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Boost your vitamin C intake to strengthen your immune system andlower cancer risk
April 19, 2019 01:56 PM
In some states cold and flu season is just ramping up between the months of February and April. Most of us know by now that Vitamin C is crucial in helping give your immune system a bit of a helping hand. This article goes on to discuss the science behind Vitamin C and a few ways in which it works, such as boosting antibody immunoglobulin levels and lymphocyte production. It also goes on to describe a handful of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C that could be added to your diet.
"Supplementing with vitamin C is essential, especially when you’re healing from a wound, or fighting illnesses that can range from the common cold to severe conditions like cancer."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-12-boost-your-vitamin-c-intake.html
Study Improving The Mother's Immune System
January 11, 2017 12:59 PM
Recently a new research study has found an essential function of a particular kind of immune cells found in mothers uterine line. These particular cells were B lymphocytes which were found to aid in the resistance of preterm births that are caused from inflammation. The researchers found that the cells create antibodies which aid in the defense against infection.
"While preterm birth — defined as a birth taking place before the 37th week of pregnancy — is a complex condition, there are two causes which the specialists identified to be responsible for it: infection of the mother and ensuing inflammation."
Is Glutathione The Fountain Of Youth?
Glutathione has created huge excitement in the medical world. Many experts believe that finally they have found the secret to eternal youth. Although Glutathione is naturally produced in our liver, but it gradually depletes as we age. Hence, it should be taken from external sources. Glutathione can be taken via pills. It can also be injected into our body through our veins.
Glutathione, the Fountain of Youth
Can Glutamine Improve The Immune System, Lymphocites and Inetstinal cell Enterocytes?
May 07, 2014 11:29 AM
Glutamine is considered to be the most abundant natural amino acids which is a building block of proteins in the body. Although the body can already make enough glutamine on its own, extreme stress is the type you could experience after heavy exercise or from injuries can't naturally aid help those pains on its own. The body may need a bit more glutamine in order to truly eliminate those kinds of ailments. Most glutamine is naturally stored in the muscles and lungs.
Astaxanthin Protects The Eye And More!
November 13, 2013 02:52 PM
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid that is commonly found in the marine environment. It is naturally found in salmon, krill, trout, crayfish, shrimp, crustaceans and yeast. It is the chemical that is responsible for the red color in cooked shellfish and salmon meat. The algae Haematoccus has the richest natural source of astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin can also be produced synthetically, but due to the synthetic product consisting of different steriosmers it is not preferred to be used in some cases.
Unlike beta-carotene it has two more oxygenated groups on each of its ring structure, these additional functional groups make it a highly potent antioxidant and give it a configuration that is more polar than that of other carotenoids. Vitamin E has been known as the strongest antioxidant both in topical use in cosmetics and in internal use, but research has shown that astaxanthin has a greater antioxidant strength than Vitamin E. For example in the quenching of singlet oxygen it has an antioxidant strength five hundred times stronger than Vitamin E.
Unlike many other antioxidants it has the ability of crossing the blood-brain barrier and enter into the eyes, brain and central nervous system (CNS). Most diseases of the CNS and eye are caused by increased generation of free radicals or by a decrease in the ability to remove free radicals from the body. Some of the diseases that are caused by problems with inflammation and oxidation include Glaucoma, Cataracts, and Huntington’s disease. These can be prevented by taking astaxanthin.
It has anti-inflammatory properties that are related to its strong antioxidants properties. It suppresses some of the inflammatory mediators such as, prostaglandin E-2 (PGE-2), tumor necrosis factor –alpha (TNF-a), and nitric oxide. Unlike other anti-inflammatory drugs like acetaminophen that can damage the liver and aspirin that may cause stomach bleeding, astaxanthin doesn’t have any side effects.
In people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome it has the ability of reducing pain. Studies have shown that it is able to reduce pain in rheumatoid arthritis by 40% after 8 weeks of continuous use.
It prevents Ultra Violet induces oxidative stress of the skin and prevents the photo aging of the skin. It prevents UV induced formation of wrinkles and collagen degradation in the skin. It may be applied on the skin or taken orally.
In people participating in sports it eliminates the soreness of joints after exercise, and reduces the pain caused by inflammation. This enables athletes to train harder and as a result increase their endurance, skill, and strength. This is through its ant-inflammatory and ant-oxidant effects in the mitochondria (energy producing organelle).
It strengthens the immune system, research by scientists has shown that it causes increase in production of T cells, stimulates the proliferation of lymphocytes, amplify the cytotoxicity of natural killer cells, decrease damage of DNA, and increases significantly delayed type hypersensitivity syndrome.
It prevents heart disease and reduces the risk of people already suffering from heart disease form getting a stroke or heart attack. It improves the blood lipid profiles by increasing HDL (high density lipoprotein) and decreasing LDL (low density lipoprotein).
The liver main function of the liver and kidney is the detoxification and removal of harmful substances in the body. These activities lead to the formation of free radicals. Astaxanthin being a strong antioxidant helps by destroying these free radicals hence it eliminates their oxidative effects.
As a result of its immune benefits Astaxanthin also has anti-tumor properties and as a result it prevents the development of cancer. Its prevention of cancer is also caused by its antioxidant properties and by it regulating gene expression.
Food allergies and pancreatin
May 21, 2013 10:59 AM
Food allergy is a condition where the body's immune system reacts to some substances in the food that you have eaten resulting in an allergic reaction. It is important to note that children are more prone to food allergy when compared to adults. Some of the common foods that may cause allergy are peanut, milk, eggs, fish, tree nuts and so on. Food allergies may be exhibited in different ways for example atopic allergic reactions occur to people who have inherited the allergic traits. Others will be highly sensitive to certain foods for example people who are oversensitive to peanuts. There is also the celiac disease which results in allergy to proteins found in grain such as wheat.
How exactly does food cause allergic reactions?
The particles in your food that will cause allergy are referred to as allergens. Allergens are protein in nature and they are resistant to heat during cooking, stomach acid during digestion and also digestive enzymes. When these enzymes find their way to the blood stream, they will reach their target organs where they will result in allergic reactions. It is important to note that an allergic reaction is a hypersensitive reaction and therefore for this reaction to occur, the body must have been exposed to that particular food substance before. The first time the allergen is introduced in the body, the lymphocytes are stimulated to produce antibodies against that particular antibody. The next time that allergen finds its way into the blood stream, the mast cells will be stimulated to release different chemicals such as histamine which results in different symptoms of food allergy.
Digestive enzymes may play a very crucial role in alleviating symptoms of food allergies. The enzymes will break down fats, proteins and starch thereby aiding in digestion. Pancreatin which has a number of digestive enzymes will alleviate allergic symptoms such as gastroenteritis, indigestion, stomach discomfort and so on. Sometimes with age, the production of pancreatin in the body might reduce and in such circumstances, one can take specially made pancreatin tablets which serve the same purpose.
Pancreatin is a word that is used to describe a mixture of digestive enzymes produced by exocrine cells in the pancreas. The enzymes contained in pancreatin include amylase, protease, trypsin and lipase. Sometimes, pancreatin will be referred to as pancreatic acid. Apart from treating food allergies, pancreatin will also help to reduce symptoms for weight loss, cancer, autoimmune disease, celiac disease and food allergies.
Each of the enzymes in pancreatin plays a very important role in the digestion process. Trypsin works by hydrolyzing proteins to form oligopeptites, amylase will work to hydrolyze starch to form disaccharides and oligosaccharides, and lipase will hydrolyze triglycerides into glycerol and fatty acids.
Food allergy is a common thing among very many people in the world. Sometimes, many people will find it hard to determine the exact food which they are allergic to. The easiest way to find out the exact type of food that you are allergic to is through trial and error method. Other times diagnosing the food intolerance may be complicated especially in cases where one not allergic to the food itself but the ingredients used in its preparation.
If you are experiencing food allergies, consider trying pancreatic enzymes like pancreatin for a month with every meal and feel the difference.
All-Natural Red Marine Algae An Effective Cold Sore Treatment
January 24, 2013 03:15 PM
Can Red Marine Algae Help With Cold Sores? Lets Find out!
While a permanent solution for cold sores is not currently known, it has been realized for some time now that red marine algae topical ointments and oral supplements can both help prevent and reduce the number of and severity of your outbreaks. This treatment ensures safety as a priority considering it is an all-natural proper food that is used in a variety of different items. It directly aids the body's first line of defense, or neutrophils, against those pesky cold sores.
The active components in red marine algae are sulfated polysaccharides, which help with immune system response and the increased production of lymphocytes within the thymus. T-cells and antibodies are stimulated, causing the launch of an attack against the virus.
