

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Five Tips for Healthy Bones and Teeth
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Date: May 19, 2011 03:36 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Five Tips for Healthy Bones and Teeth

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.

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Folic Acid
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Date: October 30, 2008 01:39 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Folic Acid



National press has recently taken an interest in the benefits of folic acid, with coverage increasing throughout the media. Folic acid, a B vitamin and other folates helps the body to form red blood cells and aids in the formation of genetic material within every body cell. Folic acid also helps to prevent birth defects. Proponents of dietary supplements have encouraged the use of folic acid by women who are of the child-bearing age for a long time.

The public is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of this nutrient to prenatal development. In a survey done by U.S. Health and Human Services in 2007, about 40% of all women surveyed reported the daily consumption of a supplement that contained folic acid, while about 42% of women surveyed reported that folic acid is the most important vitamin for women of child-bearing age. This study also found that awareness of the benefits differed by age group. Younger women were the least likely to know about the benefits of folic acid, and therefore, were the least likely to consume folic acid. These younger women were also more likely to hear about folic acid from a magazine or newspaper or school or college, rather than their health-care provider.

On the contrary, the women who aged 25-34 and 35-47 were much more likely to hear about folic acid and its benefits from their health-care provider. Because of these results, the U.S. Health and Human Services considers it vital to increase young person education and awareness. Folic acid has long been known to help prevent birth defects. Recent research on folic acid shows that it may also help in preventing premature births, boost baby weights, prevent preeclampsia, reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and even cut male smokers’ stroke risk.

Folate is determined from the term “foliage,” and is a member of the B vitamin family where it can be primarily found in dark leafy green vegetables, legumes, citrus fruits, beets, meat, and wheat germ. Folic acid does not occur in nature and cannot be found in unfortified foods. It is not an active form of the B-vitamin. However, it is the most common form of folate used is supplements and in fortified food products due to the fact that it is highly bioavailable and chemically stable. It is also readily reduced to tetrahydrofolate, which is the active coenzyme form of folate. One study, comparing folic acid from orange juice and folic acid from a supplement showed that the supplement had a better absorption rate than the fortified orange juice.

Although folic acid is not generally associated with side effects, there have been some clinical reports that high level of folic acid can mask a deficiency of vitamin B-12. However, a deficiency of B-12 is very uncommon and it has been determined that only amounts about 3000 – 4000 micrograms per day of folic acid for extended periods of time may have this masking effect, which can in turn be eliminated by supplementing with a few micrograms of B-12. For more information about folic acid and its benefits to your body, contact your local health food retailer.



--
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Folic Acid
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Date: August 19, 2008 08:38 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Folic Acid

Folic acid is an important vitamin to the developing fetus in that it aids cell development, particularly those cells involved in the development of the baby's spine. A deficiency can result in neural tube defects, in which the neural tube, down through which the central nervous system passes, fails to close properly.

However, let's first discuss the substance itself so that its function in that process can be more easily understood. Neither should we ignore the other benefits that folic acid gives us, or the problems we can have in the event of a deficiency.

Folic acid is a form of Vitamin B9, sometimes referred to as Vitamin M. Its anionic form is known as folate, which is the form in which it is frequently offered in supplements. Incidentally, it gets its name from the Latin for leaf, so is from the same root as foliage. It is water soluble, and like Vitamin C can be leached through the body if not immediately used.

It is available naturally from leafy and green vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli, spinach and peas, but is also available in fortified breakfast cereals, sunflower seeds and some fruits. You would not normally suffer a deficiency, but if you are taking anticonvulsants, have liver problems or undergoing kidney dialysis, then you might need a supplement. Pregnancy, of course, is the important case in which a supplement should be taken, although, surprisingly, many mothers-to-be are unaware of this.

New body cells need folate for their production, particularly when they are dividing and growing rapidly such as during pregnancy and in infancy. The formation of DNA depends on many chemical entities, among them four nitrogenous bases, of which three, thymine and the two purine bases, adenine and guanine, depend on folate for their synthesis. If the growing fetus is lacking folate then DNA synthesis will be hindered. This retards cell division and growth.

Among the conditions this can cause are a form of anemia known as megaloblastic anemia, and neural tube deficiencies, where the sheath that surrounds the main nerve canal up the spine fails to close properly. The best known of such neural tube defects is spina bifida, though any condition caused by a lack of cell division can also occur. Anemia can be contracted by both adults and children, since production of red blood cells takes place constantly throughout your lifetime. These are the reasons why folic acid or folate is used in breakfast cereals.

The biochemistry is fairly simple to understand, and is important because it explains the importance of two other B vitamins, B3 and B12, in DNA synthesis. The initial stages are a six step reaction that forms methyl tetrahydrofolate from folate, starting with the reduction of folate to dihydrofolate, and then a further reduction to the tetrahydrofolate (THF). Vitamin B3 (in the form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate) is an essential cofactor for these reductions. Vitamin B12 is necessary as an acceptor for the methyl-THF so that it can continue along the biochemical pathway - now that is too complex to discuss here!

However, the inference you can rightly draw from this is that a deficiency of Vitamin B12 can cause what is known as a 'methyl trap', whereby the methy-THF cannot be used, and so a deficiency in Vitamin B12 can lead to the same symptoms as a folic acid or folate deficiency.

The implications of that are that vitamin B12 is also an essential component of a pregnant woman's diet. The problem here is that this vitamin is available only from animal sources, including dairy products. Its presence in vegetable organisms such as certain algae and fungi has been proposed, but it is believed that the cobalamin (chemical term for the vitamin) from these sources is not bioavailable to humans.

Vegans, therefore, who do not eat dairy products, will need a Vitamin B12 supplement in addition to folic acid or folate, particularly when they are pregnant and with young growing children. In this respect, a vegan diet is unsuitable for young children until their rapid growth period has stabilized.

For those of you wondering why the biochemistry above was discussed: that is your answer. Such discussions can frequently explain why certain supplements are necessary, or certain diets should be reconsidered under particular circumstances. Such things are easier to understand and accept when the logic behind them are explained. A folic acid supplement taken from the onset of pregnancy up to 12 weeks at least, and also a Vitamin B12 supplement in the case of those with a low meat intake, should prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

A daily supplement of 0.4 mg should be sufficient, along with a diet rich in green vegetables, fortified cereals and breads and oranges. Your greens are best steamed since prolonged boiling destroys folic acid - as it destroys Vitamin C. One source of folic acid that you might read about is liver, and its additional iron content might lead you to believe this to be a good component of your diet when pregnant. However, although normally a very nutritious food, liver should be avoided during pregnancy due to its high Vitamin A content. This can be harmful to your baby.

Finally, there are some circumstances under which the dose during pregnancy should be greater. If you have previously had a child with a neural tube defect, or have an NTD yourself (or your partner), if you are diabetic, if you have celiac disease (a gluten allergy) or are taking anti-epileptic medication, you should increase your dose to 5 mg (milligrams) for which you will likely need a prescription from your physician.

NTD is rare, so don't over-worry much about it, but take the above precautions to put your mind at rest since pregnancy is not a time during which you should be nervous but to enjoy. That will pass on to your growing baby, which will then itself be happy.

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Dandelion
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Date: June 20, 2008 02:08 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Dandelion

That common yard or roadside plant you see during the growing season can be your ally against sickness and disease. The common dandelion has many essential vitamins and minerals inherent in it that can be part of your health regimen. Dandelions are an all-natural way to promote good health when used wisely.

The dandelion root and leaves contain vitamins A, C and D, as well as the B-complexes. They also contain iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium, manganese, choline, boron, calcium and silicon. Choline has shown to improve memory function. Dandelion has found use as a treatment for breast illnesses, bloating (water retention), aching joints, skin problems and gastrointestinal dandlndisorders. It is also as a gentle diuretic and a purifier for the bloodstream and liver.

This plant contains luteolin, which is an antioxidant and beneficial as an immune system enhancer. Luteolin helps inhibit the degradation and wearing down of the body's cells. What's great about dandelion and its antioxidant properties is the fact that there is no toxic effect on cells associated with it.

Dandelions are also a medicinal herb. They increase waste elimination in the body through the urine. Like green tea's effects, this excretion of water and waste can lead to weight-loss. Dandelion is available naturally, as well as in pill, liquid, tablets and tea form. The Puritans used it strictly as a vegetable, although some who eat it as a prepared dish consider it to have a bitter taste.

This plant has ranked high in many categories. It is one of the top six herbs in the Chinese herbal medicine chest. It is one of the top four green vegetables rated for overall nutritional value according to the USDA Bulletin #8, "Composition of Foods" (Haytowitz and Matthews, 1984). It is food rich in fiber. This is important because fiber is an essential component of a complete weight-loss program. Fiber absorbs fat molecules and aids in their elimination from the body. This prevents fats from absorbing into the body.

The dandelion is part of the sunflower family. It is prevalent in temperate regions in Europe, Asia and North America. This plant finds itself a big part of culinary recipes. Taking the dandelion in this form is good for health, as it is in its most natural, unprocessed state. Some use dandelion as a tea to help in the fight against fever, insomnia and jaundice. Dandelion tea can also aid those who have rheumatism, eczema, constipation and even skin diseases.

It aids digestion by stimulating stomach secretions. However, it does increase the flow of bile in one's system, so you should not take dandelion if you have obstruction of the bile ducts. While generally safe, like anything else, you should consult a doctor when trying something new in your diet. This is to make sure it doesn't have harmful side effects or interact negatively with other herbs and medications.

For women, dandelion helps because of its diuretic capabilities. This means it helps eliminate excess water from a woman's system, which causes bloating.

dandrThose who experience premenstrual syndrome may find dandelion helps bring down their bloating and weight gain associated with water retention.

Another promising aspect of dandelion is the fact it contains lecithin. Lecithin is a lipid that contains choline primarily, along with inositol, phosphorous and linoleic acid. Lecithin elevates the brain's acetylcholine, which helps brain function. This, some researchers believe, may help slow down or stop the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Dandelion, again because of lecithin inherent in it, is beneficial for prevention of arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease too.

Sometimes we need to look only in our own backyards and surrounding environments to find plentiful foods that are healthy. Dandelions are one of earth's products that have found use for centuries. Whether as a recipe ingredient, a tea or a pill, dandelion is versatile. When used with care, it can help with weight-loss and be a health enhancer at the same time.



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Beta Carotene Is The Safe To The Liver Form Of Vitamin A
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Date: March 19, 2008 08:17 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Beta Carotene Is The Safe To The Liver Form Of Vitamin A

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.



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You Should Say: Please Pass the Broccoli, Not I’ll Pass
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Date: January 22, 2008 04:38 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: You Should Say: Please Pass the Broccoli, Not I’ll Pass

'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!”

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Are Vegan Supplements Good For Strict Vegetarians?
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Date: December 05, 2007 11:20 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Are Vegan Supplements Good For Strict Vegetarians?

The question as to whether or not vegan supplements are good for strict vegetarians cannot be answered or understood without a complete understanding of the meaning of the terms ‘vegan’ and ‘vegetarian’.

Where eating meat is concerned, there are several different types of diet, one extreme being the Atkins Diet where devouring animal flesh and fats is positively encouraged. However, it is not that extreme we are concerned with here, but the opposite, where no meat is eaten. Is there anything in a vegan diet that there is not in a vegetarian diet, or are vegan supplements harmful to strict vegetarians? These are questions that we shall now look at from a scientific viewpoint, since emotions are not involved in the answer to the question.

It is certainly true that for many people, emotions are very much involved in the distinction between an omnivore and vegetarian, and also between a vegetarian and a vegan. Some of these have to do with the concept of eating ‘friendly furry animals’ and others to do with the ethics of breeding animal life for the sole purpose of eating it. While these concepts have nothing whatsoever to do with the scientific arguments, they have a lot to do with the various types of eating habit used throughout the world.

Some reasons for a vegetarian diet are imposed by local agricultural and husbandry conditions, where meat is simply not available to most people, others due to religious beliefs and yet others to personal feelings of disgust at the moral arguments involved in eating animals that have been bred specifically for that reason. If we take carnivores and omnivores out of the equation, including those that do not eat red meats, but eat chicken and fish, what do we have?

Vegetarians that eat dairy products and eggs are referred to officially as lacto-ovo-vegetarians. The reasons for the name are obvious. They eat eggs, cheese and yoghurt and also drink milk. The strict vegetarians, on the other hand, who are part of the subject of this article, eat vegetables and dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese, but omit eggs. Then, finally, we have the vegans that eat only vegetable matter and no dairy products or animal based food at all. Each of these, you would think, would have a decreasing intake of nutrients essential for healthy and healthy growth.

A vegetarian diet, as opposed to that of a vegan, contains many nutritious foods that omnivores also eat, such as pulses (lentils, peas, beans), grains (wheat, oats), nuts, seeds and vegetable and fruits of any form. It can also include protein in the form of soy protein and tofu that can be formed into sausages, burgers and other meat-like products. Why vegetarians should want to make their foods look like meat is unknown, but that seems to what they prefer. The likely reason is that the majority of vegetarians and vegans became so after eating meat, and it helps them to stick to their diet by eating food in familiar forms.

Many have started their diets with what they know, and have substituted soy for minced beef in their spaghetti sauce, for example, and quorn for beef in their burgers. Together with a good piquant tomato sauce it is hard to tell the difference. Other than truly meaty dishes such as steaks, then, most meat dishes can be substituted for vegetarian alternatives or substitutes.

However, what does this do to the vegetarian’s nutrition? How does the vegetarian maintain a sufficient intake of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients by eliminating meat from their diet? Let’s have a look at some of the nutritional content of fish and meat that vegetarians are apparently not getting.

The first is protein, the main source for most people being from the flesh of meat and fish. Protein is essential for the maintenance of healthy muscles, vital organs, skin, and believe it or not, bones. A vegetarian eating eggs has no problems with protein, since eggs and cheese are full of it. There is also the protein in soy based foods and in quorn, a mycoprotein derivative of fungi. Nuts, peas, beans, cereal grains and seeds are all rich in proteins and the vegetarian does not have a problem in consuming an adequate supply of protein.

