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What Cellular Mitochondria Does in the Body
April 28, 2022 04:19 PM
If you want to stay healthy, it's important that you know what cellular mitochondria does in the body. Mitochondria are organelles found in the cytoplasm of cells. They are responsible for producing energy for the cell. Without them, the cell would not be able to function properly. We will discuss the role of mitochondria in the body, and how they impact our health.
What are mitochondria and what do they do in the body
Mitochondria are organelles that play an important role in the energy metabolism of cells. Most of the oxygen we breathe is used by mitochondria to convert glucose from the food we eat into ATP, the energy molecule used by our cells. Therefore, mitochondria are often referred to as the "powerhouses" of the cell. In addition to producing ATP, mitochondria also have other important functions, such as regulating cell growth and death, as well as calcium homeostasis. Mitochondria are unique in that they have their own DNA separate from the DNA in the cell nucleus. This mitochondrial DNA is passed down from mother to child, which is why defects in mitochondrial function can lead to diseases that are inherited in a maternal lineage. Although most of our cells contain only a single nucleus, they may contain hundreds or even thousands of mitochondria. This allows them to produce enough ATP to meet the energy needs of the cell.
How mitochondrial dysfunction can lead to health problems
Mitochondria are integral to many essential physiological processes in the body. Not only do they produce energy for cells, but they also play a key role in maintaining cellular structures and initiating cell division. Therefore, any disruption of normal mitochondrial function can have far-reaching consequences for overall health and well-being. Maladaptive responses to environmental stressors, such as chemical exposure or radiation, are among the most common causes of mitochondrial dysfunction. These stressors result in damage to mitochondrial DNA and can cause problems with cell division and abnormal growth patterns, which can lead to a range of disorders and chronic diseases. For example, mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked to conditions like Alzheimer's disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Therefore, it is important to understand the role that mitochondria play in maintaining healthy functioning bodies and take proactive steps to prevent or reverse damage from maladaptive responses to environmental stressors.
Mitochondria and Longevity
Mitochondria are specialized organelles found within our cells that perform many critical functions, including generating energy to support cellular processes and maintaining healthy cell function. These organelles are the site of many important chemical reactions, often referred to as oxidative phosphorylation or metabolism. Studies have shown that Proper functioning of these organelles is essential for healthy aging, and may be a key factor in determining how long we live. By promoting mitochondria health and making lifestyle changes that help to promote healthy mitochondria, we can take an important step towards optimizing our longevity potential. This includes eating a nutrient-rich diet with a focus on foods high in antioxidants, managing stress levels through regular exercise and relaxation techniques, and avoiding environmental toxins that can damage mitochondria health. Through such strategies, we can give ourselves the best chance at living a long, full life.
Ways to protect your mitochondria and keep them healthy with PQQ
PQQ, or pyrroloquinoline quinone, is an important molecule for the functioning of mitochondria in the human body. This compound plays a crucial role in adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis, the fundamental energy currency of biological systems. By driving cellular processes that release energy for metabolic use, PQQ plays a key role in maintaining mitochondrial health and efficiency. Additionally, PQQ has been shown to exhibit powerful antioxidant properties, which help to mitigate the effects of oxidative stress on mitochondria and other critical cells in the body. Overall, PQQ is an essential component of healthy mitochondrial function and a crucial nutrient for energy production and overall metabolic health.
D-ribose, the Mitochondria, and Energy
D-ribose is a naturally occurring sugar that plays an important role in cellular metabolism and energy production. This nutrient is especially important for cells that rely on a lot of energy, such as those found in the heart and muscles. D-ribose helps these cells to generate adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, which is the main energy currency used by cells to drive chemical reactions. Additionally, research has suggested that d-ribose can help to improve physical endurance and reduce the pain and stiffness associated with exercise, making it an important part of a healthy, active lifestyle.
Also, D-ribose is a simple sugar that plays an important role in the structure and function of mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell. In addition to supplying energy to the cells, mitochondria also help to regulate cell growth and death. D-ribose is essential for the proper function of mitochondria, and it plays a key role in energy production. Studies have shown that D-ribose can help to improve mitochondrial function and reduce fatigue. In addition, D-ribose supplements have been shown to improve exercise performance and increase energy levels. These effects are likely due to the ability of D-ribose to help the body produce more ATP, the energy currency of the cell. For these reasons, D-ribose is an important nutrient for maintaining healthy mitochondria and supporting cellular energy production.
Another important nutrient for the mitochondria is CoQ10
The process of producing energy is called oxidative phosphorylation, and it involves the transfer of electrons from nutrients to oxygen. This reaction creates a proton gradient across the mitochondrial membrane, which is used to generate ATP, the energy currency of the cell. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an important component of this process. It acts as an electron carrier, shuttling electrons between enzymes in the respiratory chain. It also helps to maintain the proton gradient, allowing the mitochondria to continue generating ATP. Without CoQ10, oxidative phosphorylation would grind to a halt, and cells would quickly run out of energy. Consequently, CoQ10 plays a vital role in energy production and cellular metabolism.
The bottom line is that both D-ribose and CoQ10 are important nutrients the body needs to maintain optimal energy levels. If you’re feeling run down, low on energy, or just generally not your best, consider taking a supplement containing these two nutrients. You may be surprised at how much better you feel once you start including them in your diet. What’s stopping you from giving them a try?
Probiotics shown to protect against liver damage, study reveals
April 30, 2019 02:17 PM
Fatty Liver Disease is becoming a real issue and may impact up to 1/4th of the United States population. Thankfully there appear to be means of combating this disease. Probiotics have already contributed in reducing acetaminophen-caused liver disease particularly with lowering of the oxidative stress. Positive gut health and bacteria is also important in maintaining a healthy immune system and can contribute to further protecting the body against Fatty Liver Disease. Eating the right foods, including fermented varieties, helps promote good gut health.
"The team found that the supplemented mice experienced significantly less liver damage than the control group."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/probiotics-nutrition-news-2623.html
CoQ10 can help to stop nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, studyreveals
April 29, 2019 05:04 PM
Fatty liver disease is something that many people struggle with and fear in their lifetimes. Because it is nonalcoholic, it is difficult to rationalize having the disease as it is not intentionally done. Many professionals have attempted to lessen the ability to get the disease, and there is a medication that helps to put a stop to the disease. The medicine is called CoQ10 and it is very effective at halting inflammation in and around the liver.
"Those receiving the CoQ10 supplement showed better markers overall after the study period was completed as compared with the placebo group."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/fatty-liver-disease-coq10-2789.html
Magnesium and vitamin D: The perfect pair?
April 24, 2019 01:49 PM
The presence of magnesium is absolutely imperative in maintaining stable levels of vitamin D. When someone does not have enough magnesium in their system, the metabolic pathway, disabling your body's ability to synthesize vitamin D. Taking magnesium does not have to be done in supplement form. If you ingest foods such as buckwheat, Brazil nuts, and hazelnuts, you can naturally boost your levels of magnesium and aid your body in synthesizing adequate levels of vitamin D throughout your system.
"Carried out by researchers from the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, the study looked at whether supplementation with magnesium would affect vitamin D metabolism."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-05-magnesium-and-vitamin-d-the-perfect-pair.html
A diet rich in nuts like almonds is found to drastically improvecolon cancer survival
April 23, 2019 03:10 PM
The antioxidant properties of just 100 grams of walnuts astoundingly has the antioxidant properties of over one-hundred oranges! Consuming walnuts, pecans, and almonds routinely can help decrease your risk of colorectal cancer due to these antioxidants that are naturally present within their makeup. Even those who had advanced stages of colorectal cancer were shown to be able to halt spreading through an in increase of healthy eating and nuts in their diet paired with regular physical activity.
"Almonds have immense health benefits and are ideal in improving bowel cancer."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-06-nuts-like-almonds-drastically-improve-colon-cancer-survival.html
Ginger found to be effective against many different types of cancer
February 14, 2019 09:49 AM
Cancer, that one disease none of us will ever be able to escape. Outside of doing specifically bad things for your body such as smoking, there isn’t much said about helping prevent cancer of any type. This article attempts to assist in helping you make informed decisions. It focuses on ingesting ginger as a natural treatment that could halt the spreading of cells but also focuses on other healing attributes such as pain relief and protection for your liver.
"Like its close relative turmeric, ginger is also a very powerful superfood."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-11-ginger-found-to-be-effective-against-many-different-types-of-cancer.html
Natural solutions to halt mosquitoes
August 17, 2018 03:53 PM
Summer is here, and that means that mosquitoes are out and multiplying at full swing. Fortunately, there are some safe and natural ways to fend off these pesky insects while you're enjoying the warm weather. If you're going to be at a campsite, it is best to opt in for jeans as long as you don't think you'll overheat. Mosquitoes can't bite through thick denim like they can other materials, so this alone should prevent them from breaking through.
"This great invention is not only meant to be used when traveling. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of these nets for covering cribs, strollers, and baby carriers. Some even use it inside their own bedrooms. Mosquito nets not only keep mosquitoes out, but other pests and insects as well."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-07-04-natural-solutions-halt-mosquitoes.html
Fermented turmeric prevents memory loss caused by oxidative stress and inflammation
July 16, 2018 09:54 AM
Even without Alzheimer's or dementia, the human brain is apt to experience memory loss over time. Neural cells can die, victims of disease, or inflammation. Simple oxidative stress can be at the bottom of significant loss of cognition.
Study has shown that by boosting a key neurotransmitter, a significant amount of natural damage can be avoided. One specific ingredient with the potential to make this happen has been tested on rodents.
Rodents were injected with an amnesia-creating medication. A percentage of them also received a dose of fermented turmeric, renowned for its anti-inflammatory activity. The mice given the turmeric were proven to be protected against the affects of the amnesia-producing drug.
"Turmeric contains curcumunoids like curcumin, a well-known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that shields neurons from damage."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-07-11-fermented-turmeric-prevents-memory-loss-caused-by-oxidative-stress-and-inflammation.html
Osteoporosis And What You Should Know About Bone Health
March 17, 2018 10:15 AM
The skeleton, the body's framework, changes as we age, as does the body's capacity to grow new bone. When the body experiences too much bone loss. When the body can not grow new bone, or when both happenstances are concurrent, the resulting condition is called osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is not considered curable. But it's progression can be slowed or halted, thereby preventing more bone loss, leading to injury and even death.
There are diagnostic processes that can assess bone damage, even predict the likelihood of damage based on bone mineralization. Once damage is diagnosed and need assessed a treatment plan consisting of diet a regimen and supplementation, augmented by exercise and possibly medication can be implemented.
"Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both."
Read more: http://www.good4utah.com/good-things-utah/gtu-sponsor/osteoporosis-and-what-you-should-know-about-bone-health/992235724
Does sugar cause many of our current diseases?
August 11, 2017 07:14 AM
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is currently found in millions of people. This disease is caused by consuming sugar. Drug companies make billions of dollars selling us drugs to combat this illness. However, if you change the food that you consume, you can control this disease without drugs. Drugs should not be used to manage illnesses that reflect poor life style choices. Only a halthy liver can successfully carry out all of the metabolic functions it was designed to perform. Eat right and you won't need the drugs.
Read more: Does sugar cause many of our current diseases?
Omega-3 oils found to halt neuroinflammation that leads to Alzheimer's disease
August 04, 2017 07:14 AM
Omega 3 oils have been found to stop neuroinlammation that leads to Alzheimer's disease. Omega 3 fatty acids have been attracting a lot of nutrition headlines lately as there are studies that continue to reinforce their well known benefits as well as uncovering some new ones. Omega 3 has long been linked to brain health, and new research has shown how dietary essential fatty acids could help to treat Alzheimer's disease and other illnesses in the early stages.
Read more: Omega-3 oils found to halt neuroinflammation that leads to Alzheimer's disease
5 Reasons Food is More Effective than Medicine
July 29, 2017 12:14 PM
A whole foods diet is one in which foods are eaten in their natural, minimally processed state. There is scientific evidence that diets incorporating plants and un-processed ingredients are correlated with reduced disease. This is particularly true in cases of the modern ills of humanity including high blood pressure, cancer, and current childhood disorders like ADHD. By avoiding processed foods and incorporating more plant foods into the diet, disease can be prevented, halted, and even reversed.
"The food choices we make will either feed our health or our sickness, and there is a growing body of evidence that suggests the key to improving the chronic diseases of the world can be found in the produce section of your local grocery store."
Read more: http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=9772&catId=2
Food nutrients in apples and grapes found to halt the systemic inflammation that causes cancer
June 28, 2017 09:14 AM
Chronic inflammation no matter what the cause is damaging to the cells inside of the body and therefore increases the risk of cancer. Inflammation is common and can be caused by many things such as obesity, refined sugar, and pesticides. Fortunately, while bad foods may cause inflammation, eating healthy ones causes the opposite result. It can reverse inflammation and prevent it. Red grapes and apples have inflammation fighting properties that can help a person avoid having to go to the doctor.
"Scientists have found that certain food chemicals can help minimize the inflammation that can lead to cancer"
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-06-25-food-nutrients-in-apples-and-grapes-found-to-halt-the-systemic-inflammation-that-causes-cancer.html
Compound in turmeric found to suppress viruses, including hepatitis, herpes, chikungunya, influenza-A, HIV and HPV
May 17, 2017 03:44 PM
Recent studies on curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, in addition to treating cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's can also be effective against several concerning viruses. Cur cumin affects the ability of many viruses to infect healthy cells in the body, causing damage. Positive results have come from several viral studies including hepatitis, HPV, Zika , and even HIV among other viruses. Further research is necessary but turmeric has so far shown that it useful and should be taken medicinally.
"According to a team of researchers from the Pasteur Institute in France, the turmeric compound not only inhibited the growth of zika and chikungunya viruses, but also halted the ability of these harmful viruses to infect otherwise healthy cells."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-05-11-compound-in-turmeric-found-to-suppress-a-number-of-significant-viruses-including-hepatitis-herpes-chikungunya-virus-influenza-a-hiv-and-hpv.html
How Does Cannabis Affect Your Memory Over Time?
April 21, 2017 06:44 PM
Marijuana,despite being depicted as a memory loss drug can be good for your memory depending on the type of ingested cannabinoids. THC can contribute to short term memory loss and loss of use of words in long term memory. Cannabidiol, or CBD oil however, has been shown to have beneficial uses for memory. CBD has been shown to halt the memory loss progression in Alzheimer's patients as well as combat memory loss caused by THC. If you are going to get high, it's good to have CBD available to reverse any damage to memory.
Read more: How Does Cannabis Affect Your Memory Over Time?
Compound in hot peppers found to halt growth of breast cancer cells
April 16, 2017 12:59 AM
Discovering breast cancer is pretty rare yet it seem to be common. There is no cure for breast cancer unfortunately but oncologist are still searching for one daily. However, even though there is no cure there are certain to prevent cancer. For starters, living a healthy life daily is really a great way to prevent cancer because it will keeping your body cleaning. There is one ingredient to help prevent cancer that no on would have thought about and that is hot peppers. According to the article they stunt the growth of breast cancer cells.
"Capsaicin, an active ingredient that gives chilies and peppers their pungent taste, was shown to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, a study found."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-04-03-compound-in-hot-peppers-found-to-halt-growth-of-breast-cancer-cells.html
Vitamin C breakthrough discovery: Low-cost nutrient halts growth of cancer stem cells... 1000% more effective than cancer drug... peer-reviewed science confirms powerful effects
March 28, 2017 08:59 AM
Researchers have made a remarkable discovery into the potential of vitamin C to stop the growth of cancer cells. This study was performed by the University of Salford and found that vitamin c was ten times more effective than a pharmacy grade cancer drug at stopping a cancerous tumor's ability to process energy to grow. The study is published at Oncotarget and this article provides a link to the study along with more detailed information into the research.
"Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) can be used to target and kill cancer stem cells (CSCs), the cells responsible for fuelling fatal tumours"
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-03-22-vitamin-c-breakthrough-discovery-low-cost-nutrient-halts-growth-of-cancer-stem-cells-1000-more-effective-than-cancer-drug-peer-reviewed-science-confirms.html
Resveratrol Is Good For Diabetic People
March 11, 2017 02:59 PM
Resveratrol is really good for diabetic people. It can be a part of treating diabetes. In one study, it was found that resveratrol helps with controlling blood sugar levels. There were other experiments done as well to see what the effects were. It was found in the end that the drugs used to treat diabetes can now be used to treat Alzheimer's disease.
"The medications or drugs that are used to control levels of glucose and regulate diabetes can be used to halt the onset of dementia as the two diseases are very much alike."
Curcumin helps to effectively ease inflammatory bowel disease: China mouse study
February 21, 2017 07:59 AM
Curcumin, a substance in turmeric, can halt progression of inflammatory bowel disease. Researchers in a leading Chinese university induced colitis in mice and treated them with the substance. Mice treated had a decrease in inflammatory cell infiltration into the colonic mucosa. It does this by suppressing dendritic cell activation which are responsible for creating bowel inflammation.
"Curcumin can help suppress the activation of dendritic cells (DCs), which play a pivotal role in the progression of inflammatory bowel disease, research from China has discovered."
New antibiotics discovered by sifting through the human microbiome
December 01, 2016 08:59 AM
For Computer software to help discover new antibiotics is incredible. It's fascinating how far we have come with technology. Synthesizing is such an interesting concept. The experiments that suggested that the humimycins worked by inhibiting an enzyme that bacteria use to build their cell walls - and once that cell-wall building pathway is interrupted, the bacteria died. Wow, such a wonderful discovery.
"The software initially identified 57 potentially useful gene clusters, which the researchers winnowed down to 30."
Efficient Actions for Controlling Stress and anxiety
July 18, 2014 04:42 PM
What is anxiety?
What Are The Health Benefits Of The Herb Motherwort?
November 29, 2013 10:40 PM
What is Motherwort HerbMotherwort is a herb known for its properties of calming the nerves and relaxing the heart by reducing the harmful effects of stress. It is mostly used by women, but also works for men who have heart and nervous system maladies that relate to stress. It’s scientific name is “Leonurus cardiaca” and its native location is Europe and Asia. The common name comes from the fact that is has been prescribed to pregnant stressed women throughout history as a cardio tonic and nervine tonic. It strengthens and gladdens the heart thus transforming user from dull and bitter moods to relaxed, comfortable and happy ones.
Benefits of Motherwort Herb
The herb includes tincture that elevates a persons mood and acts as a sedative. As a result, the user gets better sleep on using heavy doses and a good energy balance when using small doses spread out through the day. When combined with linden flower and ginger tinctures it also helps to tackle postpartum depression. By acting as a galactagogue, it promotes the flow of mother’s milk and it also helps soothe the uterine before and after giving birth. For those who are not pregnant, consumption of motherwort leads to better menstrual flow as a result of the regulation of the menstrual cycle. Women with cramps, nervousness and digestive disturbances during PMS benefit most from the consumption of this herb as tea or in other forms.
As a cardio tonic, it is injected so that it can halt the clotting of blood as results to a better blood flow. Improved blood flow in the body is good for prevention of other diseases and health risks such as heart attacks and stroke. People with thyroid disease and hypoglycemia or low blood sugar tend to develop heart palpitations, but this is greatly reduced by the use of motherwort. Lastly, other useful uses of motherwort herb include the relieving of lung problems such as asthma and bronchitis.
Benefits Of Zeaxanthin
February 07, 2012 08:14 AM
With aging, our eyes and the associated muscles weaken. They can degenerate and lose our ability to see properly. Eyes enable us with vision to see the world, and losing the eyesight will halt affect our daily activities and movements. People are frequently worried about losing their sight, and try to find supplements that can prevent the loss of vision. However, this debility can be prevented.
Supplements should be ideally be all natural, healthy, and with no side effects. Zeaxanthin is an important nutrient for eye health. This is found in found in green leafy vegetables, and also in other foods like eggs. Zeaxanthin fulfills most of the requirements that most people look in a supplement.
WHAT IS ZEAXANTHIN
Zeaxanthin and lutein are carotenoids that filter out the harmful high-energy wavelengths of light, and also act as antioxidants in the eye. This helps to maintain and protect healthy eye cells. Out of the six hundred carotenoids found in nature, only these two, Zeaxanthin and Lutein are deposited in high quantities in the retina (macula) of the eye. Unfortunately, our body does not synthesize the zeaxanthin and lutein it requires.
This is the reason why green vegetables, eggs and other sources of these carotenoids are essential to proper nutrition. Daily intake of zeaxanthin and lutein through diet, beverages, fortified foods or nutritional supplements and is very important for the protection and continuation of good eye health.
Studies have indicated that zeaxanthin and lutein can help to lessen the chance of chronic eye illnesses, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Zeaxanthin, is also a bioflavonoid, that besides its benefits to ocular health, has been linked to providing many health benefits, including its anti-inflammatory property. Because of zeaxanthin being a carotenoid category bioflavonoid, its main action is over the blood vessels; it works by supporting the blood vessels around the retina area with their proper function.
Zeaxanthin is both an anti-inflammatory phytochemical and an antioxidant; hence this has been used as a preventative measure for macular degeneration and cataracts. Its antioxidant properties keep eyes from being damaged from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sunlight. Overall, zeaxanthin keeps the eye healthier, and looking younger.
ZEAXANTHIN AGAINST CATARACT: Our natural eye collects and focuses light on the retina, and to properly provide this function continuously, the lens must remain clear throughout life. A major cause of cataracts is oxidation of the lens, which clouds it. Antioxidant nutrients, like zeaxanthin and lutein neutralize the free radicals or the unstable molecules associated with this oxidative stress associated with retinal damage. Thus, these phytochemicals play a role in cataract prevention. Higher dietary intakes of vitamin E, zeaxanthin and lutein can considerably reduce the risk of cataract formation.
ZEAXANTHIN AGAINST AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION (AMD): Zeaxanthin and lutein reduces the risk of AMD. In fact, studies like AREDS2 (Age-Related Eye Disease Study) are being conducted with supplements containing ten mg lutein along with two mg zeaxanthin each day, how it affects or lowers the chance of developing this degeneration.
FOOD SOURCES OF ZEAXANTHIN
Zeaxanthin is naturally found in some green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach. Other sources of zeaxanthin include egg yolk, yellow squash and bell-peppers. This makes zeaxanthin available as a completely natural nutrient, with no side effects.
What does GABA Do in the Brain?
November 02, 2011 07:41 AM
GABA or Gamma Amino Butyric Acid is a neurotransmitter of the brain. It is considered to be the main inhibitory brain chemical among mammals. In ordinary terms, it significantly regulates the firing of impulses by the neurons. This chemical is naturally produced by the brain and generally acts as a balancer together with other neurotransmitters. This neurotransmitter has a key role in the regulation of nerve excitability all throughout the nervous system. It effectively maintains the equilibrium of the body and the brain in excitation status. Chemically speaking, GABA is classified as an amino acid. However, GABA is not a building block of protein like the other amino acids. This is the reason why in the medical field, GABA is rarely considered as an amino acid.
Moreover, GABA is the prime brain chemical responsible for the regulation of muscle tone among humans. In a disorder called Spastic Diplegia, the absorption of GABA into the muscles is weakened because of damage nervous tissues and cells. This would significantly lead to hypertonic muscles in which the muscles will experience spasms and can not anymore recognize and process the neurotransmitter GABA. On the other hand, GABA in insects acts as both inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitter.
As mentioned above, GABA is an inhibitory neurochemical. It functions at the inhibitory synapses of the brain by attaching to receptor sites in the plasma membrane of both pre – and post – synaptic nerves. Once GABA has bind with the receptor sites, it will cause the ion channels to open and permit either the entry of chloride ion which has a negative charge or exit of potassium ion which has a positive charge. Potassium is the main electrolyte inside the cell. This opening of ion channels will then cause the cell to be either hyperpolarized or re – polarized.
During brain development, GABA also plays a significant role. It significantly controls the proliferation of brain progenitor cells and development of synapses as well as the differentiation and maturation of neurites. Furthermore, GABA is also responsible for the growth and development of embryonic and nerve stem cells. It also activates GABA receptors which lead to the halting of cell cycling in the S – phase. As a result, this will limit the growth of cell thus preventing abnormal growth and even malignancies.
If GABA is in inadequate level, muscle tone is disturbed making it always tensed and the mind will keep on working and working because there is no brain chemical to stop it. Therefore, GABA must be importantly maintained within normal limits.
GABA is naturally produced by nerve cells. However, GABA supplement is now available so that adequate amount of such brain chemical will be administered to the body as needed. GABA supplements can enhance the sleep onset and quality. It can also provide a relaxing feeling and reduce stress and muscle over – activity. Other theories also state that it can regulate mood and behavior thus promoting the total well – being of the person. Ongoing studies are being conducted to show more evidence on GABA’s effect with Human Growth Hormones.
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.
Boost Skin And Joint Health With Natural Supplements
January 19, 2008 10:37 AM
A lot of health conscious adults are now attempting to keep a youthful appearance for as long as possible by exercising, taking growth hormone enhances, and using expensive cosmetics. However, studies have proven that the major signs of aging in the skin, joints, and eyes occur due to a progressive collagen and hyaluronic acid degradation in our tissues. Researchers believe that supplementation of these key nutrients can actually reverse sings of aging.
Normal functioning of the skin requires that there be normal physiological substances in and around the skin cells. Of the many substances that are required for normal functioning, collagen is one of the most important. Collagen provides structural support to skin, which helps to maintain skin tone, subtleness and elasticity. All of these give the skin its amazing beauty. Without enough collagen, our body would actually lose any connective properties and its ability to hold together, causing the sagging and wrinkles that are associated with age.
Hyaluronic acid is also a vital component of the skin's structure. HA is a big part of the space between living cells and is also present in both the dermis and epidermis, where it allows skin to retain moisture and acts as a lubricant between the collagen matrix of the skin. Younger looking skin typically has higher levels of HA, but it has been observed that hyaluronic acid content declines as we age, most dramatically after the age of 50. Most people after the age of 40 have already lost a lot of HA and may require supplementation. High concentrations of hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate are able to reach the corium layers of the epidermis and provide cellar level nourishment to the skin. This then reveals a more vibrant and younger looking complexion.
Doctors believe that osteoarthritis affects more than 20 million Americans, with that number reaching 40 million by the year 2020. Some doctors believe we're headed for an epidemic of degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition marked by the erosion of the cartilage at the ends of the bones. Cartilage is the shock absorber of the joint, with regular wear and tear on the joints eventually softening, fraying, and thinning the substance. Other things that can cause cartilage degradation and osteoarthritis have recently been identified by scientists, including: weak quadriceps muscles, eroding cartilage, and changes in bone structure. Certain genes also play a role in predetermining cartilage status, and left untreated and unchecked, this can become extremely debilitating.
Since normal joint function requires healthy cartilage and bones, one of the most important substances required for the normal functioning of joints is collagen. As we age, it has been observed that there is a decrease in the production and concentration of collagen in the joints. The lack of this vital structure leads to joint pain and inflammation. Common treatments today include the prolonged use of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors which temporarily relieve pain and cover up the symptoms while the disease moves further. More often, these treatments worsen the condition instead of helping it due to their harmful side effects. A natural supplement containing Collagen II can not only halt the progression of arthritis but can also improve the condition and provide relief to sufferers.
Is Wild Yam Natures Progesterone?
November 15, 2007 07:20 AM
Dioscorea villosa, commonly known as wild yam, is a tuberous vine native to North America and parts of Central America. It was used by the Mayan and Aztec civilizations for pain relief and birth control and has also been given the names colic root and rheumatism root, demonstrating this early use of the plant. However, whether it is nature’s progesterone or not is another question that requires close analysis.
These Central American civilizations, of course, did not understand the reason why they were effective. Some of the symptoms treated can be caused by the menopause, and the wild yam is believed to contain natural forms of progesterone that can alleviate some of the adverse effects of the menopause on the body. Like most plants, they also likely act as anti-inflammatories, so relieving the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
Like any natural remedy, wild yam had its adherents and its detractors, though in recent years the plant has been used as the raw material for the production of cortisone and a form of progesterone: or at least so it is claimed, so let’s have a closer look at these claims and determine whether or not wild yam is indeed nature’s progesterone.
The human body uses organic compounds called hormones to regulate many of the chemical activities of the body. The hormones catalyze the chemical reactions and changes needed for the proper functioning of our bodies. Hormones are produced in small chemical factories dotted throughout our body called glands. Each gland is devoted to producing a specific hormone, or a range of them, and each hormone is designed for a specific purpose.
Each has an associated hormone ‘receptor’ at their targeted destination that fits the hormone like a jigsaw piece. When it turns up, the hormone attaches to the receptor and the reaction proceeds. That might be the initiation of energy production in cells, the activation of certain genes or even the stimulation of hair growth by the follicles or of the libido and the natural desire to procreate.
Hormones are manufactured from only three constituents: proteins, amino acids and cholesterol, and the steroidal sex hormones are created from cholesterol. Therefore, don’t reduce your cholesterol level too much!
Prior to puberty, all of the sex hormones are manufactured by the adrenal glands, and after puberty by the ovaries in women and the testes in men. Progesterone is produced initially, and is then used as the building block for all the other sex hormones (hence the prefix ‘pro’). In women these are the estrogens and in males the androgens. Progesterone is made from the start of the menstrual cycle, and after day 12 they have reached a high enough level to halt ovulation. Progesterone levels continue to rise for about 8 days, and then if fertilization has not occurred, the progesterone levels trigger menstruation, and the lining of the womb is detached and expelled.
During certain phases of the menstrual cycle, the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone drop off, although the exact reason for the many and varied symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) are still unknown to a large extend. There appear to be several contributing factors, though estrogen and progesterone certainly appear to be two of the major ones. We shall concentrate here on the progesterone factor because that is what wild yam is claimed to address.
Although the main function of progesterone is to generate estrogen and testosterone, to restore the libido after menstruation, and maintain the integrity of the lining of the uterus and aid in gestation, it has many other purposes such as in thermogenesis (burning of body fats), protection against osteoporosis and is also believed to have a natural anti-depressant action. These are all supported by the symptoms that appear when the body is low in progesterone levels: depression, sudden increase in body fat, mood swings, loss of sex drive and a susceptibility to weak bones if the deficiency is long-term.
In other words, women that usually suffer from PMS, also generally suffer low progesterone levels. It is believed in some quarters that a progesterone deficiency causes an excess of estrogen that leads to these symptoms in addition to heart disease. No one really knows for sure, but a deficiency of progesterone seems to be the determining factor.
Women with menstrual problems continue to be issued with prescribed synthetic progesterone even though they do not have the same effect as natural progesterone. They can also lead to some unpleasant side effects such as fluid retention, strokes, jaundice, blood clots and depression: some of the symptoms it is intended to alleviate. Some take borage or evening primrose oil for the GLA that helps some of the effects, but this is taken to counter the over-production of the hormone prolactin in some women prior to menstruation, not a deficiency of progesterone.
Wild yam does not cause these symptoms, and is claimed by many to be very effective in alleviating the symptoms of PMS. The problem with the artificial forms of progesterone is that the liver’s job is to destroy foreign hormones, and send them to the digestive tract for expulsion. Natural hormones are not affected in this way, even if they come from a non-human source.
The chemical diosgenin in wild yam is very similar in structure to progesterone, and is believed to be the active principle. It is claimed that it can be used to produce not only progesterone but also other related hormones. However, some medical authorities and practitioners dispute this claim, and there is still a question as to how wild yam works. Because it does work, many people swear by it and claim that they could not live without it.
This is especially true of those that suffer from the more severe effects of PMS, and since wild yam does not work for everybody, it could be connected with the severity of the condition and the symptoms. Whichever is true, there appears to be little doubt in the eyes of those that use it as a cream that wild yam is indeed nature’s progesterone.
Are Inflammation, Immunity, And Allergic Reactions A Role For Supplements?