There are two primary sulfated polysaccharides, fucoidan and carrageenan, that help stop the outbreak and replication of cold sores. Carrageenan is often used as a topical application, and fucoidan has a specific focus geared towards limiting replication of the virus.
The two strains of the algae that are effective in fighting against cold sores are Gigartina and Dumontacea, meaning not all red algae are the same when battling this virus. It is common knowledge that there are many triggers that contribute to herpes outbreaks.
Cold Sore Triggers:
While you still should avoid as many triggers as possible, red marine algae is a significant factor in reducing the effectiveness of particular triggers. Some of these triggers include chocolate, nuts, coffee, alcohol and more.
When learning about taking a new supplement, one of the main concerns you might have is the side effects. However, this all-natural algae supplement has absolutely no known side effects.
This helps put your mind at ease.
Did you know that this specific algae has also been used traditionally for dealing with urinary infections, asthma, boils, ulcers and more? With this supplement containing so many immune-supporting qualities, it is definitely a safe bet for formulating a much stronger plan against cold sores.
What Is the Life Span Of Human Cells And How Do Antioxidants Help?
August 25, 2011 10:38 AM
The human body is composed of many different cells. These cells have varying functions as well as life span. The human cells, in general, are very complex. Some cells may last only within a day while others may be for life. Like for example, one blood component known as neutrophil lasts only within 24 hours. On the other hand, another blood component which is red blood cell has a life span of 120 days. One human cell which lasts for a lifetime is the stem cell. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells which are the source of blood cells. They supply the body throughout life both with red and white blood cells. Here is a brief outline of some cells of the human body with their corresponding life spans.
1. Granulocytes such as eosinophils, basophils and neutrophils – half day to 3 days
2. Stomach and colon lining cells – 2 to 4 days
3. Sperm cells – 2 to 3 days
4. Epithelial cells of the small intestines – 5 to 7 days
5. Platelets – 10 days
6. Skin epidermal cells – 14 to 28 days
7. Lymphocytes, macrophages and endothelial cells – 2 months to a year, but may vary
8. Pancreatic cells – a year or more
9. Bone cells – 25 to 30 years
As shown above, these human cells have an expected time of death. However, if the body is exposed to harmful toxins, their life span significantly decreases. As we know for a fact, the body undergoes many biological reactions almost every second. The reaction is called oxidation process which is essential to the body. However, such reaction has harmful by – products in the form of free radicals. Free radicals can cause the body significant damage. Free radicals can cause destruction and death of the healthy cells of the body and also affect the body’s cellular division. This kind of chemicals can potentially tamper DNA replication during cell division. Once cellular division is tampered, abnormal growths would likely happen. Aside from the naturally occurring free radicals, external stressors can also cause damage to the cells of the body. Some of these include pollutants, harmful chemicals and irritants. These harmful chemicals can potentially lead to the development of certain disease conditions such as heart diseases, stroke and cancer.
Fortunately, there are many antioxidants which can greatly help in the prevention of free radical damage by protecting the cells of the body. Antioxidants are molecules which can effectively prevent the oxidation of other molecules. There are many natural antioxidants found among plants and animals. Some common antioxidants are glutathione, vitamin C and vitamin E. Other nutrients which have antioxidative property include beta – carotene, lutein, lycopene, vitamin A and selenium. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of antioxidants. Nuts, grains, meat, poultry products and fish are also good sources of such cell – protecting chemicals. In addition, dietary supplements of antioxidants are also widely available in the market. However, health experts highly suggest that before supplementation of antioxidants, medical evaluation must be done first to be completely safe.
Is AHCC Good for the Immune System? How So?
March 02, 2011 02:44 PM
AHCC And Immune Health
Active Hexose Correlated Compound, or AHCC, is one of the most commonly used food supplements in Japan largely owing to its effective immune-boosting properties when successfully absorbed by the human body. The earliest important study concerning its activities in the immune system was published in the early 1990’s at Tokyo University, triggering a sudden rise in popularity among consumers in Japan, where it is sold over the counter.
Activates White Blood Cells
It has been observed in the past few years that AHCC boosts the immune system in many different ways in that it participates not only in the innate immune system but also in the adaptive immune system. Of special note is the significant increase in certain types of white blood cells, including natural killer cells, or NK, and macrophages. NK cells are in the employ of the innate immune system and responsible for the disposal of cells infected by viruses. They are often the first line of defense against common viruses such as herpes, containing the damage that viral infection spreads while waiting for specified mechanisms of the adaptive immune system. This is when macrophages come into play along with a cohort of lymphocytes. Their relatively bigger size allows them to effectively engulf pathogenic cells and the enzymes they contain break these pathogens down.
Removes Antigens and Toxins
AHCC also influences the production of antigen presenting cells, or APC. In a double-blind, placebo controlled study involving healthy individuals there was a significant increase in the quantities of APC, notably dendritic cells, in comparison with the baseline, and proteins released by lymphocytes called interferon. Both APC and interferon facilitate the detection of antigens and toxins created by invasive foreign bodies and alert the rest of the immune system of their presence. Dendritic cells are considered the most important group of all APCs in that they present a wide range of antigen presentation by way of phagocytosis or endocytosis, two different ways of catching antigens. By so doing, they make it easier for white blood cells to eliminate antigens and other toxic substances.
Defends against Cancer Cells
Cancer patients are the group of individuals that have benefited the most from AHCC. Early studies yielded data that are now being used to enhance the quality of life of those diagnosed with cancer. Indeed boosting the immune system has proven to play a part in the battle against cancer, and AHCC stimulates the immune system to manufacture a class of white blood cells that actively defend the body against cancer cells by causing tumor cells to die and on the same principle delay the proliferation of malignant cells.
There have been extensive clinical trials well underway in many countries, including China, South Korea, Thailand, Spain, and the US. These studies aim to that rigorously test its efficacy. In fact, AHCC belongs to the group of nutritional products tied to alternative medicine that has been supported by an abundance of data in connection with its safety and recommended dosages.
If you are battling disease, give AHCC a try.
Can Astragalus Help Boost the Immune System?
February 24, 2011 01:31 PM
What we refer to as the herbal astragalus is actually a large number of plant species in the family Fabaceae, the same group of shrubs that we commonly identify as peas, beans, or legumes. Many of these species have been utilized in folk medicine of different communities all over the world, but the majority of herbal extracts made available as nutritional supplements today come from Astragalus propinquus, or Astragalus membranaceus.
Astragalus may be best known for its touted modulating effects to the immune system largely owing to the fact that it has enjoyed a very long history as a health tonic both in the East and the West. It is an important ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine, valued for its reinvigorating effects to what they call defensive energy of life. It is known by the name of Huang Qi in China, where most of the recent studies on this herb take place.
Regulates Interferon Releases
There are a number of studies that link astragalus to HIV in that it is purported to combat replication of viruses and inhibit growth of pathogenic microbes. To be more specific, it is believed to have an influence on the production of proteins called interferon, or IFNs. A type of white blood cell in the employ of the immune system called lymphocytes release interferon whenever the body detects the presence of viruses, bacteria, parasites, or even tumors. In addition, IFNs activate natural killer cells, which target cells infected with viruses and tissues afflicted with tumor, and program them to die.
Stimulates the Healing Process
It is also postulated that astragalus has an augmenting effect on the healing process by interfering with inflammatory agents. There are organic compounds called eicosanoids that are released by the body in larger amounts to facilitate healing of wounds or infections through the process of inflammation. These compounds work hand in hand with the immune system in removing the pathogens that cause infections and initiate the reversal of damages done by these pathogens. If inflammation takes place longer than it is supposed to, the area affected will have to deal with prolonged pain, redness, and swelling. Astragalus works on the principle of maintaining healthy releases of eicosanoids, the reason why it is used as a treatment for arthritis, dermatitis, asthma, and other autoimmune diseases.
Produces Homeostatic Effects
Astragalus has shown to be involved in many metabolic processes, maintaining stability of organic compounds from the foods we eat that reach the circulation. There have been mentions that it is particularly good for the lungs, adrenal glands, and alimentary canal by improving their functions and acting as a buffer to any unwanted debris that may attack the cells that make up these organs.
Be reminded that astragalus has been associated with a long list of health benefits, but none of these have yielded strong scientific support. It is safe to assume that testimonials are influenced by anecdotal evidence and initial results of studies that are yet to be concluded.
Have you tried Astragalus?
Melatonin, What is it, Sleep And How it Helps!
December 22, 2010 03:20 PM
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin, or N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, is a hormone secreted during the hours of darkness by the light-sensitive pineal gland located in the brain and also by bone marrow, epithelial cells and lymphocytes. Melatonin plays a role in the human circadian cycle because of the fact that it is secreted only when it is dark. It can therefore be used to treat sleeping disorders, although it also affects conditions such as fibromyalgia and depression.
Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant, particularly protecting the DNA from free radical oxidation and studies have indicated a potential application in inhibiting the aggregation of amyloid beta protein in the brain that promotes Alzheimer's disease. It not only reduces the production of cholesterol in the gall bladder, but also increases the rate of conversion of cholesterol to bile, thus reducing the amount available for oxidation in the arteries that leads to atherosclerosis.
A melatonin supplement is also believed to be an effective treatment for migraine and helps the gall bladder to expel gallstones, rendering them less likely to become a problem.
Melatonin and Sleep
Melatonin is a hormone that is secreted mainly by the pineal gland, a small pea-sized gland in the brain that is sensitive to light in that it secretes this hormone only during the hours of darkness. For this reason, melatonin can be used to help people sleep earlier and awake earlier, by shifting the circadian cycle to an earlier time.
An interesting factor learned from the effect of light on melatonin is that it is suppressed only by blue light (460-480 nanometers) and by wearing blue filtering glasses it is possible to achieve the same effect as taking a supplement of the hormone. That is, to sleep earlier and waken earlier.
People suffering jet lag, or who have to adapt to differing shift work patterns, benefit by taking melatonin, and it has also been used in helping with benzodiazepine withdrawal and helping people to stop smoking. You must let your doctor know you are using it, and in many countries it is available only by prescription.
February 23, 2009 11:54 AM
Mononucleosis is an infectious viral disease that is most often caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. More rarely, it can be caused by cytomegalovirus. Both of these viruses are members of the herpes family. Once the virus enters the body, it multiplies in lymphocytes. Mono then affects the respiratory system, the lymphatic tissues, and glands in the neck, groin, armpits, bronchial tubes, spleen, and liver.
Symptoms of mono include depression, extreme fatigue, fever, generalized aching, headache, jaundice, and loss of appetite, sore throat, pain on the upper left side of the abdomen, puffy eyelids, swollen glands, and sometimes, a bumpy, red rash. Additionally, the spleen may become enlarged and liver function may be affected. Meningitis, encephalitis, and rupturing of the spleen are very rare complications that may develop as a result of mono.
The virus’s associated with mono are extremely contagious, often being transmitted from person to person by close contact such as kissing, which explains why mono is often referred to as the “kissing disease.” The disease can also be spread by sharing food or utensils, as well as through sexual contact or through respiratory droplets. The incubation period for mono is about ten days in children and thirty to fifty days in adults. A lot of mononucleosis cases occur in the military and in colleges, as living conditions are crowded and sleeping patterns are inadequate. High school students also have a high incidence of this disease. Mono is most common among children and adolescents, as about 90 percent of people over age thirty-five have mono antibodies in their blood, which means that they had the disease at some point in their lives, although many do not even know they had it.
The symptoms of mononucleosis are very similar to those of influenza, which often results in mono often being mistaken for it. However, with mono, the symptoms tend to be more persistent, with acute symptoms usually lasting from two to four weeks, and fatigue persisting for three to eight weeks after the other symptoms disappear. The disease can even linger for a year or more in some individuals. It can also produce recurring, but successively milder, attacks. If the immune system has been compromised by an organ transplant, HIV/AIDS, or other viruses, the mono symptoms can be extremely serious and chronic.
Mononucleosis is diagnosed through a blood test called a spot test. This test reveals the presence of specific viral antibodies and also confirms the presence of mono. Additionally, a liver function test can assist in the diagnosis.
The following nutrients are considered to be extremely important in dealing with mononucleosis: acidophilus, proteolytic enzymes, vitamin A with mixed carotenoids, and vitamin C with bioflavonoids. Other nutrients that have proven to be both important and helpful include: DMG, a free-form amino acid complex, garlic, vitamin B complex, zinc lozenges, maitake extract, reishi extract, shiitake extract, a multivitamin and mineral complex, and raw thymus glandular.
Astragalus and Echinacea are also beneficial in boosting the immune system, while cat’s claw has immune-enhancing properties that act against viral infections. Dandelion and milk thistle are beneficial in protecting the liver. Goldenseal helps to fight infection, while olive leaf extract helps to inhibit the growth of viruses that cause mono. Pau d’arco balances the bacteria in the colon and spirulina contains phytonutrients that are helpful in boosting the immune system.
Whether you want to combat mono symptoms naturally or use prescription drugs, always consult your family physician before taking matters into your own hands. A correct diagnosis is important to how one might want to combat sickness in general. Natural vitamins like the ones listed above are available at your internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Exotic Herbs From The Amazon Basin
June 22, 2007 05:07 PM
Although many traditional herbal medicines have yet to find complete scientific corroboration in the West, it follows logically that people wouldn't use an herbal product for centuries if it didn't work.
Many of the popular herbs we all recognize as having great health benefits were only recently considered pretty exotic. Even green tea - a staple in China for centuries -has only lately gone main stream.
So it will likely be with herbs from the Amazon basin and its environs. The Amazon basin is one of the most bountiful environments on the planet. Explorers and botanists from the West have looked to this region for generations for the "next big thing." Of course, in many cases, the "next big thing" has already been in use for centuries.
In this issue of Ask the Medicine Hunter, we're going to look at some energizing and life- stimulating herbs that also happen to have great antioxidant properties, too. Best yet, many of them are available to us here from companies that practice fair trade policies.
Let's take a look at some of the herbal powerhouses coming out of the Amazon (and its nearby neighborhoods):
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) has been cultivated for a long time at least 2000 years. Related to brassica family plants like radishes, mustard and cabbage, its foliage does actually look somewhat radish-like, but grows close to the ground.
Maca is cultivated by the Andean people in Peru's central highlands, and contains a plethora of beneficial compounds that enhance overall health and vitality. The tradition of cultivating maca is an old one some strains have been found in Incan sites that date from 1600 B.C. During early European colonization, maca was used by the local native culture as a form of currency, much of the way cocoa was used by the Aztecs, further north in pre-Columbian Mexico.
Maca thrives in high altitudes - between 10,000 and 16,000 feet. The harsher the conditions, the better it grows, or so it seems. In fact, efforts to grow the plant in Central Europe haven't been as successful - maca seems to enjoy its home turf the best. In Peru, maca is a popular and beloved nutrient-packed superfood, and is commonly powdered and mixed into drinks at roadside stands throughout the Andes.
Q. I've heard of maca being used for healthy libido - are there any other benefits?
A. Maca is a natural energizer, and although it is recognized for it's libido enhancing abilities, it has other uses, too, acting as an adaptogen - similar to rhodiola or ginseng. In fact, in South America, maca is known as "Peruvian Ginseng." Though maca is not ginseng at all, some of the benefits of both plants are similar.
In any event, maca is recommended for boosting the immune system, menopause support, and hormonal balance in general. For daily use, maca is most recognized as a great source of energy and all-day endurance. Alkaloids from maca root may be partially responsible for both maca's energizing and libido boost. Research shows that maca affects the hypothalamic-pituitary (HPA) axis - boosting energy and overall aphrodisiac prowess in men and women. Maca contains novel compounds called macamides and macaenes, which have been proven in animal studies to significantly enhance energy, stamina and sexual function reasons people have been so consuming maca for 2000 years.
There are other serious reasons why maca is such an excellent plant. One group of compounds in maca is the isothiocyanates-aromatics constituents that are responsible for the "hotness" of mustards and radishes - fellow members of the brassica family. Isothiocyanates from other members of the brassica family may reduce the risk of breast and stomach cancer. Although the same constituents specifically from maca haven't beentested, it's plausible that they could have the same effects.
Q. I've heard a little about guarana extracts - is it just caffeine?
A. Guarana is widely loved for its mild stimulating effect, which is due to caffeine. But this is by no means this Amazonian herb's sole beneficial compound. Guarana (Paullinia cupana) is so logically ingrained in the culture of Brazil that it's practically a rival (actually out-sells) Coca-Cola in its soft-drink form. Like many other indigenous herbs, guarana was in use locally well before European settlement. Its Latin name comes fromthe German botanist C.F. Paullini, who first encountered the herb in the 1700s. This evergreen vine typically climbs fairly far up the Brazilian forest trees. The seed is the part that gets used. In one clinical study, guarana boosted the memory alertness of participants, even when the caffeine level per dose was a low 9 mg., as compared with approximately 100 mg for a cup of coffee. This effect suggests that other agents than caffeine contribute to a feeling of well being.
Guarana also contains powerful antioxidants including catechin, epicatechin and proanthocyanidins, which protect cells against destruction from free radicals, and impart benefits to the body's tissues and blood. The small seed of this plant is powerful in its health benefits.
