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Study shows lutein can boost heart health
March 27, 2019 02:24 PM
Many people consume lutein, either as a supplement in in vegetables containing lutein, because it can provide protection from diseases of the eye. A recent study has shown that lutein can protect the heart as well. Researchers found some correlation between higher levels of lutein in the bloodstream and a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a medical term for a group of conditions including abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, and high triglycerides. Lutein, a carotenoid, is found in dark, leafy green vegetables.
"Dr. Elizabeth Leermakers decided to look into “lutein’s positive effects against inflammation and oxidative stresses in the eyes,” and together with a team of researchers, she searched for links between the presence of lutein (or a lack of the carotenoid) and diseases caused by stressors like heart attack, metabolic syndrome, and stroke."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-27-lutein-can-boost-heart-health.html
The common causes of candida overgrowth
January 22, 2019 04:39 PM
Candida albicans is a form of yeast that is present in small colonies across the human body. Unfortunately, when these clusters grow to an abnormal size, the heightened populations can cause some serious health concerns such as mouth ulcers, gastrointestinal issues, and even psychological symptoms. Researchers are now finding links between the overgrowth of Candida albicans and potential triggers such as: fermented foods like pickles, contraceptives, the overuse of antibiotics, and several other contributing factors.
"However, when candida populations swell into an overgrowth, you can develop severe health problems."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-12-25-the-common-causes-of-candida-overgrowth.html
New study links negative mood with higher levels of inflammation
January 05, 2019 02:26 PM
New research from Penn State University has shown that being in a negative mood can be linked with higher levels of inflammation and may be a signal of poor health. Inflammation is a contributing factor to many diseases such as diabetes and cancer. These negative emotions include sadness, anger, and depression. 220 participants reported on their moods and blood samples were taken to measure the inflammation present in the body. This was the first study to research how the two are linked. The long-term goal of the researchers is that the information will eventually lead to insights into how interventions can improve mood and ability to cope with stress. That will in turn help break the cycle of disease associated with inflammation.
"New US research has found that a negative mood, such as feeling sad or angry, may be linked with higher levels of inflammation and may be a sign of poor health."
Read more: https://www.malaymail.com/s/1705392/new-study-links-negative-mood-with-higher-levels-of-inflammation
The surprising link between magnesium and brain health
November 12, 2018 02:51 PM
According to new studies, the links between magnesium and the benefits of brain health have been very positive. According to scientists, they have been looking at the magnesium deficiency in America for quite some time and believe it contributes a lot to our brain health. A study showed that magnesium helped a person's cognitive function and reduces impairment. Studies have also shown that magnesium can help a person's mental health and could improve one's mood or anxiety issues.
"A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease showed that magnesium can enhance cognitive function in humans while reducing impairment."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-11-06-link-between-magnesium-and-brain-health.html
What is cannabidiol, or CBD, and is it right for me?
February 20, 2018 07:59 AM
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a chemical that is naturally produced in the brain but is also found in marijuana. CBD has become very popular these days as users have said that it has a calming effect and helps with battling anxiety. Another great thing about CBD is that it is not psychoactive which means that it will not get a person high. It can be taken in various ways such as orally and smoked. It is legal to buy and purchase in the United States which is another reason that it has become very popular.
"This non-addictive molecule offers patients many of cannabis’ medicinal benefits, without the negative side effects associated with psychoactive THC. Could CBD be right for you?"
Read more: http://www.greenstate.com/explained/cannabidiol-cbd-right/
Is Star Anise Good for You? 6 Benefits of This Sweet Spice
January 25, 2018 03:59 PM
Star anise, slight different than the anise seed, is very common in Asian cooking, comprising one of the key ingredients in Chinese Five Spice. The sweet licorice flavor is well regarded and just as much used in medicine. Recent finding have found strong links to its properties to help fight off bacterial and fungal infections and even has links to fighting the flu virus off. It has a good amount of antioxidants in it and this can help fight other diseases and even work with leveling blood sugar.
"In addition to killing off pathogenic strains of bacteria, some research also shows that star anise pods could possess powerful antifungal properties as well."
Read more: https://draxe.com/star-anise/
Fluoride exposure in utero linked to lower IQ in kids, study says
January 02, 2018 11:59 AM
High amounts of fluoride can be harmful to the development in children, especially in the prenatal stage of development. Most people get fluoride from their public water. Fluoride is added to water to aid in dental health. Studies have been done in Mexico that links high levels of fluoride intake affect the babies' development. China has also reported a similar study in the past that had similar outcomes. Constant excessive intake of fluoride also can cause yellowing of teeth and skeletal fluorosis.
"The study found a drop in scores on intelligence tests for every 0.5 milligram-per-liter increase in fluoride exposure beyond 0.8 milligrams per liter found in urine."
Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/19/health/fluoride-iq-neurotoxin-study/index.html
Cognitive decline may be slowed by leafy greens
December 29, 2017 07:59 AM
New research out of Chicago's Rush University Medical Center have shown positive links between a daily serving of green, leafy vegetables and a cognitive function. This functional slip may even be slowed by eleven years due to green, leafy vegetables. The study lasted almost five years, and helped demonstrate this hypothesis. Most importantly, none of the participants showed signs of dementia before the study, so their cognitive function was still high before the study even if the average age was 81.
"According to a new study conducted by Chicago's Rush University Medical Center, just one serving of leafy green vegetables per day could help preserve memory and thinking skills as we get older."
Read more: https://newatlas.com/leafy-greens-cognitive-decline/52737/
Eating fish once a week may promote sleep and boost IQ
December 25, 2017 03:59 PM
Fish have always been called brain food but now researchers out of University of Pennsylvania have a found a link between them and sleep as well. The key seems to be the Omega 3 fatty acids. Getting extra sleep helps with intelligence due to lack of stress the next day. Your brain is able to function at top levels and one is able to test higher on IQ exams. These findings are still preliminary but seem promising.
"While this may decision may be a joy for the taste buds, you might be robbing yourself from the benefits that occasionally eating fish can give you."
Read more: https://www.belmarrahealth.com/eating-fish-week-may-promote-sleep-boost-iq/
NBC: Doctor researching cancer says common plant may hold cancer cure
December 25, 2017 07:59 AM
A researcher at Stephen F. Austin State University has found a new link between giant salvinia, a pest in Texas waterways, and a reduction in lung and pancreatic cancer. There are no details on what exactly in the plant is causing this decrease but the numbers are clear and hope is out there. This is part of a vanguard of disease and immunological studies to find cures from common plants and this looks to be promising
"Dr. Li says they found eight new compounds, with one of them showing anti-tumor activity."
Read more: https://www.healthnutnews.com/doctor-researching-cancer-says-common-plant-may-hold-cancer-cure/
WHO to DEA: You Are Completely Wrong About Marijuana
December 20, 2017 03:59 PM
The article writes about how the DEA is still classifying marijuana as bad as heroin even tho that is clearly not the case. There have been several studies on cannabidiol that prove that it has a helpful effect in curing or helping with certain illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease while also having no toxic or addictive properties. The article tries to show the DEA that their are many medically valid reasons that marijuana should be reclassified.
"In a preliminary report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) last month, a non-psychoactive substance in marijuana, cannabidiol, which the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considers to be a Schedule I drug that has no medical use and can be abused, is, in fact, not harmful, and has been shown to be a benefit to those who are ill."
Read more: https://sputniknews.com/society/201712171060065986-who-to-dea-wrong-about-marijuana/
Epilepsy, Endocannabinoids and Phytocannabinoids
November 29, 2017 03:59 PM
Patients suffering from epilepsy have begun being treated with cannabis and its variant cannabinoids with some success. The concentrations for dosing vary by patient but some cannabinoids like THC, THCA and CBC have been used for epilepsy seizure treatments. However, in studies, whole plant use seems to be most effective since it contains more than 80 cannabinoids. There are receptors in the CNS for cannabinoids and there's also a specific uptake in the liver so although safe, it may compete with other medications.
"Cannabidiol and several other cannabis components can help patients with seizure disorders, and sometimes it's best to combine CBD with conventional anti-epileptic meds."
Read more: https://www.projectcbd.org/about/patient-experiencesurveys/epilepsy-endocannabinoids-and-phytocannabinoids
The Health Benefits of Matcha Tea
July 25, 2017 09:14 AM
A major tv network has come out with a story about matcha. This is a green tea that has been ground into powder. Matcha has become a favorite with models and is offered at Starbucks. The article explored whether the item is really healthy or just another "in" thing that will fade over time. The article cited a study which showed matcha resulted in higher levels of alertness. Another study found matcha reduced stress in mice. Several photos and links are included.
"Mind you, green tea is caffeinated and matcha is an even more caffeinated form of green tea, containing approximately 34mgs of caffeine where traditional green tea averages at about 30mgs and an espresso has around 60mgs, but the L-theanine in matcha prolongs its mood-boosting effects"
Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/much-ado-about-matcha-it-really-healthy-ncna783886?cid=public-rss_20170720
Beta Glucan for Wounds, Dry Skin, Cancer & More
July 22, 2017 04:14 PM
A website devoted to alternative health news has published an article on Beta Glucan. This is form of fiber. The writer states that Beta Glucan is routinely used in Asia to combat cancer. The writer quotes a doctor who believes this fiber is effective in reducing tumors. The writer also states that Beta Glucan can be used to soften hard and dried skin. He says this fiber can be used to treat eczema. The writer has included several embedded links.
"To this day, I consider topical Beta Glucan to be one of the most important anti-aging ingredients in the skin care world"
Read more: http://criticalhealthnews.com/health-news/25-ben-fuchs-articles/285-beta-glucan-for-wounds-dry-skin-cancer-more
Green tea nutrients found to successfully treat scars when used in a cream
July 22, 2017 12:14 PM
A website devoted to natural health treatments has published an article pointing out the benefits of green tea. The article summarized a study performed by the University of Manchester. The study found that mixing the extracted matter from green tea with a cream was beneficial when applied to new scars. The cream was able to decrease the thickness of the scar. The article pointed to two other studies, from 2003 and 2013 noting the benefits of green tea. Sources are listed as embedded links.
"This small study is just one of the numerous studies which prove the health benefits of green tea — especially its efficacy in skin cell rejuvenation."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-07-19-green-tea-nutrients-found-to-successfully-treat-scars-when-used-in-a-cream.html
Probiotics: Research Beyond the Belly...and to the Brain and Heart)
June 13, 2017 04:14 PM
Probiotics are a very successful thing. It is very popular among consumers and also among clinicians. The digestive tract is considered a main hub in our bodies. They have a long track record of digestive health and other positive things. Your digestive and immune health. The research on the links between probiotics and the heart is still in the very early stages. There are many factors to consider in this area. There is still much developing in this area.
"The latest eye-opener: Not only do probiotics have a proven track record of promoting digestive and immune health; emerging findings associate some strains with marked improvements in cognition and cardiovascular wellness, to boot."
Read more: http://www.nutritionaloutlook.com/brain-health/probiotics-research-beyond-bellyand-brain-and-heart
Named the most important vitamins for healthy teeth
May 27, 2017 04:14 PM
This is, in essence, a list of vitamins and minerals needed for healthy teeth and gums.It lists vitamins and minerals, a brief description for how the body uses them and various symptoms when they are absent and/or in deficient amounts. Also included within this list are numerous sources where the vitamins and minerals in question can be found. The list is brief yet makes for a good reference and also includes various links to related articles which is helpful.
"According to the American Academy of General dentistry, a deficiency of a certain vitamin or mineral can cause problems with oral health."
Read more: http://micetimes.asia/named-the-most-important-vitamins-for-healthy-teeth/
Tea drinkers can take comfort in new study about heart benefits
May 12, 2017 06:44 PM
Tea is sometimes talked about negatively because some of it contains caffeine but it also has benefits. This talks about a study which links tea drinking to positive affects on the heart. This is important because the heart pumps blood all throughout the body. If drinking tea helps with that many are benefiting without even knowing about it. This will make you feel a bit better if you drink tea and worry about doing so.
Read more: Tea drinkers can take comfort in new study about heart benefits
5 Body Odors You Should Never Ignore
April 29, 2017 08:44 AM
A website for women's health has a piece about body odors. The piece contends that certain odors are indications of illnesses. For example, a fruity breath might mean diabetes, while bad breath might be a sign of sleep apnea. Feet that smell bad might indicate athlete's foot. Smelly poop could be a sign of intolerance to lactose, while smelly urine could signal an infection. The feature is illustrated with several photos or graphics. There are several embedded links in the story.
"Lactose intolerance is fairly common: In fact, an estimated 65 percent of people have trouble digesting dairy, according to the National Institutes of Health."
Read more: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/body-odors-signal-health-problems?internal_recirc=outbrain_af
CBD Oil Actually Helped With My Anxiety
April 25, 2017 06:44 AM
All different types of oils have been links to aiding different types of diseases and other causes of stress. All studies around the world show that cbd's and hemp in general help you relax, people don't pick up the pallet to much when it comes to production but the over all target of the idea of hemp or CBD helping with anxiety is an amazing study that shows all different types of greatly beneficial outcomes.
