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Add honey to warm water and unlock a bevy of health benefits
May 13, 2019 04:07 PM
Honey water is exactly what it sounds like — a combination of raw honey and warm water. What may not be so obvious at first glance is its many health benefits. You can drink it in the morning to rehydrate your body and take advantage of honey’s antimicrobial benefits. You can also use it to aid digestion and foster the growth of good digestive tract bacteria. Honey water may even be able to improve your mixture of HDL (“good cholesterol” and LDL (“bad cholesterol”).
"When you wake up in the morning, you’re usually dehydrated. Experts recommend drinking about 20 ounces of water every morning to help stimulate the body, relieve grogginess, and encourage bowel movement."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-28-add-honey-to-warm-water-unlock-health-benefits.html
Licorice root a safe alternative for promoting oral health
May 09, 2019 04:34 PM
Licorice has been used in candies for a long time and recently it was found that it can be used for oral health. Although licorice has fallen out of favor for anise oil in use in confectioneries, it is still safe to the health. Some of the ways it has been used in traditional medicine in China and the Middle East is for the treatment of eye problems, cough, gut issues, and problems with the skin. According to new research, licorice has a role to play in oral and dental health. It has been found effective in stopping the spread of gum disease and tooth decay, and several other dental health problems. Licorice has active components that have been identified that aids it in this effect. The most important are licoricidin and licorisoflavan A. They help in stopping the growth of bacteria that aids in reducing the damage to the mouth and gums. To dilute the effect of saliva that makes a compound lose its action, it is recommended that one makes a lollipop of licorice to benefit from its effects.
"Studies suggested that the dried root of licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) can be used as a natural alternative to chemical toothpaste and harsh mouthwashes."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-09-licorice-root-a-safe-alternative-for-oral-health.html
Follow your gut to digestive health
April 30, 2019 04:02 PM
"Microbiome" is the term that refers to the good and bad bacteria that resides within your digestive system. When that bacteria is in healthy balance, you have optimal equilibrium in your gut. Prebiotics and probiotics can contribute to this balance, enhancing your overall digestive health. You can get prebiotics and probiotics from both supplements and food. By making an effort to maintain a healthy microbiome, you will reap the benefits of overall immune support, heart health, an improved mood, and regularity in your bowel movements.
"While all fiber is important to feeling your best every day, only certain fibers are what we call prebiotics."
Read more: https://www.austindailyherald.com/2019/03/follow-your-gut-to-digestive-health/
Natural antifungal remedies that reduce candida overgrowth
March 18, 2019 05:11 PM
Did you know that the most common cause of yeast infections in humans is caused by a fungi called Candida albicans? Those who have a high presence of Candida albicans can experience symptoms such as brain fog, depression, and unstable moods. Researchers have found that there are several natural remedies that can help decrease the presence of Candida albicans within our systems. Substances such as coconut oil have natural antifungal properties which help fight off any overgrowth of Candida albicans.
"If you suffer from candida overgrowth, you may experience symptoms like mood swings, leaky gut, brain fog, and depression, which can interfere with your daily life."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-05-natural-antifungal-remedies-that-reduce-candida-overgrowth.html
Why All the Hype About Gut Health?
November 03, 2018 02:51 PM
There are a lot of people out there who know a little bit about the gut. A gut is something that actually has a lot of use cases for the human body. Some people understand that while other people think that is completely crazy. Depending on who you are and what you have seen, you will have your own opinion on this. Whether you believe it or not, the things you consume get stored within your gut.
"With 60 to 80 percent of the immune system being housed in the gut, when something in the digestive system gets out of whack—whether we recognize it as a gut issue or not—problems will emerge."
Read more: https://www.thriveglobal.com/stories/46594-why-all-the-hype-about-gut-health
Here's Why Probiotics For Women Are So Important
October 10, 2018 03:27 PM
Probiotics are extremely important for health, especially the health of women. They promote gut health by increasing the bacteria in your digestive tract. Chronic stress can hurt your microbiota, so probiotics are a way to combat this problem. Probiotic supplements may also help with mental health issues including depression and anxiety. They can also help with urogenital infections including UTIs and yeast infections. If you are considering probiotic supplements, it is recommended to eat a diet including things such as kimchi or kefir instead of taking pills.
"And for women in particular, keeping this balance of bacteria happy is also important in vaginal health, managing digestion issues that tend to affect women more often than men, and more."
Read more: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/probiotics-for-women?mbg_p=home&mbg_ref=featured
Hydrochloric Acid: The Stomach Acid that Defends Against GERD, Candida & Leaky Gut
August 20, 2018 09:53 AM
Hydrochloric Acid is a key digestive juice which tends to decrease within your body as you get older, causing a variety of digestive and non-digestive issues. Less hydrochloric acid means a less acidic gut, which can result in higher incidence of heartburn, gas, acid reflux, bacterial or yeast infections and other conditions. While some decrease in hydrochloric acid is a common part of aging, eating too much processed food, not exercising and other lifestyle issues can exacerbate it.
"Additionally, not producing enough HCL can lead to many other problems, such as skin problems, including acne or rosacea, mineral deficiencies and autoimmune reactions."
Read more: https://draxe.com/hydrochloric-acid/
Colostrum may provide relief for leaky gut sufferers
March 26, 2018 09:17 AM
When it comes to one's physical well being and overall health, perhaps one of the most important aspects that ties everything together is that of a proper functioning digestive system to be able to handle the food that is being eaten and absorb the nutrients. For those suffering from the ailment known as leaky gut, this can be difficult. However, recent studies have emerged claiming that drinking colostrum can be widely beneficial in helping alleviate some of the side effects of it.
"If you’re suffering from leaky gut syndrome, consider drinking some colostrum, which can help protect your intestinal tract."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-03-21-colostrum-may-provide-relief-for-leaky-gut-sufferers.html
Inflammation 101 – get smart for good health
October 18, 2017 01:14 PM
First starting off giving a complete discription explaining what inflammation really is. The parts of the body it effects, and some things that can prevoke a reaction. Stating new information to help supside the pain helping live a normal life. After giving a personal Outlook on clean food, she provides a list showing inflammatory foods and other everyday items that we consume to try to avoid and a better alternative suggestions for someone who has inflammation.
"It is no longer appropriate to allow our dietary habits to contribute to the morbidity and mortality of the majority of humans."
Read more: http://www.dorchesterbanner.com/health-and-fitness/inflammation-101-get-smart-good-health/
5 Reasons Your Leaky Gut Isn't Healing—and How to Overcome Them
October 07, 2017 10:14 AM
Your leaky gut may not be healing. This is bad news. You won't feel better until it heals. There can be other health problems caused by it as well. This gives five reasons for the lack of healing so you know what to watch for. This will help you so you can make sure things change. If you know what's wrong you can enact changes to make it better. You can't do this if you're clueless.
"While you’ve probably heard of “leaky gut,” few people realize that it a serious medical condition that occurs when the gut lining becomes permeable, causing the normally tiny gateway openings between the intestines and bloodstream to enlarge."
Read more: http://observer.com/2017/09/reasons-your-leaky-gut-isnt-healing-and-how-to-overcome-them/
Now that's good bacteria
September 07, 2017 09:14 AM
All bacteria that reside in your body is not harmful. "Good" bacteria are found mostly in your gut. This good bacteria is called probiotics, and it helps keep your gut healthy. Besides keeping your gut healthy, probiotics have been found to help with allergies, oral health, and boost your overall immune system. A balance between good (probiotics) and bad bacteria in your gut must be maintained. In order to do this, one must consume prebiotics and probiotics every day. Foods that should be eaten daily are fermented foods and high-fibre foods. In addition to making sure there is good bacteria in your gut, one must get enough sleep and exercise daily. This will keep your gut microbiome on course.
"Keeping a proper balance between the good and bad bacteria of your gut microbiome is important, and the way to achieve it is by ensuring that your ratio of beneficial-to-bad bacteria in your gut is kept in equilibrium."
Read more: http://www.star2.com/health/nutrition/2017/09/05/now-thats-good-bacteria/
Prebiotics reduce body fat in overweight children
June 09, 2017 12:14 PM
In the developed world today the most costly medical condition, for youth, is being overweight. This is a symptom arising from over nutrition. One such way to combat this epidemic may be to use probiotic, as part of a regular diet. A double blind test was preformed by the University of Calgary, in Canada. A controlled group of 42 participant age ranging from 7 to 12 years old participated. The participants added a powder mix to daily water intake and were monitored thereafter. The results showed that the group who supplemented with prebiotic lost more weight than those who took the placebo. Since prebiotic is inexpensive and non-invasive this area of weight loss techniques needs to be studied further.
"Prebiotics reduce body fat in children who are overweight or obese by altering their gut microbiota, according to new research. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients (such as fiber) that act as fertilizers to help stimulate the growth of good bacteria already in the gut, different from probiotics, which introduce new bacteria into the system."
Read more: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170607123949.htm
Why overall gut health is vital to wellbeing
June 08, 2017 04:14 PM
Nobody likes bloating and cramping and other gut nuisances. Millions of bacteria, also called microflora, are in gastro-intestinal tract. The state of your digestive health can effect your immunity to illnesses. A healthy digestive tract is key to overall good health. Travel, stress, diet and antibiotics can all cause problems or imbalances in the flora in the digestive tract. Probiotics help to protect the gut, as well as overall health and well-being. It's important to assure you take a probiotic that is high quality.
"Various factors such as a poor diet, high stress, travel, gastroenteritis or taking antibiotics, can cause an imbalance in the gut flora, so it is necessary for most people to supplement their diet with a high quality daily probiotic, Dicks added"
Read more: http://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/health/body/why-overall-gut-health-is-vital-to-wellbeing-9578835
Fight Inflammation, Belly Fat And Disease with The 3 Day Soup Cleanse
May 21, 2017 11:44 AM
People who have belly fat are always trying to think of ways to get rid of it. They think exercising is the only way that will get rid of it permanently but they forget that what they put in their bodies has a lot do with it as well. This video provides different methods to help lessen belly fat and other diseases with a soup cleanse. The soup is a broccoli detox soup and it helps to get rid of all the bad toxins that either your body has produced or from stuff you have put in your body. The video mentions how in just three days you should see results.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuYUibdlA6I&rel=0
"By detoxifying the organism you will boost the performance of your liver, gut, kidneys, lymphatic system, lungs and finally, skin."