November 10, 2007 11:29 AM
Inflammation, immunity diseases and allergic reactions are all connected with your immune system, and the way the body reacts to what it considers to be foreign invaders that are a risk to your health. Although you may not understand that all three have the basic underlying cause, in fact they do, and here is why.
Inflammation manifests as pain and swelling in the inflamed area, and not only can the area also get hot, but it can also raise your temperature in general, commonly called a fever. Fever is the body’s way of raising temperature above that at which foreign organisms such as bacteria and viruses can live, so any inflammatory condition that results in fever by definition must be an immune response through the body trying to eliminate foreign invaders.
If your body gets injured in any way, your immune system responds, and usually calms down again if decides that the injury is not serious. Your immune system is actually initiated by what are known as pro-inflammatory hormones, such as prostaglandins that stimulate the nerves to signal pain and swell the blood vessels close to the injury to make room for the large white blood cells when they arrive. That also allows blood and plasma to rush out and cause swelling at the site of the injury. Other prostaglandins act to quell the immune response, and get your body back to normal.
Another such hormone is a cytokine, which informs the brain of the intrusion. Some cytokines called leukocytes stop the immune system when necessary to prevent the destruction of healthy tissue, and also halt the inflammatory response. If the leukocytes are not working properly, the body can be severely damaged as the immune system becomes uncontrolled and starts to attack healthy tissue.
Then there are the histamines that allow you to expel the agents causing the problem by sneezing, watery eyes, runny noses and scratching. They lead lymphatic fluid and blood to the site of the problem in order that the invasion can be attacked and destroyed.
It is the histamines that provide what is commonly referred to as an allergic reaction, which is really the immune system coming into action to remove invaders such as pollen, dust mites and any other agent that can cause an allergy. Immunity is caused by introducing small amounts of the agent into the blood, so that the immune system can develop a memory of them. Then, when the same invader returns at a later date, the system can immediately attack them with the antibodies that have been produced.
All of these: inflammation, immunity and allergies, are caused by the reaction of the immune system to what it perceives as an invader. Normally these are bacteria and viruses, but sometimes they react to other foreign bodies such as pollen. In some people this provokes no response at all, while in others it provokes the immune system to create antibodies against the pollen, and emit histamine to expel it.
Substances that cause allergies are referred to as allergens. Many allergens are environmental, such as dust, pollen and peanuts. Some people are allergic to certain animals, such as cats or dogs, and others to chemicals in the air such as hydrocarbon emissions, particularly when in particulate form.
The symptoms can be simple, such as a runny nose, a cough and hay fever or more complex such as hives, eczema and asthma. All of these are caused by the immune system reacting to an invader. There are also foods that cause internal inflammation, such as shellfish and whitefish, eggs and tomatoes. Many of these can be extreme, leading to serious illness and can even be fatal. So what can be done to treat people who are particularly prone to inflammation and allergic reactions?
Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to reduce inflammation, unlike their Omega-6 cousins that appear to increase it. Omega-3 oils contain chemicals known as eicosanoids, of which the prostaglandins are an example. While this might seem paradoxical, since prostaglandins are what set off the whole process, there are many types of these. Prostaglandin E2 is the type that leads to allergic immune reactions, and omega-3 fatty acids reduce the concentration of these in the blood.
Those who eat little fish tend to suffer more from inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and other conditions indicating a lack of control of the immune system. On the other hand, processed foods contain more omega-6 fatty acids that can promote these conditions. The major components of omega-3 oils are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and also DHA, docosahexaenoic acid. These are all anti-inflammatories and have been shown to have very positive effects on inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and eczema. Each of these is a different type of inflammatory condition caused by inappropriate immune response.
However, it not just fish oils that can help resolve problems with our immune system. Quercetin is what is known as a flavonoid. It is a strong anti-oxidant and natural anti-histamine that combats histamine release and the swelling associated with the immune response to allergens. It also counters the inflammatory agents of arthritis and so helps to reduce the pain associated with many of these conditions. It appears to work better in conjunction with bromelain, a very powerful anti-inflammatory that also possesses anti-allergen response properties. Bromelain is extracted from pineapple stems.
Another natural product is a resin extract that is obtained from the Boswellia serrata tree. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and has been recommended for the treatment of arthritis (rheumatoid and osteo), Crohn’s disease and has been suggested as a treatment for asthma, though studies are still under way. However, world wide experience is that Boswellia is effective against gout, psoriasis and ulcerative colitis, to name another three totally different inflammatory conditions.
What all of this indicates are two things. First that inflammation, immunity and allergic reactions are connected conditions, and due to either poor control over or an over stimulated immune response to what the body perceives as being abnormal, in the way that hormones and other chemicals that are used to control our immunity detect it to be.
Secondly, there are many natural products that can be used as supplements to treat these effects caused by the immune system, and that their effectiveness has been proven, if not by scientific study, then by generations of traditional application as treatments of the symptoms of the conditions concerned.
However, although many have been proved by scientific study, others have not, and you should always refer to your physician before undergoing any treatment other than that prescribed. Also, there is incontrovertible evidence that the role for supplements in the treatment of inflammation, immunity and allergic reactions are beneficial. Many use nothing else.
Soft Drinks Contaminated by Benzene
May 27, 2006 09:24 AM
A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) testing program has found cancer-causing benzene in soft drinks at levels averaging four times the standard for tap water. The brand names have not been released.
The test data were uncovered by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which posted the test results on the group’s website, www.ewg.org
Highly elevated Benzene Levels
Between 1995-2001 the RDA tested 24 samples of diet soda for benzene. The result: 79% tested at levels above the federal limit for benzene in tap water, which is 5 parts per billion (ppb). The maximum benzene level detected was 55 ppb. In addition to the diet sodas, the FDA tested a number of other non-diet soft drinks. One cola was contaminated at 27 times the tap water limit, and fruit drink had a 95 ppb level.
“These results confirm our suspicions there are highly elevated benzene levels in some very popular drinks,” Richard Wiles, EWG’s senior vice president said in a press release.
Reaction Triggered by Preservatives
According to an article in beveragedaily.com, sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid in soft drinks can react together to form benzene. Sodium benzoate is a common preservative in soft drinks, and ascorbic acid is often added as an antioxidant to extend shelf life.
Negotiations between the FDA and the beverage industry in 1990 resulted in an agreement that the industry would voluntarily reformulate its soft drinks to prevent this combination. The recurrence of benzene contamination may be due to new soft drink manufacturers in the market who were not a part of, or aware of, the original negotiations.
Britain Pulls Soft Drinks from Shelves
In contrast to the U.S. situation, food safety campaigners in England were successful in having benzene –containing soft drinks removed from the supermarket shelves. The British Food Standards Agency pulled four soft drink brands which contained more than 1 ppb of benzene, and rushed out the results of tests on 149 drinks, including a range of fruit juice, iced tea, squash, fizzy and low-sugar drinks, according to The Times of London.
The Wellness Revolution and Contaminated Soft Drinks
The controversy over benzene in soft drinks is an example of how toxic exposure exists in our food and immediate environment. The constant exposure to toxics were-and especially our children—experience is a major cause of chronic illness.
In this situation, the organic products available for purchase in health food stores are especially vital. And since some exposure to toxics is unavoidable we must take advantage of the herbs and nutrients that support detoxification and the liver, the main organ of detoxification, as well as immunity for example, silymarin, N-acetyl cysteine, calcium D-glucarate, folic acid, Reishi and shiitake mushrooms, and turmeric.
Sources: www.ewg.org www.beveragedaily.com 02/25/06. Associated Press 04/11/06. www.fda.org.
Public Pressure Forces Corporations to Curtail Most Soda Pop sales to schools
The Nation’s largest beverage distributors have agreed to halt nearly all soda sales to public schools, according to a deal announced may 3rd by the William J. Clinton Foundation.
The companies have agreed to sell only water, unsweetened juice and low fat milks to elementary and middle schools, according to a spokesman for former President Bill Clinton. Diet sodas would be sold only to high schools.
The deal follows a wave of criticism by school districts and state legislatures amid reports of rising childhood obesity. Soda has been a particular target because of its caloric content and popularity among children.
Pain - Post Op and Relaxation
July 13, 2005 09:24 AM
Relaxation, Music Reduce Post-Op Pain. New research has found that relaxation and music, separately or together, significantly reduce patients' pain following major abdominal surgery. The study, published in the May issue of the journal Pain, found that these methods reduce pain more than pain medication alone. Led by Marion Good, PhD, RN, of Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, the study is supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), at the National Institutes of Health. "This is important news for the millions of Americans who undergo surgery and experience postoperative pain each year," said Dr. Patricia A. Grady, director of the NINR.
"Better pain management can reduce hospital stays and speed recovery, ultimately improving patients' quality of life." Dr. Good and her research team studied three groups of patients undergoing abdominal surgery. In addition to the usual pain medication, one group used a jaw relaxation technique, another group listened to music, and a third group received a combination of relaxation and music.
Findings revealed that, after surgery, the three treatment groups had significantly less pain than the control group, which received only pain medication. "Both medication and self-care methods which involve patient participation are needed for relief," said Dr. Good.
"These relaxation and music self-care methods provide more complete relief without the undesired side effects of some pain medications." The findings have important implications for the 23 million people who undergo surgery and experience postoperative pain annually in the United States. Pain can hamper recovery by heightening the body's response to the stress of surgery and increasing tissue breakdown, coagulation and fluid retention. Pain also interferes with appetite and sleep and can lead to complications that prolong hospitalization.
Dr. Good and her research staff worked with 500 patients aged 18-70, who were undergoing gynecological, gastrointestinal, exploratory or urinary surgery. Prior to surgery, those in the music, relaxation or combination groups practiced the techniques. The relaxation technique consisted of letting the lower jaw drop slightly, softening the lips, resting the tongue in the bottom of the mouth, and breathing slowly and rhythmically with a three-rhythm pattern of inhale, exhale and rest. Patients in the music group chose one of five kinds of soothing music--harp, piano, synthesizer, orchestral or slow jazz.
On the first and second days after surgery, all patients received morphine or Demerol for pain relief by pressing a button connected to their intravenous patient controlled analgesia pumps. The groups receiving the additional intervention used earphones to listen to music and relaxation tapes during walking and rest, while the control group did not. The research team measured the patients' pain before and after 15 minutes of bed rest and four times during walking to see if the sensation and distress of pain changed.
Dr. Good found that during these two days postsurgery the three treatment groups had significantly less pain than the control group during both walking and rest. "Patients can take more control of their postoperative pain using these self-care methods," says Dr. Good. "Nurses and physicians preparing patients for surgery and caring for them afterwards should encourage patients to use relaxation and music to enhance the effectiveness of pain medication and hasten recovery."
Dr. Good's findings have implications for future research into the effectiveness of self-care methods on other types of pain, including chronic pain, cancer pain, and pain of the critically ill.
Vitamin D Lack Linked to Hip Fracture. Vitamin D deficiency in post-menopausal women is associated with increased risk of hip fracture, according to investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass. In a group of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fracture, 50 percent were found to have a previously undetected vitamin D deficiency. In the control group, women who had not suffered a hip fracture but who were hospitalized for an elective hip replacement, only a very small percentage had vitamin D deficiency, although one-fourth of those women also had osteoporosis. These findings were reported in the April 28, 1999, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study, conducted by Meryl S. LeBoff, MD; Lynn Kohlmeier, MD; Shelley Hurwitz, PhD; Jennifer Franklin, BA; John Wright, MD; and Julie Glowacki, PhD; of the Endocrine Hypertension Division, Department of Internal Medicine, and Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, was supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR. These investigators studied women admitted to either Brigham and Women's Hospital or the New England Baptist Hospital, both in Boston, between January 1995 and June 1998.
A group of 98 postmenopausal women who normally reside in their own homes were chosen for the study. Women with bone deterioration from other causes were excluded from the study.
There were 30 women with hip fractures caused by osteoporosis and 68 hospitalized for elective joint replacement. Of these 68, 17 women also had osteoporosis as determined by the World Health Organization bone density criteria. All the participants answered questions regarding their lifestyle, reproductive history, calcium in their diet, and physical activity.
Bone mineral density of the spine, hip, and total body were measured by dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) technique, as was body composition. Blood chemistry and urinary calcium levels were analyzed. The two groups of women with osteoporosis did not differ significantly in either time since menopause or bone density in the spine or hip. They did, however, differ in total bone density.
The women admitted for a hip fracture had fewer hours of exercise than the control group. Fifty percent of the women with hip fractures were deficient in vitamin D, 36.7 percent had elevated parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels (a hormone which can stimulate loss of calcium from bone), and 81.8 percent had calcium in their urine, suggesting inappropriate calcium loss. Blood levels of calcium were lower in the women with hip fractures than in either elective group.
These researchers propose that vitamin D supplementation at the time of fracture may speed up recovery and reduce risk of fracture in the future. Current Dietary Reference Intake Guidelines contain a daily recommendation of 400 IU of vitamin D for people aged 51 through 70 and 600 IU for those over age 70.
"We know that a calcium-rich diet and regular weight-bearing exercise can help prevent osteoporosis. This new research suggests that an adequate intake of vitamin D, which the body uses to help absorb calcium, may help women to reduce their risk of hip fracture, even when osteoporosis is present," observed Dr. Evan C. Hadley, NIA Associate Director for geriatrics research.
"Osteoporosis leads to more than 300,000 hip fractures each year, causing pain, frequent disability, and costly hospitalizations or long-term care. "Prevention of such fractures would greatly improve the quality of life for many older women and men, as well as significantly reduce medical costs." The bones in the body often undergo rebuilding. Some cells, osteoclasts, dissolve older parts of the bones. Then, bone-building cells known as osteoblasts create new bone using calcium and phosphorus.
As people age, if osteoporosis develops, more bone is dissolved than is rebuilt, and the bones weaken and become prone to fracture. Also in many older persons, levels of vitamin D in the blood are low because they eat less or spend less time in the sun, which stimulates the body's own production of vitamin D.
Experts do not understand fully the causes of osteoporosis. However, they do know that lack of estrogen which accompanies menopause, diets low in calcium, and lack of exercise contribute to the problem. Eighty percent of older Americans who face the possibility of pain and debilitation from an osteoporosis-related fracture are women. One out of every two women and one in eight men over the age of 50 will have such a fracture sometime in the future. These fractures usually occur in the hip, wrist, and spine.
Sleep Apnea, Diabetes Link Found. Adults who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea are three times more likely to also have diabetes and more likely to suffer a stroke in the future, according to a new UCLA School of Dentistry/Department of Veterans Affairs study published today in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Sleep apnea, a serious condition marked by loud snoring, irregular breathing and interrupted oxygen intake, affects an estimated nine million Americans. The culprit? Carrying too many extra pounds.
"The blame falls squarely on excess weight gain," said Dr. Arthur H. Friedlander, associate professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the UCLA School of Dentistry and associate chief of staff at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Los Angeles. Surplus weight interferes with insulin's ability to propel sugars from digested food across the cell membrane, robbing the cells of needed carbohydrates. Diabetes results when glucose builds up in the bloodstream and can't be utilized by the body. Being overweight can also lead to obstructive sleep apnea, according to Friedlander.
"When people gain too much weight, fatty deposits build up along the throat and line the breathing passages," he explained. "The muscles in this region slacken during sleep, forcing the airway to narrow and often close altogether." Reclining on one's back magnifies the situation. "When an overweight person lies down and goes to sleep," Friedlander said, "gravity shoves the fat in the neck backwards. This blocks the airway and can bring breathing to a halt."
Friedlander tested the blood sugar of 54 randomly selected male veterans whom doctors had previously diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. He discovered that 17 of the 54 patients, or 31 percent, unknowingly suffered from adult-onset diabetes. Using the same sample, Friedlander also took panoramic X-rays of the men's necks and jaws. The X-rays indicated that 12 of the 54 patients, or 22 percent, revealed calcified plaques in the carotid artery leading to the brain.