Read more: CBD Oil Actually Helped With My Anxiety
Drop Toxic Sanitizers! They Cause Skin to Absorb 10X MORE of the Hormone Disrupting BPA. Instead, DIY the most Effective Hand Sanitizer
March 22, 2017 04:44 AM
Hand sanitizers are often used by individuals who want to protect their health, but studies are beginning to show links between triclosan (the most common active ingredient in hand sanitizers) and serious health conditions. Triclosan is known to disrupt endocrine, which can lead to negative effects for your body, including some cancers. Researchers note that triclosan has an accumulative effect and that children are more vulnerable to the potential negative side effects. Instead of buying potentially toxic hand sanitizers, consider making homemade sanitizer out of aloe vera and antimicrobial essential oils such as tea tree and eucalyptus.
"While triclosan has yet to be classified as a confirmed human carcinogen, scientists have suggested potential links to hormone-related cancers such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer."
Read more: http://www.healthnutnews.com/drop-toxic-sanitizers-cause-skin-absorb-10x-hormone-disrupting-bpa-instead-diy-effective-hand-sanitizer/
Obesity could triple your risk of stomach cancer later in life
March 02, 2017 10:59 AM
A new report looking at what causes stomach cancer found three new somewhat surprising links: alcohol, processed meat and obesity. All three are linked with several other cancers, including colon cancer and breast cancer, but this is the first time they've been associated with stomach cancer. The report also finds more typical causes: smoking, eating food preserved with salt, and infection with a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori.
"Those who gained more than 45 pounds also faced twice the risk of developing esophageal cancer, compared to those who maintained a healthy weight."
Which vitamins are good for dry eyes?
February 27, 2017 12:59 PM
Cases of dry eyes have become increasingly prevalent. There are many prescription and over-the-counter medicines out there that can help with the condition, but can simply supplementing certain vitamins help? Vitamins A, C, E, and thiamine have all been shown to help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration, but not much research has been done on something as simple as dry eyes. While there is no proof that any particular vitamin can prevent dry eyes, vitamins A, D, and omega-3 fatty acids may help. You should always talk to your doctor before starting any supplementation.
"People should be skeptical about any vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements that claim to treat dry eye syndrome."
Study Says Inflammation Is Keeping You Fat
February 18, 2017 10:59 AM
We have all tried to diet and found that we just can’t do it. We try again and again to lose some weight only to find that it doesn’t go away. New research has linked the inability to lose weight with inflammation. Scientists found that converting white cells to brown cells made the weight melt off of rats in trials. This is due to the higher number of mitochondria present in brown cells versus white cells, which uses more energy. While more research needs to be done to determine how to convert to brown cells, they recommend an anti-inflammatory diet.
"Many of us have had the experience of trying what feels like every diet and workout regimen we come across, without losing weight."
Another study links diet soda to weight gain
December 26, 2016 10:59 AM
There are many who switch from regular to diet soda when they go on a diet so as not to be without their favorite drinks. However, a recent study conducted by the National Institute on Aging and the National Institutes of Health shows that artificial sweeteners may actually cause more weight gain than regular sugar. The research adjusted data for other factors and found that those who drink more diet soda tend to be more heavyset. The leading theories on why this happens are that it alters the gut flora or that the lack of calories makes us eat more.
"After correcting the data of the 1,454 study participants for lifestyle factors such as smoking, gender and diet, the team found a link between obesity levels, body size and the consumption of diet soda."
Reflux and ulcer medications linked to kidney stones and chronic kidney disease
December 04, 2016 07:59 AM
A University in Rome has found information that links medications taken for acid reflux and heartburn to a higher incidence of kidney stones. By reviewing patient files, they found that patients who took proton pump inhibitors were at a 12% higher risk of developing kidney stones throughout their lives, and those who took histamine receptor-2 were at a 13% higher risk. They have stated that more research needs to be done, but any link between the medicine and kidney stones is cause for alarm.
"Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine receptor-2 (H2) blockers are commonly used to reduce gastric acid production."
Study now links plastic chemical BPA to asthma
November 02, 2016 07:04 AM
We have all seen the products that advertise as BPA free, but now we have another reason to pay close attention. Studies are now linking the dangerous chemical found in many plastics used daily to an increase in asthma. The FDA has already started restricting its use in baby products.
What Are Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) And What Herbs Contain Them?
Glycosaminoglycans refers to a linear unbranched polysacharide chain molecule composed of disaccharides repeats with a high negative charge due to the presence of Uronic acid components and sulfate esters with some hydoxyl (OH) groups as part of its structural components. They have varying molecular size and sulfation depending on the tissue they are located on and their state. They function to attract cations and maintain the hydration of the extracellular membrane (E.C.M).
Glycoaminoglycans are classified into different groups based on different categories which include; glycosidic linkages in their structure, type of the sugar moiety, sulphate groups numbers and the location of the sulfate groups. Based on this various classification categories six major groups of GAGs exists, namely; heparin, hyaluronan, dermatan sulfate, heparin sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, and keratan sulfate.
GAGs have a high solvation degree and and are as well highly viscous. This is beneficial to the body in that it helps to cushion and lubricate various connective tissues and body joints respectively. It therefore protects an individual from joint pains due to poor lubrication of the joints causing the bone to slide over each other. They also form the building blocks of proteoglycans which are the major building blocks of the extracellular matrix. Due to this property they are vital in determining the cellular activities such as cell division because the cell division machinery has to attach itself to the extracellular matrix before the division process is initiated. Some body tissues such as the nerve cells and the muscle cells require continuous cell division to replace worn out cells for the normal functioning. This means that structural deformities in the extracellular matrix will hinder the division process to occur and is most likely to lead to some neurodegenerative complexions.
Recent studies have linked GAGs to play a role in the cell biology of cancer.They have been established as the key macromolecules affecting cell properties and functions through interaction with key growth factors or by acting directly as receptor molecules. Through this it has been findings they play a vital role in the cell signaling process thus playing a role in the cancer disease progression.Heparin and heparin sulfate have been indicated through studies to have anti-tumor effects by preventing the process of angiogenesis which is the first step in cancer metastasis.Some have been associated with anti-coagulant properties.
Therefore GAGs are important molecules which play a vital role in protection against various forms of cancers. GAGs aremostly obtained from animal sources. The animal sources include shark fish and ray skeletons. Plants are also sources of GAGs, however their digestion by the human system is not possible. Seaweed is one herb that is rich in GAGs. However as earlier explain the digestion of the sea weed by the animal digestive system is quite a challenge. It is therefore recommended that we eat foods rich in proteins, and carbohydrates which can be used to synthesize GAGs in the body.
In summary, GAGs are heteropolymers which acts as the building blocks of the extracellular matrix in animals. The body has the ability to synthesize GAGs naturally hence nutritional supplement is required for the body to obtain key components necessary for the synthesis.
What Are The health Benefits Of Probiotics?
December 29, 2012 11:31 AM
Probiotics have been on the market for a number of years and an ever increasing number of people do swear by taking them on a regular basis and believe that they are healthier for doing so. The question, therefore, is what exactly are the health benefits of taking them and it makes sense understand this prior to trying them yourself, so the information that appears below may be quite useful for you to know.
People are well aware of the fact that bacteria can cause all kinds of diseases and illnesses and one of the first health benefits of probiotics is that they help to boost your immune system so you can tackle these diseases earlier on.
You will also find that they make it easier for your body to digest food as it improves your digestive system and eases any problems that you may have had with your stomach such as IBS. It is also going to help those people that are lactose intolerant and increases your ability to absorb things such as calcium as well as Vitamin B.
There are a number of other health benefits that you may like to know about with probiotics and one of the other key ones is that they help you to absorb the different nutrients and this, in turn, links back to boosting your immune system as your body is getting everything it needs to work. It has also been shown that they can help to ease the negative side effects of antibiotics as well as help people that suffer from bad breath, so it is clear that the health benefits are quite varied due to this healthy bacteria that you are going to be taking into your system.
That is a summary about the health benefits of probiotics and it is now your own decision as to whether or not you join the masses of people that swear by them and start taking these special products on a daily basis. By getting this good bacteria into your system you are undoubtedly giving your body a helping hand in the battle against various ailments and if so many people believe it helps them, then surely they cannot all be wrong?
Myth: Agave Nectar is bad for you and should be avoided at all cost!
April 08, 2010 04:14 PM
Agave Nectar attacks have increased recently; this is at a result of its popularity. More and more shoppers are finding Agave Nectar to be an amazing sugar substitute. With this the popularity of blogs and pop up articles have caught on as "Agave" has become a new buzz word such as "Green." The main source of the unfounded attacks on Agave are directly linked to one article written and posted on the web by a "Spiritual Psychologist" with no medical, science, or industry background.
Furthermore, the authors sole "sweetener” expert has direct links to artificial sweeteners discrediting both the author’s creditability and the "experts" motives. Not only does the "expert" have direct links to a potential competing sweetener, but has a history of questionable business practices. The complete disregard for medical, scientific, industry facts by the author and industry "expert" is appalling. Not to mention they should be ashamed for their fear based tactics and questionable ethics. We think it should be noted that the author himself has avoided entirely the controversy he created and has not made himself available to address questions about the errors of fact, the manipulation of information and misstatements included in his article, the purpose of which was not to educate, but an attempt to derail the rising popularity of agave nectar.
Madhava Honey has recently added to our consulting team, Susan M. Kleiner, PhD, RD, FACN, CNS, FISSN. She has written several books on the topic of High Performance Nutrition and worked with groups such as the Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sonics, Miami Heat, Gatorade Sports Nutrition Speakers Network and a former Educational Advisory Board member of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute. She will be consulting with us and providing Madhava consumers with the facts about Agave Nectar and Fructose in a balanced diet.
DHEA and Your Health
March 16, 2010 12:27 PM
DHEA is a naturally occurring hormone that is produced within the adrenal glands. The most abundant hormone found in the body, it is sometimes referred to as the “mother hormone.” When hormone levels are too low or out of sync, the body is unable to function as intended. DHEA levels reach their peak in the body around age twenty-one. After that, the levels tend to decline over the years. This substance is a precursor hormone that can be metabolized into other adrenal hormones and act with other hormones.
When DHEA levels are normal, it aids the immune system in maintaining balance and fighting diseases and infection. This, in turn, protects the body form a variety of serious problems that can occur, including cancer. Although the full extent of DHEA's benefits is not entirely known, there is a great deal of evidence that links low levels of DHEA to conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, fertility problems, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, allergies, PMS, and even weight problems. Many people even believe that this hormone is the single most important factor in maintaining health.
Scientific studies have determined that individuals with cancer seem to have lower levels of DHEA than those individuals who are healthy. It has been found that DHEA has the ability to inhibit one of the most important enzymes that is responsible for the feeding of cancer cells. Research has also concluded that DHEA can help in a variety of types of cancer, including colon, lung, skin, breast, lymphatic, gastric, prostate, and ovarian. It is believed that DHEA aids in slowing the growth of cancer. This hormone also blocks some of the enzymes that are responsible for cancer proliferation, which helps to prevent the activity of cancer and stops damage from occurring.
Alzheimer's condition is extremely frightening, as it deals with the loss of memory and senility. It has been found that levels of DHEA in Alzheimer's patients are forty-eight percent lower than the normal, healthy level established by the control group. DHEA is responsible for protecting the brain cells from damage and deterioration. Also, it is useful with other degenerative conditions that deal with senility. In healthy individuals, DHEA can be found abundantly in brain tissue, which protects against aging and damage.
DHEA is a precursor for cortisol and adrenaline, both of which are stress hormones. DHEA can become depleted when the body is under stress due to the effect on the adrenal glands. Because of this, chronic stress can lead to lower levels of DHEA, which can be detrimental to one's health. It has been found the prolonged stress can lead to cases of depression, with depression being helped by the addition of DHEA. Individuals with depression have found favorable results when using DHEA.
It has been shown that DHEA therapy is free of side effects when taken in proper amounts. Some problems that occur when excess amounts of DHEA are supplemented include acne, rapid heartbeat, irritability, and headaches. The majority of people solve these problems by lowering the amount they are taking. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by DHEA, please feel free to contact a representative from your local or internet health food store.
Dhea is a hormone naturally found in the body now available over the counter at your local health food store.
Hoodia Extract And Appetite
September 26, 2008 11:36 AM
Hoodia is a plant that belongs to the milkweed family and consists of about twenty different species. It is a leafless, spiny plant, with fleshy finger-like stems. Along the stems, there are rows of thorns, while the plant bears flesh-colored flowers. Flies are attracted to the flowers by the strong smell of decaying meat, causing the flies to lay their eggs and pollinate the flowers. Sometimes spelled hootia, hodia, hoodie, and hudia, hoodia has recently gained a great amount of attention in the United Kingdom and America after being featured on BCC and CBS. Often growing in summer rainfall areas in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, along with winter rainfall areas in Nambia, hoodia gordonii is the only species that contains the chemical component that suppresses appetite.
Hoodia has been used for thousands of years by San Bushmen, as it populates the arid territories of South Africa and Namibia. Because San Bushmen needed to remain active in order to survive, they had little need for dieting, but this plant provided them with stamina and a curbed appetite during long periods without food. Along with reducing or eliminating the desire for food, many people believe that hoodia also increases energy and can act as an aphrodisiac on the user.