Catuaba (Erythroxylum catuaba) is a common tree found in South America from Brazil to Peru, in the same genus as the coca plant. Catuaba contains components known as alkaloids. These alkaloids (called catuabine A, B, and C) are probably responsible for themental boost most people get when they take catuabe-based supplements or mixes.
There may be little confusion regarding catuaba, because various species and genus typesuse the common name. As a result, "catuaba" gets bandied around a lot, and one person'scatuaba may not be the next. Read labels carefully. The catuaba I've had the best luck with is Erythroxylum catuaba.
One of my favorite drinks in the world is coffee, and I'm sure at many people reading thisconsider it the essential part of their morning, too.
The part of coffee that we use the most is the seed of the coffee fruit - which appears as a bright, red berry. Most of the time, this fruit is sloughed off and left behind in the process of making coffee - it's really too delicate to last long in hot conditions.
But advances in technology have tapped a previously discarded resource. Though the fruit of coffee is available in any coffee-growing economy, a high antioxidant commercial extract of "coffee cherry" is now available from the fruits of coffee plants in Mexico.
Coffee fruit has many of the attributes of other dark-colored, anthcyanin-rich fruits. Coffee fruit (also referred to as "coffee cherry") appears not to be just another antioxidant, however. Current research on this once-forgotten, former castoff shows impressive abilities to decrease tumor size, and possibly even prevent their formation in the first place. It seems that the elements in coffee berry activate T-lymphocytes in such a way that mammary tumors are shrunk or simply put on hold. It will be fascinating to see how this science plays out.
Muira Puama Bark:
Muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides) grows between 15 to 45 feet high. Native to theAmazon basin of Brazil, the dried bark has been used for centuries as a traditional energysupport. Components include beta-sitosterol, campesterol and lupeol.
Muira puama, like other central nervous stimulants has been researched lately for its ability to boost memory retrieval and protect neural (brain) tissue. Who knows? Maybe this traditional ingredient could someday be on the cutting edge of natural medicines fighting Alzheimer's, much the way green tea and turmeric are currently. In one unpublished French study of 262 men with low libido and poor erectile function, 62% experienced significant improvement after taking an extract of Muira puama for two weeks.
Acai (Euterpe acai) berry is a traditional favorite (and readily available) food source for people in the Amazon. The tree is a tall-growing palm with berries that provide - a rich source of anthocyanins, potent purple pigments with extraordinary high antioxidant activity.
Once harvested, acai fruits decay rapidly. As with coffee fruits, special processing is the surest way to make certain the nutrients of acai berry make it to those of us outside the Amazon basin.
However, these wonderful fruits not only fight against free radical damage, but help our natural digestive enzymes and boost natural immune defenses, too. In fact, current research is investigating whether compounds in acai may have a fighting effect on leukemia, too. So far, the results have been very positive.
Look for supplements made using organically-grown, fair trade acai berry. The best companies ensure that the local people harvesting acai and the communities where they live gather more than just short-term benefits. The best companies work not just to provide jobs, but better lives for generations to come.
Q. What is sustainability and fair trade, anyway?
A. Sustainability refers to a set of naturally occurring circumstances, or intentionally designed practices and principles, which ensure that all parts or members of a situation are adequately nourished to promote their healthy continuance. In current parlance, sustainability often refers to practices and programs designed and implemented to keep natural systems healthy and flourishing. Many such programs focus on environmental protection and preservation of traditional cultures. In the world of medicinal plants, sustainable practices include organic agriculture, species management, fair trade, and benefit-sharing programs.
In other words, sustainability pays people fair wages, puts resources back into their communities, and ensures that the resources that benefit us all are going to be around for a long time. It is an earth-friendly, people-friendly concept of commerce that happily, is taking root around the world.
The traditional cultures that use - and have used - these ingredients for generations wouldn't have done so if they hadn't been effective. Fortunately we live in an era when formerly locally-used herbs are now available far beyond their previous range. We are also fortunate to have companies and individuals working hard to make sure that the people who tend and care for these precious resources are paid fairly for their efforts, andthat their families and communities benefit from this commerce as well.
The great thing about using traditional herbs and ingredients that have been gathered in this manner is that you know they'll be around for a long time.
Papaya- May Be A Fountain of Youth
May 31, 2007 02:09 PM
Papaya- May Be A Fountain of Youth
Seventy years ago, when the Social Security Administration was developed during the Great Depression, age 62 was recognized as average life expectancy. These days, getting older is a whole different ball game. Not only are people living well into their 80s and 90s, they’re living better, too. People well into retirement are mountain biking, kayaking, jogging and hiking, as well as gardening, golfing and attending concerts – sometimes for their first time. Everybody, it seems, is on the go, from ages of 22 to 92.
Of course, you don’t have to wait until retirement to start planning for a longer more vibrant life. The best way to ensure happier and longer years ahead is to start young.
Nobody wants to spend retirement in the doctor’s waiting room or have their golden years intruded upon with illnesses or infirmities. And, most importantly, we don’t want to feel 80 years old even though our driver’s license says we are.
These desires and demands are not just wishful thinking. Huge advances in the understanding of how men and women age are being made almost daily. These findings are helping to improve our chances of living long, healthy lives. And, some of the most impressive findings have shown that using nutritional supplements can help – in particular, a specially formulated papaya preparation is able to fight two of the primary reasons we get old – oxidative stress and immune system decline.
This issue of Ask the Doctor is going to share the anti-aging secrets hidden in the papaya and how this tropical fruit may hold the key to a long, vibrant life.
Q. Why papaya? What does papaya have that other fruits and vegetables don’t?
A. Not many American moms put a papaya in their kids’ lunch boxes and papaya pie has yet to gain a following. But this tangy tasting fruit is now appearing fairly frequently in the produce departments of most grocery stores and its popularity seems to steadily increase each year.
The papaya’s bright orange flesh is fairly fibrous and very slippery – slicing a peeled papaya is a little like slicing a bar of wet soap. The core is filled with little black seeds that look a lot like caviar. And while eating a papaya will give you a day’s worth of vitamins A and C as well as potassium taking Fermented Papaya Preparation (or FPP) might just give you an additional 30 years of healthy vibrant life.
Q. What exactly is Fermented Papaya Preparation (FPP)?
A. It’s a specialized nutritional supplement. Backed by more than 30 studies to date, FPP has been used in
Q. How was FPP developed?
A. Japanese scientists noticed that individuals with higher amounts of papaya in their diets experienced certain health benefits.
Researchers who study aging decided to look at the papaya’s chemistry to see if it might have properties that could contribute to longevity. Several plant chemicals in the papaya showed promise. And when they combined papaya with specific yeasts and traditional Japanese fermentation techniques, FPP was born. This unique substance was then subjected to scientific studies to see its health impact; they determined that FPP is a superior antioxidant, a powerful immune-booster, and one of
Q. How does FPP help people live longer and healthier?
A. While getting older is an indisputable fact of life, aging, per se, is not. We can’t do much about our annual birthdays and we really shouldn’t even if we could. Every age is a cause for celebration and every life experience, both the difficult and the sublime, should be treasured.
However, we don’t have to accept the consequences of aging that can make a mockery of the “Golden Years” - heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, and cancer. Our parents and grandparents and the generations that preceded them might have had little say in how they aged. But we can. We can slow down the harmful effects of aging and FPP can help by reducing oxidative stress and immune system decline.
Additionally, fighting oxidative stress helps people retain their youthful appearance longer. Oxidative damage is the number one factor in facial aging.
Q. What exactly does oxidative stress mean and what does it have to do with aging?
A. One theory of aging is that harmful molecules called free radicals wreak havoc in our cells. Many of our body’s normal metabolic processes produce free radicals. For example, free radicals are a normal by-product in the production of ATP (the energy molecule) from glucose. Certain types of white blood cells destroy invading microbes by the production of free radicals. Free radicals are also formed by the many normal enzymatic actions that take place every minute every day.
However, outside sources can also cause free radical formation, as well. If we are exposed to pollutants in the environment, chemicals, additives and preservatives in the food we eat, or even direct sunlight, excess production of free radicals can occur, causing profound damage. This free radical frenzy is called oxidative stress, and is linked to almost every disease of aging including arthritis, heart disease, cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer. In fact, the reason why these are called diseases of aging is because the longer we are alive, the longer we are subjected to these free radical assaults.
Q. How does FPP affect the decline of our immune systems as we age?
A. Our immune systems consist of specialized tissues, organs, and cells, including several different kinds of white blood cells. Each type of white blood cell works in specific ways to keep us healthy and free of disease. They not only stand guard – on the alert for invaders – they can fight and eradicate microbes, too.