These plaques block blood flow, significantly increasing patients' risk for stroke. Seven of the 12, or 58 percent, were also diagnosed with diabetes. In dramatic comparison, the 17 patients diagnosed with diabetes showed nearly twice the incidence of blockage. Seven of the 17 men, or 41 percent, had carotid plaques. Only five of the 54 patients who displayed plaques did not have also diabetes. If he conducted this study today, Friedlander notes, he would likely find a higher number of diabetic patients. After he completed the study in 1997, the American Diabetes Association lowered its definition for diabetes from 140 to 126 milligrams of sugar per deciliter of blood.
"This is the first time that science has uncovered a link between sleep apnea and diabetes," said Friedlander. "The data suggest that someone afflicted with both diabetes and sleep apnea is more likely to suffer a stroke in the future." "Persons going to the doctor for a sleep-apnea exam should request that their blood be screened for diabetes, especially if they are overweight," he cautioned. More than half of the individuals who develop diabetes as adults will need to modify their diet and take daily insulin in order to control the disease, he added.
Stress, Surgery May Increase CA Tumors. Stress and surgery may increase the growth of cancerous tumors by suppressing natural killer cell activity, says a Johns Hopkins researcher.
Malignancies and viral infections are in part controlled by the immune system's natural killer (NK) cells, a sub-population of white blood cells that seek out and kill certain tumor and virally infected cells. In a study using animal models, natural killer cell activity was suppressed by physical stress or surgery, resulting in a significant increase in tumor development.
These findings suggest that protective measures should be considered to prevent metastasis for patients undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, according to Gayle Page, D.N.Sc., R.N., associate professor and Independence Foundation chair at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. "Human studies have already found a connection between the level of NK activity and susceptibility to several different types of cancer," says Page, an author of the study.
"We sought to determine the importance of stress-induced suppression of NK activity and thus learn the effects of stress and surgery on tumor development. "Many patients undergo surgery to remove cancerous tumors that have the potential to spread. If our findings in rats can be generalized to such clinical settings, then these circumstances could increase tumor growth during or shortly after surgery." The research was conducted at Ohio State University College of Nursing and the Department of Psychology at UCLA, where Page held previous positions, and at Tel Aviv University.
Results of the study are published in the March issue of the International Journal of Cancer. In laboratory studies, Page and her colleagues subjected rats to either abdominal surgery or physical stress, and then inoculated them with cancer cells. In the rats that had undergone surgery, the researchers observed a 200 to 500 percent increase in the incidence of lung tumor cells, an early indicator of metastasis, compared with rats that had not received surgery.
The experiment also showed that stress increased lung tumor incidence and significantly increased the mortality in the animals inoculated with cancer cells. "Our results show that, under specific circumstances, resistance to tumor development is compromised by physical stress and surgical intervention," says Page.
"Because surgical procedures are life-saving and cannot be withheld, protective measures should be considered that will prevent suppression of the natural killer cell activity and additional tumor development. "Researchers do not yet know how to prevent surgery-induced immune suppression, but early animal studies have shown increased use of analgesia reduces the risk."
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, and the Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Health. Lead author was Shamgar Ben-Eliyahu, Ph.D., and other authors were Raz Yirmiya, Ph.D., and Guy Shakhar.
Progesterone Cream - Supports Hormonal Balance
June 28, 2005 09:40 AM
Recent medical reports have profoundly shaken popular beliefs about the safety of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for women in menopause. You may be one of the six million women who are searching for alternatives. Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM and PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM can help address normal menopausal discomforts, when used as part of a care for their own health needs. Source Naturals is committed to joining with your health food retailer to help insure that right.
Menopause and Hormonal Balance
Public confidence in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) suffered a major blow when the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health halted a large clinical trial out of concern for the safety of participants. Women are looking for natural alternatives to risky HRT.
Source Naturals Progesterone CREAM and PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM address the hormonal fluctuations that bring on the first disturbing hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. Used together or separately, these creams address declining levels of progesterone and estrogen.
Progesterone Cream from Woman-Friendly Soy
Progesterone is a steroid hormone made by the corpus luteum of the ovary at ovulation, and in smaller amounts by the adrenal glands. It is a precursor to most other steroid hormones, including cortisol, androstenedione, estrogen and testosterone. Because it is the precursor to so many hormones, progesterone is crucial for overall hormone balance. Yet progesterone levels can drop to near zero during menopause. Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM supplies natural progesterone from soy.
Unlike creams which don’t divulge their progesterone content, Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM is guaranteed to contain 500 mg of progesterone per ounce! This pure white cream softens and smoothes skin. Along with natural progesterone, it contains aloe vera, wild yam extract, natural vitamin E, lecithin phospholipid, jojoba oil, and extracts of ginseng root and grapefruit seed. Natural rosemary oil is added as a fragrance. Available in both tubes and jars for your convenience.
Phyto-Estrogen Cream: Plant Compounds Renowned for Menopause Estrogen levels drop 40-60% at menopause. Phytoestrogens—estrogens from plants—have been shown to bind to the same receptor sites as estrogen, helping maintain normal menstrual cycles and menopausal transitions. When there is too little estrogen (the situation during menopause), phytoestrogens substitute for the lack of human estrogen. Conversely, when estrogen levels are high (as in some women who experience PMS), phytoestrogens compete with human estrogen for binding to receptors and decrease overall estrogenic activity.
Source Naturals PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM is an almond-colored cream that can be massaged into smooth skin areas to add oil-rich, moisture-binding protection. PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM offers some of the finest phytoestrogens in the botanical world, including 60 mg of soy isoflavones per ounce. PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM also contains pomegranate seed juice (a natural source of estrone), red clover tops extract, black cohosh root extract, and dong quai root extract, along with aloe vera gel, natural vitamin E, cocoa butter, grapefruit seed extract, rosemary oil, and natural cherry almond fragrance.
Warning: Phyto-Estrogen Cream is not for use by women of childbearing age. DO NOT USE if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you may become pregnant.
Source Naturals offers you the first progesterone and phytoestrogen creams to utilize unique liposomal delivery of key ingredients. Liposomes are micro-penetrating lipid spheres made from lecithin, which pass through skin layers more easily than non-liposomal creams—for highest possible penetration of skin cells. Both creams are available in 2 and 4 oz jars. PROGESTERONE CREAM is also available in 2 and 4 oz tubes.
Lifestyle Tips for Menopause: A Strategy for Wellness
Eat Well: In certain cultures, hot flashes are practically unknown. It is generally true that women in these cultures eat foods rich in phytoestrogens. For example, in Southeast Asia, where soy proteins comprise 20% to 60% of daily protein intake, epidemiological studies suggest an association between a positive, trouble-free menopause and soy consumption.
Lignans—phytoestrogens found in flaxseed oil and unprocessed olive oil—may also have a protective effect. You should eat fresh, organic vegetables, fruits, cereals, beans, whole grains and small portions of fish or hormone-free chicken. Increase fluids and eat low-fat dairy foods. Avoid fatty meats, sugar, processed foods, fried foods, and chemicals. Adequate calcium intake— 1,500 mg per day—is crucial.
Use Supplements: Source Naturals HOT FLASH is an excellent complement to PROGESTERONE and PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAMS. A recent comprehensive scientific review of natural menopause products (Annals of Internal Medicine 11/19/02) singled out soy isoflavones and black cohosh for their benefits in addressing hot flashes. Unlike most products, HOT FLASH contains clinical potencies of both soy isoflavones and standardized black cohosh extract. In addition, HOT FLASH contains additional herbs, renowned for use in menopause: vitex, licorice root and dong quai. To be sure you are covering all your nutritional bases, take a good daily multiple like MENOPAUSE MULTIPLE, especially designed for women 40+ years old.
Maintain a Healthy Weight: Women who are overweight have an increased risk of heart disease, while those who are thin or underweight are more susceptible to osteoporosis and hot flashes.
Rest and Relax: It is important to get adequate sleep, take naps if you feel tired, and avoid stress. Meditation and yoga can be helpful in reaching a state of calm. Take Care of Your Skin: A 1997 study of 3,875 postmenopausal women documented the relationship between low estrogen levels and skin dryness and loss of elasticity. Research has associated wrinkling with consumption of full-fat dairy products, butter, margarine, fatty meats and sugar. Drink lots of water—at least 1.5 liters daily. Water flushes out wastes, and acts as an internal moisturizer, keeping skin hydrated and supple. Spring water is beneficial since it contains trace minerals vital to healthy skin. For radiant skin, you should also try the Source Naturals SKIN ETERNAL™ family of creams and serums. This advanced cosmetic system recharges and revitalizes all skin types. Keep Cool. Avoid triggers such as spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, overheated rooms, hot beverages and stress. Wear layered clothing, and choose natural fabrics, such as cotton or wool.
Stay Active: Exercise benefits the heart and bones, helps regulate weight and contributes to overall well-being. Weight-bearing exercises are especially important for increasing bone mass. Kegel exercises (tightening and relaxing of the pelvic muscles) can improve bladder control, and may enhance sexual pleasure. Try Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM): Alternative therapies— herbal remedies, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, naturopathic medicine and much more—can help you cope with the physical and emotional changes of menopause.
RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS - The Most Comprehensive Antioxidant Formula Available
June 24, 2005 05:34 PM
The average American’s life expectancy has risen dramatically over the last 100 years. Ideally those extra years will be quality ones. High levels of stress and exposure to environmental and dietary toxins can deplete our antioxidant stores, leaving us more susceptible to chronic health challenges. When we are young and healthy the body unleashes its own antioxidants, but as we age this internal antioxidant producing system declines and the body needs help. Free radicals cause oxidative stress, which is a major cause of accelerated aging. Source Naturals presents the science of RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS. This Bio-Aligned Formula™ is a significant advancement over other products currently available. No other formula provides the broad range of high potency, established and newly discovered water and fat-soluble antioxidants that RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS delivers.
Bio-Aligned Antioxidant Support
RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS™ supports multiple body systems with a balanced spectrum of plantioxidants™ (botanical extracts with unparalleled ability to combat free radicals), vitamins and specialty nutrients that have powerful antioxidant properties. Research suggests dietary antioxidants help balance and modulate free radical activity and help maintain structure and function of important components of cells such as lipids, proteins, and DNA.
Oxygen is required by your cells to generate energy, but it also contributes to oxidative stress or free radical damage, which is one of the primary causes of age-related damage to cells and tissues. Free radicals are unpaired electrons that can damage cells and compromise the function of tissues and organs. Antioxidants make free radicals stable by providing them with an additional electron. Unfortunately, now the antioxidant is missing an electron so, ironically, it becomes a free radical, which requires another antioxidant to donate an electron. Because this process starts a cascade of free radicals, scientists strongly recommend a broad range of lipid and water soluble antioxidants to minimize this negative effect. No other antioxidant formula follows the science better than RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS to defend against the widest spectrum of destructive free radicals, including peroxyl, hydroxyl, and superoxide radicals, and singlet oxygen.
Antioxidants neutralize destructive free radicals and support cardiovascular health by halting the oxidation of cholesterol. Cholesterol is only harmful to us if it becomes oxidized. Oxidized cholesterol is an unstable molecule that damages arteries. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS contains hearthealthy antioxidants including gamma E and tocotrienols, which are major lipid-soluble antioxidants that help maintain the integrity of cell membranes by preventing lipid oxidation. The formula includes hawthorn berry and grape seed, CoQ10, lycopene and other powerful antioxidants for heart support.
Nourishing the Brain
Antioxidants are critical for brain and nerve tissue because the brain is mostly composed of fats, which are very sensitive to free radical damage. Research has shown that stress can directly set in motion mechanisms that promote aging, which affects brain and nerve tissue. Ginkgo has been shown to increase memory performance and learning capacity as well as improve blood flow. It is also a free radical scavenger. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS also contains DMAE, bilberry, CoQ10, grape seed, lipoic acid, vitamin B-2 and lutein for broad spectrum support.
Powerful antioxidants help minimize stress damage to liver cells and tissues, thereby supporting detoxification. N-acetyl cysteine is a powerful antioxidant. It is also a precursor to glutathione, a critical antioxidant and detoxifying substance produced in the liver. Silymarin is known for supporting the regeneration of the liver. Since the liver is prone to fat incursion, which makes it vulnerable to oxidative damage, the following fat soluble antioxidants provide critical protection: CoQ10, lipoic acid, ascorbyl palmitate, and gamma E.
The immune system is unlike other body systems in that it is not a group of physical structures but a system of complex interactions involving many different organs. White blood cells generate enormous amounts of destructive free radicals in order to kill invading organisms. Vitamin C, a free radical scavenger, is concentrated in these white blood cells at a much higher level than in surrounding fluid. This extends their life and effectiveness by providing them with a built in defense mechanism against their own free radicals. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS provides water and fat-soluble vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate and ascorbic acid) along with vitamin A, beta carotene, CoQ10, lipoic acid, quercetin, selenium, gamma vitamin E, tocotrienols, zinc and turmeric, for added immune defense.
Skin & Connective Tissue
Skin is rich in lipids, proteins, and DNA, which are extremely sensitive to oxidation. Age-related changes due to oxidation, loss of elastic fibers and thickening of collagen fibers, cause skin to become fragile and less supple. A broad array of antioxidants protects skin and helps maintain its structure and tone. These include beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, grape seed, zinc, amla (Phylanthus emblica), quercetin, DMAE, manganese and myricetin. Amla is a very effective herbal tonic. It is rich in polyphenols and vitamin C.
Eye tissue is particularly prone to the effect of free radicals. Vision involves light being focused through the lens onto the retina. The macula, or center of the retina, receives the most light. However, sunlight is a powerful free radical generator. Lutein, a potent, fatsoluble antioxidant concentrated in the macula, helps maintain the integrity of the macula and the blood vessels that supply the macular region. The eye also has aqueous tissue that is better protected by water-soluble antioxidants, such as bilberry and grape seed. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS provides these ingredients, along with lycopene, zeaxanthin, lipoic acid, vitamin A, beta carotene and ascorbyl palmitate to support healthy eyes.
Mitochondria, the tiny energy factories within the cells, are the major source of free radicals produced by our own bodies. These components of cells produce ATP (the energy molecule) and provide energy for all cellular activity; therefore, antioxidants are crucial to keep the levels of oxidants they produce in check. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS provides the antioxidant power of green tea, lipoic acid, zinc, vitamin B-2, CoQ10 and Mega H-, a source of electron rich hydrogen ions. Coenzyme Q10 is fat-soluble and its primary functions include activity as an antioxidant and as a cofactor in many metabolic pathways, particularly in the production of ATP in oxidative respiration.
DNA, the blueprint for all molecules in the body, can be altered or damaged by oxidation. Protecting DNA is important for optimal health of all cells and tissues. According to invitro research, certain compounds, such as curcumin (from turmeric) and quercetin, can directly protect against strand-breakage and base oxidation. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS contains these ingredients along with rosemary, pomegranate, raspberry, blueberry leaf, and carnosine. In in-vitro studies, L-carnosine reduced glycation, a process in which DNA and protein are damaged by glucose.
Living Longer, Living Better Strategies for Wellness
Taking personal responsibility for your health and exploring safe alternatives to support prevention is the basis for the wellness revolution. Your health food outlet is leading the way with education and quality products to help you take control of your well-being. Source Naturals is pleased to partner with these outlets to bring you the cutting edge nutritional science of RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS. Antioxidant protection is a fundamental part of the holistic healing system. Make this profound formula the cornerstone of your anti-aging program today.
Clement, M., Bourre, J. Graded dietary levels of RRR-y-tocopherol induce a marked increase in the concentrations of a- and y-tocopherol in nervous tissues, heart, liver, and muscle of vitamin E-deficient rats. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1334 (1991) 173-181. Borgstrom, L. Pharmacokinetics of N-acetylcysteine in Man. Eur J Clin Pharmacol (1986) 31:217-222. Hipkiss, A.R., et al. Carnosine, a protective, antiaging peptide? Int J Biochem & Cell Biol. 30, May 1998, 863-868.