If we come to minerals, the most important for the health of your blood is iron. Green vegetables and whole grains are good sources of iron, as are pulses and some fruits. However, it is animal sources of iron that the body most easily absorbs, and in order for it to make use of vegetable sources, you should consume a good intake of vitamin C by eating plenty of fruits and green vegetables. You must take these at the same time as the vegetables that contain iron, or the iron will not be absorbed into the body. Otherwise, the vegetarian has a sufficient iron intake to maintain the health of their red blood cells.

The other critical mineral is calcium, essential for healthy bones and teeth. Many dark green vegetables are good sources of calcium, as are turnips, swedes and fortified soy milk. Zinc, too, is essential and without it many enzymes could not be synthesized by your biochemistry, and it is also necessary in the male reproductive system. Zinc, too, has many vegetarian sources, such as nuts, wheat germ and whole grains, and is also contained in soy.

So far in this evaluation neither vegetarians nor vegans have been seriously compromised by their diet, although there are arguments that a vegetarian diet can harm young children since there is insufficient protein available to allow normal growth and development. This is currently under debate, and it is a matter for parents to consider whether or not their children should be raised on a purely vegetarian diet.

However, when it comes to a vital vitamin that is necessary for the production of red blood cells and the prevention of anemia, vegans become unstuck. Vitamin B-12 is found predominantly in dairy products and other animal products. It is claimed that cereals enriched with B-12 and fortified soy products provide this vitamin to vegans, but what are the sources of the vitamin that is used as a supplement?

It is generally accepted that vegans require vitamin B-12 supplements, and also others such as calcium that they might be deficient in due to their diet. It is possible that the only real supplement needed is vitamin B-12, although many nutritionists claim that both vegetarians and vegans should take supplements to boost intake of those nutrients of which the normal route to the body is through eating foods of animal origin.

There are many nutrients obtainable from animal sources that are classed as neither vitamins nor minerals, and for which there are adequate supplements to suit the needs of vegans and vegetarians alike. Further evidence is needed, however, that vegans are deficient in these since many of them have alternatives of vegetable origin that might annul their necessity.

One thing, however, is absolutely certain, and that is the answer to the original question. It is absolutely true that vegan supplements are good for strict vegetarians. The reason for this is that vegan supplements are designed to replace not only nutrients that the body might be deficient in due to a strict vegetarian diet, but also those missing by the absence of dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt.

Vegetarians will also benefit from such supplements, and it could be important to their health that both vegetarians and vegans take them.

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Learn about Bone Health!
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Date: April 20, 2007 12:43 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Learn about Bone Health!

Bone Health

Approximately 44 million American women and men aged 50 and older have osteoporosis (severe bone loss) or osteopenia (mild bone loss), with women being affected about twice as often as men. At least 1.5 million fractures of the hip, vertebra (back or neck), or wrist occur each year in the United States as a result of osteoporosis, and the annual cost of treating this disorder is nearly $14 billion and rising. Unfortunately, the toll in human suffering and loss of independence is even greater.

In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will discuss the risk factors for osteoporosis and some key nutrients you can add to your diet that can minimize bone loss and reduce your chances of developing this disease.

Q. What are the risk factors for osteoporosis?

A. Small body frame, underweight, Caucasian or Asian race, a sedentary lifestyle, cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol or caffeine intake, high intake of carbonated beverages (especially colas), and having other family members with osteoporosis all increase personal risk of developing the disease. Certain medical conditions, including diabetes, celiac disease, hyperthyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic obstructive lung disease, hyperadrenalism, and hyperparathyroidism, are all associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis. Some medications increase the rate at which bone is lost; these include drugs prescribed for the treatment of seizures, drugs used for blood thinning, steroids such as prednisone, aluminum-containing antacids, and loop diuretics (furosemide {Lasix}).

Q. Isn’t bone loss just a normal consequence of aging?

A. Although bone mass normally declines after the age of 35, bone loss severe enough to cause fractures after just minor trauma (such as bump or fall) seems to be a relatively new phenomenon. Osteoporosis was rare in the late 19th century, and it was not until around 1920 that the condition began to attract attention among doctors. Since that time, the percentage of people who develop osteoporosis has continued to increase. For example, the age-adjusted prevalence of osteoporosis in England and Sweden double between 1950 and 1980. In addition, the percentage of elderly people with osteoporosis in some developing countries is lower than that of elderly Americans, despite lower calcium intakes in the developing countries, further suggesting that osteoporosis is a disease of modern civilization.

Q. Can osteoporosis be prevented?

A. Engaging in regular weight bearing exercise, avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol and caffeine, and quitting smoking will slow the rate of bone loss. Eating adequate, but not excessive, amounts of protein also enhances bone health. In addition, a growing body of research has shown that supplementing with various vitamins and minerals may not only help prevent, but in some cases actually reverse, bone loss. At least 15 different nutrients have been found to play a role in bone health.

Q. What type of calcium is best?

A. For most people, calcium salts are absorbed about the same, between 30% and 40% of the administered dose. People who low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) should not use calcium carbonate, because that form of calcium is absorbed poorly in the absence of stomach acid. Calcium phosphate may be preferable for many older people, because phosphorus is necessary for normal bone formation, the phosphorus intake of older people is often low, and calcium supplements inhibit the absorption of phosphorus.

Also, calcium bound to phosphorus is the form in which calcium in the bone is stored, and it has a much greater bone activity than other forms.

Q. How much vitamin D is needed to promote strong bones?

A. Because vitamin D is produced when the ultraviolet rays from the sun hit skin, people who stay out of the sun, wear sunscreen, or live in a northern latitude (such as Boston or Seattle) where less ultraviolet light reaches the skin, are at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency. In addition, aging decreases a person’s ability to synthesize vitamin D in the skin. Results from five research trials on vitamin D found that supplementation with 700-800 IU of vitamin D per day decreased the number of hip fractures by 26%, but 400 IU per day was ineffective. In addition to enhancing bone health, vitamin D improves nerve and muscle function in older people, thereby reducing their chances of falling down. Supplementation of elderly women with 800 IU of vitamin D per day has been shown to decrease the number of falls by about 50%.

Q. Is that much vitamin D safe?

A. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine established a “safe upper limit” of 2,000 IU per day in 1997. More recent research suggests that up to 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day is safe for the average person. However, you likely don’t need nearly this much to address most bone issues.

Q. Why would nutrients besides calcium and vitamin D is important?

A. Bone is living tissue, constantly remodeling itself and engaging in numerous biological functions. Like other tissues in the body, bone has a wide range of nutritional needs. The typical refined and processed American diet has been depleted of many different vitamins and minerals, some of which play a key role in promoting bone health. Not getting enough of one or more of these micronutrients may be and important contributing factor to the modern epidemic of osteoporosis. In addition, supplementing with calcium may cause a loss of magnesium, zinc, silicon, manganese, and phosphorus, unless these nutrients are also provided.

Q. What nutrients besides calcium and vitamin D promote healthy bones?

A. Magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin K, boron, strontium, silicon, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and vitamin C have all been shown to play a role in bone health. Following is a brief description of the role that each of these 15 nutrients play in building healthy bones.

Calcium: A component of the mineral crystals that make up bone.

Vitamin D: Enhances calcium absorption, prevents falls by improving nerve and muscle function.

Magnesium: Important for bone mineralization (accumulation of minerals which form bones). Magnesium deficiency is associated with abnormal bone mineral crystals in humans. In an open clinical trial, magnesium supplementation increased bone mineral density by an average 5% after 1-2 years in postmenopausal women.

Copper: Laboratory research has found that copper promotes bone mineralization and decreases bone loss, and that osteoporosis can develop if the diet is deficient in copper. Western diets often contain less copper than the amount recommended by the National Academy of Sciences. In a 2-year double-blind trail, copper supplementation reduced bone loss by 90% in middle-aged women, compared with a placebo.

Zinc: Like magnesium, zinc is important for bone mineralization, and also has been shown to decrease bone loss. Low dietary zinc intake was associated with increased fracture risk in a study of middle-aged and elderly men. The zinc content of the diet is frequently low; a study of elderly low-income people found they were consuming only half the Recommended Dietary Allowance for this mineral.

Manganese: Plays a role in the creation of the connective-tissue components of bone. Manganese deficiency in laboratory tests resulted in low bone mineral density and weak bones. Manganese deficiency may be associated with the development of osteoporosis.

Boron: Supports creation of bone-protecting hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and DHEA. Boron supplementation prevented bone loss in experimental studies. In human volunteers consuming a low-boron diet, boron supplementation decreased urinary calcium excretion by 25-33%, a change that may indicate reduced bone loss.

Silicon: Plays a role in the synthesis of the connective-tissue components of bone. Silicon deficiency has been associated with bone abnormalities. In an observational study, higher dietary silicon intake correlated with higher bone mineral density. In a clinical trial, administration of an organic silicon compound increased bone mineral density of the femur (or thigh bone) in postmenopausal women.

B vitamins (folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12): These three B vitamins have been shown to lower blood levels of homocysteine, a breakdown product of the amino acid methionine. An elevated homocysteine concentration is a strong and independent risk factor for fractures in older men and women. Homocysteine levels increase around the time of menopause, which may explain in part why bone loss accelerates at that time. In a 2-year double-blind trial, supplementation of elderly stroke patients with folic acid and vitamin B12 reduced the number of hip fractures by 78%, compared with a placebo.

Strontium: This trace mineral is incorporated into bone and appears to increase bone strength. It also stimulates bone formation and inhibits bone breakdown. Controlled trials have demonstrated that strontium supplementation of postmenopausal women increases bone mineral density and decreases fracture risk.

Vitamin K: Best known for its effect on blood clotting, vitamin K is also required for the creation of osteocalcin, a unique protein found in bone that participates in the mineralization process. The amount of vitamin K needed for optimal bone health appears to be greater than the amount needed to prevent bleeding. Vitamin K levels tend to be low in people with osteoporosis. In randomized clinical trials, supplementation of postmenopausal women with vitamin K prevented bone loss and reduced the incidence of fractures.

Q. Which form of vitamin K is best?

A. Two forms of vitamin K compounds are present in food: vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Vitamin K1 (also called phylloquinone) is present in leafy green vegetables and some vegetable oils, and vitamin K2 is found in much smaller amounts in meat, cheese, eggs, and natto (fermented soybeans).

To make things a little more complicated, Vitamin K2 itself can occur in more than one form. The two most important to this discussion are menaquinine-4 (MK-4, also called menatetrenone), which is licensed as a prescription drug in Japan, and menaquinone-7 (MK-7), which is extracted from natto.

Research suggests that MK-7 from natto may be an ideal form of vitamin K. The biological activity of MK-7 in laboratory studies was 17 times higher than that of vitamin K1 and 130 times higher than that of MK-4. After oral administration, MK-7 was better absorbed and persisted in the body longer, compared with MK-4 and vitamin K1. Although both have shown ability to prevent osteoporosis in laboratory research, a much lower dosage (600 times lower) of MK-7 is required, compared to MK-4, to obtain beneficial effects.

Thus, MK-7 has greater biological activity, greater bioavailability, and possibly more potent effects on bone, compared with other forms of vitamin K. The potential value of MK-7 for bone health is supported by an observational study from Japan, in which increasing natto consumption was associated with a lower risk of hip fracture. While additional research needs to be done, the available evidence suggests that the best forms of vitamin K for long-term use at physiological doses are MK-7 and vitamin K1.

Q. Why is strontium so important in building strong bones?

A. Strontium is of great interest to bone health researchers and has been studied in very high doses. Surprisingly, lower doses are not only safer for long-term supplementation, but may in fact have a greater impact on bone health than very high doses. Too little, and bone density is impaired; too much and health may be impaired. This is a case where dosing needs to be just right for optimal impact. Therefore, until more is known, it is wise to keep supplemental strontium at less than 6 mg per day.

Q. Can people taking osteoporosis medications also take bone-building nutrients?

A. Because nutrients work by a different mechanism than osteoporosis drugs, nutritional supplements are likely to enhance the beneficial effect of these medications. Calcium or other minerals may interfere with the absorption of biphophonates such as alendronate (Fosamax) or etidronate (Didronel). For that reason, calcium and other minerals should be taken at least two hours before or two hours after these medications. Also, it is always best to discuss the supplements you are using with your healthcare practitioner to create an integrated health plan.

Final thoughts…

Bone health ramifications extend beyond osteoporosis and fractures. Bone health is essential for freedom of movement, safety, comfort, independence and longevity. Weak bones do not heal well – sometimes they never heal at all. Osteoporosis-related fractures rob us of our mobility and consign thousands of Americans to walkers and wheelchairs every year. In fact, 40% of people are unable to walk independently after a hip fracture, and 60% still require assistance a year later. The most terrible consequence of fractures related to osteoporosis is mortality. The impairment of the ability to move around freely can cause pneumonia and skin damage leading to serious infections. It is estimated that suffering a hip fracture increases the risk of dying almost 25%. Making bone health a priority now will allow you to reap health dividends for many years to come.



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Is Fish Oil good for my heart?
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Date: October 25, 2005 02:59 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Is Fish Oil good for my heart?

I know that fish oil is good for my heart, but I was told I should also consume fish to protect my bones. Is there any truth to that?

Many people are familiar with the literature that omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Animal studies, and now recent human studies, suggest a role in bone health as well, particularly in relation to omega-6 fatty acids. A long-term study in California tracked the ratio of dietary omega-6 fats to omega-3s in relation to bone-mineral density in middle- and older-age individuals. They tested BMD by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry—the gold standard for assessing bone loss—and found that the higher the ratio of linoleic acid (omega-6) to alpha-linolenic acid(omega-3), the lower the BMD. These results were independent of age, body mass index and various lifestyle factors.