Cork scientists link gut bacteria to anxiety disorders
May 21, 2017 06:44 AM
Scientists in Cork, funded by the brain and Behavior Research Foundation, have discovered the microbome can regulate fear and anxiety. The microtome, bacteria found in your gut, has been studied for its influence on our overall health but recent studies have shown it can influence brain function. Research in mice showing that the microtome can regulate fear response can lead to future treatments using probiotics instead of medications with harsh side effects to treat anxiety disorders and PTSDin humans.
Read more: Cork scientists link gut bacteria to anxiety disorders
You need both pre- and probioticis for healthy digestion
March 25, 2017 04:44 AM
Most people have probably heard of pre- and probiotics, but are unaware of the positive effects both can have on their digestive health. Probiotics can be defined as "good" bacteria that lives in your gut, while prebiotics "feed" the probiotics. Consuming foods so that you get a balance of these pre- and probiotics can help keep irritable bowel syndrome at bay and easy allergies and lactose intolerance. Examples of foods that deliver probiotics include yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut, while bananas, leeks, and garlic fall under prebiotic foods. Incorporating some of each into your diet can help your stomach and digestive system feel and function at its best.
"Eating probiotic foods also helps to manage irritable bowel syndrome, allergies and lactose intolerance."
Read more: http://www.wzzm13.com/life/wellness/healthy-you/you-need-both-pre-and-probioticis-for-healthy-digestion/422370520
Soluble corn fiber can improve women's bone health
January 14, 2017 07:59 AM
A recent new research study has found that daily intake of soluble corn fiber can significantly improve women's bone fiber overall. The reason for this is because the research found that once fiber passes through the gut, the soluble corn fiber is broken down into some short chain fatty acids which then assist in bone health maintenance.
"According to new research daily soluble corn fiber supplementation significantly helps build and retain calcium in bone for women in their teens and post menopause."
Quora: Want to Lose Weight? Add This One Thing to Your Diet
January 10, 2017 07:59 AM
When it comes to losing weight, there is one thing that can be added to your diet with a lot of benefits in general and that is fiber. There are many different benefits of a high fiber diet which include healthier skin, lower cholesterol, a healthy gut, a highly reduced risk of stroke, and a reduced risk of type two diabetes.
"Fiber. It’s not a sexy solution, but it’s one that works wonders for maintaining a healthy weight."
Is Fermented Tea Making People Feel Enlightened Because of ... Alcohol?
December 14, 2016 04:59 PM
One of the biggest campaigns of the 21st century has been to show people that not all bacteria are bad. There is a delicate balance of bacteria that must be maintained in our bodies in order to function properly. Many medical conditions, especially in the gut, start because we do not have the right balance of microbes. With this push for healthy microbes has come a resurgence of a drink that was popular over 200 years ago. It is called kombucha, which is a sugar-sweetened tea that ferments with yeast and microbes. Many claim it to be a wonder-drink.
"That idea has brought the centuries-old drink roaring into upper-middle class consciousness at $5 per bottle in New York bodegas."
Why Americans remain vulnerable to infectious diseases
December 08, 2016 02:59 PM
There is uncertainty in the impact of vector-borne diseases in the US. The effect of changing climate may alter which geographic areas are at risk from vector-transmitted infections. Drug resistance is a growing problem and requires urgent action to tackle it. Antibiotics are a key weapon in the battle against bacterial infections, but we must use those tools carefully to make sure they stay effective.
"By analyzing trends in US mortality between 1980 and 2014, scientists found that infections were responsible for 5.4% of all deaths, with the majority caused by influenza and pneumonia."
Two Common Food Additives Promote Colorectal Cancer
November 26, 2016 02:59 PM
Chances are you'll see the names of two common food additives that have been shown to promote colorectal cancer development. Previous studies have suggested that food additives known as emulsifiers may help cause inflammatory bowel disease, a condition that encourages tumor formation in the colon, scientists looked at the role of two emulsifiers in the development of colorectal cancer. Overall, the authors of the study concluded that their findings support the idea that the agitation from the emulsifiers resulted in low-grade inflammation in the gut, which can promote the development of colorectal cancer.
"A new study suggests that commonly used food additives in processed foods could play a significant role in the development of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune conditions."
What Is Lactoferon And How Can It Boost Your Health?
August 06, 2014 09:01 AM
What is lactoferrin
Lactoferrin is a bioactive milk protein, especially concentrated in both human and ox-like colostrum and has been sold for a long time as a wholesome supplement with, hostile to bacterial, against contagious, hostile to viral and safe fortifying exercises. However the work demonstrating its bone building properties shows significantly more prominent potential.
Bad tempered Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the most well-known gastrointestinal issue in the United States, influencing 1 out of 5 individuals. Indeed, with a large number of individuals looking for help for this, the reasons are still not well caught on. Numerous look for regular course, when conventional techniques don't bring the help they require. Analysts accept a combo of physical and mental well being issues can prompt the entrails getting to be harmed, or delicate to specific stressors. This can prompt an issue with the data pathway between the cerebrum and the gut, bringing about modifying intestinal capacity.
Side effects of lactoferrin
Side effects could be a consequence of a contaminating or disturbance in the stomach and insides from microorganisms or other destructive creatures. One study demonstrated that individuals who had an episode of gastroenteritis were ten times more inclined to create touchy inside disorder. An alternate condition, called small digestive tract bacterial excess, is truly regular in individuals with IBS. An excess or change in the kind of microorganisms in the small digestive tract causes aggravation and indications of loose bowels, over abundance gas, weight reduction, and dietary lacks. Some gastrointestinal manifestations could be because of the abundance of yeast (candida). Intestinal candidiasis can result in indications of bloating, gas, the runs, blockage, and cramping, alongside exhaustion.
Lactoferrin helps the side effects by:
1. Tying to free iron drifting around. This is essential on the grounds that most microbes and candida need iron to develop. Free iron meddles with our resistant cell work, so this viably starves the destructive life forms while keeping our invulnerable frameworks solid.
2. Entering the microbes or candida and harming their phone layer. This will either murder them straightforwardly, or it meddle with their vitality and debilitate them.
3. Keeping candida from adhering to the coating of the digestive tract and uprooting it once it is appended.
4. Repressing the activity of cytokines in the gastrointestinal tract. Cytokines are proteins found in the body that cause aggravation.
5. Sustaining the digestive tract with probiotic properties, which additionally help with GI well being. Probiotics sustain the well disposed microbes that live in your digestive tract. An equalization of great to unsafe microscopic organisms is required to avert gastrointestinal manifestations
Manufactured prescription drugs applied for the treating Ostepenai or perhaps Osteoporosis can certainly simply just carry out 1 or perhaps one other these projects. Bisphosphonates Actonel, Boniva, Fosamax in addition to Calcitonin Calcimar, Cibacalcin, Calsynar, Miacalcin, Osteocalcin in addition to Salmonine modest the particular evacuation connected with old bone tissue by means of restraining the particular action connected with osteoclasts. These kinds of prescription drugs carry out nothing at all to help secure osteoclasts to produce brand new bone tissue progress. Raloxifene Evista in addition to Strontium ranlelate Protelos invigorates the particular progress connected with brand new bone tissue yet never restrain the job connected with osteoclasts of their operate connected with evacuating old bone tissue. So this overdue study displaying a new compound that could carry out both projects is actually quite energizing. To a new significant component of most of these prescription drugs get understandably real allergic reactions that will block their employment by means of a lot of folks.
Lactoferon has been indicated to be a characteristic solution for IBS. It ensures the coating of your gastrointestinal tract, help your safe framework, and support in destroying living beings that can result in manifestations. It has been named by the FDA as GRAS (for the most part perceived as sheltered) for the whole populace, even the individuals who are susceptible to grain and dairy
Is Flax Seed A Good Fiber Source?
January 30, 2014 05:47 PM
Flax Seed on Diet
Other than providing you with a great meal, essential fatty acid, and lignans, flax seeds also provide you with content of fiber. So why should have plenty of fiber in your diet anyway? Well, what you need to know is that your diet is never completely balanced minus fiber. Just like proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals are essential to your body so if fiber. Consuming fiber brings so many health benefits to you more than you can imagine and here are some of the reasons why you must ensure that that you don’t miss fiber in your daily diet.
Benefits of Flax Seed
Fiber reduces risks of suffering from constipation and diverticular diseases. Fiber is effective when it comes to absorption of water in the gut. Therefore, when you eat enough flax seed, you boost the level of fiber content in your body, which in return increases the rate of water absorption in your gut. Also, enough water content in the gut eases movement of digestive materials along the gut and makes stooling easier than when the gut is dehydrated. Therefore, you must always endeavor to increase the amount of fiber in your day-to-day diet, otherwise, it will be very difficult is not impossible for you to part ways with constipation and diverticular diseases.
Fiber protects you from bowel cancer. Because of the presence of fiber contents in flax seed, it is able to protect you from constipation, it is able to reduce the period bowel contents move through the gut, which in turn prevents you from succumbing to any carcinogenic content. In addition, flax seed promotes the growth and development of friendly bacteria in the gut that prevents you from bowel.
Fiber is also integral in maintaining your body weight and regulating your blood glucose level. High fiber contents in flax seeds feel you up all the day. Meaning, you will eat less and less eating results in reduced levels of calories for the body to burn. In this way, fiber regulates the amount of sugars that you consume and helps in weight loss.
October 09, 2012 04:39 PM
Over the years, researchers and scientists found out the larch tree extract proved to the answer to all problems that people is facing. People's bodies are prone to illnesses and sickness and no matter they do it is not enough. The main reason why people get ill easily is that their immune system is not stable and always decreases from time to time. As a result, people's immune system will increase over the years, and it is always depending on the person.
What is a larch tree extract?
A larch tree extract is a natural polysaccharide extracted from larch tree. This sugar contains active ingredients that enhance the functions of all immune systems, tissues, and cells. This extract also called as arabinogalactan a biopolymer that consists of sugars, which attached to any protein food that helps your body to withstand and eliminates free radicals in your body.
These active ingredients are the main responsible for increasing your metabolism that eliminate, and reduce free radicals. Even, your body does not yet increase its immune system, but this extract will surely do extensive favor that protects your body's vulnerability. Having an illness or an ailment due to a low immune system is difficult to handle because it always affects everything like your work performances, relationships, and even, your focus. Therefore, it is indispensable to prevent this from happening at all cost!