Heart and Blood Vessels Resveratrol, Gamma E, Tocotrienols, Vit C, Hawthorn Berry, Grapeseed, Myricetin, CoQ10, Ginkgo, Beta & Alpha Carotene, Zeaxanthin, Lycopene, Lutein, Astazanthin, Lipoic acid, Green Tea, Bilberry, Ginger, Turmeric, Blueberry Leaf
Brain and Nervous System DMAE, Ginkgo, Carnosine, Bilberry, CoQ10, Grapeseed, Lipoic Acid, Vit B-2, Lutein
Liver Lipoic Acid, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Vit A, B-2,and C, Beta Carotene, Silymarin, CoQ10, Selenium, Zinc, Gamma E, Tocotrienols, Turmeric, Ginger Glutathione, Wheat Sprouts
Immune System Vit A & C, Beta Carotene, CoQ10, Lipoic Acid, Quercetin, Selenium, Gamma E, Tocotrienols, Zinc, Turmeric
Skin & Connective Tissue Beta Carotene, Vit B-2, C & E, Grapeseed, Lutein, Lycopene, Zeaxanthin, Zinc, Amla, Quercetin, Manganese, DMAE
Eyes and Vision Lutein, Beta Carotene, Vit A & C, Bilberry, Lycopene, Zeaxanthin, Lipoic Acid, Quercetin, Gamma E, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Selenium, Zinc
Energy Production and Metabolism Green Tea, Ginger, Mega H-, Ginkgo, CoQ10, Lipoic Acid, Zinc, Vit B-2, Carnosine DNA Protection Turmeric, Quercetin, Rosemary, Grapeseed , Resveratrol, Lycopene, Lutein, Tocotrienols, GliSODin®, Carnosine, Zinc, Manganese, Amla, Pomegranate, Raspberry leaf, Blueberry leaf
Say Goodbye to Headaches
June 13, 2005 07:25 PM
Say Goodbye to Headaches by Susan Weiner Energy Times, December 8, 1999
What's in a name? A headache by any other name hurts just as much. But categorizing your headache can be as overwhelming as finding an obscure breakfast cereal at the supermarket. Medical folks pigeonhole headaches as tension headaches, allergy headaches, morning headaches and sinus headaches, plus the organic, migraine, cluster, trauma, TMJ, eyestrain, rebound, exertion, hormonal and muscle tension varieties. You may also suffer the self-induced hangover and toxicity headaches.
Americans are no strangers to self-medication, and as a society we battle these headaches by consuming nearly 80 billion tablets of aspirin each year, about 20 million aspirins a day, according to Burton Goldberg, co-author of An Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide to Headaches (Future Medicine Publishing). And while we drown ourselves in over-the-counter and powerful prescription products, our tolerance, just like a drug addict's, grows. So what begins as a twodose headache slowly evolves into three, four or five doses, until you realize that no dosage can make your headache go away.
Unless you're fond of medieval practices such as ritualistic healings and bloodletting, drugs seem the only answer to headache misery. But even modern medicine has been unable to solve headaches. Rather than a cure, medications provide only temporary relief, and even that isn't guaranteed. Additionally, over-reliance on medications can lead to chronic head pain. According to Goldberg, rebound headaches often result from the consumption and withdrawal of drugs.
halt Your Headaches
Rather than strive to simply eliminate headache pain, why not identify the underlying cause and prevent the headache? Almost always, every type of headache results from a health or lifestyle-related activity. In an ideal world, the best approach would be to eliminate the tensions, stress, frustrations, anger, insufficient sleep, excessive drinking and poor diet that contribute to your headaches. For better or for worse, however, you can't always: a. quit your job; b. ask your spouse to leave; c. sit on the beach all day; or d. all of the above. But you can make appropriate lifestyle changes and learn to express suppressed feelings.
This approach, lifestyle modification, is a treatment program based on a Loma Linda University study, originally published in Medical Hypothesis and the Journal of Women's Health and Gender-Based Medicine and later explained in No More Headaches, No More Migraines: A Proven Approach to Preventing Headaches and Migraines by Zuzana Bic, DrPH and L. Francis Bic, PhD (Avery). The program, conducted on a group diagnosed with chronic migraines, dramatically decreased the frequency, intensity and duration of headaches in nine of 10 headache sufferers. Rather than demand radical life changes, the lifestyle modification program introduces gradual changes in three specific areas: nutrition, exercise and understanding stress. The study doesn't expect you to change your entire diet, join a gym and eliminate everything that triggers stress, but teaches techniques to make subtle lifestyle changes and reduce the impact of daily stress. These same techniques can also improve sleep patterns, a factor known to affect headaches. The lifestyle modification approach clarifies that while very few headaches directly result from existing acute conditions, recurring headaches often derive from a larger lifestyle factor. If these issues are ignored, the body's natural defense mechanisms may kick into overdrive and become exhausted, leaving you susceptible to other chronic diseases. By finding and eliminating the cause of your headaches, you may be saving yourself from other eventual illnesses.
Willing to make some lifestyle changes and step away from medications? Try these remedies, courtesy of Nature's Pharmacy by Lynn Paige Walker, PharmD and Ellen Hodgson Brown, JD (Prentice-hall).
For simple headaches, start with relaxation and neck stretches. Or try rubbing your forehead with peppermint oil, a natural antispasmodic and diuretic shown in German research to be as effective as acetaminophen in easing tension headaches.
Never underestimate the old-fashioned ice pack to the forehead as an effective treatment that works by constricting the swollen blood vessels that cause your head to ache. If the ice pack isn't enough, try putting your arms in icy water up to your elbows to constrict additional blood vessels. But if it's a sinus headache you're fighting, take the opposite approach and try hot compresses.
The herbal, and original, form of aspirin is white willow bark. Used by Chinese practitioners 2,500 years ago, it contains salicin, nearly the same pain reliever found in aspirin. Other herbal aspirins include meadowsweet tea, just as effective as aspirin with few side effects. For migraines, Walker and Brown recommend feverfew and magnesium supplements, which reduce nerve excitability and migraine susceptibility. In fact, individuals with frequent headaches have been found to have low brain and tissue magnesium, says Julian Whitaker, MD, author of Julian Whitaker's Guide to Natural Healing (Prima). For all headaches, Goldberg suggests essential fatty acid supplementation with evening primrose oil (EPO), which improves circulation, helps regulate inflammation and relieves pain.
The Curse of the Migraine
Migraines, a debilitating headache distinguished by a throbbing pain, may be humanity's oldest malady. The name is derived from the word the Greek physician Galen used to describe the disorder in 200 A.D. Six-thousand-year-old Sumerian writings refer to the ravages of migraines, and prehistoric skeletons bear testimony to a crude form of trephination-holes chiseled in skulls to allow the escape of pain-creating demons, according to Lifetime Encyclopedia of Natural Remedies by Myra Cameron (Parker Publishing).
In the common migraine, throbbing pain develops gradually from distended veins around the brain and may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. These miseries can be preceded by 15 to 90 minutes of an "aura," which includes visual disturbances, distorted perception, hallucinations, flashes of light and temporary loss of sight or hearing. In fact, skeptical historians attribute some of the religious visions of the Middle Ages to the visual effects of migraine aura, according to Cameron.
Snacking on high fiber foods between three light meals each day helps stabilize blood sugar and prevent migraines. And while some doctors summarily attribute migraines to diet, other experts attribute at least half of all migraines to food sensitivities. The most common edible villains are aged cheeses, yeast breads, chocolate, cured meats, citrus fruits, eggs, fermented foods, wheat, milk, milk products, alcoholic drinks and food additives, including nitrates and MSG.
Suggested daily supplements for migraine-susceptible individuals include a multivitamin, one capsule of B complex to help maintain normal vascular control, 3,000 to 6,000 milligrams in divided doses of vitamin C with bioflavonoids to assist the production of anti-stress hormones, and 500 to 1,000 milligrams of magnesium to reduce nerve excitability and pain. At the onset of a migraine, says Cameron, try homeopathic remedies, dilutions of natural substances from plants, minerals and animals. For throbbing pain, take natrum muriaticum according to package directions. Other homeopathic options to explore include iris versicolar, lac defloratum and sanguinaria.
Take Charge of Your Headaches
Headache management involves managing your life. Practice relaxation techniques to reduce stress. Calmly discuss your feelings. Take a leisurely stroll at lunch. Walk your dog, or a neighbor's dog, after dinner. Keep a food diary. Sit and stand tall. Skip the fast food tonight. Join a yoga class. Take vitamins and supplements. Get a two-hour massage. Turn the television off earlier and sleep in a little later.
Taking the time to care may take effort, but it will soon become second nature. Invest in yourself. It's your most precious possession.
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
June 13, 2005 03:44 PM
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
by Mary Ann Mayo & Joseph L. Mayo, MD Energy Times, September 4, 1999
It's front-page news. It's politically correct and socially acceptable. Talking about menopause is in. Suddenly it's cool to have hot flashes. Millions of women turning 50 in the next few years have catapulted the subject of menopause into high-definition prominence.
It's about time. Rarely discussed openly by women (what did your mother ever advise you?), meno-pause until recently was dismissed as "a shutting down experience characterized by hot flashes and the end of periods." Disparaging and depressing words like shrivel, atrophy, mood swings and melancholia peppered the scant scientific menopausal literature.
What a difference a few years and a very vocal, informed and assertive group of Baby Boomers make. Staggered by the burgeoning numbers of newly confrontational women who will not accept a scribbled prescription and a pat on the head as adequate treatment, health practitioners and researchers have been challenged to unravel, explain and deal with the challenges of menopause.
Not An Overnight Sensation
Menopause, researchers have discovered, is no simple, clear cut event in a woman's life. The "change of life" does not occur overnight. A woman's body may begin the transition toward menopause in her early 40s, even though her last period typically occurs around age 51. This evolutionary time before the final egg is released is called the perimenopause. Erratic monthly hormone levels produce unexpected and sometimes annoying sensations.
Even as their bodies adjust to lower levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, some women don't experience typical signs of menopause until after the final period. A fortunate one-third have few or no discomforts.
According to What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause (Warner Books) by John R. Lee, MD, Jesse Hanley, MD, and Virginia Hopkins, "The steroid hormones are intimately related to each other, each one being made from another or turned back into another depending on the needs of the body...But the hormones themselves are just part of the picture. It takes very specific combinations of vitamins, minerals and enzymes to cause the transformation of one hormone into another and then help the cell carry out the hormone's message. If you are deficient in one of the important hormone-transforming substances such as vitamin B6 or magnesium, for example, that too can throw your hormones out of balance. Thyroid and insulin problems, toxins, bad food and environmental factors, medication and liver function affect nutrient and hormone balance."
The most important reproductive hormones include:
Estrogen: the female hormone produced by the ovaries from puberty through menopause to regulate the menstrual cycle and prepare the uterus for pregnancy. Manufacture drops significantly during menopause. Estradiol is a chemically active and efficient form of estrogen that binds to many tissues including the uterus, breasts, ovaries, brain and heart through specific estrogen receptors that allow it to enter those cells, stimulating many chemical reactions. Estriol and estrone are additional forms of estrogen.
Progesterone: also produced by the ovaries, it causes tissues to grow and thicken, particularly during pregnancy, when it protects and nurtures the fetus. Secretion ceases during menopause.
Testosterone: Women produce about one-twentieth of what men do, but require it to support sex drive. About half of all women quit secreting testosterone during menopause.
Estrogen's Wide Reach
Since estrogen alone influences more than 400 actions on the body, chiefly stimulating cell growth, the effects of its fluctuations can be far-reaching and extremely varied: hot (and cold) flashes, erratic periods, dry skin (including the vaginal area), unpredictable moods, fuzzy thinking, forgetfulness, fatigue, low libido, insomnia and joint and muscle pain.
Young women may experience premature menopause, which can occur gradually, as a matter of course, or abruptly with hysterectomy (even when the ovaries remain) or as a result of chemotherapy. Under such conditions symptoms can be severe.
In the 1940s doctors reasoned that if most discomforts were caused by diminishing estrogen (its interactive role with progesterone and testosterone were underestimated), replacing it would provide relief. When unchecked estrogen use resulted in high rates of uterine cancer, physicians quickly began adding progesterone to their estrogen regimens and the problem appeared solved.
For the average woman, however, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) became suspect and controversial, especially when a link appeared between extended use of HRT (from five to 10 years) and an increase in breast and endometrial cancers (Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 37, 1997). The result: Women have drawn a line in the sand between themselves and their doctors.
Resolving The Impasse
Since hormone replacement reduces the risk of major maladies like heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, colon cancer and diabetes that would otherwise significantly rise as reproductive hormone levels decrease, most doctors recommend hormone replacement shortly before or as soon as periods stop. Hormone replacement also alleviates the discomforts of menopause.
But only half of all women fill their HRT prescriptions and, of those who do, half quit within a year. Some are simply indifferent to their heightened medical risks. Some are indeed aware but remain unconvinced of the safety of HRT. Others complain of side effects such as bloating, headaches or drowsiness.
Women's resistance to wholesale HRT has challenged researchers to provide more secure protection from the diseases to which they become vulnerable during menopause, as well as its discomforts. If the conventional medical practitioners do not hear exactly what modern women want, the complementary medicine community does. Turning to centuries-old botanicals, they have validated and compounded them with new technology. Their effectiveness depends on various factors including the synergistic interaction of several herbs, specific preparation, the correct plant part and dosage, harvesting and manufacturing techniques.
Research demonstrates that plant hormones (phytoestrogens) protect against stronger potentially carcinogenic forms of estrogen while safely providing a hormone effect. Other herbs act more like tonics, zipping up the body's overall function.
Help From Herbs
Clinical trials and scientific processing techniques have resulted in plant-based supplements like soy and other botanicals that replicate the form and function of a woman's own estrogen.
The complementary community also can take credit for pushing the conventional medical community to look beyond estrogen to progesterone in postmenopausal health.
Natural soy or Mexican yam derived progesterone is formulated by pharmacologists in creams or gels that prevent estrogen-induced overgrowth of the uterine lining (a factor in uterine cancer), protect against heart disease and osteoporosis and reduce hot flashes (Fertility and Sterility 69, 1998: 96-101).
A quarter of the women who take the popularly prescribed synthetic progesterone report increased tension, fatigue and anxiety; natural versions have fewer side effects.
These "quasi-medicines," as Tori Hudson, a leading naturopathic doctor and professor at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Oregon, calls them, are considered "stronger than a botanical but weaker than a medicine." (Hudson is author of Gynecology and Naturopathic Medicine: A Treatment Manual.)
According to Hudson, the amount of estrogen and progesterone in these supplements is much less than medical hormone replacement but equally efficacious in relieving menopausal problems and protecting the heart and bones.
According to a study led by Harry K. Genant, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, "low-dose" plant estrogen derived from soy and yam, supplemented with calcium, prevents bone loss without such side effects as increased vaginal bleeding and endometrial hypoplasia, abnormal uterine cell growth that could be a precursor to endometrial cancer (Archives of Internal Medicine 157, 1997: 2609-2615).
These herbal products, including natural progesterone and estrogen in the form of the weaker estriol or estrone, may block the effect of the stronger and potentially DNA-damaging estradiol.
Soy in its myriad dietary and supplemental forms provides a rich source of isoflavones and phytosterols, both known to supply a mild estrogenic effect that can stimulate repair of the vaginal walls (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-46).
To enhance vaginal moisture, try the herb cimicifuga racemosa, the extract of black cohosh that, in capsule form, builds up vaginal mucosa (Therapeuticum 1, 1987: 23-31). Traditional Chinese herbal formulas containing roots of rehmannia and dong quai have long been reputed to promote vaginal moisture.
Clinical research in Germany also confirms the usefulness of black cohosh in preventing hot flashes and sweating, as well as relieving nervousness, achiness and depressed moods caused by suppressed hormone levels. It works on the hypothalamus (the body's thermostat, appetite and blood pressure monitor), pituitary gland and estrogen receptors. Green tea is steeped with polyphenols, mainly flavonoids, that exert a massive antioxidant influence against allergens, viruses and carcinogens. The risks of estrogen-related cancers such as breast cancer are particularly lowered by these flavonoids, as these substances head directly to the breast's estrogen receptors. About three cups a day exert an impressive anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, antiviral and anticarcinogenic effect.