The ratios creating problems were in the range of 7 to 1 and 8 to 1 of omega-6s to omega-3s. Foods high in omega-6 (or with a high omega-6 and omega-3 ratio) are corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean, and cottonseed oils. One of the best sources of omega-3 is fatty, cold-water fish such as salmon. The best vegetarian source is flax oil. In addition, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, canola oil (I recommend cold-pressed and unrefined), and some dark, leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, purslane, mustard greens and collards do have some omega-3s.

Also, available is a dry fish oil Vectomega by Europharma, if you do not want to take an oil softgel then give vectomega a try.



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Immune Health - Herbs to Maintain A Healthy Immune System
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Date: July 01, 2005 04:21 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Immune Health - Herbs to Maintain A Healthy Immune System

Immune Health By Ellen J. Kamhi, Ph. D. with Dorie Greenblatt The immune system has been receiving a lot of media attention, especially since the rise in recognized immune system deficiency diseases. The efficient functioning of the immune system is of paramount importance to everyone, adults and children alike, since it controls our ability to fend off illness, whether it is a common cold or more deadly disease. The immune system is made up of a combination of specialized cells, chemicals, tissues and organs. These include the lymph nodes, thymus gland, spleen, bone marrow and tonsils, as well as specialized white blood cells, which recognize and engulf invading microorganisms and cellular debris.

The ability of the immune system to function optimally is influenced by many factors. These include inherent genetic makeup, environmental influences (such as pollution, pesticides, hormones, artificial flavoring/colorings in food), obesity, stress levels, exposure to infective agents, etc. Specific research suggests that consuming excessive amounts of sugar interferes with immune function. We can aid our immune system by eating a high amount of organic green vegetables, whole grains and nuts, while cutting down on 'junk food' consumption. Stress reduction, through prayer, meditation, yoga and moderate exercise can also help.

Herbs may be used in two different ways to help the immune system. Tonics strengthen the immune system over time, while strong immune system stimulants have a more immediate action, and are used during an acute infection.

Tonics

Herbal tonics work to help maintain a dynamic balance in the body and usually need to be taken long-term. Astragalus is said to build "Wei chi". "Chi" is the Chinese concept of life energy force. "Wei chi" is thought of as 'protection'. Current scientific studies confirm the positive benefits of Astragalus on the immune system. One study by the National Cancer Institute demonstrated Astragalus' ability to help strengthen resistance of the immune system, especially to viral infections. Reishi, called the "mushroom of immortality", has been used for centuries as an overall tonic. Chinese physicians have used Ligustrum berries specifically for their immune-enhancing activities. They are often combined with Astragalus for a synergistic effect. Coptis is another Chinese herb that contains the bitter yellow compound, berberine. This herb helps the immune system prevent infections. Many of these herbs can be found in the unique combination formula called Immunotonic™ (alcohol-free). Immunotonic™ offers the ideal way to experience the benefits of many herbs in one convenient supplement.

Other immune system tonic herbs include Siberian Ginseng and Schisandra. Siberian Ginseng is an adaptogen that helps to balance the immune system. It gives strength and fortitude, especially when dealing with environmental stress. Schisandra has been shown to build non-specific resistance, improve brain function, increase work capacity and build strength.

Immune Stimulants

Osha Root has been used traditionally by both Chinese and Native Americans (who called it Chuchupate) for colds and flues, sore throats and other health ailments requiring a higher level of immune support. Echinacea is a well-researched and respected immune system stimulant. (Refer to our Echinacea article for further information). It helps increase the activity of white blood cells, which engulf invading microorganisms. Thuja is an herbal extract from the Northern White Cedar tree. It is a strong immune stimulant that Native Americans used for colds, coughs, bronchitis and other respiratory infections. Possibly the mushroom with the greatest capability of stimulating the immune system is the Maitake. It is known as the "dancing mushroom" because it was so highly prized that whoever found some would dance for joy. Maitake contains specific chemical components that have been scientifically studied for their strong immune enhancing effects; (refer to Maitake Bio-Beta-Glucan™ article for further information). Nature's Answer® combines these herbs in Immune Boost™, a combination formula for use during acute illness and infections. Try it along with the combination formula Echinacea & Goldenseal. Nature’s Answer® offers a selection of all these herbs in liquid and/or capsule forms. Check with your local health food store, or visit www.naturesanswer.com, for more information.

For Kids

Children can often use a boost to their immune system to help ward off colds and flues. Nature's Answer® comes to the rescue with three alcohol-free formulas specifically designed for their special needs - E-KID-nacea™, E-KID-nacea Plus™, and NatChoo™. All of these outstanding formulas help promote a healthy immune system.

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The important role the liver plays in maintaining health
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Date: June 21, 2005 04:56 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: The important role the liver plays in maintaining health

Most practitioners who practice various forms of natural medicine know the important role the liver plays in maintaining health in general. The liver is involved in thousands of biochemical mechanisms making it second only to the brain in importance and complexity. Natural health practitioners are also acutely aware of the detrimental effects on the liver of modern living, with its chemicals, excessive fat intake, pesticides, hormones, and stress. This suggests that we as a culture are in need of liver support. History suggests, and modern research is supporting, that botanicals have an important role to play in supporting a healthy liver.

Mechanistic Overview

The liver has an almost miraculous ability to biochemically transform, break down, store, eliminate, and build up the plethora of chemicals to which it is exposed. Many botanicals have a very specific effect of modifying these biochemical processes. Some botanicals can enhance the liver?s phase I (cytochrome P450) and phase II (glutathione conjugation) detoxification processes, promote the flow and production of bile (one means of eliminating toxins), inhibit the attachment of viruses or chemical antagonists to hepatocytes, strongly enhance the liver?s powerful antioxidant systems, or promote the regeneration of liver tissue-the liver being the only organ in the body except the skin able to regenerate itself. Many botanicals have been used historically for promoting liver health. Today, modern research is confirming these benefits while shedding light on their mechanisms of action. Following is an overview of a number of these botanicals.

Milk Thistle Silybum marianum

The extract of the seeds of milk thistle is perhaps the most well researched of all the liver supportive botanicals. Part of its benefit has been in its ability to scavenge free radicals and to stimulate the regeneration of hepatocytes. In Germany, it is the botanical extract of choice for use in supporting a healthy liver. Typically, an extract yielding a minimum of 70% silymarin (a specific class of flavonoids) is used clinically at a dose of approximately 420 mg of the extract daily (Morazzoni and Bombardelli 1995).

Schizandra Schisandra chinensis

Schizandra, known as bei wu wei zi in China, is one of the most widely used tonics of Chinese herbalism. Its original use was to support the health of the heart, kidneys and lungs and as a longevity tonic. Modern research has focused attention on its role as an adaptogen and for supporting a healthy liver. Adaptogens are substances that positively affect overall health by reducing stress mechanisms which can contribute to a number of biochemical reactions that can be detrimental to health. While the mechanism of action of adaptogens has not been definitively determined, the existing literature suggests they work endocrinologically through the pituitary and adrenals and substantially reduce the negative effects that stress has on the system (Wagner et al. 1994). In China and Japan, the modern use of schizandra has focused on its benefit in those in need of liver support. In one review of its pharmacological activity, stabilization of liver enzymes was reported in more than 5,000 people. The benefits were experienced within 20 days of administration of schizandra with 75% of patients returning to normal values (Chang and But 1986). A limited number of controlled studies similarly reported on the beneficial effects of the equivalent of 1.5 grams of schizandra for reducing elevated liver enzymes (Liu 1991). There are three primary mechanisms of action of schizandra reported with regards to its ability to support a healthy liver: 1) its ability to reduce lipid peroxidation induced by a number of different antagonists (antioxidant activity); 2) induction of hepatomicrosomal cytochrome P-450; 3) stimulation of protein biosynthesis and liver glycogen (Liu 1991). Such mechanisms make schizandra ideal as a liver-supportive botanical that is underutilized in the West.

Bupleurum Bupleurum chinense, B. falcatum

Bupleurum, also known as chai hu in China, is perhaps the most important of liver-supportive botanicals in China and Japan, and, like schizandra, is far underutilized in the United States, except by traditional Chinese herbalists. Traditionally, it has been regarded as an herb that helps to normalize the function of the liver from a traditional Chinese perspective. Modern research has identified a group of compounds known as saikosaponins that strongly support liver health (in humans and rats). Mechanisms of action specifically regarding liver health identified for bupleurum include anti-inflammatory activity, as well as its ability to stimulate the production and release of bile, thus facilitating the detoxification process (Wagner et al. 1996).

Sho-Saiko-To Minor Bupleurum

In Chinese herbalism, herbs are seldom prescribed singularly. Rather they are combined according to very sophisticated principles of formulation based on the differential diagnosis of the patient. One of the most widely used and researched botanical formulas for the health of the liver used in China and Japan is Sho-Saiko-To, known in China as Xiao Chai Hu Tang (Minor Bupleurum). This classic formula consists of the following botanicals: ginger, scutellaria, jujube, ginseng, licorice, pinellia and bupleurum. It is widely used throughout Asia for supporting liver health and currently is the subject of phase II clinical trials at Sloan Kettering. The formula with its main ingredient, bupleurum, was first introduced in Japan by Chinese Buddhist priests between the 6th and 8th centuries. Modern research suggests that Sho-Saiko-To modulates the immune response, specifically in addition to other mechanisms, by increasing levels of interleukin and interferon (Huang et al. 2001).

Holistic Context

To the same extent that herbs are seldom used singularly in Chinese herbalism, they are similarly used within a broader context that incorporates dietary and other lifestyle changes to support the botanicals. In my clinic, I routinely recommend that patients eliminate alcohol, coffee, sugar, and refined foods from their diet and eat whole grain foods, fish, and several servings of green vegetables daily along with their herbal program. For these individuals this is a simple program to follow, and many are able to live a normal productive life with a greater level of liver health. Such a liver-supportive program must be maintained as a way of life to lessen the burden that modern society and exogenous factors put on our livers.

Conclusion

The herbal world offers a potential natural health care approach that focuses on protecting and restoring the health and functioning of the liver. Both traditional experience and modern investigation suggest that botanicals can play a role in world health, specifically in promoting liver health.

Caution

The use of botanicals should be used under the guidance of a qualified health care professional. The combined use of conventional and natural therapies may not be appropriate. Before attempting to combine such therapies, discuss your therapeutic options with your primary health care provider.

References

Chang HM, But PH. 1986. Pharmacology and applications of Chinese materia medica. World Science. Singapore. Huang et al. Semi-quantitative analysis of cytokine mRNA expression induced by the herbal medicine sho-saiko-to (TJ-9) using a gel doc system. J Clin Lab Anal 15: 199-209. Liu GT. 1991. Pharmacological actions and clinical uses of Fructus schizandrae in recent advances in Chinese herbal drugs-actions and uses. Scientific Press Beijing. Morazzoni P, Bombardelli E. 1995. Silybum marianum (Carduus marianus). Fitoterapia LXVI (1):3-42. Wagner H, Noerr N. Winterhoff K. 1994. Plant adaptogens. Phytomedicine 1: 63-76. Wagner H, Bauer R, Peigen X, Jianming C, Offermann F. 1996. Chinese Drug monographs and analysis: Radix Bupleuri (chaihu). Verlag fuer Ganzheitliche Medizin Koetzting/Bayer. Wald, Germany.

Michael Tierra, L. Ac., O.M.D., is a clinician and world-renowned author of the best-selling Way of Herbs and Planetary Herbology. As product formulator for Planetary Formulas, he draws on 30 years of clinical experience to create formulas renowned for their dependability and effectiveness.



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Anti-Aging Nutrients
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Date: June 18, 2005 09:07 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Anti-Aging Nutrients

Anti-Aging Nutrients by Edward C. Wallace, DC, ND Energy Times, February 3, 2000

What's the big deal about trying to live longer? As you grow older (and the American population grows older alongside you) you may want to postpone the inevitable. Few wish to hasten "the journey from which no traveler returns." But as we approach that final bon voyage, chances are we desire clear sailing-aging without disability and with a peaceful, easy feeling.

How Do We Age?

Science has long puzzled about what causes the wrinkles, pains and deterioration of aging. In the search for causes, two basic theories have won over the most proponents: The first holds that cells are programmed with biological clocks that predetermine how many times they can reproduce before becoming non-functional. This theory has been largely formulated by the researcher Leonard Hayflick, MD.

The second basic theory, introduced by Denham Harman, MD, PhD, in the mid 1950s, holds that cells eventually break down due to attack by caustic molecules called free radicals that cause oxidative stress.

Programmed Cell Theory

In the early '60s, Dr. Hayflick observed that human fibroblasts (cells from connective tissue) in the laboratory refused to divide more than about 50 times. Dr. Hayflick also found that even if he froze the fibroblasts after 20 divisions, they would remember that they only had 30 divisions left after thawing.

Fifty cell divisions have been called the "Hayflick limit." Based on this research, scientists theorize that cells maintain a genetic clock that winds down as old age ensues. Many researchers believe the hypothalamus gland is the force behind our aging clocks, signaling the pituitary gland to release hormones that cause aging.

Free Radical/Oxidative Stress Theory

The other popular theory of aging pictures the human body as a cellular battlefield where attackers called free radicals damage our cells and tissues, making them age. In this scenario, a process called oxidation is the chief aging villain. On a microscopic level, oxidation generally entails molecules or atoms losing electrons. (Gaining electrons is called reduction.) The molecules or atoms that take these electrons are oxidizing agents.

Free radicals are substances that can exist with missing electrons, making them readily able to donate or accept electrons and damage structures in cells. As such, they are highly reactive, binding with and destroying important cellular compounds. Most of the free radicals in your body are made during metabolic processes. More are added from the food you eat and environmental pollution. Most of these free radicals contain oxygen molecules. As each cell makes energy in little structures called mitochondria, free radicals result. These oxidant by-products can damage DNA, proteins and lipids (fats). Consequently, toxic by-products of lipid peroxidation may cause cancer, inhibit enzyme activity and produce mutations in genetic material that make you age faster.