Why use a larch tree extract?
There are many benefits you can get using larch tree extract and these are as follows:
1) Boosts and increase your immune systems - this extract can help fights free radicals in your body that giving you diseases and sickness such as influenza, flu, and the common cold. It is also the best treatment for inflammation, rheumatism, asthma, bronchitis, and diarrhea. This extract also fights recurrent immune problems such as viral infection, and chronic fatigue.
2) Treatment for cancer - this extract can help fight cancer cells that normally triggered by decreasing the activities of NK cells. This extract will suppress and reduces these cancerous cells to nothing. In addition, it prevents these NK cells from spreading to any other organs. Larch extract also serves as an excellent foundation of fiber that potentially improves colon health by increasing the growth of its healthy bacteria located in the gastrointestinal tract.
3) Supports digestion - this extract acts as a food supply to your intestinal bacteria, so they are eating it instead of food nutrients and considering as a prebiotic that is stimulating the activity or growth of bacteria in your digestive systems considered as health beneficial. Prebiotics helps to treat and prevent intestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, LBM, constipation, leaky - gut, and diverticulosis. In addition, prebiotics are the best treatment for ulcerative colitis and Crohn enteritis.
Is there any need to take larch tree extract? If you want to stay as healthy as a cow, taking this extract is the best solution! Increasing your immune systems is your main goal to remain healthy over the years and it is easy. Remember that prevention will always better than cure!
What Are The Health Benefits Of Nattokinase?
May 12, 2012 07:41 AM
Did you know that nattokinase was first found in traditional Japanese cuisine? And that it has been proven to be very helpful in fighting heart related complications among other health problems? Well, heart attacks and heart related complications are ranked among the top killer diseases in the country today. Around 700,000 people are believed to die as a result of strokes annually. Concern has been increasing over the ever falling heath condition of the population. Some of the major causes of heart related complications are:
Taking foods that have a very high content of fat and bad cholesterol
Taking food with high levels of salt
Inherited heart related complications
Among the three, the first two are the most common causes. But it is possible that the source of the problem is also the solution. Most health professionals are nowadays recommending the inclusion of nattokinase in the daily diet to combat heart disease.
So what exactly is nattokinase?
This is a very powerful enzyme that is extracted from fermented soy bean food products. It is believed to have the benefit of reducing clotting of blood in the vessels. It also promotes the creation of healthy fibrin. It is also known to provide relief for joint inflammation. If you consume huge amounts of food that is high in cholesterol, it forms a substance called plaque in your arteries. This is what causes clots, leading to heart attacks. Nattokinase works by breaking down the plaque and also dissolving any clots. Thus, it actively prevents heart attacks.
The health benefits associated with nattokinase
It is believed to actively improve the digestive system.
This is because it breaks down unwanted proteins in the gut, leaving your digestive system very healthy. It also breaks down unwanted toxins in the blood. Such toxins include cellular debris found in the blood. When the blood is cleansed, absorption and metabolism improve, and the result is a healthy person.
It helps normalize blood pressure.
High blood pressure is often caused by clogged arteries and veins. It can also be as a result of high levels of toxins in the blood. As said earlier, this enzyme breaks down the plaque that clogs arteries. As a result, blood flows more freely in the vessels and the pressure goes down. It also cleanses any toxins in the blood, normalizing the blood pressure. It has been proven to lower systolic blood pressure by up to 10.9%.
It aids the increased production of plasmin.
This is the body's natural mechanism of fighting clots. Studies have shown that nattokinase is four times more active in preventing clots than plasmin. Animals with clots are observed to heal four times faster when injected with the enzyme than when given plasmin.
It helps in the prevention of varicose veins, muscle spasms and pains.
Varicose veins are caused by weak or damaged valves in the blood vessels. Valves get destroyed when too much pressure is applied on them. This enzyme works by removing clots and thus lowering blood pressure. As a result, valves are not overworked to the point of getting destroyed.
If you are interested in staying healthy, then it is wise to have this enzyme in your diet. Nattokinase will help you fight heart related complications. As a result, you will enjoy a longer healthier life.
August 22, 2008 05:50 PM
Fructooligosaccharides, which shall henceforth be referred to as FOS for obvious reasons, are sugars with chemical linkages known as osidic covalent bonds that resist enzymic hydrolysisis, and so are broken down by neither the salivary nor the digestive enzymes. In other words, they are indigestible.
However, before discussing the biochemistry further, let's have a look at what they can be used for. Your body depends upon certain bacteria for its health. These are essential to help break down and digest certain foods, and also to provide a resistance to disease and infection. FOS is what is known as a prebiotic, which used to feed these friendly bacteria. Just like any other living organism, bacteria require nourishment and while they get plenty of food from our own diet, especially from the fiber content, they find FOS particularly appetizing.
Because fructooligosaccharides cannot be digested, it passes unchanged into the colon, where these bacteria live. As they break down the FOS and live on it, they multiply, and create an environment in your lower intestine that is hostile to many harmful bacteria such as Clostridia and E. coli. However, it is not only these harmful bacteria that cause problems with your digestion since there many other agents that can interfere with the smooth functioning of your gastrointestinal tract.
People all over the world are continually suffering from both minor and very serious digestive problems, ranging from heartburn and upset stomachs to severe diarrhea, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome and even bowel cancers. There is a multitude of reasons for that such as the effects of aging, poor diet and bacteria from contaminated food. Organic foodstuffs do not last long in many warm countries, and while spices can be used to hide the taste, they are not always successful in killing off the bacteria.
Your health depends on a healthy digestive system, and when that is wrong then you will feel ill. If your digestive system is running below par, then you will not feel good, and could suffer from a wide range of symptoms, including tiredness, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, fevers and depression. The health of your intestinal tract in particular is often neglected, and most people need to do something to give it a boost and improve its, and their, overall health.
That is what FOS can do. And it can do more than just feed friendly bacteria: it can help you maintain regular bowel movements, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy immune system, break down hormones and rebuild them again (it is useful for the relief of the symptoms of PMS) and to keep down the cholesterol and fatty acid levels in your blood. It is used to feed beneficial bacteria, not to replace them, and if you are on a probiotic supplement, you can take FOS along with it.
Fructooligosaccharides are also used as artificial sweeteners, and alternative names for them oligofructan and oligofructose. There are two classes of FOS, the first of which is produced commercially by the chemical or enzymic degradation of inulin, a polymer of D-fructose linkages terminated with D-glucose. This is produced commercially predominantly in Belgium and Holland, and it also occurs naturally in chicory and Jerusalem artichoke, and in lesser amounts in bananas, garlic, tomatoes and onions. The second class of FOS is produced mainly in Japan. This is produced by a process known as the transfructosylation of a B-fructosidase from saccharose or aspergillus niger, a black mould found on onions and grapes. This is basically the same as the first class, although the chemical bonds are in different places.
While they resist breakdown by enzymes, they are fermented in the colon by anaerobic bacteria, bacteria that work in the absence of oxygen. Because they are fairly soluble, they can be added to dairy products such as yoghurt and used to feed the bacteria contained in the yoghurt. In fact many supplements containing acidophilus bacteria are fortified with FOS: you drink the bacteria along with its food.
Although FOS is only now assuming increasingly popularity in the West, it has been used as a dietary supplement in Japan for many years. Some of the specific health benefits that FOS coveys by promoting the health of essential bacteria, are:
Calcium and Magnesium Absorption
There have been several studies that have concluded that FOS and inulin improve the absorption of calcium in the intestine of both animals and humans. The fermentation of the FOS by bacteria reduces the pH of the gut, which increases the solubility of these minerals and hence extracts more of them from food. The increased solubility also helps them to be more easily absorbed through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. FOS can therefore help to maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
Strengthened Immune System
By taking a supplement of FOS, you can increase the density of friendly bacteria in your gut fivefold in a matter of weeks. This crowds out harmful bacteria, and so the level of toxins in your body is reduced. Your immune system is allowed to work properly to fight of infection and disease without having to work hard on keeping down the harmful bacteria in your gut.
Apart from being a food for bacteria, since it is not digestible FOS is also a soluble fiber that draws water into your colon, and so promotes easy transport of feces by the peristaltic pumping action of the intestinal muscles. It also absorbs excess water in the chyme and feces and so helps to prevent diarrhea. Furthermore, improving the health of the friendly bacteria also improves your digestive health that also promotes regularity.
The fermentation of FOS by bacteria produces gases and acids. These acids help the body to produce energy, and although not a massive energy boost, when allied to the improved digestion it is significant.
All of these benefits and more suggest that FOS is highly recommended in the event of sporadic and chronic gastrointestinal problems. It is a natural substance that does not have a direct influence on your body's biochemistry, but promotes the health and reproduction of those bacteria that do have a significant influence on intestinal health. Add that to the added benefits discussed above, and FOS is one of these supplements that could almost be called essential.
May 12, 2008 11:10 AM
All female mammals, including humans, produce colostrum soon after giving birth, and before proper milk is produced. It is a milk-like substance that provides newly born infants with a boost to their immune system and gives immediate protection against the germs with which they are about to come into contact.
It also, incidentally, promotes the child’s first bowel movement to rid it of the large amount of dead blood cells created when it’s blood supply was drastically reduced after the severing of the umbilical supply.
It is now believed that colostrum will help not only newly born infants, but also grown adults. If your immune system is weak or you are suffering from a condition that could be helped by a boost to your immune system, colostrum might be what you need to help you fight off what is ailing you. This has become clear after the way that colostrum works has been established.
Transfer factors were discovered in 1949 by Dr. H. Sherwood Lawrence of the New York University School of Medicine. He found that when he injected an extract of the leukocytes of somebody that had previously been infected with tuberculosis, the natural immunity was transferred from the donor to the recipient. He called this extract the ‘transfer factor’, and a means of transferring immune response factors between people was born.
However, the sharing of transfer factors between people suffering from serious conditions such as the HIV virus or hepatitis is a high risk action, and fifty years later, in 1999, bovine colostrum was discussed at a transfer factor conference in Mexico. Bovine colostrum contains large quantities of transfer factors such as IgG type immunoglobulins and hydrogen peroxide. The latter is commonly produced by our body cells to fight off invading pathogens, and immunoglobulins are very effective in fighting some diseases that can be fatal to AIDs patients. Take Cryptosporidium parvum, for instance. This microorganism causes a form of diarrhea that AIDs patients have no defense against but that colostrum can be particularly effective against, and it is also effective against rotavirus that is the main cause of diarrhea in young children.