The appetite-suppressing ingredient found in hoodia is a molecule that is similar to, but stronger than glucose. The active compound that was isolated to be responsible for appetite suppression is P57, which works by sending a signal to the hypothalamus of the brain, tricking the body into thinking that it is no longer hungry, and resulting in a complete lack of appetite. P57 is a steroid like molecule that is chemically bonded to a chain of three sugar molecules. The appetite-suppressing and mood-enhancing properties of P57 go directly to the mid-brain, where it causes neuron cells to fire as if you were full.
The hypothalamus is the region of the brain that contains several important centers which control body temperature, thirst, hunger, water balance, and sexual function. Additionally, the hypothalamus is closely connected with emotional activity and sleep and also functions as a center for the integration of hormonal and autonomic nervous activity through the control of pituitary secretions. In short, the hypothalamus links the nervous system to the endocrine system. The pituitary gland is often thought of as the mater gland in our bodies, as the anterior and posterior pituitary secrete a variety of hormones that influence all cells and affect almost all physiological processes.
The pituitary gland is powered by the hypothalamus, as some of the neurons in the hypothalamus secrete the hormones that are responsible for controlling the secretion of hormones from the anterior pituitary. The inhibiting and releasing hormones of the hypothalamus are carried directly to the anterior pituitary where hypothalamic hormones bind to receptors on anterior pituitary cells.
The P57 hormone that is found in hoodia works by increasing the amount of ATP in nerve cells found in the hypothalamus. ATP is an energy-producing molecule that is formed from glucose. When there are increased levels of ATP in hypothalamic nerve cells, those nerve cells fire as if you had just eaten, even when you haven’t. Hoodia is a safe herb taken for hundreds of years, have you tried Hoodia lately?
Vitamin D Supplements
July 29, 2008 02:55 PM
Scientists at the Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, California have recently begun studying whether there is substantial convincing biological or behavioral evidence that links vitamin D deficiency to brain dysfunction. The study found that there is biological evidence which proves that there is an important role for vitamin D in the development of the brain and its function. Supplementation for groups that are chronically low in vitamin D has been found to be extremely beneficial. Vitamin D is involved in brain function through its wide distribution of vitamin D receptors throughout the brain.
Vitamin D affects the proteins in the brain that are known to be involved directly with learning, memory, motor control, and possibly even maternal and social behavior. Research has shown that supplementation is beneficial to those groups whose vitamin D status is extremely low, especially nursing infants, the elderly, and African Americans, but the need for further study has been established. The authors of the study argue that vitamin D supplementation is necessary for those groups that are at risk.
Increased vitamin D levels protect the body against osteoporosis, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. There is now evidence that suggests that vitamin D may help protect against a potentially dangerous rise in blood pressure which occurs in some people as they get older. A study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition had researchers finding that as many as 60 percent of whites and more than 90 percent of blacks who participated in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey had insufficient blood levels of vitamin D.
Researchers also investigated the association between vitamin D, blood pressure, and age. This investigation found that people with lower blood levels of vitamin D had significantly higher increases in systolic blood pressure as they aged than did those people who had healthy levels. Actually, the age-related rise in blood pressure turned out to be 20 percent lower in those people who had healthy vitamin D levels, as oppose to those people who did not. This suggests that vitamin D deficiency may play a critical role in high blood pressure development.
Many other studies have suggested that there is a role for vitamin D in reducing blood pressure. According to Vin Tangpricha MD, PhD., an assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Lipids at Emory University School of Medicine, there is not enough evidence that vitamin D prevents hypertension available, however, because vitamin D insufficiency is highly prevalent throughout the United States, it may be a good idea to take a vitamin D supplement solely because of the strong evidence on vitamin D’s ability to prevent osteoporotic fractures. It has been noted that further studies are needed in order to determine vitamin D’s effect on blood pressure.
Additionally, it needs to be determined if giving all patients vitamin D will help lower blood pressure. Those people who have a family history of other risk factors that are associated with high blood pressure, such as being older than sixty-five, should have their blood pressure checked regularly. Be sure to look for more studies and information on the effects of supplemental vitamin D on both white and black habitants of the United States to help battle vitamin D deficiency. To learn more about supplemental vitamin D, contact your local health food provider.
L-Glutathione Can Eliminate Toxins in the Liver
December 07, 2007 11:54 AM
L-glutathione is the reduced form of glutathione, and is a tripeptide synthesized in the animal and plant tissues from glycine, cysteine and glutamate. Commonly known as GSH, it contains thiol groups that are maintained in a reduced state, and is a very powerful antioxidant, considered to be the key antioxidant and protective substance in the body.
Glutathione can reduce any disulfide groups in the cytoplasm within the body of the cell, and ensures that the cytoplasm is a strongly reducing medium protecting against oxidation. It has a synergistic effect with other antioxidants to protect the body against free radicals and oxidizing agents that cause so much damage to the body through what is commonly referred to as ‘oxidative stress’. However, there is more to it than that and it attaches itself to toxic chemicals and drugs in the liver and renders them into a state suitable for elimination from the body.
These toxic materials include poisonous pesticides, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and chromium and many other substances that we come into contact with due to present day pollution of our atmosphere and foodstuffs. Glutathione can also help protect the body from the effects of chemotherapy and evidence is suggesting possible links with the control of some cancers, diabetes, atherosclerosis and many other degenerative conditions caused by free radical attack and the effects of pollutants.
The way that GSH acts in the cells is that the redox state of the glutathione-glutathione disulfide couple is critical to the health of the intercellular and intracellular fluid. GSH in the reduced state of glutathione reacts with an oxidative agent such as hydrogen peroxide to form the oxidized form, glutathione disulfide and water. It hence mops up oxidizers such as peroxides and free radicals within the cytoplasm of the body’s cells, and also in between the cells. The disulfide is then converted back to GSH by the combined action of the enzyme glutathione reductase and NADPH (the reducing agent nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate).
The cycle then repeats so that two molecules of glutathione continue to reduce damaging oxidizing agents without themselves being consumed. In so doing, the NADPH becomes oxidized. A continuous supply of NADPH is needed to allow GSH to undergo these biochemical reactions, and up to 10% of our blood glucose is used by the pentose phosphate pathway by which NADPH is synthesized.
Since this cycle consumes no glutathione, it would appear that a supplement is unnecessary. However, this is not the case since the molecule takes part in other reactions in the body, particularly in the elimination of toxic heavy metals from the body. Mercury is highly reactive with the thiol that GSH is, and so will bind to form a stable Hg-sulfydryl bond in the liver. This mercury-glutathione chelate is unable to bind to other proteins or gain access to the body cells, and is eventually harmlessly secreted. The same is true of many other heavy metals that are reactive with thiol’s.
In this way the body is protected from the harmful effects of these heavy metals. However, it results in the loss of the glutathione, and the pollution of modern day living can take a heavy toll of the GSH content of our bodies. For this reason a glutathione supplement is recommended, especially for city dwellers that may be exposed to more heavy metals than those residing in rural areas.
However, the form in which this supplement is taken is very important, because the human digestive tract contains a significant amount of gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase. That is an enzyme which apparently destroys glutathione before it can be absorbed. However, it can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream by dissolving the pill between the teeth and inner cheek. It has also been suggestion that the supplement could be administered by injection.
Others have suggested that rather than administer a supplement, individuals could take other supplements that contain the materials needed to stimulate the formation of GSH. Substances such as vitamin C, selenium (important in GSH biochemistry), methionine, alpha-lipoic acid and glutamine could all help to increase the body’s production of glutathione. A supplement of the constituent parts of cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid should also help. The dosage ranges recommended vary widely from 50mg to 500mg daily, and the effects of supplementation are not yet well know.
Some specific conditions that this wonder antioxidant is useful in treating include liver disease such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and so on. Patients suffering from these diseases show a massive reduction in their GSH content and prior GSH treatment appeared to offer a significant degree of protection in controlled clinical investigations. Patients suffering from chronic hepatitis C have been found to be associated with reduced GSH levels, particularly if also HIV positive.
Similar deficiencies have been noted in some lung conditions such as asthma and other pulmonary conditions. In such cases it has been demonstrated that administration of GSH supplements sufficient to restore normal levels of the substance improved the patients’ conditions by a significant amount. Its effect on atherosclerosis appears to be significant since a decreased level of GSH peroxidase has been recorded in such patients in addition to an increase in lipid peroxides, indicating that oxidation of the arterial wall had been occurring.
Anti-viral therapies that rely on GSH biochemistry for their action have been found to be less effective in those with low GSH levels, and other studies have confirmed that supplementing with GSH improves the response to interferon treatment. These results indicate the activity of oxidizing agents and free radicals in liver conditions, and in fact this has been demonstrated by tests carried out in New York and Philadelphia in the 1990s.
This suggests that the liver is prone to damage by oxidative stress, and that GSH levels may be able to be used as an indication of potential liver disease. What is evident is that a strong case can be made for glutathione supplementation as protection against potential liver, pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases, especially by those exposed to specific polluting agents such as primary or secondary tobacco smoke, auto and diesel fumes and chemicals and pesticides.
L-glutathione is useful, not only for the elimination of toxins in the liver, but also in protecting this large and vital organ from the oxidative stress that modern living brings. L-Glutathione and its precursors are sold over the counter at your local or internet health food store.
The Awesome Foursome: Coenzyme Q10, D-Ribose, L-Carnitine, and Magnesium
May 18, 2007 01:06 PM
The Awesome Foursome: Coenzyme Q10, L-Carnitine,
The “Awesome Foursome” of Coenzyme Q10, L-Carnitine, D-Ribose, and magnesium helps our hearts metabolize energy more efficiently and protects them from the stress of cardiovascular disease. This powerful combination of nutrients goes directly to the basic biochemistry of cellular energy metabolism. Now let’s take a closer look at how Coenzyme Q10, L-Carnitine, D-Ribose, and magnesium work in synergy to promote cardiovascular health.
Energy Recycling through the Electron Transport Chain
Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the mitochondrial membrane, mitochondrial DNA, and cell walls from free-radical attack. But its most important function in the body is its central role in energy metabolism.
Most – about 90 percent – of the ATP used by cells is recycled as food (fuel) and oxidized in the mitochondria. Fatty acids, carbohydrates, and, occasionally, proteins are carried across the mitochondrial membrane and enter the Krebs’ cycle, moving from step to step and spinning off electrons. These electrons are then handed off to the electron transport chain, where, in the presence of oxygen, the energy from the electrons is captured as a phosphate group is added to ADP to form ATP. This recycling of ATP is called oxidative phosphorylation, and the by-products of these pathways are CO2 and water.
In this fashion, Coenzyme Q10 acts as a gatekeeper of electrons, making sure they are carried to just the right place to pass on their life-giving energy.
What is critical, however, is the simple fact that without Coenzyme Q10 the electron transport chain would totally break down. And since the electron transport chain is (by far!) the largest contributor to cellular energy turnover, its loss would be catastrophic. It is also important to know that there has to be an excess of Coenzyme Q10 in the mitochondria to be maximally effective. Having just enough isn’t sufficient to do the job properly, and having a deficiency seriously affects the mitochondria’s ability to supply the cell with energy.
Cellular stress can cause Coenzyme Q10 deficiency, which places a severe strain on Coenzyme Q10 availability. People with heart disease, hypertension, gingival disease, Parkinson’s disease, and the other disorders we’ve discussed are known to be deficient in Coenzyme Q10. Whether these deficiencies are the cause or the effect of these varied medical problems, the end result is that they sap the life out of their mitochondria and reduce their energy supplies. You see, Coenzyme Q10 cannot function properly if electrons are not coming out of the Krebs’ cycle, and the Krebs’ cycle won’t work without the fuel that’s transported into the mitochondria by L-Carnitine.
Transporting the Cellular Energy Fuel
Fatty acids are the preferred energy fuel for hearts and most other cells in the body. L-Carnitine facilitates the beta oxidation of fatty acids as energy fuel. And since fatty acids are the preferred fuel for energy recycling in cells, this action is critical to cell and tissue function. Unfortunately, L-carnitine is deficient in people with heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, lipid metabolic disorders, mitochondrial disorders, and many other disease syndromes we reviewed earlier. This L-carnitine deficiency disrupts the normal metabolism of fatty acids, reducing available energy supplies and leading to the accumulation of toxic by-products of fatty acid metabolism. L-carnitine supplementation revives fatty acid metabolism and restore normal mitochondrial function. But even this powerful improvement in cellular energy metabolism cannot up for the energy drain that comes from the loss of energy substrates caused by low oxygen delivery to the tissue. Only D-Ribose can do that.
Rebuilding the Cellular Energy Pool
As long as cells and tissues have plenty of oxygen, the pool of energy substrates in the cell remains high. And as long as there is enough L-carnitine and Coenzyme Q10 available, the process of energy utilization and supply can proceed unimpeded. However, the cellular supply of oxygen can be restricted by acute or chronic heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, any number of skeletal – or neuromuscular diseases, or even high-intensity exercise.