However, as we age, our white blood cells become less efficient in keeping viruses and bacteria from infecting us. They often mistake invaders for good guys, like nutrients. As they age, white blood cells may recognize foreign invaders, but be too tired to fight and let them in. This age-associated immune decline also results in single cancer cells being able to “take hold” and grow into tumors. By the time the white blood cells realize their mistake, the cancer is a widespread disease.
That’s why older members of society have more urinary tract infections, more pneumonia, more cases of bacterial meningitis, tuberculosis, herpes zoster, and much more cancer than younger adults do. Moreover, mortality rates for these diseases are often 2-3 times higher among adults than younger people with the same disease.
FPP steps in and takes charge. One kind of white blood cells, the macrophage “eats” and digests bacteria, viral particles, and free radical fragments. Research has shown that FPP helps macrophages work faster and ingest more disease-causing microbes. Scientists have also discovered that FPP increases the production of a chemical protein called interleukin that’s secreted by macrophages. Interleukin plays an important part in wound healing and keeping minor infections from becoming major infections.
Another important immune system cell is the natural killer (NK) cell, a white blood cell that is continually on the prowl for cancer cells. As the immune system ages, NK cells have trouble “seeing” cancer cells. Researchers have discovered that FPP boosts the activity of NK cells. Increased NK cell activity can result in the increased killing of cancer cells as well as cells infected by viruses.
Q. How does FPP help protect us from free radical damage?
A. FPP contains unique and powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize free radical damage. Antioxidants do this by donating an extra electron to the free radical without becoming frenzied or worked up into a free radical themselves. Although the antioxidant has donated an electron, it has a more stable “personality” and is less reactive. This action stops the domino effect and ongoing free-radical damage.
If you consider your body a temple, think of free radicals as stealing bricks from your temple’s foundation. FPP acts not only as policeman, but as a builder as well. It doesn’t just stop the theft of bricks; it helps create new ones, keeping the foundation strong and young.
FPP does this by affecting super oxide dimutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX), the very genetic pathways that eliminate free radicals from the system. FPP is more than an antioxidant – it doesn’t turn into a pro-oxidant if you happen to take a large dose the way standard antioxidants can. Consider it an “antioxidant plus.”
Since aging is largely determined by how well our bodies can fight oxidative damage, using FPP can slow down the clock as it bolsters natural abilities with its own potent neutralizing activities.
Q. What else does science say about FPP?
A. As the subject of over 30 clinical studies, FPP has been shown to inhibit dangerous hydroxyl free radicals. In addition, it is also being considered for its immuno-protective effects.
Researchers and medical professionals have been studying FPP for years, tracking its effect on the immune system and aging. In fact, no less a personage then Dr. Luc Montagnier, co-discover of HIV 1 & 2 virus, has been conducting research on this natural immune booster.
Dr. Montagnier recommends using FPP as part of a tri-therapy (including antibiotics) that reduces the proliferation of the virus and stimulates the immune system. Since FPP has antioxidant and immuno-stimulative properties, it seems like an obvious choice for a combined approach to combating AIDS. Because of the higher free radical production in stage II of HIV infection, Montagnier believes that reducing this oxidative stress at the earliest stage of HIV infection may be a key factor.
In HIV-infected patients, the glutathione system is depressed even at the early stages. As part of a combination treatment, FPP increased the numbers of CF4 lymphocytes helped with weight gain and increased hemoglobin levels.
One scientific study showed the ability of FPP to inhibit dangerous hydroxyl and hydroxyl-like free radicals, while enhancing the production of protective super oxide. Other research by Dr. Lester Packer, a professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology at the
And, in one randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, patients with cirrhosis of the liver were given FPP or a placebo. The results showed that 81.2% of the patients survived in the FPP group compared to 38.5% of participants in the placebo group.
These studies and many others like it, show that FPP can neutralize the effects of oxidative stress on disease states as well as slowing the normal aging process.
Q. So if we can prevent oxidative damage to our cells AND prevent decline in our immune systems, how much longer can we expect to live?
A. Most theories of aging and almost all researchers who study aging claim there IS a limit to how long the human body can remain viable. However, the oldest age achieved so far was 128 by a woman named Ma Pampo who lived in the
Right now, Japanese women have the longest life span of any country in the world, with an average life expectancy of 85.93 years. Japanese men live an average 78.87 years.
Q. Is FPP safe?
A. Yes, it is. Many health-conscious people in
Q. What is the recommended dosage level of FPP?
A. Dosages of FPP vary depending on individual needs and usage. For basic anti-aging support, 3 grams per day is fine. For additional support, up to 9 grams per day is recommended. To add a boost to your immune system when you need it, start out with 6-9 grams a day for the first 2-3 days (at the beginning of a cold, for example) and then move back down to 3 grams per day.
For individuals looking for optimum immune support, Dr. Montagnier advises morning and evening doses, preferably on an empty stomach.
Fruit and Vegetable Lightning drink mixes from Natures Plus
February 06, 2007 02:41 PM
Enjoy the Rainbow – the Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables
We’ve all heard the statistics, and have probably seen the signs in the produce section of our favorite grocery store: eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day is important,
Chances are also pretty good that we’ve also seen the newest food pyramid, encouraging Americans to “eat a rainbow of frits and vegetables.” That is, choose from the rich variety of colors for the best all-around health benefits.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’re going to look at the unique health components of different colored fruits and vegetables, and why they’re so important. Plus, we’ll learn about supplemental options, like fruit and vegetable drink mixes, for those days when our diets just aren’t that great.
Q. What’s the big deal about fruits and vegetables?
A. Well, for the main reason that they are whole foods – created by nature (or at least generations of farming) and are rich in a variety of nutrients. Processed foods can’t match the health benefits of strawberries or broccoli – items that have fiber, vitamins, and enzymes built right in.
Q. What does “eating a rainbow” of fruits and vegetables really mean?
A. This is simply an easy way of remembering to get as much color variety in your diet as possible to maximize your intake of a broad range of nutrients. The colors of fruits and vegetables are often a tangible clue to the unique vitamins and other healthy substances they contain. Getting a variety of colors, therefore, means getting a variety of the essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and strong.
Enjoying the Rainbow: Fruit and Vegetable Benefits:
Q. Can you tell me a little more about the healthy components of fruits and vegetables?
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-studied and important nutrients:
Quercetin is found in apples, onions and citrus fruits (also is hawthorn and other berries and apple-related fruits usually used in traditional herbal remedies and modern supplements). It prevents LSL cholesterol oxidation and helps the body cope with allergens and other lung and breathing problems.
Clinical studies show that quercetin’s main points of absorption in the body appear to be in the small intestine – about 50%. The rest – at least 47% is metabolized by the colonic micro flora – the beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum. You may consider adding these beneficial bacteria (found in yogurt) either through the diet or a supplemental form.
Ellagic Acid is a component of ellagitannins – dietary polyphenols with antioxidant (and possibly anticancer) properties. Polyphenols are the basic building blocks of many plant-based antioxidants. More complex phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids are created from these molecules.
Ellagic acid is found in many fruits and foods, namely raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and walnuts. Clinical studies suggest that ellagitannins and ellagic acid act as antioxidants and anticarcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract.
Ellagitannins are durable antioxidants, and happily, they do not appear to be diminished by processing, like freezing. This means the benefits are still strong, even in frozen packs of raspberries or strawberries, or some of the better multi-ingredient supplement drink mixes.
In scientific studies, ellagic acid also showed an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells, decreasing their ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. ATP is the molecule that provides the primary energy source for the cells in our bodies. In a sense, ellagic acid seems to deprive cancer cells of their fuel.
Beta-Carotene: Probably the best-known of the carotenoids, beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A. Many vegetables, especially orange and yellow varieties, are rich in this nutrient. Think summer squash, yams and of course, carrots.
Beta-carotene has long been associated with better eyesight, but it has other benefits, too. In a scientific study, beta-carotene decreased cholesterol levels in the liver by 44% and reduces liver triglycerides by 40%.
Lycopene is a carotenoid mostly found in tomatoes, but also in smaller amounts in watermelon and other fruits. Clinical studies have shown that lycopene consumption may decrease the risk of prostate cancer. In fact, high intakes of lycopene are associated with a 30% to 40% reduced risk. And, as good as beta-carotene is, its cousin, lycopene, seems to be an even stronger nutrient, protecting not just against prostate cancer, but heart disease as well.
Lutein is found in many fruits and vegetables, including blueberries and members of the squash family. Lutein is important for healthy eyes, and in fact it is found in high concentrations naturally in the macular region of the retina – where we see fine detail. It is one of the only carotenoids, along with its close sibling zeaxanthin, that is found in the macula and lens of the eye.
Lutein also supports your heart, too. In a scientific study, lutein reduced atherosclerotic lesion size by 43%. In other words, high intakes of lutein may actually help prevent coronary artery disease!