DNA Repair Theory

Free radical damage to DNA can cause cells to mutate or die. Your body makes enzymes that can repair this damage and slow aging. But, over time, the amount of damage overwhelms the body's ability to fix things. As cells grow older, their ability to patch up DNA diminishes and the rate of damage proceeds faster than repair. The result: We age and eventually die.

What Can We Do?

The free radical theory of aging suggests that taking antioxidants (compounds known to prevent free radical damage) in our food or as supplements may slow aging.

In the publication Age (18 [51] 1995: 62), it was reported that "aging appears to be caused by free radicals initiated by the mitochondria at an increasing rate with age. Superoxide and hydrogen peroxide radicals formed by the mitochondria during normal metabolism are major risk factors for disease and death after about the age of 28 in developed countries. Antioxidants from the diet lower the production of free radicals without impairing essential reactions to maintain body function."

Antioxidant Protection

Common dietary antioxidants include: vitamins E and C, carotenes, sulphur containing amino acids, co-enzyme Q10 and flavonoids (a group of plant compounds or pigments responsible for the color in fruits and flowers). In addition, melatonin, DHEA and the amino acid compound glutathione may also prove of benefit.

Glutathione along with the enzyme glutathione peroxidase are an essential part of free radical "quenching." (Quenching means changing free radicals into benign substances no longer capable of harm.) Deficiencies may suggest a decreased capacity to maintain detoxification and metabolic reactions in which glutathione plays a role, resulting in increased free radical stress and/or lipid peroxidation. Drinking too many alcoholic beverages can result in glutathione deficiency.

In a study in which 39 healthy men and 130 healthy women between the ages of 20 and 94 were evaluated for glutathione levels, the older subjects had significantly decreased levels (especially in the 60 to 79-year-old group). The authors felt that physical health and longevity were closely related to glutathione levels (Jrnl Lab & Clin Sci 120(5), Nov. 1992: 720-725). Poor nutrition and/or deficiencies in essential micronutrients and many prescription medications may contribute significantly to detoxification capacity in an aged individual. All of these circumstances are common in the elderly.

Eating a poor diet that contains too many processed foods without many fruits and vegetables can compromise your body's ability to detoxify pollutants, toxins and other harmful compounds. That can set off metabolic processes capable of fomenting large increases in free radical stress that can accelerate aging. Unfortunately, even in a country as prosperous as our own, nutrient deficiencies are frequent, especially in older citizens.

Nutrition Deficiencies

A study that looked at what elderly people consumed compared their reported intake with the 1989 Recommended Dietary Amount (RDA) and 1980 RDA: One of four people consumed only two-thirds of the RDA for calories and 60% consumed less than two-thirds of the RDA for vitamin D. As for other nutrients, 50% were found to have inadequate zinc levels (less than two-thirds of the RDA), 31% lacked calcium, 27% were short of vitamin B6, 25% didn't get enough magnesium, 7% missed out on folate and 6% ate less than two-thirds of the requirement for vitamin C (Nutrition Reviews (II), September 1995: S9-S15).

When researchers examine what everyone in the U.S. eats, they find that only 9% of Americans consume the recommended five servings of fruits and/or vegetables per day (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Sept 1993).

A diet high in fruits and vegetables is naturally high in antioxidant compounds and is believed to help you live longer. Unfortunately, if you buy your produce in the supermarket, those fruits and vegetables may also be rich in pesticide and herbicide residues (Consumer Reports, March 1999). Obviously, organic produce lacks these residues. But, in any case, research continues to indicate that a diet low in meats and animal fat and high in vegetables protects against antioxidant damage.

Longevity Diets

A six-year study of 182 people over age 70 in rural Greek villages found that those following their traditional diet of olive oil, whole grain breads, fresh fruits and vegetables and wine were less likely to die during the study than those who consumed more red meat and saturated fat. The most important foods in lowering the risk of early death included fruits, vegetables, legumes (peas and beans), nuts, dairy products and cereals (BMJ 311, 1995: 1457-1460).

Another article in Epidemiology highlights the evidence that eating a vegetarian diet increases your chances of living longer. Included in this survey is a recent country-wide study of diet and health in China, showing that the traditional near vegetarian diet of 10% to 15% of calories coming from dietary fat reduced the chances of heart disease, diabetes and many types of cancers (Epidemiology 3[5], 1992: 389-391).

Staying Alive

Staying skinny and limiting what you eat may also increase longevity. Scientific studies have previously shown that being overweight can theoretically curtail your life, increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other life-shortening conditions. Animal studies have also shown that restricting food can slow diseases associated with aging. Researchers believe that cutting calories helps your immune system stay younger by reducing the formation of substances that are called proinflammatory cytokines.

Specifically reducing your intake of fatty foods may decrease your chance of coming down with autoimmune diseases. Researchers think omega-6 fatty acid vegetable oils (like corn oil) may increase free radical formation and decrease levels of antioxidant enzyme messenger RNA in addition to other effects (Nutrition Reviews 53[4], 1995: S72-S79). Another study found that cutting calories lowers the levels of oxidative stress and damage, retards age-associated changes and extends maximum life span in mammals (Science 273, July 5, 1996: 59-63).

In yet another study, it was shown that caloric restriction early in the life of lab animals increased their life span by a whopping 40% (Australian Family Physician 23[7], July 1994: 1297-1305). Today's modern higher-fat, low-fiber diet with substantial sugar consumption represents everything the longevity researchers say you shouldn't eat.

Longevity and Exercise

Exercise may slow aging. When researchers looked at the exercise habits of 17,000 men, average age of 46, they found that those who took part in vigorous activity lived longer.

Exercise can improve both cardiac and metabolic functions within the body, while also decreasing heart disease risk. Even modest exercise has been shown to improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels (JAMA 273[15], April 19, 1995: 1179-1184). In a study of how exercise affects your chances of living longer, 9,773 men underwent preventive medicine examinations on two different occasions. When the researchers looked at who lived longest, they found the highest death rate was in men who were unfit during both physical exams.

The Treadmill of Life

The lowest death rate was in the men who worked out and were in good shape. The researchers concluded that for each minute increase in how long a man could keep treading on a treadmill (between the first and second exam) there was a corresponding 7.9% decrease in the risk of dying (JAMA 273 [14], April 12, 1995: 1093-1098).

Since exercise can increase oxygen consumption up to 10 times, boosting the rate of production of free radicals, researchers believe that older individuals need more antioxidant nutrients to protect them. In a paper published in Aging Clinical and Experimental Research (1997), researchers stated that if you regularly exercise in your golden years, you should take more antioxidant vitamins to compensate for this risk.

Longevity Supplementation

Melatonin is not often thought of as an antioxidant, but, instead, as a sleep aid. Melatonin, however, is an effective and efficient free radical scavenger and may help stave off the effects of aging. Melatonin protects against what are called hydroxyl free radicals. Research shows that older people's lack of melatonin may make them more susceptible to oxidative stress. In one study, researchers felt that new therapies aimed at stimulating melatonin synthesis may eventually lead to therapies for the prevention of diseases related to premature aging (Aging and Clinical Experimental Research 7[5], 1995: 338-339). Melatonin was shown to provide antioxidant protection in several ways.

Toning Down Enzymes

Melatonin can ease the effects of enzymes that generate free radicals, enhance the production of glutathione peroxidase (an antioxidant) and defuse the caustic action of free radicals that contain hydroxyls. In several studies, DHEA supplementation has been shown to potentially revive immune function in older adults (Exp. Opin. Invest. Drugs 4[2], 1995: 147-154).

In a study of 138 persons older than 85 years compared to 64 persons 20 to 40 years of age, scientists found that the younger people had four times as much DHEA in their bodies.

The researchers believe that our bodies make less and less DHEA as we get older. The authors of this study raise the possibility that declining DHEA may be partly to blame for our biological clocks running down (New York Academy of Sciences 1994: 543-552).

Vitamins E & C

A growing body of research also supports the benefits of taking vitamins E and C to hold off the effects of getting old. Researchers writing in Free Radicals and Aging (1992: 411-418) point out that as you get older your body is home to more and more free radical reactions that may lead to degenerative diseases like heart disease and arthritis. Research has found that in older people with exercise-induced oxidative stress, taking vitamin E every day may significantly fight off free radicals. (To investigate this effect, scientists measured waste products in urine that result from free radical reactions.) Their conclusion: Dietary antioxidants such as vitamin E may be beneficial.

Chronological Age Vs.Biological Age

Vitamin C also looks to scientists like a good anti-aging bet. Research in the Journal of Advancement in Medicine, (7[1], Spring 1994: 31-41) showed that folks consuming larger amounts of vitamin C were less likely to experience clinical problems at all ages. Those taking in less than 100 mg of vitamin C per day also suffered the most problems.

In this research, individuals over 50 years of age who daily consumed the largest amount of vitamin C were as healthy or healthier than the 40 year olds who were taking the least amount of vitamin C.

Similar Relationship

A similar relationship appears to exist for vitamin E and serum cholesterol levels. In a study of 360 physicians and their spouses, researchers found that people in their 50s who consumed more vitamin E had lower cholesterol than those in their 30s who were taking less.

And the longevity beat goes on: In a study evaluating environmental tobacco smoke and oxidative stress, researchers divided 103 people into three groups. Researchers blew smoke at 37 of these folks without protection while 30 of them got to breathe tobacco smoke but took antioxidant supplementation. Another 36 of them merely had to read magazines from doctors' offices. The results: After 60 days of supplementation the antioxidant folks had a 62% reduction in evidence of oxidative damage to their DNA. Cholesterol levels dropped and so did antioxidant enzyme activities. The researchers concluded that taking antioxidants provided a modicum of protection against environmental poisons.

The range of antioxidant nutrients used in this study included: beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and selenium as well as copper (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 7, November 1998: 981-988).

Carotenoids

When you mention carotene or carotenoids, most people think of the beta carotene that makes carrots orange. But more than 600 carotenoids are present in colorful vegetables and many of these misunderstood substances are more potent antioxidants than beta-carotene.

Carotenoids have been shown to destroy oxygen free radicals in lipids (fats), help protect our cells from the sun's ultra violet radiation and enhance our natural immune response (J. Nutr 119[1], Jan. 1989: 112-115).

Some evidence seems to show that how much carotenoids you (and other mammals) have in your cells may be the predominant factor in determining life span (Proc Natl Acad Sci 82 [4], 1985: 798-802). Therefore, a diet rich in carotenoids (leafy green vegetables, carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, squash, citrus fruits and tomatoes) along with supplementation seems to be just what the fountain of youth ordered.

Flavonoids

Flavonoids, a group of antioxidant plant pigments, seem to be able to protect specific organs. For instance, the flavonoids in milk thistle (Silybum marianum) have been used for ages for liver problems. Bilberry has been found protective for the eye and hawthorn for the heart and circulatory system.

Numerous studies have shown the many beneficial effects of flavonoids with perhaps the best known being the ability of anthocyanidins in wine and grape seed extract to help protect your blood vessels and capillaries from oxidative damage (Phytotherapy 42, 1986: 11-14; Am J Clin Nutr 61, 1995: 549-54).

Flavonoids are found in vegetables and such fruits as blackberries, blueberries, cherries and grapes. A diet rich in these foods helps ensure an adequate intake of these important nutrient compounds.

Amino Acid Health

Methionine and cysteine are sulphur containing amino acids (protein building blocks), both of which are essential in maintaining levels of glutathione, a substance that plays a major role in quelling free radicals. Studies have found that as we age, the level of these important amino acids in our bodies decreases. (NEJM 312 [1], 1985: 159-68). As it has been shown that adding cysteine to the diet of test animals can increase their life expectancy considerably, researchers believe these amino acids can help us live longer too.

Attitude & Behavior

Get more sleep! A recent study showed that men who habitually napped were less likely to have a heart attack. The men in this research who regularly napped for at least 30 minutes per day had about a 30% reduction in heart problems while those who napped for a full hour had a 50% reduction compared to non nappers. Naps of longer duration did not seem to increase the benefit. In the same research, investigators also found that spending time with a pet or merely contemplating nature could also improve cardiac health. Sensuality, optimism and altruism also appeared to have health benefits (Family Practice News, December 15, 1998: 14-15).

In another study, this one in American Psychologist, researchers from the University of California found that people who are self-indulgent, pampered and achieve by running roughshod over the competition are less likely to outlive their healthy peers. Being egocentric, impulsive, undependable and tough-minded were predictors of poor physical health and a shorter life. So loosen up and be nice to your fellow humans! (U.C. Davis Magazine, Fall 1995: 14).

Longevity at Last

While no one has suggested that taking supplements, eating vegetables or exercising can, as of yet, extend the human life span past the generally recognized limit of about 120 years, researchers believe they can improve your odds of longer life. And by staying healthier, your old age will be more enjoyable, too.



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Vision Quest - help fight eye problems.
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Date: June 18, 2005 08:34 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Vision Quest - help fight eye problems.

Vision Quest by Phyllis D. Light, RH Energy Times, February 11, 2004

Since your eyes are in constant use every day, exposed to the damaging energy of sunlight and pollutants that waft through the air, these delicate orbs are often in danger of wearing out.

To keep this vital part of your anatomy functioning as you age, you have to feed and care for your eyes properly. Otherwise, you are in real danger of losing your vision and independence.

Your vision may be in danger. Experts estimate that 8 million Americans over the age of 55 are at serious risk of blindness linked to a condition called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD can wipe out your central vision and is the primary cause of blindness in Western society.

While AMD causes no pain, it blurs the sharp, central vision necessary for driving, reading and other activities where you need to see either up close or straight ahead. During AMD, the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to pick out fine detail, is destroyed. The macula sits at the center of your retina, the nerve center at the back of your eye that senses light and sends optic signals to the brain.

