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The Unsettling Truth About Plastic: Microplastics Found in Human Stool Samples
July 29, 2023 11:04 AM
We all know that plastic pollution is a serious issue, but what we may not be aware of is that we are consuming it. Yes, you read that right. The researchers have recently discovered microplastic particles present in human stool samples, making us ingest the plastic we produced. It is not only our oceans and landfills that are clogged with plastic waste, but even our bodies, and that's alarming.
According to the study, participants from Finland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Austria were tested for ten different types of plastics, and nine types were found in their stool samples. On average, participants had 20 microplastic particles per 10 grams of stool. That's a concerning number.
As we all know, plastic is everywhere, from plastic bags to water bottles, from household items to toys, and the list goes on. A recent study revealed a frightening fact that our food, especially seafood and sea salt, and tap water and bottled water contain microplastics too. It is surprising to know that plastic is all around us, and we are consuming it daily.
Apart from being present in our bodies, research suggests that microplastics may have adverse effects on our gut microbiota. As per a study conducted by the University of Vienna, polystyrene microplastics adversely affected the gut barrier, microbiota, and metabolism of mice. Moreover, it can lead to a bacterial imbalance in our gut, decreasing our immune response.
Microplastics have a size smaller than 5 millimeters and are much smaller than the size we can see with naked eyes. Therefore, our bodies cannot filter them out. As a result, these microplastics can cause inflammation, obstruct our digestive system, and damage our gut lining.
The impact of plastic on the environment and marine life is alarming, but knowing that we, humans, are part of the problem is overwhelming. The amount of plastic waste we produce every year is immense, and if we don't change our ways, it will only get worse.
The Solution to Microplastics in Our Digestive Tract Could Be Psyllium Husk and Inulin.
Psyllium husk is a soluble fiber that is derived from the seeds of the Plantago ovata plant. It is a powerful colon cleanser that can rid our bodies of toxins, including microplastics. When mixed with water, psyllium husk forms a gel-like substance that bulks up and moves through our digestive tract, trapping and removing microplastics along the way. Psyllium husk is also known to help regulate bowel movements and reduce inflammation in our gut.
Another solution to microplastics in our digestive tract is prebiotics, specifically inulin. Inulin is a type of soluble fiber that feeds friendly bacteria in our gut, promoting gut health. Studies have shown that inulin can strengthen the gut lining, which can reduce the absorption of toxins like microplastics into our bodies. Inulin can also help regulate bowel movements and reduce inflammation in our gut.
In addition to psyllium husk and inulin, there are other steps we can take to reduce our exposure to microplastics. One such step is to avoid plastic packaging and utensils when possible and opt for reusable and sustainable options instead. We can also be mindful of the products we use that contain microplastics, such as cosmetics and cleaning products, and choose more natural alternatives.
It is also important to note that the effects of microplastics on our health are still being studied, and more research is needed to fully understand the extent of their impact. However, taking steps to reduce our exposure to microplastics and improve our gut health can only be beneficial for our overall well-being.
The discovery of microplastics in human stool samples is the harsh reality of the plastic pollution crisis. The studies strongly suggest that it may have severe implications for human health (we haven't even touched on the topic of endocrine disruptors due to plastics), and we must take action to reduce plastic consumption and pollution.
Reducing plastic waste from our daily lives might seem challenging, but it's essential if we want to create a healthier planet for ourselves and the generations to follow. Being more conscious of our daily habits in using plastic, choosing eco-friendly alternatives, and encouraging others to do the same can go a long way in reducing our plastic footprint.
We must work together as a community to reduce plastic waste and promote a sustainable future. The change starts with us, and together we can make a difference. You can get started to better health by adding psyllium husk and inulin to your daily supplement regiment. Your colon will thank you for it!
How to Know if You Need Long-Lasting Deodorant Protection
October 29, 2022 09:40 AM
NOW® Solutions long-lasting deodorant is scientifically formulated, combining the odor-fighting properties of zinc oxide with the floral notes of rose and ylang ylang. It offers amazing protection that you can count on to feel fresh throughout the day. But how do you know if you need long-lasting odor protection? Here are a few telltale signs:
Body odor that persists even after bathing
Intense body odor that causes people to take notice (and not in a good way) Excessive sweating that leads to chafing and discomfort If any of these sound familiar, then NOW® Solutions long-lasting deodorant is right for you. Keep reading to learn more about this product and how it can help you feel your best.
What is NOW® Solutions Long-Lasting Deodorant?
NOW® Solutions long-lasting deodorant is an all-natural, aluminum-free deodorant that uses zinc oxide—a naturally occurring mineral with astringent, antiseptic, and absorbent properties—to help control body odor. Zinc oxide has been used for centuries for its ability to soothe and protect the skin, making it an ideal choice for those with sensitive skin. Combined with the floral notes of rose and ylang ylang, NOW® Solutions long-lasting deodorant offers a refreshing scent that will leave you feeling refreshed and confident all day long. And because it's aluminum-free, you can rest assured knowing that NOW® Solutions long-lasting deodorant is safe for your skin.
How Does NOW® SolutionsLong-Lasting Deodorant Work?
The science behind NOW® Solutions long-lasting deodorant is simple but effective. When applied to the skin, zinc oxide creates a barrier that helps to absorb wetness and inhibits the growth of bacteria—the main cause of body odor. At the same time, the natural oils in rose and ylang ylang work to mask any existing body odor while also providing a pleasant scent. Together, these ingredients offer complete protection against body odor—all day long!
Body odor is never fun—for you or those around you. If you're looking for a natural solution that will keep you feeling fresh all day long, look no further than NOW® Solutions long-lasting deodorant. Formulated with zinc oxide and essential oils, NOW® Solutions long - lasting deodorant provides complete protection against body odor without the use of harsh chemicals or aluminum. So why wait? Give NOW® Solutions long - lasting deodorant a try today!
NOW Pets Cardiovascular Support - Keeping Your Pet's Heart Healthy
September 26, 2022 11:34 AM
Just like humans, our pets' hearts need extra care and attention as they age. NOW Pets Cardiovascular Support is a unique pet supplement made with carnitine, taurine, antioxidants, and botanicals to support normal circulation and cardiovascular function. For more flavor, we added chicken bone broth, sourced from the USA, that is growth hormone and steroid free. Formulated by renowned veterinarian Dr. Barbara Royal, DVM, CVA, founder of the Royal Treatment Veterinary Center.
The Importance of cardiovascular health in pets
As our furry friends age, it becomes increasingly important to pay attention to their cardiovascular health. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), over half of all adults in the United States have some form of cardiovascular disease. Just like humans, our pets' hearts need extra care and attention as they age.
NOW Pets Cardiovascular Support is a unique pet supplement made with carnitine, taurine, antioxidants, and botanicals to support normal circulation and cardiovascular function. For more flavor, we added chicken bone broth, sourced from the USA, that is growth hormone and steroid free. Formulated by renowned veterinarian Dr. Barbara Royal, DVM, CVA, founder of the Royal Treatment Veterinary Center.
What are the benefits of NOW Pets Cardiovascular Support?
As our pets age, it's important to pay attention to their cardiovascular health and provide them with supplements like NOW Pets Cardiovascular Support that will help maintain their health. With its unique blend of ingredients, NOW Pets Cardiovascular Support is formulated to support normal circulation and cardiovascular function in your pet. So you can rest assured knowing that you're doing everything you can to keep your furry friend's heart healthy!
Why All the Hype About Gut Health?
November 03, 2018 02:51 PM
There are a lot of people out there who know a little bit about the gut. A gut is something that actually has a lot of use cases for the human body. Some people understand that while other people think that is completely crazy. Depending on who you are and what you have seen, you will have your own opinion on this. Whether you believe it or not, the things you consume get stored within your gut.
"With 60 to 80 percent of the immune system being housed in the gut, when something in the digestive system gets out of whack—whether we recognize it as a gut issue or not—problems will emerge."
Read more: https://www.thriveglobal.com/stories/46594-why-all-the-hype-about-gut-health
Research finds medicinal plants, such as nettles, have potentialfor fighting diabetes
October 23, 2018 09:51 AM
For the people that suffer with diabetes, they all wish that they could find something that gets rid of their disease. It is not as if the disease is unbearable but it definitely causes some issues for the people who have it. People who do not have diabetes do not know how hard it can be to live with it so they have no right to talk. Now there are ideas that some plants can help combat diabetes.
"The scientists noted that the Urtica diocia L., more commonly known as nettle, was used across eight regions. Likewise, the Teucrium polium L. or poleigamandar was traditionally used in five regions."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-09-14-research-finds-medicinal-plants-such-as-nettles-have-potential-for-fighting-diabetes.html
Common Herbs to Help Soothe Constipation
September 21, 2018 08:52 AM
About a fifth of Americans suffer from the discomfort of constipation, but luckily there are several natural remedies for this common nuisance. Constipation happens when either food moves too slowly through your system, or the colon sucks too much of the water content out of waste as it passes through. Slippery elm can both soothe and lubricate the digestive tract. Aloe can likewise both help constipation and help soothe other digestive problems. Fenugreek is both an effective constipation remedy and a tasty spice.
"If you have trouble going to the restroom regularly, don’t worry because this can be easily remedied by knowing what’s making you constipated and implementing a few herbs in your diet that are specifically used to help relieve constipation."
Read more: https://www.zliving.com/featured/herbs-to-help-constipation-116076/
6 Vitamin and Food Supplements for Better Health | Natural Cures
August 05, 2017 12:14 PM
Foods rich in Vitamin C are necessary when boosting the body's immune system naturally. Vitamin C helps with depression and eye related issues. Many problems arise from having a diminished immune system. In the past, the soil that our foods grew in was rich in magnesium. Nowadays, eating foods rich in magnesium or taking an additional supplement can make our muscles and bones healthier, as well as keep our nervous system balanced. Probiotics also made the list because they are a natural bacteria that rid the body of bad bacteria and replenish the body.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFW_3FlG5_Y&rel=0
"Know which vitamins and supplements to take and which may cause harm."
This spice is the most powerful in the world and many use it without knowing it is key to health
August 05, 2017 05:14 AM
There is one spice that is the most powerful in the world and many use it without knowing that it is the key to health. Oregano is one of the most widely used spices for seasoning foods. It gives our foods a delicious and unique flavor. But, it has many medicinal properties. This herb can be found in almost any part of the world and it is very affordable and can be bought at any supermarket.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdz9AQNXS4o&rel=0
"Said to contain 20 times more antioxidants and nutrients than any citrus"
Do you have these 7 signs of omega-3 deficiency?
June 17, 2017 09:14 AM
Many women are lacking in omega-3 fats, found in fatty sources of fish and over-the-counter supplements. Knowing which symptoms to look for can allow women to correct their diets and improve their health. Dry skin, limp hair, and nails that break easily are indications of deficiency, because omega-3 fats are found in cell walls and hair follicles. When adequately supplied, skin, nails, and hair should be healthy and strong. Lack of concentration, insomnia, and fatigue are three more signs of deficiency; fatigue is a common symptom, and when addressed, can lead to increased energy. Omega-3 fats are also anti-inflammatory and therefore helpful for someone dealing with joint pain.
"One of the secrets to youthful and hydrated skin is omega-3 fats which are found naturally in the cell wall structure."
Read more: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/health/mindandbody/do-you-have-these-7-signs-of-omega-3-deficiency/ar-BBCxMJi
Cholesterol found to play a key role in helping us breathe
June 08, 2017 07:14 PM
Cholesterol isn't a good thing if we get too much of it. Lots of people suffer from too much of it. There are meds for it. People are always trying to lower their cholesterol so they can be healthy. It's important not to lower it too much, though. It helps us with certain body processes. This talks about how t helps us with our breathing. Knowing this could make you think differently about what we eat and how we eat.
Read more: Cholesterol found to play a key role in helping us breathe
What Causes Cancer? Here Are 11 Unexpected Things
June 05, 2017 04:14 PM
Many things are supposed to cause cancer. Some of them are found in the home and elsewhere in our daily lives. It can be hard to know exactly what to worry about. People worry all the time but don't know all of the dangers. This talks about eleven things you might want to avoid. Cancer can hurt us a great deal. It can even be fatal. Yes, there are treatments but prevention is the most important. Knowing what to avoid can help us stay healthier.
"Previous research shows that genetics account for only about half of all cancers, suggesting environmental exposures and socioeconomic factors may also play a role."
Read more: https://draxe.com/what-causes-cancer/
Do you need a vitamin D boost?
June 05, 2017 07:14 AM
Vitamin D is good for your bones but also your immune system, blood vessels muscles strength, depression prevention and prevention of multiple sclerosis. Most people can not count on the sun providing enough vitamin D with a large amount of people not knowing they have a deficiency. Most adults should supplement with at least 10 micrograms a day, not exceeding 100 micrograms to avoid toxicity. You should definitely not try to supplement through sun exposure as it can cause skin cancer.
Read more: Do you need a vitamin D boost?
Researchers put probiotics to the test
May 28, 2017 11:14 AM
What do probiotics do and are they really useful? These researchers have tried to find out. This is good because these are so trendy now. They're in many foods which are natural so you've probably eaten them without even knowing it, but now you are beginning to hear more about priobiotics from scientists and those concerned with nutrition. They supposedly aid digestion and do other positive things for us so should be eaten but the accuracy of this is explained here.