Other phytoestrogen-rich botanicals, according to Susun Weed's Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way (Ash Tree Publishing), include motherwort and lactobacillus acidophilus to combat vaginal dryness; hops and nettles for sleep disturbances; witch hazel and shepherd's purse for heavy bleeding; motherwort and chasteberry for mood swings; dandelion and red clover for hot flashes.
Our Need For Supplements
Adding micronutrients at midlife to correct and counter a lifetime of poor diet and other habits is a step toward preventing the further development of the degenerative diseases to which we become vulnerable. At the very minimum, you should take:
a multivitamin/mineral supplement vitamin E calcium
Your multivitamin/mineral should contain vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Look for a wide variety of antioxidants that safeguard you from free radical damage, believed to promote heart disease and cancer, as well as contribute to the aging process.
Also on the list: mixed carotenoids such as lycopene, alpha carotene and vitamin C; and folic acid to help regulate cell division and support the health of gums, red blood cells, the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system.
Studies indicate a deficiency of folic acid (folate) in 30% of coronary heart disease, blood vessel disease and strokes; lack of folate is thought to be a serious risk factor for heart disease (OB.GYN News, July 15, 1997, page 28).
Extra vitamin E is believed to protect against breast cancer and bolster immune strength in people 65 and older (Journal of the American Medical Association 277, 1997: 1380-86). It helps relieve vaginal dryness, breast cysts and thyroid problems and, more recently, hit the headlines as an aid in reducing the effects of Alzheimer's and heart disease. It is suspected to reduce the thickening of the carotid arterial walls and may prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which contributes to the formation of plaque in arteries.
Selenium also has been identified as an assistant in halting cancer (JAMA 276, 1996: 1957-63).
The Omegas To The Rescue
Essential fatty acids found in cold water fish, flaxseed, primrose and borage oils and many nuts and seeds are essential for the body's production of prostaglandin, biochemicals which regulate hormone synthesis, and numerous physiological responses including muscle contraction, vascular dilation and the shedding of the uterine lining. They influence hormonal balance, reduce dryness and relieve hot flashes.
In addition, the lignans in whole flaxseed behave like estrogen and act aggressively against breast cancer, according to rat and human studies at the University of Toronto (Nutr Cancer 26, 1996: 159-65).
Research has demonstrated that these omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can reverse the cancer-causing effects of radiation and other carcinogens (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 74, 1985: 1145-50). Deficiencies may cause swelling, increased blood clotting, breast pain, hot flashes, uterine and menstrual cramps and constipation. Fatigue, lack of endurance dry skin and hair and frequent colds may signal EFA shortage. Plus, fatty fish oils, along with vitamin D and lactose, help absorption of calcium, so vital for maintaining bone mass.
In addition, studies show that the natural substance Coenzyme A may help menopausal women reduce cholesterol and increase fat utilization (Med Hyp 1995; 44, 403, 405). Some researchers belive Coenzyme A plays a major role in helping women deal with stress while strengthening immunity.
Can't shake those menopausal woes? Menopause imposters may be imposing on you: The risk of thyroid disease, unrelenting stress, PMS, adrenal burnout, poor gastrointestinal health and hypoglycemia all increase at midlife. Menopause is a handy hook on which to hang every misery, ache and pain but it may only mimic the distress of other ailments. For this reason every midlife woman should have a good medical exam with appropriate tests to determine her baseline state of health. Only with proper analysis can you and your health practitioner hit on an accurate diagnosis and satisfying course of therapy.
And if menopause is truly the issue, you have plenty of company. No woman escapes it. No woman dies from it. It is not a disease but a reminder that one-third of life remains to be lived. Menopausal Baby Boomers can anticipate tapping into creative energy apart from procreation. If not new careers, new interests await. An altered internal balance empowers a menopausal woman to direct, perhaps for the first time, her experience of life. She has come of age-yet again. Gone is the confusion, uncertainty, or dictates of a hormone driven life: This time wisdom and experience direct her. There is no need to yearn for youth or cower at the conventional covenant of old age. Menopause is the clarion call to reframe, reevaluate and reclaim.
Mary Ann Mayo and Joseph L. Mayo, MD, are authors of The Menopause Manager (Revell) and executive editors of Health Opportunities for Women (HOW). Telephone number 877-547-5499 for more information.
Cancer at the Millenium - the war on cancer entering its third decade...
June 13, 2005 10:23 AM
Cancer at the Millenium by Harriet Brown Energy Times, May 1, 1999
With the war on cancer entering its third decade, the necessity grows clearer for medical science to engage the enemy on several fronts. Until recently, high-tech medical weapons like vaccines and gene therapy, inspired by a flood of insights into the molecular basis of cancer, garnered most of the hope, hype, headlines and research money. The science was sexy and the prospect of a "cure" dramatic. But, today, advocates of prevention receive equal, if not greater, attention.
Improving our diets and prudently supplementing with vitamins and minerals, can deliver a major preventive impact. Contentious experts concede that at least a third (and probably more) of all cancers can be blamed on a combination of eating too much of the wrong foods and not enough of the right ones.
The Dietary Difference
Though cancer can progress rapidly once it leaps past its inception, it develops over many years and in several stages. Beneficial compounds in food and supplements may intervene along a line that runs from initial exposure to carcinogens to the final step into outright malignancy. Nutrients may: - counteract environmental poisons and the toxic byproducts of liver metabolism
The Big Picture The dietary guidelines advocated by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute (which generally coincide with those of most health organizations) may sound familiar: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Get lots of fiber. Limit fat, especially animal fat. Go easy on meat and avoid the cured variety (they contain nitrites). If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. Watch your total calories, and your weight. Pretty straightforward stuff.
Carotenoids, as their name suggests, are orange and red pigments in fruits and vegetables, most notably carrots and tomatoes, although they're also in everything from sweet potatoes to spinach and brussels sprouts (in the latter their distinctive color is masked by green chlorophyll).
Lycopene, a carotenoid found primarily in tomatoes, displays double the free radical-fighting activity of beta carotene, the most widely studied carotenoid. Of 72 studies looking at consumption of tomatoes or tomato-based products reviewed in the February 1999 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, almost half showed a significant reduction in one or more of a variety of cancers.
Research shows that lycopene may be best at lowering a man's risk of prostate cancer. A 1995 Harvard Medical School study (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995; 87: 1767-76) queried nearly 48,000 male health-care professionals about their consumption of fruits and vegetables. The only foods that reduced their risk of prostate cancer were, apparently, tomato sauce, tomatoes, pizza (tomato paste). For those who ate ten servings a week, risk dropped 45 percent; with four to seven servings, 20 percent. In animal studies lycopene decreased the number and size of mammary tumors (Eleventh International Symposium on Carotenoids, 1996).
Tomatoes are one of the richest sources of lycopene. Cooking tomatoes helps by releasing the lycopene from the plant cell walls. Also, the oil in tomato sauce enhances absorption in the stomach. Lycopene is also available in supplements.
Wine drinkers rejoiced when resveratrol, a constituent of the skin of red grapes, was found to protect their hearts (by blocking oxidation of LDL cholesterol and discouraging blood clotting). Now they have another reason to toast this potent antioxidant. When researcher John Pezzuto at the University of Illinois at Chicago screened about 1,000 plants for anticancer activity, he came up with one whose active ingredient turned out to be resveratrol. In lab tests it squelched both free radicals and inflammation, two well-known cancer inducers (Science, 6/10/97). In a study with mice, resveratrol reduced the number of skin tumors by up to 98 percent compared to control animals. Because the effective doses were high (Pezzuto estimates a person would have to quaff about five gallons of wine a day to get the equivalent) and because more than a drink or two a day may raise the risk of breast cancer, researchers don't recommend nondrinkers take up wine. But supplements of synthesized resveratrol (as well as grape juice) may help.
Saturated fat is an authentic dietary villain. Aside from clogging arteries, it's a suspected contributor to several cancers, though the evidence is greater for some cancers (prostate) than for others (breast cancer)
Of the two other main categories of fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, mono seems benign, if not positively protective. For example, in a study of the influence of diet on breast cancer, Greek researchers discovered that women who consumed higher amounts of olive oil (which is mostly mono) were less likely to be afflicted with breast cancer (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995: 87; 110-116).
When it comes to polyunsaturated fats, however, things get complicated. The fat that predominates in corn, sunflower and other vegetable oils, called omega-6, has long been associated with cancer risk in animal experiments. Likewise the type found in margarines, trans fats, which are partially saturated vegetable oils. On the other hand, the omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA, which are found primarily in deep- and cold-water fish like cod, mackerel, and halibut, protect against both heart disease and cancer. In an epidemiological study covering 24 European countries, British researchers established that mortality rates for colon and breast cancers declined as fish and fish oil consumption rose (British Journal of Cancer 1996: 74; 159-64). And Finnish scientists discovered that the breast tissue of women who had breast cancer contained significantly less DHA and EPA than the breasts of healthy women (Nutrition and Cancer 1995: 24; 151-160).
Experts believe the omega-3s' anticancer effect derives from its ability to tamp down the prostaglandins that stimulate inflammation. Chronic inflammation unleashes a steady stream of free radicals, which can damage DNA and thereby trigger cancer. Omega-3s also help the liver detoxify potentially harmful substances.
Fortunately for the fish-phobic, nonmarine sources of omega-3 fats include flaxseed and hemp oils.
Minerals to Lower Cancer Risk
n Calcium: possibly protective against colon cancer. In a recent trial (New England Journal of Medicine, 1/14/99) researchers gave people with a history of precancerous colon polyps either two 600 mg calcium tablets a day or a placebo for nine months and found fewer polyps. n Selenium: powerful antioxidant and supporter of immunity. Researchers find that cancer rates in various regions is lowered when soil and vegetables contain more selenium
In a selenium-depleted area in China afflicted with one of the highest incidences of stomach and esophageal cancer mortality in the world, scientists asked different groups to take various combinations of nutrients. After five years they found a significant reduction in the cancer rate among those who had gotten supplements of selenium, vitamin E and beta carotene (Biological Trace Element Research 1985; 7: 21-29). In the U.S. researchers studying the potential effectiveness of selenium supplementation for preventing nonmelanoma skin cancers came up with a surprise. The 200 mcg a day the subjects received for an average of 4.5 years had no impact on skin cancer but did significantly cut the rates of lung, colorectal and prostate cancers (Journal of the American Medical Association, 12/25/96).
More recently Harvard researchers determined that men with prostate cancer had much lower levels of selenium in their toenails (a measure of consumption) than healthy men (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 8/119/98).
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale, have long been singled out for their association with protection against cancer. In a 1996 survey of 94 population studies and clinical trials focusing on consumption of cruciferous vegetables, 67 percent showed a reduced risk, the strongest link being with lung, stomach, colon and rectal cancers (Cancer Epidemiological Biomarkers 1996; 5: 733-748).
Scientists at Johns Hopkins showed that sulforaphane, from these plants, stimulates enzymes that help detoxify carcinogens generated in the liver. When they injected rats with a cancer-causing chemical, only 26 percent of the rodents pretreated with sulforaphane developed mammary cancer, compared to 68 percent of controls. Even animals who did come down with cancer had tumors that appeared later and smaller.
Other researchers have focused on a cruciferous-vegetable compound called indole-3-carbinol, which has proved especially effective against breast cancer cells. Recently, scientists at the University of California at Berkeley found that indole-3-carbinol, rather than acting as an anti-estrogen, (as had been thought), actually stops breast cancer cells by turning off a protein critical to their replication (Jrnal of Bio Chem, 2/13/98). Consequently, when treating certain forms of cancer, some doctors have paired indole-3-carbinol with the chemotherapy drug tamoxifen - which counteracts estrogen - and found that the combination has proven more potent than either separately.
Several decades ago British physician Denis Burkitt proposed that the low incidence of colon cancer among native peoples in South Africa was attributable to the fact that their diet was rich in fiber. The fiber, it was hypothesized, bulked up the stool, speeding its passage through the bowel and reducing the time carcinogens contact its lining; it also helped neutralize cancer-promoting bile acids.
This concept has been backed up by numerous studies. Recently, Harvard researchers sprinkled cold water on this idea, finding that an examination of the eating habits of more than 80,000 female nurses, could find no protective effect against colon cancer or precancerous polyps from consuming fiber (NEJM, January 21, 1999). Most experts' take on this apparent refutation: Maybe the "high fiber" intake in this case wasn't high enough, and this is just one study among many.
Fighting Breast Cancer
Fiber has also been linked to reduced rates of breast cancer. At first it was thought that if fat was a breast-cancer culprit, fiber might just be a marker for a low-fat diet. But a look at Finland undermined that idea: Finnish women eat both a lot of fat and a lot of fiber, and their breast cancer rate ranks much below that in the U.S., (where we eat gobs of fat and little roughage).
Fiber helps take estrogen out of circulation as it passes through the liver, while the isoflavones in many high-fiber plants and vegetables are themselves weak estrogens, which compete for slots on breast tissue's estrogen receptors. The special fiber in flaxseed oil called lignans act against estrogen in two ways: by binding its receptors and by inhibiting the enzyme that converts other hormones into estrogen.
Fiber comes in two basic forms, insoluble (e.g., wheat bran, celery, the skins of fruits and vegetables) and soluble (e.g., oat bran, citrus fruits, beans). Until a few years ago, scientists believed that cancer protection came mainly from insoluble fiber, but that thinking has turned around.
A soluble fiber called citrus pectin has been shown to halt the tendency of prostate, lung, breast and skin cancers to metastasize, or spread (e.g., Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995; 87: 3448-353). Typically cancer turns deadly only when it gets into the bloodstream and invades new territory. Modified citrus pectin appears to stop this aggression by preventing cancer cells from attaching to healthy tissue.
While the name inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) sounds like a mouthful, many of us consume mouthfuls of this natural substance every day - in foods like corn, rice, whole-grain cereals, oats and wheat.
But now scientists have isolated IP-6 and found that this powerful antioxidant can slow the destructive cellular processes that lead to tumors. In a study published in Anti-Cancer Research (Nov/Dec 1998), scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine demonstrated that IP-6 could shrink liver tumors in laboratory animals.
The researchers believe that IP-6 can help prevent cancer and also be useful in lowering the risk of health problems like kidney stones and heart disease. Research like this continues to expand our knowledge of how to lower the risk of cancer. In the next millennium, with more and more information making its way into the media and onto websites, our power and the responsibility to reduce our risk of cancer will continue to grow and offer new possibilities.
Immunity - The Big Picture
June 10, 2005 09:51 PM
Immunity: The Big Picture by Brian Amherst Energy Times, August 3, 1999
Your body wants to be well. Outfitted with a battalion of defenses for strategic deployment, your immune system explodes with resistant force at the first sign of infective invasion.
Think of the time a tiny splinter embedded itself in your thumb. By bedtime, the spot rose and reddened; by morning, white blood cells had launched their campaign, building a hot, throbbing fortification. By day's end, the bit of wood was propelled to the surface and ejected by the immune system warriors. Once again, a foreign assailant was summarily ousted.
The Protective Force
"Supporting the immune system is critical to good health. Conversely, good health is critical to supporting the immune system." So write naturopathic doctors Michael T. Murray and Joseph E. Pizzorno in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima).
Maintaining the immune system requires a comprehensive program of wholesome diet, resilient attitude, fitness enhancing activity and nutrients keyed to the clear and specific needs of this energetic machine.
The all-star lineup for immune sustenance: a high-potency multiple vitamin/mineral formula, vitamins C and A, bioflavonoids, isoflavones, zinc and selenium, antioxidants like ActiVin (grape seed extract) and pycnogenol (French maritime pine bark), as well as the botanicals echinacea and astragalus.
But optimal partnering with your immune system also benefits from understanding its workings.
Lymph, a milky fluid consisting of water protein and immune cells, is the essence of the immune system. Powered by muscle movement (an important reason why exercise boosts immunity), the lymphatic system collects and transports lymph to the lymph nodes. These nodes contain certain immune cells and filter out invading antigens, as well as produce antibodies, before siphoning the lymph out into the bloodstream.
