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Could quercetin be the answer to your allergies?
April 30, 2022 10:34 AM
It's that time of year again, when the sneezing and sniffling starts. Seasonal allergies can make life miserable for millions of people. But what if there was a natural way to lessen your symptoms? Quercetin, a flavonoid found in many plants, might be the answer.
What are seasonal allergies and what causes them?
Seasonal allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis, are a type of inflammation of the nose that occurs when the immune system overreacts to airborne particles such as pollen, dust, or mold spores. The most common symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes. Seasonal allergies can occur at any time of year, but they are most common in spring and fall. There are a number of different factors that can contribute to seasonal allergies, including genetics, weather patterns, and air pollution. In addition, people who suffer from other conditions such as asthma or eczema are more likely to develop seasonal allergies. treatment for seasonal allergies typically involves avoiding triggers and managing symptoms with medication. In severe cases, allergy shots may be recommended. With proper management, people with seasonal allergies can enjoy symptom-free days.
What is quercetin and where can it be found?
Quercetin is a plant-based flavonoid that has been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It is found in many fruits and vegetables, including apples, onions, and berries. Quercetin supplements are also available. Studies have shown that quercetin can help to reduce the symptoms of allergies, such as hay fever and seasonal allergies. It does this by inhibiting the release of histamine, which is a chemical that triggers allergy symptoms. In addition, quercetin can help to reduce inflammation and swelling. For these reasons, it is often recommended as a natural treatment for allergies.
How does quercetin work to alleviate allergy symptoms?
Quercetin has a wide range of health benefits, including reducing inflammation and acting as an antioxidant. Quercetin also has the ability to block histamine, which is one of the main molecules involved in allergic reactions. When histamine is released, it causes the symptoms of allergies such as runny nose, watery eyes, and hives. By blocking histamine, quercetin can help to reduce these symptoms. In addition, quercetin can also help to reduce the production of inflammatory molecules such as cytokines. This helps to further reduce the symptoms of allergies and inflammation.
How much quercetin should you take to see results?
So, how much quercetin should you take to see results? Studies on quercetin supplementation have used dosages ranging from 500 mg to 1,000 mg per day to start and go up as needed. Generally, the higher doses are used to treat specific conditions, while the lower doses are more typically used for preventative purposes.
Are there any other natural remedies that can help with allergies?
There is no doubt that allergies can be a real nuisance, causing symptoms such as itchy eyes, sneezing, and skin rashes. While medications such as antihistamines are commonly used to manage these symptoms, there may be other natural remedies that can help as well. For instance, researchers have found that medicinal herbs such as nettle and astragalus may help to reduce inflammation associated with allergies. Additionally, changing your diet to include more antioxidant-rich foods may make you less prone to allergic reactions. Overall, while medications can be an important part of managing allergies, there are many other natural strategies that may be helpful as well. By incorporating a variety of these strategies into your treatment plan, you can hopefully minimize the impact of allergies on your life.
How can you reduce your exposure to allergens in your environment?
Allergens are substances that can trigger an allergic reaction in certain individuals. While different allergies manifest themselves in different ways, the main goal for anyone who is trying to reduce their exposure to allergens is to create a healthier environment for themselves and their loved ones. There are a number of tactics you can use to do this, starting with some simple steps that can be implemented at home. These include installing high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in your HVAC system, thoroughly cleaning surfaces and dusting regularly, and eliminating any indoor plants. Other steps involve avoiding exposures outside of the home, such as limiting time spent in dusty places like construction sites or opting to stay indoors on high-pollen days during allergy season. Overall, by making a few small changes to your lifestyle, you can greatly reduce your risk of exposure to allergens and take back control of your health.
Can allergy medication be safely taken while taking quercetin supplements?
Many people experience the unpleasant symptoms of allergies, such as a runny nose, coughing, or itchy eyes. Fortunately, there are many different medications that can help to relieve these symptoms and allow you to live a more comfortable life. However, for some people, allergy medication does not provide adequate relief. In this case, taking quercetin supplements may be an effective alternative. Additionally, some research has suggested that quercetin may actually enhance the effects of allergy medication. So is it safe to take allergy medication while taking quercetin supplements? The answer is yes, but quercetin can affect the way certain medications are absorbed by the body and should never be taken without consulting a medical professional. By doing so, you can safely reap the benefits of both treatments and enjoy a more comfortable life free from pesky allergies.
The quick answer
Allergy sufferers often have to contend with a host of different symptoms, from itchy eyes and a runny nose to sneezing fits and anxiety. While there are a variety of over-the-counter medications available to provide relief, many people are hesitant to take them on a regular basis due to concerns about side effects. Quercetin is a natural compound that has been shown to be effective in reducing allergy symptoms. It is generally considered safe to take quercetin along with other over-the-counter allergy medications. While there is always the potential for interactions between different substances, quercetin and most over-the-counter allergy medications are unlikely to cause any problems when taken together. As always, it is best to speak with a healthcare professional before starting any new medication regimen while consuming natural vitamin and herbal supplements.
Fiber doesn't just do wonders for your gut: It also can also keepbreast cancer at bay
April 23, 2019 03:29 PM
We're all well aware of the digestive benefits associated with high amounts of fiber in out diets, but research is now showing that increasing your fiber can actually reduce one's vulnerability to breast cancer. Problems with insulin and glucose levels are often a primary culprit in the development in breast cancer, and fiber actually has the ability to regulate glucose levels. Since glucose levels remain more stable after regularly taking in fiber, the odds of developing breast cancer can be reduced.
"On its way out, insoluble fiber brushes the insides of the colon. This helps eliminate harmful substances so that they don’t accumulate in the body."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-28-fiber-keeps-breast-cancer-at-bay.html
Keto Diet and Diabetes: Do They Work Well Together?
February 26, 2019 03:36 PM
Some experts say the keto diet works well for people with Diabetes. The Keto diet involves getting your body to burn fat rather than sugar for energy. This involves eating a limited amount of carbohydrates. This works for people with Diabetes because it reduces the need for insulin and takes carbohydrates including sugar out of the diet. This is the most concerning aspect for a normal Diabetic. Multiple studies have shown benefits for people with Type 2 Diabetes and prediabetics.
"Let’s take a look at whether or not the keto diet may be a healthy choice for you and your diabetes management!"
Read more: https://draxe.com/keto-diet-and-diabetes/
How to Lower Cholesterol Naturally in 28 Simple (!) Steps
July 31, 2018 09:53 AM
There are all kinds of natural tricks for reducing your bad cholesterol. Too much of this bad cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein, can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. A diet with less bad cholesterol or more good cholesterol (aka high density lipoprotein) can reduce your overall level of bad cholesterol and the resulting plaque in your blood vessels. Olive oil, nuts, seeds and salmon are all full of good cholesterol. Another potential avenue to explore is foods like turmeric or garlic that help with the smashing inflammation associated with plaque buildup.
"There are tons of natural remedies out there for how to lower cholesterol levels, often promising quick results with next to no effort required on your part. But while it’s true that there are tons of options to keep cholesterol levels in check, it can actually be as simple as swapping out a few foods in your diet for healthier options, switching up your workout routine or adding a supplement or two into the mix."
Read more: https://draxe.com/lower-cholesterol-naturally-fast/
Vitamin D is so important researchers worry about ethics of limiting supplementation to perform research trials
April 15, 2018 05:17 PM
In order to effectively study vitamin defriciencies, many pharmaceutical agencies hold controlled studies that are overlooked by medical physicians. These are typically done by giving some participants the vitamin supplement, while others get a placebo. In the case of vitamin D, however, experts are labeling studies to be unethical because of the potential damage that participants could face if they become deficient while on the placebo due to their vitamin D levels dramatically dropping to an unsafe level.
"In case you needed any more proof of how essential vitamin D is to good health, researchers have warned that placebo-controlled trials that involve limiting some people’s intake of the all-star nutrient could be considered unethical."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-04-13-vitamin-d-is-so-important-researchers-worry-about-ethics-of-limiting-supplementation-research-trials.html
9 top tips for better gut health
October 05, 2017 01:14 PM
There are 9 very good tips for better overall gut health. Having good gut health is a very important thing and is considered by many to be the foundation of good health. The gut plays a major role in many things, like our skin health and even our mental health. There are many different factors that can compromise the health of your gut. Processed foods and sugar are things that can hurt your gut and make it inefficient.
"Many people screw their faces up at the thought of sauerkraut, but the truth is, it’s wonderful!"
Read more: http://www.royalnews.com.ng/2017/09/26/9-top-tips-better-gut-health/
Healthy gut bacteria improve immunity
July 07, 2017 09:14 AM
Having healthy gut bacteria improves your overall immunity. The human body has ten times the amount of bacteria than cells do. These bacteria live on the skin and in the mouth and in the intestines. Many people turn to hand sanitizing to solver their problems. But, that can actually do more harm than good if you use a lot of it. There are studies that show no matter how much hand sanitizing you do, you will still have tons of bacteria in you.
"Consider adding probiotics to the diet, preferably through natural foods rather than supplements."
Read more: http://www.centredaily.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/article159366034.html
50% of all colon cancer cases are preventable
June 04, 2017 12:14 PM
Colorectal cancer is highly preventable, especially when you maintain beneficial levels of healthy bacteria in your intestines. Most colorectal cancer is due to poor diet, tobacco use or infections leading to formation of cancer cells. A diet high in fruits, vegetables and fiber while being low in processed or red meats can prevent cancer from forming. Exercising regularly and keeping your weight and belly fat accumulation low is also beneficial. Finally, limiting cancer causing alcohol and cutting out tobacco use will also keep your colon healthy.
"Colorectal cancer, which includes both cancers of the colon and rectum, is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the U.S."
Read more: http://www.healthnutnews.com/50-colon-cancer-cases-preventable/
Increasing use by elders of CBD for anxiety
May 23, 2017 11:44 AM
Medical marijuana has helped those with issues such as dementia cope with the pain but limiting the side effects of getting 'high'. As an example, a woman named Grace in Oregon began using a strain of this to help with her anxiety. In doing so, she was able to stay more calm vs. normal medication. Various facilities in the area help support this with recommendations and for a nominal fee for those interested in learning more.
"If you are living in a facility that accepts Medicare or Medicaid, you cannot use marijuana in any form, even though it’s legal in Oregon."
Read more: http://www.dailytidings.com/news/20170516/increasing-use-by-elders-of-cbd-for-anxiety
Top 13 Benefits Of Vitamin A For Health And Skin
May 22, 2017 08:44 AM
Vitamin A, found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and proteins, plays an important part in our everyday lives. Many people know of Vitamin A's existence, but are unaware of its host of benefits. These benefits include improving the immune system (raising lymphocytic responses, maintains moisture of mucus membranes, and improving white blood cell activity), maintaining eye health (through regulating light changes and moisture), keeping skin soft, strengthen teeth and bones (by forming dentin), prevent urinary stones (due to calcium phosphate formation), inhibit muscular dystrophy, may prevent acne and certain cancer, treat measles and cold sores, lower cholesterol, and protect from infection. And, as an added bonus, it's also an anti-aging agent, because of its wrinkle reducing properties! Just be careful that you don't take too much Vitamin A, and speak to a doctor before starting on supplementation.
"One of the most amazing benefits of vitamin A which ought to be mentioned first is improving your immune system"
Read more: http://vkool.com/benefits-of-vitamin-a/
10 Foods your liver loves you to consume
April 13, 2017 11:44 AM
The liver has an important role in keeping us healthy and filtering our systems. An unhealthy liver can lead to many diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, cancer and cardiovascular disease. There are many foods that help the liver function well and guard against disease. These include dark leafy vegetables, broccoli, garlic, walnuts, blueberries, turmeric, pineapple, green tea and avocados. Fresh vegetables and fruits of any kind are beneficial as is limiting alcohol intake and being careful to stay away from toxins.
"Adopting healthy lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, lower alcohol intake and less exposure to toxins may help promote liver health. Avoiding foods that are high in fat, sugar and preservatives do your liver a huge favor."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-04-02-7-foods-your-liver-loves-you-to-consume.html
Eat better, live longer
April 01, 2017 09:44 AM
Eating better can help prevent premature cardiovascular deaths, according to a recent study. Improving your diet means limiting unhealthy items like salt and trans fat. Eating more nuts, vegetables, seeds, and whole grains also improve your health. Dietary factors can lead to an increase in Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol. Possibly the easiest way to fix this is to impose a tax on unhealthy foods because it is a lifestyle change. As a last resort a diet such as The Mediterranean Diet or Choose My Plate may help make healthier choices.
"The pervasiveness of unhealthy diets and the epidemic of obesity in this country have led to the suggestion that we should approach this as a public health problem that might be improved by taxing unhealthy foods and subsidizing healthier options."
Read more: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eat-better-live-longer-2017033111493
Eat More Fat- it’s Good for You!
March 15, 2017 06:59 AM
Saturated fats are an essential part of your diet, you need saturated fats for cell function and to fight off infections as well as heart health. Eating fats doesn't make you fat, it keeps you full and is used for energy. Eating saturated fats in moderation while avoiding high amounts of sugar is the key to a healthy diet. Saturated fats can increase HDL or good cholesterol, it's also a source of heart and brain healthy fats.
"We’ve been trained to be afraid of fat, especially saturated fat."
Make your bones stronger by following this diet
March 08, 2017 05:59 AM
There are many things that women need to watch out for, especially as they get older. Weakened bones is one of those thing. It is found however, that the Mediterranean Diet is very helpful in gaining back bone strength. As some added benefits, this same diet has been found to help reduce inflammation, and therefore it has a very positive impact on heart health. The premise of the diet is focusing on unprocessed foods and limiting red meat. One of the beliefs in the diet is that eating should be a social event and not just a necessity. So go ahead and try the Mediterranean Diet and see if it works for you.
Read more: Make your bones stronger by following this diet
Quora: Want to Lose Weight? Add This One Thing to Your Diet
January 10, 2017 07:59 AM
When it comes to losing weight, there is one thing that can be added to your diet with a lot of benefits in general and that is fiber. There are many different benefits of a high fiber diet which include healthier skin, lower cholesterol, a healthy gut, a highly reduced risk of stroke, and a reduced risk of type two diabetes.
"Fiber. It’s not a sexy solution, but it’s one that works wonders for maintaining a healthy weight."
Vitamin D and folic acid can help deal with depression
January 08, 2017 12:59 PM
Vitamin D and folic acid are two natural chemicals that affect neurotransmitter function, and low levels of either can contribute to depression. Vitamin D is normally produced by the skin when hit by sunlight, so can run short during the winter. Low iron levels can also affect brain function by limiting the blood's ability to supply the brain with oxygen. Fortunately, levels of all these substances can be boosted through nutrient-rich foods.
"Vitamin D is produced when the skin is exposed to the sun's ultraviolet rays. In regions where sunshine is limited in winter, more people tend to suffer from depression."
Bringing About a Lifestyle Change
November 16, 2016 03:09 PM
When losing weight it is important to do so gradually. By making small changes, and eating better, weight loss goals can be achieved! When making changes to your diet, start by limiting your fat intake. Also, decrease sugar consumption and increase your fiber intake. Try to eat foods that mostly come from a plant source.
"My role is to help people to successfully take control of their weight and ultimately take control and responsibility of their health."
All-Natural Red Marine Algae An Effective Cold Sore Treatment
January 24, 2013 03:15 PM
Can Red Marine Algae Help With Cold Sores? Lets Find out!
While a permanent solution for cold sores is not currently known, it has been realized for some time now that red marine algae topical ointments and oral supplements can both help prevent and reduce the number of and severity of your outbreaks. This treatment ensures safety as a priority considering it is an all-natural proper food that is used in a variety of different items. It directly aids the body's first line of defense, or neutrophils, against those pesky cold sores.
The active components in red marine algae are sulfated polysaccharides, which help with immune system response and the increased production of lymphocytes within the thymus. T-cells and antibodies are stimulated, causing the launch of an attack against the virus.
There are two primary sulfated polysaccharides, fucoidan and carrageenan, that help stop the outbreak and replication of cold sores. Carrageenan is often used as a topical application, and fucoidan has a specific focus geared towards limiting replication of the virus.
The two strains of the algae that are effective in fighting against cold sores are Gigartina and Dumontacea, meaning not all red algae are the same when battling this virus. It is common knowledge that there are many triggers that contribute to herpes outbreaks.
Cold Sore Triggers:
While you still should avoid as many triggers as possible, red marine algae is a significant factor in reducing the effectiveness of particular triggers. Some of these triggers include chocolate, nuts, coffee, alcohol and more.
When learning about taking a new supplement, one of the main concerns you might have is the side effects. However, this all-natural algae supplement has absolutely no known side effects.
This helps put your mind at ease.
Did you know that this specific algae has also been used traditionally for dealing with urinary infections, asthma, boils, ulcers and more? With this supplement containing so many immune-supporting qualities, it is definitely a safe bet for formulating a much stronger plan against cold sores.
Can Melatonin Be Used For Fibromyalgia?
December 28, 2012 04:19 PM
Fibromyalgia is a condition that may be very frustrating and has no known cure currently. Due to its complexity and also the number of symptoms that occur during an infection with fibromyalgia, one may be moody, anxious, depressed or irritable. Melatonin, a natural hormone which controls sleep patterns, can help relieve some symptoms of fibromyalgia and promote one's feelings of well-being.
Melatonin hormone is produced by the brain's pineal gland. It is majorly responsible for controlling the sleep-wake cycle; called the circadian rhythm. The secretion of melatonin is influenced by exposure to light. Whenever it gets dark, melatonin production rises. Conversely, during exposure to sunlight, the production of melatonin is lowered. Several people employ the use of melatonin supplements to promote symptoms of insomnia, since it can aid to reset one's body clock and even make it easier to fall and stay asleep.
How melanin treats Fibromyalgia
Disturbances of sleep and the frequent disruption of circadian rhythms occur during fibromyalgia. Melatonin has always been proven to synchronize the circadian rhythms and promote the quality of sleep. Excess damage by free-radicals is quite common in fibromyalgia patients. Melatonin as well as its metabolites have been discovered to be potent scavengers of free radicals and indirect antioxidants.
Elevated Nitric Oxide In Patients
Some studies have shown that synthesis of nitric oxide is elevated in fibromyalgia patients. Melatonin acts as a potent inhibitor of a rate-limiting enzyme in the production of nitric oxide. Depression is at times a symptom or maybe an overlapping fibromyalgia condition.
Melatonin As An Antidepressant:
Melatonin has also been proven to be an antidepressant. There is a component of melatonin that has been synthesized in the pharmaceutical industry and is now being enhanced as an antidepressant. Lyrica, antiepileptic drugs, have been proven to be effective in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Melatonin has been found to work as an antiepileptic too.
GLUCOSAMINE: Origin and Action of Mechanism
February 06, 2012 01:08 PM
Glucosamine is an amino sugar made from glucose and amino acid glutamine. It is a monosaccharide that is found naturally in healthy joints, cartilages, ligaments, muscles and tendons. It helps in the formation and repair of cartilage and other body tissues. Glucosamine is available in the form of dietary supplements, cosmetics and sports drinks. Let us find out about the history of glucosamine and its role in repair and treatment of joint disorders.
HISTORY of GLUCOSAMINE:
Glucosamine was first discovered in 1876 by Dr. Georg Ledderhose. It was prepared by hydrolysis of chitin with Hydrochloric acid. Later on it was developed in sulphate blend. Since then, it has been studied multiple times and in multiple ways to find out its potent health benefits. It has been used clinically in Europe since 1960s. In 1971, researcher K. Karzel glucosamine HCl stimulated the production of glycosaminoglycan layer, which helps in protecting cartilages, ligaments and tendons from normal wear and tear. It became popular in United States in the mid 1990s with the publication of popular bestsellers such as 'The Arthritis Cure' by Jason Theodosakis. Now it has become the most popular selling dietary supplement with sales of $200 million per year.
Glucosamine is naturally found in the body and can be synthetically made from the natural sources of chitin that is found in sea creatures such as shells of shell fish, bones and bone marrow.
How does Glucosamine Works in reducing Joint pain?
Our body's ability to produce glucosamine decreases as we age. Hence after any kind of injury cartilage, spinal discs and joints, the body may not be able to heal optimally. Aging and glucosamine depletion in the body leads to joint degradation. However, glucosamine supplementation can support cartilage and CT-integrity limiting degeneration.
Glucosamine supplements do not work like NSAIDS, which are known to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects on the body. The exact mechanism of significant analgesic effect of glucosamine supplements is unknown but according to various studies, glucosamine has no effect on cyclooxygenase system. Studies have shown that glucosamine stimulates synthesis of proteoglycan in a dose dependent manner. It helps in stimulating the production of cartilaginous matrix, hence counteracting the degrading loss of cartilage in case of arthritis or injury.
Several important studies demonstrate the role of glucosamine in stabilizing cell membranes, inhibit lysosomal enzymes and reduce the generation of oxygen free radicals by macrophages. It may inhibit interleukin 1 induced nitric oxide activity that leads to chondriotic cell death. Hence it increases aggrecanase activity that helps in preservation of proteoglycan.
Glucosamine along with Chondroitin sulphate stimulates synthesis of cartilage precursors as well as synovial fluid. They also limit the degradation of existing cartilage in any loss of joint integrity.
This non rapid acting drug has many beneficial effects in reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis. It is a powerful joint repairing supplement that rebuilds joint cartilage. Glucosamine supplements have been thoroughly evaluated to find out any potential side-effects. However, it has been proved that it does not have any of the side-effects of NSAIDS, surgery or opiods.