Read more: Researchers put probiotics to the test
The Coconut & Thyroid Connection: How This Tropical Nut Supports Healthy Thyroid Function
May 24, 2017 08:44 AM
In the wake of conveying my third kid 15 years back, I ended up plainly stuck at a weight I was not content with. Knowing all the correct things to do, I did them and still, no weight reduction happened. A decent place to begin revealing issues is to consider the effectiveness of the thyroid. Once named a scoundrel fat equipped to pulverize, coconut oil is presently being held onto as the most advantageous soaked fat on the planet and all things considered.
"Coconut oil is truly a jam-packed therapeutic bullet that can tackle even some of the most health-destroying conditions, including thyroid problems."
Read more: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/coconut-oil-thyroid/
Tea drinkers can take comfort in new study about heart benefits
May 12, 2017 06:44 PM
Tea is sometimes talked about negatively because some of it contains caffeine but it also has benefits. This talks about a study which links tea drinking to positive affects on the heart. This is important because the heart pumps blood all throughout the body. If drinking tea helps with that many are benefiting without even knowing about it. This will make you feel a bit better if you drink tea and worry about doing so.
Read more: Tea drinkers can take comfort in new study about heart benefits
Why Am I Hungry? Weird Things Stoking Your Appetite
May 01, 2017 06:44 AM
You could be hungry for more than the normal reasons. Many things can contribute to this. They can cause you to over eat which can lead to weight gain. It's important to know your body and what it needs so you don't overdo it in any category. Moderation with food will keep you healthier over all. Of course, you could just be hungry because it's time to eat but knowing causes can help you to determine that.
Read more: Why Am I Hungry? Weird Things Stoking Your Appetite
16 Best Oils To Diffuse And How To Do It Right
April 19, 2017 05:44 PM
With aromatherapy becoming increasingly popular, it is easy to become confused on what to use, and when to use it. knowing and understanding the various oil options is essential to maximizing their full potential for use. Research shows that oils can have a positive impact on stress reduction and overall health. Once you learn about the benefits of each, you can then begin experimenting with mixing the oils. Be sure to pick up a diffuser and follow the guidelines to achieve optimal benefit.
Here Are 8 Everyday Habits That Could Cause Damage To Your Brain
March 31, 2017 06:44 AM
You could be damaging your brain without even knowing it by doing these eight everyday things. These are things lots of people do a lot. If you want a healthy brain you should have this information. Your brain is important to every other part of your body.
The Fruit Is Loaded With Lots Of Medical Health Benefits And This Is Due To The Presence Of ...
February 18, 2017 07:59 AM
Are you a fan of citrus fruits? If so you are in luck because it is this type of fruit that is loaded with the vitamins, nutrients, and minerals needed to keep yourself in the best of health. But there is more! If you want to learn the best foods to eat to stay healthy, this is the perfect article loaded with details.
"I hope, after knowing about the nutrition facts and health benefits of chicken liver, those who don't like liver would also include it in their diet."
Scientists discover new mechanism of how brain networks form
January 15, 2017 12:59 PM
As long as neurological disorders have been diagnosed, scientists have tried to determine how the brain works in order to better treat them. One thing we do know about the brain is that it creates maps of experiences that help us learn. As we learn, these maps are altered to adapt to our surroundings. Excitatory neurons in the brain have been found to narrow their scope upon learning new information. Inhibitory neurons, conversely, have recently been found to get broader when learning. This new understanding of neurons will go far in efforts to repair brain tissue.
"Scientists have discovered that networks of inhibitory brain cells or neurons develop through a mechanism opposite to the one followed by excitatory networks."
Signs You Have a Vitamin Deficiency
January 13, 2017 07:59 AM
When it comes to deficiency's there are many different signs that can tell you whether or not you have a vitamin deficiency in general. Some of these signs for knowing whether or not you have a vitamin deficiency include brittle hair, diarrhea, frequent bone fractures, and lastly having high blood pressure, as well as a deficiency in potassium.
"A rich or decadent meal can lead to a loose bowel movement, but persistent episodes of diarrhea may be evidence that the body is not retaining nutrients."
I Tried To Quit Sugar, But Failed Without Realizing Why
January 07, 2017 02:59 PM
There's a right way and a wrong way to give up sugar in your diet. While giving up added sugars can have health benefits, doing so requires diligence. It's not enough to simply give up white sugar and corn syrup. Honey, maple syrup, and other sugars added to common foods such as ketchup can sabotage your plan to kick your sugar addiction. And coming off sugar -- like quitting any addiction -- requires a period of adjustment that can sometimes be uncomfortable. But starting with a plan and knowing what to expect can help you be successful in licking your sugar habit.
"I told myself I would stop eating refined sugar, which I loosely defined as corn syrup and the grainy, white stuff we add to cookies and cakes."
When cancer returns: How to cope with cancer recurrence
November 27, 2016 08:59 AM
Cancer is a very depressing diagnosis. Being diagnosed a second time after recurrence is even more so. Mayo Clinic has some great advice on how to deal with the information that the disease has come back. After dealing with all of the treatment the first time and not knowing if it can work, it is common for a second diagnosis to be even more devastating. Mayo Clinic’s main advice is to take it one day at a time and stay strong.
"The distress you feel is normal — some say the second cancer diagnosis can be more distressing than the first."
How Much Should You Push Yourself with Depression?
November 23, 2016 12:59 PM
Depression is a reality that affects all too many. One of the toughest decisions is knowing when to push and when to cut yourself some slack. The key to making this decision above all is to know yourself. Find out what it is about yourself that can help you identify your triggers for stress and learn to combat them with the perspective and experience of Therese J. Borchard.
"Do you typically push yourself too much or do you need to be pushed? That will help you know what to do when you get depressed. If you constantly beat yourself up for not doing everything perfectly in recovery, or in life, maybe you should throttle back to part-time (if you can afford it) and try to allow yourself to heal. If you typically need other people to inspire you to change, then maybe pushing yourself is the right thing to do."
Biotin's Role in Nail and Hair Growth
July 25, 2012 08:32 AM
Many people want to improve the health of their nails and hair, but knowing the best solution can be difficult. Scientists have discovered that biotin works to promote increased growth of the nails and hair.
Biotin is a member of the B-vitamins and is a water-soluble vitamin. Also known as the H vitamin, it has an important role in the metabolism of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. One of the major benefits of this vitamin is that it works to strengthen hair and nails. It is recommended that anyone who wants to increase hair and nail growth should include biotin in their diet.
Since biotin is important for normal functioning, a deficiency is uncommon. This vitamin is found in many foods including meat, dairy, and vegetables. Any food that is high in protein will also contain biotin. Those at risk for a biotin deficiency are vegetarians and vegans, although it is possible in individuals who do not eat meat or dairy often. The most common sign of a biotin deficiency is hair loss. While uncommon, this is the best indicator that biotin intake is not sufficient. If worried about not getting adequate intake, it is possible to take a supplement. Usually biotin supplements are available as a B-complex supplement, and can be found at most vitamin and health stores.
Hair Growth And Biotin
The recommended amount of biotin for adults is 300 - 5000 mcg per day. However, if interested in increasing hair and nail growth, individuals should try to take 1000 mcg or more. This amount is a safe level of biotin but will also promote increased growth. Before taking a multivitamin, it is recommended to talk to a doctor. Some of the supplements available may have high levels of biotin never take more than 5000mcg per day. Be sure to take the right amount without overdosing on this vitamin.
So, can biotin improve my hair and nail growth? Yes, it can, but there are many products available today that promise to promote hair and nail growth, but don't actually work. Shampoo and conditioner that contain biotin are poor sources of the vitamin since it is not absorbed easily through the skin. Biotin works inside the body at the follicles and nail beds to increase growth. It must be taken internally to work. Other supplements that claim to increase nail and hair growth should be studied carefully as they may not be effective. The only way to increase growth is to maintain an adequate intake of this essential B-vitamin.
The best way to increase hair and nail growth is to eat biotin-rich foods. By eating dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and eggs, it's easy to get the needed amount. If vegetarian or vegan, green peas, legumes, soybeans, and cruciferous vegetables are also rich in Biotin. Other good sources are whole grains such as rice, oats, and bulgar. Eating a whole-grain cereal is a great way to easily get Biotin. Biotin is one of the known vitamins that increases nail and hair growth and eating foods rich in this vitamin will ensure fast-growing and healthy hair and nails.
How to manage high blood pressure with herbs and vitamins
February 20, 2012 06:42 AM
What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a very common health condition whereby one's blood is pumped through the arteries at a higher than normal pressure. High blood pressure may lead to serious health problems like heart disease and stroke.
The quantity of blood pumped by the heart and the level of resistance to the flow of blood in the arteries. The more one's heart pumps blood and the narrower their arteries, the higher will be their blood pressure.
Many people have hypertension without even knowing it for years. This is because the condition does not usually show any symptoms. Having uncontrolled hypertension increases a person's risk of developing serious medical conditions, for example heart disease or stroke.
Typically, high blood pressure develops over a long period of time, usually for years and can affect almost everybody eventually. Thankfully, the condition can easily be detected. And once somebody knows they have it, they can get medical advice on how to control it from a doctor.
Causes of high blood pressure
There are two well known types of hypertension-primary/essential high blood pressure and secondary hypertension.
The first type of high blood pressure occurs in most adults and has no identifiable cause. It tends to develop slowly over a number of years. On the other hand, secondary hypertension is a condition that seems to appear suddenly and is usually caused by an underlying health condition. This type of blood pressure is higher in intensity compared to primary hypertension. Some medications and conditions can lead to secondary hypertension and they include:
Congenital blood vessel defects
Adrenal gland tumors
Certain medications, for example cold remedies, birth control pills, decongestants, pain relief tablets bought over the counter as well as prescription medicines Illegal drugs like amphetamines and cocaine
What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?
Most people who have hypertension do not have any signs or symptoms, no matter the seriousness of the condition.
Even though a small fraction of people with early-stage hypertension may get dizzy spells, dull headaches, or even heavy nose bleeding from time to time, these signs as well as symptoms normally do not appear until the condition has reached a critical and even life-threatening stage.
How high blood pressure can be controlled with vitamins and herbs Vitamins
Certain vitamins are said to lower high blood pressure as well as support one's cardiovascular system. One of the vitamins that can help is vitamin C. it is an important vitamin that can help to manage hypertension as it is rich in antioxidants, which help in prevention of stroke and heart attack. Other vitamins that can help to prevent or control high blood pressure include vitamins A, E, D and B6.
Whole grains, green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, chicken, corn, salmon, just to mention a few, are good sources of essential vitamins that help in controlling hypertension.
Herbs such as Hawthorn, Rauwolfia Serpentina/Indian snakeroot, and Ginkgo Biloba etc can also be used in lowering blood pressure. All these herbs can also strengthen your cardiovascular system to help in lowering the blood pressure and allow for better circulation. However, make sure you consult an experienced herbalist or healthcare specialist before you use any of the above herbs to control your hypertension.
Preventive Measures for Metabolic Syndrome/ Diabetes
February 10, 2012 07:55 AM
Metabolic syndrome is a serious health problem associated with cluster of conditions like high cholesterol level, high blood pressure, high sugar level and excessive fats in the abdomen. It increases risks of diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Having one of these conditions doesn't mean that you have metabolic syndrome. However, frequent occurrence of any of these symptoms can increase risk.
knowing your family's medical history can prevent metabolic syndrome that can lead to diabetes. If it runs in the family, consult your doctor to have your blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure checked.
Avoid high carb diet to prevent metabolic syndrome and diabetes. During digestion, carbohydrate rich foods are broken down into sugar or glucose. Glucose gives energy to the body while calorie is the measure of burned energy. When high amount of carbohydrate is digested, it increases sugar level in the blood. The brain prompts the pancreas release insulin to neutralize blood sugar level. Diabetes happens when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin.
Replace high carb diet with more nutritious foods like oats, whole wheat, rye, red rice, sweet potatoes and buckwheat. They are energy giving food rich in dietary fibers. Fibers keep a healthy digestive system by improving digestion and eliminating body wastes. It maintains sexy abs by flushing out excess belly fats.
Stay physically active by engaging into sports and exercises. Inactive body does not use much energy. Unused energy is stored in the body in form of fats. Fat cells are resistant to insulin thus, increase blood sugar and cholesterol level. Fat cells slow down metabolism and increase weight gain. While lean muscles hastens metabolism even when the body is at rest. Lean muscle protects the body against insulin resistance.
Maintain a well balanced diet to reverse diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Raw fruits like oranges, berries, pineapple, grapes and other citrus fruits are good alternative for desserts like cakes. They are rich in Vitamin C that lowers cholesterol and burns fats. It is also rich in antioxidants that shield the body against harmful toxins.
Add green leafy vegetables to your diet to increase immunity from sickness like diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Green leafy vegetables are rich in Vitamin E that repairs and regenerates damaged cells.
Develop a healthy sleeping pattern. Sleep disturbances and staying up late at night prompt the pancreas to continually release insulin. This creates stress on the pancreas that leads to insufficient production of insulin. A well rested mind and body keep metabolic syndrome and diabetes away.
Try natural remedies like cinnamon, pine bark, and blueberry leaf extract. Cinnamon prevents diabetes and metabolic syndrome by lowering cholesterol and blood sugar level. Pine bark, when extracted produces pycnogenol that absorbs glucose in the blood. It also protects the eyes from blindness and blurred vision caused by diabetes. Blueberry leaf extract regulates blood sugar level by increasing the body's sensitivity to insulin.