Before discussing this further, let’s go back a step and examine how bovine milk came to be included in the equation. At one time it was believed that a baby received its immunity from the mother while in the womb and that this was extended via the mother’s milk. However, it was discovered that the milk contained no antibodies as such, only the colostrum, and these antibodies had somehow been transferred to the baby.
This was explained by the concept of the transfer factor. It is not the antibodies that are being transferred from mother to child, but the transfer factor. This modulates the immune system of the recipient and teaches it how to create antibodies against the specific antigens that the donor’s antibodies protect against and to inform the recipient’s immune system when these antigens are present.
The next step was to test the theory that the transfer factor should be able to be passed between species, and the cow was the obvious initial choice since not only are cattle exposed to many of the same antigens as humans, but we already use cow’s milk as a food source – particularly for babies and children. It worked! It was found that when humans were fed cow’s colostrum the specific antibodies were later found in the blood of the person given the treatment.
The next step was to determine the form in which this substance could be used, and injections of various types were tried without success. It was established that the only means of administering colostrum was by drinking it, or supplying it in capsule form. It can be drunk fresh or freeze dried to kill of living organisms and then fats and sugars removed and the resultant dried product encapsulated. It is even possible to remove all large molecules, antibodies, proteins, etc, and still retain the transfer factor. It is absorbed by the gut, and the resultant message passed to the recipient.
It is important to understand that it is not the immunoglobulins from the cow that are passed on, because these are species specific, and are in fact the source of most cow’s milk allergies. There is no transfer of antibodies or any other specific parts of the immune system. What are passed on are the messengers, particularly the transfer factors that are not species specific. A cow’s transfer factors would work just as well in a cat as in humans, only cats don’t get the same diseases as cows and people.
The types of disease that colostrum can help to protect us from include viral and bacterial diseases, fungal diseases and parasites, and neurological and autoimmune diseases. If you have cancer, colostrum can help significantly since cancer and immune deficiency are related. Cancer cells are being formed all the time in your body, but your immune system generally disposes of them. However, if it fails to do this, then the cells can proliferate and lead to cancer as we know it. Colostrum can help your body to prevent cancer occurring, and if you have it, can help to reduce its spread.
Freelance journalist Sam Wainaina studied the effects of Ebola virus in Uganda after the 2002 outbreak, and concluded that had transfer factors been available during the outbreak to transfer immunity it might perhaps have been contained sooner than it was, and saved many, many lives. Although transfer factors have been known of for 60 years, there is still a lot to be done in their application and studies on colostrum could help to accelerate this. Transfer factors alert immune cells to danger, train the system to generate the right type of immunoglobulins and boost NK cell activity to defeat the invaders. They can also moderate an over-active immune system that can be as much a danger to the body as an invading pathogen.
Colostrum can also be used to burn fat and create muscle tissue, and is popular with bodybuilders but it is for its healing and immunity-boosting properties that it is most used. Biotechnology companies are now boosting the colostrum’s transfer factors by injecting cows with vaccines that create pathogens. Known as Ultra Colostrum this is an advance on the natural material.
Activated Charcoal - Highly absorbent material to combat poisoning
April 24, 2008 02:44 PM
Activated charcoal has been treated by heat to open up millions of small spaces between the carbon atoms and turn it literally into an atomic sponge that adsorbs both organic and organic impurities.
This heat treatment is carried out in the absence of oxygen, so the charcoal cannot burn. Instead, what oxygen it did contain is driven off leaving behind all of these interstitial gaps that multiply the effective surface area by factors of ten. Since it is the surface area of the charcoal that determines its potency, then the greater this is the better.
Activated charcoal has a massive surface area, and just ten grams has the same surface area as nine American football pitches or 77 tennis courts. Ten grams is just marginally more than a third of an ounce. The term adsorb has a different meaning to absorb, and while a real sponge absorbs water by mopping it up through capillary action and suction, activation carbon adsorbs substances through a form of chemical attraction. You get rid of water from the sponge by squeezing it, but that doesn’t work with activated charcoal, since the substances are bound to it, not just physically constrained.
This huge surface area provides activated charcoal with innumerable bonding sites, and when chemicals that are attracted to carbon pass by they are attached to the surface. They cannot get free again, as water in a sponge can, but are bound to the surface of the carbon. Because the digestive system has no effect on charcoal then whatever is bound to it passes naturally through the body.
It is most effective at binding other carbon-based materials, and other substances with the right electronic arrangement, but others will just pass straight through. Because it is a chemical process, once all of the empty bonding sites have been taken up, the charcoal loses its effectiveness and has to be replaced. It is possible to regenerate it, but hardly worthwhile for you to do so because of the small quantities you use.
Because of the way it works, activated charcoal can help people to recover from some forms of food poisoning. It can adsorb gases in the intestine and help to relieve the pain of excessive gas in the gut. It has many additional uses that will be touched on later, but for now we will look at its effect on poisons because that is where activated charcoal is of greatest benefit to us.
It does not adsorb and neutralize all poisons, but is very effective with those that it can be sued for. Professor Touery proved a point when he drank a lethal dose of strychnine in front of colleagues at the French Academy of Medicine in 1831 and came through unscathed. He had mixed the strychnine with activated charcoal, and the fact that he lived after drinking a dose that would certainly have led to a very painful death within minutes testifies to the powerful effect of activated charcoal as an potential antidote for poisoning.
Ever medicine cabinet should have an emergency supply of activated carbon, especially those with young children in the household. However, this is not good news for the pharmaceutical companies who have reacted by refuting some of the claims made in its favor: they have claimed that it is not effective against arsenic. If that is so, then how did Michel Bertrand survive after swallowing 5 grams of arsenic trioxide – 150 times what is regarded as the lethal dose? He did this is 1813 after mixing it with activated charcoal, just as Professor Touery was to do 18 years later with ten times the lethal dose of strychnine.
It is true, however, that it does not have this degree of activity with all poisons, and it has no effect on cyanide, alcohols, antifreeze (glycols) and lithium. It also has no effect on corrosive poisons such as the strong alkalis used in oven clearers, or hydrocarbons such as kerosene. The way it works is adsorb the poison and prevent it being released into the body. For that to happen, the poison must have an affinity for carbon, and its adsorption site, and not all substances possess that property. Those that do however are permanently bound and therefore safe.
For charcoal to be effective in neutralizing a poison, it must be swallowed within an hour of taking the poison, or the poison will be too far advanced ion the digestive process for the charcoal to do any good. Keep in mind, though, that it is not selective, and activated charcoal can adsorb nutrients and other beneficial constituents of your body’s chemistry. It is important therefore that you take in only when necessary: you might need several doses if the poison was severe, but once it has done its job it is not meant to be used as a maintenance material to take ‘just in case’. Used like that, it can do harm.
If charcoal can adsorb poisons then it makes sense to believe that it can also adsorb some of the harmful agents that cause food poisoning. Not all food poisoning of course, but certainly those organisms that emit toxins that are attracted to carbon. And this is, in fact, the case. Food poisoning is caused by bacteria rather than viruses, and is not the presence of the bacteria that make you vomit and feel very ill.
As bacteria grow in your body they release toxins, or poisons, into your digestive system. These poisons are what make you ill. They can seriously affect the complete gastro-intestinal tract, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and inflammation and swelling of the small and large intestine. The latter can cause abdominal cramps and severe colic, and the severity of the symptoms depends very much upon the type of bacteria and the number of them in your body.
Many of these toxins are attracted to carbon since they are frequently organic based, and activated charcoal can be used to adsorb them. Once adsorbed they lose their potency, and since carbon is not digested by the body, they are passed harmlessly through the colon and eliminated in the faeces. It can also be used to eliminate many other foreign bodies from your gut, including viruses and fungi and might possibly reduce the concentration of uric acid, which can bring relief to gout sufferers.
Activated charcoal has many uses, and is normally available in capsule form. It can be dangerous to take too much, particularly if you suffer from intestinal problems that cause constipation, because the charcoal itself can have that effect. However, there is no better emergency treatment for accidental poisoning in the home, although, since it is not suitable for all poisons, you must still regard poisoning as an emergency and contact the emergency services.
Activated charcoal, or activated carbon as it is sometimes called, is also a good emergency treatment for vomiting and the other unpleasant effects of food poisoning. It deals with bacterial toxins in the same way as any other, though once again you must refer to your physician before or after using it – preferably the former.
Fight Histamine With Quercetin
February 11, 2008 03:48 PM
Quercetin is one of the more powerful of the body’s antioxidants, and it can also be used to reduce the rate of histamine release by the body normally initiated by contact with an allergenic substance (for which your immune system has designed an antigen). We shall examine the biochemical mechanism which this is achieved, but first let’s have a closer look at quercetin and what it actually is.
Quercetin is what is known as a phytochemical, which is simply the scientific name for a chemical that is naturally produced by plants. Other phytochemicals include vitamin C and omega 3 fatty acids, so the term is very broad ranging for any substance that is produced by plants. It is commonly known as a flavanol, one of a family of compounds known as flavonoids that give color to plants.
It is a very active flavonoid, with very powerful antioxidant properties, in addition to acting as an anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. Histamine is an amine released as part of the body’s immune response to allergenics, and quercetin inhibits its manufacture and release. This amine is an irritant and can itself cause inflammation and the other symptoms associated with allergies such as runny and itchy eyes, a stuffy nose, sneezing and itchy spots. Quercetin can be used to alleviate these symptoms by blocking the manufacture in the body of the histamine that causes them.
It demonstrates other anti-inflammatory properties such as alleviating the symptoms of arthritis, and also helps to destroy free radicals in the body through its strong antioxidant properties, but before we discuss how it does this we shall have a closer look at the mechanisms used in its effect in inhibiting histamine.
Calmodulin is a protein that is used to transport calcium ions, Ca++, across the membranes of certain cells in the body, and by doing so it helps to mediate a number of biochemical processes within the body, among them the immune response and inflammation. It should not be thought these are always unwelcome responses: on the contrary, they are the body’s way of reacting to foreign bodies and preventing more serious conditions from developing.
However, there are instances where the body can become sensitized to certain substances and overreact to their presence leading to conditions such as hay fever or, considerably more serious, asthma. These are just two of the undesirable manifestations of the human immune system that we would be better without. What quercetin does is to prevent calmodulin from properly binding to certain enzymic proteins and so suppress the effect of these proteins. Among these are the enzymes that control the secretion of histamine from mast cells.