What is Wild Yam Root And How Does It Help PMS And More?
July 25, 2011 02:44 PM
Wild Yam And Your Health
Wild yam root refers to a group of tubers related to the common yam. While the common yam is consumed as a vegetable, wild yam root is known for its medicinal properties. It has been linked to many studies in the past few decades. It is a source of the plant steroid diosgenin, which is converted to progesterone in the laboratory. It has also shown to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Dioscorea villosa is the plant species often referred to as wild yam root, inasmuch as most products and supplements that are marketed as wild yam obtain extracts from this plant. Its positive effects on health are attributed to steroid-like organic compounds called saponins. Nevertheless, these saponins and other active ingredients of the root can also be derived in other closely related wild yam species.
Rebalances Female Hormones
Wild yam root is one of the most recognized plant species in the nutraceutical industry, especially in niches concerning the alleviation of hot flashes, night sweats, and other vasomotor symptoms. It is rich in compounds that precursors to human sex hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone.
Whether modified or not, the compounds extracted from wild yam root display estrogenic activities inside the female body, and they can be administered through the mouth or skin. They work normalize fluctuating levels of hormones, as is the case during menopause.
Counteracts Pain Chemicals
The phytochemical content of wild yam room is anti-inflammatory in nature. Not surprisingly, it has been used in the treatment of inflammation-induced disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, renal colic, ulcerative colitis, muscle cramps, abdominal pain, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Wild yam root suppresses the releases of endogenous compounds responsible for the perception of pain in certain body parts. In addition, it also inhibits the excessive productions of immune cells that trigger hypersensitivity and immune disorders, such as bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis.
Boosts Bone Mineral Density
Extracts of wild yam root are commercially touted to prevent bone loss characteristic of osteoporosis. Since the human bones are the primary reserves of calcium and other minerals, they undergo a continuous cycle of demineralization to meet the mineral demands of other parts of the body.
The process of demineralization that alters bone density throughout life is called bone resorption. It is influenced by other factors, such as sedentary lifestyle and mineral deficiencies. With a balanced diet, regular consumption of wild yam root has been reported to easily reverse bone loss.
Reduces Overall Lipid Levels
There is a growing body of literature devoted to the effects of wild yam root on overall lipid levels in the blood. Wild yam root supplements are believed to lower utilization of triglycerides in the liver, limiting the releases of cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins, and free fatty acids into the bloodstream.
In addition, regular intake of wild yam root extracts appears to interfere with the breakdown of fats into easily digestible fatty acids and their subsequent absorption in the small intestines. This results in lower fat intake and healthier levels of cholesterol.
What is stopping you from trying it?
What is Vinpocetine and How Does it Help with Memory?
March 24, 2011 02:18 PM
Vinpocetine And Brain Health
Vinpocetine is a derivative of an organic compound found in the plant species Vinca minor, or common periwinkle. It is best known for its neuroprotective effects and used in Europe and Japan in treatment of age-related cognitive decline. More often than not, its activities inside the human body are described as vasodilator, which means it increases blood flow. It has also seen a growing presence in the North American market as a dietary supplement.
Vinpocetine is available as a prescription drug in certain European countries and Japan and has shown to be speed up prognosis of patients who suffered cerebrovascular accident, or CVA, which is commonly referred to as stroke. Most cases of cerebrovascular accident are brought on by ischemia, or very poor circulation of blood to certain parts of the brain. This is exactly what vinpocetine is beneficial for, and recommended dosages have so far yielded very encouraging results.
Improves Blood Circulation in the Brain
It has long been postulated that one of the mechanisms of action of vinpocetine is limiting the effects of Na+ channels that are sensitive to voltage. This creates a neuroprotective effect believed to contribute to mental clarity and sustained attention. Striatal nerve endings produce extracellular Ca+ ions that induce neuronal damage through a phenomenon called excitotocity. High levels of Ca+ ions are now alleged to be correlated with voltage-sensitive Na+ channels. Striatal nerve endings see a decline in Ca+ ions when Na+ channels are influenced by vinpocetine, and in the process lessen excitotoxicity.
Attenuates Ischemic Neuronal Damage
In addition to limiting neuronal damage induced by excitotoxicity, which in turn results from cerebral ischemia, vinpocetine plays an active role in the upkeep of brain cells after being subjected to ischemic damage. As a vasodilator, it not only counters the effects of ischemia but also significantly increases the brain’s access to bioactive molecules like oxygen and other nutrients exclusively distributed by the circulatory system.
It also inhibits the enzyme phosphodiesterase, which is specialized for the breakdown of cyclic adenosine monophosphate, or cAMP, and cyclic guanosine monophosphate, or cGMP. By so doing, vinpocetine contributes to glucose metabolism and energy production in the brain, and at the same time, improves the distribution of bioactive compounds in the central nervous system.
Displays Neuroprotective Activities
Vinpocetine and its precursor belong to a group of indole alkaloids known as tryptomines, which are present in the human brain and the rest of the central nervous system in minute quantities. These organic compounds make up several psychoactive drugs and in the human body act as neuromodulators and neurotransmitters in the form of melatonin and serotonin.
Vinpocetine in particular displays activities that are primarily anti-inflammatory in nature. Several studies point to its effects on the enzyme complex called IkB kinase, which regulates cellular responses to inflammation, by preventing the translocation of a protein complex called responsible for the process of inflammation within cells.
In a Nutshell, vinpocetine can help you think clearer and protect the brain from inflammation and free radical damage. Give vinpocetine a try today!
How Does L-Lysine Help with Herpes?
February 08, 2011 01:36 PM
L-lysine has been proven effective in the reduction of herpes outbreaks. The viruses that cause herpes simplex successfully multiply at an exponential rate during symptomatic shedding, but their capacity to sustain replication is challenged in the presence of L-lysine, which at very high concentrations has shown to damage progeny of herpes virus. Hence, the severity and duration of outbreaks are curbed.
One of the limiting resources of protein synthesis in human beings and most other vertebrates is the availability of L-lysine in the body. Some of the amino acids implicated in protein synthesis can be manufactured inside the body from their substrates, but this amino acid does not belong to this group. The amounts of L-lysine in our body systems are completely dependent on its presence in our diet, thus dubbed essential amino acid.
Limiting Factor to Growth
L-lysine plays a variety of important roles in the human body, and a shortfall of this amino acid has been reported to limit growth, resulting in malabsorption or even malnutrition. It is a building block of all types of proteins in humans, including the visible mass that makes up a muscular physique. It is central to the absorption of calcium, the production of enzymes, and the regulation of hormones. In addition, it is greatly involved in functions that lead to recovery following physical trauma or surgery.
More importantly, L-lysine is a focal constituent in the manufacture of immunoglobulins, the front-liners against diseases. Immunoglobulins are a class of proteins in the blood that we commonly refer to as antibodies, which neutralize pathogenic microbes invading the cells and tissues of the body. In fact, L-lysine is one of the protein bases in use to monitor the activities of antibodies, detecting abnormalities at the molecular level and paving the way for future developments of drugs with medicinal potential.
Boosting the Body’s Defenses
While L-lysine is important to the overall production of antibodies, it has also been observed that very low levels of this essential amino acid in the body compromises the ability of the immune system to fight off infectious diseases. The incidence of symptomatic herpes in individuals known to consume L-lysine supplements are relatively low than those who don’t. Symptomatic herpes manifest in the form of painful skin lesions called fever blisters, also known as cold sores, around the mouth, but may appear and spread anywhere in the body, such as the eyes, the fingers, and the genitals.
When taken at recommended dosages, L-lysine in itself combats the replication process of herpes virus in the body, not only ending outbreaks promptly but also speeding up the healing process in the area of damaged tissues with very little scarring. Herpes virus has been noted to feed on another amino acid identified as L-arginine, and consumptions of sources of this amino acid like nuts and chocolates have been reported to give rise to symptomatic herpes. This is one of the things taken care of by L-lysine, since it out competes the effects of L-arginine to herpes viruses.
L-lysine is available in capsule, tablet, and powder forms at your local or internet vitamin store. Always choose name brands like Source Naturals to ensure quality and purity of the product you by for better health.
You Can Combat Adrenal Fatigue!
January 21, 2011 02:08 PM
Have you experienced having difficulty to get up or stay awake in the morning, requiring caffeinated products to keep you going during the day or just being unusually tired for no reason? If your answer is “Yes!” to any or all of these questions, you may be experiencing Adrenal Fatigue.
Physiologically, the adrenal glands, which perch atop the kidneys, produce a manifold of hormones that are vital to life. In instances where there is inadequate production of these hormones, an individual generally undergoes a group of signs and symptoms including fatigue, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, unexplained body aches, sleep disturbances and digestive problems, unusual weight loss and loss of body hair. This group of signs and symptoms is termed as Adrenal Fatigue.
Adrenal Fatigue is a term coined in 1998 by Dr. James Wilson that refers to a cluster of both subjective and objective manifestations which an individual may experience due to insufficient adrenal function. People who are at higher risk of acquiring this condition are those who are experiencing frequent, extreme and persistent psychological, emotional or physical stress. This condition can be diagnosed by blood tests and stimulation tests that can reveal inadequate levels of adrenal hormones. Many tests are highly suggestive but an elevated plasma ACTH level associated with a decreased plasma cortisol level is diagnostic test for adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal Fatigue can be prevented naturally through lifestyle modification. Lifestyle changes such as more laughter in a day, short breaks during extreme psychological or physical stress, regular exercise, adequate sleep and relaxation and regular meals. It is important not to skip meals and food must be chewed well. Another tip for healthy adrenal glands is taking a daily supplement of vitamin C, pantothenic acid, magnesium and vitamin E.
Adrenal Fatigue is not a life-threatening condition. However, it can significantly affect an individual’s optimum functioning on his or her everyday life. This condition is mild, lasting about a few days or weeks, with good prognosis and with full recovery. Though, there are a small number of individuals who will undergo recovery difficult. The diet suitable for individuals having adrenal fatigue includes one that is composed of unrefined carbohydrates such as whole grains, high protein, high fat and high fiber at most meals. In addition, caffeinated products, hydrogenated fats and junk foods must also be minimized. Avoiding carbohydrates from root crops such as potatoes, limiting sugary fruits such as melons and lessening instances of becoming over-tired are also promising in the full recovery from adrenal fatigue.
Like any deficiency, supplements are also available to help combat Adrenal Fatigue. There are many glandular extracts that includes adrenal and other glands of the human body. Hydrocortisone (Cortef), for instance, is sometimes initiated as a hormonal replacement when the hormone cortisol is not or inadequately produced by the adrenal glands. However, this kind of treatment is typically the last resort because hydrocortisone may treat adrenal fatigue but it can make the adrenal glands weaker rather than stronger. Treatment using this hormonal supplement usually takes 6 months to 2 years.
A good diet goes a long way in supporting the adrenal glands. If you are under a lot of stress and cannot change the amount of stress you experience due to work or marriage adding a b-complex can help restore adrenal function and combat stress.
Strengthen The Liver and Kidneys With Leucine
April 27, 2009 02:08 PM
L-leucine is an amino acid that is used by the body to fuel exercise and muscle-building to provide you with that athletic edge that gets you ahead of your opponents. It does so in a number of ways, none of them specifically by the direct generation of energy as such.
It is also an essential amino acid, since it cannot be manufactured by your body and hence must be taken as a supplement or as part of your diet. Foods rich in leucine include nuts, whole wheat products such as wholemeal bread, and brown rice. It is a hydrophobic amino acid, meaning that it does not like water.
It is also one of three essential branched chain amino acids, the other two being L-valine and L-isoleucine, and offers many benefits to athletic performance that shall be discussed below It also helps to preserve the body's stores of glycogen, used as an emergency energy source. Other than these properties, it possesses others, such as the maintenance of the nitrogen balance in the body.
So how does it work to fuel your body while you are exercising? The answer is not as you might think. L-leucine doesn't increase your energy levels as creatine does when it elevates your ATP (adenosine triphosphate) levels. ATP is the molecule of energy that is synthesized in your body cells, and is then converted back to ADP, the diphosphate, with the release of energy in the form of muscular contractions.
This amino acid is what is referred to as a 'limiting' substance, in that the other amino acids cannot do their jobs in your body unless you have sufficient L-leucine in proportion to them. Specifically, you need two parts of L-valine and two parts of L-leucine to one part of L-isoleucine for optimum usage of the food that you eat.
Therefore you cannot just take the supplement without considering how much should be taken to ensure this balance. Excess will be wasted and a deficiency would fail to make proper use of the protein content of your food.
If you suffer from a deficiency, therefore, your body cannot make best use of the protein in your diet to the extent that muscle tissue will not be generated during exercise. In fact it causes catabolism, or the breakdown of muscle tissue, resulting in a loss of performance and possible increase in fatty tissue as opposed to lean muscle. The only way to build muscle is take in sufficient nitrogen in the form of amino acids and protein, along with L-leucine to put that protein to best use.
One of the major properties of L-leucine is in stimulating the synthesis of skeletal muscle tissue and by using a supplement, the protein balance can be positive after a workout. It has been shown that this protein balance is generally negative until specifically L-leucine is consumed.
The way it works is to activate a muscle-generating pathway known as mTOR (mammalian Target of Rapamycin). mTOR is normally activated when the levels of ATP in the muscle cells is high, and when these levels drop then mTOR is deactivated. The activity of mTOR is sensitive to the concentration of L-leucine, and when the concentration of the amino acid in the body rises it informs mTOR that the protein in the diet is sufficient to manufacture skeletal muscle tissue, and so mTOR s activated.
Exactly how this is done is unknown, but is a fact the mTOR depends upon both L-leucine concentration and also ATP levels. This amino acid also decreases catabolism through a number of different mechanisms, one of which involves increasing insulin levels.
In fact, when insulin and L-leucine levels increase at the same time, there is a synergy that promotes the synthesis of new protein. Not only that, but the response of insulin to the presence of carbohydrates is enhanced, this resulting in an enhancement of your body's metabolism.
The amino acid can also be used to help those suffering from kidney and liver problems because it increases liver protein synthesis. It is therefore a useful adjunct both to diabetics and those suffering from liver and kidney disease.
However, because L-leucine is an essential amino acid with so many important properties, a deficiency can have specific consequences. Catabolism has been stated earlier as one such reaction to a deficiency, and others include decreased energy levels and irregularities in the levels of blood sugar.
Everything about this substance is not good however, and when taken by itself in excess, it can reduce the amount of the other amino acids in the blood, particularly of the other two branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). This in turn upsets the balance of amino acids, and reduces further the ability of the body to produce muscle tissue until a balanced supplement is taken.
Leucine also helps to maintain the nitrogen balance. It is essential for the human body to maintain a positive nitrogen balance, and L-leucine supports this. In fact, one study has demonstrated that after 12 hours infusion with L-leucine, nitrogen balance was improved by as much as 23%.
A supplement alone is not always sufficient to maintain a positive nitrogen balance. It is generally essential that you rest your body for a sufficient length of time to allow protein to be generated. If you don't take the required amount of rest, a surplus of protein could be used to maintain energy levels rather than replace lost protein and maintain a good nitrogen balance.
A positive nitrogen balance is essential for the generation of muscle tissue, such as in bodybuilding for example, since all proteins contain nitrogen and the net nitrogen intake must exceed the excretion rate. Not in gaseous form, of course, but in the intake of amino acids and proteins. The more positive your nitrogen balance is, the faster you will recover after exercise. It is essential for anabolic exercise.
L-leucine, therefore, is a supplement that can help to maintain your current muscle mass while undergoing strenuous exercise, in addition to increasing it while resting. It offers other health benefits, one being helping to maintain clarity of thought in the aged. However, it is for its effect on muscular build-up and the athletic edge that provides that the supplement is most commonly taken.
Vitamins Herbs And Antioxidants
October 17, 2008 09:48 AM
Grilling meat over an open fire is something our ancestors have been doing for thousands of years. But people today who are indulging in chicken and cheeseburgers face a lot of concerns that our ancestors never even dreamed of. These include air pollutants and cancer-causing compounds. Research has proven that grilling meats creates two types of compounds that can lead to cancer. More so, both briquettes and lump charcoal spew hydrocarbons and soot particles as they burn, which encourage global warming contribute to many health problems. However, the majority of us cannot resist barbeque. So instead of dodging barbequed food, learn to grill without the guilt and fewer health risks.
Barbeque emissions are well below those from motor vehicles and the industry in rank, but its environmental effects are just as harmful given that burning charcoal contributes to smog and global warming. Lump charcoal is actually made from charred wood, which is a factor in deforestation. It can be compared to fuels that we use in furnaces and water heaters, such as oil, gas, and wood. Like these other fuels, charcoal produces soot when it is burned. These particles in soot are air pollutants and microscopic solids which are inhaled and deposited in the lungs. Particle pollution is associated with asthma, strokes, heart attacks, lung cancer, and reduced life expectancy. Once animal fat drips onto the flame of a charcoal or gas grill, carcinogenic compounds rise with the smoke and are deposited on the meat. Other harmful chemicals are then formed on the food as it continues to char. The more time the meat spends on the grill, the more harmful chemicals that are created. These compounds do not form on vegetables, as it is a reaction with animal-based foods that generates the harmful effects. However, any food that is over-charred contains other types of cancer-causing substances.
Grilling is a method of cooking that adds to the formation and deposit of cancer-causing substances on meat, as both substances deposited are undesirable and carcinogenic. The high heat of grill cooking produces more harmful chemicals than oven roasting or baking a lower temperature, but beef and chicken must both be cooked at temperatures high enough to destroy E. coli and other harmful bugs.
Because cancer risk is influenced much more by long-term patterns than occasional patterns, the goal is to have a diet that balances calories you take in with calories you put out, and to eat a diet containing many fruits and vegetables. Grilling less meat and more vegetables can reduce pollution on many levels. Also, vegetarian sources of protein, such as veggie burgers, contain few or no harmful chemicals when grilled. So for those summer days when a barbecue is irresistible, be sure to use natural charcoal, which is made from environmentally friendly wood sources and low-emission plant wastes.
Thankfully, all natural charcoals are chemical-free. In order to minimize cancerous compounds on the grill, cook at lower temperatures and flip meat every one to two minutes. Marinating meat or precooking it in a microwave for two minutes will also reduce hazardous compounds and carcinogenic compounds can be reduced by grilling lower-fat meats with fewer fat drippings.
By simply limiting the animal protein portion and making vegetables and grains a larger part of the meal, you can minimize the carcinogens and maximize your intake of cancer-protective vitamins and natural compounds. For most eliminating meat is undesirable, so supplementing with herbs and vitamins that help boost the immune system and act as antioxidants such as grape seed extract, vitamin c, and bioflavonoids can help the body fight off those nasty carcinogens produced from grilling.
August 09, 2008 11:37 AM
Recent studies have found the importance of magnesium as a nutrient and its impact on general and heart health. Nutritional magnesium is deeply involved in the production of energy, the uptake of oxygen, the function of the central nervous system, the balance of electrolytes, the metabolism of glucose, and the activity of muscles, including the heart. When magnesium’s importance in the heart muscle is closely examine, the microscope is necessary, as it gets right down to the cellular and molecular levels.
Magnesium has an essential role in many of the functions of energy production and is an integral part of the energy and protein molecules, without which the heart would not have the proper energy to contract and relax. Magnesium is also essential in the construction of the cell membrane, as the heart is composed of cells and the magnesium plays a role in the strength of the heart muscle itself.
When magnesium levels begin to get too low the body will try to adapt, but the basic functions of energy production and cell structure are affected. Without enough magnesium, the cell is unable to keep the proper number of high-energy molecules that is needed to function properly. It doesn’t just end there though, as just about everything starts to go once magnesium falls below a certain level, and then cellular damage can result. Sodium balance and electrolyte balance also start to change, while the cell is unable to have a fully integrated membrane system due to magnesium deficiency, calcium and sodium start to rush into abnormal areas for the muscle cells which can cause cellular damage.
If a person is not getting adequate magnesium, they may go into a marginal state, which can be taken to a depleted state with a certain trauma or excessive physical, emotional, or mental stress. This depleted state can manifest as hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, and possibly even a heart attack. Magnesium requirements increase during times of stress which include exercise, mental and emotional issues, high noise, chemical toxins, and others. Requirements for magnesium also rise during healing from a bodily trauma such as an injury or operation. A low magnesium condition can be worsened by a high intake of calcium, as calcium can not be optimally utilized without the proper balance of magnesium, and a high calcium intake without magnesium will cause further drainage of any magnesium reserves. Although calcium is necessary at the cellular level for muscles to contract, nerves to fire, and hormones to be produced and released, too much calcium and too little magnesium is a disaster. Another problem related to heart health is cholesterol, a fatty substance found in many areas of the body. Since cholesterol has gotten such a bad name, many people do not know that it is actually produced in all cells naturally and is important for proper bodily functions.
Finally, one of the reactions that are involved in cholesterol production is called rate-limiting reaction, as it keeps control of the amount of cholesterol manufactured. The rate-limiting reaction requires magnesium, which can cause cholesterol to continue to be manufactured beyond the cells control if magnesium is unavailable, resulting in cholesterol buildup. As you can see, magnesium is vital to the body and if not obtained from your diet, should be supplemented through a vitamin supplement from a health food store. For more information on magnesium and its healthful effects on the body, feel free to contact your local health food store.
Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D
August 06, 2008 12:32 PM
Osteoporosis has always been known to threaten women, as it afflicts 8 million females in the US, but this bone-thinning disorder is becoming a serious public health issue among men also. More than 2 million men may be at risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures, with 6% of them over age 50 will experience a hip fracture as a result of this disease. Even though osteoporosis does not affect men as often as it does women, the risk for men increases with age, with the risk factors being similar to those of women. Osteoporosis often shows no symptom until a bone fracture occurs, which makes early detection extremely important.
With new bone material constantly replacing the old, more bone is produced than removed during childhood, which lets the skeleton grow. Bone mass peaks for most people during their 30s, with the processing reversing itself afterwards. The amount of bone slowly begins to decline as the removal of old exceeds the formation of new. Because female hormone production drops rapidly at menopause, this condition is immediately associated with increased bone loss. Hormonal changes in men occur much more slowly, with testosterone levels declining about 1% each year after the age of 40, remaining unnoticeable until after age 60.
Women lose bone more rapidly than men up until after age 65, when the rates equal out. The absorption of calcium decreases in both sexes, while excessive bone loss increases the fragility of bones, leading to fractures in the hip, spine, and wrist. Women begin to get spine fractures in their late 50s, while men take about 10 years longer for this to begin, which can partially be attributed to their larger skeletons, which takes longer for osteoporosis to develop.
Along with being brought on by advancing age and lower testosterone levels, osteoporosis can develop due to small stature, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, gastric cancer, HIV infection, celiac disease, various medications, and growth hormone deficiency. Because nothing can be done about one’s stature, some basic lifestyle adjustments, such as not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks each day, and increasing exercise, can help a man protect his bones. A man should also look for treatment for any other underlying medical conditions that affect bone health.
Calcium, one of the best known nutrients associated with healthy bones, needs help to provide maximum protection. Therefore, other skeleton-strengthening minerals necessary are magnesium, which regulates calcium transport within the body; zinc, which is required for collagen; and boron, which is a trace element that helps the body to use calcium, magnesium, and other minerals. Boron is also important because it activates vitamin D.
Finally, vitamin D is another key bone nutrient. In order to ensure adequate D intake, at least 10 minutes of sunlight a day or dietary supplements is important. In colder, cloudier times, vitamin D supplementation is highly recommended. Additionally, B vitamin deficiencies have often been associated with an increased chance of developing osteoporosis. The best way for a man to avoid osteoporosis is to be aware of his risk. The knowledge of osteoporosis in women has led to a downward trend in women breaking hips, but the incidence is still going up for men.
Rescue From High Cholesterol
July 01, 2008 05:22 PM
Cholesterol is an unsaturated waxy solid that is manufactured in the body and has important functions relative to cell membrane management. It is also known to help produce bile to digest fats and can help in metabolizing fat-soluble vitamins. Cholesterol is both made in tissue membranes and derived through the diet. This is where the basis of good and bad cholesterol comes into play. Cholesterol that is made in tissue membranes is transported by high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which delivers the cholesterol to the liver. HDL is thought to remove cholesterol from arteries and delivers it back to the liver for processing. Increased levels of HDL have also been deemed as protective against heart disease. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), on the other hand, is dietary cholesterol that is transported and carries cholesterol from the liver to tissue membranes.
This factor is not what makes LDL cholesterol bad, instead it is the amount of cholesterol in the wrong place at the wrong time. Large amounts of cholesterol and LDL in the arteries can lead to plaques that gradually damage arteries over time, which leads to heart attack, stroke, or some other type of heart and vascular diseases. Because of these reasons, cholesterol management for heart and vascular health focuses on lowering LDL cholesterol. What is often overlooked is the value of raising HDL cholesterol levels, which can improve removal of cholesterol from dangerous locations in the arteries.
The diet greatly influences health, and by addressing macro and micro nutrients, cholesterol health can be greatly reduced. Macro nutrients that affect cholesterol include fiber, protein, and fats. Micro nutrients are things such as vitamins and minerals, especially those that have potent antioxidant mechanisms, which can affect lipid peroxidation. Fiber, which has long been recommended by the American Heart association (AHA), lowers total and LDL cholesterol levels, while raising HDL levels. Although fiber is straightforward, the trick with protein is to always find a good source that does not have saturated fat and cholesterol that can negate its benefits. Although whey protein is animal-based, it has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. However, many people have looked to soy to provide cholesterol-managing protein.
When it comes to natural products, there are a few key nutrients that can help with cholesterol management. Among these are DHA, EPA, Omega-3s and 6s, Vitamin E, Vitamin B, and Niacin. Limiting oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation are also important components of cholesterol management. Although micro nutrients give a good level of protection from oxidation, a large amount of antioxidant fighters comes from botanicals, flavonoids, and carotenoids. Some flavonoids that can help with cholesterol care include cocoa, tea, and fruit.
Citrus bioflavonoids also help with antioxidant management, especially when they are combined with vitamin E. Fruits such as pomegranate and grape seed extract help to limit LDL oxidation. Botanicals such as garlic, which contain antioxidant constituents help to lower total and LDL cholesterol while still maintaining HDL levels. Other suggestions to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels include pine bark extract as well as some types of algae.
Whether you’re attempting to use just one or many of these approaches to battle cholesterol levels, there are many well-researched ways to both lower the bad and raise the good cholesterol.
June 07, 2008 09:40 AM
Vitamin E is a known natural supplement and antioxidant that helps support the immune and cardiovascular systems. It is created by a natural process so that you can receive the purest form available. It is formed when natural d-alpha tocopherol is combined with a phosphate molecule. This combination protects the potency of Vitamin E until your body needs it the most.
Ester E is processed so that its natural benefits are preserved to give the body the most optimal benefit possible. This is why Ester E is the best form of Vitamin E available. Vitamin E is known to aid in the following actions:
* Preventing Alzheimer’s disease
Vitamin E Food Sources:
How Vitamin E Works:
Manufacturers suggest that Ester E be taken along with a meal that includes some form of fat. This is because when fat is combined with Vitamin E, it is more readily absorbed. Since the supplement is fat soluble, this aids in delivery to the cells of the body.
Vitamin E is an essential nutrient because the body cannot produce it on its own. If you are not ingesting the proper amounts of it in your daily diet, you need to take a supplement. It is important to remember that improper preparation, cooking and storage can result in the loss of Vitamin E from the food.
Vitamin E is actually a combination of antioxidants, tocopherols and tocotrienols. Unfortunately, only alpha-tocopherol is actively maintained in the body. Therefore a supplement is needed to be sure the body is getting enough of the other ingredients that make up the complete Vitamin E.
Why do we need Vitamin E?
Part of its job is to protect Vitamin A and essential fatty acids from oxidation. When oxidation occurs in the cells, it breaks down body tissues.
Vitamin E Benefits:
Vitamin E has been found to aid in the prevention of heart disease. The oxidation of LDL cholesterol causes blockages in the coronary arteries. This often leads to atherosclerosis and heart attack. Vitamin E helps to prevent or at least delay these effects by limiting this oxidation. This has reduced the mortality rate due to coronary disease.
In its complete form, Vitamin E may be effective in reducing the risk of breast cancer in women who are genetically predisposed. It is being tested for its effectiveness in not only reducing the incidence of breast cancer, but also in inhibiting breast cancer cell growth.
Vitamin E is thought to protect the body against many forms of cancer due to its ability to increase immune system function. As an antioxidant, Vitamin E protects the body against the damaging effects of free radicals. These are believed to contribute to cancer cell production and the development of other chronic diseases. Vitamin E may also block formation of nitrosamines. These are carcinogens that form in the stomach from nitrites consumed through diet.
Another possible benefit to optimal amounts of Vitamin E in the diet is the prevention of cataracts. The clarity of the lens of the eye contributes to the formation of cataracts, blindness and eye disease. Vitamin E is being found to aid in the prevention of eye problems in people of all ages.
Vitamin E Warnings:
Vitamin E can produce harmful side effects if it is combined with certain medications. Consult your doctor before taking any dietary supplement to be sure it is safe for your use.
When taken as a supplement in its complete form, Vitamin E is nutritive and helpful in maintaining good health. Be sure when purchasing Vitamin E supplements that you are using Ester E for optimal benefits.
April 29, 2008 10:49 AM
Butterbur extract is taken mainly from the rhizome, root and leaves of the butterbur, a member of the daisy family. They are very hardy and have creeping underground rhizomes and large leaves like those of rhubarb. Another name given to it is the sweet Coltsfoot, and they generally grow in the temperate climates of Europe, North Africa and South west Asia. They like damp conditions, specifically marshes and ditches, and also riverbanks where there are always plentiful supplies of moisture.
It has been used by Native Americans for headaches and inflammation, and has been shown to be an effective remedy for hay fever and to provide relief from painful menstrual cramps. Butterbur has also been used throughout the middle Ages to treat fever and the plague, and has been recorded in the seventeenth century as being used for asthma, wounds and coughs. However, one of its most important applications is in restore bladder function in the incontinent and semi-incontinent.
Urinary incontinence is typified by an unusually high frequency of urination – more than 8 times a day, an immediate strong urge to pass water or leaking and involuntary urination. Any two of these three indicates urinary incontinence. As people age their bladders become smaller, and by definition the periods between urination will reduce. This does not, however, suggest that bladder size is the cause of urinary incontinence.
Urination is caused by the contraction of the smooth layered muscle that surrounds the bladder, called the detrusor, a contraction in turn caused by neurons both in the brain and in the detrusor itself. This naturally contracts and expands according to the volume of urine in the bladder, and once the bladder is about half full the brain will tell you that the detrusor is ready to contract to expel the urine. However, if the time is not convenient, the cortex will suppress this desire until a more convenient time.
In incontinence, the desire is suppressed but the neurons still fire to contract the detrusor, expelling urine at inconvenient moments. Butterbur contains the sesquiterpenes petasin and isopetasin, which are known to reduce spasms in smooth muscle tissue and in vascular walls. It can therefore be used to control the involuntary spasms that cause urine leakage or expulsion against the patient’s wishes. These sesquiterpenes are at highest concentration in the roots of the plant.
The effect that the sesquiterpenes have in inhibiting the synthesis of leukotriene in leukocytes tends to support this effect, since leukotrienes can cause contraction of vascular and smooth muscle tissue. Not only this, but the spasmolytic effect could also be explained by the inhibition of cellular calcium caused by the petasin isomers.
Many studies have indicated that the effectiveness of butterbur extract is also useful in the prevention of migraines. There has been a lot of research carried out on the use of butterbur extract on migraine sufferers, and the effective dose appears to about 75 mg twice daily. There is little evidence of it being a cure but as a prophylactic there appears no doubt of its efficacy: there have been too many positive results against placebos for its effect to be deniable.
It is significant that leukotriene can cause constriction of the small blood vessels in the veins, and so affect the flow of blood. Butterbur, in inhibiting its biochemical production, helps to keep these blood vessels open. Lekotrienes are also important components of inflammation, and altogether it appears that whatever the real cause of migraine, the petasin isomers in butterbur have an effect in inhibiting its initiation. Add to that the potential reduction in calcium content that can cause blood vessels to become less flexible, and the argument for its effectiveness is both irrefutable and well explained.
In one example of such a double blind study that is representative of many, a group of patients given 50 mg butterbur extract twice a day for twelve weeks experienced a 60% reduction in the frequency of attacks, a reduction in the severity of the attacks they did have, and a reduction in the length of the attacks. Although the vascular theory of the cause of migraine is no longer supported, maintenance of the vascular system appears to at least reduce the likelihood of attacks.
The effect of butterbur on asthma and other allergic reactions is also well documented. This again is due to its anti-spasmodic properties and inhibitory effect on the inflammatory immune response through the inhibition of leukotriene synthesis and the consequent positive effect on the metabolism of prostaglandin. Prostaglandins also constrict vascular smooth muscle cells, regulate the mediation of the inflammatory response and constrict general smooth muscle cells. All of these can lead a to a variety of disorders cause by smooth muscle spasms in additional to urinary incontinence, such as menstrual cramps, liver and gastrointestinal disorders and asthmatic conditions.
In one study of allergic rhinitis, administration of butterbur extract appeared to result in a reduction in the histamine and leukotriene content of nasal fluids and no difference was noticed between this treatment and histamine treatment. This was a useful study because histamines causes drowsiness and butterbur can be used as a substitute for histamine without the sedative effect. A study in Germany in 1993 has shown that the stomach ulceration caused by the anti-inflammatory medications for arthritis was reduced by the administration of butterbur extract
Cetirizine is a commonly prescribed prescription treatment for allergic conditions, and studies comparing that with butterbur demonstrated them to be equally effecting in reducing the symptoms typical of allergic reactions such as sneezing, runny nose and nasal congestion. 50% of the patients in the group took each and there was no difference in results. Again it was explained by the petasin limiting the production of leukotriene and histamine, both of which are produced by the immune response and promote mucous secretions and inflammation. They also constrict airways that can be serious to asthma sufferers
These studies are simply providing scientific evidence and explanations for the tradition use of this plant for such conditions. Butterbur has been used for centuries to treat such conditions all over Western Europe, and once again the use of traditional medicine has been supported by modern investigative techniques.
L-Carnitine For Health And Wellness
April 16, 2008 03:25 PM
Research continues to mount evidence that l-carnitine can help boost energy and quality of life. Carnitine comes from the Latin word for flesh: caro or carnis. L-carnitine was discovered and isolated from meat in the early 1900s. At that time, scientists thought that l-carnitine played a role in muscle function; this was many years before technology would advance so that this theory could be proved. Today, we know that this amino acid is found mostly in tissue of the body that requires lots of energy such as the heart, skeletal muscles, and liver.
L-carnitine is considered a non-essential amino acid since the body manufactures it from l-methionine and l-lysine. Depending on one’s diet, the body manufactures most of, not all, the l-carnitine it needs every day. There are circumstances where a rare genetic disease can cause the body to not manufacture its own l-carnitine resulting in a deficiency which can cause secondary diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver, chronic renal failure, diabetes, heart failure or Alzheimer’s disease. Some medications can cause a deficiency as well, check with your doctor about prescriptions.
The primary energy source for the body is long-chain fatty acids. L-carnitine plays an essential role in energy production process. This amino acid transports long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria, where it is used to produce energy for each cell in the body. l-carnitine then removes the “acyl” group by products out of the mitochondria as they accumulate. Both the transporting in and out of the cells mitochondria is vital for continued muscle function to occur.
Researchers suggest that the limiting factor in high intensity exercise is from the availability of l-carnitine in the muscle tissue. Studies conducted with this amino acid suggest that athletes experience improved performance when supplementing with l-carnitine by reducing post exercise lactate acid levels and improving recovery from exercise stress.
Some research suggests that l-carnitine can help chronic fatigue individuals by shuttling long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria where the body manufactures energy. The bulk of this research was done on chronic fatigue patients who consumed 2 grams per day of l-carnitine. Additional research was performed on individuals over 100 years of age and the results were these individuals experiences increase physical endurance and improved cognitive activity.
L-carnitine can help cardiovascular conditions including angina, congestive heart failure, and peripheral artery disease. Recent studies showed male fertility improvement when l-carnitine was consumed on a regular basis. Men participating had better sperm motility which increases the changes of one reaching an egg and improving the odds of fertilization.
Research also demonstrated that 1 gram of this amino acid daily over three months can help one reduce weight by improving fat metabolism. This holds consistent with the findings that l-carnitine transports long-chain fatty acids (fat) into cellular mitochondria so it can be burned as energy. With a good diet and exercise plan, reports suggest that even more weight loss can be achieved.
Safety is of particular concern when adding extra supplements to one’s diet such as l-carnitine. Good news, l-carnitine is very safe at 1 – 3 grams each day, even higher doses are safe with no side effects. With the mounting evidence on the benefits of l-carnitine consumption, what is stopping you from adding l-carnitine today to your supplement diet to improve health and wellness?
Ubiquinol Reduced CoQ10
April 07, 2008 01:05 PM
Ubiquinol, which is the reduced from of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), has been recently added to the supplement offerings of many companies and has generated a lot of confusion along with its excitement. As a supplement, ubiquinol is somewhat new, but as a critical part of human metabolism, our knowledge of ubiquinol goes back to the discovery of CoQ10. Although CoQ10 is often thought of as a “static” nutrient in the context of nutrition, it actually interchanges between two useful states: the oxidized ubiquinone, and the reduced ubiquinol.
Coenzyme Q10 is a member of a family of important biological compounds which are referred to as ubiquinones. It is a lipophilic, water-insoluble substance, which takes part in a large array of biochemical oxidation and reduction reactions. It was first identified in 1957 as an essential component of the energy production system in cells. CoQ10 and other members of the ubiquinone family have, since then, been identified as critical metabolic compounds in a range of aerobic organisms. Because of its crucial role in metabolism, humans have the ability to make their own CoQ10, although small amounts can be obtained through diet and as supplements.
In humans, CoQ10 is found in each cell in the body, but is particularly abundant in tissues which have large energy requirements such as the heart, liver, kidneys, and skeletal muscles. Smaller amounts can be found in the brain, lungs, and intestines. There are also substantial amounts that can be found in circulation, which are most often associated with lipoprotein particles. In total, CoQ10 in a normal adult has been estimated to be between 0.5 and 1.5 grams. Inside cells, about half of the CoQ10 is found within the mitochondria, where the final steps of CoQ10 production occur.
CoQ10 which is not located in areas of the cell and are not charge with producing cellular energy can amount to about 50-60 percent of the total CoQ10 pool. CoQ10 can be found throughout cell membranes and in other cellular structures such as the nucleus, cytoplasm, and endoplasmic reticulum. Some experimentation has also concluded that, while the final steps of CoQ10 production occur in the mitochondria, it can be exported to other sub-cellular locations.
While participating in various oxidation and reduction reactions, CoQ10 is cycled between two stable states: a fully oxidized form referred to as ubiquinone, and a fully reduced form called ubiquinol. CoQ10 cycles through these oxidated/reduced forms in order to achieve its metabolic goals. The cycle of CoQ10 is simple. Ubiquinone picks up electrons and then becomes ubiquinol. Ubiquinol then release its electrons and becomes ubiquinone again. Therefore, it would seem that CoQ10 has a very simple function of moving electrons, as the transfer of electrons is a fundamental step in the production of energy, the regeneration of antioxidants in cell membranes, and the construction of other important biological molecules. Each cell that is in the body needs a source of energy in order to survive. Therefore, sugars, fats, and amino acids are broken down in order to make energy.
In the mitochondria, CoQ10 is abundant, as it carries electrons to aid in the chemical reactions that burn cellular fuel and produce chemical energy to form ATP. Since substantial amounts of ATP are needed to power our cells, the importance of CoQ10 in human metabolism is easily understood. Both forms of CoQ10 are needed to transfer electrons between energy-producing reactions. Outside of the mitochondria, CoQ10 performs a slightly different role as a membrane and antioxidant. About half of the human body’s total CoQ10 pool may be functioning in this capacity. CoQ10 is one of the major antioxidant elements of the LDL particles and is also one of the first to be depleted when LDL is subjected to oxidation.
A discussion of CoQ10 would not be complete without mentioning its documented health benefits. Supplemental CoQ10 has been the subject of a lot of studies over the last half century, especially in applications for cardiovascular health. Many studies have shown benefits of CoQ10 in patients who are diagnosed with chronic heart failure, exercise-induced angina, hypertension, or those who have recently experienced infarction. There is also early evidence showing that CoQ10 may protect the heart from damage during chemotherapy, bypass surgery, or in diabetes. Aside from its cardiovascular uses, CoQ10 has been studied for its benefits in other conditions involving dysfunctions in cellular energetics, neurological degeneration, or oxidative stress damage. Although the clinical evidence for the potential benefit of CoQ10 in many of these applications shows promise, the variability in study outcomes proves it necessary to further research these areas for a more definite answer.
As we have previously seen, CoQ10 functions by cycling between two stable forms, ubiquinol and ubiquinone. This cycle results in the generation of cellular energy and the protection of membranes and lipids from oxidation. Dietary or supplemental CoQ10 also takes part in this cycle. Supplemental ubiquinol may have a distinct advantage over ubiquinone in its facility of absorption. Like many fats and lipophilic nutrients, CoQ10 is usually taken up by the intestinal electrolytes, packaged into lipid particles, and then released into the lymphatic system. From there, these particles are transferred into circulation where they are free to be transported throughout the body as needed.
The absorption of dietary CoQ10 is actually quite poor since it has limited solubility in lipids and depends on other contents of the gut. Some studies have measured that absorption is as low as 2-3 percent of the total dosage. One of the most thrilling consequences of the development of a stabilized dosage form of ubiquinol is its ability to be absorbed more efficiently than ubiquinone. There is evidence that CoQ10 must be reduced in intestinal enterocytes before the release into the lymphatic system. This, paired with absorption/reduction, may be a rate-limiting step of CoQ10 assimilation.
Dietary ubiquinol avoids this reduction reaction, and is directly available for absorption, which explains why ubiquinol-based CoQ10 supplements exhibit enhanced bioavailability over ubiquinone supplements. Preliminary studies in humans have shown that absorption of ubiquinol is at least double the absorption of ubiquinone. Comparisons of blood levels between trials also estimate the improvement in absorption to be significantly higher. Future studies are necessary to more accurately determine ubiquinol’s enhanced absorption, and what effect the patient age or medical condition may have on these results.
D-Ribose Powder Benefits!
April 10, 2007 11:57 AM
Supports normal heart function*
A significant amount of in vitro, animal and human research suggests benefits of ribose on heart function.* Studies have shown that ribose supplementation can enhance cardiac energy levels and support cardiovascular metabolism.* Ribose has been shown in clinical trials to enhance the recovery of heart muscle ATP levels and improve myocardial function following exercise.