When cells are deprived of oxygen the mitochondrial energy turnover becomes inefficient. Remember, oxygen is required to let the oxidative pathway of energy recycling work properly. If the mitochondria are not able to recycle energy efficiently, cellular energy supply cannot keep pace with demand. But the cell has a continuing need for energy so it will use all its ATP stores and then break down the by-product, adenosine diphosphate (ADP), to pull the remaining energy out of this compound as well. What’s left is adenosine menophosphate (AMP). Since a growing concentration of AMP is incompatible with sustained cellular function it’s quickly broken apart and the by-products are washed out of the cell. The net result of this process is a depletion of the cellular pool of energy substrates. When the by-products of AMP catabolism are washed out of the cell, they are lost forever. It takes a long time to replace these lost energy substrates even if the cell is fully perfused with oxygen again.
Ribose is the only compound used by the body to refill this energy pool. Every cell in the body has the capacity to make ribose, but hearts, muscles, and most other tissues lack the metabolic machinery to make ribose quickly when the cells are stressed by oxygen depletion or metabolic insufficiency. Ribose is made naturally in the cells from glucose. In stressed cells, however, glucose is preferentially metabolized for the energy turnover and is not available for ribose synthesis. So when energy pools are drained from stressed cells, the cells must first wait for the slow process of ribose synthesis before they can begin to replace their lost energy stores.
Acute ischemia, like that which takes place during a heart attack, heart surgery, or angioplasty, drains the cell of energy. Even when oxygenated blood flow returns, refilling the energy pool may take ten or more days. But when oxygen deprivation is chronic, or when energy metabolism is disrupted by disease, there may be so much continual strain on the energy supply that the pool can ever refill without the assistance of supplemental ribose. Conditions like ischemic heart disease or congestive heart failure fall into this category. In these situations, supplementing the tissue with exogenous ribose is the only way the cell can keep up with the energy drain.
Switching on the Energy Enzymes
Magnesium is an essential mineral that's critical for energy requiring processes, in protein synthesis, membrane integrity, nervous tissue conduction, neuromuscular excitation, muscle contraction, hormone secretion, maintenance of vascular tone, and in intermediary metabolism. Deficiency may lead to changes in neuromuscular, cardiovascular, immune, and hormonal function; Impaired energy metabolism; and reduced capacity for physical work. Magnesium deficiency is now considered to contribute to many diseases, and the role for magnesium as a therapeutic agent is expanding.
Magnesium deficiency reduces the activity of important enzymes used in energy metabolism. Unless we have adequate levels of magnesium in our cells, the cellular processes of energy metabolism cannot function. Small changes in magnesium levels can have a substantial effect on heart and blood vessel function. While magnesium is found in most foods - particularly vegetables - deficiencies are increasing. Softened water and a trend toward lower vegetable consumption are the culprits contributing to these rising deficiencies.
Supporting the links in The Energy Cycle Chain – the Synergy
Clearly, each membrane of the “Awesome Foursome” is fundamental to cellular energy metabolism in its own right. Each plays a unique and vital role in supplying the heart with the energy it needs to preserve its contractile force. Each is independently effective in helping hearts work through the stress of disease. And while each contributes immeasurable to the energy health of the cell, in combination they are unbeatable. Allow me to reiterate the step-by-step, complicated cellular processes involved to be sure that you really understand the rationale for using these nutrients.
The cell needs a large, sustained, and healthy pool of energy to fuel all its metabolic functions. Contraction, relaxation, maintenance of cellular ion balance, and synthesis of macromolecules, like proteins, all require a high energy charge to carry their reactions to completion. The energy pool must be preserved, or these fundamental cellular functions will become inefficient or will cease to operate altogether. To keep the pool vibrant and healthy, the cell needs ribose. But even with supplemental ribose, the cell needs the efficient turnover of its energy stores to balance ongoing energy utilization with supply. That’s where CoQ10 and L-carnitine come into play.
The converse is also true. Even if the cell is fully charged with energy, cellular energy supply will not keep pace with demand if the mitochondria are not functioning properly. CoQ10 and L-carnitine work to keep mitochondrial operations running at peak efficiency, and one side cannot work effectively without the other. Even though CoQ10 and L-carnitine can make the energy turnover mechanisms work more efficiently, they cannot increase the cell’s chemical driving force, and their action will be only partially effective. Ribose on the other hand, can keep the energy pool supplied with substrate, but the value of energy pool repletion cannot be fully realized if the substrate cannot be maximally utilized and recycled. Ribose fills the tank; CoQ10 an L-carnitine help the engine run properly.
Magnesium is the glue that holds energy metabolism together. By turning on the enzymes that drive the metabolic reactions, magnesium allows it all to happen.
These four nutrients must be utilized by cardiologists and other physicians as they treat patients day-to-day. On my own journey, using Coenzymes Q10 for two decades, L-carnitine for more than ten years, D-Ribose for two years, and magnesium equally as long, I’ve seen this “Awesome Foursome” reduce suffering and improve the quality of life for thousands of patients.
The future of nutrition in conventional medicine is very bright, although the integration of nutritional supplements has been a slow and, at times, lonely process.
L-carnitine and Coenzyme Q10 are finally gaining the recognition they deserve. D-Ribose is emerging as a new player in the complex understanding of metabolic cardiology, and doctors are beginning to discuss the important role of magnesium deficiency in heart patients. As a practicing cardiologist for over thirty years, I see metabolic cardiology as the future for the treatment of heart disease and other complex disease conditions, as well.
Breast Cancer and Natural Supplements
May 11, 2007 10:47 AM
Breast Cancer and Nutritional Supplements
There is probably nothing more frightening for a woman than the discovery of a lump in her breast. Cancer and all its consequences quickly come to mind. This quick association may materialize, in part, because no woman is immune. Most have a friend, a sister, a mother, or a coworker who has been diagnosed with the disease. And they know how difficult dealing with this disease can be. Fortunately, 80% of all breast lumps are not cancerous. Most are cysts or a benign clump of tissue.
Over her lifetime, a woman’s breasts undergo many, many changes. From before puberty and on, breast tissue is continually evolving. Breasts often feel different before menstrual cycle, returning to normal a few days after. Pregnancy certainly causes changes in a woman’s breasts, as does breastfeeding. And as women age, breast tissue becomes less dense.
Because of these continual changes, breast tissue especially requires adequate nutrition. While everyone benefits from a healthy diet, there are additional nutrients from which women can specifically benefit.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will discuss breast cancer and the vast amount of research that has explored the role nutrition plays in this serious and still deadly disease. Specifically, we will discuss how two B vitamins, calcium D-glucarate, broccoli extract, green tea, maitake mushrooms, and iodine can all help prevent breast cancer.
Q. How can these nutrients prevent breast cancer?
A. Scientists learn a lot about disease from simply observing what is happening around them. One observation that has been recognized for many years is that certain cultures have very low incidence of breast cancer. Women n
Moms (and dads) have also learned a lot about diseases simply by observing what is happening in their families. They have notices that certain vegetables play a large role in the prevention of all types of diseases, including cancer. And, accordingly, they have been urging their offspring to eat their vegetables for several generations.
Building on these observations, scientists have designed and carried out many studies to determine what it is about these nutrients that can prevent breast cancer. What they have discovered, so far, follows. Let’s start with the B vitamins.
Deficiencies of this vitamin can result in a serious type of anemia. Nerve damage can also occur if B12 levels are too low. Researchers are now investigating whether breast cancer may, in part, be caused by a B12 deficiency as well.
Another study, this one taking place in a laboratory setting, discovered that vitamin B12, applied directly against experimental breast cancer cells, actually stopped the cancer cells from growing. The researchers conducting the experiment believe that giving vitamin B12 to women with breast cancer as part of a chemotherapy regime, might help keep the cancer in check.
Low folic acid intake is linked to the development of all cancers. This is because folic acid is crucial to the making and continual repair of DNA, the molecule that carries our genetic code. A recent study discovered that high intakes of folic acid might actually reduce the risk of breast cancer. The researchers looked at the diets of over 2600 women. During interviews with the researchers, the women reported what they usually ate. Once the data was collected, the results showed that women, who ate lots of foods that contained folic acid, had much lower rates of breast cancer.
There is no clear-cut, single cause of breast cancer. Many factors are required for the disease to appear. One such factor is estrogen. A recent study showed that women who developed breast cancer tended to have higher levels of estrogen circulating in their bodies than women without breast cancer. This means that women who got their periods before age eleven or entered menopause after age fifty-five have a higher risk of breast cancer. This also supports the theory that the number of menstrual cycles a woman has affects her risk for breast cancer.
Another factor is drinking alcohol. Because alcohol raises estrogen levels, if a woman consumes even moderate amounts of alcohol her risk of breast cancer also is increased. The link between alcohol and breast cancer may even be stronger than other dietary links. However, an important study has discovered that folic acid may uncouple this link.
A very large study of over 34,000 women recently studied the effect of folic acid on the risk of breast cancer. This project was part of the Nurses’ Health Study, an ongoing, long-term study that looks at nutrition’s role in the development of disease. The women in the folic acid and breast cancer study were followed for 12 years. The participants completed detailed food questionnaires that provided the researchers with important data.
The women were divided into four groups:
1. Women with low folic acid levels and drink alcohol
2. Women with high folic acid levels and rink alcohol
3. Women with low folic acid levels and don’t drink alcohol
4. Women with high folic acid levels and don’t drink alcohol
Within these four groups the women were further divided into subgroups according to the amount of alcohol they consumed each day and their specific folic acid intake.
The researchers found that women who consumed the lowest amounts of folic acid and drank at least one alcoholic beverage a day had the highest rate of breast cancer. In contrast, women who had high intakes of folic acid and also drank at least one alcoholic beverage a day, had the same rate of breast cancer as the women with high folic acid intakes who did not drink. In other words, women who had high levels of folic acid in their diet erased their alcohol-related increase in breast cancer risk.
It seems estrogen can be both friend and foe. While women need the hormone to soften skin, thicken hair, and fill out hips and breasts, estrogen can also nourish breast tumors, helping them grow bigger, stronger, and more deadly. Thanks, in part, to good nutrition, American women get their periods early and go through menopause alter in life. Women today also have fewer pregnancies; families with one or two children are quite common.
All of these factors increase the time women’s bodies are exposed to estrogen. As we discussed before, longer exposure means increased opportunities for estrogen to cause trouble. It is also a troubling fact of modern life that we are continuously exposed to cancer-causing chemicals and toxins. These toxins come in part from contaminants in the food we eat and pollutants in the air we breathe.
The body does have a system that eliminates some of the excess estrogen and toxic chemicals before they can cause harm. In the liver, they are bound or attached to a chemical called glucuronic acid. The bound toxin or estrogen is then excreted in bile and eventually eliminated as a waste product in the stool.
However, an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase can break this bond between estrogen and glucuronic acid. When this happens, the hormone or toxin is released from its bone, capable of causing harm once more. Increased beta-glucuronidase activity is associated with an increased risk for various cancers, particularly hormone-dependant cancers like breast cancer.
Fortunately, scientists have discovered that a natural substance found in foods calcium D-glucarate (CDG) can stop the activity of beta-glucuonidase. CDG keeps the harmful estrogen bound to glucuronidase. While CDG is found in fruits and vegetables, the amounts may not be sufficient to maintain effective levels to stop beta-glucuronidase.
CDG has been shown in experimental studies to significantly stop beast cancer growth. And several human trials are currently underway with CDG to determine its capability to decrease the breast cancer risk in women at high risk for the disease.
There are some very interesting connections between breast tissue and thyroid tissue. Iodine is an essential trace element present in a hormone of the thyroid gland and is involved in several metabolic functions. One iodine function is the protection of breast tissue from cancerous cells.
In a laboratory study, researchers exposed breast cancer cells and breast tissue without any cancer to a type of seaweed that contains high levels of iodine. The seaweed killed all of the cancerous cells, yet did not harm the normal breast cells. Japanese women frequently eat this type of seaweed and have very low rates of breast cancer. The study’s researchers believe one reason for this low incidence of breast cancer may be the iodine in the seaweed.
And, for some as yet unknown reasons, women who have thyroid cancer are at higher risk of developing breast cancer. While they are unsure why this happens, researchers are continuing to study this link, and support of healthy thyroid function remains an important consideration.
For quite some time, scientists have observed that cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, significantly reduce the risk of disease, including cancer. It seems a phytochemical in broccoli sulforaphane, is one of the chemicals responsible for this beneficial activity. Sulforaphane increases certain enzymes in the body called phase 2 enzymes that deactivate cancer-causing chemicals.
Breast cancer cells exposed to sulforaphane in several lab experiments showed that the compound inhibited the growth of the cancer cells up to 80 percent. Researchers are in the process of setting up clinical trials to study sulforaphane’s effect in women who have breast cancer.
There is a tall amount of research, including finding from the Nurses’ Health Study, that suggest green tea beverage consumption is associated with a lower incidence of breast cancer. In fact, researchers have long noted the low rates of breast cancer in
The active compound in green tea responsible for breast cancer inhibition is epigallocatechin-3 gallate or EGCG. When breast cancer cells are exposed to EGCG in lab experiments, the cells stop growing, lose their ability to replicate, and die.
In a recent study, researchers discovered that drinking green tea prevented the recurrence of breast cancer in women who have previously been diagnosed and treated for the disease. This study involved over 1100 Japanese women. The women who drank green tea every day had very low rates of their breast cancer returning.
For thousands of years, maitake mushrooms have been linked to good health in those who eat them. Called “dancing mushrooms” (possibly due to their wavy, rippling appearance or possibly due to the little dance of joy mushroom hunters perform when they find them in the woods), maitakes contain an important compound called D-fraction.