Mast cells are found mainly in areas prone to injury and at the interface between internal tissues and outside world, such as the nose, mouth, lungs, eyes, blood vessels and feet. They contain granules rich in histamine that degranulate and released the histamine when the immune system detects foreign bodies such as pollen grains and dust mites, especially when the body has created antigens against them.
Quercetin suppresses the release of histamine from the granules in the mast cells by preventing the degranulation. The release of the histamine is not completely halted, but its effects are reduced and quercetin is used in the treatment of asthma where it is believed to help reduce the symptoms by reducing histamine-induced swelling in the airways.
A similar application of this flavonoid is in reducing the inflammatory response to arthritis, the main cause of the swelling of this painful condition. Your skin can also be affected by inflammation that is partially controllable by quercetin. Collagen and fibronectin biosynthesis is increased that help to maintain not only healthy joints, but also to speed up the healing of wounds and repair damaged nerves. It is also believed that quercetin can hold back the effects of aging on the skin, and slow down the formation of wrinkles.
There are other applications of this versatile flavanol, including its effect on acute prostatitis where it reduces oxidative stress and the accompanying inflammation of the prostate gland. In fact, it is believed to have positive effect on many conditions caused by free radical oxidation and excessive reaction by the immune system causing inflammation. Apart from the allergies and arthritis previously referred to, quercetin is believed to have been effectively used in the treatment of gout, macular degeneration and heart disease, and it can also help to prevent the oxidation of low density lipoproteins (LDL) responsible for transporting cholesterol to where it is needed to repair major blood vessels.
When these lipoproteins become oxidized by free radicals then the cholesterol associated with them tends to be excessively deposited in the arteries it is meant to be repairing, and lead to atherosclerosis. This condition can lead to heart failure or to strokes if the blood vessels are in the brain.
Studies have indicated that the flavonoid might help to prevent certain cancers by preventing the nutrition of some types of cancerous cells, effectively killing them. Due to its phytoestrogen properties, quercetin can be used to bind to the sites in cancerous cells that are receptive to estrogen and so prevent their growth. Many types of cancerous cells need estrogen for their growth and proliferation, and phytoestrogens mimic the effect of this hormone. However, these are laboratory studies, and more work is required.
More certain is the effect of quercetin on heart disease due largely to the aforementioned control of cholesterol deposition in your arteries, but also through its ability to strengthen the capillaries. However, when all things are considered, it is in the properties of this non-allergenic bioflavonoid to fight histamine release that it finds it’s most popular and effective use.
So what is the best way to take quercetin? Like most bioflavonoids, it is available naturally in the majority of plant foods. Particularly rich sources are broccoli, red onions, red apple skins, black tea, red wine, red and purple berries and almost all dark green leafy vegetables.
However, the name of the game these days is to take measured doses, and while you should continue to eat these foods, you can also receive controlled doses by use of supplements. From 200 to 500 milligrams thrice daily is a good average dose, depending on the severity of your immune reaction or allergy. Bromelain is believed to improve its absorption in the gut, and quercetin is frequently provided with bromelain, which itself is also a good treatment for allergies and excessive response of your immune system to irritation.
Bromelain is an enzyme, generally extracted from pineapple, and treatments higher than the above doses of quercetin with or without bromelain are available online, although like any natural remedy you should inform your own physician of the dosage you are taking.
There is no better non-allergenic bioflavonoid to fight histamine and its potentially unpleasant effects on your body than quercetin.
Fruit and Vegetable Lightning drink mixes from Natures Plus
February 06, 2007 02:41 PM
Enjoy the Rainbow – the Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables
We’ve all heard the statistics, and have probably seen the signs in the produce section of our favorite grocery store: eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day is important,
Chances are also pretty good that we’ve also seen the newest food pyramid, encouraging Americans to “eat a rainbow of frits and vegetables.” That is, choose from the rich variety of colors for the best all-around health benefits.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’re going to look at the unique health components of different colored fruits and vegetables, and why they’re so important. Plus, we’ll learn about supplemental options, like fruit and vegetable drink mixes, for those days when our diets just aren’t that great.
Q. What’s the big deal about fruits and vegetables?
A. Well, for the main reason that they are whole foods – created by nature (or at least generations of farming) and are rich in a variety of nutrients. Processed foods can’t match the health benefits of strawberries or broccoli – items that have fiber, vitamins, and enzymes built right in.
Q. What does “eating a rainbow” of fruits and vegetables really mean?
A. This is simply an easy way of remembering to get as much color variety in your diet as possible to maximize your intake of a broad range of nutrients. The colors of fruits and vegetables are often a tangible clue to the unique vitamins and other healthy substances they contain. Getting a variety of colors, therefore, means getting a variety of the essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and strong.
Enjoying the Rainbow: Fruit and Vegetable Benefits:
Q. Can you tell me a little more about the healthy components of fruits and vegetables?
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-studied and important nutrients:
Quercetin is found in apples, onions and citrus fruits (also is hawthorn and other berries and apple-related fruits usually used in traditional herbal remedies and modern supplements). It prevents LSL cholesterol oxidation and helps the body cope with allergens and other lung and breathing problems.
Clinical studies show that quercetin’s main points of absorption in the body appear to be in the small intestine – about 50%. The rest – at least 47% is metabolized by the colonic micro flora – the beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum. You may consider adding these beneficial bacteria (found in yogurt) either through the diet or a supplemental form.
Ellagic Acid is a component of ellagitannins – dietary polyphenols with antioxidant (and possibly anticancer) properties. Polyphenols are the basic building blocks of many plant-based antioxidants. More complex phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids are created from these molecules.
Ellagic acid is found in many fruits and foods, namely raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and walnuts. Clinical studies suggest that ellagitannins and ellagic acid act as antioxidants and anticarcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract.
Ellagitannins are durable antioxidants, and happily, they do not appear to be diminished by processing, like freezing. This means the benefits are still strong, even in frozen packs of raspberries or strawberries, or some of the better multi-ingredient supplement drink mixes.
In scientific studies, ellagic acid also showed an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells, decreasing their ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. ATP is the molecule that provides the primary energy source for the cells in our bodies. In a sense, ellagic acid seems to deprive cancer cells of their fuel.
Beta-Carotene: Probably the best-known of the carotenoids, beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A. Many vegetables, especially orange and yellow varieties, are rich in this nutrient. Think summer squash, yams and of course, carrots.
Beta-carotene has long been associated with better eyesight, but it has other benefits, too. In a scientific study, beta-carotene decreased cholesterol levels in the liver by 44% and reduces liver triglycerides by 40%.
Lycopene is a carotenoid mostly found in tomatoes, but also in smaller amounts in watermelon and other fruits. Clinical studies have shown that lycopene consumption may decrease the risk of prostate cancer. In fact, high intakes of lycopene are associated with a 30% to 40% reduced risk. And, as good as beta-carotene is, its cousin, lycopene, seems to be an even stronger nutrient, protecting not just against prostate cancer, but heart disease as well.
Lutein is found in many fruits and vegetables, including blueberries and members of the squash family. Lutein is important for healthy eyes, and in fact it is found in high concentrations naturally in the macular region of the retina – where we see fine detail. It is one of the only carotenoids, along with its close sibling zeaxanthin, that is found in the macula and lens of the eye.
Lutein also supports your heart, too. In a scientific study, lutein reduced atherosclerotic lesion size by 43%. In other words, high intakes of lutein may actually help prevent coronary artery disease!
Interestingly, as is the case with lycopene, cooking or processing foods with lutein may actually make it more easily absorbed.
In clinical studies, men with high intakes of lutein (and its close cousin, zeaxanthin, found in broccoli and spinach) had a 19% lower risk of cataract, and women had a 22% decreased risk, compared to those whose lutein intakes were much lower.
Vitamin C: One of the best-known nutrients out there, vitamin C keeps our immune system strong; speeds wound healing, and promote strong muscles and joints. A free-radical fighter, vitamin C prevents oxidative damage to tissues, builds strength in collagen and connective tissue, and even reduces joint pain.
Sources of vitamin C are scattered throughout the spectrum of fruits and vegetables.
Potassium: Most Americans are deficient in potassium. For the most part, it’s hard to get too much of this valuable mineral. Potassium does great things for our hearts. Higher intakes of dietary potassium from fruits and vegetables have been found in clinical research to lower blood pressure in only 4 weeks.
Many researchers believe that the typical American diet has led to a state of chronic, low-grade acidosis – too much acid in the body. Potassium helps change pH balance to a more alkaline environment in the body and increases bone density.
This was proven in the long-running Framingham Heart Study which showed that dietary potassium, (along with magnesium and fruit and vegetable intake) provided greater bone density in older individuals.
Fiber is another food component many just don’t get enough of – especially if they’re eating a “typical American diet.” Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber. However, fiber from a good fruits and vegetable drink mix should be derived from inulin and chicory root. This soluble fiber source not only adds to the overall amount of fiber you need (25 to 38 grams a day), but also provides a nice “nesting ground” for the beneficial bacteria that populate the intestines. And, even though some fiber has a bad rap for inhibiting mineral absorption, inulin and chicory root are “bone building” fibers – they actually help the body absorb calcium.
Flavonoids are an overarching term that encompasses flavonols, anthocyanidins, and flavones, isoflavones, proanthocyanidins, Quercetin and more. They are almost everywhere: in fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, nuts and seeds – even in the coffee, wine and tea we drink. Flavonoids are responsible for the colors in the skins of fruits and the leaves of trees and other plants.
Flavonoids have many health benefits. They can help stop the growth of tumor cells and are potent antioxidants. Additionally, flavonoids have also been studied for their ability to reduce inflammation.
Anthocyanins: High on the list of important “visible” nutrients are anthocyanins. They color fruits and vegetables blue and red.
Anthocyanins are members of this extended family of nutmeats, the flavonoids. Typically found in high amounts in berries, anthocyanins are readily absorbed in the stomach and small intestine.
As antioxidants, anthocyanins dive deep into cell membranes, protecting them from damage. IT may be one reason why the anthocyanins from blueberries are considered such an important component in battling neuronal decline, like Alzheimer’s. Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are also excellent sources of this flavonoids group.