Age is not the only risk factor for AMD. Scientists have isolated a genetic defect that can lead to some forms of macular degeneration (Nature Genetics 2001; 27:89-93). Smoking and excessive exposure to sunlight are other hazards best avoided if you want to save your sight.

In many cases, AMD progresses so slowly that victims of this condition don't even notice that their vision is deteriorating until much of it is irrevocably gone.

Dry and Wet AMD

Wet AMD occurs when blood vessels in back of the retina start to overgrow and leak blood. As this occurs, blood and other fluids push on the macula and quickly damage its sensitive nerve endings. When wet AMD occurs, you lose your central vision rapidly. If straight lines appear wavy to you, you may be suffering from wet AMD. If you notice this or other unusual vision changes, contact an eye care specialist as soon as possible. You need what is called a comprehensive dilated eye exam that can uncover signs of AMD.

Dry AMD strikes the eye when light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly deteriorate, gradually blurring central vision in the affected eye. As dry AMD progresses, a blurry spot in the center of your vision may appear. Eventually, as more of the macula becomes dysfunctional, the central vision in the eye can gradually disappear.

The most common sign of dry AMD is slightly blurry vision. This can make it hard to recognize faces and also make it harder to read without very bright light. Dry AMD generally attacks both eyes, but vision can be lost in one eye while the other eye stays normal. In the early stages of dry AMD, drusen, yellow deposits that gather under the retina, may form. Dry AMD progresses in three stages:

  • • Early AMD: Small drusen form but vision is unaffected.
  • • Intermediate AMD: Many medium drusen appear or, alternately, one large drusen occurs. Center vision is often blurred and reading requires bright lights.
  • • Advanced Dry AMD: Drusen formation is accompanied by deterioration of tissue in the macula. Blurs in central vision expand, eventually destroying most vision. Note: Because of the fast destruction it causes, wet AMD is an advanced form of this disorder that is considered more severe than the dry version.

    Vitamins and Minerals for AMD

    Fortunately, scientists have found ways to combat AMD: An analysis of a study called the national Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) shows that more than 300,000 Americans could avoid losing their sight to AMD if they took daily supplements of antioxidant nutrients and zinc.

    This conclusion, reached by scientists at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute, is based on research involving more than 4,500 adults suffering various stages of AMD. The study demonstrated that people who already had some AMD could lower their risk of the more advanced form of this condition by 25% when they took vitamin C, natural vitamin E and beta carotene along with zinc. Those suffering from advanced AMD lowered their chances of losing vision by about 19%. (Supplements did not affect the risk of cataracts or the chances of some vision loss for people in the early stages of AMD.)

    " Without treatment to reduce their risk, we estimate that 1.3 million adults would develop the advanced stage of AMD," says Neil M. Bressler, MD, professor of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins and author of the current study, published in Archives of Ophthalmology (11/03).

    According to Dr. Bressler and the other researchers, people who now have intermediate AMD (some vision loss) in one eye have about a 1 in 16 chance of having their vision deteriorate until they have advanced AMD. They also calculate that about 1 in 4 of those with intermediate AMD in both eyes and 43% of those with advanced AMD in one eye will develop advanced AMD in five years without treatment.

    In their view, older people at risk of AMD blindness should take daily supplements of 500 milligrams of vitamin C, 400 milligrams of natural vitamin E, 15 milligrams of beta carotene, 80 milligrams of zinc as zinc oxide and 2 milligrams of copper as cupric oxide. Evidence also exists that a diet which is high in fat can cause AMD to progress to an advanced stage. The exceptions: The healthy fats found in fish and nuts (Archives of Ophthalmology 2003; 121:1728-37).

    Lutein Protection

    Oddly enough, some of the same pigments that color vegetables and other foods also color your eyes. And scientists believe that those pigments, which are classified as carotenoids, help protect the eyes by helping them fight off the negative effects of caustic molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are formed when the energy from sunlight strikes the eyes and disrupts the composition of natural chemicals found there.

    When scientists compared healthy eyes with eyes suffering from AMD, they found that AMD eyes contained lower levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoid pigments contained in egg yolk, spinach, broccoli and other dark green vegetables (Ophthalmology 2003; 109:1780). Furthermore, they found that levels of these chemicals generally decline as you grow older.

    " This research is a major step toward large-scale clinical studies to prove the extent to which lutein and zeaxanthin protect against age-related macular degeneration," says Paul S. Bernstein, MD, PhD, at the University of Utah School of Medicine at Salt Lake. "We know that these carotenoids are specifically concentrated in the macula of the human eye."

    Dr. Bernstein adds that, as you age, taking supplements containing lutein and other antioxidants may lower your AMD risk. In his investigation, people with AMD who did not take lutein had one-third less lutein in their eyes than older people whose vision was normal.

    Avoiding Cataracts

    Another eyesight hazard is cataracts, in which the eye's lens-the part that focuses incoming light onto the retina-becomes cloudy. Cataracts form when the proteins found in the normally clear lens become damaged; signs include progressively blurred vision (especially outdoors), focusing problems, seeing streaks of light from headlights and stoplights, and colors that look faded.

    Cataract is the leading cause of blindness worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. One of every six Americans 40 and older suffers from some degree of cataract; it affects half of all Americans who reach age 80. Nuclear cataracts, the most common form of this disorder, develop in the center of the lens and tend to grow slowly. Cataracts may also develop at the back of the lens; this form is linked to eye trauma and long-term use of certain medications, including steroids.

    Like AMD, cataracts become more common as people age. Up to 40% of individuals between the ages of 75 and 85 have them, compared with only 5% to 10% of those folks under the age of 65. And like AMD, sunlight exposure and smoking increase the risk of developing cataracts, as does the presence of diabetes.

    Lutein and zeaxanthin, the carotenoids that are so plentiful in the macula, are also found in the lens (although in lower concentrations), leading many researchers to believe that these nutrients may help drop your risk of cataract development. Early studies indicate that an increased intake of lutein and zeaxanthin reduces one's chances of needing cataract surgery, the most common surgery in the United States (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999; 70(4):509-16; 517-24).

    Antioxidants and the Lens

    Scientists believe that free-radical damage is a leading cause of cataracts, and so it isn't surprising that antioxidants have proved useful in preventing this problem.

    Almost 500 women filled out diet questionnaires as part of a very large research effort called the Nurses' Health Study; those who had taken vitamin C supplements for 10 years or longer enjoyed the lowest rates of nuclear cataracts (Archives of Ophthalmology 2001; 119:1009-19).

    So the answer to lowering your risk of eye problems is clear, whether you are already in your mature years or plan to be someday: Lead a healthy, eye-friendly lifestyle, eating a diet filled with colorful fruits and vegetables. Take frequent walks and jogs around the block.

    And yes, when you kick back and take your just-as-frequent doses of antioxidant supplements, you're allowed to take your sunglasses off and see the world clearly.



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    Go Green - green foods may be the SWAT team that sets you free...
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    Date: June 12, 2005 05:27 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Go Green - green foods may be the SWAT team that sets you free...

    Go Green by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, December 4, 2003

    If you feel like your busy life is holding your health hostage, green foods may be the SWAT team that sets you free. "Green foods are worth a king's ransom as far as your health is concerned," says Betty Kamen, PhD, author of Betty Kamen's 1,001 Health Secrets (Nutrition Encounter). "Green foods capture solar energy, using it to produce chlorophyll, which gives it its distinctive green color. Since we obtain our food by eating these plants or by eating the animals that eat these plants, this process is the source of human life."

    "Green foods are renewal foods," says Ryan Bradley, ND, of the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Kenmore, Washington. "They help to counteract the nutrient depletion caused by stress and by caffeine intake. They're nutrient dense, grounding, balancing, and soothing in their energetic nature."

    Ideally, your meals should supply you with greens, but "...99.9% of the population doesn't get three to five [daily] servings of leafy green vegetables like kale, collard greens and spinach," says Jordan Rubin, NMD, PhD, CNC, author of Patient Heal Thyself (Freedom Press). Green foods can bridge that gap.

    "Green foods have become popular because it's a convenient way to get your servings," says Dr. Rubin. "You get the equivalent of two large salads with one serving of powdered green food. It's nutrient dense and low calorie so it's a great addition to any diet. It satisfies the brain so you don't feel hungry."

    "Everyone can benefit from green food supplementation," adds Dr. Kamen. "It's a concentrated supplier of everything that's good about vegetables."

    Chlorophyll for Health

    The key ingredient of green foods is chlorophyll, the green blood of plants. The benefits for humans from chlorophyll can be profound. A study of individuals at high risk of developing liver cancer because of their exposure to environmental toxins showed a 55% reduction in noxious compounds when these people supplemented their diets with a semi-synthetic chlorophyll derivative with properties similar to those of chlorophyll (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001 Dec 4; 98(25):14601-6).

    "This research supports the long-standing notion that chlorophyll, and green foods, can play a role in detoxification in the liver, and thus 'cleansing' the blood," says Dr. Bradley. "It's a good addition to any detox protocol. Test tube evidence also suggests that chlorophyll inhibits mutations in human cells."

    Chlorophyll is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. It can help fight anemia, improve digestion and elimination, and act as a mild diuretic. It also helps friendly bacteria in the gut reproduce and thereby possibly boost immunity.

    Green, Green Grasses

    Fast-growing plants, such as wheat and barley cereal grasses, contain the most chlorophyll and the deepest green color.

    "Wheat grass was one of the country's first multi-vitamins," says Dr. Rubin, who is also the author of Restoring Your Digestive Health (Twin Streams Health). "Certified organic cereal grasses pull a vast number of nutrients from the soil."

    "The solar-powered factory in the leaves of the young grass plants is almost beyond comprehension," says Dr. Kamen. "Sprouted grains have exceptional nutritive value and high amounts of certain vitamins and minerals."

    Spirulina Time

    The blue-green microalgae spirulina is a chlorophyll powerhouse.

    "Spirulina is high in protein, up to 65%, and the blue pigment of this blue-green algae, phycocyanin, has antioxidant, antiviral and antifungal properties," says Dr. Rubin.

    Like other greens, spirulina can help you cut calories. "When you nourish the body and the brain with nutrient-dense and low-caloric food, it satisfies that impulse to keep eating." Spirulina is also high in B vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid, all commonly depleted nutrients. B vitamins are critical players in overall metabolism, and are vital to nerve and adrenal function.

    Spirulina contains the minerals potassium and magnesium, plus iron. "It's been scientifically validated that [spirulina's iron is] comparable to the absorption from an egg," says Dr. Bradley. "It may benefit patients that are anemic. It's also a great choice for vegans who are looking for plant sources of iron."

    In addition, the spirulina compounds called phycocyanins may control inflammation and lower the risk of cancer.

    "Spirulina stimulates the part of the immune system [natural killer cells] responsible for our ability to fight off viruses and survey our tissues internally and detect and kill cancerous tissue," says Dr. Bradley.

    Chlorella Benefits

    Like spirulina, chlorella stimulates your natural killer cells to fight bacteria and viruses, and to strengthen your defenses.

    "Chlorella is the richest food on the planet in chlorophyll," says Dr. Kamen. "It's also high in protein and rich in beta-carotene and minerals.

    "One of the truly amazing facts about chlorella is its ability to oxygenate the blood," Dr. Kamen continues. "If your blood doesn't have enough oxygen, you can become listless and lethargic. Chlorella actually increases your hemoglobin, the oxygen transporter in your blood, so there is more oxygen present. It provides the necessary fuel for making healthy cells, and the result is renewed energy and vitality."

    Both spirulina and chorella also contain omega-6 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory benefits and can improve the behavior of your blood vessels. In addition, they provide vitamin B12.

    Green Foods from the Sea

    Seaweed and other sea vegetables like kelp offer a green foods bonanza. Seaweed is low in calories but, like spirulina, offers a wealth of nutrients.

    "Most seaweed provides a rich supply of many essential nutrients, including protein, calcium, iodine and zinc," says Bradley Willcox, MD, co-author of The Okinawa Program (Potter). "Iodine is essential to the function of the thyroid gland, which needs it to make hormones that regulate your body's metabolism. Lignans, the cancer-fighting phytoestrogens have been found in high quantities in seaweed, mostly kelp, which could conceivably provide some protection against certain types of cancers."

    Lower rates of breast cancer were reported in Japanese patients eating a diet high in kelp (Nutr Cancer 1983; 4:217-22). Kelp has also been shown to reduce DNA damage induced by several known carcinogens (Mutat Res 1993; 303:63-70).

    Sea greens contain omega-3 fatty acids, fats that boost heart health. "Sea vegetables may prove to be a more sustainable source of omega-3 fatty acids than the dwindling fish populations," says Dr. Bradley.

    To incorporate sea greens into your diet, start by putting them on your lettuce and tomatoes.

    "Sea vegetables can make a great addition to salads," says Dr. Bradley. "They're high in nutrition and add flavor because of the sodium. They also add texture, giving salads more crunch."

    Other ways to green up your diet:

    * "Kelp comes packaged in three-foot-long dried strips and is prepared by cutting the long strips into smaller two- to three-inch strips and boiling them for about ten minutes. You remove the kelp, and then you can use the broth in soups, salads and other dishes. Kelp simmered with vegetables or tofu and served in miso soup is an Okinawan favorite," says Dr. Willcox.

    * Wakame (one of Dr. Willcox's favorites), a type of kelp, has a taste and appearance that may remind Westerners of spinach lasagna.

    * Nori seaweed can be used to wrap sushi and rice balls and also to season salads, soups and noodles.

    "Seaweed tastes great and if used wisely, should not tip you into sodium overload," says Dr. Willcox.

    Go for the Green

    More and more people are realizing and enjoying the benefits of green foods. Dr. Bradley recommends keeping your green foods consumption simple. Add powdered greens, dried tablets and liquids to juice, mix them into smoothies or a protein shake, and sprinkle the powder on salads. Mixed in water, greens can be used as a morning tonic and help replace some of the nutrients like magnesium and B vitamins depleted by coffee and other caffeinated beverages, which act as diuretics.