Not only does the D-fraction in maitake mushrooms stop the growth of cancerous tumors, it also alerts and stimulates immune cells (including macrophages and natural killer cells) to fight the disease. Maitake also inhibits some of the mechanism that promotes metastasis, or spread, of cancer cells in the lymph and bloodstream.
Because of this success, maitake is now being used in clinical trials of women with breast cancer. One study reported significant improvement of symptoms, including reduction of the tumor. The maitake was given to breast cancer patients in addition to standard chemotherapy.
Q. Should these nutrients be used in place of traditional treatment for breast cancer?
A. Absolutely not. None of these nutrients can cure breast cancer. However, they can be a part of a validated plan of treatment. If you have breast cancer, talk to your health care practitioner about these nutrients. Remember, nutritional supplements are just that: supplements to food, medication, and treatment. They are intended to enhance and prevent, not replace.
Despite apprehension in performing self-breast exams, women are very proactive in their health. Yearly mammograms and pap tests have been an important part of their lives for many years, and newer and more accurate diagnoses are emerging. The prevention of health problems in themselves and their families has always been a high priority for women. And for women, nutrition has played an important part of health problem prevention.
Nutritionally speaking, what benefits your breasts benefit your whole body. However, as we have learned, there are specific links between nutrition and developing breast cancer that seem to be fairly strong.
Making a few changes may reduce the risk of developing the disease. The nutrients listed here, vitamin B12, folic acid, calcium d-glucarate, iodine, broccoli, green tea, and maitake mushrooms can be an important part of a woman’s preventative health regimen.
Green tea, brewed or extracted, may help you dodge the big C.
May 20, 2006 12:14 PM
Has anything garnered more health-news headlines than tea lately? It seems that every time you turn around a new study is published that links this venerable beverage to increased well-being. Of course none of this is news to the Chinese, who have been singing tea’s praises—and using it to fight fatigue, strengthen memory and aid digestion—ever since its discovery by the semi-mythical emperor Shen Nung.
As Tea spread throughout Asia, other folks quick to catch on. “Tea has an extraordinary power to prolong life,: proclaimed Kitcha Yojoki, who introduced Zen Buddhism to Japan. “Anywhere a person cultivates tea, long life will follow.”
Nutritional Supplements Could Save U.S. $6.5 Billion.
January 07, 2006 12:26 PM
Health Care Crisis Bankrupting U.S. Budget
Nutritional Supplements Could Save U.S. $6.5 Billion.
You probably never heard about it on the radio, nor saw its actions reported on CNN. Others can’t guess what its acronym stands for. The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an investigative arm of Congress examining the receipt and payment of public funds. This government office exists for the sole purpose of communicating to Congress those facts and figures which we, as a society, can’t afford to overlook.
And they are saying that the healthcare system is going to bankrupt us. The agency recently issued a special report called 21st Century Challenges, which concludes that current U.S. fiscal policies are unsustainable and, unless radical changes are initiated relatively soon, will “result in large, escalating, and persistent deficits.
The Money Pit
According to the GAO report, the United States spends more than 15% of our gross domestic product on health care, and that figures growing fast. We spend a larger percentage than is spent by any other industrialized country. What’s even more suprising is how little we get for the money. An estimated 45million Americans are uninsured. The United States continues to compare abysmally to the other industrialized nations in critical areas like infant mortality, life expectancy, and premature and preventable deaths.
Medicare and Medicaid together devour 20% of the federal budget. With the baby boomers—individuals born between the end of WWII 1960—hitting retirement age this year, those figures will only grow larger with each passing year. Unless, as the GAO report says, something is done quickly.
A report released just weeks ago by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA) demonstrates that the government can save at least 6.5 billion in health care cost reductions if nutritional supplements are integerated into the healthcare system.
The Lewin Group, a market research firm, developed a report, entitled: Increasing Quality of Life While Minimizing Costs. It focused in on just two supplements, both of which concern reduction in disease prevention for people over age 65. Omega-3 oil, popular for its reduction in coronary heart disease, is projected to save 3.1 billion dollars. Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which supports healthy vision, will save 2.5 billion dollars if this supplement is added to health care plans, according to the study. Savings would come from reduced hospitalizations and doctor’s fees, as well as reduced nursing home use for those who in good health, could remain independent rather than needing to transfer to live-in care facilities.
Early last month, a bipartisan caucus on dietary supplements kicked off. It will be co-chaired by Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah), and Rep. Fran Pallone (D-N.J.), and its goal will be to examine the manner in which nutritional supplements may become a component of healthcare reform, such as part of an individual flexible Spending Account or health Saving account. As the GAO report indicates, the government interest is reaching critical mass and nutritional supplements are on the verge of entering a new era. As Congressman Cannon said during a November 2nd press conference, government needs to develop a sound policy supporting nutritional supplements “As more and more Americans start taking responsibility for their own health.”
Sources/links for Further Reading:
Visit the website of the United States Government Accountability Office. //www.gao.gov/
House Government Reform Subcommittee on Human Rights Wellness. //reform.house.gov/
For more information about the Lewin Group’s Health Impact Study, please visit: //www.supplementinfo.org/
Pesticide Report Shows Widespread Body Burden.
September 16, 2005 10:50 AM
Women and Children Especially Vulnerable
Most Americans carry toxic pesticides in their bodies, according to a recent report. Often, the so called “body Burden” of these chemicals is well above government-defined safety levels. Included are pesticides linked to cancer, birth defects, low birth weight, declining sperm counts, and infertility.
Chemical Trespass, by the Pesticide Action Network, analyzes data collected by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) from blood and urine analyses of 9,282 people. Among the findings:
Pesticides residues and metabolites were found in every subject. The average person had 13 pesticides in his or her body. The Average 6 to 11 year old was exposed to certain organophosphorus (OP) pesticides at four times the levels deemed acceptable by the environmental protection agency. Children are especially susceptible to dietary pesticides since they eat more food on a body weight basis than adults.
Organochlorine (OC) pesticides were found as significantly higher levels in women. This probably reflects women’s higher body fat content; OC pesticides are stored in fatty tissue.
Mexican-Americans showed the highest pesticides exposure, probably due to their disproportionate employment in agriculture. However, the statistics did not include occupational information.
Many pesticides used widely in the past, such as DDT and chlordane, are still found in our bodies, even in children born years after they were banned.
Cause for Alarm?
The CDC, which tested for 116 environmental chemicals, stressed that presence of these chemicals in the body does not necessarily indicate disease and called for more study of the dosages that should cause concern. The Pesticide Action Network sharply criticized this approach as a “Failure to protect public health.” Much evidence links long-term, low-level exposure to chronic illnesses, the group said, and the problem is more acute when one considers the additive effects of combining chemicals.
Pesticides and the wellness Revolution
This study shows the need for a system that relies on organic agriculture and alternative pest controls. Meanwhile, individuals should take advantage of the organic products available in health food stores, and the herbs and nutrients that support detoxification and immunity—for example, silymarin, N-acetyl cysteine, Reishi and shiitake mushroom, turmeric, and much more.
Sources: Second National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, Center for Disease Control, available online at www.cdc.gov.exposurereport Chemical Trespass, Pesticide action network, available online at www.panna.org
ANTIVIRAL PROPERTIES OF ST. JOHN'S WORT
July 15, 2005 09:25 AM
ANTIVIRAL PROPERTIES OF ST. JOHN'S WORT
As stated previously, hypericin has recently gained much of the medical world’s respect as an antiviral agent, with activity against a broad range of enveloped viruses and retroviruses. The effective virucidal activity emanates from a com-bination of photodynamic and lipophilic properties. A recent article in the journal Transfusion details exactly how hypericin works in inhibiting viral activity among cells:
Hypericin binds cell membranes (and, by inference, virus membranes) and crosslinks virus capsid proteins. This action results in a loss of infectivity and an inability to retrieve the reverse transcriptase enzymatic activity from the virion.14 Another recent study, carried out in 1991, focused on hypericin’s ability to inhibit virus activity, more specifically, in the murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV), Sindbis virus, and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). The Sindbis virus was significantly more sensitive than the MCMV virus. The inactivated MCMV, when used to infect cells, was incapable of synthesizing early or late viral antigens. In addition to the direct virucidal effect, when hypericin was added to cells infected with viable MCMV, inhibition was also observed, particularly when the compound was added in the first two hours of infection. The researchers also indicated that the effect was aided significantly by visible light, pointing again to the plant’s photodynamic property.
The study states that hypericin appears to have two modes of antiviral activity: “. . . one directed at the virions, possibly on membrane components, and the other directed at virusinfected cells. Both activities are substantially enhanced by light.”15 And there are other viruses that fall under St. John’s wort’s antiviral blanket. Contemporary research points to the equine infectious anemia virus, the lentivirus, the Sindbid virus, the radiation leukemia virus, and most importantly, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Nature's Cancer fighters ...
July 07, 2005 12:36 PM
Cancer has always been a word no one wants to hear from a doctor's lips. But as a fatal disease, cancer has gone from dread to worse, passing heart disease as the number-one killer of Americans under the age of 85 (a category that includes the overwhelming majority of us). While death rates for both illnesses has dropped over the past few years, the improvement has been much more pronounced for cardiovascular disorders.
According to the American Cancer Society, 476,009 people died of cancer in 2002 (the last year for which statistics are available). Behind every one of those numbers is a web of lives tangled by cancer's relentless onslaught: A child who misses a mother's comforting arms, a bride without a father to walk her down the aisle, a spouse coming home to a dark, cold house every night. And for those fortunate enough to survive a cancer encounter, there's always the dark worry of recurrence that surfaces with every ache or twinge.
Many people think of cancer as either a random calamity of a genetically driven inevitability, but it ain't necessarily so. Diet is coming up big as a major cancer-risk player: For example, eating a lot of red meat, especially highly processed meats such as bacon, has been linked to high colorectal cancer risk in an investigation published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. On the positive side, a number of nutrients have shown cancer-fighting power, such as the recently discovered link between the B vitamin folate and reduced risk of colon and other cancers (see page 57). Other useful nutrients appear on the chart that follows.
Of course, risk always varies from person to person, and there are some lifestyle issues, like not smoking, that are no-brainers when it comes to cancer deterrence. But isn't it nice to know that protection from such a terrible disease might be as close as the end of your fork?
Nature's Cancer fighters
Vitamin E, Natural
CHITOSAN: The Fiber that Binds Fat
June 25, 2005 07:55 PM
Chitosan is a natural product that inhibits fat absorption. It has the potential to revolutionize the process of losing weight and by so doing, reduce the incidence of some of the most devastating Western diseases we face today. Chitosan is indigestable and non-absorbable. Fats bound to chitosan become nonabsorbable thereby negating their caloric value. Chitosan-bound fat leaves the intestinal tract having never entered the bloodstream. Chitosan is remarkable in that it has the abilty to absorb an average of 4 to 5 times its weight in fat.60
The same features that allow chitosan to bind fats endow it with many other valuable properties that work to promote health and prevent disease. Chitosan is a remarkable substance whose time has come.
Chitin, the precursor to Chitosan, was first discovered in mushrooms by the French professor Henri Braconnot in 1811.61 In the 1820’s chitin was also isolated from insects.62 Chitin is an extremely long chain of N-acetyl-D-glucoseamine
glucoseamine units. Chitin is the most abundant natural fiber next to cellulose and is similar to cellulose in many respects. The most abundant source of chitin is in the shells of shellfish such as crab and shrimp. The worldwide shellfish harvest is estimated to be able to supply 50,000 tons of chitin annually.63 The harvest in the United States alone could produce over 15,000 tons of chitin each year.64
Chitin has a wide range of uses but that is the subject of another book. Chitosan was discovered in 1859 by Professor C. Rouget.65 It is made by cooking chitin in alkali, much like the process for making natural soaps. After it
is cooked the links of the chitosan chain are made up of glucosamine units. Each glucosamine unit contains a free amino group. These groups can take on a positive charge which gives chitosan its amazing properties. The stucture of chitosan is represented schematically in Figure 2. Research on the uses of chitin and Chitosan flourished in the 1930s and early 1940s but the rise of synthetic fibers, like the rise of synthetic medicines, overshadowed the interest in natural products. Interest in natural products, including chitin and chitosan, gained a resurgence in the 1970s and has continued to expand ever since. Uses of Chit osan Some of Chitosan's major uses—both Industrial and Health and Nutritional—are listed in Tables 5 and 6.
Chitosan has been used for about three decades in water purification processes. 67 When chitosan is spread over oil spills it holds the oil mass together making it easier to clean up the spill. Water purification plants throughout the world use chitosan to remove oils, grease, heavy metals, and fine particulate matter that cause turbidity in waste water streams.