SDG lignans, (short for secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) are polyphenolic components of flaxseed, pumpkin and other herbal sources. Much of the recent research surrounding lignans has focused on flaxseed. In scientific and clinical studies, lignans from flaxseed support hormonal balance and may have cancer-preventing abilities. In fact, in one study, flaxseed lignans reduced metastatic lung tumor by 82% compared to controls.
The lignans in pumpkin seed, also considered a major source, target 5-alpha reductase activity.
This enzyme catalyzes the conversion of testosterone into the more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT, like testosterone, is a steroid hormone or androgen. Androgens are responsible for the development and maintenance of masculine sex characteristics in both men and women. Excess levels of DHT can cause serious problems with prostate or bladder health. That’s why modulation of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is so important – it helps maintain healthy testosterone and DHT levels. By balancing the levels of these key hormones, pumpkin seed lignans provide protection for prostate and bladder cells.
In addition, pumpkin seed has been shown to modulate the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase is present in the estrogen-producing cells of the adrenal glands, ovaries, testicles, adipose tissue, and brain. Aromatase converts testosterone, an androgen, into estradiol, and estrogen.
Inhibition of the aromatase conversion can help maintain a balance of healthy testosterone levels in women, which has been shown to strengthen pelvic muscles and reduce incidence of incontinence.
In fact, a clinical study, involving a pumpkin extract in conjunction with soy, resulted in significant support for bladder health. After two weeks of supplementation, 23 of the 39 postmenopausal women enrolled in the study showed great improvement in urinary frequency and sleep. By the end of the six week study, 74.4 percent of participants found pumpkin extract safely and significantly improved “nocturnia,” that is, the need to urinate frequently at night. For individuals with 2 to 4 episodes of nocturnia prior to the stud, and 81.8% improvement was seen – also showing great improvement in sleep quality. After all, if you don’t have to wake up every couple of hours to go to the bathroom you’re bound to get better sleep.
Beta glucan: Mushrooms are intense immune-boosting powerhouses due to their beta-glucan content. Three well-studied power-house mushrooms that contribute beta glucan to the diet include maitake, reishi and shiitake.
The most significant constituents of mushrooms are long chain polysaccharides (molecules formed from many sugar units) known as beta-glucan. These huge molecules act as immunoregualtors in the human body, helping to stabilize and balance the immune system.
This includes specific support of white blood cells, or lymphocytes, the primary cells of the immune system. Lymphocytes fall broadly into three categories: T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells.
In one clinical study, 165 patients with various types of advanced cancer were given maitake mushroom compounds alone or with chemotherapy. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58% of liver cancer patients, and 62% of lung cancer patients. Plus, when maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, the immune cell activities were enhanced 1.2 to 1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone.
In another clinical study, researchers determined that Reishi increased the number of cancer killing white blood cells and made them more deadly to cancer cells.
And, in a scientific study of human breast cancer and myeloma cancer and myeloma cancer cell lines, shiitake compounds provided a 51% antiproliferative effect on the cells – inducing “apoptosis’ – the programmed cell death that should occur naturally.
While beta-glucan are distributed throughout the mushroom body, the beta-glucan concentrations are significantly higher in the mycelium – the interwoven fibers or filaments that make up the “feeding structure” of the mushroom.
Bioflavonoids are commonly found in bright yellow citrus fruits, including lemons, limes and oranges. They are responsible for the bright pigment found in the skin of the fruit, and are considered a “companion” to vitamin C, seeming to extend the value of the nutrient within the body.
Hesperidin is just one of the valuable bioflavonoids found in citrus. Hesperidin appears to lower cholesterol levels, as well as support joint collagen in examples of rheumatoid arthritis.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG):
Polyphenols, most notably EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, are well-studied and powerful components of tea. EGCG has been shown to reduce colon and breast cancer risk. Green tea also boosts the immune system and encourages T-cell formation – part of the front-line defense of our bodies against sickness and disease.
Q. I’ve been seeing articles about fruits, vegetables and supplements touting “high ORAC value.” What does this mean?
ORAC is an acronym for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, and is simply a measurement of antioxidant activity of nutrients. Oxygen radicals, or free radicals, are unstable molecules. They grab electrons from other cells to use for themselves, and in the process can damage them. It is believed that free radical activity plays a role in the development of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and also plays a role in aging.
Antioxidants help prevent this damage by “loaning out” extra electrons to stabilize free radicals/ Consider any fruit or vegetable with a high ORAC rating as having a lot of “antioxidant power.”
I know I should eat more fruits and vegetables, but it just seems so hard to get five servings a day.
The number one excuse I hear for not buying frits and veggies is that “fruits and vegetables are too expensive.” But are they really? Certainly, fresh foods that aren’t in season and have to be shipped a distance can be a bit pricey. If anyone added up how much spend on fast food, or prepackaged or processed snacks, it would probably be shocking.
Luckily, there are many ways to get your “Daily 5”. For instance, frozen fruits and veggies retain much of their nutrient profile. They can be an excellent alternative when certain foods are out of season. So too, are fruit and vegetable drink mixes – excellent supplemental sources of some of the nutrients our bodies need most.
More recently, the American
Of course, for people not accustomed to the fiber in fruits and veggies, there is some reason to think it’ll increase gas. When cell walls break down, and fiber passes through the system, it can create flatulence. Folks who eat fruits and vegetables every day generally don’t have this problem. Their systems are already accustomed to it.
For those just starting out on a better diet, however, start slowly – it helps your body adapt. Cooking vegetables can help, too, because it begins breaking down the cell walls early on.
One thing is certain, however. The “Typical American Diet” and good health are mutually exclusive. The increase in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension all point to the abuse our bodies suffer by eating diets high in fatty meats, processed sugars, and refined grains.
Q. Can I just drink fruit and vegetables drinks in place of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables?
Green drinks and fruit and vegetable drink mixes aren’t meant to replace whole foods, but they can be an excellent substitute when you’re rushed or traveling or just trying to fill everyday nutritional gaps. Their whole food ingredients absorb very easily and gently in the gut, and many of these drink mixes contain healthy doses of fiber, too.
Green drink mixes and food-based drink mixes combine many colorful fruits and vegetables and sometimes grasses in a healthy, mixable supplement assortment. While there have been many advancements in the field of green drinks, there are only a few that take the primary reason we eat into consideration: taste!
Happily, there are some companies out there with great-tasting drink mixes that also formulate based on the color concept, ensuring you get the broadest assortment of nutrients from a full range of fruit and vegetable colors to promote optimal health.
High-quality fruit and vegetable drink mixes offer the best from nature’s color wheel in a convenient and great-tasting supplement. So, the next tie you feel like taking a coffee break – try a fruit and veggie break instead. Your body and spirit will thank you.
How Does It Work?
July 08, 2006 01:24 PM
Proprietary Probiotic blend
Acidophilus Pearls is a probiotic dietary supplement designed to help support digestion and a healthy intestinal system. Probiotics, such as lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum are live microbial food supplements that are non-toxic and do not cause disease (non-pathogenic). Probiotics do not permanently colonize in the body. Therefore, they need to be ingested regularly for their health-promoting effects to persist. After ingestion, probiotics must adhere to the wall of the intestine. Once attached to the intestinal wall, the bacteria are capable of multiplying and colonizing in the gut, thereby enhancing the immune response. 1-3
Oral probiotics help support the composition and metabolic activities of the large intestine micro flora.1 Micro flora of the large intestines assist digestion through fermentation (making the intestines inhospitable to invading species), protection against pathogenic bacteria, and stimulation of the development of certain components of the immune system.3 Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum occupy a central role in the guy micro flora, thereby enabling them to influence the composition of the micro flora to provide health benefits.4
Breakdown of Lactose
Lactose is an important sugar that is converted to lactic acid by lactic acid producing bacteria (such as lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum).6 Lactose intolerance results from an inability to digest lactose.7 Lactose intolerance may be due to genetics, age related declines in intestinal lactase (the enzyme that metabolizes lactose), or other reasons.8 Lactase deficient people accumulate non-absorbed lactose in the gastrointestinal tract, which draws water and electrolytes into the gut and accelerates transit time, which can lead to diarrhea.2,8 Lactic acid bacteria can help metabolize the non-absorbed lactose in the gastrointestinal tract.
In a randomized, controlled clinical trial, Bifidobacterium longum was shown to support the breakdown of lactose and reduce the symptoms of lactose intolerance (flatulence) in people with lactose intolerance.5
Immune system support
While a normal micro flora is associated with good health, changes in intestinal health are associated with altered immune function. A well-functioning gastrointestinal immune system mediates immune responsiveness at mucosal sites and throughout the entire body via the control of quality and quantity of foreign substances gaining access to the immune system.9
Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum have shown to possess immunoprotective/immunomodulatory properties. These benefits include modulation of: cytokine and various interleukin production, autoimmunity, natural killer cells cytotoxicity, lymphocyte proliferation, and antibody production.3
In an open, randomized, controlled trial, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum were supportive of colon health in older adults. In addition, B cell (important antibody producing immune cells) levels increased as compared with the untreated group. The probiotics were very well tolerated, with no significant side effects or variations in clinical chemistry or hematologic parameters.
Decrease Occasional Constipation
Constipation is defined as infrequent or difficult defection that can result from decreased motility of the intestines. It is a common problem, particularly in older adults. When the feces remain in the large intestine for prolonged periods, there is excessive water absorption, making the feces dry and hard.7
Insufficient amounts of lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum may play a role in delayed bowel movement, which can favor the activity of undesireable putrefactive bacteria (bacteria that break down organic matter into potentially harmful compounds) in the intestines. Lactic acid bacteria contribute to the re-establishemtn of healthy intestinal flora (at the expense of pathogen growth) and stimulation of intestinal peristalsis via lactic acid. 10
Support of putrefactive Processes
When unbalanced conditions are present in the intestines (ie, unbalanced diet, high acidity, and/or low levels of lactic acid bacteria), organic matter may be putrified (decomposed or rotting) by certain bacteria and produce harmful substances such as ammonia.1,11
Micro flora or the large intestines promote homeostasis (balance) in both the intestine and the vagina.1,12,13 these activities are carried out via support of direct production of antibodies, competition with adhesion to intestinal cells, or indirect modulation of the immune system.2
Normal micro flora of the large intestine help support and complete digestion via fermentation.1,11 The risk of diarrhea, for example, increases when the capacity of colonic micro flora to ferment carbohydrates decreases.8 Oral ingestion of probiotics produces a stabilizing effect on the guy flora.2
The benefits of probiotics extend beyond digestion support and immune support. Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum also help support the better utilization and bioavailability of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.14
Candida albicans is a fungus that is a naturally occurring component of normal gastrointestinal micro flora.15 however, C. albicans should be maintained at healthy levels. Probiotics have been shown to help retain healthy levels of C. albicans that are already within normal limits.