Studies suggest that ribose supplementation can increase the tolerability of the cardiovascular system to exercise-induced fatigue.1 In one study, twenty men underwent treadmill exercise tests on two consecutive days to confirm the onset of fatigue secondary to exercise. The participants were then randomized to the treatment group or a placebo group. The groups received either four doses of 15 grams of D-ribose (60 grams/day total) or the same amount of placebo each day. After three days of treatment, another treadmill test was performed. The time it took to reach the specified level of fatigue was significantly greater in the ribose group than in the placebo group.
Another study investigated the ability of ribose to support healthy heart function and quality of life.2 In a randomized, crossover design study, fifteen individuals were given 5 grams three times a day of either D-ribose or placebo. Each treatment period lasted three weeks. In patients receiving ribose, echocardiography demonstrated enhancement of heart function, reflecting a “more efficient relaxation phase of the heart”. Participants also had a significant improvement in their subjective quality of life scores compared to placebo.
Scientists suggest that suboptimal heart function is a result of the heart requiring more energy to function properly. Ribose supports the heart’s enhanced energy requirements, promoting optimal heart function. It does so by enhancing the stores of high-energy phosphates in heart tissue. These intermediates are necessary for the production and resynthesis of ATP. A double-blind crossover study in which 12 individuals were randomized to receive either ribose or dextrose (both administered as 5 grams three times daily for three weeks, followed by a 1-week washout period and crossover of treatments for three additional weeks) suggested significant enhancements in normal cardiac function during the period of ribose supplementation.3
Perhaps one of the more useful illustrations of the potential for ribose to support heart function comes from a study in which 20 rats received a continuous infusion of ribose for 24 hours (control rats received an infusion of saline). The hearts were then explanted (as they would be for heart transplants) and placed in preservation solution that was enriched with ribose for 4 hours. ATP levels were measured from tissue biopsies and revealed that 10 of the ribose-treated hearts had ATP levels higher than 12.3 micromoles per gram whereas saline-treated hearts (controls) had lower ATP levels, with 20% showing levels below 10 micromoles per gram of tissue. This provides support for the hypothesis that ribose may enhance the preservation of ATP levels in cardiac tissue, promoting normal heart function.4
Further animal studies have shown that ribose significantly enhances heart function after experimentally induced cardiac depression. Rats were injected with isoproterenol (a drug that stimulates sympathetic nervous system function) and had their abdominal aorta constricted to induce depression of heart function and reduce cardiac ATP levels. The decrease in ATP was primarily responsible for the depression of heart function. Continuous infusion of ribose for 24 hours replenished ATP concentrations to normal levels and normalized heart function in these animals.5
Ribose may strengthen and support the body’s crucial antioxidant defenses*
Ribose may support the body’s innate antioxidant mechanisms while promoting an antioxidant effect of its own. Intense exercise and other strenuous activity can induce the production of free radicals. Preliminary studies suggest that ribose can attenuate some of the effects of oxidation seen after performance of intensive exercise.
One small human study indicated that ribose administered at a dose of seven grams before and after a bout of cycling exercise may reduce free radical production.6 Seven volunteers ingested either ribose or placebo both before and after intense exercise. Markers of lipid peroxidation, including malondialdehyde, significantly decreased in the ribose-supplemented group, while increasing in the control group. The results of this study indicate a possible effect of ribose in supporting antioxidant activity.
Supports healthy energy levels in heart and muscle tissue*
After bouts of intense exercise, ATP levels have been shown to decrease by an average of 15 to 20%.7 The amount of ATP stored in the muscle is limited and so the body must have the potential to rebuild ATP stores. ATP is the fuel necessary for the integrity and function of a cell. In addition, several studies have found correlations between ATP content and heart function.1 Research that was also alluded to above suggests that ribose stimulates ATP synthesis and supports heart and muscle function by enhancing ATP levels in cardiac and muscle tissue. D-ribose is an essential building block for the synthesis of ATP through the pentose phosphate pathway.
The results of ribose supplementation enhancing ATP levels in muscle are evidenced by studies suggesting beneficial effects on anaerobic performance. In a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study assessing the effects of acute ribose supplementation, participants receiving the ribose supplement had increases in mean power (a measure of average overall muscular strength output during the sprint) and peak power (a measure of the highest muscular strength output during the sprint) when undergoing a series of cycle sprints.8 While this effect was not noted in all of the six short cycling sprints that the participants underwent, the study does illustrate the potential benefits of ribose on ATP production and, secondarily, on enhancing exercise performance.
A second placebo-controlled trial investigated the effects of four weeks of ribose-supplementation (10 grams /day) on male bodybuilders. Of the 20 participants who were recruited, twelve completed the study. Each subject participated in a heavy-resistance training program designed to increase skeletal muscle mass. The effects of ribose on body composition (body weight, body fat, lean body mass, fat mass, and bone mineral content) were also assessed. The results suggested that ribose increased total work capacity and bench press strength compared to placebo, without altering body composition.9
Supports energy recovery after exercise*
Animal studies have suggested that the administration of ribose after exercise increases the rate of adenine salvage by five to seven-fold in muscle tissue7, supporting energy recovery after exercise. When ATP is utilized by muscle tissue, the degradation products include adenine nucleotides (Adenine is one of two purine bases that is a component of DNA). Adenine is recycled to synthesize DNA, and the salvage of adenine within the muscle tissue is crucial to energy recovery. Studies have shown that the presence of adequate ribose concentrations is the rate-limiting step in the purine salvage pathway. Therefore, increased adenine salvage could potentially help in the recovery and regeneration of ATP after intense bouts of activity.
A study investigated the effect of oral intake of ribose on the synthesis of AMP, a precursor to ATP.10 Participants performed intense cycle training for seven days. They then received either ribose (at a concentration of 200 mg/kg body weight, which is equivalent to 14 grams per day for an average 70 kilogram male) or placebo three times a day for the following three days. Exercise tests were performed again on day 4. Muscle biopsy samples were taken before the first training session, immediately after, and again five hours, 24 hours, and 72 hours after the last training session. No differences were seen in exercise performance between the groups. The intense exercise caused the ATP levels in muscle to decrease in both groups. However, at 72 hours post-exercise, the ribose group exhibited a much higher ATP level than the placebo group. The muscle levels of critical building blocks for ATP, including total adenine nucleotides (TAN) and inosine 5’-monophosphate (IMP), were also significantly higher in the ribose group compared to the placebo group at 24 hours after exercise. Ribose-supplementation was shown to enhance the resynthesis of ATP after intense exercise.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Caution: Insulin-dependent diabetics and pregnant women should consult their physician before use.
Suggested Adult Use: Take 1 or 2 scoops mixed in water, juice or other beverage two times per day. May be taken with or without food.
1) Pliml, W., von Arnim, T., Stablein, A., Hofmann, H., Zimmer, H., Erdmann, E. Effects of ribose on exercise-induced ischaemia in stable coronary artery disease. The Lancet. 1992;340:507-510.
2) Omran, H., Illien, S., MacCarter, D., St. Cyr, J.A., Luderitz, B. D-Ribose improves diastolic function and quality of life in congestive heart failure patients: a prospective feasibility study. The European Journal of Heart Failure. 2003;5:615-619.
3) Illien, S., Omran, H., MacCarter, D., St. Cyr, J.A. Ribose improves myocardial function in congestive heart failure. FASEB Journal 2001;15(5): A1142
4) Muller C., Zimmer H., Gross M., Gresser U., Brotsack I., Wehling M., Pliml W. Effect of ribose on cardiac adenine nucleotides in a donor model for heart transplantation. Eur J Med Res. 1998 Dec 16;3(12):554-8.
5) Zimmer H.G. Normalization of depressed heart function in rats by ribose. Science. 1983 Apr 1;220(4592):81-2.
6) Seifert, J.G., Subudhi, A., Fu, M., Riska, J.J. The effects of ribose ingestion on indices of free radical production during hypoxic exercise. Free Rad Biol Med 2002; 33(Suppl 1) S269.
7) Zarzeczny, R., Brault, J.J., Abraham, K.A., Hancock, C.R., Terjung, R. Influence of ribose on adenine salvage after intense muscle contractions. J Applied Physiology. 2001;91:1775-1781.
8) Berardi J.M., Ziegenfuss T.N. Effects of ribose supplementation on repeated sprint performance in men. J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Feb;17(1):47-52.
9) Van Gammeren, D.V., Falk, D., Antonio, J. The effects of four weeks of ribose supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in healthy, young, male recreational bodybuilders: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Current Ther Research. 2002;63(8):486-495.
10) Hellsten, Y., Skadhauge, L., Bangsbo, J. Effect of ribose supplementation on resynthesis of adenine nucleotides after intense intermittent training in humans. American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 2004;286:R182-R188.
Buy Ribose at Vitanet at a Discount
Peppermint Oil for IBS
March 24, 2007 11:01 AM
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a painful and frequently frustrating disorder of the intestines that’s often difficult to treat. Fortunately, there are scientifically studied natural products that effectively reduce the distressing symptoms of IBS.
Q. What is IBS?
A. IBS causes crampy pain, gassiness, bloating, and alterations in bowel habits. IBS is termed a functional disorder, because when the colon is examined, there is no visible sign of disease. While IBS causes significant pain and distress, no actual damage is occurring in the intestines.
There is a wide variability in IBS. Symptoms may be mild and fairly well tolerated. Or, the pain, discomfort, and bowel dysfunction may be disabling, limiting social interactions, employment, or travel.
While some individuals with IBS have diarrhea (frequent, loose stools with an urgent need to move the bowels), others have constipation (hard, infrequent stools that are difficult to pass). And, still others may experience both. Individuals with IBS also may have painful abdominal cramps and feel an urgent need to move the bowels, but are unable to do so.
A. The small intestine receives digestive material from the stomach and delivers it to the large intestine (colon). About two quarts (2,000 ml) of digestive material enter the colon from the small intestine every day. The colon absorbs water and salts from the material, which is progressively moved through the colon. This progressive movement continues until most of the fluid and salts are absorbed into the body and stool is formed. The stool passes to the left side of the colon, where it is stored until a bowel movement occurs.
Because researchers haven’t been able to find actual damage in the colon, it once was suggested that individuals with IBS have emotional problems or are overly susceptible to stress. While stress may cause symptoms of IBS to intensify, it doesn’t cause the condition.
Recent study has determined the colon muscle of an individual with IBS spasms after only mild stimulation. It’s thought the symptoms of IBS are produced by hyperactivity of the intestines. In other words, the intestines of individuals with IBS are more reactive to stressors and diet than usual. Almost everyone has experienced abdominal queasiness in response to everyday stress or certain foods. This may result in a brief bout of diarrhea or an upset stomach. However, this response is exaggerated in individuals with IBS.
Q. How prevalent is IBS?
A. IBS is very common. In fact, it’s one of the most frequent problems seen by family physicians. It’s the most common disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists (physicians specializing in the treatment of digestive disorders). The overall prevalence rates range from 10% to 20% of the general population in most industrialized countries. As a result, the pain and disabling symptoms associated with IBS result in significant socioeconomic costs, as wall as reduction in quality of life for many individuals.
A. Normal bowel function varies from person to person. Some people move their bowels daily, while others may only have two to three stools a week. A normal bowel movement is soft, formed, and is easily passed without cramping or pain.
IBS, however, causes abdominal cramps and pain, which are often severe and disabling. Bowel movements may be irregular and alternate between diarrhea and constipation. The diarrhea may be quite loose and watery. Mucous may be passed. There is often much straining, urgency, and feeling of incomplete evacuation (emptying). Abdominal bloating and passing of gas is common. Nausea, lack of appetite, heartburn, and belching may also be present. Sleep may be disrupted resulting in fatigue and lack of energy. Understandably, persons with IBS often feel anxious and depressed.
Diagnosis of IBS is usually based on the continuous presence or recurrence of these symptoms for at least three months. Other intestinal conditions must be ruled out. These include Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, inflammatory conditions of the stomach or pancreas, ulcers, infectious disease, or gastroesphageal reflux disease.
Q. Are there clinically demonstrated natural alternatives to the over-the-counter drugs prescribed by my doctor?
A. Yes, both enteric-coated peppermint oil and clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs) have significant scientific research behind them. Both have been demonstrated to benefit individuals with IBS.
Q. What is clown’s mustard and what does it do?
A. The scientific name for clown’s mustard is Iberis amara. Other names for this herb are wild candytuft and bitter candytuft. Clown’s mustard is a white-flowering plant from Spain, where it grows in dry soil on hillsides and in cornfields. It is also grown in Britain, France, and the United States. Iberis amara is a member of the Brassicaceae family. Iberis refers to its place of origin, the Iberian Peninsula. Amara means bitter. The key components of clown’s mustard are glycosides and flavonoids that have specific actions on gastrointestinal tract tone.
Q. Is there scientific evidence that clown’s mustard benefits people with IBS?
A. There has been very impressive research on clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs). And, it has been used with great success in Germany for many years to treat IBS and other gastrointestinal diseases.
In a study of an herbal combination containing clown’s mustard, 20 patients were given the herbal combination for three to 32 days. They all had been diagnosed with chronic functional disorders for at least one to 20 years. The symptoms the patients experienced included pressure and pain in the abdomen, belching, heartburn, vomiting, nausea, fullness, lack of appetite, constipation, and diarrhea. The patients have been treated for their problems with a variety of antacids, anti-spasmodic agents, and motility-inducing substances. For the purposes of the study, the patients stopped taking these medications and received treatment only with the herbal combination.
Abdominal pressure and pain in the abdomen was the most common of all the experienced symptoms, with 11 of the patients rating it as severe. After six days of treatment, only sic of the patients continued to rate their abdominal pain and pressure as severe. After two weeks, this symptom had completely resolved for 16 of the patients. Diarrhea had been rated as severe in five of the patients. By day 14, only one patient continued to have moderate diarrhea.
Medications prescribed and taken for cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases often cause gastrointestinal problems. Because these conditions are chronic, these medications must be taken for a long time, often for life. With long-term use, these medications can cause erosion of the stomach lining and actual ulcers. Many of these medication-caused symptoms are similar to IBS symptoms: pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Most, if not all, of the individuals who have gastrointestinal problems caused from medications experience two or more of these IBS symptoms.
Forty patients who were taking medications for various types of cardiovascular disease and arthritis, and who are experiencing gastrointestinal problems related to their medications, were enrolled in a study. These symptoms included pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Twenty patients received clown’s mustard combined with other herbs that support gastrointestinal motility. Three days after the trial started, a significant improvement of all s symptoms was noted in those taking this combination. By day 14, abdominal pressure and pain, nausea, and heartburn were completely eliminated in the herbal combination group. Several other clinical trials that were conducted in Germany report similar results.
Q. How does this herb compare to prescription drugs?
A. A study compared clown’s mustard (combined with other herbs) to Reglan (metoclopramide), which is frequently prescribed to reduce the symptoms of IBS. While metoclopramide is a very effective medication, it also has numerous side effects. Metoclopramide can cause fatigue, anxiety, agitation, jitteriness, insomnia, yellowing of the skin or eyes, changes in vision, hallucinations, and seizures. Because of these serious side effects, metoclopramide must not be taken longer than 12 weeks.
In comparison study, 77 subjects were randomized to receive treatment of either clown’s mustard in a combination with other herbs, or metoclopramide. All subjects had pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. The subjects took 20 drops of their assigned treatment after meals three times daily. The duration of treatment was one to two weeks.
In both groups, a parallel improvement of all symptoms was observed. At no point in the study was a statistically significant difference in symptoms found. Both treatments significantly reduced pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. In short, both metoclopramide and the clown’s mustard herbal combination worked well at reducing the symptoms of IBS.
However, side effects occurred more frequently and severely in the metoclopramide group. Given the lack of differences noted between the products at reducing symptoms of IBS, it would seem sensible to choose the treatment with the fewest reported side effects and no limits on duration of use.
A. Peppermint oil has been shown to relax intestinal smooth muscle. In Great Britain, peppermint oil is currently being prescribed for IBS by physicians and it has been used as a digestive aid and to soothe upset stomachs for generations.
Peppermint oil has also been studied for use in an important examination of the colon. A colonoscopy is a procedure of viewing the interior lining of the large intestine (colon) using a colonoscope, a slender, flexible, hollow, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine supports the idea that even people who are not at risk for colon cancer should have this test. The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women at average risk of colon cancer should have a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50.
During a colonoscopy, individuals are sedated and almost no discomfort is experienced. The insertion of the colonoscope into the rectum and up through the colon causes some spasming. This is a natural and expected event and the physician performing the exam administers medications that effectively reduce the spasms.
A recent study compared the use of peppermint oil and commonly used medications to reduce the colonic spasming in colonoscopy. The peppermint oil was introduced directly into the colon. Effective reduction of colon spasming was observed in 88% of the patients.
In a critical review and meta-analysis of peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, eight randomized controlled trials were identified. The studies collectively showed peppermint oil is superior to placebo in improvement of the symptoms of IBS. Because of the good results of these trials, the authors of the review urged additional study of peppermint oil in IBS.
However, straight peppermint oil is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream from the stomach. In recent studies comparing enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules and non-enteric coated oil, both preparations provided effective symptom relief. However, the studies concluded the enteric-coated capsules delivered the benefit of the peppermint oil directly to the intestines. In the treatment of IBS, enteric-coated supplemental peppermint is most definitely preferred.
In fact, an enteric-coated peppermint oil capsule containing rosemary and thyme is extremely effective in the treatment of IBS. All three of these oils are classified as volatile oils, derivatives found in plants that impart taste and aroma. The combination of peppermint, thyme, and rosemary oils in enteric-coated capsules provides significant relief in IBS-related pain.
Q. Can clown’s mustard and other herbs be taken with enteric-coated peppermint oil?
A. Yes, peppermint oil capsules and clown’s mustard can be used together. However, depending on the symptoms, individuals with IBS may want to start with one supplement and then add the other if needed.
Q. How do consumers find these formulas?
A. Fortunately, herbal combinations containing clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are both available at health food stores, natural product supermarkets, pharmacies, and from health professionals. Most knowledgeable sales personnel and health professionals can direct consumers to the most effective products.
Q. What should customers look for when purchasing peppermint oil?
A. As mentioned before, enteric coating of the peppermint oil is extremely important. The coating prevents the oil from being absorbed in the stomach. The enteric coated-capsule moves through the stomach to the small intestine and eventually to the colon, where it is released for maximum benefit.
Q. What is the dosage for peppermint oil?
A. The German Commission E approved peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable colon. In enteric-coated form, the Commission E recommends 0.6 ml per day. Enteric-coated peppermint capsules are available.
Q. Are there side effects or other contraindications?
A. Sometimes, the enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules may cause a transient burning sensation in the rectum when moving bowls. Reducing the dose will correct this.
Individuals who must refrain from alcohol should not take clown’s mustard in an herbal tincture, which may contain alcohol.
Q. What else can IBS patients do to feel better?
A. Food allergies or food intolerance may be associated with IBS. Dairy products and certain grains may trigger a painful episode of IBS. Determining those foods that initiate the problems and eliminating them from your diet can be very helpful.
Many people report their symptoms occur after a meal. Hyperactivity of the intestine of IBS is the response. Often, the strength of this response after a meal is in direct relation to the number of calories and he amount of fat in the meal. Reducing saturated fat, limiting calories, and increasing fiber intake may be helpful.
Stress also stimulates the intestinal hyperactivity. Relaxation training may reduce some IBS symptoms. Listening to therapeutic audiotapes, hypnosis, counseling, and biofeedback all have been shown to improve the healing response in persons with IBS.
IBS can be painful and frustrating, capable of causing much distress. While currently there is no cure for IBS, the symptoms can be managed. The pain, abdominal discomfort, and bowel problems of IBS all respond well to treatment with the use of key herbs, including clown’s mustard, and enteric-coated peppermint oil. These herbal combinations can be both effective and safe in treating IBS. Clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil are both effective front-line natural alternatives for IBS treatment.
Benefits - Supports joint function and tissue health*
December 11, 2006 03:46 PM
To understand glucosamine's role, it is important to understand joint structure and function. Cartilage in the joints acts as a shock absorber to cushion the blows of daily wear and tear. Joint cartilage is made of a unique connective tissue that consists of collagen and proteoglycans. Collagen is a strong, fibrous, insoluble protein. Proteoglycans are large, carbohydrate-rich protein chains made up of 95 percent polysaccharides and 5 percent protein called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). GAGs are composed of repeating two-sugar units (disaccharides) that contain glucosamine sulfate and other amino sugars. Surrounding the joint cartilage is synovial fluid, which contains many substances including its chief component, hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid forms the backbone of other proteoglycans and is responsible for the thickness of synovial fluid as well as its lubricating and shock-absorbing properties. Synovial fluid also provides nutrients for the joint cartilage.