Health supplements like chromium and alpha lipoic acid have shown great results in preventing and managing diabetes. Chromium is a mineral that metabolizes carbohydrates to prevent weight gain. It stabilizes blood sugar and prevents hypertension.
Your Diet May Be What's Causing Your Acne
September 19, 2011 06:05 PM
Although dieticians and physicians maintain that diet does not cause acne, this is not strictly true. Even dermatologists argue the point, but while it is generally agreed that eating fatty foods or excessive quantities of chocolate will not in itself lead to acne, there are certain valid arguments that diet has a role to play. Recent research has shed new light on dietary factors that can help to promote acne symptoms, if not being the sole cause of them.
Before discussing that, it is important to understand why acne gives rise to the symptoms that it does: lesions in the form of whiteheads and blackheads, pustules and cysts. While not necessary to discuss the biochemical details, the part that your diet has to play will not be understood without considering the effect of hormones on acne.
The reason that teenagers in particular appear to be more prone to acne is that an increased production of hormones has an effect on the condition that causes the symptoms of acne. Fundamentally, acne is characterized by the infection and inflammation of a mass of oil and dead skin cells within the pores of the skin, particularly on the face, neck, chest buttocks and back. If we discuss each of these elements first, and how they are created, then the relationship between diet and acne will become clear.
At a certain time in their lives, people experience a spurt of growth and develop sexually. This is initiated by the secretion of hormones, particularly of male sex hormones collectively known as androgens, and by various hormonal 'Growth Factors'. This stage of human development is known as puberty, although there is also an increase in androgen secretion by the adrenal glands just before menstruation and during pregnancy and menopause. Androgens such as testosterone are reserved not only for the male of the species!
An effect of androgens is to increase the rate of secretion of sebum from the sebaceous glands in the skin. The reason for this is unknown, though it has been hypothesized that its purpose is to waterproof the additional hair that is grown on the body at this time. Another suggested reason is as an olfactory warning to others to deter from sexual activity, in teenagers until their sexual development is complete, and in pre-menstrual, pregnant and menopausal women for obvious reasons. There is no substantial proof for any of these hypotheses, though the latter appears to make more sense than the former.
Irrespective of this, androgens also interfere with desquamation, and the dead skin cells within the pores tend to fall off irregularly and in clumps. This mix of dead skin cells and excess sebum clogs up the pores of the sebaceous follicles. Once this plug becomes infected with bacteria, the immune system is activated, inflammation occurs, and leukocyte action leads to pus formation. That is what is known as acne.
In order to determine how diet and acne are connected, it would be necessary to determine what components of our diet can either stimulate sebum production, or stimulate androgen secretion. If no such link could be found, then it would be fair to descry any connection between acne and the food you eat. However, there is a connection, and it is a positive one.
In addition to their main function, insulin and a hormone known as IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 that helps promote growth in children) promote the secretion of testosterone, a male hormone or androgen. knowing, as we now do, that androgens promote the secretion of sebum, then anything that increases the levels of insulin or IGF-1 within the body will also lead to sebum production and hence to acne. What that infers is that any foodstuffs that increase the insulin levels in the blood can also lead to acne.
This inference is supported in many ways. For example, it has been found that while drinking milk promotes a greater risk of acne, eating yoghurt does not. Why is this? It is known that milk can increase insulin levels because of its high sugar content. The effect of bacterial activity to produce yoghurt reduces the amount of sugars in the milk it is made from because the bacteria live on the lactose. The same argument applies to cheese, which promotes lower insulin levels than milk, if not as low as yoghurt.
This being the case, then a diet low in sugars and carbohydrates should reduce the incidence of acne generally. Recent research has indicated that a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar increases both IGF-1 and insulin levels in the blood. This then creates a surge in male hormones which in turn leads to excessive sebum secretion and intermittent shedding of skin cells and so on to the growth of bacteria and acne. It is a logical progression, supported both by theory and by observation.
So how should a person with a propensity for acne change their diet? Switch to fruits, vegetables and grains. Non-fatty meats are also acceptable, and .lots of fish and other seafood. Studies have concluded that diets rich in seafood lead to very low acne rates. The Japanese and coastal Chinese suffer very little acne in comparison with those taking a Western diet, particularly an American diet.
One of the reasons for this is that omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce both inflammation and sebum production. The same is true of green tea that contains antioxidants that reduce the blood levels of dihydotetosterone and hence of sebum secretion by the sebaceous glands. We could go on, and list supplement after supplement that contain antioxidants and other substances that can reduce the production of sebum and hence of the symptoms of acne.
Vegetable oils, on the other hand, with their high omega-6 fatty acid content, can drive up sebum production and the activity of the immune system and the inflammatory response. There are few doubts left that, while acne is not specifically caused by what you eat, diet can contribute to it and that acne and its severity can be eased by eating a diet low in carbohydrates and other sugar-promoting foods.
What is the Difference between Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea?
July 06, 2011 10:32 AM
Echinacea Health Benefits
Echinacea is a group of plant species that belongs to the same family as dandelion, sunflower, and daisy. These flowering shrubs are best known as ornamental plants in gardens. Also, they are widely recognized as medicinal herbs in alternative medicine. Modern herbalists have attributed a diverse variety of healing properties to this herb, drawing on its traditional uses among the Native Americans.
Elk root, black samson echinacea, or narrow-leaved purple cornflower refers to Echinacea angustifolia. Its native range stretches from Manitoba in the north to Texas in the south. It is an herbaceous plant, as all species of echinacea are. It grows up to 28 inches in height, extending from a branched taproot. Its stems and leaves are hairy while other species are smooth. Its flowers resemble a cone in shape.
Echinacea angustifolia is so named in the vernacular due to the fact that elks knowingly consume the plant when sick or wounded. Elk root is an herb important to folk medicine practices of Plain Indians, such as the Cheyenne and Apache. It displays analgesic properties, and thus has been in use as a pain reliever for external wounds and internal inflammation, including allergies, rheumatism, and arthritis.
Research on elk root has been promising. It is one of the species of echinacea believed to enhance the immune system and improve immune responses. In particular, it is good for the respiratory system. It has been used in the treatment of the common cold, sore throat, and nasal congestion. In addition, it exhibits antimicrobial properties, which effectively wards off infections of the respiratory tract.
Eastern purple cornflower, or simply purple cornflower, refers to Echinacea purpurea. It enjoys a wide distribution in North America, though they thrive in large concentrations in the wild in regions close to the east coast. Unlike all other species of echinacea, it grows from a woody base with fibrous roots instead of a taproot. Its flowers are arranged in a cone, sitting atop a stem that grows up to 40 inches.
Echinacea purpurea is arguably the most extensively studied of all species of echinacea. Traditionally, it has been utilized by many different tribes in North America as a cure-all medicinal herb. Clinical trials have shown that juice extracts obtained from this plant species are useful for the short term treatment of cold infections, though contraindications in children and pregnant women were noted.
Echinacea purpurea displays chemopreventive potential. Laboratory studies have discovered that it contains alkamides, which bind to cannabinoid receptors and inhibit tumor growth and pain chemicals in the process. Also, it has been linked to immunotherapy largely owing to its properties that appear to increase the activity of immune cells. It shows promise as an adjunct treatment for cancer.
Either way, Echinacea can help boost the body so the body can fight back against disease. Make sure you have some in your medicine cabinet just in case you feel a cold coming on!
Constipated? Herbs can Help With Constipation!
January 28, 2011 11:58 AM
Sometimes feeling constipated can get in the way of our activities. It can easily be prevented, but our day-to-day routine may not allow us to do so, inasmuch as diet and inactivity both contribute to the common incidence of constipation. Its chronicity could damage our productivity apart from the fact that bowel movement characteristic of constipation can be a real pain. Herbal laxatives that alleviate the unwanted sensation of recurring constipation have been available since time immemorial.
Over a tenth of the worldwide population has been afflicted with constipation, and one may experience it at least once in a lifetime. In the US alone it is the most common reason for digestion-related visits to the doctor, accounting for up to 3 per cent of the total pediatric complaints. Chronic constipation is more widespread among women and children, and becomes a more frequent health problem as we age. While it is not a disease in itself, it may be a symptom of another gastrointestinal ailment, and thus knowing its underlying causes helps in doing away with it for good.
Many different factors give rise to primary constipation, the type most prevalent among adults. Symptoms ongoing for over 6 months is in general associated with lifestyle factors such as diet high in protein but essentially devoid of fiber. High consumptions of meat products translate to increased workload for your digestive tract, and countless patients have reported elevated levels of protein in their diets while constipated.
Dietary fiber has been identified as a substance that aid digestion in that it readily changes into watery slurry, resulting in the formation of stools that induce easy defecation. In fact, fiber is directly involved in preventing constipation by promoting the health of the gastrointestinal tract. The absence of fiber in the diet for long periods of time leads to the slow passage of foods in the alimentary canal.
If you are constipated at very short intervals such as to feel irregularity of bowel movement in a week, then you should act on it as soon as possible. Holding off defecation does lead to constipation. Your gut signals your brain when to release the fecal matter, and if you don’t respond to what your body tells you, the fecal matter turns into an impacted mass that may obstruct defecation.
The use of herbal laxatives eases defecation. One of the functions of the colon is to absorb water from waste products, but certain herbs like aloe lax, rhubarb, and senna display osmotic properties, that is, they attract water present in the alimentary canal down to the colon. The resulting watery environment softens the hardened stool trapped in the colon and promotes motility inside the bowels.
Also, herbal laxatives contain chemical compounds that stimulate the intestinal walls to move the fecal matter, resulting in the evacuation of fecal matter. That being said, it is imperative that you read what the label says on over-the-counter laxatives and strictly follow the recommended dosages to avoid undesirable effects that these compounds may bring.
If you want to avoid herbs, a double serving of magnesium could do the trick as well. if you get enough fiber in the diet and still experience constipation, you should increase your water intake. Lack or water is also the reason for constipation. Your alternative is a good herbal laxative.
Remember to never stay on herbal laxatives long term, short term use of not more than 2 weeks to prevent dependency.
Herbs For Depression
December 13, 2010 12:34 PM
Fight Depression with Natural Herbs
Before discussing treating depression with natural herbs we should first consider depression itself: what is it and what causes people to become depressed? Psychiatrists and psychologists will suggest a number of definitions although most experts agree that there are two forms of depression.
Causes of Depression
Exogenous depression comes about as a result of external factors such as bereavement, heavy debt, job loss, etc, while endogenous depression comes from within and is believed to be due to biochemical problems, including food allergies, hormonal changes, thyroid problems, nutritional deficiencies, particularly Vitamin B deficiency, and addictions. There are many other reasons for people becoming depressed, some of which can be established by the particular symptoms of the individual.
In many cases of depression the external factors are often easier to treat than those due to internal factors. Many exogenous causes of depression such as bereavement are alleviated through time, while causes such as job loss and debt can be resolved once the cause has been rectified: thus, if the patient is no longer in debt or is re-employed, the depression tends to disappear with the cause.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression is not diagnosed from a single symptom, but from a number of symptoms that can point to a person being clinically depressed and requiring treatment. Among the symptoms of depression are:
Prolonged periods of sadness or despair
Forms of Depression
Many normal people can suffer one or two of the above systems, and would not be diagnosed as depressed because of it. We can all get mood swings, feel a bit worthless now and again or be unable to concentrate or focus at times, but that does not mean we are clinically depressed.
Depression would not be diagnosed in a patient with just one of these symptoms but five or more likely would be. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders deem the patient suffering clinical depression if displaying 5 or more of the bottom 8 symptoms above for a month or more. This is believed to be the case with around 17 million Americans so it is a significant problem.
Manic depression is otherwise known as bipolar disorder, where patients have large mood swings from high and extreme hyperactivity and excitability to very low deeply depressive moods and is a clinical condition generally treated using drugs.
Treatment of Depression With Natural Herbs
The usual treatments are drugs that often have undesirable side effects; so many people are trying natural remedies instead. There are a number of herbs that can be used to treat depression, one of the most familiar being St. John's Wort. However, there are others, and here is a synopsis of each.
St. John's Wort
St. John's wort (hypericum perforatum) is likely the best known herbal treatment for depression. In fact, in Germany it is prescribed by doctors to children and adolescents for the treatment of mild depression and is available over the counter in many countries.
However, it can also be used in cases of severe depression, and a report in the Cochrane Database Review[8(4)] by K. Linde, M.M. Berner and L. Kriston in 2008 stated that of 29 separate tests carried out on a total of over 5,000 patients, the conclusion was that St. John's wort extracts were at least as good in treating severe depression with 5 times lower side-effects as tricyclic antidepressants and twice lower than the new selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).
It should be stated, however, that one trial on 340 subjects indicated no improvement over a placebo. However, the anti-depressive drug sertraline (Zoloft) was also shown to be no better than the placebo in this test, so some doubts must lie regarding its accuracy. Of all the herbal treatments, St. John's wort has had most testing carried out and it seems to be effective in treating mild to severe depression although not all experts are yet agreed.
Kava Kava Root
Kava kava can be used to treat depression and anxiety, largely due its content of kavalactones that are believed to increase the amount of a number of neurotransmitters in the blood, including the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. Kava kava root is mildly intoxicating, having much the same effect as alcohol, and can also reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
However, it is doubtful if its effects are permanent and so it may be less of a depression cure as a short-medium term treatment. Its effects are also variable on different people, some describing it as making them feel relaxed and 'dreamy', while others find it therapeutic and making them feel better in themselves.