    "Incorporate a green drink into your diet once or twice a day," says Dr. Bradley. "It's the least expensive (health) insurance policy you can have."



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    Bone Power - Natures Plus
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    Date: June 11, 2005 04:41 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Bone Power - Natures Plus

    Bone Power by no author Energy Times, May 1, 1997

    Patricia Q. stopped smoking 20 years ago. At 61, she is active, tries to exercise regularly, eats properly and takes a multivitamin. Most would consider Patricia's lifestyle a sufficient safeguard against the diseases of aging. But one debilitating possibility still concerns her: Osteoporosis-bone thinning. She worries that her bones may have begun weakening almost a decade ago. Although her good health habits can slow the demineralization of her bones, osteoporosis may still take its toll. And as her neck and back begin to obviously round, a possible sign of bone weakness, Patricia frets about her future.

    The weakening of bones brought on by age makes them more prone to fracture. One of every two women older than age 50 suffers an osteoporosis-related fracture during her lifetime. Osteoporosis literally means "porous bones," bones that deteriorate and particularly increase the risk of damage to the hip, spine and wrist. In extreme cases, everyday activities assume danger: fractures can result from simply lifting a bag of groceries or from what would otherwise be a minor fall. Some women, fearful of fractures, eliminate many seemingly innocuous activities from their daily lives. Their fear is well founded. Complications from these fractures are a major killer of women.

    As women grow older, the risk grows, too. Ten million individuals already have the disease, and 18 million have low bone mass, placing them at risk for osteoporosis.

    But research shows that osteoporosis may be preventable and controllable. Regardless of age, eating right, getting enough calcium and performing weight-bearing exercises, can lower your risk for this disease.

    Understanding Your Bones

    Bones are not static structures but living tissue constantly reformed in a process called remodeling. Every day old bone is removed and replaced with new bone tissue. When more bone is broken down than is replaced (demineralization), bones weaken. When the structure loses sufficient density, you face eminent danger of a fracture.

    Generally speaking, bones continue to increase their density and calcium content until you reach your 30s, at which point you probably have attained your peak bone mass. Afterward you may either maintain this mass or begin to lose calcium yearly, but you rarely can increase bone density. The loss of bone density can increase at menopause, when your body ceases producing estrogen, a hormone required to improve bone strength. In addition, some medications, used for a long period, compromise bone density.

    Stop Calcium Loss

    Eating a diet rich in nutrients that help your bones stay strong should be the first step in stopping or slowing the process of osteoporosis. Calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, phosphorus, soy-based foods and fluoride compose the major nutrients that strengthen bone.

    At this moment, 98 percent of your body's calcium resides in your bones, the rest circulates in the blood, taking part in metabolic functions. Because the body cannot manufacture calcium, you must eat calcium in your daily diet to replace the amounts that are constantly lost. When the diet lacks sufficient calcium to replace the amount that is excreted, the body begins to break down bone for the calcium necessary for life-preserving metabolic processes.

    Calcium in the diet can generally slow calcium loss from bones, but it usually doesn't seem to replace calcium already gone. The National Institutes of Health recommend 1000-1200 milligrams of dietary calcium per day for premenopausal women and 1200-1500 milligrams for menopausal and postmenopausal women

    Good sources of calcium include milk and milk products, yogurt, ricotta, cheese, oysters, salmon, collard greens, spinach, ice cream, cottage cheese, kale, broccoli and oranges.

    If you cannot tolerate dairy products, calcium supplements are an easy way to consume calcium. Take supplements with a meal to aid absorption of calcium from the stomach.

    In Total Health for Women, Dr. Kendra Kale, clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, urges women to read supplement labels. Scrutinize the fine print to see how many grams are considered "elemental"or "bioavailable"-the form of calcium your body will absorb. If you're taking a 750 milligram supplement, chances are only 300 milligrams are elemental. You should also check that the pill will dissolve within 30 minutes and meets the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) standards. If tablets do not break down within 30 minutes, they may pass through you unabsorbed and you won't digest the calcium from them that you need.

    Absorbing calcium from your digestive tract also requires the presence of vitamin D. Ten to 15 minutes of sun exposure daily usually satisfies vitamin D requirements since most people's bodies can use sunlight to manufacture this substance. So walking to work, or going outside for lunch should supply sufficient ultraviolet light to facilitate calcium absorption.

    As we age, however, our body's ability to produce vitamin D gradually diminishes. Our diets can make up the difference: Good dietary sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, liver and fish or nutritional supplements. Many foods, like milk, are supplemented with vitamin D.

    Magnesium is another mineral that helps to build bones. Found in leafy, green vegetables, nuts, soybeans, seeds and whole grains, your daily requirement of magnesium should be about half of your calcium intake.

    Absorbing calcium for bone health also requires phosphorus, but be careful not to get too much of a good thing: excess phosphorus can actually increase your body's need for calcium. This can present a problem for people who drink bottle after bottle of cola soft drinks or who eat an abundance of processed foods which are often high in phosphorus.

    New Soy Research

    New research suggests that soy foods, like tofu or soy milk may be vital for preserving bones. A study of more than 60 postmenopausal women who consumed either diets rich in soy's isoflavones or milk protein found that eating soy restored calcium to some of the women's bones. Even though the researchers didn't think such a replacement due to soy was even possible!

    The researchers at the University of Illinois believe that isoflavones behave in the body in some of the same ways that estrogen does. The study measured bone density at the lumbar spine, a part of the body at the small of the back that is liable to fractures due to osteoporosis.

    Fluoride: Not Just For Teeth

    Although most people associate the mineral fluoride with strong teeth, fluoride is just as important for bone strength. Surveys report that osteoporosis is reportedly less common in communities that drink fluoridated water. Fluoride combines with calcium in the bones to slow mineral loss after mid-life. Good sources of this mineral include fish, tea and most animal foods.

    Cut Back on Alcohol and Coffee

    According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, consuming lots of caffeine is thought to increase the calcium excreted in your urine. In addition, high levels of protein and sodium in your diet are also believed to increase calcium excretion. And although more studies of protein and sodium are needed to precisely determine how these substances influence calcium loss you should limit the caffeine, protein and salt you take in.

    On top of those findings, researchers say that the diuretic action of alcohol and caffeine speed skeletal calcium loss. They believe alcohol may interfere with intestinal absorption of calcium.

    Pumping Up

    Along with a bone-friendly diet, your exercise program should also be designed to preserve bone. Weight-bearing exercise-exercise that places stress on the bones-strengthens bone density and wards off osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercises include weight lifting, walking, jogging and jumping rope.

    Exercise possesses many benefits for preserving bone, according to Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., author of Strong Women Stay Young. Among them: exercise can help you retain the balance necessary to resist falls and strengthen the muscles that keep you erect. Studies performed on women of all ages found that by doing strength training exercises two times a week for a year, without use of estrogen or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), women, on average, added three pounds of muscle and lost three pounds of fat. They were also 75 percent stronger with improved balance and bone density.

    Although strength training can be performed by anyone at any age, Nelson recommends that if you have an unstable medical condition or if you have recently undergone surgery, wait until you recover and speak with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. If you have not exercised in a long time, consult a health practitioner knowledgeable in sports medicine before beginning an exercise program.

    Other Options

    Drug therapies are now available to combat osteoporosis. One of the most popular is HRT, which supplies estrogen to women undergoing menopause. However, medical experts are still arguing over HRT 's possible role in increasing your risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer.

    According to Jan Rattner-Heilman, co-author of Estrogen, the Facts Can Change Your Life, the conflicting studies that balance the benefits and risk of HRT are bound to confuse the average consumer. Estrogen is recommended to prevent bone loss and forestall heart disease and possibly Alzheimer's disease. Most women take estrogen to ease the discomforts of menopause such as hot flashes, and many experts do not believe that it unduly increases the risk of breast cancer for those at low risk.

    Heilman warns, however, that estrogen probably should not be taken by women especially at risk for breast cancer risk or those who are already suffer the disease.

    Patricia Q. is reluctant to try HRT. "I'm at risk for breast cancer-my mother had it-so I won't take estrogen. I'd rather do what I can without medications. My preference is to watch my diet and exercise as much as I can. That gives me my best chance to avoid osteoporosis."

    Doctor Nelson agrees with this perspective She believes that exercise possesses enough benefits to make it the treatment of choice. "The difference between estrogen and strength training is that strength training has a huge spillover effect; you aren't just decreasing one type of disease. You become stronger with more muscles and less fat, and you become more fit. This decreases your chances for many types of diseases, not just osteoporosis. It can decrease risks for heart disease, diabetes, sleep disturbances, hypertension and more."

    If you believe you are at risk for osteoporosis, ask your doctor about the benefits of bone mineral density screening. DEXA scan (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) measures the bone density in a 15-minute test. But the test is expensive: the cost of this test ranges from $75-200 or more and may not be covered by your health insurance. But financial help may be on the way. A Bone Mass Standardization Act has been introduced in Congress to ensure that the cost of bone mass measurement is covered under Medicare and that standards for coverage are clear and consistent for anyone with medical insurance.

    Fighting Osteoporosis at Different Ages

    Childbearing years (30-40): These years are particularly important for preserving bone through exercise and good nutrition. Eat plenty of low-fat dairy products, vegetables and soy. Perform weight-bearing exercise such as walking, jogging and weight lifting to attain the greatest amount of bone and muscle possible. Being active reduces risk of injury and makes you stronger. If you smoke, now's the time to stop.

    Menopausal years (late 40s-50s): During this time, muscle, bone and estrogen decreases. Minimize loss through diet, walking and weight lifting. Your exercise intensity may have to be decreased but you should not stop being physically active.

    Post Menopause (over 60): Focus on reducing your risk of falling. Minimize balance problems and increase muscle strength through exercise.



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    Iron: The Body's LifeBlood
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    Date: June 10, 2005 10:29 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Iron: The Body's LifeBlood

    Iron: The Body's LifeBlood by Carl Lowe Energy Times, October 16, 2004

    Two billion people, including one in 10 American women, are lacking iron. Here's how veggies and other foods can supply you with enough of this vital mineral.

    Back in the days of black and white television, a popular commercial cautioned viewers about the dangers of iron-poor blood. While those ads trumpeting the debilitating fatigue of iron deficiency have disappeared from our colorized video world, medical researchers now recognize that many of us, in fact, are hampered by an iron shortage. What those old ads missed: a lack of iron can slow you down mentally and physically even before it shows up in your blood.

    A Woman's Dilemma: Hidden Deficiencies Experts estimate that one in 10 American women are low in iron but many haven't become so deficient that they are aware of their shortage. In other countries, up to eight in 10 women run short on iron. While researchers once believed that iron deficiency was only serious if it was drastic enough to cause anemia (what used to be called "tired blood"), studies now show that even mild deficiencies can compromise health.

    Worldwide, public health experts believe that the lives of about 2 billion people are affected by iron deficiency. Most of these people are women, who lose blood on a monthly basis during their childbearing years. Men are generally not low in iron. Iron is necessary for the formation of red blood cells-particularly the creation of hemoglobin, the reddish pigment in these cells that enables them to deliver oxygen to muscles and other bodily tissues. If you are very low in iron, the resulting anemia leaves you feeling fatigued.

    Your body stashes iron not only in your blood cells, but in your liver and other tissues as well. When you don't consume enough iron, first your liver stores decrease, then your tissue supplies disappear and, finally, your blood runs low and you develop anemia. Early on in the iron-depletion process, a low iron count won't make your daily activities more difficult. Cornell University researchers found, in experiments on women who were mildly depleted, that taking or not taking iron supplements had no effect on how these women felt while exercising.

    " Supplementation makes no difference in exercise-training improvements in women with low iron storage who are not yet tissue-iron deficient or anemic," says Thomas Brownlie, one of the Cornell researchers.

    Supplementing Your Supply

    Even in the beginning stages of iron deficiency, however, experts still believe you should take supplements: an uncorrected iron shortage can mean serious problems lurk ahead (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 5/04). For that reason, the next time you visit your healthcare practitioner you should request a serum transferrin receptor concentration test, which can detect an early iron shortage. (Don't start taking iron supplements without consulting a knowledgeable medical professional.)

    " It would be useful for women who test low for iron but who are not yet anemic to have this test," notes Cornell's Brownlie. "Women found to be tissue-iron deficient will find exercise exceedingly difficult without improving their iron status-which could be achieved by increasing consumption of iron-rich foods or iron supplementation."

    Iron-Poor Blood

    If you let your iron levels run down so low that it shows up as anemia, not only will you be tired but your thinking may be fogged as well. " Millions of women who are mildly iron deficient must work harder than necessary when exercising or working physically, and they can't reap the benefits of endurance training very easily," says Jere Haas, PhD, one of the researchers involved in these studies and a nutrition professor at Cornell. "As a result, exercise is more difficult so these women are more apt to lose their motivation to exercise."

    Meanwhile, researchers at Wake Forest University in North Carolina report that, as you age, anemia can make you more vulnerable to disabilities while weakening your muscles and draining your strength (Journal of the American Geriatric Society 5/04). That type of anemia may be linked to shortages of both iron and vitamin B12.

    " Our results suggest that anemia is a risk factor for disability, poor physical function and low muscle strength-all which can threaten the independence of older adults," says Brenda Penninx, PhD, lead researcher. If you are a woman who exercises frequently, cuts calories to lose weight or eats a mostly vegetarian diet, watch out-you may be at high risk for iron depletion.

    To steer clear of iron shortages, the Cornell researchers recommend eating lean red meat. If you are a vegetarian, taking vitamin C with meals improves your iron absorption from iron-rich foods like peanuts, whole wheat, brown rice and leafy green vegetables, as does using iron cookware.