Glucosamine sulfate is a normal constituent of glycosaminoglycans in cartilage and synovial fluid. In essence, glucosamine sulfate provides important building blocks for cartilage production. Laboratory studies suggest that glucosamine may also function to stimulate production of cartilage-building proteins. It is also thought that the sulfate portion of the molecule contributes to the efficacy of glucosamine sulfate in the synovial fluid by providing the elemental sulfur needed for strengthening cartilage and aiding glycosaminoglycan synthesis. 1,2,3
Glucosamine sulfate has been the subject of research for over twenty years. Clinical trials as well as experimental studies have repeatedly supported the efficacy of oral glucosamine sulfate in supporting joint function. In one large open trial, over 1200 people took oral glucosamine sulfate for periods ranging from 36 to 64 days. In this multi-center trial, ninety-five percent of the subjects experienced greater joint comfort and increased mobility. The physicians reported "good" results in 59%, and "sufficient" results in 36%. Furthermore, the improvements in joint health lasted for up to three months after the glucosamine sulfate was discontinued. 3
Promotes optimal joint comfort, function and flexibility*
Boswellia serrata (Indian frankincense) has been used for centuries in the Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine to maintain healthy joints. Even today, this is one of the primary uses for this plant in Ayurvedic medicine. Boswellic acids have been shown to support healthy joint tissue, maintain circulation to joints, enhance joint mobility, and promote joint comfort in animal models without known side effects. 4
Boswellin® is an extract rich in boswellic acids. Boswellic acids are potent modulators of enzymes involved in leukotriene synthesis in vitro, promoting a healthy balanced production of these components of the immune system.5 Healthy leukotriene balance can lead to enhanced joint function. A human clinical study was conducted to assess the effects of supplementation with a formula containing Boswellia, Curcumin and other nutrients on joint function. In this double-blind placebo-controlled crossover trial, participants were randomly assigned to receive the herbal formulation or a placebo for 3 months. Following this 3-month period, the treatments were reversed for an additional 3 months. The results showed that while each group was receiving the herbal formulation, they had superior joint function and a greater sense of joint comfort when compared to the placebo groups.6 Other trials lend further support to Boswellia’s ability to promote healthy joint function.4,6,7
Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that has known free radical scavenging activity. This activity of Curcumin is thought to play a major part in its role as a joint protective nutrient. In fact, the numerous beneficial effects attributed of whole turmeric are thought to stem in large measure from the antioxidant properties of curcuminoids. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which are highly unstable molecules that can damage cellular structures through abnormal oxidative reactions. Curcumin is not toxic to cells, even at high concentrations. Pure Curcumin was shown to be less protective than a mixture of curcuminoids, indicating a possible synergism among the curcuminoids.8
Curcumin demonstrates several other in vitro effects linked to free radical scavenging. Curcumin scavenges nitric oxide, a compound associated with the body’s inflammatory response.9 Curcumin also demonstrates in vitro inhibition of certain enzymes involved in promoting inflammatory reactions in the body. Together these results strongly suggest that Curcumin is a potent bioprotectant with a potentially wide range of therapeutic applications.9,10,11
Preliminary human trials have assessed the therapeutic potential of Curcumin, with results that verify the traditional use of turmeric as an herb to enhance joint health. In a short-term double-blind, cross-over, comparative study, eighteen people were randomized to receive Curcumin (1200 mg daily) or an alternative therapy for two-week periods. The participants in the Curcumin groups were shown to produce measurable enhancements in joint flexibility and walking time.12 Research suggests that Curcumin and Boswellia work extremely well in combination to benefit joint health and mobility, as trials combining both nutrients have yielded highly positive results.
Bioperine-Nature’s Absorption Enhancer Boosts Nutrient Absorption*
Traditional Ayurvedic herbal formulas often include black pepper or long pepper as synergistic herbs. The active ingredient in both black pepper and long pepper is the alkaloid, piperine. Experiments carried out to evaluate the scientific basis for the use of peppers have shown that piperine significantly enhances bioavailability when consumed with other substances.13 Several double-blind clinical studies have confirmed that Bioperine® increases absorption of nutrients.14
Curcumin is known to be poorly absorbed in the intestinal tract when used on its own, thereby limiting its therapeutic effectiveness. Oral doses are largely excreted in feces, and only trace amounts appear in the bloodstream. However, a study has shown that concomitant administration of 20 mg of piperine with 2 grams of Curcumin was able to enhance Curcumin bioavailability by an astounding 2000%. 15 These results speak to the wisdom of including a small amount of Bioperine® in the formulation to ensure nutrient bioavailability.
Sustained Release – For lasting joint comfort and convenient dosing
To ensure that the body can utilize all of the joint health-enhancing nutrients effectively, Best Joint Support featuring ArthriBlend-SR™ has been designed to have a sustained release delivery system. The nutrients are released over a longer period of time, maximizing absorption and providing the comfort-enhancing properties in a sustained manner. This unique delivery system allows the product to be taken just twice daily while maintaining its efficacy throughout the day.
Suggested Adult Use: Take two tablets every 12 hours. Take 4 tablets daily.
2. Tapadinhas M.J., Rivera, I.C. Bignamini, A.A. Oral glucosamine sulphate in the management of arthrosis: report on a multi-centre open investigation in Portugal. Pharmatherpeutica 1982; 3(3):157-68.
3. Vaz, A.L. Double-blind clinical evaluation of the relative efficacy of ibuprofen and glucosamine sulphate in the management of osteoarthrosis of the knee in out-patients. Current Medical Research and Opinion 1982; 8(3):145-149.
4. Kimmatkar N, Thawani V, Hingorani L, Khiyani R. Efficacy and tolerability of Boswellia serrata extract in treatment of osteoarthritis of knee--a randomized double blind placebo controlled trial. Phytomedicine. 2003 Jan;10(1):3-7.
5. Safayhi, H., Mack, T., Sabieraj, J., Anazodo, M.I., Subramanian, L.R., and Ammon, H.P.T. (1992) Boswellic acids: Novel, specific, nonredox inhibitors of 5-lipoxygenase. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 261(3), 1143-1146.
6. Boswellia serrata. Alternative Medicine Review Monographs – Volume One. 2002.
7. Kulkarni RR, Patki PS, Jog VP, Gandage SG, Patwardhan B. Treatment of osteoarthritis with a herbomineral formulation: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study. J Ethnopharmacol. 1991 May-Jun;33(1-2):91-5.
8. Majeed, M., Badmaev, V., Shivakumar, U., Rajendran, R. Curcuminoids: Antioxidant Phytonutrients. 1995. Piscataway, NJ: NutriScience Publishers.
9. Snow, J.M. Herbal Monograph: Curcuma longa L. (Zingiberaceae). The Protocol Journal of Botanical Medicine, Autumn 1995:43-46.
10. Rao, S., Rao, M.N.A. Nitric oxide scavenging by curcuminoids. J Pharm. Pharmacol. 1997;49:105-7.
11. Ramsewak, R.S., DeWitt, D.L., Nair, M.G. Cytotoxicity, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities of Curcumins I-III from Curcuma longa. Phytomedicine 2000;7(4):303-308.
12. Deodhar, S.D., Sethi, R. Srimal. R.C. Preliminary study on antirheumatic activity of curcumin (diferoyl methane). Indian J Med Res 1980;71:632-34.
13. Atal, C., Zutshi, U., Rao, P. Scientific evidence on the role of Ayurvedic herbals on bioavailability of drugs. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1981;4:229-232.
14. Bioperine®–Nature's Bioavailability Enhancing Thermonutrient. Executive Summary. 1996; Sabinsa Corporation, Piscataway, N.J.
15. Shoba, G., et al. Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Medica 1998;64(4):353-6.
October 17, 2006 01:50 PM
Carbohydrate loading is an ergogenic technique devised for endurance athletes to trick the muscles into storing more fuel than it normally would. Although carbohydrate loading has been hailed as an innovative training technique in the past few years, the discovery of carbohydrates as the preferred fuel of the body dates back several decades. In 1939 two scientists named Christiansen and Hensen demonstrated that the body burns carbohydrates before drawing upon its fat and protein. The research found that the body readily uses carbohydrates as fuel for the muscular and nervous system with minimal wastage and toxic by products – unlike the case with protein and fats.
The body stores carbohydrates in the form of glycogen in the muscles and liver. This glycogen helps the liver to detoxify otherwise dangerous substances. It also supplies a readily available source of glucose to maintain the essential blood sugar level. Glycogen stored in a muscle is available for energy use for only that particular muscle, unlike glycogen stored in the liver, which is available systemically. At rest, and during low-intensity exercise, the body burns about an equal mixture of fat and carbohydrate for energy purposes. However, as work intensity increases, carbohydrates become the dominant fuel because of its quick availability. Laboratory research has shown that an exercise intensity of less than 40-50 percent VO2 max, the body burns mostly fat, and the degradation of stored glycogen is minimal.
The situation changes during high intensity exercise, when carbohydrates become the sole source of energy. The activity itself is limited by the availably of glycogen as an energy source.
Muscle glycogen is five times more available as an energy source for intensity exercise as compared to liver glycogen. When the muscle glycogen becomes depleted, the muscle its self begins to fail, and fatigue rapidly sets in marathon running, this dreaded phenomenon is known as “hitting the wall”.
Since it is obvious that the availability of glycogen is a limiting factor in endurance athletic events, exercise physiologists devised ways to increase glycogen storage in the body. In 1967 two Swedish exercise physiologists came up with carbohydrate loading, also called glycogen loading, as a method of supper-compensation of glycogen through diet and exercise.
Hydrate loading usually is approached by any of the following means:
According to researchers David Costill, Ph.D., carbohydrate consumption in excess of 600 grams daily won’t result in proportionally larger amounts of synthesized glycogen. In the first 24 hours of carbo-loading, the type of carbs eaten is not of critical importances. However, after the second day, Costill suggests eating complex rather refined or simple sugars.
Complex carbs are those which contain lots of intact fiber, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. An exception to this rule is pasta, which is a refined sugar but is good to ingest during carbo-loading. Complex carbs tend to maintain a steady output of the hormones insulin, which activates the enzymes glycogen synthetase, essential for effective glycogen storage.
Most experts today advocate a gradually tapering exercise program while increasing carbo consumption to about 525 grams daily. This avoids the problems associated with the low-carb period, such as fatigue, weakness, potassium loss and muscle tissue loss.
One day prior to competition, the athlete rests completely and consumes about 550 grams of carbohydrates.
The carbohydrate loading program should be limited to three times a year. More often than seems to decrease its effectiveness. Costill suggests that athletes engaged in intense exercise on a daily basis consume about 70 percent of their daily calories in carbohydrates. This will maintain adequate glycogen levels in both the liver and muscles, according to Costill.
Carbohydrate loading is of no real benefit in athletic events lasting less than 60 min, because lesser activity time does not deplete glycogen levels enough to inhibit work capacity of endurance.
Carbohydrate loading isn’t for everyone. Each gram of cellular glycogen is stored with 2.7 gram of water. This rapid water storage makes some people feel stiff and tight, resulting in decreased performance. The only way to determine if the carbohydrate loading works for you is to try it – carefully!
Medical Tourism Adopted by Businesses
September 19, 2006 05:46 PM
(NewsTarget) A number of U.S. employers that fund their own health insurance plans have started sending their employees to countries such as India and Thailand for operations that can cost tens of thousands of dollars more in the United States.
“the hospitals have a monopoly,” says North Carolina based Blue Ridge Paper Products Inc. benefits director Bonnie Blackley. “They don’t care, because where else are patients going to go? Well, we’re going to go to India.”
“This accelerating trend of medical tourism,” adds Mike Adams, a medical industry watchdog and critic to conventional medicine, “is the free markets way of overcoming the anti-competitive, monopoly practices that have now become accepted as standard in the U.S. medical industry. Despite the industry’s best efforts to exploit patients by limiting their options, smart consumers are realizing that U.S. meical costs are, indeed, a sham, and that they can get the same level of care – plus a free vacation to Asia – for a fraction of what they’d spend in the U.S.”
Phosphatidyl Serine - HEALTHY COGNITION BRAIN FUNCTION
December 21, 2005 11:04 AM
“To the dull mind, nature is leaden. To the illumined mind, the whole world burns and sparkles with light.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
From the moment we rise to the moment we rest, our brain is in a decision-making frenzy. When we’re thirsty, our brain tells us that we need water. When we’re hungry, it reminds us that we have a refrigerator full of food. When we’re tired, it lets us know that we need to sleep, and so on. But despite the thousands of decisions we make everyday, our brain still hasn’t figured out a way to let us know what it needs to func¬tion.
Though ironic, this raises a very serious issue. The human brain, like every other organ in the body, demands nutrition - period. Unfortunately, it leaves that up to us to figure out. Thanks to notable advance¬ments in research, we’re finally learning which nutri¬ents are most important for optimal brain function. Phosphatidyl Serine (PS) is a perfect example. This naturally occurring phospholipid has been the subject of numerous studies regarding its ability to boost cognitive function and delay (or potentially reverse) memory deterioration, and suggests that PS may be able to increase the effectiveness of neural transmissions. Interestingly, PS accounts for roughly 15% of the brain’s phospholipid supply. This is enor¬mous because phospholipids play a significant role in the billions of neurotransmissions that take place every second. Yes, billions.
Brain cells are constantly communicating with one another, and send astonishing amounts of impulses throughout the nervous system. This is accomplished via neurotransmitters - chemical messengers that send and receive impulses over the synapses of the brain and throughout the body. Mentally, we’re function¬ing at our best when these cells are well nourished. We can think more clearly, recall memories with ease and operate with greater efficiency. However, a de¬ficiency in neural-nutrients can prevent these mind messengers from functioning as they should. For¬tunately, PS has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier to deliver critical nutrients and remove mind-slowing waste.
Consider this. The brain functions in the same man¬ner that a major airport does around the holidays. There are millions of actions taking place. Impulses departing, nutrients arriving, endless communication, the occasional problem and more reactions than any¬one could possibly count. There’s confusion, delay and emotion, not to mention the endless series of transmissions that take place every second. Imagine PS as that ultra-motivated employee who shows up to work everyday anxious to expedite everything in sight. It helps neural travelers get to and from their respec¬tive gates, ensures that they have everything they need, simplifies processes that could result in breakdown, and clears isles that are cluttered with junk. Simply stated, PS is the brain’s overachieving go-getter.
PS can help us think more clearly.
It’s 3:06 in the afternoon and you’re scrambling to get to a meeting that you’re already late for. That fluster could be the result of poor neurotransmission caused by a deficiency in essential nutrients like PS. Moreover, these innocent brain-bursts can exhaust our PS reserves, leaving us somewhere hovering be¬tween frantic and sluggish. Every impulse, thought, action, reaction, movement, emotion and desire is the end result of neurotransmitters in action. PS is a major supporter of these actions. Therefore, as we increase the amount of PS in our system, we gain the ability to think and act with greater ease.
PS can reduce the adverse impacts of stress on our body and mind.
What do we do when we’re down in the dumps? While plopping down on the sofa with a snack might be an easy solution, it comes with a price. Not only does stress interfere with mood, but it can also inspire inactivity, over-eating and sluggishness. This is due largely in part to cortisol - a catabolic hormone released by the adrenal glands in response to emotional stress. Studies done to determine the effectiveness of PS on cortisol suppression have shown that it works by suppressing the hormones that produce cortisol. As a result, supplementing with PS may be able to help reduce the amount of stress related hormones that ultimately leave us singing the blues.
PS can expedite post workout recovery time.
Endurance athletes who carefully monitor their body’s response levels are increasingly turning to PS. Immediately following strenuous activity, the body responds by releasing adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) – a hormone that discourages testosterone and encourages cortisol. By limiting ACTH pro¬duction, PS reduces the amount of muscle tissue breakdown that occurs during exercise. A common misconception is that muscles grow during exercise - wrong. In fact, muscles are torn down during ex¬ercise and grow in-between workouts – hence the term recovery. During recovery, PS helps prevent the activity of growth-inhibiting hormones. This helps athletes recover faster so their gains are realized more quickly.
In short, Phosphatidyl Serine appears to be a completely safe and beneficial dietary supple¬ment that can offer a wide range of physical and mental health benefits. NOW® Phosphatidyl Serine is derived from soy leci¬thin, and includes Choline and Inositol – two metabolites that work synergistically to help in¬crease circulation and cognitive response.
- US Center for Disease Control, 2005
December 07, 2005 01:27 PM
“Forty-three million Americans report that a doctor told them they have arthritis or other rheumatic conditions. Another 23 million people have chronic joint symptoms but have not been diagnosed with arthritis. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, limiting the activities of more than 16 million adults.” - US Center for Disease Control, 2005
This is of alarming concern, especially if you’re one of the nearly 60 million US adults who live with a joint disorder. Clearly, you don’t need to be reminded of what a struggle it can be. Mundane tasks become major, and major tasks become painful reminders of what life was like when your joints were strong and seemingly indestructible. Many sufferers lose hope, while others hopelessly lose out on so many of life’s activities.
Over the past ten years, notable advances in the nutritional sciences have paved the path for landmark products such as Glucosamine, SAMe, Chondroitin, MSM, and others. As a result, millions have found relief in these products and continue to use them in their quest towards healthy mobility. Fortunately, the science behind these popular joint support supplements has done nothing but steadily improve. Celadrin® is perhaps the most convincing proof to date. Let’s examine.
In short, Celadrin® is novel blend of acetylated fatty acids, esters and other synergistic agents that enhance cell membranes throughout the body, resulting in greater mobility and more normalized joint function. The extremely high user success rate and virtually complete absence of side effects has helped Celadrin® rise to the rank of joint support extraordinaire. Yes, this is a bold statement. However, just one look at the supporting research is enough to convince even the most skeptical critics of what a true breakthrough it is. Celadrin®’s ability to provide fast, cumulative relief continues to be evidenced by extensive clinical research, as well as a steady flow of eye-opening human trials.
Unlike popular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) that simply mask joint discomfort, Celadrin® targets the source by enhancing cell membranes and restoring the vital fluids that cushion bones and joints. Ultimately, this is what makes it possible to enjoy a free range of motion without the bone-on-bone grinding that limits so many from their daily activities. Working in much the same manner that other fatty acids do, Celadrin®’s patented blend of esterified fatty acids spark positive changes at the cellular level. As this occurs, cell membranes become more responsive and less prone to articular cartilage deterioration.
“How long do I need to take it?”
Not only does it work well, studies continue to illustrate Celadrin®’s ability to work fast. This can be attributed to how easily absorbed the active ingredients are. In 2005, a University-led, placebo-controlled study examined 42 patients who struggled with knees that were…let’s just say less than fully functional. After just 30 minutes, 100% of the subjects treated with a topical form of Celadrin® reported significant improvement in joint mobility and support. Even more impressive, each participant demonstrated continuous and restorative benefits over the course of the entire 30 day study.
“How do I use Celadrin®?”
One of the most appealing elements of Celadrin® is the flexibility that users have when it comes to taking charge of their joint health. It is available in both oral and topical forms, and each is equally effective. Some users have reported greater results by supplementing the oral form while applying the topical lotion directly to the target areas in question. Still, no two people are alike. Accordingly, the severity and nature of each individual concern will vary from person to person. Therefore, it can be wise to determine which application works best for your particular situation.
“What if I don’t have joint problems?” For openers, you’re very fortunate. If your joints are strong and fluid, Celadrin® is one of the most effortless ways to keep them that way! Cartilage breakdown is gradual, and occurs over a long, delayed, unsuspecting period of time. In many cases, there is very little warning that your knee or shoulder is about to become part of a frightening and growing statistic. Your joints may feel fine today, but you’d be amazed at how fast that can change. Think of Celadrin® as Cartilage Insurance. You may not see an immediate need to support them right now, but if they do give out, you’ll sincerely wish you had.
“What should I look for in a Celadrin® product?”
As with every dietary supplement and joint-support product, you should always look for a quality formula from a trusted, well-established manufacturer with a history of producing quality products. NOW® Celadrin® products are scientifically formulated, tested for safety and potency and guaranteed to be of superior quality. Each full serving contains 1.5 g (1500 mg) of Celadrin® along with 300 mg of MSM for additional support. NOW® Celadrin® Liposome Lotion contains 7.5 % Celadrin® along with 1.25% USP Pharmaceutical grade natural Menthol. Both are now available at fine independent health food retailers nationwide.* credits: Jayson Kroner [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Rhodiola - Adaptogenic Herbs & Immunity Enhancers
December 06, 2005 09:31 PM
If someone told you they knew of an herb that was a powerful antioxidant, supported the immune system, and regulated the neurotransmitters that help you deal with stress and its physical and psychological effects1,2,3,4, thereby improving the quality of your life, would you be interested? If you answered ‘YES’, then read on. That herb is available today, and it’s called Rhodiola.
Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea), also known as “golden root”, is one of over 200 different species of Rhodiola, 20 of which are currently used in traditional medical systems in Asia. In fact, Rhodiola has been used in the traditional medical systems in Asia for hundreds of years as a means to stimulate the nervous system, decrease depression and fatigue, and even to help prevent high altitude sickness.
For the past quarter century, Russian and Scandinavian scientists have studied Rhodiola and its constituents. However, much of this research was unavailable to Western scientists until recently. Their research indicates that Rhodiola has diverse benefits on physiological functions, including central nervous system and cardiovascular function. Most of this research was done on Russian athletes.
In fact, it’s now known that Russian athletes used Rhodiola for many decades before Western medicine became aware of it, and it’s believed to be part of the reason Russian athletes were such formidable foes in athletic events of the past half century. Their ability to quickly adapt to the unique stress of athletic competition took on legendary proportions. And this was partially due to supplementation with Rhodiola.
The results of this research led them to classify Rhodiola as an “adaptogen”. The Russian scientist Lazarev (1947) established the criteria for an adaptogen3, and his definition is still valid today:
Rhodiola certainly fits these criteria, having shown beneficial results against stressors such as fatigue and nervous tension, as well as anxiety due to different factors such as intense study and dieting2. If these factors are limiting your effectiveness, then Rhodiola may be the answer you’re looking for.