Kava kava should not be taken without your doctor knowing about because there have been concerns about its effect on the liver if taken in excess. A European-wide ban was lifted about two years ago after testing found the risks of taking it to be very low. It has been used for centuries as an intoxicating drink on islands such as Fiji.
Passion flower has been used for centuries to treat anxiety, stress and depression, its active ingredients believed to be maltol and ethylmaltol that help to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is one of the brain's key neurotransmitters and has been described by some as the brain's own 'Valium' supply.
Through the intervention of GABA, passion flower extract helps in reducing anxiety levels and makes you feel a lot calmer. If you suffer forms of depression that make you hyper or excitable, passion flower will help to reduce this and also helps to cure insomnia. It is a component of many natural sleeping pills.
These are just three natural substances that can be used to treat depression. However, you must inform your doctor or physician if you decide to take them since they may interfere with or change the effect of any antidepressant drug you are currently taking.
Call today for natural remedies for depression
Free Radicals and how to Combat Them!
November 30, 2010 02:41 PM
Vitamin C and E
Chances are you have heard about antioxidants. They’re everywhere: in the news, on the internet, and, of course, in our body. The first group of antioxidants that spurred the war against free radicals are Vitamin C and Vitamin E. As early as the 15th century, seafarers knowingly consumed citrus fruits in treatment of scurvy, which today we refer to as a disease caused by a deficiency of Vitamin C. On the other hand, intake of green leafy vegetables results in healthy cells in the body, touted lately as one of the benefits of Vitamin E. Since the latter half of the 20th century the term antioxidants have come into wide use, sparking a series of studies that led scientists and health professionals to a much more well-informed understanding of how important these vitamins are to human life.
Antioxidants and Free Radicals
Two things about biochemistry that have been a part of our growing concern about eating right are antioxidants and free radicals, which you might have learned outside the classroom. The human body deploy free radicals for the purpose of killing harmful microorganisms, but somehow these chemical entities get out of control. It should be noted that most known free radicals are short-lived, explaining how we survive as they are toxic to the body. When not properly disposed of, free radicals are one of the reactive oxygen species that create a chain reaction damaging everything, including DNA. The problem arises when the body fails to detoxify these reactive oxygen species, and then the latter run amok inside the body. This is when antioxidants come into the picture.
Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Peroxyl Radicals
Vitamin C and Vitamin E are lipids that protect the interior of cells from the outside environment and play a role in storing energy for use by the human body. Different groups of lipids encompass several major chemical reactions in the body, including securing the proper functions of physiological communication lines. In a process called lipid peroxidation, peroxyl radicals go on a killing spree by depriving the lipids of electrons, which continues as they bring in more radicals. The human body make use of Vitamin C and Vitamin E to police the proliferation of lipid radicals in time to deactivate lipid radicals and avoid unwanted effects on cell membranes.
Ascorbate and Tocopherol as Co-Antioxidants
In chemical reactions, the body utilizes forms of tocopherol in Vitamin E and ascorbate ions in Vitamin C. These antioxidants work on the principle of pairing with peroxyl radicals, taking on radical forms, ascorbate and tocopherol, to stop the oxidation process initiated by free radicals. At the molecular level, ascorbate makes an ideal antioxidant as it does not react with oxygen and terminates harmful peroxyl radicals that continue to oxidize. Studies say that Vitamin C and Vitamin E are co-antioxidants in that ascorbate works with tocopherol. For example, when continuing oxidation damage lipids, tocopherol, Vitamin E, removes the harmful radicals, and ascorbate recycles Vitamin E back to its usable tocopherol form.
The Perfect Match
Alpha Lipoic Acid recycles both Vitamin C and Vitamin E because alpha lipoic acid is both water and fat soluble.
Natural Remedies To Control Blood Sugar
June 17, 2010 01:32 PM
Diabetes has now been found to be the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and Canada. It is a chronic disorder of carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. The disease starts off as a variety of metabolic changes that are associated with hyperinsulinemenia and hyperglycemia. When this happens, Insulin Resistance Syndrome results, which is a precursor to actual, full-blown, diabetes. If left untreated, insulin resistance will develop into full-blown diabetes, which includes greatly magnified risks of heart disease, stroke, eye and kidney disease, and loss of nerve function. It should be noted that diabetes is the principal cause of adult blindness and limb amputation.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In this type of diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is crucial for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. The body breaks down all of the sugars and starches that you consume into glucose, while insulin takes the glucose from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into the cells, the cells may be starved for energy immediately, and high blood sugar glucose levels over time can cause damage to your eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart. Diabetes occurs in people of all ages and races, with some groups having a higher risk for developing it than others. Diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans, as well as the older aged population.
Non-insulin-dependent diabetes, also known as type 2 diabetes, is a disease that is strongly associated with a sedentary lifestyle and the modern western diet. Inadequate physical activity, along with a diet that is high in refined sugars, saturated fats, and proteins, and simultaneously low in dietary fiber has resulted in an obesity epidemic throughout the United States and Canada. With this epidemic has risen the prevalence of type 2 diabetes. In fact, obesity is a main factor in type 2 diabetes, with almost 90% of those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes being obese at the time of diagnosis. Although there is still a disagreement as to whether obesity actually causes type 2 diabetes or whether diabetes causes obesity, there is one thing that is clear: the disease involves a huge disturbance to the metabolic balance of the body and weight is a major factor in blood sugar management. This disturbance leads to dramatic consequences for the individual.
In order to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, it is crucial that one prevents the onset of insulin resistance. Unfortunately, millions of North Americans unknowingly suffer from this syndrome. This places them at an increased risk for cardiovascular and neurological dysfunctions. Research has shown that complications that are associated with the development of insulin resistance may be mitigated effectively by conscientious dietary and lifestyle changes along with weight loss.
Vitamins B3, B6, B12, C, E, biotin, coenzyme Q10, and the trace elements chromium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc are all crucial for proper blood sugar defense and metabolic support, as well as the regulation of glucose metabolism. Supplementation with these nutrients at levels that are determined to be suitable for optimal nutritional health by cited nutritional authorities is an important part of product-rating criteria. Nutritional experts ask themselves whether the product in question contains vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, biotin, coenzyme Q10, chromium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc at potencies that are up to 100% of the potencies for these nutrients in the Blended Standard.
Excess weight seems to be a key factor in type 2 diabetes so it seems to reason that reducing body fat can help one improve insulin sensitivity. Losing weight is no easy task but is possible with consistent work. Fortunately, heath food stores have vitamin formulas that may help improve insulin sensitivity, but this is no substitute for good clean eating and exercise. For additional information on these supplements, please contact your local health food retailer.
Vitamin A Vs Beta-Carotene and its Safety
May 09, 2010 08:20 AM
Although Vitamin A deficiency is prevalent throughout the world, retinol toxicity is a common occurrence as well. About five percent of those who supplement with vitamin A unknowingly suffer from toxicity symptoms. It should be noted that supplementation at 5,000 to 10,000 IU per day of preformed vitamin A, which is dose that is well within the range that is offered in many popular vitamin supplements is a safe effective doses, additional supplementation of vitamin A may actually lead to a cumulative toxic overdose. Additionally, accidental ingestion of one single, large dose of vitamin A, can produce acute toxicity in children, always keep vitamin A out of reach of small ones.
A large study on over 22,000 pregnant women who supplemented with vitamin A during early pregnancy found that those women taking more than 60,000 IU of preformed vitamin A per day in the form of supplements had about one in fifty-seven of a chance of a malformation attributable to the supplement. In consuming more than 60,000 IU of vitamin A, a five-fold greater risk for birth defects arises as compared to consumption of less than 25,000 IU per day. The prevalence of birth defects seems to be greatest in those women who consume high levels of pre-formed vitamin within the first seven weeks of their pregnancy. Authors of the study concluded that women who may possibly become pregnant should limit their retinol intake to below 15,000 IU, or supplement with beta-carotene instead.
Beta-carotene is the orange/yellow-colored pigment that is often found in many garden vegetables. It is a retinal precursor. The body is able to easily convert beta-carotene into vitamin A by turning the carotene molecule into two molecules of retinol as they are needed. This allows for the avoidance of toxic accumulation of pre-formed vitamin A. Once beta-carotene is transformed into active retinol, it offers the same beneficial affects. The only symptoms associated with beta-carotene supplementation are loose stools or slight discoloration of the skin. This makes beta-carotene, even at high doses, safe for the body because it does not exhibit toxicity. An added benefit of beta-carotene is that it is a much more potent antioxidant than retinol, as it provides even greater protection against oxidative challenges. The worst thing that can happen to you if you take too much beta-carotene is that you may turn orange like a carrot. However, this should not be a worry because you will be just fine.
The majority of nutrients that are used in supplementation have a large measure of safety. Unfortunately, the use of vitamin A warrants prudence and caution. This is especially crucial when it is consumed by children or those women who are pregnant. Because of this, the level of vitamin A in excess of the upper limit of intake that is prescribed by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, is a crucial criterion in determining how good a product is. The criterion for potential toxicities asks whether the nutritional supplement contains vitamin A. If so, it asks whether the potency of vitamin A exceeds 100% of the upper limit of intake that is prescribed by the US Food and Nutrition Board.
To be on the safe side, take beta-carotene which has no side effects even at very high doses but exhibits the same health benefits of consuming preformed vitamin A. Look to your local or internet vitamin store for name brands like Solaray and Source Naturals for all your Vitamin A and beta-carotene needs.
August 26, 2008 04:58 PM
GABA is gama amino butyric acid, and is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is essential for the proper function of your brain and the central nervous system, and has the effect of reducing excessive brain activity and promoting a state of calm.
For many people, the rush of daily life, with its problems, worries and external stimuli, can over-stimulate the brain to the extent that it can all seem too much for them. They feel anxious and overwhelmed, and wish that they could just go into a quiet corner to get away from it all. Most people have felt like that at some time, but the demands of life do not allow them that luxury. They just have to bear it and get on with life.
That is where GABA can come in. It can be used to bring your nervous system back to base, and make you feel more relaxed, calmer and more able to meet these challenges that life often throws at you. When you feel that you just can’t relax or concentrate on what you are doing, GABA can help you. If you look around you and everybody else seems OK, without apparently feeling the stress and irritability that you feel, and then perhaps your problem is due to a GABA deficiency. GABA is the principal inhibitory neurotransmitter in your brain, and a deficiency would certainly give you the symptoms that you are feeling. Let me explain why.
As your brain becomes excited, it can run out of control and needs some form of modification or inhibition to keep it acting as normal. Without this you would become increasingly more restless and irritable, and ultimately have seizures. GABA is not only the main inhibitor in your brain, but also helps in the production of endorphins that provide you with a sense of well being. That sense of calm you feel when endorphins are produced, for example during exercise or sexual intercourse, is commonly referred to as the ‘endorphin effect’.
GABA is at its highest concentration in specific areas of the brain, including the hypothalamus, the hippocampus and the central brain area, and is present in up to 40% of all synapses, the small gaps between neurons across which brain cells can communicate with each other.
It is produced during the Krebs or Citric Acid Cycle that is responsible for cell respiration or the production of energy from carbohydrates. It is synthesized from alpha-keto glutarate, which is produced just before the Succinyl Co-A stage of the Krebs Cycle in the brain. Vitamin B6 in involved in its metabolism, and a Vitamin B6 deficiency can lead to a deficiency in GABA that might result in seizures.
Basically GABA works by inhibiting the firing of neurons in your brain, and thus reducing general brain activity. The GABA receptor allows more chloride ion to enter the brain cell, thus helping to maintain the electrical charge within the cells. Bezodiazepines (e.g. diazepam) work by increasing the effectiveness of GABA in opening the chloride ion cells to allow more chloride ion to enter the neurons, and caffeine does the opposite, and inhibits this property of GABA. Thus diazepam works as a minor tranquilizer and caffeine as a stimulant.
Alcohol has a similar effect to the benzodiazepines, increasing the release of chloride into the neurons, and is the major way in which alcohol affects the brain. In fact, tolerance to drugs and withdrawal symptoms can be explained by the receptors adapting to the drug. They may increase in number, which means that more of the drug is needed to work on them, and they can become hypoactive in the event of the drug being withdrawn, that enhances the symptoms that the drug was intended to treat.
So basically, that is the way that GABA works. In simple terms it increases the flow of chloride electrolyte to the brain, and in so doing affects our mood. This effect is enhanced by prescription drugs such as Valium and Ativan, which are used by those that suffer the effects of a GABA deficiency. However, these drugs have side effects, not the least of which is dependency due to the GABA receptors becoming modified to suit the drug. There is a more natural way to overcome many stress problems and symptoms of mood swings.
knowing what causes these symptoms, it makes sense to eat foods that stimulate the creation of neurotransmitters to replace those that are deficient. Since GABA is produced in the Krebs Cycle and complex carbohydrates produce glutamine that is an important part of that Cycle, and is also the precursor to GABA, then the consumption of such foods should in theory produce more GABA. In this case the theory works, and you should eat foods rich in complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, brown rice and oats as part of your diet.
Other foods that are high in glutamine or its precursors, glutamic acid and glutamate, include citrus fruits, beef liver, broccoli, halibut and lentils. A useful supplement to take is L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, and available in supplement form. L-theanine can calm your nerves while maintaining clarity of thought. In other words it calms you down, but doesn’t make you drowsy and allows you to enjoy your day with anxiety.