    Chelated Minerals

    When it comes to absorbing supplemental minerals like iron, not all minerals may be created equal. In particular, minerals that are in chelated form are generally believed to be absorbed more efficiently in your digestive system. The word "chelate" comes from the Greek word for claw. Chelated minerals are chemically implanted into proteins known as peptides. This bound molecular structure mirrors the way minerals are contained in natural whole foods, which have been found to contain their own natural chelates.

    Chelated minerals are more well-suited to your digestive tract. A key advantage of chelated formulations is their stability after you swallow them. Many other forms of supplemental minerals-which are often combined with inorganic salts or organic acids-may be broken down prematurely in the digestive tract, leading to poor absorption and a stomachache.

    Chelates, however, maintain their structure sufficiently to reach the spot in the digestive tract where they are most efficiently taken into the bloodstream. Once there, the body's digestive enzymes dismember the proteins and convert the minerals into absorbable form.

    Getting enough iron and other minerals is not that difficult a task-it's just one that is too often overlooked. But if you pride yourself on your iron will or iron constitution, or just seek to iron out a few of the kinks in your health, you may need to significantly pump up your iron.



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    Nutrients for Longevity
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    Date: June 10, 2005 09:59 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Nutrients for Longevity

    Nutrients for Longevity by Edward C. Wallace, ND, DC Energy Times, September 1, 1999

    What's the big deal about trying to live longer? As you grow older (and the American population grows older alongside you) you may want to postpone the inevitable. Few wish to hasten "the journey from which no traveler returns." But as we approach that final bon voyage, chances are we desire clear sailing-aging without disability and with a peaceful easy feeling.

    How Do We Age

    Science has long puzzled about what causes the wrinkles, pains and deterioration of aging. In the search for causes, two basic theories have won over the most proponents: The first holds that cells are programmed with biological clocks that predetermine how many times they can reproduce before becoming non-functional. This theory has been largely formulated by the researcher Leonard Hayflick, MD.

    The second basic theory, introduced by Denham Harman, MD, PhD, in the mid 1950s, holds that cells eventually break down due to attack by caustic molecules called free radicals that cause oxidative stress.

    Programmed Cell Theory

    In the early '60s, Dr. Hayflick observed that human fibroblasts (cells from connective tissue) in the laboratory refused to divide more than about 50 times. Dr. Hayflick also found that even if he froze the fibroblasts after 20 divisions, they would remember that they only had 30 divisions left after thawing.

    Fifty cell divisions have been called the "Hayflick limit." Based on this research, scientists theorize that cells maintain a genetic clock that winds down as old age ensues. Many researchers believe the hypothalamus gland is the force behind our aging clocks, signaling the pituitary gland to release hormones that cause aging.

    Free Radical/Oxidative Stress Theory

    The other popular theory of aging pictures the human body as a cellular battlefield where attackers called free radicals damage our cells and tissues, making them age. In this scenario, a process called oxidation is the chief aging villain.

    On a microscopic level, oxidation generally entails molecules or atoms losing electrons. (Gaining electrons is called reduction.) The molecules or atoms that take these electrons are oxidizing agents. Free radicals are substances that can exist with missing electrons, making them readily able to donate or accept electrons and damage structures in cells. As such, they are highly reactive, binding with and destroying important cellular compounds. Most of the free radicals in your body are made during metabolic processes. More are added from the food you eat and environmental pollution.

    Most of these free radicals contain oxygen molecules. As each cell makes energy in little structures called mitochondria, free radicals result. These oxidant by-products can damage DNA, proteins and lipids (fats). Consequently, toxic by-products of lipid peroxidation may cause cancer, inhibit enzyme activity and produce mutations in genetic material that make you age faster.

    DNA Repair Theory

    Free radical damage to DNA can cause cells to mutate or die. Your body makes enzymes that can repair this damage and slow aging. But, over time, the amount of damage overwhelms the body's ability to fix things. As cells grow older, their ability to patch up DNA diminishes and the rate of damage proceeds faster than repair. The result: We age and eventually die.

    What Can We Do

    The free radical theory of aging suggests that taking antioxidants (compounds known to prevent free radical damage) in our food or as supplements may slow aging.

    In the publication Age (18 [51] 1995: 62), it was reported that "aging appears to be caused by free radicals initiated by the mitochondria at an increasing rate with age. Superoxide and hydrogen peroxide radicals formed by the mitochondria during normal metabolism are major risk factors for disease and death after about the age of 28 in developed countries. Antioxidants from the diet lower the production of free radicals without impairing essential reactions to maintain body function."

    Antioxidant Protection

    Common dietary antioxidants include: vitamins E and C, carotenes, sulphur containing amino acids, co-enzyme Q10 and flavonoids (a group of plant compounds or pigments responsible for the color in fruits and flowers). In addition, melatonin, DHEA and the amino acid compound glutathione may also prove of benefit.

    Glutathione along with the enzyme glutathione peroxidase are an essential part of free radical "quenching." (Quenching means changing free radicals into benign substances no longer capable of harm.)

    Deficiencies may suggest a decreased capacity to maintain detoxification and metabolic reactions in which glutathione plays a role, resulting in increased free radical stress and/or lipid peroxidation. Drinking too many alcoholic beverages can result in glutathione deficiency.

    In a study in which 39 healthy men and 130 healthy women between the ages of 20 and 94 were evaluated for glutathione levels, the older subjects had significantly decreased levels (especially in the 60 to 79-year-old group). The authors felt that physical health and longevity were closely related to glutathione levels (Jrnl Lab & Clin Sci 120(5), Nov. 1992: 720-725).

    Poor nutrition and/or deficiencies in essential micronutrients and many prescription medications may contribute significantly to detoxification capacity in an aged individual. All of these circumstances are common in the elderly.

    Eating a poor diet that contains too many processed foods without many fruits and vegetables can compromise your body's ability to detoxify pollutants, toxins and other harmful compounds. That can set off metabolic processes capable of fomenting large increases in free radical stress that can accelerate aging. Unfortunately, even in a country as prosperous as our own, nutrient deficiencies are frequent, especially in older citizens.

    Nutrition Deficiencies

    A study that looked at what elderly people consumed compared their reported intake with the 1989 Recommended Dietary Amount (RDA) and 1980 RDA: One of four people consumed only two-thirds of the RDA for calories and 60% consumed less than two-thirds of the RDA for vitamin D. As for other nutrients, 50% were found to have inadequate zinc levels (less than two-thirds of the RDA), 31% lacked calcium, 27% were short of vitamin B6, 25% didn't get enough magnesium, 7% missed out on folate and 6% ate less than two-thirds of the requirement for vitamin C (Nutrition Reviews (II), September 1995: S9-S15).

    When researchers examine what everyone in the U.S. eats, they find that only 9% of Americans consume the recommended five servings of fruits and/or vegetables per day (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Sept 1993).

    A diet high in fruits and vegetables is naturally high in antioxidant compounds and is believed to help you live longer. Unfortunately, if you buy your produce in the supermarket, those fruits and vegetables may also be rich in pesticide and herbicide residues (Consumer Reports, March 1999). Obviously, organic produce lacks these residues. But, in any case, research continues to indicate that a diet low in meats and animal fat and high in vegetables protects against antioxidant damage.

    Longevity Diets

    A six-year study of 182 people over age 70 in rural Greek villages found that those following their traditional diet of olive oil, whole grain breads, fresh fruits and vegetables and wine were less likely to die during the study than those who consumed more red meat and saturated fat. The most important foods in lowering the risk of early death included fruits, vegetables, legumes (peas and beans), nuts, dairy products and cereals (BMJ 311, 1995: 1457-1460)

    Another article in Epidemiology highlights the evidence that eating a vegetarian diet increases your chances of living longer. Included in this survey is a recent country-wide study of diet and health in China, showing that the traditional near vegetarian diet of 10% to 15% of calories coming from dietary fat reduced the chances of heart disease, diabetes and many types of cancers. (Epidemiology 3[5], 1992: 389-391).

    Staying Alive

    Staying skinny and limiting what you eat may also increase longevity. Scientific studies have previously shown that being overweight can theoretically curtail your life, increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other life-shortening conditions. Animal studies have also shown that restricting food can slow diseases associated with aging. Researchers believe that cutting calories helps your immune system stay younger by reducing the formation of substances that are called proinflammatory cytokines.

    Specifically reducing your intake of fatty foods may decrease your chance of coming down with autoimmune diseases. Researchers think omega-6 fatty acid vegetable oils (like corn oil) may increase free radical formation and decrease levels of antioxidant enzyme messenger RNA in addition to other effects. (Nutrition Reviews 53[4], 1995: S72-S79). Another study found that cutting calories lowers the levels of oxidative stress and damage, retards age-associated changes and extends maximum life span in mammals (Science 273, July 5, 1996: 59-63).

    In yet another study, it was shown that caloric restriction early in the life of lab animals increased their life span by a whopping 40% (Australian Family Physician 23[7], July 1994: 1297-1305). Today's modern higher-fat, low-fiber diet with substantial sugar consumption represents everything the longevity researchers say you shouldn't eat.

    Longevity and Exercise:

    Exercise may slow aging. When researchers looked at the exercise habits of 17,000 men, average age of 46, they found that those who took part in vigorous activity lived longer.

    Exercise can improve both cardiac and metabolic functions within the body, while also decreasing heart disease risk. Even modest exercise has been shown to improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels (JAMA 273[15], April 19, 1995: 1179-1184).

    In a study of how exercise affects your chances of living longer, 9,773 men underwent preventive medicine examinations on two different occasions. When the researchers looked at who lived longest, they found the highest death rate was in men who were unfit during both physical exams.

    The Treadmill of Life

    The lowest death rate was in the men who worked out and were in good shape. The researchers concluded that for each minute increase in how long a man could keep treading on a treadmill (between the first and second exam) there was a corresponding 7.9% decrease in the risk of dying. (JAMA 273 [14], April 12, 1995: 1093-1098).

    Since exercise can increase oxygen consumption up to 10 times, boosting the rate of production of free radicals, researchers believe that older individuals need more antioxidant nutrients to protect them. In a paper published in Aging Clinical and Experimental Research (1997), researchers stated that if you regularly exercise in your golden years, you should take more antioxidant vitamins to compensate for this risk.

    Longevity Supplementation

    Melatonin is not often thought of as an antioxidant, but, instead, as a sleep aid. Melatonin, however, is an effective and efficient free radical scavenger and may help stave off the effects of aging.

    Melatonin protects against what are called hydroxyl free radicals. Research shows that older people's lack of melatonin may make them more susceptible to oxidative stress. In one study, researchers felt that new therapies aimed at stimulating melatonin synthesis may eventually lead to therapies for the prevention of diseases related to premature aging (Aging and Clinical Experimental Research 7[5], 1995: 338-339). Melatonin was shown to provide antioxidant protection in several ways.

    Toning Down Enzymes

    Melatonin can ease the effects of enzymes that generate free radicals, enhance the production of glutathione peroxidase (an antioxidant) and defuse the caustic action of free radicals that contain hydroxyls.

    In several studies, DHEA supplementation has been shown to potentially revive immune function in older adults (Exp. Opin. Invest. Drugs 4[2], 1995: 147-154).

    In a study of 138 persons older than 85 years compared to 64 persons 20 to 40 years of age, scientists found that the younger people had four times as much DHEA in their bodies.

    The researchers believe that our bodies make less and less DHEA as we get older. The authors of this study raise the possibility that declining DHEA may be partly to blame for our biological clocks running down (New York Academy of Sciences 1994: 543-552).

    Vitamins E & C

    A growing body of research also supports the benefits of taking vitamins E and C to hold off the effects of getting old. Researchers writing in Free Radicals and Aging (1992: 411-418) point out that as you get older your body is home to more and more free radical reactions that may lead to degenerative diseases like heart disease and arthritis. Research has found that in older people with exercise-induced oxidative stress, taking vitamin E every day may significantly fight off free radicals. (To investigate this effect, scientists measured waste products in urine that result from free radical reactions.) Their conclusion: Dietary antioxidants such as vitamin E may be beneficial.

    Chronological Age Vs. Biological Age

    Vitamin C also looks to scientists like a good anti-aging bet. Research in the Journal of Advancement in Medicine, (7[1], Spring 1994: 31-41) showed that folks consuming larger amounts of vitamin C were less likely to experience clinical problems at all ages. Those taking in less than 100 mg of vitamin C per day also suffered the most problems. In this research, individuals over 50 years of age who daily consumed the largest amount of vitamin C were as healthy or healthier than the 40 year olds who were taking the least amount of vitamin C.

    Similar Relationship

    A similar relationship appears to exist for vitamin E and serum cholesterol levels. In a study of 360 physicians and their spouses, researchers found that people in their 50s who consumed more vitamin E had lower cholesterol than those in their 30s who were taking less. And the longevity beat goes on: In a study evaluating environmental tobacco smoke and oxidative stress, researchers divided 103 people into three groups. Researchers blew smoke at 37 of these folks without protection while 30 of them got to breathe tobacco smoke but took antioxidant supplementation. Another 36 of them merely had to read magazines from doctors' offices. The results: After 60 days of supplementation the antioxidant folks had a 62% reduction in evidence of oxidative damage to their DNA. Cholesterol levels dropped and so did antioxidant enzyme activities. The researchers concluded that taking antioxidants provided a modicum of protection against environmental poisons.

    The range of antioxidant nutrients used in this study included: beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and selenium as well as copper (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 7, November 1998: 981-988).

    Carotenoids

    When you mention carotene or carotenoids, most people think of the beta carotene that makes carrots orange. But more than 600 carotenoids are present in colorful vegetables and many of these misunderstood substances are more potent antioxidants than beta-carotene.

    Carotenoids have been shown to destroy oxygen free radicals in lipids (fats), help protect our cells from the sun's ultra violet radiation and enhance our natural immune response (J. Nutr 119(1), Jan. 1989: 112-115).