So what does all this mean? It means that Rhodiola can offer generalized, non-specific resistance to physical, chemical and biological stressors you may experience every day, without affecting normal body functions, thereby enhancing the quality of life. Scientists believe that Rhodiola does this in part by promoting the release of certain neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of well-being, as well as regulating hormone production in response to stress1,2,3,4. It also appears to increase the permeability of the bloodbrain barrier to neurotransmitter precursors, aiding and even increasing their beneficial effects. “…the dual action of cognitive stimulation and emotional calming creates benefits for both immediate cognitive and memory performance and for the long-term preservation of brain functions.”
Rhodiola also imparts antioxidant protection by helping to protect the nervous system from oxidative damage by free radicals2. Chemical analysis of the genus Rhodiola has isolated a number of naturally occurring compounds found in the roots and above ground parts of the plant that provide Rhodiola’s adaptogenic properties. Rhodiola rosea differs from other species in the genus due to three unique phytochemicals that only occur in this particular species – rosavin, rosin, and rosarin (collectively referred to as rosavins). Researchers believe these phytochemicals are responsible for the unique characteristics found ONLY in the Rhodiola rosea species2,3. A good quality Rhodiola rosea supplement should be standardized to contain a minimum of 3% rosavins. Other species of Rhodiola don’t offer the same benefits.
In today’s world, stress is one of the most pervasive yet overlooked causes of poor health. NOW® Rhodiola helps the body deal with the adverse affects of stress with a potent, 500mg standardized extract containing 3% rosavins, the unique compounds that give Rhodiola rosea its amazing protective and antioxidant properties. Protect your body and mind with Rhodiola from NOW® Foods!
1) Ramazanov, Zakir & Appell, Brian; Rhodiola Rosea For Chronic Stress Disorder; National Bioscience Corporation, 2002
2) Brown, Richard P.; Gerbarg, Patricia L.; Ramazanov, Zakir; Rhodiola rosea: A Phytomedicinal Overview; HerbalGram: The Journal of the American Botanical Council, 56: 40-52
3) Kelley, Gregory S.; Rhodiola rosea: A Possible Plant Adaptogen (evaluation of therapeutic properties); Alternative Medicine Review, June 2001; 6(3): 293-302
4) Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea (Golden Root, Arctic Root)); intramedicine website, Professional Monographs, January, 2001
Curcumin - Turmeric Extract
August 19, 2005 12:47 PM
Turmeric- History and Traditional Usage
Native to Southeast Asia, Curcuma longa is a tall
In addition to its
Turmeric is named in
Protects cells and tissues by fighting free radicals.*
Supports joint function*
The numerous beneficial
Animal studies- In vivo protective effects
Through its free radical scavenging
Curcumin exhibits free-radical scavenging ability when
Bioperine-Nature’s Absorption Enhancer
Traditional Ayurvedic herbal
Curcumin is poorly absorbed in the intestinal
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Diet and supplements can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer development.
July 27, 2005 03:27 PM
5. Diet and supplements can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer development.
“To reduce prostate cancer risk, the American Cancer Society recommends limiting intake of foods from animal sources, especially saturated fats and red meats,” says Colleen Doyle, MS, RD, director of nutrition and physical activity for the ACS. The ACA also advocates a diet high in fruits, vegetables, grains and beans. In addition, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight and crucial in keeping prostate troubles at bay.
Nutritional supplements may also be a strategic weapon in the war against prostate cancer, and the National Cancer Institute is banking on the ability of selenium and vitamin E to fight off the disease. Previous studies indicate that both nutrients help control cell damage that can lead to prostate cancer, and the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) will assess the effects of these supplements on prostate cancer risk. More than 32,000 men from the US, Puerto Rico and Canada are taking part in the long-term study. In addition to SELECT, smaller trials are being conducted on a variety of nutrients and their impact on prostate cancer, including vitamin D, lycopene, licorice root and soy isoflavones.
June 18, 2005 09:07 AM
Anti-Aging Nutrients by Edward C. Wallace, DC, ND Energy Times, February 3, 2000
What's the big deal about trying to live longer? As you grow older (and the American population grows older alongside you) you may want to postpone the inevitable. Few wish to hasten "the journey from which no traveler returns." But as we approach that final bon voyage, chances are we desire clear sailing-aging without disability and with a peaceful, easy feeling.
How Do We Age?
Science has long puzzled about what causes the wrinkles, pains and deterioration of aging. In the search for causes, two basic theories have won over the most proponents: The first holds that cells are programmed with biological clocks that predetermine how many times they can reproduce before becoming non-functional. This theory has been largely formulated by the researcher Leonard Hayflick, MD.
The second basic theory, introduced by Denham Harman, MD, PhD, in the mid 1950s, holds that cells eventually break down due to attack by caustic molecules called free radicals that cause oxidative stress.
Programmed Cell Theory
In the early '60s, Dr. Hayflick observed that human fibroblasts (cells from connective tissue) in the laboratory refused to divide more than about 50 times. Dr. Hayflick also found that even if he froze the fibroblasts after 20 divisions, they would remember that they only had 30 divisions left after thawing.
Fifty cell divisions have been called the "Hayflick limit." Based on this research, scientists theorize that cells maintain a genetic clock that winds down as old age ensues. Many researchers believe the hypothalamus gland is the force behind our aging clocks, signaling the pituitary gland to release hormones that cause aging.
Free Radical/Oxidative Stress Theory
The other popular theory of aging pictures the human body as a cellular battlefield where attackers called free radicals damage our cells and tissues, making them age. In this scenario, a process called oxidation is the chief aging villain. On a microscopic level, oxidation generally entails molecules or atoms losing electrons. (Gaining electrons is called reduction.) The molecules or atoms that take these electrons are oxidizing agents.
Free radicals are substances that can exist with missing electrons, making them readily able to donate or accept electrons and damage structures in cells. As such, they are highly reactive, binding with and destroying important cellular compounds. Most of the free radicals in your body are made during metabolic processes. More are added from the food you eat and environmental pollution. Most of these free radicals contain oxygen molecules. As each cell makes energy in little structures called mitochondria, free radicals result. These oxidant by-products can damage DNA, proteins and lipids (fats). Consequently, toxic by-products of lipid peroxidation may cause cancer, inhibit enzyme activity and produce mutations in genetic material that make you age faster.
DNA Repair Theory
Free radical damage to DNA can cause cells to mutate or die. Your body makes enzymes that can repair this damage and slow aging. But, over time, the amount of damage overwhelms the body's ability to fix things. As cells grow older, their ability to patch up DNA diminishes and the rate of damage proceeds faster than repair. The result: We age and eventually die.
What Can We Do?
The free radical theory of aging suggests that taking antioxidants (compounds known to prevent free radical damage) in our food or as supplements may slow aging.
In the publication Age (18  1995: 62), it was reported that "aging appears to be caused by free radicals initiated by the mitochondria at an increasing rate with age. Superoxide and hydrogen peroxide radicals formed by the mitochondria during normal metabolism are major risk factors for disease and death after about the age of 28 in developed countries. Antioxidants from the diet lower the production of free radicals without impairing essential reactions to maintain body function."
Common dietary antioxidants include: vitamins E and C, carotenes, sulphur containing amino acids, co-enzyme Q10 and flavonoids (a group of plant compounds or pigments responsible for the color in fruits and flowers). In addition, melatonin, DHEA and the amino acid compound glutathione may also prove of benefit.
Glutathione along with the enzyme glutathione peroxidase are an essential part of free radical "quenching." (Quenching means changing free radicals into benign substances no longer capable of harm.) Deficiencies may suggest a decreased capacity to maintain detoxification and metabolic reactions in which glutathione plays a role, resulting in increased free radical stress and/or lipid peroxidation. Drinking too many alcoholic beverages can result in glutathione deficiency.
In a study in which 39 healthy men and 130 healthy women between the ages of 20 and 94 were evaluated for glutathione levels, the older subjects had significantly decreased levels (especially in the 60 to 79-year-old group). The authors felt that physical health and longevity were closely related to glutathione levels (Jrnl Lab & Clin Sci 120(5), Nov. 1992: 720-725). Poor nutrition and/or deficiencies in essential micronutrients and many prescription medications may contribute significantly to detoxification capacity in an aged individual. All of these circumstances are common in the elderly.
Eating a poor diet that contains too many processed foods without many fruits and vegetables can compromise your body's ability to detoxify pollutants, toxins and other harmful compounds. That can set off metabolic processes capable of fomenting large increases in free radical stress that can accelerate aging. Unfortunately, even in a country as prosperous as our own, nutrient deficiencies are frequent, especially in older citizens.
A study that looked at what elderly people consumed compared their reported intake with the 1989 Recommended Dietary Amount (RDA) and 1980 RDA: One of four people consumed only two-thirds of the RDA for calories and 60% consumed less than two-thirds of the RDA for vitamin D. As for other nutrients, 50% were found to have inadequate zinc levels (less than two-thirds of the RDA), 31% lacked calcium, 27% were short of vitamin B6, 25% didn't get enough magnesium, 7% missed out on folate and 6% ate less than two-thirds of the requirement for vitamin C (Nutrition Reviews (II), September 1995: S9-S15).
When researchers examine what everyone in the U.S. eats, they find that only 9% of Americans consume the recommended five servings of fruits and/or vegetables per day (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Sept 1993).
A diet high in fruits and vegetables is naturally high in antioxidant compounds and is believed to help you live longer. Unfortunately, if you buy your produce in the supermarket, those fruits and vegetables may also be rich in pesticide and herbicide residues (Consumer Reports, March 1999). Obviously, organic produce lacks these residues. But, in any case, research continues to indicate that a diet low in meats and animal fat and high in vegetables protects against antioxidant damage.
A six-year study of 182 people over age 70 in rural Greek villages found that those following their traditional diet of olive oil, whole grain breads, fresh fruits and vegetables and wine were less likely to die during the study than those who consumed more red meat and saturated fat. The most important foods in lowering the risk of early death included fruits, vegetables, legumes (peas and beans), nuts, dairy products and cereals (BMJ 311, 1995: 1457-1460).
Another article in Epidemiology highlights the evidence that eating a vegetarian diet increases your chances of living longer. Included in this survey is a recent country-wide study of diet and health in China, showing that the traditional near vegetarian diet of 10% to 15% of calories coming from dietary fat reduced the chances of heart disease, diabetes and many types of cancers (Epidemiology 3, 1992: 389-391).
Staying skinny and limiting what you eat may also increase longevity. Scientific studies have previously shown that being overweight can theoretically curtail your life, increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other life-shortening conditions. Animal studies have also shown that restricting food can slow diseases associated with aging. Researchers believe that cutting calories helps your immune system stay younger by reducing the formation of substances that are called proinflammatory cytokines.
Specifically reducing your intake of fatty foods may decrease your chance of coming down with autoimmune diseases. Researchers think omega-6 fatty acid vegetable oils (like corn oil) may increase free radical formation and decrease levels of antioxidant enzyme messenger RNA in addition to other effects (Nutrition Reviews 53, 1995: S72-S79). Another study found that cutting calories lowers the levels of oxidative stress and damage, retards age-associated changes and extends maximum life span in mammals (Science 273, July 5, 1996: 59-63).
In yet another study, it was shown that caloric restriction early in the life of lab animals increased their life span by a whopping 40% (Australian Family Physician 23, July 1994: 1297-1305). Today's modern higher-fat, low-fiber diet with substantial sugar consumption represents everything the longevity researchers say you shouldn't eat.
Longevity and Exercise
Exercise may slow aging. When researchers looked at the exercise habits of 17,000 men, average age of 46, they found that those who took part in vigorous activity lived longer.
Exercise can improve both cardiac and metabolic functions within the body, while also decreasing heart disease risk. Even modest exercise has been shown to improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels (JAMA 273, April 19, 1995: 1179-1184). In a study of how exercise affects your chances of living longer, 9,773 men underwent preventive medicine examinations on two different occasions. When the researchers looked at who lived longest, they found the highest death rate was in men who were unfit during both physical exams.
The Treadmill of Life
The lowest death rate was in the men who worked out and were in good shape. The researchers concluded that for each minute increase in how long a man could keep treading on a treadmill (between the first and second exam) there was a corresponding 7.9% decrease in the risk of dying (JAMA 273 , April 12, 1995: 1093-1098).
Since exercise can increase oxygen consumption up to 10 times, boosting the rate of production of free radicals, researchers believe that older individuals need more antioxidant nutrients to protect them. In a paper published in Aging Clinical and Experimental Research (1997), researchers stated that if you regularly exercise in your golden years, you should take more antioxidant vitamins to compensate for this risk.
Melatonin is not often thought of as an antioxidant, but, instead, as a sleep aid. Melatonin, however, is an effective and efficient free radical scavenger and may help stave off the effects of aging. Melatonin protects against what are called hydroxyl free radicals. Research shows that older people's lack of melatonin may make them more susceptible to oxidative stress. In one study, researchers felt that new therapies aimed at stimulating melatonin synthesis may eventually lead to therapies for the prevention of diseases related to premature aging (Aging and Clinical Experimental Research 7, 1995: 338-339). Melatonin was shown to provide antioxidant protection in several ways.
Toning Down Enzymes
Melatonin can ease the effects of enzymes that generate free radicals, enhance the production of glutathione peroxidase (an antioxidant) and defuse the caustic action of free radicals that contain hydroxyls. In several studies, DHEA supplementation has been shown to potentially revive immune function in older adults (Exp. Opin. Invest. Drugs 4, 1995: 147-154).
In a study of 138 persons older than 85 years compared to 64 persons 20 to 40 years of age, scientists found that the younger people had four times as much DHEA in their bodies.
The researchers believe that our bodies make less and less DHEA as we get older. The authors of this study raise the possibility that declining DHEA may be partly to blame for our biological clocks running down (New York Academy of Sciences 1994: 543-552).
Vitamins E & C
A growing body of research also supports the benefits of taking vitamins E and C to hold off the effects of getting old. Researchers writing in Free Radicals and Aging (1992: 411-418) point out that as you get older your body is home to more and more free radical reactions that may lead to degenerative diseases like heart disease and arthritis. Research has found that in older people with exercise-induced oxidative stress, taking vitamin E every day may significantly fight off free radicals. (To investigate this effect, scientists measured waste products in urine that result from free radical reactions.) Their conclusion: Dietary antioxidants such as vitamin E may be beneficial.
Chronological Age Vs.Biological Age
Vitamin C also looks to scientists like a good anti-aging bet. Research in the Journal of Advancement in Medicine, (7, Spring 1994: 31-41) showed that folks consuming larger amounts of vitamin C were less likely to experience clinical problems at all ages. Those taking in less than 100 mg of vitamin C per day also suffered the most problems.
In this research, individuals over 50 years of age who daily consumed the largest amount of vitamin C were as healthy or healthier than the 40 year olds who were taking the least amount of vitamin C.
A similar relationship appears to exist for vitamin E and serum cholesterol levels. In a study of 360 physicians and their spouses, researchers found that people in their 50s who consumed more vitamin E had lower cholesterol than those in their 30s who were taking less.
And the longevity beat goes on: In a study evaluating environmental tobacco smoke and oxidative stress, researchers divided 103 people into three groups. Researchers blew smoke at 37 of these folks without protection while 30 of them got to breathe tobacco smoke but took antioxidant supplementation. Another 36 of them merely had to read magazines from doctors' offices. The results: After 60 days of supplementation the antioxidant folks had a 62% reduction in evidence of oxidative damage to their DNA. Cholesterol levels dropped and so did antioxidant enzyme activities. The researchers concluded that taking antioxidants provided a modicum of protection against environmental poisons.
The range of antioxidant nutrients used in this study included: beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and selenium as well as copper (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 7, November 1998: 981-988).
When you mention carotene or carotenoids, most people think of the beta carotene that makes carrots orange. But more than 600 carotenoids are present in colorful vegetables and many of these misunderstood substances are more potent antioxidants than beta-carotene.
Carotenoids have been shown to destroy oxygen free radicals in lipids (fats), help protect our cells from the sun's ultra violet radiation and enhance our natural immune response (J. Nutr 119, Jan. 1989: 112-115).
Some evidence seems to show that how much carotenoids you (and other mammals) have in your cells may be the predominant factor in determining life span (Proc Natl Acad Sci 82 , 1985: 798-802). Therefore, a diet rich in carotenoids (leafy green vegetables, carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, squash, citrus fruits and tomatoes) along with supplementation seems to be just what the fountain of youth ordered.
Flavonoids, a group of antioxidant plant pigments, seem to be able to protect specific organs. For instance, the flavonoids in milk thistle (Silybum marianum) have been used for ages for liver problems. Bilberry has been found protective for the eye and hawthorn for the heart and circulatory system.
Numerous studies have shown the many beneficial effects of flavonoids with perhaps the best known being the ability of anthocyanidins in wine and grape seed extract to help protect your blood vessels and capillaries from oxidative damage (Phytotherapy 42, 1986: 11-14; Am J Clin Nutr 61, 1995: 549-54).
Flavonoids are found in vegetables and such fruits as blackberries, blueberries, cherries and grapes. A diet rich in these foods helps ensure an adequate intake of these important nutrient compounds.
Amino Acid Health
Methionine and cysteine are sulphur containing amino acids (protein building blocks), both of which are essential in maintaining levels of glutathione, a substance that plays a major role in quelling free radicals. Studies have found that as we age, the level of these important amino acids in our bodies decreases. (NEJM 312 , 1985: 159-68). As it has been shown that adding cysteine to the diet of test animals can increase their life expectancy considerably, researchers believe these amino acids can help us live longer too.
Attitude & Behavior
Get more sleep! A recent study showed that men who habitually napped were less likely to have a heart attack. The men in this research who regularly napped for at least 30 minutes per day had about a 30% reduction in heart problems while those who napped for a full hour had a 50% reduction compared to non nappers. Naps of longer duration did not seem to increase the benefit. In the same research, investigators also found that spending time with a pet or merely contemplating nature could also improve cardiac health. Sensuality, optimism and altruism also appeared to have health benefits (Family Practice News, December 15, 1998: 14-15).
In another study, this one in American Psychologist, researchers from the University of California found that people who are self-indulgent, pampered and achieve by running roughshod over the competition are less likely to outlive their healthy peers. Being egocentric, impulsive, undependable and tough-minded were predictors of poor physical health and a shorter life. So loosen up and be nice to your fellow humans! (U.C. Davis Magazine, Fall 1995: 14).
Longevity at Last
While no one has suggested that taking supplements, eating vegetables or exercising can, as of yet, extend the human life span past the generally recognized limit of about 120 years, researchers believe they can improve your odds of longer life. And by staying healthier, your old age will be more enjoyable, too.
Probiotics - Our Friendly Bacteria
June 16, 2005 10:51 AM
An estimated 10 quadrillion bacteria make their home in the average digestive system. Fortunately, less than one percent of the 400 different species found in the intestine are potentially harmful. The majority of intestinal flora are friendly bacteria, otherwise known as probiotics. These probiotic bacteria support good health by limiting the growth of harmful bacteria, promoting good digestion and increasing resistance to infection.*1
Probiotic bacteria are completely non-toxic. In fact, friendly bacteria have been used safely and effectively for more than 8,000 years, proving their value to human health.*2 Most often, probiotics have been consumed as part of cultured foods, such as acidophilus milk, yogurt, soy tempeh, and idli (cultured wheat). The friendly bacteria in these foods, specifically Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, and Bifidobacterium bifidum, multiply in the warm, moist environment of the human body by feeding on the carbohydrates and protein in the digestive tract, then establish colonies along the intestinal wall.
Beneficial Roles of Probiotics
Lactobacillus acidophilus and other friendly bacteria play many important roles in maintaining good health.* According to experts, regular consumption of probiotics is the best way to maintain healthy intestinal flora.*3, 4 Lactobacilli species do not survive very long in the colon, so bacteria colonies need to be routinely replenished.*
In addition to producing numerous vitamins, probiotics support healthy digestion.* Part of the reason fermented foods are healthful is that some of the proteins, fats and carbohydrates are partially digested by the bacteria, which increases overall digestibility and nutritional value of the food.*5, 6
Lactose intolerant individuals may gain even more benefits from probiotics. Lactobacilli bacteria ferment as much as half of the lactose in milk—the part of milk that results in the symptoms of bloating, cramps and gas in lactose intolerant individuals—by converting it to lactic acid. Consequently, people with lactose intolerance report fewer digestive problems with cultured dairy foods compared to fresh milk.*5, 7
The nutritional profile of foods is improved after being cultured with probiotics. Levels of several B vitamins, including vitamins B1, B2, B6 and B12, niacin, folic acid and pantothenic acid are higher in fermented foods, such as yogurt, cheese, kefir and buttermilk.*5 Fermentation also boosts the digestibility of soy foods.*8
Inhibiting bacterial growth:
Probiotics act as natural antibiotics, slowing the growth of harmful bacteria.*5, 6 These friendly bacteria produce substances, including lactic acid, acetic acid, benzoic acid, hydrogen peroxide and natural antibiotics, which limit the reproduction of certain disease-causing bacteria.*9
Another way that probiotic bacteria maintain a healthy digestive tract is by competing with harmful bacteria in the intestine. When the intestine is full of large colonies of beneficial bacteria, disease-causing bacteria are simply not able to multiply into harmful numbers because there are no available attachment sites on the intestinal wall.* This is one of the ways L. acidophilus inhibits the growth of Candida albicans, coliform (e. coli) bacteria and salmonella.*3, 4, 10, 11
Diarrhea can have many causes, but it always has the same result for the bacteria living in the intestine—it flushes them out, leaving the body vulnerable to the growth of opportunistic bacteria. It is important to replenish the body with probiotics during and after a bout of diarrhea.* Probiotic bacteria can also help keep the colon healthy when traveling.*4
Lactobacilli are one of the primary bacteria found in normal vaginal flora, and their presence is believed to inhibit the overgrowth of harmful bacteria, such as Candida. Lactobacillus acidophilus cultures are a popular folk remedy for vaginal health.*4, 10
Recolonization After Antibiotic Use:
Antibiotics, given to treat bacterial infections, ironically can contribute to unhealthy bacteria growth. Antibiotics destroy bacteria, the good along with the bad, leaving the intestine without its normal, healthful flora. In this compromised state, disease-causing bacteria can multiply unchecked by friendly bacteria.*12 When ingested during and following antibiotic usage, L. acidophilus rapidly restores normal flora, shortening the time that undesirable organisms remain in the gut.*3, 12 Bifidobacterium bifidum can also help normalize the intestinal flora after using antibiotics.*10
Producing the Best Probiotics
Fermenting foods with lactobacilli has been a time-honored method for both preserving and enhancing foods. Before refrigeration, fermentation was a valuable way to preserve food safety, and it remains in common usage today.