Your doctor can determine whether or not you have a neurotransmitter deficiency through a simple urine test, and might also test your saliva for hormone content. A GABA supplement might be indicated, and if so it other beneficial effects on your body other than its effect on your brain cells.
It improves your sleep cycles and promotes vivid dreaming, and can also have a positive effect on your blood pressure. It is also an effective pain killer, and can provide relief from such conditions as back pain and arthritis. Its stimulating effect on the anterior pituitary gland to secrete Human Growth Hormone might also be regarded as a benefit by many. Increasing the level of HGH in your blood can lead to fat loss and improved anabolic activity (increase in muscle tissue). This can be of benefit to older people whose level of HGH secretion has dropped off, and who find it more difficult to lose fat.
GABA is a substance that has many known benefits and no known side effects other than a slight tingling and increase in heart rate when the supplement is first used. It has a definite benefit for people to whom the world seems too hectic and overwhelming.
B Vitamin Complex
June 23, 2008 03:19 PM
The vitamin B supplement you take is a mixture of nutrients that, although they share the same vitamin letter, are in fact distinctly different chemical entities. The reason that they share the same reference letter of the alphabet is that they are all essential water soluble vitamins (Vitamin C being the only other), they frequently work in synergy with each other and they often come from common sources and have similar properties in the body. They were therefore at one time believed to be just the one chemical entity.
They are essential in that they must form part of our diet because our bodies cannot manufacture these substances from others, and although most share common biochemical and health functions, there is no health function that requires all of them, and none of them can be totally replaced by another.
The B-Vitamin complex that you take can consist of as many as eight different B vitamins, each of which is essential for a healthy body and at one time it was believed that this mixture was only one single vitamin. That is why they are collectively known as vitamin B and were subsequently allocated numbers: it was only later that the individual components were discovered.
These eight are vitamin B-1 (thiamine), vitamin B-2 (riboflavin), vitamin B-3 (niacin), vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B-12 (cobalamins), biotin and folic acid (folate). They are found in yeast, liver, tuna, bananas and rice among other sources, and, as with all vitamins, without them life would not be possible. Not all vitamins are found in each of these food sources, and vitamin B-12, for example, is available in nutritional quantities only from animal sources.
knowing what they are is all very well, but what does your body do with the B vitamin supplement that you take? Before considering that, the reason that a regular supply is important is because of their water solubility. This is a useful property for a vitamin to possess, because it means that they can easily be transported by the body fluids to the tissues where they are needed. The downside, however, is that they are consequently also easily flushed from the body, and your body cannot store any of the B vitamins.
You therefore must have a regular dietary source that can be augmented through supplementation. This is particularly desirable in alcoholics, those on diets to lose weight and vegans who are advised to take a regular vitamin B-12 supplement.
A lack of vitamin B will make you feel tired and lack energy because they play a big part in your body’s metabolism of blood glucose into energy. They also help to maintain a healthy immune system, keep your nervous system in tip-top condition and maintain good healthy skin, hair and muscles. The B complex is also very important in maintaining healthy blood and liver, and each and every component of the mixture has a specific part to play, both on individually and by interaction with others in the B complex.
Rather than examining what your body does with the supplement as a whole, let’s have a look at each component, and what your body does with that. Taking them one at a time, thiamine (B1) helps you to burn carbohydrates to generate energy. It is highly water soluble and must be taken daily. In the form of thiamine pyrophosphate it plays a key part in the metabolism of carbohydrates to energy, and also in the metabolism of certain amino acids. If you rely heavily on a high carbohydrate diet, you will need a good regular supplement of thiamine to be able to convert them to energy.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) also plays a part in fat and carbohydrate metabolism and the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule of energy. It plays a significant part in the health of your skin and a deficiency is associated with mouth ulcers, cracked lips, flaky skin and bloodshot watery eyes. It also activates vitamin B6 and folic acid, one of the cases where the B vitamins work together synergistically.
Vitamin B3, or niacin, is well known to women as a component of some shampoos, and helps to promote health hair. However, this vitamin also takes part in the process of energy creation within your body, and helps to maintain a good muscle tone within the digestive tract. It is also used as a supplement for the treatment of diseases related to high levels of LDL cholesterol and is useful for the treatment of atherosclerosis.
Pantothenic acid is also found as a component of shampoos, so no prizes for guessing one of its functions. Vitamin B-5 plays a significant part in the energy-producing Krebs Cycle, or Citric Acid Cycle, that is used by every cell in your body to generate energy just where it is needed. It is also needed to synthesize acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter needed for good brain function and it helps to reduce stress. Pantothenic acid is also closely involved in the production of cholesterol in your liver: cholesterol is not all bad, and is needed by your body to produce some of the steroid hormones and also vitamin D.
Amino acids are the small units that are used to biosynthesize proteins and ultimately the genes and DNA that determine who you are. The major factor involved in processing these amino acids is Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), one of the lesser known of the vitamin B complex. It synthesizes and breaks up different amino acids to produce a variety of other compounds, such as the hormones serotonin, melatonin and dopamine.
Deficiencies in these hormones can be very serious, Parkinson’s disease believed to be connected with a dopamine deficiency for example, and other disorders include kidney stones, anemia and many skin complaints. Although deficiency of vitamin B6 is rare, it can occur in alcoholics and those with chronic kidney problems. It is believed that many diets are deficient, however, and a good vitamin B supplement would ensure that this did not occur.
Vitamin B-12 is one where deficiency can occur, particularly in alcoholics and vegans. It is available in sufficient quantities only from meat sources, and a supplement is indicated in anyone with a low meat intake in their diet. It is used by your body for the replication of DNA and to allow the normal activity of your body cells. It also helps to control homocysteine levels in conjunction with vitamin B6 and folic acid: homocysteine is a high-risk amino acid associated with atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, heart attacks and strokes.
The seventh, biotin (sometimes referred to as vitamin B7) also takes part in the metabolism of energy, but deficiencies have not been known, and the final known member of the B vitamin complex is folic acid. This is essential for cell growth and the synthesis of RNA and DNA in the body. RNA (Ribonucleic acid) is responsible for the synthesis of proteins in your body, and the well known Deoxy-ribonucleic acid (DNA) holds the genetic information of your body. Folic acid is therefore essential in the growing fetus, and any other cellular system that rapidly regenerates such as blood cells and the various cells of the immune system.
Without folic acid your body would be more susceptible to bacterial and viral attack, and less able to protect you from foreign invaders into your body tissues. Although deficiency is not common, folic acid is present in fresh food only and degrades when stored at room temperature and when cooked. A supplement is therefore advisable during pregnancy to help to prevent neural tube defects.
It is evident that the Vitamin B complex plays many parts in the chemistry of your body, and that a supplement can be of benefit in assuring that there are no deficiencies. A good B complex can be found at your local or internet health food store.
This sour Indian fruit can have a sweet appetite-stifling effect
May 26, 2007 05:44 PM
Stay satisfied with garcinia
This sour Indian fruit can have a sweet appetite-stifling effect.
It’s funny how modern science continues to support ancient systems of herbal healing. Such is the case with garcinia: the yellowish, pumpkin like fruit of the Garcinia cambogia tree, log valued in tropical Asian cooking for its sweetly acidic taste, is a traditional Indian remedy for digestive problems that is also used to make meals more filling. Today, garcinia (also known as brindleberry and Malabar tamarind) is used in natural weight-loss products based on research supporting its stomach satiating powers. Scientists also believe that garcinia helps block fat formation and regulate glucose (blood sugar) usage vital functions in an increasingly overweight world.
Filling up Faster
One reason so many people losing the battle of the bulge is that temptations to eat – and eat – are absolutely everywhere, often as the focal points of clever and well designed advertising campaigns. (Remember the slogan “belch’a can’t eat just one”?) To make matters worse, restaurants often serve overly generous portions and experiments have shown that the more food you serve, the more people will consume. For example,
The answer would seem simple – just eat less. But knowing when to say when isn’t easy. That’s where garcinia comes in, specifically an extract taken from the rind called HCA (Hydroxycitric acid). In laboratory animals HCA has upped levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps suppress appetite and elevate mood, which might help take the edge off the depressing and binge-eating urges that often affect would-be weight losers. At the same time HCA appears to reduce levels of another substance in the brain called neuropeptide Y, which enhances appetite (Experimental Biology meeting 4/06).
What is it: the pumpkin-like fruit of the garcinia cambogia tree; this Indian native is used in cooking and in Ayurveda, the country’s system of traditional medicine.
What is does: A popular ingredient in natural weight-loss aids, garcinia is being investigated for possible fat blocking and appetite-suppressing functions; it may also help regulate glucose (blood sugar).
Fat Smack down
The fat that stubbornly clings to your frame doesn’t always start out that way. In many cases, your body actually creates fat from excess carbohydrates (such as the icing encrusted doughnut you couldn’t pass u at breakfast). If you don’t burn off those extra carbs through exercise, they are broken down into citrates that are then transformed into the building blocks of body fat. This process is controlled by an enzyme called citrate lyase; HCA interferes with this crucial enzyme, an action that inhibits fat formation. Researchers believe the body uses those extra carbs to provide more energy; this mechanism may also have the happy side effect of further checking appetite. In addition, results from a Dutch lab study indicate that garcinia may blunt sugar-induced increases in glucose, which can help forestall diabetes development.
Garcinia works best when teamed with out nutrients and herbs, such as chromium, green tea and forskolin. In one investigation, over weight people who stuck to a supervised diet and exercise program supplemented with a combination of HCA, chromium and another herb called Gymnema lost body weight and mass, and showed improved fat burning capacity (Nutrition Research 1/04). This modern usage mirrors Ayurveda’s ancient precepts, according to which individual remedies are generally used in combination for more effective results. Looking to get your meals more staying power? Then look for garcinia in your favorite weight loss formula. –Lisa James
For Better Heart Health ...
February 06, 2007 12:57 PM
Nutrients Every Heart Needs
High blood pressure. High cholesterol levels. Ever increasing stress. All are factors related to the development of heart disease – the leading cause of death for both men and women. In fact, 1 in 2 women in the
Fortunately, heart disease is a problem you can do something about. Proven ways to prevent or mitigate the effects of heart disease include taking targeted nutritional supplements, making changes in the foods we eat, exercising most days of the week, drinking in moderation, eliminating tobacco use and adapting a positive attitude. Research shows that those of us who are often angry and depressed have more heart disease than people that live their lives with a more positive outlook.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’ll talk about specific nutritional supplements that are heart healthy, whether your goal is to prevent heart disease or reduce the effects of heart disease if you currently have it.
Q. I am trying hard to live a healthier life. But it all seems so overwhelming. How do I start?
A. It may help to know that you’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed. Lots of people feel this way. This is why the Centers for Disease Control and the American Heart Association are both urging people to prevent heart disease by identifying their individual health risk factors.
A risk factor is an indicator of whether or not you may develop a certain health condition. In heart disease prevention, there are two kinds of risk factors. There are risk factor you can control – such as diet, exercise, and the supplements you take. There are also risk factors you can’t change or control –your age, race, and gender, as well as your family’s history of heart disease.
Examples can be really helpful. Let’s follow three adults – Fred, Jane, and Earl – and determine their risk factors.
Fred is 32, single, has a job he loves, has an optimistic attitude about his life, and works out 5 days a week. Most days Fred’s diet is fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat. Occasionally Fred will eat a cheeseburger and fries when he watches the game with his buddies. Fred’s risk factors are his male gender and the occasional high fat content in his diet.
Jane is 55, a lawyer, married, and has a very stressful job. Jane eats lots of salads, fruits, and whole grains. However, her job requires her to work long hours which leaves little time to exercise. Jane is for the most part happy with her life, but her work stress had led to times of negativity. Her father had a heart attack when he was 56. Jane’s risk factors include her age (greater than 50), negativity from job stress, lack of regular exercise, and a family history of heart disease.
Earl is 65, married, and has just retired from a job he hated. He spends most of his day watching TV and eating potato chips and other high fat, salty snacks. Earl has told his friends and family since he worked so hard for so long, he is sure to drop dead soon after retiring. He has high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Earl’s father had a heart attack and died when he was 73. Earl’s risk is his male gender, age (greater than 50), sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, negative outlook on life, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and a family history of heart disease.
Q. OK, it’s pretty easy to see that Fred needs to watch his diet, Jane needs to exercise more, and Earl needs lots of help. But, which supplements should they take?
A. The Whole Heart Nutrition chart is an easy way to determine the supplements each risk level needs. As you can see, everyone wanting to prevent heart disease – Fred, Jane, Earl, you, and I – need to take quality heart formula multivitamin, garlic, and a fish oil supplement providing Omega-3 fatty acids. CoQ10 is also a smart choice for complete heart heath support.
Q. Why do we all need to take a “heart multivitamin”? Why can’t we take a regular multivitamin to prevent heart disease?
A. Since the human heart simply cannot function without adequate amounts of certain vitamins and minerals, it seems logical that a multivitamin would be the foundation of good nutrition for your heart. Heart-health formulated multivitamins provide the exact nutrients needed to prevent heart disease.
That’s why we need to take a specially formulated heart-focused multi-vitamin. The cells and the tissues that make up the heart must have vitamins C, A, and E, as well as B1, B6, and B12 to function. Folic acid, the little B vitamin that is so crucial in preventing spina bifida (a birth defect), breast cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease is also needed to keep heart muscles strong. The B vitamins and folic acid are very important to heart health because they help lower homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a potential and emerging cardiac risk factor,
Magnesium is a mighty mineral and healthy hearts need it every day. Aloha lipoic acid, a fatty acid, provides protection against heart cholesterol and high blood pressure. Lutein and lycopene are all-natural nutrients and keep our arteries free from the buildup of plaque, a condition linked to heart attacks and strokes.