Interestingly, as is the case with lycopene, cooking or processing foods with lutein may actually make it more easily absorbed.
In clinical studies, men with high intakes of lutein (and its close cousin, zeaxanthin, found in broccoli and spinach) had a 19% lower risk of cataract, and women had a 22% decreased risk, compared to those whose lutein intakes were much lower.
Vitamin C: One of the best-known nutrients out there, vitamin C keeps our immune system strong; speeds wound healing, and promote strong muscles and joints. A free-radical fighter, vitamin C prevents oxidative damage to tissues, builds strength in collagen and connective tissue, and even reduces joint pain.
Sources of vitamin C are scattered throughout the spectrum of fruits and vegetables.
Potassium: Most Americans are deficient in potassium. For the most part, it’s hard to get too much of this valuable mineral. Potassium does great things for our hearts. Higher intakes of dietary potassium from fruits and vegetables have been found in clinical research to lower blood pressure in only 4 weeks.
Many researchers believe that the typical American diet has led to a state of chronic, low-grade acidosis – too much acid in the body. Potassium helps change pH balance to a more alkaline environment in the body and increases bone density.
This was proven in the long-running Framingham Heart Study which showed that dietary potassium, (along with magnesium and fruit and vegetable intake) provided greater bone density in older individuals.
Fiber is another food component many just don’t get enough of – especially if they’re eating a “typical American diet.” Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber. However, fiber from a good fruits and vegetable drink mix should be derived from inulin and chicory root. This soluble fiber source not only adds to the overall amount of fiber you need (25 to 38 grams a day), but also provides a nice “nesting ground” for the beneficial bacteria that populate the intestines. And, even though some fiber has a bad rap for inhibiting mineral absorption, inulin and chicory root are “bone building” fibers – they actually help the body absorb calcium.
Flavonoids are an overarching term that encompasses flavonols, anthocyanidins, and flavones, isoflavones, proanthocyanidins, Quercetin and more. They are almost everywhere: in fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, nuts and seeds – even in the coffee, wine and tea we drink. Flavonoids are responsible for the colors in the skins of fruits and the leaves of trees and other plants.
Flavonoids have many health benefits. They can help stop the growth of tumor cells and are potent antioxidants. Additionally, flavonoids have also been studied for their ability to reduce inflammation.
Anthocyanins: High on the list of important “visible” nutrients are anthocyanins. They color fruits and vegetables blue and red.
Anthocyanins are members of this extended family of nutmeats, the flavonoids. Typically found in high amounts in berries, anthocyanins are readily absorbed in the stomach and small intestine.
As antioxidants, anthocyanins dive deep into cell membranes, protecting them from damage. IT may be one reason why the anthocyanins from blueberries are considered such an important component in battling neuronal decline, like Alzheimer’s. Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are also excellent sources of this flavonoids group.
SDG lignans, (short for secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) are polyphenolic components of flaxseed, pumpkin and other herbal sources. Much of the recent research surrounding lignans has focused on flaxseed. In scientific and clinical studies, lignans from flaxseed support hormonal balance and may have cancer-preventing abilities. In fact, in one study, flaxseed lignans reduced metastatic lung tumor by 82% compared to controls.
The lignans in pumpkin seed, also considered a major source, target 5-alpha reductase activity.
This enzyme catalyzes the conversion of testosterone into the more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT, like testosterone, is a steroid hormone or androgen. Androgens are responsible for the development and maintenance of masculine sex characteristics in both men and women. Excess levels of DHT can cause serious problems with prostate or bladder health. That’s why modulation of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is so important – it helps maintain healthy testosterone and DHT levels. By balancing the levels of these key hormones, pumpkin seed lignans provide protection for prostate and bladder cells.
In addition, pumpkin seed has been shown to modulate the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase is present in the estrogen-producing cells of the adrenal glands, ovaries, testicles, adipose tissue, and brain. Aromatase converts testosterone, an androgen, into estradiol, and estrogen.
Inhibition of the aromatase conversion can help maintain a balance of healthy testosterone levels in women, which has been shown to strengthen pelvic muscles and reduce incidence of incontinence.
In fact, a clinical study, involving a pumpkin extract in conjunction with soy, resulted in significant support for bladder health. After two weeks of supplementation, 23 of the 39 postmenopausal women enrolled in the study showed great improvement in urinary frequency and sleep. By the end of the six week study, 74.4 percent of participants found pumpkin extract safely and significantly improved “nocturnia,” that is, the need to urinate frequently at night. For individuals with 2 to 4 episodes of nocturnia prior to the stud, and 81.8% improvement was seen – also showing great improvement in sleep quality. After all, if you don’t have to wake up every couple of hours to go to the bathroom you’re bound to get better sleep.
Beta glucan: Mushrooms are intense immune-boosting powerhouses due to their beta-glucan content. Three well-studied power-house mushrooms that contribute beta glucan to the diet include maitake, reishi and shiitake.
The most significant constituents of mushrooms are long chain polysaccharides (molecules formed from many sugar units) known as beta-glucan. These huge molecules act as immunoregualtors in the human body, helping to stabilize and balance the immune system.
This includes specific support of white blood cells, or lymphocytes, the primary cells of the immune system. Lymphocytes fall broadly into three categories: T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells.
In one clinical study, 165 patients with various types of advanced cancer were given maitake mushroom compounds alone or with chemotherapy. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58% of liver cancer patients, and 62% of lung cancer patients. Plus, when maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, the immune cell activities were enhanced 1.2 to 1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone.
In another clinical study, researchers determined that Reishi increased the number of cancer killing white blood cells and made them more deadly to cancer cells.
And, in a scientific study of human breast cancer and myeloma cancer and myeloma cancer cell lines, shiitake compounds provided a 51% antiproliferative effect on the cells – inducing “apoptosis’ – the programmed cell death that should occur naturally.
While beta-glucan are distributed throughout the mushroom body, the beta-glucan concentrations are significantly higher in the mycelium – the interwoven fibers or filaments that make up the “feeding structure” of the mushroom.
Bioflavonoids are commonly found in bright yellow citrus fruits, including lemons, limes and oranges. They are responsible for the bright pigment found in the skin of the fruit, and are considered a “companion” to vitamin C, seeming to extend the value of the nutrient within the body.
Hesperidin is just one of the valuable bioflavonoids found in citrus. Hesperidin appears to lower cholesterol levels, as well as support joint collagen in examples of rheumatoid arthritis.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG):
Polyphenols, most notably EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, are well-studied and powerful components of tea. EGCG has been shown to reduce colon and breast cancer risk. Green tea also boosts the immune system and encourages T-cell formation – part of the front-line defense of our bodies against sickness and disease.
Q. I’ve been seeing articles about fruits, vegetables and supplements touting “high ORAC value.” What does this mean?
ORAC is an acronym for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, and is simply a measurement of antioxidant activity of nutrients. Oxygen radicals, or free radicals, are unstable molecules. They grab electrons from other cells to use for themselves, and in the process can damage them. It is believed that free radical activity plays a role in the development of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and also plays a role in aging.
Antioxidants help prevent this damage by “loaning out” extra electrons to stabilize free radicals/ Consider any fruit or vegetable with a high ORAC rating as having a lot of “antioxidant power.”
I know I should eat more fruits and vegetables, but it just seems so hard to get five servings a day.
The number one excuse I hear for not buying frits and veggies is that “fruits and vegetables are too expensive.” But are they really? Certainly, fresh foods that aren’t in season and have to be shipped a distance can be a bit pricey. If anyone added up how much spend on fast food, or prepackaged or processed snacks, it would probably be shocking.
Luckily, there are many ways to get your “Daily 5”. For instance, frozen fruits and veggies retain much of their nutrient profile. They can be an excellent alternative when certain foods are out of season. So too, are fruit and vegetable drink mixes – excellent supplemental sources of some of the nutrients our bodies need most.
More recently, the American
Of course, for people not accustomed to the fiber in fruits and veggies, there is some reason to think it’ll increase gas. When cell walls break down, and fiber passes through the system, it can create flatulence. Folks who eat fruits and vegetables every day generally don’t have this problem. Their systems are already accustomed to it.
For those just starting out on a better diet, however, start slowly – it helps your body adapt. Cooking vegetables can help, too, because it begins breaking down the cell walls early on.
One thing is certain, however. The “Typical American Diet” and good health are mutually exclusive. The increase in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension all point to the abuse our bodies suffer by eating diets high in fatty meats, processed sugars, and refined grains.
Q. Can I just drink fruit and vegetables drinks in place of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables?
Green drinks and fruit and vegetable drink mixes aren’t meant to replace whole foods, but they can be an excellent substitute when you’re rushed or traveling or just trying to fill everyday nutritional gaps. Their whole food ingredients absorb very easily and gently in the gut, and many of these drink mixes contain healthy doses of fiber, too.