Fat Binding/ Weight Loss
Like some plant fibers, chitosan is not digestible; therefore it has no caloric value. No matter how much chitosan you ingest, its calorie count remains at
fibers, chitosan’s unique properties give it the ability to significantly bind fat, acting like a “fat sponge” in the digestive tract. Table 7 shows a comparison of chitosan and other natural fibers and their ability to inhibit fat absorption. Under optimal conditions, Chitosan can bind an average of 4 to 5 times its weight with all the lipid aggregates tested.60 (NOTE: This assessment was made without the addition of ascorbic acid which potentiates this action even further.77 Studies in Helsinki have shown that individuals taking chitosan lost an average of 8 percent of their body weight in a 4-week period.76 Chitosan has increased oil-holding capacity over other fibers.108 Among the abundant natural fibers, chitosan is unique. This uniqueness is a result of chitosan’s amino groups which make it an acid absorbing (basic) fiber. Most natural fibers are neutral or acidic. Table 7 summarizes the in vivo effects in animals of various fibers on fecal lipid excretion. As can be seen from the results listed, ingestion of chitosan resulted in 5-10 times more fat excretion than any other fiber tested. D-Glucosamine, the building block of chitosan, is not able to increase fecal fat excretion. This is due to the fact that glucosamine is about 97 percent absorbed while chitosan is nonabsorbable. Fats bound to glucosamine would likely be readily absorbed along with the glucosamine. Chitosan, on the other hand, is not absorbed and therefore fats bound to chitosan can not be absorbed.
Chitosan has the very unique ability to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) while boosting HDL cholesterol (the good kind).78 Laboratory tests performed on rats showed that “chitosan depresses serum and liver cholesterol levels in cholesterol- fed rats without affecting performance, organ weight or the nature of the feces.”79 Japanese researchers have concluded that Chitosan “appears to be an effective hypocholesterolemic agent.”80 In other words, it can effectively lower blood serum cholesterol levels with no apparent side effects. A study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that Chitosan is as effective in mammals as cholestryramine (a cholesterol lowering drug) in controlling blood serum cholesterol without the deleterious side effects typical of cholestryramine. 81 Chitosan decreased blood cholesterol levels by 66.2 percent.82 It effectively lowered cholesterol absorption more than guar gum or cellulose.83 Laboratory test results indicated that a 7.5% chitosan formula maintained adequate cholesterol levels in rats, despite a dramatic increase in the intake of cholesterol. 84
June 10, 2005 09:44 PM
Breast Cancer by Joseph L. Mayo,MD Mary Ann Mayo, MA Energy Times, May 2, 1999
What do you fear most? Bankruptcy? Floods? Heart disease? If you're like many women, breast cancer stands near the top of that dreaded list.
But that fear doesn't permeate other cultures the way it does ours.
A woman like Mariko Mori, for instance, 52 years old, Japanese, worries about intense pressures beginning to burden her toddler grandson. But worry about breast cancer? Hardly.
In Indiana, Mary Lou Marks, 50, has similar family frets, mulling over her 28-year-old daughter's career choice.
But on top of that, when Mary Lou tabulates her other worries, she recoils at the thought of breast cancer. She's heard about her lifetime risk: 1 in 8. Meanwhile, Mariko's is merely 1 in 40, according to Bob Arnot's Breast Cancer Prevention Diet (Little, Brown).
New studies have found the effect of carrying the gene linked to breast cancer, which is responsible for only 5 to 10% of breast cancer incidence, is not as great as first suspected. Earlier estimates that the gene reflects an 80% chance of incurring breast cancer by age 70 has been recalculated to be only 37% (The Lancet, 1998;352:1337-1339).
Complex Causesbr> Researchers agree: No one factor is solely responsible for breast cancer. Risk depends on many factors, including diet, weight, smoking, alcohol consumption, activity level and, of course, those genes.
Regardless of their actual chance of getting breast cancer, women worry. Mary Lou faces no factors that would place her in particular jeopardy. But her anxieties about radical therapies and medical expenses paralyze her: She forgets to visit her health care provider and skips her annual mammogram appointments. Mary Lou's daughter, perhaps in reaction to her mother's gripping fears, campaigns ardently for cancer prevention, educating herself and mobilizing against the cumulative effects of known cancer risks. Smart young woman: A malignancy, after all, can take years to develop. A tumor must swell to one billion cells before it is detectable by a mammogram.
The soy-rich regimen of Japanese women like Mariko Mori, for example, helps to explain the low breast cancer rates in Asian countries (see box at center of the page).
Tomatoes, because of their high quotient of the carotenoid lycopene, have been found to protect cells from the corrosive clutches of oxidants that have been linked with cancer in 57 out of 72 studies (The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, February 17, 1999, page A6, reporting on a Harvard Medical School study). For more on tomatoes see page 16.
But there's no one magic anti-cancer food or diet. Eating to prevent breast cancer requires a balanced menu with fiber, healthy fats, phytoestrogens and antioxidants, all fresh and free of chemical additives.
Modifying the balance and type of estrogen, the female sex hormone produced by the ovaries, offers an important breast cancer safeguard. Fat cells, adrenal glands and, before menopause, the ovaries, produce three "flavors" of estrogen, the strongest of which, estradiol, is believed to be carcinogenic when too plentiful or persistent in the body.
Estrogen does its work by attaching to estrogen receptors. Receptors are particularly numerous in the epithelial cells that line milk sacs and ducts in the breasts.
A receptor site is like a designated parking spot: Once estrogen is parked there it triggers one of its 400 functions in the body, from preparation of the uterus for pregnancy to intensifying nerve synapses in the brain.
The food we eat can be a source of estrogen; plant estrogens, called phytoestrogens, are much weaker than the body's estrogens, but they fit the same receptors. Phytoestrogens exert a milder estrogenic effect than bodily estrogen and are capable of blocking the more potent, damaging versions.
Soy also contains genistein, an "isoflavone" very similar in molecular form to estrogen but only 1/100,000 as potent. Because of its structure, genistein can attach to cells just as estrogen does; it also helps build carriers needed for binding estrogen and removing it from the body (Journal of Nutrition 125, no.3 :757S-770S). It acts as an antioxidant to counteract free radicals.
Soy is most protective for younger women. Postmenopausal women benefit from soy's ability to diminish hot flashes and for cardiovascular protection, especially in combination with vitamin E, fiber and carotene (Contemporary OB/GYN, September 1998, p57-58).
Experts don't know that much about the cumulative effect of combining hormone replacement with soy, herbs and a diet high in phytoestrogens. Menopausal women who boost their estrogen this way should work with their health care providers and monitor their hormonal levels every six to 12 months with salivary testing.
The Vegetable Cart
Fiber from fruits, vegetables and whole grains reduces insulin levels and suppresses the appetite by making make us feel full, thus helping with weight control, so important to resisting cancer. Fiber also helps build estrogen carriers that keep unbound estrogen from being recirculated and reattached to the breast receptors.
Cellulose, the fruit and vegetable fiber most binding with estrogen, also rounds up free radicals that damage DNA within cells.,p> Feeding the Immune System Despite heightened public awareness and efforts to stick to wholesome, healthful diets, experts increasingly link poor nutrition to depressed immune systems. Many Americans are at least marginally deficient in trace elements and vitamins despite their best attempts to eat well; that's why a good multivitamin/mineral is wise, even mandatory. Vitamins given to people undergoing cancer treatment stimulate greater response, fewer side effects, and increased survival (International Journal of Integrative Medicine, vol. 1, no. 1, January/February 1999).
Nutrients tend to work synergistically on the immune system. They should be taken in balanced proportions, and in consultation with your health care provider.
n Riboflavin (B2), pyridoxine (B6), pantothenic acid (B5), zinc and folate strengthen immunity. Selenium, in lab culture and animal studies, has helped kill tumors and protect normal tissues.
n Beta-carotene and vitamins A, E and C are antioxidants. Vitamin C enhances vitamin E's effects, boosting immunity and protecting against cell damage. The antioxidant isoflavones in green tea, with soy, convey the anticancer effects of the Asian diet. Research shows actions that discourage tumors and gene mutations.
The food you eat influences hormones. Excess sugar raises insulin, which acts as a growth factor for cancer and interferes with vitamin C's stimulation of white blood cells. It may contribute to obesity.
Alcohol is converted to acetaldehyde, which causes cancer in laboratory animals. It affects gene regulation by decreasing the body's ability to use folic acid. It increases estrogen and the amount of free estradiol in the blood. The liver damage that accompanies high alcohol consumption frequently reduces its capacity to filter carcinogenic products, regulate hormones and break down estrogen. Studies of alcohol consumption have caused experts to estimate that drinking more than two alcoholic beverages a day increases breast cancer risk by 63% (OB-GYN News, November 1, 1998, p. 12).
Fat Can be Phat
Fat cells produce estrogen. Excess fat stores carcinogens and limits carriers that can move estrogen out of your system.
Once estrogen has attached itself to a receptor, the health result depends on the type of fat in the breast. Saturated fat, transfatty acids and omega-6 fat from polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as safflower oil, peanut, soybean oil, corn oil and in margarine can increase the estrogen effect and trigger a powerful signal to the breast cell to replicate.
Breast tissue is protected by omega-3 fat chiefly from fish and flaxseed and by omega-9 from olive oil. Salmon once a week or water packed tuna three times a week are particularly beneficial. Fish oil supplements processed to reduce contaminates are available. Cod liver oil isn't recommended: its vitamin A and D levels are too high.
Flaxseed is the richest known plant source of omega-3. Use a coffee grinder to benefit from the seed and oil for the full estrogen effect; sprinkle ground flaxseed over cereal or fold into baked goods. Drizzle flaxseed oil, found in the refrigerator section of your health food store, over salads or cereal. (Store the oil in the refrigerator.)
Olive oil, especially in the context of the so-called Mediterranean diet of vegetables, omega-3-rich fish and fresh fruit (Menopause Management, January-February 1999, p. 16-19), lowers the risk of breast cancer (The Lancet, May 18, 1996;347:1351-1356).
Selecting Organic Food
Buy or grow fresh, organic foods whenever you can. When grilling meat, fish or poultry, reduce the area where carcinogens may accumulate by trimming fat. Charred, well-done meat is known to be carcinogenic. When grilling, marinate meat first and reduce the cooking time on the grill by slightly precooking.
Cancer prevention is an interlocking puzzle requiring the limitation of fat consumption, weight control, exercise, stress reduction and care for psychological and spiritual balance. Possessing more cancer fighting pieces makes you more likely to be able to complete the prevention picture.
Joseph L. Mayo, MD, FACOG and Mary Ann Mayo, MA, are the authors of The Menopause manager: A Safe Path for a Natural Change, an individualized program for managing menopause. The book's advice, in easy-to-understand portions, isolates in-depth explanations with unbiased reviews of conventional and alternative choices. A unique perspective for mid-life women who want to know all their options.
Also from the Mayos - The HOW Health Opportunities For Women quarterly newsletter to help women learn HOW to make informed health choices. Learn HOW to: - Choose nutritional supplements
Improove Memory ...
June 09, 2005 05:49 PM
Mesmerizing Memory by Cal Orey Energy Times, January 1, 1999
In the 60s, the same rock 'n' rollers who belted out "One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small," often espoused the belief that certain pills could expand the mind. While counter-culture pill purveyors were pilloried for their pill-popping claims, 90s nutritional research has uncovered a stash of supplements that may amplify mental improvement.
Like a blues singer bending a high note, researchers are now humming with dramatic assertions that certain nutritional supplements can sustain and enhance concentration and memory function. For instance, studies reveal possible benefits for cognitive powers from vitamin C, magnesium and Ginkgo biloba. A recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 278:1327-1332) said that an extract of Ginkgo biloba "can stabilize and, in some cases, improve the cognitive function and social behavior of demented patients."
A researcher in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences noted that a daily dose of vitamin E may "help protect the brain and its memories from the ravages of time." And the beat goes on: other evidence indicates that zinc, iron and boron may pump up short-term memory attention span and cut the time it takes to perform mental tasks.
Lester Packer, PhD, professor of molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley, told a joint 1996 United Nations-World Health Organization conference on Aging that "there is a growing body of evidence indicating that the free radical theory of aging and aging-related disease is valid," and that dietary and supplemental antioxidants can help fight illness and mental deterioration.
Vitamin E and other memory aids are believed to protect brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, "the ferrymen of the brain's communication system," that influence concentration and memory. Experts say that sustaining the level of these nerve chemicals in the brain can potentially improve all mental processes.
Too much alcohol, for example, commonly causes progressive mental decline, according to Secrets of the Superyoung (Villard) by David Weeks and Jamie James. The authors also point out that "the memory tends to worsen noticeably after 15 years of alcohol drinking, and much sooner in people who go on massive binges."
"The effects of cigarette smoke are subtler because the poisonous effects of carbon monoxide in each puff are temporarily offset by the alerting effects of the nicotine," they add. Can't remember the name of that singer cavorting in a music video? Tests have shown that smokers are worse at connecting peoples' names to their faces than nonsmokers.
n Learn something new: A second language, musical instrument, or unique puzzles and games keep neurons working like new.
n Turn off the TV: Read. Studies show that passively watching TV requires less concentration than eating cereal. Mental rejuvenation also requires physical activity. Exercise increases oxygen flow to the brain, which supports memory, concentration and cognition. One study has shown that exercise significantly brightened the moods of middle-aged and older women, regardless of whether they were pre- or post-menopausal, with or without hormone replacement therapy.
Supplemental Brain Help
Antioxidants, including the previously mentioned vitamin E (You haven't forgotten vitamin E already, have you?), provide crucial help for vigorous cerebral function. The free radicals created by tobacco smoke, air pollution, ultraviolet light and certain carcinogenic chemicals deconstruct cell membranes and may foster microscopic brain cell havoc. Antioxidant enzymes convert free radicals to more neutral, benign substances and nutritional antioxidants can neutralize free radicals by linking up with them.