Multivitamins formulated with these exact vitamins, minerals, and nutrients will work with medications often prescribed to treat heart disease and provide the nutrition our hearts need.
Q. Don’t all multivitamins work with medications prescribed to treat heart disease?
A. Many multivitamin formulas contain herbs and other nutrients that can interfere with prescription medications, especially mediations prescribed to treat heart disease. One multivitamin does not fit all.
The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing heart disease.
Q. What can garlic supplements do for Fred, Jane and Earl or other people with low to high risk factors?
A. Garlic supplements have a very long and very successful history of preventing premature death from heart attacks. Lately, however, there have been some conflicting news stories about supplemental garlic’s ability to lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure – the causes of heart disease and death. That’s because many different garlic supplements have been used in these studies – garlic oil, garlic powder, aged garlic extract, and supplements made from fresh garlic. They have all been studied clinically for their effects in heart disease.
The best garlic supplements (and the ones that showed the best effects in garlic studies) contain alliin, which is then converted to allicin. Allicin is the compound that lowers harmfully high cholesterol levels and dangerous blood pressure readings. Allicin is also responsible for garlic’s characteristic odor. Because alliin is very stable when dry, properly prepared and enteric coated fresh garlic preparations preserve the allicin-producing action until the garlic mixes with the fluids of the intestinal tract. Fresh garlic extract’s enteric coating also prevents garlic breath. In contrast, aged garlic contains absolutely no allicin or allicin potential. This fact is probably responsible for the poor results noted in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure from aged garlic preparations.
The most effective garlic supplements are made from fresh garlic, enteric coated, and provide a daily dose of at least 10 milligrams (mg) alliin or a total allicin potential of 4,000 micrograms (mcg). Taking a once-daily garlic supplement that delivers 4,000 mcg of allicin will lower Jane’s and Earl’s high blood pressure and Earl’s high cholesterol, naturally and effectively.
Whole Heart Nutrition
Each additional risk factor requires additional supplements or increased doses for protection from heart disease.
Q. What about fish oil supplements? I know they can prevent heart disease but I’ve also heard they contain harmful substances, too.
A. You’re right on both counts. But, there are excellent fish oil supplements naturally loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, powerful nutrients that prevent heart disease, that are also certified free of harmful contaminants.
In the 1980s, researchers first began noticing the native Inuit (Eskimo) populations of Greenland and
Research has shown that the Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements can:
-Reduce the risk of arrhythmias, lethal heartbeat rhythms that cause sudden death.
-Lower the levels of triglycerides, fats in the blood that can increase a person’s
risk of dying from a heart attack, even if a person’s cholesterol levels are normal.
-Slow atherosclerosis – the growth of harmful plaque on artery walls.
Atherosclerosis develops over many years. If the plaque growth is slow and
stable, chances are low that a heart attack will result. However, rapidly growing
or unstable plaques can rupture. The body responds with inflammation, which
causes blood clots to form. These blood clots block the artery and cause a heart
-Keep blood pressure levels low. Many people have high blood pressure for years
without knowing it. That’s because it has no symptoms. Uncontrolled high
blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney failure.
While 25% of Americans have high blood pressure, nearly one-third of these
people don’t know they have it. This is why high blood pressure is often called
the “silent killer.”
You can get all of this heart disease preventive protection from just 600-1800 mg of fish oil. It’s pretty simple to see why Fred, Jane, Earl, and you and I need to take fish oil supplements every day.
However, it is absolutely critical that the fish oil supplement you take is free of contaminants and guaranteed fresh! Make sure that the manufacturer of the fish oil supplement you buy is able to provide documentation of purity in their product. Supplements should contain no detectable dioxin (a widely used toxic preservative), DDT (a toxic insecticide), PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) or heavy metals such as mercury and lead.
Before you buy any fish oil supplement, ask the clerk if you can open the bottle or jar and smell the contents. A fishy smelling fish oil supplementation means it is rancid. Rancid fish oil is not going to help your heart at all and may actually hurt it.
Q. That leaves CoQ10. Why is it important for Jane and Earl?
A. CoQ10, also known as ubiquinone, is the premier heart supplement! CoQ10 is part of our energy producing system. It works directly in the mitochondria of each cell. Mitochondria are highly specialized structures within each cell and are often referred to as powerhouses. These tiny energy producers generate 95% of the energy the body requires. The number of mitochondria in a cell depends on its function and energy needs. The heart has very important functions and requires a vast amount of energy. Thus, the heart has a lot of mitochondria or little powerhouses.
CoQ10 is incredibly crucial to the health of our hearts. Especially to hearts that are pumping blood with too much cholesterol. But, in a dangerous paradox, CoQ10 levels can become dangerously depleted when physicians treat high cholesterol in their patients with certain medications. The so-called “statin” drugs (Mevacor/lovastatin and Crestor/rosubastatin are two examples) are powerful and medications prescribed to lower harmful cholesterol levels. However, one very harmful side effect they share is that they deprive cells of CoQ10. While some physicians are aware of this serious side effect and tell their patients to take at least 400 mg of CoQ10 each day, most are not. The result? Any good the statin drugs may be doing is actually negated by their depletion of CoQ10.
Q. How does CoQ10 actually work? Has it been studied in heart disease?
A. Yes, it has! CoQ10 has been extensively studied in heart disease. This natural nutrient is present in every nucleated cell in our body (the only cells that don’t contain CoQ10 are red blood cells). Heart cells, however, are absolutely loaded with CoQ10. Its job is fairly simply – CoQ10 is vital to the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the compound our body uses for 95% of its energy needs.
In 1998, 144 patients who had been admitted to the hospital after a heart attack, participated in a CoQ10 study. Half of the patients received 120 mg of CoQ10 a day in addition to the usual treatments given to heart attack patients. The other half, the control group, received the usual treatments and a placebo, but no CoQ10.
The results showed that the group taking CoQ10 had less irregular heartbeat, experienced less angina (a type of heart pain), and had much better function in the left ventricle (the most essential chamber of the heart), compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden heart failure or another heart attack were also reduced in the CoQ10 group.
Q. What if I have already been diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure? Will CoQ10 still help me?
A. CoQ10 has been proven in study after study to help slow down the destruction that occurs in congestive heart failure (CHF), a serious heart disease, and heal the heart muscles damaged by heart attacks. In fact, heart attacks often occur when the body’s CoQ10 levels are low.
In a CHF study, patients received 100 mg of CoQ10 or a placebo twice daily for 12 weeks. Before and after the treatment period, the researchers introduced a catheter into the right ventricle of the patients’ hearts to determine the degree of muscle damage CHF had caused. In the group who took CoQ10, the pumping ability of the heart improved significantly. The placebo group’s hearts did not. The researchers conducting the study recommended that people with CHF add CoQ10 to the other medications they need to take to stay alive and well.
Q. Are some types of CoQ10 better than others?
A. Indeed they are. CoQ10 products are not created equally. The key to this natural medicine is the quality of the manufacturing. Take a CoQ10 supplement that’s been used in research conducted by prestigious universities (it will tell you this right on the label). Researchers want the best CoQ10 for their studies. You want the best CoQ10 for yourself and your loved ones.
The best CoQ10 has to meet the following criteria:
1. Must be easily absorbed during the digestion process so that it can get into the
2. Must reach the mitochondria in the cell.
3. Must be proven effective in studies.
4. Must be safe and free of impurities.
Q. It sounds as if CoQ10 is only for people with moderate or high risk factors. Can others benefit from this supplement?
A. Many people, including those like Fred with low risk factors or no risk of heart disease take CoQ10 every day. CoQ10 supplements may reduce your risk of cancer, prevent gum disease, and help certain nerve cells work more effectively.
Understanding your personal risk factors, making it better lifestyle choices, taking a multivitamin formulated for your heart, an enteric-coated fresh garlic supplement, fish oil supplement with Omega-3 fatty acids, and CoQ10 – the heart’s super-nutrient – can help keep your heart healthy and strong.
Helen Keller, the famous lecturer and author, who was both blind and deaf wrote, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot e seen or even touched. They must be felt with the human heart.”
Healthy hearts have the most opportunities to “feel” the best and are the most beautiful thing our world has to offer.
This is sour Indian fruit can have a sweet appetite stifling effect.
January 13, 2007 02:44 PM
It’s funny how modern science continues to support ancient systems of herbal healing. Such is the case with Garcinia: The yellowish, pumpkin like fruit of the Garcinia Cambodia tree, long valued in tropical Asian cooking for its sweetly acidic taste, is a traditional Indian remedy for digestive problems that is also used to make meals more filling. Today, Garcinia (also known as brindleberry and Malabar tamarind) is used in natural weight-loss products based on research supporting its stomach satiating powers. Scientists also believe that Garcinia helps block fat formation and regulate glucose (blood sugar) usage—vital functions in an increasingly overweight world.
Filling Up Faster
One reason so many people are losing the battle of the bulge is that temptations to eat-and eat—are absolutely everywhere, often as the focal points of clever and well designed advertising campaigns. (Remember the slogan “belch’a can’t eat just one”?) To make matters worse, restaurants often server overly generous portions and experiments have shown that the more food you serve, the more people will consume. For example, Chicago moviegoers ate 45% more popcorn from larger containers even when they were given stale product (Food Quality and Preference 1/01).
The answer would seem simple—just eat less. But knowing when to say when isn’t easy. That’s where garcinia comes in, specifically an extract taken from the rind called HCA (Hydroxycitric acid). In laboratory animals HCA has upped levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps suppress appetite and elevate mood, which might help take the edge off the depression and binge-eating urges that often affect would-be weight losers. At the same time HCA appears to reduce levels of another substance in the brain called neuropeptide Y, which enhances appetite (Experimental Biology meeting 4/06).
What it is: the pumpkin-like fruit of the Garcinia cambogia tree; this Indian native is used in cooking and in Ayurveda, that country’s system of traditional medicine
What it Does: A popular ingredient in natural weight-loss aids, garcinia is being investigated for possible fat blocking and appetite suppressing functions; it may also help regulate glucose (blood sugar).
The fat that stubbornly clings to your frame doesn’t always start out that way. In many cases, your body actually creates fat from excess carbohydrates (such as the icing encrusted doughnut you couldn’t pass up at breakfast). If you don’t burn off those extra carbs through exercise, they are broken down into citrates that are then transformed into the building blocks of body fat. This process is controlled by an enzyme called citrate lyase; HCA interferes with this crucial enzyme, an action that inhibits fat formation. Researchers believe the body uses those extra carbs to provide more energy; this mechanism may also have the happy side effect of further checking appetite. In addition, results from a Dutch lab study indicate that garcinia may blunt sugar-induced increases in glucose, which can help forestall diabetes development.
Garcinia works best when teamed with other nutrients and herbs, such as chromium, green tea and forskolin. In one investigation, overweight people who stuck to a supervised diet and exercise program supplemented with a combination of HCA, chromium and another herb called Gymnema lost body weight as mass, and showed improved fat burning capacity (Nutrition Research 1/04). This modern usage mirrors Ayurveda’s ancient precepts, according to which individual remedies are generally used in combination for more effective results.
Looking to give your meal more staying power? Then look for garcinia in your favorite weight loss formula. –Lisa James.
Product Resurfaces under a new name - from HSI - Health Sciences Institute
July 08, 2006 01:55 PM
You may remember the outrageous ruling resulting scandal surrounding Lane Labs MGN3 product back in july 2004. essentially, the FDA forced the company to stop selling the product—not because it was dangerous or ineffective but because the FDA felt that Lane Labs marketing language made disease clams allowed only for FDA-approved drugs.
When that happened, everyone who had experienced great results with this immune system booster (including many HSI members) suddenly found themselves without a safe and effective product they could rely on. So we promised that we would keep a lookout for a natural and effective therapy that would provide similar benefits to the outlawed MGN3 formula.
But we’re officially calling off the search. A new product called PeakImmune4 was introduced in july 2005. but as it turned out, Peakimmune4 really isn’t new at all. It actually contains the same active ingredients as MGN3—it’s just being sold by a different company under a different name.
When products change names and hands, it can be co concerting. And I have to admit that at first, this seemed kind of fishy to me. so I did some digging to find out if Peakimmune4 was really all it was cracked up to be. What I realized at the end of this winding trail was that to best understood the story, you need to start at the beginning.
Connecting the dots
In 1992, Daiwa Pharmaceutical began developing Rice Bran Arabinoxylan Compound (RBAC). RBAC does right to the source of ultimate health: your immune system. Human clinical studies have proven that RBAC can more than triple the activity of Natural Killer cells, the body’s first line of defense against disease like cancer, HIV, and hepatitis. Studies also show that RBAC increases two other vital immune system cells: T cells and B cells.
Daiwa, which is based in Tokyo, Japan, licensed this patented formula to Lanes Labs, which sold it in the U.S. under the trademark MGN3. (We first told you about it back in 1999 in the June Issue of your Members Alert). But then in July 204, the government stepped in and barred Lane Labs from selling MGN3 (in addition to two other products). The FDA did not, however outlaw RBAC, the compound from which the product was make.
Daiwa, was left with a great product but no way to market it in the U.S. that’s when they decided to branch out and open their own company in the states, Daiwa Health Development, so they could continue to offer RBAC and introduce other Daiwa supplements to the market.