True Delivery Technology
Recently, our Enzymatic Therapy laboratory tested four leading probiotics nutritional supplements in the marketplace. These supplements were best selling brands, two of the supplements were enteric coated, and all had label guarantees about potency (guaranteed number of live bacteria). The laboratory scientist counted the levels of living bacteria found in compared these findings to the bacterial levels claimed by each manufacturer. The products were also subjected to a simulation of stomach acid conditions, after which the levels of living bacteria were re-counted.
The laboratory results found the probiotic supplements contained less than 50% of the number of living bacteria that they clamed on their labels. Furthermore, the laboratory results found that only 10% of the liver bacteria clamed on the manufacturer’s label survived the simulated stomach conditions.
Acidophilus pearls used a revolutionary proprietary “pearl” encapsulation process called True Delivery Technology. The True Delivery Technology is a special type of natural coating that protects the probiotic bacteria.
The True Delivery is a seamless “pearl”, which consists of three layers. The inner layer is a paste of probiotic bacteria suspended in a protective oil suspension. The second layer actually “seals” the bacteria in the capsule, which protects them from air, moisture, and the effects of heat. Probiotic bacteria are anaerobic organisms (grow in the absence of oxygen) and the presence of oxygen can actually injure or kill them. Because probiotic bacteria are injured or destroyed by the acids of the stomach, the third, outermost layer of the pearl is specially developed to only dissolve in the alkaline environment of the intestines. This patented gelatin pearl protects the probiotic bacteria from the acid environment of the stomach, so that they can successfully reach the intestine.
The patented seamless pearl capsule of Acidophilus Pearls assures the virtually all the bacteria remain uninjured and healthy to colonize in the intestine. In addition, the special pearl capsule’s ability to seal the bacteria inside it eliminates the need for the nutritional supplement to be refrigerated – though they can be kept in the refrigerator, if desired.
Store at controlled room temperature, 59 degrees F to 86 degrees F (15 – 30C). May refrigerate if desired
This statement has not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
You Are What You Digest
June 10, 2005 04:50 PM
You Are What You Digest
by Anthony J. Cichoke, DC Energy Times, September 2, 1999
Does your dinner creep back to haunt you in the ghostly morning hours? Does a mere glance in the direction of the local Mexican cafe or barbecue palace fill you with dread (to say nothing of internal discomfort)?
We tend to ignore our digestive systems-the ever-ready, always reliable iron-clad stomachs of our youth, into which we stuffed pizza, peppers and beer-until diarrhea, gas, heartburn, bloating, constipation, stomach pain or other, much more serious, problems develop.
According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 62 million Americans experience some type of digestive distress. More than 10 million people suffer from hemorrhoids, nearly 3 million from gastritis and duodenitis, 2.3 million from inflammatory bowel disease, almost 4.5 million from constipation and 1.4 million from irritable colon. (Statistics from Digestive Diseases in the United States: Epidemiology and Impact, edited by James E. Everhart and published in 1994 in Washington, DC, by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.)
Many conditions such as hemorrhoids or constipation are relatively benign, while others, notably chronic liver disease, malignancies and ulcers, can be life-threatening.
In my long career as a chiropractor with an intense interest in nutrition, I have studied and written about the powers of enzyme therapy to prevent and treat the common and related problems of indigestion, heartburn, gas, lactose intolerance and constipation.
Poor Digestion: The Costs
Impaired digestion takes a dangerously high toll in causing nutrient deficiencies. For example, the stomach needs sufficient hydrochloric acid to activate the digestive enzyme pepsin, a substance which helps break down the proteins you eat into the short chains of amino acids (protein building blocks) that go into strong muscles, fight disease and produce a healthy supply of blood.
Poor digestion can also impair your absorption of carbohydrates and fats as well as many vitamins and minerals. Vitamin E, for example, is fat soluble, that is, stored for long periods in the body's fat cells, rather than rapidly excreted like the water soluble vitamin C.
Impaired pancreatic function, or insufficient lipase or bile production, will inhibit fat digestion, possibly causing insufficient absorption of vitamin E, according to the book Present Knowledge in Nutrition (International Life Sciences Institute, Nutrition Foundation, Washington, DC), which is edited by Myrtle L. Brown.
Thus, any difficulty in digesting and absorbing dietary fat can appreciably decrease vitamin E digestion and absorption. In fact, insufficient fat intake coupled with troubled digestion and absorption can affect the body's use of all the fat soluble vitamins-A, D, E and K.
The Enzyme-Digestion Team
Enzymes are molecules naturally produced by the body. These dynamos are involved in all physiological functions but are probably best known for the many jobs they perform during the process of digestion.
Digestive enzymes break the food you eat down into smaller particles so the body can better absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Unfortunately, in many cases, we may become deficient in digestive enzymes. Or, on the other hand, the enzymes we do produce may be inadequate for proper digestion. Luckily, supplemental enzymes can compensate for nature's shortfalls.
Supplemental enzymes, available in tablets, capsules, powders and pills, can help enhance the digestive process. The most popular enzymes for this use include:
Proteases help the body digest proteins by breaking them down into their component amino acids.
Lipases break down fat molecules into smaller pieces for better digestion.
Amylases break down carbohydrates.
Digestive enzymes also function in a wide variety of ways:
They detoxify and cleanse the colon and stimulate the beneficial bacteria in the gut, thereby helping relieve a number of digestion-related disorders.
They help mobilize and remove toxic products from the body.
Supplemental enzymes can be used in basically three ways: as digestive aids, taken with or just prior to meals to help break down foods, freeing their nutrients for absorption and use by the body; as systemic enzyme therapy taken between meals and intended to be absorbed into the bloodstream and carried throughout the body to work intensively and thoroughly at the cellular level. They are consumed between meals to avoid mixing them with food as it is consumed.
Enzymes used systemically can energize the digestive, immune, cardiovascular and nervous systems. In addition, they can also help fight viruses, bacteria, toxins and inflammation, a common symptom with many digestive disorders including diverticulitis and gastritis.
The third way to take supplemental enzymes is in a form I call Enzyme Absorption System Enhancers (EASE), commercially produced enzymes combined with herbs, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients designed to improve their activity, absorption and bioavailability (readiness and ease with which the body can take them up).
Enzymes for Common Conditions From my extensive research and experience, enzymes as digestive aids, in systemic enzyme therapy as as EASE, can treat more than 150 common health conditions.
Choose your enzyme supplements carefully, scrutinizing the label thoroughly for:
directions for use formulation (coated or uncoated) the enzymes in the formulation and their sources; a vegetarian would want to avoid enzymes from animal sources and those with allergies should ensure that the formulation is free of potential allergens. However pervasive digestive problems are, there's no reason why they have to get you down, ruin your digestion or inflate you. These are very useful substances: Enzymes can set your digestive system - and most of your body's functions - back on track.
Remember, enzymes are essential keys to the smooth, efficient function of that wonderful machine, the human body. Because enzyme production and activity decrease with age, trauma and illness, make a firm commitment to daily enzyme supplementation for a healthier, happier, longer life.
June 10, 2005 03:24 PM
by Henry Wolfe Energy Times, July 11, 2003
Nutrients do you no good if you don't absorb them. Eating the right stuff and taking the right nutrients can still be wrong if they never make it out of your digestive tract and into your bloodstream.
For instance, dietary supplements usually should be taken along with food. The presence of food in the digestive tract aids the absorption of nutrients. As a general rule, if you take dietary supplements on an empty stomach, most of their contents will probably pass through you and never escape your intestinal tract before they are eventually eliminated. This is particularly true for the fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D and E. By consuming fatty foods when you take these supplements, you enable your body to absorb a large amount of these valuable substances.
But there is at least one exception to this rule: Amino acid supplements (protein building blocks) should usually be taken on an empty stomach. Otherwise the other amino acids present in your meal may interfere with your use of these nutrients and counteract the benefits of the supplements.
The Standardization of Herbs
Taking herbs presents different challenges than consuming dietary supplements. While the chemical structures of nutrients in supplements are usually precisely identified, the active ingredients in herbs is usually a mixture of chemicals. Often, too, researchers disagree on exactly which active ingredients in herbs produce the health benefits linked to these botanicals.
But in an effort to derive the most from these substances, many experts recommend what are called standardized forms.
Standardized herbal supplements are formulas that have been created to insure they contain consistent and reliable amounts of certain beneficial chemicals that scientists have identified in these plants.
In the creation of these supplements, experts determine the standardized chemicals that are most likely the basis of the herbs' effectiveness.
By standardizing certain of the supplements' ingredients, therefore, standardized herbs limit the variation among batches of the product. You can rely on the fact that every purchase will contain the same amount of ingredients taken from the original plant. According to Michael Janson, MD, author of Dr. Janson's New Vitamin Revolution (Penguin/Avery), "Although herbs have a long history of use for medicinal purposes, it is only recently that they have been analyzed to reveal their most active components. These active chemicals are commonly present in very variable amounts in herbs, depending on where and how they are grown, soil quality, when they are harvested, the amount of rain and sun, and other factors.
"Standardized herbs have guaranteed specific amounts of the known, active herbal components, as well as the other factors that might be of help but are not as well studied" (www.drjanson.com).
Herbalists who specialize in using entire plants in their practices can recommend non-standardized preparations that you can often use.
In general, that kind of herbal use is more effective when you secure expert advice. If you lack access to an experienced herbalist and you're choosing botanicals on your own, standardized preparations are easier to take.
Absorption From the gut
Most of the nutrients you take in are absorbed through the walls of your digestive tract. This most often takes place in the small intestine.
What to watch out for: Fast food, fast living and long work hours afflicts our digestion and can disrupt proper absorption. You have to be relaxed to properly absorb the nutrients in your food and supplements.
Consequently, the occasions for meals should be relaxed and enjoyable moments. Set aside enough time to appreciate, taste and thoroughly chew your food. Adequate digestion and absorption begin in your mouth.