Vitamin C, a brainy antioxidant all star, performs so well that, according to Dr. Khalsa, its levels in the brain are almost 15 times higher than in other parts of the body. This nutrient, he asserts, aids mental and physical longevity. In a UCLA study, people who ingested at least 300 mg of vitamin C daily lived more than six years longer than those who ingested less.
Added to this mix, magnesium also scavenges free-radicals, according to Dr. Khalsa. Plus, experts recommend grape seed extract (phytochemicals that protect a wide range of cellular structures) to safeguard nerve cells and mental capacity.
B Vitamins for the Mind
Boron plays a crucial part in mental function. Scientists at the USDA's Human Nutrition Research Center have linked boron deficiencies to chronic lethargy and fatigue. In brain studies, they found that the electrical activity of the gray matter in the boron deficient indicated increased drowsiness and mental sluggishness.
HupA basically protects the brain from free radical damage (due to low levels of antioxidant defenses) and maintains or enhances crucial neurotransmitter action. More specifically, HupA helps reduce the breakdown of acetylcholine, the vital neurotransmitter, and makes this substance more bioavailable. In addition, HupA helps make choline accessible to the brain for the synthesis of acetylcholine, according to a study in Neuropharmacology (30, 1991: 763-768).
Normally, the brain manufactures sufficient levels of the chemical phosphatidylserine, a lecithin-derivative that helps boost neurotransmitter release, but deficiencies of vitamin B12 and folic acid, or of essential fatty acids, may retard that production. Low levels of phosphatidylserine in the brain are related to impaired mental function and depression in the elderly. Scientists reporting in Aging (5, 1993; 123-33) describe "good results" using phosphatidylserine in the treatment of age-related cognitive ills.
Ginkgo Brain Power
Another ingredient in what seems like an alphabet-soup of brain nourishment is DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fat essential for normal brain function. Researchers met recently at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center's Nutrition Information Center to discuss "Keeping Your Brain in Shape: New Insights into DHA." Their findings revealed links between low levels of DHA and Alzheimer's, depression, memory loss, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and certain behavioral traits including aggression and hostility.
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health point out, however, that fish is an excellent dietary source of DHA. In their studies, they discovered that depression rates in Japan and Taiwan, where fish ranks a top spot on the menu, are significantly lower than in North America and Europe.
DHA also is crucial to the neurological development of children, according to findings published in Pediatrics (vol. 101, no. 1, January 1998). Researchers suggest that DHA-rich breast milk should be the model for infant formulas that enhance babies' neurological development. Scientists also have correlated some behavioral problems in children-ADHD, for example-to DHA deficiencies.
If you are a vegetarian, or have other cause for concern about a potential lack of DHA in your diet, you can rely on dietary supplementation of DHA. Bruce J. Holub, PhD, of the University of Guelph in Canada provided vegetarians in his research project with DHA supplements over a 42-day period and substantially increased their DHA blood levels.
The bottom line to enhanced mental performance is to take a balanced approach, says Robert Snider, MD, who specializes in preventive medicine in Massena, New York. "Maintaining brain power includes exercise, stress reduction and good nutrition." The message to keep in mind: Don't lose your nutritional balance or you could lose a piece of your peace of mind.
Recommended Reading: & Brain Builders (Reward Books, 1995), by Richard Leviton.
Brain Longevity (Warner Books, 1997), by Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD.
Omega 3 Oils to Improve Mental Health, Fight Degenerative Diseases and Extend Life (Avery, 1996), by Donald Rudin, MD, and Clara Felix.
Successful Aging (Pantheon, 1998), by John W. Rowe, MD, and Robert L. Kahn, PhD.
Essential Fatty Acids - Lipids, Cell Memgranes & Eicosanoids
June 09, 2005 09:35 AM
Essential Fatty Acids and Phospholipids
Essential fatty acids & phospholipids are primary constituents of cell membranes, and as such they are vital to the makeup of the human body. Essential fatty acids are used to generate certain intra-cellular hormone-like substances, including prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which are responsible for regulating key bodily processes. Source Naturals essential fatty acid supplements are potent, effective and chemical-free.
LIPIDS, CELL MEMBRANES & EICOSANOIDS
Almost by definition, life is composed of cells, and cells are defined by membranes. One theory suggests that, around four billion years ago, self-replicating molecules, similar to the ribonucleic acid or RNA in our own cells, were synthesized from organic molecules. These self-replicating molecules adapted to changes in their environment to increase their potential for survival. Thus began the process of evolution that has led, over the eons, to us. One turning point was when these molecules developed membranes - envelopes which could help concentrate chemicals needed for the cell's survival. There existed in the "primordial soup" substances uniquely suited to this purpose: a class of organic compounds we call lipids . Lipids are more commonly called fats, and in this health and image-conscious age people often think of them as something to be avoided. However, the word fat refers to a variety of substances with a diverse range of chemical properties, which are essential for survival and well-being . The simplest lipids, fatty acids such as palmitic acid, consist of a hydrocarbon "tail" connected to a carboxyl group (COOH). The majority of lipids in food and in the human body occur in the form of triglycerides - a molecular configuration in which three fatty acid chains are attached to a 'backbone' of glycerol (an organic alcohol composed of a 3-carbon chain with an alcohol group attached to each carbon). The major roles of lipids can be described as energy and storage, structural, and metabolic.
Energy and Storage
Molecules can contain more or less chemical energy. In living systems most of the energy needed to drive chemical reactions is derived from oxidation. Oxygen, the ultimate electron acceptor, is a strong oxidant: it has a marked tendency to attract electrons, becoming reduced in the process. When a molecule undergoes a chemical reaction from a high-energy reduced state to a low-energy oxidized state, energy is released. This is what happens in a fire: the high-energy carbohydrates in wood, such as glucose, react with oxygen, releasing heat and the low-energy molecules of carbon dioxide and water. This is similar to what happens in metabolism.
Most of the carbon in a fatty acid chain is highly reduced, which makes fats more energy-rich than the other organic molecules that can be burned as food. This is what we mean when we say fats are high in calories - a measure of the amount of energy released when a substance is oxidized. Fats contain more than twice as many calories as carbohydrates. This makes fats an important storage fuel for most of the body.
Another important class of lipids in the human body consists of the phospholipids. Like triglycerides, phospholipids contain fatty acid chains- in this case two, one saturated and one unsaturated, attached to a glycerol backbone. Unlike triglycerides, in phospholipids the third carbon of the glycerol molecule is attached to a phosphate (a molecular group that contains phosphorus and oxygen), which is in turn attached to either an amino acid or, in the case of phosphatidyl choline, a molecule of the B-vitamin - like substance, choline.
Their unique molecular structure makes phospholipids amphipathic, which means 'likes both':
Fats, being hydrophobic, tend to separate out from water. When fat is mixed with phospholipids in the presence of water, the phospholipid molecules attach themselves to the molecules of fat and bring them into the water solution, enabling the fats to dissolve in water.
Phospholipids form a structure called a lipid bilayer, a two-ply sheet of phospholipid molecules in which the hydrophilic head groups face outward and are in contact with the water, and the hydrophobic tails face each other on the inside of the bilayer. This structure is one of the key constituents of the cell membranes that surround every living cell.
The lipid bilayer of cell membranes is a fluid in which membrane-embedded proteins "float." These proteins serve a wide variety of different functions. Some are enzymes, serving to carry out chemical reactions in the adjacent solution. Some are involved in signaling, in which a biochemical action in a cell is 'commanded' by means of a hormone or some such other signaling molecule. Still others are involved in transporting substances across the membrane, into or out of the cell.
The functions of membrane-embedded proteins are dependent on a very precise balance of phospholipids for their function. Phosphatidyl serine, for instance, has a negatively-charged head group that associates preferentially with a class of membrane-bound proteins called ATPases. ATPases regulate, among other things, the balance of sodium and potassium in intra- and extracellular fluids, a balance that is necessary for the integrity of our cells and also for the electrochemical impulses that make up our thoughts and feelings. Without phosphatidyl serine, these vitally important membrane-embedded proteins could not function.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is essential to the structure of cell membranes, which depend for their function on a delicate balance between fluidity and solidity. Cholesterol provides a semifluid matrix, as well as enhancing membrane fluidity. About 80% of the cholesterol the body uses is manufactured by the liver; the other 20% is consumed in food. Elevated blood cholesterol levels are associated with heart disease. Saturated fats are converted into cholesterol more readily than unsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats usually depress blood cholesterol concentration to some degree. Researchers have thus recommended that people lower their consumption of saturated fats and increase their consumption of polyunsaturated fats. A process called hydrogenation , in which hydrogen molecules are added, is used to harden these unsaturated fats to create solid spreads, such as margarine. This process causes formation of altered fats called trans fatty acids. Although the results are not conclusive, human and animal studies have pointed to possible deleterious effects from consumption of trans - fatty acids, which are estimated to account for 5.5% of all fats consumed by Americans. These studies include one in men and women that showed harmful effects of trans - fatty acids on blood cholesterol ratios.
When each link of a fatty acid chain contains an atom of hydrogen, as in palmitic acid, that fatty acid is said to be saturated . If two carbon links are double bonded to each other, each has one less hydrogen atom, and the fatty acid chain is said to be unsaturated. If a fatty acid contains one double bond, it is said to be monounsaturated, and if it has two or more double bonds it is said to be polyunsaturated . Certain polyunsaturated fatty acids cannot be manufactured by the body and must be obtained from the diet. These nutrients are called essential fatty acids and are necessary for the normal function of all tissues. The essential fatty acids fall into two categories:
In addition to being phospholipid precursors, essential fatty acids can be converted to a class of hormone like intracellular messengers called eicosanoids. The physiologic effects of eicosanoids are potent in minute quantities. Their effects are so powerful that they need to be produced near the site of their action and are quickly inactivated. The important eicosanoids include the thromboxanes, leukotrienes and prostaglandins (PGs ). Prostaglandin molecules consist of a five-carbon ring with two side chains. They can be distinguished from each other by numbers that refer to the number of double bonds in their molecular side chains: 1-series PGs have one double bond, 2-series have two double bonds, and so on. Prostaglandins mediate a variety of bodily processes, including inflammatory reactions, blood vessel contraction and dilation, and platelet aggregation. The different PGs have different effects on the body, and different essential fatty acids act as precursors for different PGs.
Important essential fatty acids in humans are the omega-6 fatty acids, which include linoleic acid (LA), gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and arachidonic acid (AA). 1-series PGs are derived from GLA and tend to cause blood vessels to dilate and reduce the stickiness of platelets (cell fragments in the blood that help initiate blood clotting). 2-series PGs are derived from arachidonic acid and tend to increase platelet stickiness and cause blood vessels to constrict. Meat and dairy products are dietary sources of the PG2 precursor, arachidonic acid; American diets tend to be rich in these foods. The rate-limiting step for production of GLA in the human body is an enzyme called delta-6-desaturase (D6D). The action of this important enzyme can be blocked by a number of different lifestyle factors, including a diet high in saturated or trans- fatty acids and chronic alcohol consumption. A modest increase in consumption of GLA will significantly increase the ratio of GLA to AA in the tissues, which may have a beneficial effect on the homeostasis of the cardiovascular system. Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids, such as flaxseed oil or fish oil, is beneficial for similar reasons. Omega-3 fatty acids are precursors for 3-series PGs, which reduce platelet stickiness. Series-3 PGs also tend to inhibit conversion of AA into its metabolites, the 2-series PGs.
The lipid composition of our diets has changed radically in the 20th century. Our intake of saturated fats has increased dramatically, and trans fatty acids, which did not exist before the advent of modern food processing technology, now form a major part of our diets. We eat less fish and green leafy vegetables, important sources of omega-3 fatty acids, than our ancestors did. Far from being an inert, homogeneous substance, fat is dynamic and varied - a subtle and interactive matrix for many of the biological processes taking place in our bodies, minute by minute.
Higher Mind - Smart Nutrients for the Performance of a Lifetime...
June 02, 2005 12:18 PM
Our adult years are the time to reap the fruit of an active, meaningful life – appreciated by family and friends who value our experience and knowledge. For some, however, their later years are clouded by a mental decline that erodes their capacity to enjoy life. More of us are becoming apprehensive about the future health of our minds. Will we still be able to communicate our needs as well as our wisdom? As science focuses its investigative might on the workings of the human brain, new findings suggest that it is possible to enjoy a vital, healthy brain and mind – well into old age. Based on compelling research, Source Naturals formulated HIGHER MIND. It contains the most important Neuroceuticals™ now recognized by nutrition scientists – including phosphatidyl serine, a natural nutrient that promotes cognitive function. The connection is clear: nourish your brain; enrich your life.
To have a healthy, well-functioning brain and nervous system, we need the correct nutrients. Our diets must provide the necessary raw materials for nerve cells to grow, for the synthesis of neurochemicals, and for the maintenance of nerve cell membranes. Nutritional deficiencies can alter the brain’s metabolism, which is expressed by changes in perception and thinking, behavior and mood.