In July 2005, Daiwa launched Peakimmune4. it may be hard to find a connection between these two products because you wont find MGN3 mentioned in any of Peakimmune4’s promotional materials. That’s because the court did more than just forbid Lane Labs from selling MGN3. it also stipulated that the MGN3 brand name could not be used in marketing and promotion of supplements made from the same active ingredient, and that products could not be promoted as a replacement or substitutes for MGN3.
However, you can rest easy knowing that this product uses the same active as MGN3, which means the same solid research backs it up.
Recommendations for healthy immune system
Many immune system products require you to cycle on and off. But since Peakimmune4 does not lose effectiveness over time and doesn’t cause the immune system to attack itself, you can take it regularly without worrying about side effects.
Dr, Martin Milner, medical adviser to HIS, has used the RBAC compound for years. He has monitored its effectiveness in his own patients by testing their NK cell response. Milner confirmed clinically that his patients have retained increased levels of NK cell activity even when they used the product for prolonged periods of time.
For the best results, you should follow two simple steps: first, take four capsules three times a day for four weeks (before or after a meal). Then, after four weeks reduce dosage to the maintenance level of four capsules daily. You can find Peakimmune4 at most health food and vitamin stores. And don’t be surprised when it pops up in your doctor’s office under the name BRM4.
If you decide to try Peakimmune4 to support your immune system health, you should work with your health care professional, especially if you are pregnant, are nursing, are being treated for any medical condition, are currently taking medications, or have been diagnosed with a health disorder. And if you are taking immunosuppressant drugs for an organ transplant, you should NOT take a product with RBAC in it, each capsule contains 250mgs of Rice Bran Arabinoxylan Compound (RBAC). HSI www.HSIBaltimore.com
Folic Acid: Strengthening the Immune System in the Elderly
January 09, 2006 09:38 AM
Folic Acid: Strengthening the Immune System in the Elderly
By Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS, December 20, 2005, abstracted from “Dietary folate improves age-related decreases in lymphocyte function” in the January 2006 issue of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry Recent research has elucidated health-promoting roles for folic acid beyond that of insuring normal development of the fetus. In addition to helping decrease neural tube defects,1 folic acid can also help treat inflammatory bowel disease 2 improve memory 3 and help decrease an amino acid in the body, homocysteine,4 that increases heart disease risk.5 Now a new study 6 has found another way that folic acid can help us age more gracefully: by helping strengthen our immune system. Recognizing the importance of nutrition in the overall health of the immune system 7 and knowing that certain types of immune system cells, called “T cells”, decrease with age,(8,9) researchers fed 11-month-old and 23-month-old male rats either a control diet or a diet fortified with 35.7 mg per kg of folic acid for three weeks. Researchers found “a significant” increase in immune system strength in the folic acid group, specifically that of increased T cell levels, other immune system proteins called IL-2, IL-4, and anti-cancer proteins called “tumor necrosis factor”. While the study reaffirmed the immune system’s weakening with increasing age, the researchers concluded that “supplementing…with additional folate improves [immune system function] and that dietary folate requirement may be higher in the older population than in the younger population to support immune functions.” Greg Arnold is a Chiropractic Physician practicing in Danville, CA. You can contact Dr. Arnold directly by emailing him at mailto:ChiroDocPSUalum@msn.com or visiting his website www.CompleteChiropracticHealthcare.com Reference:
December 30, 2005 08:55 AM
If you consider yourself a serious, competitionminded athlete, you already know how important the “edge” is when it comes to your success. Regardless of whether it’s shaving a second off your personal best, squeezing out one more rep on the bench, or bumping up your batting average by just a tenth of a point, the difference between achieving fi rst place and an honorable mention may be a simple as knowing what specialty nutrients can make it so.
Thanks to impressive advances in the science of sports nutrition, there are plenty to choose from these days. Creatine monohydrate, for example, helps foster the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a mitochondrial chemical that makes it possible to store, produce and use energy for muscular contractions. Another, branched chain amino acids (BCAA), help increase protein synthesis by promoting anabolic balance by preventing the catabolism that typically occurs during intense training. Pyruvate, a unique pairing of calcium and pyruvic acid, helps facilitate the transfer of glucose from the bloodstream into muscles where it supports the production of metabolic energy.
When it comes to fueling your body with the nutrients and compounds it needs to perform at its pinnacle, quality takes top priority. Purchasing a line of supplements based on the allure of the label won’t do a thing for your ability to improve, physically. In fact, it may end up costing you more than just money in the long run. NOW Sports supplements are developed under the same demanding, science-based standards inherent to every NOW product, and guaranteed to be exceptional in potency, purity and quality.
Effer-C NUTRITION YOU CAN DRINK
December 27, 2005 09:49 AM
Pomeratrol™ Fact Sheet
December 19, 2005 09:09 AM
Pomeratrol™ Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 9/28/04
USER: Those needing antioxidant protection; People with a family history of cell growth abnormalities; Anyone concerned with aging
KEY INGREDIENT(S): Pomegranate fruit standardized extract 200 mg. (Punica granatum) containing 80% total polyphenols, including 40% Ellagic acid, Resveratrol (100% trans-resveratrol) 20 mg. from a blend of Japanese knotweed root extract (Polygonum cuspidatum) and grape skin extract (Vitis vinifera)
POTENTIAL BENEFITS: Ellagic acid is a polyphenol compound found in raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and other fruit. It has been shown to normalize cell death of abnormal cells, a process called apoptosis. This enhances the body’s cell growth control system by providing an important plant substance. It may bind to DNA to prevent damage to this all-important genetic material. This is a key step in preventing cell damage that leads to signs of aging.
The American Cancer Society says that research in animal and laboratory models has found that ellagic acid inhibits the abnormal growth of certain cells. Research at Ohio State University indicates that berries typically contain a few milligrams per ounce of ellagic acid, the actual level varying quite a bit from variables such as species, variety and growing conditions.
Resveratrol is an antioxidant compound that is a phytoestrogen, or plant estrogen, which is protective of hormone-mediated cells in the body. Resveratrol is a potent antioxidant if stabilized. If not stable, it may quickly metabolize out of the body. This compound is believed responsible for some of the beneficial effects of moderate red wine drinking on the cardiovascular system. Resveratrol is also considered to be beneficial to smokers’ lung tissue if it is stabilized to last long enough in the system to be transported there. Resveratrol is also an inhibitor of the COX-2 inflammatory enzyme and encourages cell death (apoptosis) of abnormally growing cells. In insect experiments resveratrol even repaired DNA, leading to a longer life for healthy cells even as it helped get rid of unhealthy cells. Again, this ability to protect cells and help the body rid itself of abnormal cells is a key factor in preventing signs of aging. One liter of red wine contains between 1.5 and 3 mg. of resveratrol.
OTHER IMPORTANT ISSUES: Resveratrol is a difficult substance to stabilize. Because of the difference between resveratrol produced in the oxygen-poor environment in red wine and the form of resveratrol in unstabilized supplements, it has long been thought that resveratrol supplements were not very effective in comparison with wine. knowing the importance of how a resveratrol supplement is metabolized, Now’s scientific staff has recently developed a special technique of stabilizing this compound in order to have an antioxidant effect closer to drinking a good glass of wine. While both trans and cis forms of resveratrol are naturally occurring, most of the recorded health benefits are attributed to the trans form. Now’s Pomeratrol provides trans-resveratrol.
DOSE: One capsule per day. Resveratrol has been used safely in studies at doses equivalent to 500 mg./day.
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: Other antioxidants and plant compounds: Vitamin C, pycnogenol, grape seed extract, and alpha lipoic acid.
CAUTIONS: Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. There are some indications that resveratrol is a mild anticoagulant ("blood thinner"), and it also may help keep blood vessels to remain open and flexible. Caution should be used by those on blood-thinning drugs. Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Omega Man - For Men Interested in Optimal Health
August 12, 2005 11:10 AM
For Men Interested in Optimal Health, Vitality and Staying Young
Scientists have discovered the key that unlocks the door to a longer life, healthy weight, optimal athletic performance, and overall well-being. That key is composed of essential fats, called omega-3 fatty acids. You need these fats to balance the effects of the male hormone testosterone. Found in flax, pumpkin seeds, and other plants, omega-3 fats are essential to well-being, vitality, and optimal fitness; yet most men are deficient in the omega-3s.
The low-fat and nonfat fads of the 1980s and 1990s taught nutrition experts a lot about the importance of omega-3 fats. As food manufacturers created one nonfat product after another, a strange thing happened- men got fatter and heart disease rates jumped.
Since then, experts at research institutions including Harvard and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have linked nonfat diets with depression, heart disease, weight gain, and poor physical performance.
We now know that all fats are not created equal. Although some fats are indeed bad for our health, other fats are essential to overall health, vitality, and well-being. Most men, however, over consume the wrong fats- those found in processed foods and animal products- and do not consume enough of the right fats. To make matters worse, the good omega-3s are dwindling from the food supply. Food processing has stripped this important fat from our foods, making supplementation necessary.
Thankfully, Omega Man from Barlean’s Organic Oils, a new whole food concentrate for men, will help reduce the risk of some of the most deadly and common men’s health problems. All men will benefit from Omega Man. Its blend of essential fats from flax, Styrian pumpkin seeds, and other sources complement one another, providing the optimal mix of the right types of fats, which promises to promote health and vitality no matter what your age.
From the athletic pursuits of your early twenties to the health concerns of your fifties and beyond, Omega Man is an important part of a man’s healthy diet and will unlock the door to a new, more vibrant, healthier you.
Recently, we’ve begun to report on the importance of certain men’s power foods and nutrients. By putting optimal amounts of these into men’s diets, men can ensure greater health and longevity.
Super Health Blend
Omega Man’s unique blend of flax, pumpkin and other fatty acid sources is an optimal formula for men’s health and vitality.
Organic Flaxseed Oil
Barlean’s award-winning organic omega-3 and lignan-rich flaxseed oil makes up the base of this formula and provides the richest and best-absorbed source of omega-3 fatty acids available. Other popular sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil, may contain contaminants such as mercury and industrial chemicals. Barlean’s flaxseed oil, on the other hand, comes from organic seeds grown in optimal conditions with no chemicals, pesticides, or other contaminants. You can feel safe knowing that all of Barlean’s flaxseed oil products, including Omega Man, are pure and fresh. They help you promote optimal health without polluting your body.
In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, Barlean’s lignan-rich flax oil is one of the world’s richest sources of lignans, important plant chemicals that act like hormones in the body. Lignans have been shown to bind to existing hormones in the body, bringing your hormones into the optimal balance needed for good health. Few men consume the amount of lignans needed to promote hormonal balance, making supplementation so important.
Lignans serve in the body to block two critical enzyme systems that serve to initiate prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia. The first is aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to a powerful testosterone derivative that is five times more powerful than its precursor in promoting prostatic disease. The second is 5-alpha reductase, and enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen. Despite popular belief, estrogen is much more powerful in provoking prostate disease than testosterone. In fact, the ratio of testosterone to estrogen begins to weigh in favor of estrogen in the aging male. As testosterone levels decline with age, estrogen levels appear to remain relatively stable. Compared to younger men, the ratio of estrogen to testosterone is up to 40 percent higher in older men.
Breakthrough research is implicating the imbalance between testosterone to estrogen as a primary cause of prostate disease. Flying in the face of past misconceptions, it would actually serve the aging male to increase testosterone at the expense of estrogen. It appears that this is exactly what lignans do in blocking the enzyme necessary for converting testosterone to estrogen. When the enzyme is blocked, testosterone is spared because it is not being converted to estrogen. In what you could visualize as a seesaw-like action, the ratio of testosterone to estrogen begins to move back in favor of testosterone.
The action of lignans in sparing testosterone may hold greater implications than the obvious. Lack or loss of sexual desire in men and women is oftentimes associated with low testosterone levels. By preserving testosterone, many men and women may be able to retain or regain their sexual vigor. In fact, agents that block the conversion of testosterone to estrogen have been showing to increase testosterone levels by as much as 10 percent. (Speaking of sexuality, the surgical treatment of choice for prostatic disease (prostectomy) is the leading cause of impotency in men over 50. This fact alone should be powerful motivation for men of all ages to consider a supplemental regime to include lignans to lower the incidence of prostate cancer and benign prostatic hypertrophy.)
The full significance of a “high-in-lignan” diet may be realized by the fact that lignans have been found isolated within prostatic fluids. Analytical work performed at a prominent cancer research center has indicated that the level of lignan in expressed prostatic fluid can be remarkable high, suggesting that it could well exercise a physiologic role within the gland. The glandular cells are certainly bathed in prostatic secretion for some considerable period, during which they could well influence cell biology. It has been established that the higher the intake of dietary lignans, the higher the physiologic lignan concentration in urine, blood plasma and prostatic secretions. The inference here is that the more dietary lignans that are ingested the more protection is offered in bathing the prostate gland in fluids high in protective lignans.
Styrian Pumpkin Seed Oil
Barlean’s went to the edge of the earth to procure the seeds of a rare and unique pumpkin found only in the region of southeast Austria. It is reputed for its extraordinary wealth of vitamins A, C, E, and K and high levels of phytosterols, all important for reducing risk of enlarged prostate and in the fight again cancer and heart disease.
Nearly every part of your body, from your internal organs to your cell membranes to your brain, contains phospholipids. Phospholipid supplementation has been shown to promote heart, digestive, liver, and brain health. Omega Man contains the optimal amounts of phospholipids for your health.