If you've ever had "swollen glands," that means your lymph nodes have been in overdrive.
Macrophages are the immune cells that filter lymph, consuming bacteria and cellular debris while protecting the lymph system from invasion and damage.
The White Blood Cell Album
In Monocytes collect cellular trash after infections and can trigger immune responses; eosinophils can eliminate foreign particles and, with basophils, are involved in immune response.
In Lymphocytes include varieties of T cells, which work with other white blood cells or attack and destroy foreign tissue, cancer cells or virus-infected cells; B cells that produce antibodies that bind to bacteria, viruses or tumors; and natural killer cells (NKCs) that destroy cancerous or virally-infected cells.
(Based on information in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine; The Road to Immunity: How to Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) by Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin; and the Johns Hopkins Family Health Book (Harper Resource).
Keep the System Sound
"But you must always be sure to maintain the mind-body-spirit link," he told Energy Times. "For the mind, it could be exercise, yoga or meditation. Evidence shows improved immune system responses from these therapies. And in any case, you never read in the headlines that somebody has been admitted to the emergency room overdosing on meditation.
"Intentionality also is an important part of the mind link: believing you are going to fare well. For your spirit, you must ask yourself such questions as, Do I feel connected to others?
"For the body, a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement. Much depends on your community: I live on Long Island, where there is a high incidence of breast cancer, so I would recommend green tea and isoflavones from soy products for women."
Dr. Benjamin stresses moderation in the use of immune-intensifying supplements, among which he cites mixed carotenoids, zinc and vitamin E.
The Soy Solution
In a study conducted by the University of Southern California at Norris and published in the March 4, 1998 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers reported that genistein, an active component of soy products, short-circuits the ability of tumor cells to elude destruction by the immune system due to an excess of defensive stress proteins.
Genistein seems to make cancer cells vulnerable to the immune response. Researchers at Wake Forest University told participants at the January 1999 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that dietary or supplemental soy fed to monkeys counteracted cell proliferation that is a cancer precursor.
That Championship C
Immune cells are known to accumulate and retain high levels of vitamin C. Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York now understand how that happens: Proteins called growth factors (which control growth and production of immune cells) also increase those cells' ability to take up vitamin C.
These researchers, reporting in the April 1998 issue of the journal Blood, explain that the additional glucose that the growth factors pump into immune cells (for enhanced energy), plus extra vitamin C, intensify immune response.
And folks with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood serum experience less cell damage from free radicals that leads to cancer, heart and pulmonary disease and other chronic conditions.
Scientists at the University of Buffalo (addressing the June 13, 1997 meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research) deduced from studying population groups that high levels of vitamin C are associated with low oxidative stress and lower risk of cell damage.
From A to Zinc
In Colostrum, the pre-milk liquid produced by mammals during the first 24 to 48 hours after birth, took the spotlight recently as a supplement imbued with multiple immune factors and natural antibiotics that augment body's immune response. A 1992 study showed that bovine colostrum might be able to reduce and prevente infections in immune deficient folks, especially those with AIDS.
In University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers found for the first time (on laboratory animals) that vitamin D appreciably inhibits widespread prostate cancer by binding to cancer cells and triggering cell death or their transformation to benign cells.
In Vitamin E exerts formidable immune-enhancing influence on both antibody and cell-mediated immunity. One fundamental study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (245, 1981: 53-58) established conclusively that vitamin E deficiency results in significant impairment of immune function. Later studies demonstrated that it reduces prostate cancer by up to one-third.
In Coenzyme A, described as a metabolic enzyme, takes part in starting numerous body processes that provide energy for the immune system. If you ever run short of this enzyme, fat processing within your body would grind to a halt.
in Researchers looking at a substance with the tongue twisting name 3-acetyl-7-oxo-Dehydroepiandro-sterone, believe it aids immunity by quelling stress hormones.
in Mushrooms contain natural substances called polysaccharides, believed to enhance immunity. In particular, maitake mushroom, which conveys the immune booster beta-D-glucans, is reputed to help fight infections and drop blood pressure.
in Men and women taking selenium supplements for 10 years had 41% less total cancer than those taking a dummy, according to a January 1997 study by Cornell University and the University of Arizona. Other studies have shown it to reduce the risk for colon cancer by about 60%. n Zinc may provide immediate protection against the all too common cold. Scientists at the University of Florida were the first to apply genetic fingerprinting methods like those used in criminal and paternity investigations to understand how nutrients directly affect human immune cells.
The study, in the April 1998 Journal of Nutrition, demonstrates that zinc signals cells to make the protein metallothionein, which protects against infections, toxins and other stressors.
Phytochemicals a la Carte
n Isoflavones from soy, fight angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels form to supply nutrients to cancerous growths. n Sulforaphane in broccoli, kale and cabbage activates anticancer enzymes.
n Omega-3 fatty acids in cold water fish block the synthesis of prostaglandins, natural compounds in the body that promote tumor growth.
n Ginger contains antioxidant compounds, each more potent than vitamin E. Recent studies on mice show ginger can prevent skin tumors. n Rosemary contains carnosol which deactivates carcinogens and helps limit the effects of prostaglandins.
Sometimes the world can look like a dangerous place, especially when you're sick and tired much of the time. But in the search for immunity, menus of health help like this ensure that no matter what your immunity needs, a boost can be yours with the proper nutrient selection.
Basics of the Immune System
June 10, 2005 03:01 PM
Basics of the Immune System
by Leonid G. Ber, MD Energy Times, September 1, 1998
In a world filled with pathogens and microbes, good health and resistance to disease is no accident. It requires a vigorous and vigilant immune system. The immune system should be viewed as an internal security force that is constantly checking the identity of everything entering and already existing in the body. A cell or substance may be recognized as "non-self" and a potential enemy if it does not have the right molecular make-up. A cell displaying molecules produced according to a different blueprint than the body's own code may be recognized as foreign. To eliminate alien material that may harm the body, the immune system must take swift action.
Recognizing entities that originate outside the self forms the key to overall immune system response. This key is carried in the body by cells called macrophages (ma-kro-fajs), a name derived from a Greek term meaning "big eater." Macrophages eat or engulf foreign cells and molecules. When a macrophage encounters something that it distinguishes as being "non-self" or abnormal, it can attack the enemy with a series of assault weapons, including free-radicals (reactive substances) and enzymes, that dissolve and weaken the intruder. In fact, an enzyme produced by macrophages called lysozyme is recognized as one of nature's most powerful anti-infective agents. These chemical defenses, along with engulfment and complete digestion by macrophages, can effectively stymie invasion by disease-causing pathogens.
Harmful invasion can originate in the body's own cells as well as begin from outside sources. While we are constantly exposed to bacteria, viruses, fungal cells and parasites, destructive cancerous growths often start within the body.
Every day, thousands of the body's cells mutate into possible cancers. Under most circumstances, the immune system keeps these cells under control. But when the immune "security" system slips up, these harmful growths multiply unrecognized.
The initial immune response that recognizes invaders is called a "non-specific defense mechanism" since this immune response is generally the same toward all invaders. This counter-attack entails battling every invader pretty much identically: a macrophage can engage, dissolve, weaken, engulf, digest, eliminate. However, if, despite the initial immune efforts, the problem persists, a macrophage can tag an invader and "introduce" it to the rest of the immune system, thus recruiting more specialized types of immune cells to enter the battle. This tagging function endows macrophages with the name "antigen-presenting cells." (Antigens are substances that can provoke specific responses by the immune system.)
Most antigens are proteins. Proteins are relatively large molecules made of smaller units called amino acids. The specific geometric organization of amino acids is what conveys uniqueness to each protein. (Your genetic code forms a blueprint for the production of your own, individual proteins.) Protein molecules produced by one human being can act as an antigen for another human being. That's why organs transplanted from one person to another can be rejected by the immune system. Unless organs are transplanted from one identical twin to another (who share the genetic blueprint for protein creation), doctors must use immune-suppressing drugs to curtail organ rejection. At the same time as these medicines prevent transplant rejection, they also make people more susceptible to infectious diseases and cancer.
After one set of immune cells chemically tags antigens (invaders) for recognition, other highly specialized parts of the immune system go into action: Cells called T cells or T lymphocytes acknowledge the invaders and can take the further action (second line of defense) that is necessary to render them harmless.
T cells get their name from the thymus (an organ located behind the sternum) where they originate. The thymus, most active when we're young, usually shrinks and apparently slows or shuts down its activity about the age of forty.
A wide variety of T cells inhabit lymph nodes (soft, usually round, pea- or nut-sized organs) and other body areas. For instance, natural killer cells, as their name implies, are a particularly aggressive type of T cell. Another type of T cell is called T helper (a cell that supports development of immune response). T suppressors halt immune response when infection ends.
In order to make all these different cells work in concert, cytokines or messenger molecules are produced that facilitate constant communications between all the parts of the immune system.
The B Team
Other organs of the immune system include:
*bone marrow: a powerful cell producing organ where the majority of immune cells are born;
*spleen: an abdominal organ that forms a reservoir for the production of immune cells.
Lymph nodes oversee particular segments of the body where they collect and recycle tissue fluids. Like an early warning system, lymph nodes react when an invader is detected in the part of the body that it controls.
Yet another step in the so-called immune cascade entails action by lymphocytes, called B cells, which originate in the bone marrow. These cells produce antibodies which are immune proteins (immunglobulins) that attack specific antigens.
While traveling in the blood, an antibody can bind to an antigen, curtailing its harmful action. This bound up molecule forms a complex easily recognized by scavenging macrophages which make a quick meal out of the unlucky invader.
After enemy cells are removed from the body, knowledge of this victory resides in the immunological memory prolonging your resistance toward specific disease pathogens indefinitely. That's why someone who has recovered from a disease like the measles may be impervious to reinfection.
Rules for Optimum Immunity
Even though the immune system consists of a complex team of hard-working cells, enhancing your immunity is relatively easy:
Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Avoid continuous stress and negative emotions or cope with them through exercise or meditation. Consistent, moderate exercise can boost the immune system. Massage can also help although extreme care must be taken when inflammation or disease is already present.
Sleep 7-8 hours a day. Sleep allows the body to recover and rebuild. Protein synthesis, vital for a healthy immune system, increases during the night.
Stick to a healthy diet. Your immune system consists of trillions of cells. Consequently, nutrients important for cell health boost the immune system. A balanced low-calorie diet rich in complex carbohydrates, "good" fats (including fish oils, olive oil and flaxseed oil) along with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrient antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables can fortify immune cells. Plus, drinking plenty of water helps improve circulation of lymph fluid.
These recommendations are not hard to meet once they become a part of your daily routine. However, extra immune security may be necessary during flu season, while traveling long distances (airplanes are notorious sources of pathogens) or when working extensive hours in front of a computer screen. In addition, exposure to x-rays, immunosuppressive chemicals, ultraviolet radiation (the sun) or simply aging may give your immune cells extra burdens.
Your "specific" immune system does not respond immediately to the challenge of invasion by an infectious organism. Instead, it may require about 2 weeks for an effective reaction after antigen recognition and alerting T cells. During this period, the macrophages' non-specific defense assumes a crucial role in keeping infection in check.
Enhanced activity by macrophages is especially important for recognizing and destroying cancer cells. The most dangerous cancers are those that can mimic normal cells and avoid the immune system's wrath. Few substances can activate macrophage function in the body (aloe vera contains substances that contribute to this process). The most powerful macrophage activator recognized by the scientific community is a sugar-like substance called beta-1,3-D-glucan. Beta-glucan, extracted from the cell walls of common Baker's yeast, when taken in certain small amounts, can prevent infection by making macrophages more active in recognizing and attacking infectious bacteria, fungi and certain viruses.
This kind of activation can encourage macrophages to attack previously unrecognized tumor cells. As a result, tumors may be eradicated as the immune system mobilizes and produces what may be known as "spontaneous healing."
When a macrophage works overtime fighting disease, its demand for nutrients and energy increases dramatically. Vitamin C, known for its immune supporting function, seems to be especially important for maintaining fully active macrophages. Vitamin C collects in macrophages, often reaching forty times the concentration found in surrounding blood. What are conventionally considered normal amounts of vitamin C in the body may be insufficient to keep macrophages well supplied with this antioxidant. Therefore, extra amounts of vitamin C can keep the immune system in fighting trim.
Scientists are only now beginning to uncover the secrets of the highly organized immune system. One thing's certain: The immunity security team depends on proper lifestyle, nutrition and supplements to maintain the critical defenses necessary for good health.
Dr. Ber received his doctorate in internal medicine from the Yaroslavle, State Medical Institute in Yaroslavle, Russia.
Fighting Arthritis Naturally
June 10, 2005 02:16 PM
Fighting Arthritis Naturally
by Donna Lee Nardo Energy Times, January 8, 2002
The annoying pain of arthritis grows ever more annoying: one of every six Americans, 43 million people, suffer arthritis, the leading cause of disability in the US. No pharmaceutical can reliably cure arthritis or slow its progression without possibly causing side effects. But you can help heal your hurting joints with nutrients and other natural substances.
Every move you make hinges on healthy joints. The hinge joints in your fingers, knees and elbows swing back and forth. Ball and socket joints in our hips and shoulders twist and turn our arms and legs. But when arthritis attacks, joint function narrows, causing pain, stiffness, swelling and inflammation. While scientists search for the root cause of arthritis, they recognize that aging, injuries, allergies, a genetic tendency toward arthritis and being overweight all contribute to your risk. Researcher have identified more than 100 types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), gout, lupus, scleroderma, vasculitis, myositis, infectious arthritis, degenerative joint disease and spondylitis. OA and RA represent two of the most common arthritis forms. OA generally attacks the finger joints and larger joints like the hips and knees. Cartilage lining the joint deteriorates, often as a by-product of aging, but this deterioration can happen at any age. Sprains, fractures and repetitive injuries can increase your chances of osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when joints become inflamed and your immune system apparently releases antibodies in response to allergens. This type of arthritis can destroy and immobilize joints. Traditionally, doctors have treated arthritis with acetaminophen, aspirin and other drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, NSAIDs often offer only short-term relief. They can cause bleeding problems and ulcers. And while they may slow inflammation and pain, they also do nothing to repair damaged joints. A 1995 Journal of Rheumatology article also warned that prolonged NSAID use actually furthers deterioration of the joints (Oct/95; 22 (10):1941-6).
Glucosamine at Work
Scientists believe that injuries and aging deplete the body's supply of glucosamine, a natural substance that forms, maintains and repairs joint cartilage. Glucosamine supplements are thought to replenish the supply and are prescribed for arthritis therapy in many countries. Several studies indicate that glucosamine tackles pain and inflammation as effectively as NSAIDs without the side effects. It also helps rebuild arthritic joints. Research supporting glucosamine's benefits abounds in Europe and Asia. One study suggests that glucosamine sulfate supplements relieve pain as well as the NSAID ibuprofen (Osteoarthritis and Cartilage 1994; 2 (1):61-9). A recent Belgian study testing the effectiveness of glucosamine on patients with OA of the knee captured the attention of the American medical profession. Results suggest that glucosamine promotes physical changes in joints that halt the progression of OA (Lancet 2001, Jan 27; 357 (9252):251-56). After analyzing data from scores of clinical trials, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) saw enough promise in glucosamine to launch its own multi-year study.
Scientists have been testing the orange-yellow herb turmeric and have found that it may ease arthritis discomfort. Long a staple in the medical practices of Asia, turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that reduce swelling and pain associated with arthritis. Researchers think this spice, used in such Indian cuisine as curry, may work more effectively than cortisone and other drugs that reduce inflammation. Ellen Kamhi, PhD, RN, and co-author of Arthritis: An Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide, considers turmeric an important therapy for arthritis. "Turmeric is quite effective, and it's much safer than conventional drug anti-inflammatories, with far fewer possible adverse effects," says Dr. Kamhi, clinical instructor at the State University of New York-Stony Brook Medical School. One study on people with RA demonstrated that the natural benefits of turmeric equaled those provided by a popular prescription drug known to cause side effects (Indian J Med Res 1980; 71:632-4). Another trial, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, found that turmeric possesses unique anti-inflammatory properties (1993; 38:113-119). A trial published in 1994 also found that turmeric acts as an antioxidant to help protect joints (J Pharm Pharmacol; 46:1013-16).