Green drink mixes and food-based drink mixes combine many colorful fruits and vegetables and sometimes grasses in a healthy, mixable supplement assortment. While there have been many advancements in the field of green drinks, there are only a few that take the primary reason we eat into consideration: taste!
Happily, there are some companies out there with great-tasting drink mixes that also formulate based on the color concept, ensuring you get the broadest assortment of nutrients from a full range of fruit and vegetable colors to promote optimal health.
High-quality fruit and vegetable drink mixes offer the best from nature’s color wheel in a convenient and great-tasting supplement. So, the next tie you feel like taking a coffee break – try a fruit and veggie break instead. Your body and spirit will thank you.
Mushrooms are good for the Immune System
January 26, 2007 06:12 PM
Medicinal Mushrooms Grown on Purple Kculli Corn Yield Life Changing Results
Even though we treat them like vegetables, mushrooms aren’t really plants. They’re fungi and fungi grow much differently than fruits and vegetables. Most food plants, like strawberries, broccoli, and red bell peppers make chlorophyll from sunlight to gain the nutrients they need to grow. Mushrooms don’t make chlorophyll; to get the nutrients they need to grow, mushrooms release enzymes into the forest floor or flora they’re living on to break down the organic matter into a form the mushroom can absorb.
Because most mushrooms that we eat or use today are raised as crops, or cultivated, they are grown on a variety of substrates. Similar to the commercial potting soils you can buy at nurseries and garden stores, mushroom substrates vary widely in quality and the kinds of nutrients within. Mushrooms are really unique in that they can grow on almost anything, such as sawdust, shredded newspaper, and straw.
However, mushrooms are only as nutritious as the substrate they were grown on-even those unique varieties called medicinal mushrooms. While the simple button mushrooms found on pizza are most often eaten for their woodsy taste and texture, the use of medicinal mushrooms is much more complex. These mushrooms are valued because they contain numerous compounds that have been extensively studies by researchers for their ability to activate cells of the immune system.
Researchers have recently discovered that when medicinal mushrooms are grown on a Purple Kculli (pronounced ka-coo-lee) Corn substrate, the resulting mushrooms are jam-packed with powerful and potent disease-fighting compounds. Beautiful Purple Kculli Corn has long been used by the people of the Peruvian Andes as a tasty vegetable, natural food color, and powerful functional food-keeping them healthy and free of disease.
In this issue of Ask the Medicine Hunter, we’re going to talk about four powerful medicinal mushrooms that, when grown on Purple Kculli Corn, have even more potent compounds to prevent and treat cancer and other serious health problems.
Q. How exactly do medicinal mushrooms prevent and treat cancer?
A. Medicinal mushrooms are very complex. They contain numerous compounds that have been extensively studied for their ability to activate cells of the immune system. Some of the most amazing immune boosting compounds in medicinal mushrooms are beta-glucans 1-3, beta glucans 1-6, arabinogalactins, and arabinoxylans – compounds that work “hand-in-hand” with certain cells of the immune system. But to get abundant amounts of these compounds, medicinal mushrooms must be grown on substrates with high levels of nutrients. And the most nutrient dense substrate of all comes from Purple Kculli Corn.
Q. Why is Purple Kculli Corn extract good for growing medicinal mushrooms?
A. You’ve probably heard that brightly colored fruits and vegetables (like beets, broccoli, and blueberries), have more antioxidant power than paler fruits and vegetables (like iceberg lettuce, onions, and garlic). In fact, the deeper the color, the better. And there is no deeper color in nature than the deep purple of Purple Kculli Corn grown in the lush coastal plains of Peru. The kernels from Purple Kculli Corn are not only naturally beautiful, the pigment itself is extremely healthy and have been used by the people of the Peruvian Andes for centuries as both food and food coloring.
Once harvested, the Purple Kculli Corn is naturally processed into an antioxidant-rich extract. When certain medicinal mushrooms are grown on Purple Kculli Corn extract, the Purple Kculli Corn becomes a super-substrate, producing medicinal mushrooms with incredible amounts of the immune-boosting compounds. And when Purple Kculli Corn extract is added to medicinal mushroom formulas the antioxidant power increases, too.
Q. How do the medicinal mushroom compounds fight disease?
A. When bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens are present in the body, white blood cells, or leukocytes, swing into action. Leukocytes work together to defend the body against infections, like colds or the flu, as well as diseases that start within us, like cancer. These disease fighting cells are the backbone of the body’s defense system. And each type of cell works in different ways.
The macrophage, a name that means “big eater,” is a first-strike leukocyte that protects us from disease by, quit literally, devouring invading pathogens. Natural Killer (NK) cells act like sentries – constantly prowling for cancer cells, killing them quickly when they’re discovered. B-cells are the immune system’s military intelligence, seeking out targets and communicating their coordinates, while T-cells are the foot soldiers, destroying the invaders that the intelligence system has identified.
Scientists have long known that medicinal mushrooms help make white blood cells more deadly. But until recently, they weren’t sure how. Research has now shown that macrophages and NK cells have receptor sites specifically for beta-glucans 1-3 and beta-glucans 1-6. When the beta-glucans bind to the macrophages and NK cells, they make the lymphocytes stronger and more lethal. By increasing the lymphocytes’ strength, beta-glucans help them churn out more of the specialized chemical messengers, too.
Arabinogalactins and arabinoxylans, powerful polysaccharides found in medicinal mushrooms, are potent stimulators of the immune system. These compounds increase the activity of interleukins, interferons, and a tumor necrosis factor, all key components in a healthy immune system. When medicinal mushroom extracts with high amounts of Arabinogalactins and arabinoxylans are taken, diseases are dramatically reduced.
Researchers found that complex polysaccharides in four varieties of medicinal mushrooms – Agaricus blazei (Agaricus), Grifola frondosa (Maitake), Coriolus versicolor (Coriolus or Turkey Tail), and Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) – are serious cancer fighters. The chart below explains how:
Mushroom Health Benefit
Agaricus (Agaricus Blazei)
Agaricus not only contains the greatest number of medicinal compounds, it also contains a powerful anti-tumor polysaccharide that all other medicinal mushrooms are lacking. Recently, 100 women who were receiving carboplatin, a chemotherapy drug used to treat ovarian cancer, volunteered for an important study. Half of the women were given an extract of Agaricus mushrooms, while the other half were given a placebo or dummy pill. The researchers discovered that NK cell activity was significantly higher in the Agaricus group. The women in this group were also less nauseated, fatigued, and wear than the women taking the placebo, an important consideration for people with cancer.
Maitake (Grifola Frondosa)
Maitake is one of the most researched of all medicinal mushrooms. In one clinical study, the effect of Maitake mushroom compounds were studied in ten patients with cancer who were not currently taking any chemotherapeutic drugs. The researchers found that the Maitake not only significantly stimulated NK cell activity, it also repressed the cancer’s growth, and stopped the tumors’ ability to metastasize, or spread to other parts of the body. And in another clinical study, 165 patients with various types of advanced cancer were given Maitake mushroom compounds alone or with chemotherapy. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58% of liver cancer patients, 69% of breast cancer patients, and 62% of lung cancer patients. Plus, when Maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, the immune cell activities were enhanced 1.2 to 1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone.
Versicolor compounds show great promise as cancer immunotherapy agents in all cancer stages. In one clinical trial, 34 patients with advanced terminal lung cancer were given Coriolus versicolor polysaccharides or a placebo (dummy pill) for 28 days. While the group getting the Versicolor felt less fatigued and sick, very important considerations at the end-of-life, there were no changes in the placebo group.
Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum)
Reishi mushrooms are too tough to eat, but they’ve been used medicinally for centuries and have been extensively researched. In a safety study to determine Reishi’s effect on blood thinning mechanisms, healthy volunteers received 1.5 gm Reishi or placebo daily for 4 weeks. There were no significant changes in either group and all blood clotting measurements remained within the normal range, demonstrating its safety. In a recent clinical study, researchers determined that Reishi increased the number of cancer killing white blood cells and made them more deadly to cancer cells.
Not only do Agaricus, Maitake, Coriolus, and Reishi have incredible amounts of immune boosting polysaccharides, when they are grown on Purple Kculli Corn, they also have a much higher ORAC value than mushrooms grown on other substrates.
Q. What are ORAC values?
A. ORAC, or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, is a measurement of the antioxidant power in fruits and vegetables. The higher the power, or ORAC value, the stronger the antioxidant is against free radicals. While free radicals are made by breathing oxygen and digesting food, and are simply the consequences of being alive, the older we get the more free radicals we make. And the more free radicals we make the more destructive they can be. Free radicals will rip membranes, wreck cells, cripple mitochondria, and ruin DNA. As this damage accumulates, even more free radicals are made. And if not stopped or slowed, this might lead to heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, dementia, and cancer.