Nature’s Life uses the same basic principles developed and perfected by prehistoric nomadic peoples to produce Lactobacillus acidophilus products; with the exception that we use modern, high-volume equipment. These improvements, along with trained personnel, scientific methods and quality assurance practices, ensures that every batch meets our high standards of quality.
Our lactobacilli are cultured on nutrient-dense food concentrates, such as soy protein, green peas or non-fat milk. We add natural apple juice, pasteurized clover honey, strawberries, carrot juice or maltodextrin for flavor and to provide carbohydrates for the micro-organisms, plus we use only pasteurized water.
Our growth medium has a broad range of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, essential fatty acids, organic acids and naturally occurring plant phytonutrients such as flavonoids and carotenoids with beneficial antioxidant properties. The temperature and moisture are carefully controlled during the several days needed for the bacteria to multiply to peak potency.
At the peak of potency, Nature’s Life Liquid Acidophilus culture is poured directly into sanitized 16 oz. glass bottles and immediately refrigerated at 36°F to maintain peak potency. These liquid products are the most bioactive of all forms of acidophilus because they are dormant, rather than frozen.
For our freeze-dried powders and capsules, the warm liquid culture is immediately poured into containers, sealed and refrigerated. After cooling, the liquid is poured into trays and instantly freeze-dried. The frozen lactobacillus is then processed through a vacuum freezer to lower the moisture level to an absolute minimum. This freeze-dried product is packaged as either powder or capsules. When swallowed, the microorganisms will rehydrate and begin colonizing the gastrointestinal tract with friendly bacteria.
Nature’s Life acidophilus is not filtered, centrifuged or otherwise concentrated or separated from its growth medium to artificially obtain higher concentrations of bacteria per gram or capsule. Centrifuging may damage the lactobacillus by altering the natural clumping, chaining and branching of bacteria cells.*
Nature’s Life probiotic products retain all the benefits of the nutrient-rich growth medium. All the valuable by-products of the bacteria’s metabolism remain in the final product, including B-vitamins, enzymes, organic acids, antibodies and even naturally occurring antibiotics. The conclusion of experts is that products which are centrifuged or filtered are incomplete.13 14
Quality You Can Trust
Nature’s Life invests significant resources in perfecting the production of high quality Lactobacillus acidophilus cultures. You benefit from our knowledge and experience every time you choose our supplements.
Nature’s Life lactobacillus cultures are manufactured with rigorous specifications using state-of-the-art equipment. All equipment and containers are sanitized to ensure that no contaminants or unfriendly pathogenic bacteria corrupt the quality of the L. acidophilus. The large capacity fermentation tanks and freeze dryers maintain consistency in each batch.
Nature’s Life Lactobacillus acidophilus meets or exceeds all standards developed by industry associations and government regulations. These standards, established to determine the quality of the finished product, are:
All of Nature’s Life Lactobacillus acidophilus products meet the acid test for effectiveness:
Using Nature’s Life Probiotics
Nature’s Life probiotics, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. bulgaricus and Bifidobacterium bifidum, can survive in the stomach for at least an hour.*15 Nature’s Life recommends taking probiotics either on an empty stomach or with food, however the presence of food can help the organisms stay alive longer.16
Liquid acidophilus should be treated as a perishable product, since it contains live, active organisms. Like yogurt or milk, acidophilus should be refrigerated and used within a short period of time. Contact Nature’s Life for a recipe on how to make your own soy-based, milk-free yogurt.
America's Most Wanted
June 14, 2005 05:23 PM
America's Most Wanted
by Brian Amherst Energy Times, January 6, 2000
The United States eats well, a little too well, according to experts. Amply supplied with a large supply of high-calorie food, our diets might seem to be chock full of every conceivable nutrient. Well, to the question "Getting all the right vitamins, minerals and other nutrients?" the most appropriate answer seems to be "Not exactly." Eating a lot doesn't equal eating a lot of the most important vitamins and minerals. So, which vitamins and minerals are likely to show up in short supply in the typical American diet? Calcium certainly sits at the top of list. According to the most recent Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals, which is conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), women and girls age 12 and up are not consuming adequate calcium from their diet. Research reveals that about 1200 mg. day suffices for those over age 50 and 1000 mg a day should be adequate if you're between the ages of 19 and 50. Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Stanford University, ". . .osteoporosis is a pediatric disease." For long-range protection against that bone-weakening disease, kids should eat calcium-rich, low-fat dairy products and plenty of leafy greens (broccoli, cabbage, kale) as well as salmon (with bones), seafood and soy. But the calcium campaign does not end in early adulthood. Bone mass begins to deteriorate at about age 30. Menopausal hormonal changes can exacerbate bone brittleness. Medical conditions, including cancer, liver disease and intestinal disorders; prescription drugs; tobacco and alcohol indulgence; or a decline in activity, especially the weight-bearing kind, also jeopardize bone strength. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about one in every two American women will break a bone after age 50 due to osteoporosis. That translates into about half a million fractured vertebrae and more than 300,000 shattered hips. Frequently, those breaks are life-threatening.
The critical role of calcium in many body functions is perhaps the most extensively clinically documented among nutrients. Researchers in the Department of Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, reviewed epidemiological and clinical studies conducted over the past two years on the relationship between dietary calcium and blood pressure (J Am Coll Nutr October 1999: 398S-405S). "Nearly 20 years of investigation in this area has culminated in remarkable and compelling agreement in the data," the researchers report, "confirming the need for and benefit of regular consumption of the recommended daily levels of dietary calcium." Investigators at the State University of New York, Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, presented results of their studies of calcium and vitamin C and gum disease at the June 26, 1998 meeting of the International Association for Dental Research. Two separate inquiries revealed that people who consumed too little calcium as young adults, and those with low levels of vitamin C in their diets, appear to have nearly twice the risk of developing periodontal disease later in life than folks with higher dietary levels of either nutrient.
Calcium: Much Documented Researchers offer extensive evidence of calcium's benefits on many fronts: n Osteoporosis poses a threat to older men as well as women, according to Randi L. Wolf, PhD, research associate at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Wolf presented her award-winning study to an October 3, 1999 meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Dr. Wolf suggests that men increase their consumption of calcium, particularly after age 80, to avoid age-related declines in the amount of calcium absorbed. According to Dr. Wolf, "It appears that the hormonal form of vitamin D, which is the main regulator of intestinal calcium absorption, may have an important role. We are conducting more research to better understand the reasons for why calcium absorption declines with age in men." n Scientists at Tufts University in Boston did some earlier work on the calcium-vitamin D connection and reported it in the September 4, 1997 New England Journal of Medicine. Using the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) increased recommended daily intake of 1200 milligrams of calcium and 400 to 600 international units of vitamin D for people over 50, the Tufts researchers found that with supplementation of the nutrients, men and women 65 and older lost significantly less body bone and, in some cases, gained bone mineral density. n Two studies published in American Heart Association journals show that atherosclerosis and osteoporosis may be linked by a common problem in the way the body uses calcium. The September 1997 Stroke revealed that, in a group of 30 postmenopausal women 67 to 85 years old, bone mineral density declined as atherosclerotic plaque increased. Researchers reporting in Circulation (September 15, 1997) advanced the theory that the osteoporosis-atherosclerosis connection may be related to a problem in handling calcium. n For people who had colon polyps removed, taking calcium supplements decreased the number of new polyps by 24% and cut the risk of recurrence by 19%, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, School of Medicine. The study, published in the January 14, 1999 New England Journal of Medicine, was a first in crediting calcium with anti-cancer properties.
The D Factor
Without adequate vitamin D, your absorption of calcium slips and bone loss can accelerate, increasing the risk for fractures. Fifty percent of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fractures at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston had a previously undetected vitamin D deficiency (Journal of the American Medical Association, April 28, 1999). University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers told participants at the April 14, 1997 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research that vitamin D "significantly inhibits highly metastatic, or widespread, prostate cancer in animals," suggesting its potential for treating men with similar conditions. Few foods that Americans eat, except dairy, contain much vitamin D, but we can usually synthesize sufficient amounts from as few as five minutes' exposure to the sun. But as skin ages, its ability to act as a vitamin D factory decreases. According to Michael F. Holick, the director of the Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center, upwards of 40% of the adult population over age 50 that he sees in his clinic are deficient in vitamin D. Recently, the National Academy of Sciences (the official body that decrees the required amounts of necessary nutrients) increased the daily recommendations of vitamin D to 600 IU for people over 71, 400 IU for those aged 51 to 70 and 200 IU for people under 50. The best dietary sources, apart from dependable supplements, are dairy and fatty fish like salmon. Four ounces of salmon provide about 300 IU.
The Facts About Fats
The American lust for low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets filled with sugary foods has exploded into nothing short of "obsession," according to experts at the General Research Center at Stanford University Medical Center (Am J Clin Nutr 70, 1999: 512S-5S). That mania oftens robs us of the crucial balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids typical of the Mediterranean diet that protect us from heart disease by controlling cholesterol and making blood less likely to form clots. These fatty acids cannot be made by the body but are critical for health: n Omega-3 fatty acid (linolenic acid) comes from fresh, deepwater fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) and vegetable oils such as canola, flaxseed and walnut. n Omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid) found primarily in raw nuts, seeds and legumes and in saturated vegetable oils such as borage, grape seed, primrose, sesame and soybean. The American Heart Association recommends limiting total fat consumption to 30% of daily calories. Saturated fats like those in dairy and meat products as well as vegetable oil should comprise 10% of total calories; total unsaturated fat (fish oils, soybean, safflower nuts and nut oils) should be restricted to 20 to 22% of daily calories.
Be Sure About B12
Vitamin B12 presents a particular problem for the elderly because older digestive systems often don't secrete enough stomach acid to liberate this nutrient from food. (The elderly have no problem absorbing B12 from supplements, because it's not bound to food.) Vitamins generally moderate the aging process but, ironically, that process and the diseases that frequently accompany it affect vitamin metabolism (Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax 83, 1994: 262-6). And because of those changes, we need more of certain vitamins. This is the case for vitamins D, B6, riboflavin and B12. Crucial for health, B12 is necessary to prevent anemia, and, according to recent studies, needed (along with folate and B6) to help stave off heart disease. B12, with thiamine and niacin, boosts cognition (Adv Nutr Res 7, 1985: 71-100). Screening for vitamin B12 deficiency and thyroid disease is cheap and easy and can prevent conditions such as dementia, depression or irreversible tissue damage (Lakartidningen 94, 1997: 4329-32). In the January 5-12, 1999 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the AHA urged doctors to screen levels of homocysteine (the amino acid byproduct of protein digestion that damages arteries, causes heart disease and, possibly, strokes) in patients at high risk for heart disease. They also recommended all Americans to up their daily levels of vitamins B6 and B12, as well as folic acid. Since fruits, vegetables or grains lack B12, vegetarians need B12 supplements. And they're a good idea for the rest of us, too.
Folic Acid Benefits
Folic acid made headlines in the early 1990s when the U.S. Public Health Service declared that "to reduce the frequency of neural tube defects [spina bifida, or open spine, and anencephaly, a lethal defect of the brain and skull] and their resulting disability, all women of childbearing age in the United States who are capable of becoming pregnant should consume .4 milligrams (400 micrograms) of folic acid per day." This recommendation followed voluminous research that showed taking folic acid was associated with a significantly reduced risk of birth defects. (The advisory is based on the fact that nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned. If you think you are pregnant, consult your health practitioner for supplementary advice.)
A Team Player
Folic acid's efficacy intensifies when it works with other nutrients. Among many studies on the preventive powers of folic acid on birth defects, one published in The New England Journal of Medicine (327, Dec. 24, 1992: 1,832-1,835), disclosed an even greater decrease in neural tube defects when supplements of folic acid contained copper, manganese, zinc and vitamin C. As a warrior against homocysteine, folic acid joins the battalion of B12 and B6 in detoxifying this harmful protein. At the University of Washington's Northwest Prevention Effectiveness Center, researchers recently analyzed 38 published studies of the relationship between folic acid, homocysteine and cardiovascular disease and, according to associate professor Shirley A. Beresford, MD, folic acid and vitamin B12 and B6 deficiencies can lead to a buildup of homocysteine.
Canadian researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (275, 1996: 1893-1896) that men and women with low folic acid have a 69% increase in the risk of fatal coronary heart disease. This 15-year study of more than 5,000 people stressed the need for dietary supplementation of folic acid. Folic acid also has been credited with the potential to protect against cancers of the lungs, colon and cervix. It appears to help reverse cervical dysplasia, the precursor cells to cervical cancer, especially for women taking oral contraceptives, which may cause a localized deficiency of folic acid in the cells of the cervix. According to Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning, authors of The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery), folic acid derivatives work with neurotransmitters, the chemicals that permit signals to be sent from nerve fiber to nerve fiber. A lack of folic acid can cause some nervous-system disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia and dementia; it also may be related to some forms of mental retardation. Other supporting roles of folic acid, according to researchers: the formation of normal red blood cells, important for preventing the type of anemia characterized by oversized red blood cells; strengthening and improving white blood cell action against disease; limiting production of uric acid, the cause of gout.
The Best Sources
Many foods are rich in folic acid: beef, lamb, pork and chicken liver, spinach, kale and beet greens, asparagus, broccoli, whole wheat and brewer's yeast. But experts believe that only 25 to 50% of the folic acid in food is bioavailable. Processing also reduces an estimated 50 to 90% of its content. Folic acid supplementation overcomes these obstacles with little risk, as it has no known toxicity. Women taking folic acid who are current or former users of oral contraceptives may require additional zinc. And be sure to augment your folic acid supplement with its synergistic counterpart, vitamin B12.
Focus on Fiber
The American Heart Association came out squarely behind fiber in a June 16, 1997 issue of its journal Circulation: Double your daily intake to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. The American diet is consistently low in fiber, notes Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, author of the article. Twenty-five to 30 grams a day from foods (or supplements) are not only heart healthy but seem to aid weight control.
Getting enough iron? An estimated 25% of adolescent girls in the United States are iron deficient, according to an October 12, 1996 issue of the British medical journal The Lancet, which reported that girls who took iron supplements performed significantly better on verbal tests than those who took a placebo. "Teenage girls should be regularly tested for iron deficiency because rapid growth and the onset of menstruation during puberty increase the body's need for iron," says Ann Bruner, MD, of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and a lead author of the study.USDA data reveal that women up to age 50 also tend to get much less than recommended levels of iron, a lack of which leads to anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells, hemoglobin or volume of blood. For kids, deficiency is more common from six months to four years and during the rapid growth spurts of adolescence when the body is growing so quickly that the body's iron stores may sink to dangerous levels. Vegetarian women run the greatest risk for deficiency, as meat is iron-rich; foods like beans, grains and vegetables also contain some iron. Supplements, of course, supply easily absorbable iron. And to absorb iron from vegetarian sources, take vitamin C with your meals. That boosts the amount of this mineral you will take in. Bear in mind, however, that certain folks-older men and post-menopausal women-generally have adequate dietary supplies of iron. Of greater concern, in fact, is excessive iron, and for these folks iron-free multivitamin and mineral supplements are available.
Ante Up the Antioxidants
Antioxidant nutrients help protect the body from oxygen-scavenging molecules called free radicals. The products of pollution, the body's own metabolic processes and other sources, free radicals are linked to heart disease, cancer and other chronic health problems. The most important antioxidants, which include vitamin C, E, beta carotene, and selenium, are often lacking in the American diet. Plus, optimal amounts of vitamin E cannot be consumed from food. You need supplements. The bottom line: even though we live in a land of plenty, you can still miss vital nutrients. So make sure to consume these vital substances.
Source of Missing Nutrients In the search for the nutrients missing from America's diet, one big help is the sprout. The sprout is truly one of nature's heavyweights: fresh, tiny and moist, its power punch of vitamins, minerals, protein, chlorophyll and disease-busting phytochemicals land it in a weight class far beyond that of its full-grown competitors. Size does NOT matter to this nutritional giant. A championship belt currently wraps around the miniscule broccoli sprout, catapulted into the ring by Paul Talalay, MD, professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Talalay discovered that the seedlings contain substantially more of the cancer-fighting substance sulforaphane than mature plants (Proc. Natnl. Acad. Sci. USA, 94, 10367-10372). Sprouts, the quintessential health food of the Sixties, provide a wonderfully varied and versatile way to get your daily greens. Raw or cooked, strong or mild, vegetable and grass sprouts and their algae cousins add low-calorie texture to recipes and a rich, diverse complement of nutrients and fiber.
Ancient Asia to the Modern Lab
Asians stir-fried sprouts as one of the earliest fast foods as long as 5,000 years ago. The ancient Chinese relied on sprouts for year-round vegetables in colder regions of their vast country. Today, researchers studying sprouts and adult plants have identified their important chemoprotective and other health-bolstering substances. In Paul Talalay's research project at Johns Hopkins, scientists found that three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain up to 50 times more sulforaphane than mature plants, which prompts the body to produce an enzyme that prevents cancer tumors from forming. Uniform levels of the compound saturate the shoots, unlike the chemically uneven adult plants. The Brassica family of broccoli and cabbage is richly endowed with phytochemicals that also help reduce estrogen levels associated with breast cancer. Other phytochemical compounds in the Brassica family are associated with the prevention of stomach and lung cancers. Most of the initial landmark work on phytochemicals' cancer-fighting powers has taken place since 1989 under the aegis of the National Cancer Institute's "Designer Food Program," which isolated, for example, the isoflavones in beans that seem to neutralize cancer-gene enzymes.
Strong Suit: Soy and Spirulina
The isoflavones and phytosterols in soy produce an estrogenic effect that appears to relieve menopausal symptoms and help prevent breast cancer. Soy foods expert Mark Messina, PhD, has done extensive work on the subject, some of which has been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-6. Researchers also have synthesized a bone-strengthening form of soy isoflavones called ipriflavone, following impressive clinical trials in the treatment of osteoporosis (American Journal of Medicine, 95 [Suppl. 5A] (1993): 69S-74S). Spirulina and other micro-algae are fascinating organisms that inhabit a niche between the plant and animals kingdoms. Named for its tiny spirals, spirulina, a blue-green algae, grows in saline lakes but is cultured for maximum nutritional content. In her book Whole Foods Companion (Chelsea Green), Dianne Onstad notes that spirulina contains "the highest sources of protein, beta carotene and nucleic acids of any animal or plant food." Its nucleic acids, she says, benefit cellular regeneration; its fatty acids, especially GLA and omega-3 acids, make it one of the most complete foods. Sprouts, like any other produce, should be rinsed thoroughly before serving. People at high risk for bacterial illness-young children, the very elderly or folks with weakened immune systems-should limit their consumption of raw sprouts. But no matter how you eat them, you may find more spring in your step from these tiny, sprouting nutritional wonders.
Building the Burn
June 14, 2005 12:09 PM
Building the Burn by Marjorie Flakowitz Energy Times, June 11, 2004
When was the last time you exercised? During the past decade, the number of obese Americans has jumped by 50%. A big factor in this increase: lack of physical activity.
Today, technological society seems to make everyday life effortless: car windows retreat at the push of a button, remote controls keep couch potatoes from budging off the cushions and video games have replaced non-cyber ball playing. Americans don't move around and burn off the calories they eat. Instead, our sedentary ways are causing big stomach bulges and a big bulge in health problems linked to being overweight.
Want to lose those pounds? Consuming the right nutrients and pounding the pavement are a great start.
Number of Large Americans Grows Larger
Fifty-five out of every 100 Americans are now overweight. And the numbers continue to surge. To take yourself out of these alarming statistics, plan a consistent exercise program. If the thought of sweating during strenuous workouts at the gym scares you, relax. You don't have to do that much. According to a long list of research, a few half-hour walks a week can put you on the road to weight loss.
For instance, researchers at Duke found that walking a total of only 12 miles a week can help you control your weight even if you're not dieting (Archives of Internal Medicine 1/12/04). Of course dieting and taking the right supplements will help you lose weight a little faster, but walking burns off the pounds.
In the study at Duke, scientists gathered about 180 overweight, sedentary people and assigned them to one of four groups. The first group had to jog about 20 miles a week. The second group jogged 12 miles a week. The third group walked 12 miles, and the last group didn't do a thing.