    Some evidence seems to show that how much carotenoids you (and other mammals) have in your cells may be the predominant factor in determining life span (Proc Natl Acad Sci 82 [4], 1985: 798-802). Therefore, a diet rich in carotenoids (leafy green vegetables, carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, squash, citrus fruits and tomatoes) along with supplementation seems to be just what the fountain of youth ordered.

    Flavonoids

    Flavonoids, a group of antioxidant plant pigments, seem to be able to protect specific organs.

    For instance, the flavonoids in milk thistle (Silybum marianum) have been used for ages for liver problems. Bilberry has been found protective for the eye and hawthorn for the heart and circulatory system.

    Numerous studies have shown the many beneficial effects of flavonoids with perhaps the best known being the ability of anthocyanidins in wine and grape seed extract to help protect your blood vessels and capillaries from oxidative damage (Phytotherapy 42, 1986: 11-14; Am J Clin Nutr 61, 1995: 549-54).

    Flavonoids are found in vegetables and such fruits as blackberries, blueberries, cherries and grapes. A diet rich in these foods helps ensure an adequate intake of these important nutrient compounds.

    Amino Acid Health

    Methionine and cysteine are sulphur containing amino acids (protein building blocks), both of which are essential in maintaining levels of glutathione, a substance that plays a major role in quelling free radicals. Studies have found that as we age, the level of these important amino acids in our bodies decreases. (NEJM 312 [1], 1985: 159-68).

    As it has been shown that adding cysteine to the diet of test animals can increase their life expectancy considerably, researchers believe these amino acids can help us live longer too.

    Attitude & Behavior

    Get more sleep! A recent study showed that men who habitually napped were less likely to have a heart attack. The men in this research who regularly napped for at least 30 minutes per day had about a 30% reduction in heart problems while those who napped for a full hour had a 50% reduction compared to non nappers. Naps of longer duration did not seem to increase the benefit.

    In the same research, investigators also found that spending time with a pet or merely contemplating nature could also improve cardiac health. Sensuality, optimism and altruism also appeared to have health benefits (Family Practice News, December 15, 1998: 14-15).

    In another study, this one in American Psychologist, researchers from the University of California found that people who are self-indulgent, pampered and achieve by running roughshod over the competition are less likely to outlive their healthy peers. Being egocentric, impulsive, undependable and tough-minded were predictors of poor physical health and a shorter life. So loosen up and be nice to your fellow humans! (U.C. Davis Magazine, Fall 1995: 14).

    Longevity at Last

    While no one has suggested that taking supplements, eating vegetables or exercising can, as of yet, extend the human life span past the generally recognized limit of about 120 years, researchers believe they can improve your odds of living longer. An added benefit: By staying healthier, your old age won't only be longer, it will be more enjoyable, too.

    And, who knows, if you hang around long enough, taking your nutrients and getting a comfortable amount of consistent exercise, while meditating and refusing to succumb to stress, that magic bullet that will keep you alive for centuries may be discovered. Some day a new antioxidant or other substance may finally prove to provide the elusive fountain of youth. Stay tuned.



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    Drinks Everywhere
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    Date: June 10, 2005 04:05 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Drinks Everywhere

    Drinks Everywhere

    by John Olan Energy Times, January 7, 2002

    Water keeps you alive. About 50% to 70% of your cells are made of water. So when you talk about drinks, you're talking about water plus... But, oh, what a plus!

    While water is crucial for survival, those pluses can add a waterfall of desirable ingredients to your diet, health and beverage indulgence. Even though water is the basic ingredient when you need a drink, healthy drinking has come to mean much more than H2O. The drink scene has bubbled up to include a new universe of usual and unusual liquids. When your thirst bursts upon the scene, you now have a tremendous choice of ways to quench.

    Soy Drinks

    The soy revolution in American nutrition has convincingly attacked the drink world. No matter what your age, nutritional requirements or taste preferences, it seems as though someone, somewhere, has designed a soy drink with you in mind. The most convincing health benefit of soy and soy drinks is its boost to heart health. Since 1999, the Food and Drug Administration has allowed soy drinks (and other soy products) to list soy's heart benefits. In so doing, the FDA reviewed 27 studies that demonstrated soy protein could help lower total cholesterol and LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol that can significantly raise heart disease risk. To be allowed the heart disease benefit on their labels, drinks, or other foods, must contain at least 6.25 grams of soy protein per serving, contain less than 3 grams of fat, less than a gram of saturated fat, less than 20 mg of cholesterol and not much salt. According to the FDA, if you consume four daily servings of soy, you can drop your LDL by up to 10%. That's great for heart health: each 1% reduction in total cholesterol can mean about a 2% drop in your risk of heart disease. The key research the FDA looked at included a two month study at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center that showed soy can help reduce your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol without lowering your HDL. HDL, the so-called "good" cholesterol, protects heart health and keeps your heart disease risk down (Arch Int Med, 9/27/99). Meanwhile, another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (8/3/95) found that soy produces "significant reductions" in cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides, blood fats that can otherwise put your cardiovascular sysem at risk. Isoflavones, natural chemicals found in soy, are phytoestrogens, a weak form of estrogen that is believed by many researchers to produce health benefits. Some studies show that by producing what's called a "weak estrogenic effect," these chemicals may prevent the body's own estrogen from initiating cancer. While studies exist supporting these effects, this claim for cancer prevention is still controversial. A study of Asian women who moved to the United States found that the more soy they ate, the less their risk of breast cancer (Second Intl Symp on Soy and Tr Chron Dis 9/15/96). In any case, soy protein provides complete protein: all the amino acids, or protein building blocks, that the body needs to form its own proteins are found in soy. All of this good soy news has sent sales of soy drinks and other soy foods soaring. While sales of soy foods reached a little more $850 million in 1992, by next year they are expected to climb to well over $3.7 billion. Multivitamin Water For vitamin takers on the run, water is now available fortified with a wide collection of micronutrients. The key benefit: possible health enhancement by supplying vitamins your diet may omit. As Walter Willet, MD, points out in Eat, Drink and Be Healthy (Simon & Schuster), "research is pointing ever more strongly to the fact that several ingredients in a standard multivitamin.... are essential players in preventing heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and other chronic disease... It's the best nutritional bang for your buck." In a Russian study, a group of children, aged four to 14, with gastrointestinal diseases were fed multivitamin-infused drinks and beta carotene. The children experienced vast improvements, leading researchers to suggest fortifying the diets of folks suffering from gastrointestinal diseases with vitamin-containing drinks.

    Green with Health

    Everyone from mom to the US surgeon general tells you to eat dark green vegetables every day. The truth is, many of us just don't do it. Spirulina, wheat grass, barley grass and chlorella are often referred to as "green foods." Spirulina, a popular food supplement in Japan, is a vitamin and mineral powerhouse available in the US in powder and ready-to-drink shakes. Rich in protein, spirulina contains chlorophyll, carotenoids, minerals, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and unique pigments called phycobilins (PDR For Nutritional Supplements, Medical Economics). It's these same healthful pigments that give spirulina its blue/green color. In studies, spirulina has been shown to possess antiviral, antioxidant, anti-allergic and immune-boosting properties (Free Rad Biol Med. 2000; 28:1051-1055; Biochem Pharmacol 1998; 55:1071-1076; Inflamm Res 1998; 47:36-41; Spirulina platensis 1996; 59:83-87). Evidence exists that spirulina may favorably affect immune functions, inhibit some allergic reactions and lower cholesterol. Blended into shakes and drinks, spirulina can add a healthful boost to your day. Now, when Aunt May asks if you've had your green vegetables, just lift your glass, look her in the eye, tell her yes and mean it.



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    Take it to Heart - Lower Cholesterol
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    Date: June 09, 2005 06:05 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Take it to Heart - Lower Cholesterol

    Take it to Heart by Dawn Lemonathen Energy Times, January 2, 2002

    Lifestyle is key to bettering your odds of beating heart disease. A few simple, everyday heart-friendly habits can help your heart help you. Right now, heart attacks and other cardiovascular complications like stroke have reached sky-high levels across the US.

    Nearly 60 million Americans suffer from one of the various forms of cardiovascular disease and these often fatal complications cause more than 40% of all deaths in the United States. Statistics show that nearly a million Americans succumb to heart problems every year. The humongous cost: Heart disease and stroke consume almost $260 billion annually. Heart disease is the top cause of death for older Americans and remains the leading cause of death for all Americans age 35 and older. Coronary heart disease (CHD), also known as ischemic heart disease, is the most frequent cause of death for adults in the United States-accounting for more than 500,000 deaths a year. And even though most women have had their consciousness raised about their risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer, in fact, their chances of dying from one of the forms of heart disease is double their risk of succumbing to one of the forms of cancer. And ten times more women die from cardiovascular problems than die from breast cancer.

    Aging Genes
    Admittedly, a portion of your risk of heart problems is linked to your genetic makeup. Heart disease is often prevalent in particular families. Plus, as you grow older, your risk simultaneously grows. Nevertheless, many heart-saving lifestyle factors are under your control:

  • * Exercise: A steady program of moderately strenuous aerobic exercise can significantly improve the health of your cardiovascular system. (Consult your health practitioner if you haven't exercised in a long time.) Experts figure that exercise alone, independent of other risk factors, cuts your risk of heart attack and stroke by at least half.
  • * Food that you eat: The heart-healthiest diets consistently stay away from fatty meats. To protect your heart, eat plenty of fish that isn't fried plus plenty of fruits and vegetables and antioxidant nutrients (also see the story starting on page 29). Despite the importance of this dietary advice, only one of five Americans is currently devouring the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
  • * Blood pressure: Have your pressure checked periodically and ask your health practitioner about bringing it under control (see page 34). Despite the importance of this advice, only about half of all Americans with high blood pressure are having it treated.
  • * Cholesterol: Have your cholesterol checked and consult your health practitioner about the levels of your HDLs (good cholesterol) and LDLs (bad cholesterol).
  • * Smoking: Give up this habit or never start. Smoking doubles your risk of heart attack. One of five deaths from cardiovascular disease, almost 200,000 deaths a year, are smoking-related. Despite the dangers of smoking (it also increases your chances of cancer and other health problems), on average, about 3,000 teens get hooked on tobacco every day of the year.
  • * Your weight: Keep your weight down to a reasonable level. Experts figure that every pound you gain raises your risk for cardiovascular disease. In our fast food nation, studies show that about three of five US adults are now overweight.
  • * Diabetes: If you already have diabetes, work with your health practitioner to control your blood sugar (exercise helps). Diabetes significantly raises your risk of cardiovascular problems. The sooner you start doing something to lower your heart disease risk, the better your chances of staying heart-healthy. Women should be especially vigilant. When women develop heart problems, they are often unaware of the problem and their bodies do not cope with it as well as men's do. Because women and their health practitioners are not as aware of the heart risks in women, cardiovascular problems are often not noted in women until they have advanced; by then treatment is often less effective (www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/cvd/cvdaag.htm). Consequently, they run a much larger risk of dying within the first year of their first heart attack than do men. Plus, their chances of suffering a second heart attack within six years is also greater.

    Cholesterol and Heart Health
    Controlling cholesterol (as mentioned before), the fat-like material running around your blood that can block arteries, is considered crucial for protecting your cardiovascular system. A new tool in the cholesterol battle is a natural substance known as potassium hydrogen d-glucarate, a chemical which your body makes and is found in fruits and vegetables. Studies on research animals have shown that potassium hydrogen d-glucarate can lower blood cholesterol, even lowering LDL ("bad" cholesterol) by more than a third. Noni, made from a tropical fruit, is another natural substance attracting attention as a possible helper for heart health and other chronic conditions. Traditionally, noni has been used to treat a wide variety of problems, including intestinal difficulties and arthritis. While some researchers are looking into its anticancer properties, it is reputed to help lower blood pressure and function as an adaptogen, boosting the body's ability to resist infection and deal with stress.

    Nuts and Heart Health
    Back in the early days of nutritional advice for heart health, some experts recommended against eating nuts: After all, they are high in fat and it was thought that high fat diets could compromise the function of your cardiovascular system. However, studies of people who go nuts for nuts and who eat walnuts, cashews, pecans, macadamias, pistachios, almonds and more found these nut lovers suffer less heart disease than non-nut consumers. Part of the good news about nuts, researcher believe, derives from the mineral magnesium found in nuts (and also contained in leafy green vegetables, legumes and whole grains). A magnesium deficiency may contribute to heart problems. In addition, the fats in nuts are monounsaturated, the same kind of heart-healthy fats found in canola and olive oils. Within nuts are also found a good deal of fiber, flavonoids and other natural substances that seem to protect the heart and arteries. Consequently, research indicates that if you eat nuts every weekday you may reduce your risk of heart problems by about two-thirds (Nut Rev, 2001;59:103-111). Of course nuts aren't the only vegetarian way to stay heart healthy. Foods such as oatmeal which are rich in soluble fiber, fiber that can be dissolved in water, also may lower your cholesterol. In addition, plant compounds known as sterols can improve your cardiovascular well-being. Researchers have been looking at these natural chemicals for the last 50 years and have found that they can significantly drop cholesterol (Am J CLin Nut 1995;61:392-396).

    Vegetarianism vs Heart Disease
    A vegetarian diet, in general, conveys more health benefits than eating meat. (Though fish, which contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, also lowers the risk of circulatory disorders.) In addition, mushrooms are attracting more attention from researchers as possible sources of heart-helping compounds. In Japan, for instance, health practitioners use the maitake mushroom for treating high blood pressure and lowering cholesterol. (If you suffer from cardiovascular abnormalities, consult your health practitioner.) Maitake has already established a growing reputation for possibly fighting cancer (Cancer Prev 9/30/95;768:243-245). Adjusting to the latest advice on protecting your heart doesn't require radical changes in lifestyle. A touch of exercise, a spattering of heart-healthy nutrients: Before you know it, you can be headed down cardio road and heir to a cardiovascular system that systematically functions better than ever.



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