As we age, our bodies require more antioxidants to fight off damage caused by destructive molecules known as free radicals. Researchers believe that antioxidant nutrients can afford arthritis protection. A 10-year study evaluating the effect of vitamins C and E on the joints concluded that both nutrients protect against cartilage deterioration (Arthritis & Rheumatism 1996, April; 39 (4):648-56). According to Dr. Kamhi, "Arthritis is a lifestyle disease (and) no one remedy, either natural or pharmaceutical, will heal or reverse the arthritic process. Organic foods, exercise, stress reduction, and supplements can lead to a marked decrease in all arthritis symptoms with minimal side effects and enhanced overall health and wellness." While arthritis often makes sufferers limit their activity, experts agree that a sedentary lifestyle only exacerbates problem joints and that exercise maintains your range of motion. The type of activity recommended for each particular form of arthritis differs: for osteoarthritis, specific exercises like stretching and moving arthritic joints can help if more strenuous exercise forms are not possible. Rheumatoid sufferers need to use extra caution to prevent inflammatory flare-ups by balancing gentle exercise with rest. In any case, keep moving: performing household chores or spending time on your hobbies will profit painful joints.
In many cases of arthritis, maintaining an appropriate weight is critical. Surplus weight places extra stress on joints and accelerates cartilage deterioration. And don't be discouraged if your mainstream doctor pooh-poohs complementary arthritis control. "Any practitioner who categorically dismisses the use of all-natural therapies," advises Dr. Kamhi, "is not keeping up with reading current medical literature."
Heart Science - A Five-Tiered Approach to Heart Health ...
June 02, 2005 12:07 PM
Your heart is crucial to every function of your body. It is the sole organ which pumps oxygen-rich blood through the entire circulatory system, feeding your cells and making life possible. Only recently are Americans realizing the importance of a proper low-fat diet, regular exercise, giving up cigarette smoking, and cutting down alcohol consumption to maintaining a healthy heart. Unfortunately, there has been a huge gap in the number of nutritional supplements which provide nutrients and herbs to support normal heart function. That’s where Source Naturals HEART SCIENCE comes in. Two years in the making, and backed by numerous scientific studies, the nutrients in HEART SCIENCE are some of the most soundly researched of all. Combining high potencies of these super-nutrients, HEART SCIENCE is the most comprehensive, cutting edge nutritional approach to proper heart care available.
Source Naturals HEART SCIENCE— The Five Tiered Approach to Heart Health
Your heart never rests. Even while you sleep, your heart must keep working, relying on the constant generation of energy by the body for its very survival. If this vital organ stops beating for even a short amount of time, all bodily functions cease and life ends. Source Naturals HEART SCIENCE helps support heart function on the chemical, cellular, structural, and energetic levels. This broad spectrum formula includes ingredients specifically geared for
Energy Generators for An Energetic Organ
Every day, the human heart beats about 104,000 times, pumping over 8,000 liters of blood through the body! Because it requires so much energy to perform efficiently, the experts at Source Naturals included specialty nutrients in HEART SCIENCE such as Coenzyme Q10 and L-Carnitine — integral factors in the body’s energy production cycles — to enhance the body’s energy supply.
There are three main interconnected energy generating cycles in our cells — the Glycolytic (sugar-burning) cycle, the Krebs’ (citric acid) cycle, and the Electron Transport Chain. Together they supply about 90 to 95% of our body’s entire energy supply, using fats, sugars, and amino acids as fuel. Coenzyme Q10 is one of the non-vitamin nutrients needed to maximally convert food into ATP (the energy producing molecule). It is the vital connecting link for three of the four main enzyme complexes in the Electron Transport Chain, the next step in energy generation after the Krebs’ cycle. Using the raw materials generated by the Krebs’ cycle, the Electron Transport Chain produces most of the body’s total energy! The heart is one of the bodily organs which contains the highest levels of CoQ10, precisely because it needs so much energy to function efficiently.
CoQ10 is one of the most promising nutrients for the heart under investigation today. It has been postulated that as a result of its participation in energy production, CoQ10 improves heart muscle metabolism and the electrical functioning of the heart by enhancing its pumping capacity.8 Many factors such as a high fat diet, lack of exercise, and cigarette smoking can lead to suboptimal functioning of the heart, and therefore failure of the heart to maintain adequate circulation of blood. Interestingly, people whose lifestyles reflect the above factors also tend to have depleted levels of CoQ10 in the heart muscle.10
Researchers suggest taking between 10-100 mg per day of CoQ10;18,29 HEART SCIENCE provides an impressive 60 mg of CoQ10 per 6 tablets. Similar to CoQ10, L-Carnitine is important for energy production in heart cells. It is a natural amino acid-like substance which plays a key role in transporting fatty acids, the heart’s main source of energy, to the mitochondria, the “power plants” of each cell, where they are utilized for the production of ATP. Heart and skeletal muscles are particularly vulnerable to L-Carnitine deficiency. Studies have shown that supplementation with LCarnitine improves exercise tolerance in individuals with suboptimal heart and circulatory function, and seems to lower blood lipid status and increase HDL (good) cholesterol.16, 22 Each daily dose of HEART SCIENCE contains 500 mg of this extremely important compound.
Like CoQ10 and L-Carnitine, B Vitamins help improve the ability of the heart muscle to function optimally. Each B Vitamin, after being converted to its active coenzyme form, acts as a catalytic “spark plug” for the body’s production of energy. Vitamin B-1, for example, is converted to Cocarboxylase, which serves as a critical link between the Glycolytic and Krebs’ Cycles, and also participates in the conversion of amino acids into energy. A deficiency of B coenzymes within contracting muscle cells can lead to a weakened pumping of the heart.21
HEART SCIENCE is formulated with high quantities of the most absorbable forms of B Vitamins providing maximum nutrition for the high energy demands of heart cells.
B Vitamins also play a crucial role in the conversion of homocysteine, a group of potentially harmful amino acids produced by the body, to methionine, another more beneficial amino acid. While it is normal for the body to produce some homocysteine, even a small elevation in homocysteine levels can have negative implications. It is well documented that individuals who are genetically predisposed to having elevated homocysteine levels (homocysteinemics) tend to have excessive plaque accumulation in the arteries and premature damage to endothelial cells (cells lining the blood vessels and heart).26 Researchers have found that even those without this genetic abnormality, whose homocysteine levels are much lower than those of homocysteinemics, still have an increased risk for premature endothelial damage and the development of plaque in the arteries.24, 26 One study conducted among normal men and women found that those with the highest levels of homocysteine were twice as likely to have clogged arteries as were those with the lowest levels.24 Furthermore, it was found that the lower the research subjects’ blood levels of folate and B-6, the higher their homocysteine levels.24 Another study found that Folic Acid administered to normal men and women who were not even deficient in folate caused a significant reduction in plasma concentrations of homocysteine!3 In order to regulate homocysteine levels, it is critical to provide the body with sufficient amounts of B-6, B-12, and Folate, whether through the diet or through supplementation. HEART SCIENCE includes high levels of these three nutrients, providing B-6 in the regular and coenzyme form for maximum utilization.
The Dangers of Oxidized LDL Cholesterol
While many people have heard that high cholesterol levels may negatively affect normal heart function, few people understand exactly what cholesterol is, or how it can become harmful. Cholesterol is a white, waxy substance produced in the liver by all animals, and used for a variety of necessary activities in the body. Your liver also manufactures two main kinds of carrier molecules which transport cholesterol throughout the system: Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) and High Density Lipoprotein (HDL). Cholesterol is either carried out by LDL from the liver to all tissues in the body where it is deposited, or carried back by HDLs which remove cholesterol deposits from the arteries and carry them to the liver for disposal. Because of this, LDL cholesterol is considered damaging, while HDL is considered protective. Problems occur when there is too much LDL cholesterol in the body and not enough HDL.
When the body becomes overloaded with fat, an over-abundance of LDL particles are manufactured to process it, and they in turn become elevated in the body to a degree that the liver cannot handle. Rich in fatty acids and cholesterol, these particles are highly susceptible to free radical attack (oxidation). Once oxidized, LDL particles are no longer recognized by the body, which attacks them with immune cells. Immune cells which are bloated by oxidized lipids (called foam cells) are a key factor in the development of “fatty streaks” — the first sign of excess arterial fat accumulation. The bloated immune cells accumulate in artery lesions and create plaque in blood vessels, leading to obstruction and constriction of the vessels. Plus, these lodged foam cells continue to secrete free radicals into the bloodstream, making the problem worse.
The development of lesions in the arteries is not an uncommon problem. Arterial (and all blood vessel) walls are composed of a chemical matrix which holds the endothelial cells in place. That endothelial layer is the first and most important line of defense in preventing large molecules, such as cholesterol and fat, from entering the vessel wall. This matrix is composed of proteins, collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans (amino sugars). Arterial lesions can be caused by suboptimal collagen and elastin synthesis due to three factors: 1. Vitamin C deficiency (since Vitamin C is a key building block for collagen and elastin); 2. excessive consumption of rancid fats, or heavy usage of alcohol or cigarettes; and 3. free radical damage. Once these lesions are created, the body attempts to repair them by depositing LDL cholesterol — similar to the way one would patch a tire. If that cholesterol is not oxidized, i.e. chemically changed to a harmful, unstable molecule, then this process does not create a problem. But when arterial lesions are “patched” with foam cells, arterial walls suffer page 3 page 4 even more damage, because those foam cells release free radicals which can further damage cell membranes.
Unfortunately, most people have a lot of oxidized cholesterol floating through the bloodstream. The typical American diet, with its low antioxidant intake and overconsumption of fried and overcooked foods, contributes to the overall levels of harmful oxidized cholesterol. In fact, the average American intake of antioxidants is low even by USRDA standards, making Americans particularly prone to having high levels of oxidized cholesterol.
Fortunately, there are concrete steps you can take to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, and its subsequent ill effects on health. In addition to cutting out high-cholesterol and fatty foods, supplementation can protect existing cholesterol and all tissue cells — from oxidation. Antioxidants, substances which scavenge and neutralize free radicals, protect the cardiovascular system by halting the oxidation of cholesterol, and helping to prevent plaque accumulation in the arteries and the continual secretion of free radicals by foam cells. Supplementing the diet with high amounts of Vitamin C, a key antioxidant, also encourages a more healthy “patching” of existing lesions by using collagen (made from Vitamin C) instead of cholesterol. HEART SCIENCE contains generous amounts of the following antioxidants for their protective benefits:
The Regulating Trio
Three nutrients — Magnesium, Potassium, and Taurine — work closely together in the body to help maintain the normal electrical rhythm of the heart, promote proper fluid balance, and prevent excessive Calcium levels from building up in the heart and artery linings.
Artery Lining Protectors
Your arteries form an integral part of your cardiovascular system, carrying blood away from the heart to nourish other parts of the body. In a healthy heart, blood surges through the arteries with every beat of the heart. The arteries expand with each pulse to accommodate the flow of blood. When arteries become hardened and narrowed by the build-up of plaque, they can’t expand and are not able to transport blood efficiently throughout the body. This inability to open up increases blood pressure, putting a strain on the heart as well as the arteries. HEART SCIENCE includes ingredients specifically geared to protect against plaque formation within arteries and maintain the flexibility of these vital blood vessels. N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG) is a key amino sugar which forms the building blocks of mucopolysaccharides. Mucopolysaccharides, which are long chain sugars, are an integral component of connective tissue. They combine to form gel-like matrixes which are present throughout tissues in the body, helping to maintain the elasticity of blood vessels which must continually adapt to the changing pressures of blood flow. Each daily dose of HEART SCIENCE provides 500 mg — a substantial amount — of this vital tissue building block. There is evidence indicating that Silicon, a natural mineral, may protect against plaque formation in the arteries. Silicon is found mainly in connective tissues, where it helps bind the body’s chemical matrix. Bound Silicon is found in high amounts in arterial walls. Researchers have found that there is a steady decline in the Silicon content of the aorta and other arteries as we age. This may be due to the low fiber content of the typical American diet, since fiber is a key dietary source of Silicon.23 HEART SCIENCE includes 400 mg of Horsetail herb extract, a natural source of Silicon. Hawthorn Berry is without question the herb most widely used to encourage normal heart function. The beneficial actions of Hawthorn Berry on cardiac function have been repeatedly demonstrated in experimental studies. Supplementation with Hawthorn Berry has been shown to improve both the blood supply to the heart by dilating coronary vessels, and the metabolic processes in the heart, resulting in normal, strong contractions of the heart muscle.34 Also, Hawthorn may inhibit the angiotensen converting enzyme, which is responsible for converting angiotensen I to angiotensen II, a powerful constrictor of blood vessels.34 Bromelain, a natural enzyme derived from pineapples, has become well-known for its neuromuscular relaxing properties. Researchers have reported favorable results when using Bromelain for soothing vascular linings. Initial research also indicates that Bromelain may break down fibrin, the glue which holds platelets together to form blood clots.6
Capillaries are the smallest, yet some of the most important, blood vessels. If you think of your cardiovascular system as a series of roads which transport blood and oxygen, then your arteries are akin to interstate highways, your arterioles are the main city boulevards, and your capillaries are local residential streets. Capillaries are so small, in fact, that single red blood cells actually have to fold up to fit through them. Because of their tiny size and the intricate nature of their network throughout the body, capillaries are responsible for actually nourishing each individual tissue cell! Along the length of the capillaries are small openings called slit pores through which oxygen, glucose, and nutrients leave the capillaries and enter the surrounding interstitial fluid. From there, they cross cell membranes and nourish the cells. Similarly, the waste products of cells enter the fluid and cross over into the capillaries, where they are then transported to the liver and kidneys for disposal. If the capillary slit pores are torn or have lesions, then blood proteins and Sodium will leak out and cause the interstitial fluid to take on a more gel-like nature. This makes the transfer of oxygen and nutrients to the cells more difficult, as well as the disposal of cell waste products, turning the fluid into a stagnant swamp instead of a flowing river. In addition to its powerful antioxidant actions, Proanthodyn also helps protect collagen and elastin, the main constituents of tissue in the capillaries, and throughout the body. It is absolutely essential for capillary walls — which are only one cell thick — to be strong and stable, so that they do not allow blood proteins to leak into the interstitial fluid. Once the interstitial fluid takes on a gel-like consistency, the surrounding cells literally become starved from lack of nutrition. The exciting news is that the proanthocyanidins contained in Proanthodyn are among the few substances yet discovered which can help strengthen capillary walls, ensuring the liquid nature of the interstitial fluid.2 Plus, proanthocyanidins help keep capillary and artery walls flexible, allowing for proper blood flow to the heart.
The 1990’s mark a decade of increased awareness among Americans of important health issues. Much of the discussion has revolved around protecting that precious center of life we call the heart. Simple lifestyle change is one of the most effective ways to maintain and protect the functioning of the cardiovascular system. In order to take a holistic approach to heart care, make sure you include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (organic, if possible) in your diet, and cut down on fatty and cholesterol-forming foods. Reduce your salt and alcohol intake to a minimum. Try to get regular, sustained aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week. Don’t smoke – or if you do smoke, try to eat even more fresh fruits and antioxidant-rich vegetables to counter the amount of free radicals being produced in your body. Lastly, consider adding Source Naturals HEART SCIENCE to your health regimen. HEART SCIENCE, the most comprehensive formula of its kind, provides targeted protection to the entire cardiovascular system. By approaching the promotion of normal heart function on five different levels — through the inclusion of ingredients which supply energy, decrease harmful homocysteine levels, fight cholesterol build-up, help regulate electrical rhythm, and protect artery and capillary linings — HEART SCIENCE is the perfect addition to a holistic approach to heart care.
Source Naturals HEART SCIENCE™