Brain Cells – Issued at Birth
Before birth, neurons (nerve cells) are created at the amazing rate of 15 million per hour. As infants, we have over 100 billion neurons, but this is the most we will ever have because – unlike most other cells in our body – nerve cells do not reproduce. A different strategy is used to replace the neurons that are naturally lost throughout life: nerve cells repair themselves and grow by extending branches of nerve fibers called dendrites (from the Latin word for tree). These are the communication links with other neurons that form the circuitry of the brain. A single neuron may be in contact with up to a hundred thousand others! When the density of this fragile organic communication network decreases, we experience a corresponding decline in mental acuity.
Brain Cell Membranes
The membrane is the working surface of a cell. It needs to be strong yet flexible, so the cell can maintain its integrity and be able to move and change shape. The membrane regulates the flow of nutrients into the cell and the removal of waste, plus controls the passage of molecular messages from outside the cell to its interior. Membrane ion pumps use a third of the cell’s energy just to maintain the correct ratio of sodium to potassium. In neurons, a rapid exchange of sodium and potassium ions across the nerve membrane is responsible for their unique ability to generate the electrical impulses that are the basis of all communication in the nervous system. As cells age, their membranes become less fluid and more rigid. Key membrane molecules called phospholipids are crucial to the health of neuron membranes, allowing the brain to maintain its youthful quality. The phospholipids in HIGHER MIND – especially phosphatidyl serine and phosphatidyl choline – are essential nutritional supplements for the aging brain.
Phosphatidyl Serine – Key to Cognition
For the past decade, researchers have been investigating the role in brain health of a remarkable neuroceutical, phosphatidyl serine (PS). This key structural molecule is integral to the matrix of fats and proteins that compose cell membranes. Although PS is found in all the cells of the body, its highest concentration is in nerve cell membranes. PS is rarely found in the foods we eat, so the body has to synthesize it, but the process is energy- intensive and becomes less efficient with age. Consequently, our levels of PS tend to decline as we get older. PS taken as a dietary supplement is well-absorbed, readily reaching the brain, where it helps create more effective, well-structured nerve cell membranes. The positive effects of PS supplementation have been demonstrated by 23 clinical studies with over 1200 human subjects, ages 43 to 90. Consistent and statistically significant results have confirmed the value of PS in improving age-related cognitive decline, as well as in improving behavioral aspects such as apathy and withdrawal.1 A major study concluded that for one particular measurable parameter of higher mental functions, PS recipients achieved scores of persons roughly 12 years younger.2 Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) is one of the most important proteins the body makes. It enables neurons to extend dendrites out to other neurons, allowing the brain to maintain an effective communication network. In experiments, PS enhanced the production and reception of NGF, which tend to drop off radically with age.3 The effects of PS at the cellular level are manifest in the performance of the brain as a whole. Subjects taking PS showed increased levels of brain energy metabolism. This enhancement corresponded to higher performances on cognitive tests.4
The Chemistry of Thought
Science now understands the role of neurotransmitters in regulating the body’s complex network of behavior. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals used by neurons to communicate with each other. Activated by a neuron’s electrical impulse, neurotransmitters travel between nerve cells, where they excite or inhibit (in various degrees) the electrical impulse in neighboring cells. One of HIGHER MIND’S key strategies is to improve the brain’s ability to produce and use acetylcholine, a key excitatory neurotransmitter. Acetylcholine is essential for both the storage and recall of memory, and partly responsible for concentration and focus. It also plays a significant role in muscular coordination. Patients showing cognitive decline may exhibit reduced ability to synthesize and utilize acetylcholine.5 The chemical building blocks of acetylcholine and other neurotransmitters are called precursors. The most important one for acetylcholine is DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol). This natural substance is found in various fish, such as anchovies and sardines. Supplements of DMAE (and phosphatidyl choline) promote increased levels of choline in the brain. Acetylcholine is created when an acetyl group is attached to the choline molecule, with the help of choline acetyl transferase (CAT), a key brain enzyme. Acetyl L-carnitine is an amino acid that activates this enzyme. Acetyl L-carnitine may also help reduce lipofuscin deposits in the brain because of its involvement in the metabolism of fatty acids.6 Lipofuscin is composed of oxidized fats and proteins; the brown “age spots” on the back of an elderly person’s hand are made of lipofuscin. The amino acid L-pyroglutamic acid sensitizes the acetylcholine receptor sites on a neuron membrane. A given amount of acetylcholine will then have a larger, more powerful effect. Studies have shown that supplements of L-pyroglutamic acid seem to enhance the ability to focus, remember, and learn.
Total Nutrition for the Brain
The neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenalin are critical to motor coordination, motivation, concentration, and alertness. Like acetylcholine, their production tends to decline with age. The precursors and activators of dopamine and noradrenalin included in HIGHER MIND are the amino acids N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine and DL-phenylalanine (DLPA), plus folic acid, vitamins B-3, B-6, and C. DLPA is also a precursor to PEA, a neuroamine that has a stimulating effect on the brain. Glutamine is an amino acid precursor to glutamic acid, a major excitatory neurotransmitter involved in mental activity and learning. Glutamine acts as an alternative fuel source for the brain when blood sugar levels are low. It also helps the brain dispose of waste ammonia, which is a natural result of protein breakdown but is irritating to neurons even at low levels. GABA is a dietary amino acid which is also an inhibitory neurotransmitter. GABA works to calm and balance the mind, enhancing mental focus. Along with taurine, these two relaxing neurotransmitters provide a balancing influence to the other, excitatory neurotransmitters. Taurine is found in brain tissue more than anywhere else in the body. It has antioxidant properties and serves as a nerve cell membrane stabilizer, preventing excessive or erratic electrical activity in the brain.
The Importance of Magnesium
Magnesium must be present in adequate amounts in the synaptic gaps between neurons or the neurons become hyper-reactive: causing noises to sound excessively loud and emotional reactions to be extreme. Magnesium also activates a key enzyme responsible for maintaining cellular sodium- potassium balance, which is absolutely essential to the electrical activity of nerve cells, as well as to the existence of the cell itself. (Cells would burst if the sodium-potassium ratio were wrong.) Magnesium also helps relax cerebral blood vessels and is important to the manufacture of ATP, the chief energy molecule of the brain. A buildup of aluminum has been found in the brains of some elderly. In 1989, the British medical journal Lancet published a study showing that drinking water with aluminum can increase the risk of damage by up to 50%. An abundant natural element, aluminum is now a common feature in our culture. It’s found in tap water, cookware, deodorants, beverage containers, baked goods, and of course as aluminum foil. In the brain, aluminum breaks down the structure of neurons – causing them to starve – by displacing magnesium from tubulin, a glycoprotein responsible for making microtubules. These tiny pipe-like structures within a neuron provide needed rigidity, as well as transport nutrients from the nucleus down the dendrites to the ends of the nerve cell. Magnesium malate is an excellent form of magnesium that ensures neurons receive this vital mineral.
B is for Brain Vitamins
HIGHER MIND also contains a high profile of B vitamins and other key nutrients that are often N A T U R A L S S O U R C E Strategies for Wellness SM ¤ lacking in older individuals. A deficiency in any of the B vitamins can alter nerve function and psychological well-being. Thiamine (B-1), known as the “nerve vitamin,” was first recognized because its deficiency caused beriberi, a degenerative nerve disease. Thiamine is part of the structure of nerve cell membranes and is important to the reparative process that neurons need to offset the stress of continual firing of the electrical impulse. Low amounts of thiamine can cause cell malnutrition in the hypothalamus, the brain’s memory center. 7 NAD and NADH, two coenzyme forms of Niacin (B-3), are the most plentiful coenzymes in the brain. They are essential to hundreds of enzymatic reactions, including ones that produce energy. NADH can stimulate the synthesis of key mood-elevating neurotransmitters. It is also one of the body’s most potent antioxidants. Pantothenic acid (B-5), cyanocobalamin (B-12), and folic acid are required to form the myelin sheath – the insulating covering of nerve fibers. A diet low in pantothenic acid has been shown to make test subjects emotionally upset, irritable, and depressed.7 A lack of B-12 can result in poor concentration and, in severe deficiencies, hallucinations. Pyridoxine (B-6) is precursor to over 60 enzymatic reactions and is involved in the synthesis of several neurotransmitters.
Brain cells almost exclusively burn glucose for their energy (other cells can also burn fat), and typically require 50% of all the glucose in the blood. Two B-like vitamins help in the utilization of glucose: PAK (pyridoxine alpha-ketoglutarate) may potentiate the effects of insulin and improve glucose utilization to the cells;8 Biotin is important for the transformation of glucose into energy in the brain. Lipoic acid and coenzyme Q10 are metabolic energizers that help produce ATP, the primary energy molecule in the body. Since the brain uses 20% of the body’s total energy supply, efficient ATP production is vital. Lipoic acid and CoQ10 are also powerful antioxidants that help regenerate other antioxidants in the body. The blood vessels feeding the brain become less efficient as we pass middle age. Since the brain depends on the bloodstream to deliver nutrients and oxygen and to remove waste, the quality of this blood flow is paramount to proper brain nutrition. Ginkgo biloba leaf extract has been shown in scientific studies to increase blood flow to the brain by helping vessels to dilate. It also promotes the smoothness and healthy integrity of blood vessel linings.
For the Life of Your Mind Without proper nutrition, the brain will deteriorate; therefore strategies are needed to both enhance current brain function and protect it throughout life. Based on the latest scientific findings, Source Naturals HIGHER MIND is formulated with neuroceuticals that support the mental functions that tend to decline with age. They give your brain the nourishment it needs to integrate perception, memory, and learning into a more comprehensive awareness – so you can excel for a lifetime.
DHA Neuromins - Feed Your Brain!
June 01, 2005 11:59 AM
In today’s society, “fat” has become a bad word. Our quest for good health has influenced many of us to drastically reduce our intake of fatty foods. But this dietary change has brought unintended consequences. As we’ve cut back on unhealthy saturated fats, we’ve also reduced certain “good” fats essential to our well-being. Few people realize how important fats are to a healthy brain. In fact, our brains are primarily fat, 60% by dry weight! And DHA, the most plentiful fatty acid in the brain, is crucial to brain health, from infancy to old age. Now DHA is available in a vegetarian source compatible with today’s trimmed-down lifestyle. Introducing: Source Naturals NEUROMINS DHA.
The Building Block of the Brain
DHA is shorthand for docosahexaenoic acid. This omega-3 long chain fatty acid is the primary building block of the brain and retina of the eye. The brain is 60% fat, and DHA is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain, comprising 25-35%. DHA is found in even greater concentrations - 50- 60% - in the retina. DHA is critical for infant development. Compelling research links DHA to the rapid cerebral and eye development that occurs during pregnancy and in the first few months after birth. DHA passes through the placenta to the fetus during pregnancy, and to the nursing baby through breast milk. Optimal levels of DHA in the bloodstream of pregnant women and the breast milk of nursing mothers are crucial to babies. In fact, DHA’s presence in breast milk may explain why breast-fed babies have demonstrable IQ advantages over babies fed formula without DHA. An emerging body of research led an expert committee of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization to recommend that DHA be included in infant formulas at levels comparable to those of mothers’ milk. Yet DHA levels in the breast milk of American women rank among the lowest in the world, and DHA is still not available in U.S. infant formulas.
Supporting a Healthy Nervous System
DHA’s benefits are not limited to infant development. Supplementation may be helpful to anyone with a low DHA intake, especially for supporting a healthy nervous system. DHA has been associated with optimal memory function, visual acuity, and maintaining a positive mental state. DHA is an integral component of all membranes with electrical activity. The cells in our brain, retina and other parts of the nervous system have a complex network of connecting arms that transport electrical messages throughout the body. DHA’s presence in nerve cell membranes is critical because this is where messages are transmitted. It is at the membrane that nerve cells generate the electrical impulses that are the basis of all communication in the nervous system. Without the necessary fatty acids, this communication system can break down or become less effective. DHA supplementation may be especially important as we grow older. The body’s ability to synthesize DHA, which is very limited in all human beings, may decline even further with age. Research suggests that aging interferes with the activity of delta-6-desaturase, the enzyme involved in the conversion of omega-3 fatty acids into DHA. Elderly people with inadequate or DHAdeficient diets may benefit from a supplementary source of DHA.
Insufficient in Today’s Diet
Because human beings cannot adequately synthesize DHA, most of it is obtained from our diets. The richest sources are red meats, animal organs and eggs - among the first foods to be eliminated by people concerned about fat intake. Today, the average American is getting less DHA from food, and vegetarians, vegans, and people on lowfat diets are especially at risk. Fish are a good dietary source, but must be eaten several times a week to provide enough DHA for optimal brain function. Fish obtain their DHA from microalgae – the nutritional basis of NEUROMINS.
Neuromins: a Pure, Safe Source Source Naturals DHA is obtained from NEUROMINS, a dietary supplement derived from algae in a base of sunflower oil. NEUROMINS DHA is a highly purified form of DHA, produced under tightly controlled manufacturing conditions. Unlike fish oil, which used to be the main supplemental source of DHA, NEUROMINS does not contain the fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which is not recommended for infants or children. Source Naturals NEUROMINS DHA is available in bottles of 30, 60 and 120 softgels, in both 100 and 200 mg dosages. Pure, safe DHA in the 200 mg dosage may be especially beneficial for pregnant or nursing women.