Plant Phytosterol Complex
Omega man is a rich source of the plant phytosterols betasitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol. If men have not begun to put phytosterols into their diet, then they’re missing out on an important natural food constituent that offers protection against toe most common cancers, that is an excellent remedy for enlarges prostate, and lowers cholesterol. Phytosterols are used widely in Europe to treat enlarge prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and are known to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by interfering with cholesterol absorption. Omega Man contains an optimal blend.
Energizing Intimacy - The foundation of a loving relationship is built on communication
July 27, 2005 04:17 PM
The foundation of a loving relationship is built on communication.
Mars/Venus. He said/she said. Action movies/chick flicks. However you choose to characterize differences between the sexes, one this is clear: We tend to see men and women as irreconcilable opposites, people who need each other deeply yet who often don’t know how to live with one another. The stress that ensues when the love connection breaks down aches not only our hearts but the rest of our bodies as well…to say nothing of what it teaches our children about the nature of relationships.
This issue of Energy Times is primarily devoted to offering advice and guidance on how to rebuild that love connection; how committed, loving couples can energize intimacy in their relationships. You can find valuable information in stories on the incredible herbs around the world that aid and enhance libido; tips on how women can use natural cosmetics to rev up a partner’s sexual engine; and how couples can create passion in the kitchen, through mutual back massage and after menopause.
But those articles offer little help if the foundation of your relationship is not primarily built on communicating your needs and desires- whether inside or outside of the bedroom- and listening, really listening, to the other person in your life. Communication is the holistic way to view sexual health and healing because having a clear understanding with your partner about love and life is the way your relationship can truly be whole.
With our national divorce rate hovering around the 50% mark, it is clear that American adults still have an immense learning curve when it comes to talking about sex and intimacy. Sensual images and situations bombard us from books, television, films and Internet sites, yet we seem to be as clueless as ever, not knowing how to talk intelligently about intimate relationships to each other or to our children.
Part of the problem stems from the constant barrage of verbal and visual messages- whether from our parents, friends or corporate advertising- that make us incredibly self-conscious about sensuality and our bodies. Many women fight to come to terms with self-images of their bodies as not thin or beautiful enough, while a lot of men struggle to overcome fear and insecurity over their sexual prowess. Carrying such baggage around can’t help but negatively affect the way people relate in a relationship. After all, before you can share love with your partner, you must learn to love yourself.
We also have to overcome the energy flows that start getting blocked during childhood, when we learn to restrain our emotional energy for the sake of fitting in. Like water behind a crumbling dam, though, repressed energy leaks out in all sorts of extremely unhealthy ways: Anger, depression, irritability, stress- and sexual dysfunction.
Learning to Talk
According to Chris Frey, a Missouri-based psychotherapist and pet who has studies sexual relationships, our culture does a great job reaching people about the mechanics and “how-to” of intimacy and the dangers of unprotected sex, but few families or institutions talk about healthy sexuality with a partner.
“Culturally, the prevalent myth still is that loves means intuitively knowing what my partner wants,” Frey said in an interview posted on the website of the Missouri Lawyer Assistance Program (MOLAP). “People think if they have to talk, or worse yet, ask about it, then there must be something wrong with them. That’s incorrect. Instead of open communication, people often turn to innuendo, humor and guesswork. When couples break through that, the sensitivity and intimacy built as two uncertain people begin to communicate about sex builds an amazing amount of trust, and most likely, a much more pleasurable relationship.”
In fact, trust is a key part of a model of healthy sexuality developed by social worker, marriage and family therapist and author Wendy Maltz. Called CERTS, Maltz’s model requires that five basic conditions be met for a healthy sexual relationship: Consent, Equality, Respect, Trust and Safety.
-Steven Hanks and Lisa James
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.
June 24, 2005 01:13 PM
Because 20th century medical practices have routinely over - prescribed antibiotics, the notion of a natural antibiotic with virtually no side-effects is intriguing to say the least. Echinacea is one of several herbs which possesses antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. In a time when new life-threatening microbes are evolving and pose the threat of modern-day plagues, herbs such as echinacea are particularly valuable. More and more health practitioners are focusing on fortifying the immune system to fight off potential infections rather than just treating infection after it has developed.
Echinacea is enjoying a renaissance today. During the late 1980’s, echinacea re-emerged as a remarkable medicinal plant. In addition to its infection fighting properties, echinacea is known for its healing properties as well. As was the case with so many herbs, echinacea lost its prestige as a medicinal treatment with the advent of antibiotics. It has experienced a resurgence over the last two decades.
Echinacea has several other much more romantic names including Purple Coneflower, Black Sampson and Red Sunflower. It has also become the common name for a number of echinacea species like E. angustifolia, E. purpurea, and E. pallida. The genus derives its name from the Greek word echinos which refers to sea urchin. This particular association evolved from the prickly spiny scales of the seed head section of the flower. Historically, echinacea has sometimes become confused with Parthenium integrifolium.
The word echinacea is actually apart of the scientific latin term, echinacea angustifolia, which literally translated means a narrow - leafed sucker. The plant grows wild as a perennial exclusively in the midwestern plains states, but can be cultivated almost anywhere . Echinacea leaves are pale to dark green, coarse and pointy. Its florets are purple and its roots, black and long.
Echinacea has a strong Native American link in the Central Plains. Native Americans are credited with discovering the usefulness of this botanical without knowing its specific chemical properties. It was routinely used by Na t i ve Americans to treat toothaches, snakebite, fevers and old stubborn wounds.
Native Americans thought of echinacea as a versatile herb that not only helped to fight infection, but increased the appetite and s t rengthened the sexual organs as well. The juice of the plant was used to bathe burns and was sprinkled on hot coals during traditional “sweats” used for purification purposes. It is also believed that some Native Americans used echinacea juice to protect their hands, feet and mouths from the heat of hot coals and ceremonial fires.1 According to Melvin Gilmore, An American anthropologist who studied Native American medicine in the early part of this century, Echinacea was used as a remedy by Native Americans more than any other plant in the central plains area.
In time, early white settlers learned of its healing powers and used the plant as a home remedy for colds, influenza, tumors, syphillis, hemorrhoids and wounds. Dr. John King, in his medical journal of 1887 mentioned that echinacea had value as a blood purifier and alterative. It was used in various blood tonics and gained the reputation of being good for almost every conceivable malady. It has been called the king of blood purifiers due to its ability to improve lymphatic filtration and drainage. In time, echinacea became popular with 19th century Eclectics, who were followers of a botanic system founded by Dr. Wooster Beech in the 1830’s. They used it as an anesthetic, deodorant, and stimulant.
By 1898, echinacea had become one of the top natural treatments in America. During these years, echinacea was used to treat fevers, malignant carbuncles, ulcerations, pyorrhea, snake bites and dermatitis. In the early twentieth century, echinacea had gained a formidable reputation for treating a long list of infectious disease ranging from the commonplace to the exotic. The Lloyd Brothers Pharmaceutical House developed more sophisticated versions of the herb in order to meet escalating demands for echinacea.
Ironically, it was medical doctors who considered echinacea more valuable than eclectic practitioners. Several articles on echinacea appeared from time to time in various publications. Its attributes we re re v i ewed and, at times, its curative abilities ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. In 1909, the Council on Pharmacy and Chemistry of the American Medical Association decided against recognizing echinacea as an official drug, claiming that it lacked scientific credibility. It was added to the National Formulary of the United States despite this type of negative reaction and remained on this list until 1950.
Over the past 50 years, echinacea has earned a formidable reputation achieving worldwide fame for its antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial actions. Consumer interest in echinacea has greatly increased, particularly in relation to its role in treating candida, chronic fatigue syndrome, AIDS and malignancies. Practitioners of natural medicine in Eu rope and America have long valued its attributes. In recent, years, German research has confirmed its ability to augment the human immune system. Extensive research on echinacea has occurred over the last twenty years. Test results have s h own that the herb has an antibiotic, cortisone-like activity.
Echinacea has the ability to boost cell membrane healing, protect collagen, and suppress tumor growth. Because of its immuno-enhancing activity, it has recently been used in AIDS therapy. Research has proven that echinacea may have p rofound value in stimulating immune function and may be particularly beneficial for colds and sore throats.3
Fats and Oils: Clearing the Confusion
June 21, 2005 05:31 PM
Fats and Oils: Clearing the Confusion
By Fred Pescatore, M.D.
Aside from tax forms, it's hard to find anything more confusing to consumers than fats and oils. Fat-free diehards still don't know that fat is essential for the brain, hormones, cellular membranes: life itself. The clueless still use shortening, margarine and damaged grocery store vegetable oils. But what worries me more is that supposedly educated consumers aren't even getting it right. Should we be surprised since their doctors probably don't know the truth?
Mistakes made by your customers. They:
Let's clear up these myths so consumers can get busy being confused about something else:
I hope this helps you educate consumers about the proper use of fats. Unfortunately, that still leaves a long list of other things they've been misled about.
June 14, 2005 11:44 AM
Good Hydration by Lisa James Energy Times, June 17, 2004
Ah summertime, and the living is lovely: ocean fragrances wafting on a summer wind, the summer sun warming the body and relaxing the mind.
But all that sun and wind can dry your summer skin, making it uncomfortable and parched-looking. Moisture counteracts the discomforts that summer elements can bring, allowing your fresh, dewy look to shine through. knowing how to hydrate your skin is the key.
Skin consists of three layers, each with a different function:
Do you have dry skin? How well your skin holds moisture depends on the arrangement of cells within the stratum corneum. Fat contained in this layer, as well as natural moisturizing factor (made by the epidermis), also keeps skin moist. Unfortunately, as you age, the amount of natural moisturizing factor produced by your skin decreases.
Skin Care 101
Obviously, anything that affects the all-important epidermis can dry out your skin-sun and wind both rob skin of moisture. For starters, just say no to tobacco. Smoking tightens the skin's abundant blood vessels; this reduces the flow of oxygen and nutrients, creating dryness. Smoking also breaks down elastin, the protein that gives skin its flexibility. The next step is to add water from within. " It takes at least six to eight cups of pure water each day to keep the skin and body well hydrated," notes Jeanette Jacknin, MD, board-certified dermatologist and author of Smart Medicine for Your Skin (Avery/Penguin).
At the same time, be careful about how you bathe your skin. Bathing or showering for too long, or using water that's too hot, can actually cause your skin to lose moisture for two reasons. First, prolonged bathing washes away the oils that help lock moisture in; second, it encourages your skin's own moisture to evaporate after you dry yourself off.
Before you shower or bathe, Dr. Jacknin recommends using a dry, soft-bristled brush to increase skin circulation and gently remove dead cells. Brushing in small circles, gradually move up your legs and arms, always moving towards the heart. When you do get into the tub or shower, don't scrub your skin and don't use harsh cleaning agents. Instead, go for natural cleansers that feature such skin-friendly ingredients as glycerin.
Feed Your Inner Skin
As your body's largest organ, your skin depends on the nutrients in your diet. You have to feed your skin well if you expect it to stand up to wind and sun. " Eat fish, rolled oats and ground flaxseeds frequently," recommends Dr. Jacknin. "These foods are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help the skin retain moisture." Include other healthy oils, such as safflower and olive oil, in your meals. Supplemental omega-3s, in the form of flaxseed or fish oils, can also help.
Various vitamins help make your skin happy and healthy. Skin growth and repair requires vitamin A, while natural vitamin E provides antioxidant protection and vitamin C promotes creation of collagen, which provides skin with its structure.
The B vitamins are essential to keeping dryness at bay; without them, the skin can crack, peel and redden. Choline, a member of the B family that helps with fat transportation within the body, is available as lecithin. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is another skin-friendly nutrient. MSM provides sulfur, which the body needs to create healthy skin proteins. It also fights inflammation and encourages better blood flow.
Slake Your Skin's Thirst
A good moisturizer can help arid skin return to soft freshness. To get the most out of moisturizers, use them consistently, and start at a young age. " [M]ost people start to benefit from [moisturizers] in their twenties [when] their skin begins to dry with age," state Charles Inlander and Janet Worsley Norwood in Skin: Head-to-Toe Tips for Health and Beauty (Walker and Company). "Moisturizers boost skin health by preventing water loss from the skin."
The same antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin C and natural vitamin E, you feed your skin from within also abound in natural moisturizers, as do an impressive variety of herbal essences and essential oils. Aloe vera, used to treat burns for centuries, helps ease inflammation, as does chamomile. Fresh-smelling lavender oil helps soothe insect bites and minor wounds. Jasmine and peppermint offset excessive oil production.
Moisturizers: Timing and Type
The ideal time to moisturize is right after a bath or shower, since that's when evaporation promotes water loss; for best results, apply while your skin is still slightly damp. But bathtime isn't the only time to consider your skin's moisture needs. Carry some moisturizer with you so you can use it every time you wash your hands, especially if you're prone to cracked cuticles and split fingertips.
Match your moisturizer to your skin type. If your skin tends to oiliness, use a water-based product; otherwise, an oil-based formulation -jojoba oil and shea butter are good choices-is fine. (Oily skin may first need a gentle astringent like lemon peel or cucumber to remove dirt and excess oil.)
Also pay careful attention to the type of moisturizer you use. Lotions are easy to apply, but may not stay on your skin as readily as creams, which may be a better choice for your face, feet and hands. By all means, enjoy the summer sun. Just make sure your skin enjoys the summer, too, by staying hydrated and happy.