Another way to increase nutrient absorption is with the use of digestive enzymes. Since the digestive tract depends on the enzymatic breakdown of food that reduces nutrients to absorbable form, taking enzymes can help your intestines make better use of nutrients as they pass through the digestive tract. Normally, enzymes are present in raw food, like uncooked fruits and vegetables. Since most of our food is eaten after it is heated, a process that breaks down enzymes, not many enzymes are present in today's diet. Therefore, taking supplemental enzymes may increase absorption.
Beyond everyday stress, a variety of problems can make absorption go astray, allowing important nutrients to escape and permitting unwanted substances to enter the body. For instance, a significant digestive malfunction that many experts have focused on in recent years is a condition that has come to be called "leaky gut."
As Anil Minocha, MD, director of digestive diseases at the Mississippi Medical Center and author of Natural Stomach Care (Avery), points out, "In a healthy individual, the wall of the intestinal tract is designed to absorb food molecules and prevent harmful microorganisms and toxic materials from passing out through the bowel wall and into the bloodstream. "In today's heavily polluted environment, the gastrointestinal tract of even the healthiest individual is called on to process an overwhelmingly large flow of septic and infectious materials."
Because of these digestion destroyers, as we take in a startlingly large amount of viruses, bacteria, toxic chemicals, fungi and processed foods, our digestive systems are often overwhelmed and are rendered unable to perform their tasks correctly. This constant assault on the stomach and intestines takes a serious toll. A frequent product of this process is the digestive walls' loss of their crucial ability to keep out unwanted toxins and organisms as they become, in Dr. Minocha's words, "loosened and inflamed." As a result, instead of keeping out harmful substances and absorbing helpful nutrients, spaces open up that begin to allow in "bulky, partially digested food particles, toxic substances and infectious microbes."
According to Dr. Minocha, the first signs of this absorption problem can include complaints such as allergic reactions, skin problems, joint pain, digestive difficulties, nausea, fatigue and lack of energy.
To improve your digestive absorption, Dr. Minocha recommends a six-part program that includes these steps:
* Detoxification by means of fasting and avoiding harmful items like sugar, over-processed foods, coffee and alcohol
* Taking herbs that can help the digestive tract heal, recover and repair itself; these include garlic, ginger and milk thistle
* Replenishing the beneficial bacteria of the digestive tract by eating yogurt
* Keeping track of your daily diet and eliminating foods that cause allergies and other reactions
* Consuming more fruits and vegetables while eating a high-fiber, mostly vegetarian diet
* Developing consistent, healthy lifestyle habits; these include not smoking, cutting the size of your meals and eating in moderation, exercising several times a week and controlling stress
Young and Old Digestion
The nutrients in your diet can also beneficially influence the state of your digestive system and its ability to distinguish among substances that are supposed to gain entrance to your body and those that should be kept out. Since aging can further compromise the discriminatory ability of your gut, Dr. Minocha also recommends a steady diet of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables plus supplements to keep your digestive tract functioning at full capacity as you grow older.
Among the nutrients he recommends:
* Coenzyme Q10: By middle age, your body makes less of this powerful antioxidant that helps cells generate energy in the mitochondria (structures within cells that may decrease with age).
Dr. Minocha notes that research demonstrates CoQ10 may be able to help people with diabetes control harmful metabolic byproducts that appear in their bloodstreams.
* Natural Lycopene: This antioxidant, responsible for the red of both tomatoes and watermelon, has been shown to lower the risk of both heart disease and prostate cancer. As an antioxidant, natural lycopene also helps protect the digestive tract.
Absorption of the proper nutrients may be the key to health for many people. By paying closer attention to the well-being of your digestive tract and practicing lifestyle habits that promote maximum absorption, you may be able to substantially improve your nutrition and your health.
Guggul – New Benefits for Heart Health
May 11, 2005 09:00 PM
Gum Guggul–New Benefits for Heart Health from an Age-Old Herbby Richard Conant, L.Ac., C.N.
The 1990's have seen a growing interest in herbs from India's ancient Ayurvedic tradition. One Ayurvedic herb in particular, "gum guggul," stands at the forefront, thanks to its rather remarkable benefits for the heart and cardiovascular health. A relative of myrrh and frankincense, gum guggul is a resin tapped from India's Commiphora mukul tree. Known more commonly in the Far East as simply "guggul," the herb has proven to be one of the most effective natural cholesterol-lowering agents ever discovered. Cholesterol reductions with guggul can be twenty percent or higher, and the herb also raises HDL, the more beneficial form of cholesterol. Studies also show guggul may help prevent atherosclerosis, by retarding the formation of fatty, cholesterol-laden deposits in blood vessel tissues.
Recent research on guggul has revealed that guggul also blocks the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, by acting as an antioxidant. LDL, which carries cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body, is generally regarded as a key element in the development of atherosclerosis. But only when it is oxidized by free radicals does LDL accumulate in arteries. It its unoxidized or "native" state, LDL is more or less benign. Checking LDL oxidation is vital to keeping blood vessels free of plaque.1 (This is one of the major reasons why antioxidants are so important.) Guggul, by both lowering blood cholesterol and acting against LDL oxidation, now stands out as one of the world's most valuable herbs for heart health.
Guggul first caught the attention of the scientific world in1966, thanks to an Indian medical researcher who submitted a doctoral thesis on gum guggul.2 Her interest had been kindled by references to the herb in a centuries-old Ayurvedic text. Apparently, poor cardiovascular health and atherosclerosis were a problem back then just as they are today. Translated from Sanskrit, this text describes, in elegant detail, a condition called "coating and obstruction of channels." The cause, according to the ancient writers? Faulty metabolism due to overeating of fatty foods and lack of exercise. Death was said to be the end result of leaving this condition uncorrected. The recommended treatment plan emphasized diet and herbs, chiefly gum guggul.3
References to guggul in ancient literature actually go back even farther. The herb is mentioned in the Vedas, the holy scriptures of India believed to be anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 years old. One stanza is translated as follows: "Disease (consumption) does not afflict and the curse never affects whom the delicious odor of the healing Guggul penetrates (spreads). The diseases also flee away in all directions from him like horses and deer, O Gugulu! Either born from Sindhu or from the sea. I chant your name for the removal of diseases."3
Struck by the obvious similarity between "coating and obstruction of channels" and atherosclerosis, the Indian researcher decided to study gum guggul's effect on blood fats in rabbits. Over a two-year period, the animals were fed hydrogenated vegetable oil to artificially raise their cholesterol levels. Guggul was administered to one group of rabbits, while the rest served as controls. At the end of the study the rabbits given guggul had normal cholesterol and blood lipid levels. Their arteries showed no fatty streaks or plague deposits. This caught the attention of the Indian scientific community, and numerous clinical trials ensued, both on animals and humans. In study after study, guggul consistently produced substantial reductions in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while raising HDL.
The active ingredients in guggul are a group of natural plant sterols. Among these, substances called "guggulsterones" are the most important ingredients for the cholesterol and blood fat lowering properties of guggul, with the other sterols acting as a synergistic supporting cast.4 A number of mechanisms are suggested, although not definitely proven, for how the herb works; these include reducing the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver, enhancing cholesterol removal from the gut, stimulating thyroid function and increasing the number of receptors in the liver for uptake of LDL.3,5
Guggul extracts are now standardized for guggulsterone content. The herb naturally contains about 2 percent guggulsterones. Quality extracts contain a minimum of 2.5 percent, which assures the user is getting a product potent enough to produce results. Since the late 1980's clinical trials have used the standardized extract.6,7,8 The product is readily available in the U.S.
The ability of guggulsterones to prevent oxidation of LDL was discovered in a 1997 study done by scientists at the Central Drug Research Institute in Lucknow, India.9 This study sheds light on how guggul works against "coating and obstruction of channels." Remember that oxidized LDL forms the plaque that coats and eventually obstructs blood vessels. The researchers mixed LDL from human blood with a free radical promoting agent, either alone or in combination with guggulsterones. Samples were then analyzed for the presence LDL oxidation byproducts. The results showed that guggulsterones strongly protect LDL from being oxidized. Guggulsterones block the formation of hydroxyl radicals, a potent type of free-radical that attacks cell membranes.
Guggulsterones may also help keep the heart muscle itself healthy. When the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen, a condition known as "myocardial ischemia," it can be severely damaged by free radicals. The body tries to counter this with SOD, a key enzyme present in cells that neutralizes free radicals. SOD levels are significantly reduced in damaged heart tissues. Guggulsterones have been found to reverse this decrease by more than two-fold.10
Like the writer of that age-old verse found in the Vedas, contemporary herbalists hold gum guggul in the highest regard. Backed as it is by scientific research linked to centuries of traditional use, gum guggul has a bright future as a natural resource for maintaining normal cholesterol and blood fats, and for protecting heart health.
1. Heinecke, J.W. Free radical modification of low density lipoprotein: mechanisms and biological consequences. Free Radical Biology & Medicine 1987;3:65-73.
2. Satyavati, G.V. Effect of an indigenous drug on disorders of lipid metabolism with special reference to atherosclerosis and obesity (Medoroga) M.D. thesis (Doctor of Ayurvedic Medicine). Banaras Hindu University, varanasi, 1966.
3. Satyavati, G. Gugulipid: a promising hypolipidaemic agent from gum guggul (Commiphora wightii). Economic and Medicinal Plant Research 1991;5:47-82.
4. Dev, S. A modern look at an age-old Ayurvedic drug-guggulu. Science Age July 1987:13-18.
5. Singh, V. et. al. Stimulation of low density lipoprotein receptor activity in liver membrane of guggulsterone treated rats. Pharmacological Research 1990;22(1):37-44.
6. Nityanand, S., Srivastava, J.S., Asthana, O.P. Clinical trials with gugulipid. J. Ass. Physicians of India 1989;37(5):323-28.
7. Agarwal, R.C. et. al. Clinical trial of gugulipid-a new hypolipidemic agent of plant origin in primary hyperlipidemia. Indian J Med Res 1986;84:626-34.
8. 'Gugulipid' Drugs of the Future 1988;13(7):618-619.
9. Singh, K., Chandler, R. Kapoor, N.K. Guggulsterone, a potent hypolipidaemic, prevents oxidation of low density lipoprotein. Phytotherapy Research 1997;11:291-94.
10. Kaul, S. Kapoor, N.K. Reversal of chnages of lipid peroxide, xanthine oxidase and superoxide dismutase by cardio-protective drugs in isoproterenol induced myocardial necrosis in rats. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology 1989;27:625-627.