" We found that the two low-exercise groups lost both weight and fat, while those in the more intensive group lost more of each in a 'dose-response' manner," says Cris Slentz, PhD, one of the researchers. " Simply put, the more you exercise, the more you benefit. Just as importantly, the control group of participants who performed no exercise gained weight over the period of the trial."
Everybody who was exercising lost weight; their stomachs and hips shrank. The folks who did nothing didn't just stay at the same weight; their weight went up.
Dr. Slentz adds, "From the perspective of prevention, it appears that the 30 minutes per day will keep most people from gaining the additional weight associated with inactivity. Given the increase in obesity in the US, it would seem likely that many in our society may have fallen below this minimal level of physical activity required to maintain body weight."
Of course, limiting the carbohydrates you consume and eating more protein at the same time as you exercise can help you lose weight more effectively. To help your body utilize protein more fully to fuel your exercise, many experts recommend taking enzyme supplements.
One of the most valuable enzyme combinations in this process is Aminogen(r), an all-natural, patented plant enzyme that assists the digestive tract in liberating the amino acids that are the building blocks of dietary protein. By helping separate these amino acids, absorption is boosted through the walls of the small intestines and your metabolism is better able to take up proteins and use them.
Add Chromium to Exercise
The mineral chromium is another supplement found helpful in aiding weight loss. An eight-week study at the University of Texas, Austin, compared weight loss among obese women who exercised and took chromium with the number of pounds that were lost by women performing the same amount of exercise without taking supplements (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 1997; 29:992-8).
The result: women taking chromium lost a significantly greater amount. How does chromium work? A study at the University of Vermont found that chromium may help muscles take blood sugar (glucose) out of the blood more effectively by improving what's called insulin sensitivity (18th International Diabetes Federation Congress, Paris, 8/03).
Insulin is released by the pancreas to help cells take in glucose. By exercising and keeping your weight down, and becoming more insulin sensitive, you potentially reduce your chances of getting diabetes. The cells quickly respond to insulin and blood sugar stabilizes.
On the other hand, when insulin sensitivity drops significantly, the body may suffer what's called insulin resistance, a pre-diabetic condition that complicates and slows the removal of sugar from the blood. The Vermont researchers found that chromium increases the activity of a protein called Akt phosphorylation. This is a natural substance made by the body that makes cells more sensitive to insulin and speeds the movement of blood sugar into cells, where it can be burned for energy. So, in combination with exercise, which also helps the body become more responsive to insulin, chromium may help keep blood sugar under control.
As Sandra Woodruff points out in her book Secrets of Good Carb, Low Carb Living (Avery/Penguin), "[P]hysical activity boosts the body's ability to process carbohydrate and helps reduce insulin resistance....Exercise acts much like an insulin-sensitizing drug to make the body's cells more responsive to insulin, which enables them to remove sugar from the blood more efficiently." The results of exercise and getting sufficient chromium can help support weight loss and healthy blood sugar levels. The Vermont research team found that the exercising chromium takers boosted their insulin sensitivity by almost 9%.
Building a Lean Body
A prime benefit of exercising while you lose weight is that physical activity builds muscle tissue. Muscle tissue, even at rest, burns more calories than fat cells, so having extra muscle means you can eat more and still maintain or lose weight. An aid in this process is Coleus forskohlii root, Benth., a plant that originated in India. Research shows that forskohlii furthers molecular energy processes within cells that support the development of lean body tissue (muscle) and the enzymatic reactions that break down fat.
In a study of about two dozen women who took forskohlii extract, researchers found that taking this supplement was associated with feeling more energetic and less hungry (Experimental Biology meeting, 2002). According to Vladimir Badmaev, PhD, who has studied forskohlii, this herb's help in supporting lean body tissue is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight.
" In highly overweight individuals, fat tissue can constitute up to 70% of body weight. The remaining proportion of body composition corresponds to the lean body mass. Lean body mass is composed of muscle, vital organs, bone, connective and other non-fatty tissues in the body," says Dr. Badmaev.
" The body's metabolic rate is in direct proportion to the amount of lean body mass. Therefore, safely maintaining or increasing lean body mass is an important consideration for any weight-loss strategy."
The Skinny on Calcium
Calcium, long known for its ability to strengthen bones, is now turning out to play a key role in weight maintenance as well. In one study, obese mice who were put on calorie-restricted diets lost body fat when fed extra calcium (Experimental Biology meeting 2000). Both supplemental calcium and low-fat dairy proved effective. What's more, low-fat dairy's ability to burn fat and provoke fat loss have been confirmed in additional research (Obesity Research 4/04; 12:582-90).
Fat cells contain calcium, and scientists believe that the more of this mineral a fat cell contains, the more fat will be burned off. This action is especially important when you cut back on calories, since that often gives your body the idea that it's starving, leading your metabolism to slow and making weight loss extremely difficult.
A Complete Program
To lose weight efficiently, stay in top shape and retain your feelings of energy, you also have to make sure you get enough of the vitamins and minerals necessary for good health.
For those eating a high-protein diet who are limiting their fruits and vegetables, taking a supplement that incorporates nutrients from fruits and vegetables can help restore your feelings of well-being and help maintain your motivation for dieting and losing weight. (Supplements are available that deliver these nutrients without carbohydrates.)
In addition, supplements of what are called ketogenic amino acids-the natural substances that form protein's building blocks-can also help fuel your weight-loss program. These special nutrients can be efficiently used for the body's energy needs, a process that helps you lose weight.
And don't forget to keep moving! Soon you may have the kind of results researchers produced at the University of Pittsburgh when they studied women who exercised 40 minutes, five times a week (Journal of the American Medical Association 9/10/03). Those women lost 25 pounds in six months.
Your results may be just as good or better!
June 11, 2005 05:24 PM
Better Bones by Deborah Daniels Energy Times, March 13, 2004
As America ages, osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones, grows into an ever-expanding problem. Currently, it affects more than 44 million Americans.
Women are in special danger; of those who suffer weak bones, about 35 million are women. This problem causes a huge amount of damage-physical, emotional and financial. The national bill for hospital and nursing care for osteoporosis victims tops $17 billion a year, about $47 million a day.
Odds are, your bones need help. According to the National Institutes of Health, the bones of more than half of all Americans over age 50 are weak enough to put them at risk of osteoporosis. Weak bones linked to osteoporosis continue to present a serious risk to health. A study published in the British Medical Journal shows that fractures in older people are just as life-threatening today as they were two decades ago (2003; 327:771-5).
When researchers looked at broken legs among more than 30,000 people over the age of 65, they found that just as many people die today after these kinds of bone breaks as they did during the 1980s.
Their findings emphasize how important strong bones are to survival. This study showed that breaking your leg at age 65 or older increases your risk of death more than 12 times. And these high death rates, according to the researchers, reinforce the fact that preventing osteoporosis saves lives.
Blowing Smoke Through Bones
While many bone experts blame the high rate of osteoporosis on sedentary lifestyles and foods low in calcium, Australian research has turned up another bone-weakening villain: smoking. According to these scientists, smoking may be the most destructive lifestyle habit that destroys bone in older women. While other studies have pointed to smoking as a factor in bone loss, this most recent study purports to show that smoking may be one of the most important influences on weak bones (J Bone Min Res 9/03). " This will be an important step forward in the management of osteoporosis, since the results of this study can be used to improve current approaches to preventing bone loss," says researcher John Wark, PhD.
Dr. Wark's study found that older smokers are particularly prone to weak bones. While smoking is always bad for bone strength, after menopause tobacco smoke seems to exert an even deadlier affect on your skeletal support.
" [T]he damaging effects of cigarette smoking may well have been underestimated in the past," says Dr. Wark. When you inhale cigarette smoke, your lungs are exposed to about 500 harmful gases, including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, benzene, hydrogen cyanide and ammonia. The infusion of these gases cuts back on the available oxygen used for building bone and other tissues.
Along with these gases, small particles containing chemicals like anatabine, anabase, nicotine, monicotine and other carcinogens also filter into the lungs. Studies (Acad Ortho Surg 2001; 9:9) indicate that bathing the body in these chemicals results in:
While it's never too late to build more bone, the best time for laying down a dependable musculoskeletal foundation is before age 30. That way, as you get older, your strong bones can better resist the weakening effects of aging. Ipriflavone is a natural chemical that has been found to help protect bone. Researchers believe that this supplement can help bones strengthen by absorbing more calcium (Calc Tissue Int 2000; 67:225)
Other ways to make bones stronger include:
Weak bones can put a severe crimp in your lifestyle and put your life at risk. How can you tell what shape your bones are in? Health practitioners can help you get the appropriate bone density test. But the tone of your muscles are also a good indicator: Exercise to tone those muscles and chances are you're building your bones, too. All you have to do is get moving!
Thanks for the Memory
June 11, 2005 03:49 PM
Thanks for the Memory by Estelle Sobel , February 6, 2002
Thanks for the Memory By Estelle Sobel
"I feel like every day, I lose my memory more and more. It started when I couldn't find my car keys, sometimes I forget directions. My mother has Alzheimer's so I'm concerned," says Jerry Solowitz, a 63 year old man.
Ellen Lerner, 37, sometimes worries that she can't keep track of everything in her job as a public relations executive. "I feel like stress can get to me easily, and I worry because I forget simple things like where I put a file."
Should these people be concerned?
"Yes," says Lynda Toth, Ph.D., co-author with Pavel Yutsis, M.D., of Why Can't I Remember? Reversing Memory Loss (Avery, 1999).
Jerry should start a specific program with a health practitioner who specializes in memory loss, due to lots of unsuspected new causes for memory dysfunction. Ellen needs to make lifestyle changes, as stress can definitely lead to memory loss.
"Cortisol, which is one of the stress hormones, can be harmful because it keeps calcium in the memory pathway too long and destroys the neurons, which is very damaging to the brain," notes Toth.
Why Does Memory Fail?
Memory fails for several reasons, says Augustine DiGiovanna, M.D., author of Human Aging: Biological Perspectives, (McGraw-Hill 2000), and Professor of Biology at Salisbury State University in Salisbury, MD.
Normal Aging: Much of diminished memory as we age is due to reduced blood flow to the brain from atherosclerosis, which is hardening and narrowing of the arteries. Decreased blood flow causes neurons to shrink and function less effectively.
Also, as we age we lose neurons and neuron connections that can lead to memory loss. So the way people think, how much they remember, and the mental activities they do determine how many brain cells survive through the years.
Finally, as people live longer, the chance is greater that the body's immune system and other defense mechanisms won't be able to protect against certain diseases that affect the brain and memory (Parkinson's, strokes, Alzheimers, atherosclerosis).
A Starving Brain: The brain is not getting fed the nutrients it needs (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, glucose). Without the right "food" the brain's energy levels become lowered and stop powering the memory cells. Then, free radicals can do more dirty work and continue to rust memory cells.
Drink And Sink: Alcohol passes through the blood-brain barrier and slows down the processing of information between memory neurons. Memory loss increases over time, as memory tissues shrink.
Sad Stories: Depression can imbalance the neurotransmitters and electrical charges of neurons.
Tense and Tight: High blood pressure can constrict and narrow blood vessels, limiting blood and oxygen flow to the brain.
One way to boost brain power is to take the right supplements.
Ginkgo biloba: The powerful medicinal herb ginkgo biloba increases blood flow and circulation to the head by dilating blood vessels in the brain, allowing more oxygenated blood to get to the neurons. It also protects against free radical damage.
Research: Ginkgo biloba extract displayed a significant effect on helping the mental abilities of people 50-59 years old (Phytotherapy Research 13, 1999: 408-415).
Pregnenolone: This powerful hormone regulates the balance between excitation and inhibition in the nervous system and helps enhance memory and brain function, possibly by repairing a fatty substance that is part of the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve cells. Research: A St. Louis University School of Medicine study on mice showed that pregnenolone enhanced memory and helped mice to navigate mazes better.
Huperzine A: This herbal supplement is derived from club moss found in China; in purified form it inhibits the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that you need for memory.
Research: Studies conducted by Alan Mazurek, M.D., found that huperzine A in purified form improves memory, enhances focus and concentration and has been used to improve memory loss in Alzheimer's patients (Alt. Ther. in Health Med. 5 , March 1999: 97-98).
Another study in The Journal of Neuroscience Research showed that huperzine A is a potent inhibitor of cholinesterase, which penetrates the brain and produces a dose-dependent increase of the neurotransmitters acetylcholine, norepinephrine and dopamine in rat cortex (41, 1995: 828-835).
Phosphatidylserine (PS): This substance, which occurs naturally in nerve cell membranes, helps keep fatty substances soluble and cell membranes fluid and helps reduce levels of cortisone which are damaging to tissues.
Research: Phosphatidylserine encourages a sense of calm by raising the levels of alpha brain waves and increasing the production of acetylcholine (Neuropsychobiology 24, 1990-1991: 42-48).
Vitamin E: This potent antioxidant attaches to bad cholesterol and helps prevent free radical damage to cells.
Research: Age-related processes like memory function and problem solving can be affected by free radical damage. Several studies show that vitamin E might slow the effects of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease (JAMA 282, August 18, 1999: 621). Acetyl-l-carnitine: Increases cognitive performance because it rejuvenates cellular membranes of mitochondria, the storehouses of energy contained in every living cell.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid: Preserves memory tissue by increasing glutathione levels, which protect fat stores in neurons from being damaged.
Nine Ways to Remember
Dr. Lynda Toth suggests the following ways to make the most of what you've now got.
1) Power Up Your Smile. Remove dental fillings and replace them with porcelain or ceramic ones. The mercury in metal fillings may be harmful (some believe) and can affect the brain and nervous system, inflaming memory tissue and preventing the entry of nutrients into the cells.
2) Don't Be a Tin Man/Woman Avoid exposure to aluminum. Don't use aluminum pots to cook in. Aluminum accumulates in memory tissue, damaging cells. In fact, autopsies of Alzheimers patients show they have unusually huge amounts of aluminum in the brain. But no one knows where this aluminum comes from.
3) Eat Right. Eat organic and pesticide-free foods. Pesticides get into the cells and can damage DNA.
4) A Matter of Taste. Avoid foods with artificial coloring, monosodium glutamate (MSG, often called "natural flavors" or "natural seasoning"). Also avoid processed foods with taste enhancers called exito toxins such as l-cysteine and aspartic acid.
5) In the Raw. Make sure that your diet consists of enzyme-rich 50% raw foods (fruits and vegetables) to feed the brain. Eat less animal fats.
* Drink green juices to support levels of the brain's clean-up enzymes.
*Eat lots of fiber, which helps remove toxins from the body. Pick up psyllium fiber.
*Limit intake of processed sugar, caffeine and alcohol to lessen the load on the liver and pancreas.
6) Cut Bait. Watch the fish that you eat. Lots of ocean and inland-caught fish are contaminated with mercury. Go for deep, cold water fish such as cod. Avoid shark and swordfish.
7). Oil Up. Supplement your diet with omega-3 fatty acids, such as cod liver oil or flaxseed oil. These fats lubricate memory cells.
8) Work That Body. Stay fit and exercise. Exercise helps oxygenate the body, reduces cholesterol, and builds and energizes new memory cells which reduces wear and tear on the brain function.
9) Do Mind Games. Read, listen to music. Tune into different radio stations than the ones you normally listen to. Do crossword puzzles and a wide selection of word games which can stretch your brain and give it a tough workout.
Student of Life
You need to keep learning your whole life to keep your brain and memory in tip top shape. The brain is adaptable, and you are always building new neurons, says Dr. Toth, which means that there is no limit to how long it can develop. Anything that stimulates the brain will help it to grow. That's why as you get older it's even more important to take classes, start a new hobby, travel. In fact, the challenge of learning and doing new things (without stopping in a fit of frustration) causes your brain to grow, says Dr. Mazurek.
The Good News
As people get older, their brains may actually improve and repair themselves through a complicated process that is designed to eliminate faulty neurons that are prone to making mistakes. At the same time, brain activity goes on that results in the development of new and improved connections with neighboring neurons.
Research also shows that memory improves if you train people to have faith in themselves. (The brain helps those who help themselves.) Apparently, a confident perspective can encourage the brain to actually improve to the point where its new-found abilities may increase to the point where it fulfills expectations.
So keep your chin up and stay away from the artery-clogging saturated fat that can cut off the brain's blood supply. It's all in the attitude, says Dr. DiGiovanna. And, of course, the key to a long and happy life with your brain is also on the end of your fork and in that bottle of supplements.
Estelle Sobel, is the co-author of Beautiful Skin: Every Woman's Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age (Adams Media, May 2000).
Lose the Gluten - everyone who suffers from food allergies
June 10, 2005 10:20 PM
Lose the Gluten by Phyllis D. Light, RH Energy Times, October 14, 2004
Are you a glutton for gluten, the sticky protein found in bagels and many other breads? Unfortunately, not everyone can enjoy the taste of fresh-baked bread because it contains this natural substance that can cause allergic reaction or intolerance in susceptible folks.
And while not everyone who suffers from food allergies or intolerances has a problem with gluten, other foods that can cause distress include items like watermelon, fish or even the benign-seeming peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Still, with a little guidance, even if you have an allergy or two, you can enjoy meals and reduce food-related difficulties when you make food choices wisely.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, more than one in 50 adults and one in 12 children in the US suffer food allergies. But the problem may be even larger. Researchers believe even more of us have food allergies and don't know it: many food allergies and intolerances may be mistaken for irritable bowel syndrome or conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome.
The involvement of the immune system in an allergy represents the dividing line between intolerance and allergy. A food allergy strikes when the immune system attacks food ingredients as though they were threatening substances. Usually, proteins trigger these physiological alarms. The most common food allergens include wheat, soy, peanuts, shellfish, eggs, fish, tree nuts, milk and watermelon. Fortunately, many children who suffer allergies outgrow them as their bodies mature.
Signs of a food allergy may include a rash, hives, nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, itchy skin, shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling of the airways and a condition called anaphylactic shock, a serious occurrence that can cut off breathing and requires immediate medical help.
If you believe you have a food allergy, see your health practitioner. If you have reasons to suspect an allergy to a particular food, avoid it altogether.
Intolerance Versus Allergy
Food intolerances are more common than allergies. They happen when food irritates the digestive system or offers substances that the digestive tract cannot break down. A food intolerance, however, does not provoke the immune system into an attack. The most common foods that cause intolerance are wheat, rye and barley; they all contain gluten.
Figuring out an intolerance generally requires adding and eliminating foods to gauge your response. Signs can include nausea, stomach pain, gas, cramps, bloating, vomiting, heartburn, diarrhea, headaches and irritability or nervousness. If you suspect you have a food intolerance, keep a food diary-recording what you eat and how you feel afterwards.
In addition, an elimination diet, wherein you avoid certain foods and track your responses, can help determine food intolerances. After you have dropped certain foods from your diet, reintroduce them, one at a time, until you eat a food that causes a return of your problems. These foods should then be permanently avoided.
Celiac sprue is a particularly severe inflammatory response to wheat or other grains containing gluten. According to the National Science Foundation, one in every 200 Americans suffers from this often misdiagnosed condition. That's more than a million of us!
If left untreated, celiac sprue can cause anemia, contribute to osteoporosis by limiting calcium absorption and increase the risk for intestinal cancer. Signs include headaches, weight loss, nutritional deficiencies, fatigue and neurological symptoms. The only treatment is to avoid all grains that contain gluten.
According to researchers in England, celiac sprue is often mistaken for chronic fatigue syndrome, type 1 diabetes or irritable bowel syndrome and can result in infertility (Med J Austral 2004 May 17; 180(10):524-6). Because sprue can confuse health practitioners, many people spend years trying to find an answer to their discomforts before finding that a gluten-free diet relieves their pain.
According to the Celiac Sprue Association, if you have gluten intolerance you should avoid durum wheat, semolina wheat, rye, kamut, spelt, barley, triticale and often oats. Some people find they can tolerate spelt, a distant cousin to wheat that's high in fiber and contains more protein (talk to your practitioner). Oats are generally well-tolerated by most people with gluten intolerance, but because oats are often processed on the same machinery as wheat, they may have traces of gluten. If you are gluten intolerant, you can still eat rice, corn, soy, potatoes, beans, sorghum, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, arrowroot and amaranth.
Other food ingredients can trouble digestion. They include:
If you have what seem to be allergies and intolerances, fermented foods that contain beneficial bacteria (probiotics) can aid the functioning of your digestive tract. Yogurt, kefir, buttermilk and sauerkraut supply active bacterial cultures and are generally easy to tolerate because they are predigested. According to researchers at Tufts University, yogurt can improve your digestive health and soothe difficulties linked to allergies and intolerances (AJCN 2004 Aug; 80(2):245-56).
In addition, yogurt and other probiotic foods have been found to reduce the recurrence of irritable bowel flare-ups and may help reduce the risk of colon cancer. Yogurt improves gut microflora, increases bowel transit time and enhances immune response. Probiotics are also available as supplements.
If you have problems with certain foods or additives, becoming an amateur food detective can make meals more pleasant. Before eating a packaged food, always read the label; if you are unsure of the ingredients, contact the food manufacturer. But, in any uncertain situation, if you are in doubt of a food's ingredients, do without. Better to avoid food problems than realize too late that you've eaten a food that has upset your digestion.
Some people find their food intolerance comes and goes, often depending upon the amount eaten and how often a food is consumed. For example, some people with lactose intolerance find they can have a little milk in their coffee or on their breakfast cereal one day a week, but have problems if they drink milk on two consecutive days.
While deciphering which foods in your diet cause you problems can be time consuming, the reward for eliminating these nutrients, better digestion, is great. Don't give up! Persevere and, eventually your digestion will thank you.