Q. How does Purple Kculli Corn increase the ORAC value of medicinal mushrooms?
A. All brightly colored fruits and vegetables have very high ORAC values; and the higher the ORAC value – the greater the antioxidant power. Not only can we measure the ORAC values of fruits and vegetables, we can also measure the ORAC values of mushroom substrate extracts. Purple Kculli Corn extract has an ORAC value of 1789 (measured in umolesTE/gram). Now, remember that mushrooms are fungi, not fruits and vegetables, and they gain most of their nutrients from the ground (or substrate) they are grown on. When mushrooms are cultivated or “farmed” on substrates with a high ORAC value, they will absorb compounds from the substrate giving them a higher ORAC value, too. So growing mushrooms on antioxidant rich, high ORAC value, Purple Kculli Corn yields medicinal mushrooms with high ORAC values as well.
Q. Some mushroom supplements have more than four medicinal mushrooms. Wouldn’t a mushroom supplement with seven mushrooms or more have a higher ORAC value than a supplement with only four?
A. Well, more is not always better – especially when it comes to medicinal mushrooms. Some supplements have a “kitchen sink” selection of mushrooms. The makers of these supplements hope that by adding modest amounts of many mushrooms, they will end up with a product that just might have some health benefits.
Clearly, it’s not how many or how exotic the mushrooms are in a medicinal mushroom supplement, it’s the substrate that mushrooms are grown on that makes the difference.
Q. How can I make sure the medicinal mushroom supplement I buy contains natural and organic mushrooms grown on Purple Kculli Corn substrate?
A. Become a label reader! Medicinal mushroom formulas have a statement showing accreditation from a certifying agency, such as the American Food Safety Institute, International; California Organic Farmer Association, Minnesota; or Crop Improvement Association, on the label, and have met certain criteria. They must be grown without chemicals or pesticides. The growers must be certified as organic mushroom produces by an accredited third party. And the growers must keep a record of their production and handling practices.
Of the nearly 38,000 varieties of mushrooms, Agaricus blazei, Grifola frondosa, Coriolus versicolor, and Ganoderma lucidum have impressive medicinal properties. With a little help from Purple Kculli Corn, these mushrooms can provide even more potent and powerful cancer preventing properties for superior mushroom supplements.
Lifespan Of Some Cells In The Human Body... 8 Essential monosaccharides
October 26, 2006 12:07 PM
LIFESPAN OF SOME CELLS IN THE HUMAN BODY
the 8 Essential sugars (monosaccharides) needed for optimal health!
7-Keto - Anti-Aging and Antioxidant Protection
December 18, 2005 09:44 PM
“Anti-Aging and Antioxidant Protection”
The Fountain of Youth Discovered in Wisconsin
It turns out that Ponce de Leon was looking in the wrong place for the fabled Fountain of Youth. It was recently discovered – in Wisconsin! And it turns out that the Fountain of Youth isn’t really a fountain – it’s a biological compound produced in our own bodies. This compound is extremely important for the growth and development of the human body, and, as the body’s production of this substance decreases with age, the signs of aging begin to appear – weight gain, wrinkled skin, loss of muscle, loss of cognitive function, and loss of libido.
This biological Fountain of Youth was discovered by Dr. Henry Lardy and associates at the Institute for Enzyme Research at the University of Wisconsin. It’s called 7-Keto™, a metabolite of a hormone produced by the adrenal glands called DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). Research on 7-Keto™ indicates that it may work through a number of pathways to combat the signs of aging. Helping the body maintain a healthy weight as we age greatly improves overall health and longevity and is one of the strongest benefits discovered for 7-Keto™ to date.
Unfortunately, because 7-Keto™ is a metabolite of DHEA, whose levels decline as we age, so to does this wonderful, natural bio-nutrient. Scientists originally looked to DHEA for improved cardiovascular vitality, and strengthened immune and brain function3. Researchers believed that declining DHEA so profoundly impacted our bodies that it could be partly responsible for the effects of aging. They hypothesized that supplementation with DHEA could sustain hormone levels and stave off many of the degenerative changes we collectively call aging. But there was a catch. Because DHEA is converted into sex hormones, people taking supplemental DHEA would sometimes experience the frightening, unwanted side effects associated with hormone supplementation.
In 1989, Dr. Lardy and his colleagues set out to solve the mystery of eliminating DHEA’s side effects by examining all of the constituents that make up DHEA. Ten long years of research unearthed hundreds of DHEA derivatives, which were developed and tested continuously, until one derivative rose above all the others – a metabolite that was incredibly bio-active and far more promising than any other substance they’d tested. That metabolite is 7-Keto™. 7-Keto™ outperformed DHEA and other metabolites in immune modulation, memory enhancement and thermogenesis and, more importantly, without any adverse side effects3.
The most significant benefit of 7-Keto™ supplementation is its ability to support healthy body weight. Obesity is a major contributing factor in a number of serious medical conditions. A recent study assessed the effectiveness of 7-Keto™ on weight loss and body fat loss. Participants were divided into two groups; one group received 100mg of 7-Keto™ twice daily and the other a placebo. Both groups exercised three times per week. At the end of the study, researchers noted a statistically significant reduction in body weight and body fat only in the 7-Keto™ group. Researchers concluded that 7-Keto™ was three times more effective than diet and exercise alone in promoting weight and fat loss1,2,7. Preliminary research also indicates that 7-Keto™ may support healthy immune and nervous systems. One study measured the effects of 7-Keto™ on memory function. Subjects were given a single dose of a substance that inhibits nerve cell communication and causes shortterm memory loss. Afterwards subjects were given a single dose of 7-Keto™. Results showed that 7-Keto completely reversed the memory impairment, suggesting that 7-Keto™ supports memory retention6.
Another study gauged 7-Keto™’s ability to support immune system function. Interleukin 2 (IL2) is a substance produced by T lymphocytes that causes an increase of disease fighting white blood cells. White blood cells were taken from healthy volunteers and introduced into a solution that contained 7-Keto™ for 24 hours. When the cultures were tested for heightened IL2 production. 7-Keto™ was shown to augment IL2 production by a statistically significant 68%4.
NOW® 7-Keto™ is a well-researched and patented form of this amazing product that’s supplied by the Humanetics Corporation. Humanetics 7-Keto™ has been proven safe and well-tolerated in doses up to 200mg5. Research is clear, the rate at which we age can be influenced by the diet and lifestyle choices we make. One very smart choice would clearly be adding NOW 7-Keto™ to your diet.
1) 7-Keto™: The Key to Healthy Aging – Scientific Support; Humanetics Corporation, 1999
Allibiotic CF Fact Sheet
December 07, 2005 01:37 PM
Allibiotic CF Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 03/09/05
LIKELY USERS: People seeking support of the immune system and intestinal flora
KEY INGREDIENTS: Allicin (“AlliSure” patented, stabilized allicin from fresh garlic); Olive Leaf Extract (Olea Europaea with 18% minimum Oleuropein content); Elderberry extract, from fruit/berry, 60:1 concentrate (equivalent to 2,500 mg. of fresh berries of Sambucus nigra); Oil of Oregano (wild oregano from Origanum vulgare) ImmunEnhancer AG (trademarked Arabinogalactan from Larch Tree, Larix occidentalis)
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: AlliSure is the clinically tested, patented and stable form of allicin. Not allicin potential, but actual allicin. Allicin represents the immune supporting nutrients of raw garlic, and is chemically similar to penicillin, though with different physical properties. AlliSure shares garlic’s abilities to help maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and also has been shown to raise levels of a key T cell to enhance immune system function. Like raw garlic, AlliSure has antimicrobial properties linked to its ability to react with sulfur-containing metabolic enzymes. Allicin is also shown in studies to play a role in controlling blood sugar and abnormal cell growth.
Black Elderberries have strong antioxidant properties, containing flavonoids like anthocyanidins. They have been studied in relation to inhibition of viral replication and of minor inflammations.
Olive Leaf has been used as an antioxidant, cholesterol and blood viscosity regulator, and vasodilator. But its most important use has been as a way to help the body deal with undesirable organisms in the vital respiratory and intestinal areas.
Oil of Oregano (wild oregano, wild marjoram) contains carvacrol and thymol, which are responsible for much of its antimicrobial activities. It also has some anti-inflammatory effects.
Arabinogalactan from Larch tree bark (ImmunEnhancer AG) can help speed the immune system’s response to undesirable organisms and is often compared to Echinacea. It has also been shown to promote the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT INFORMATION: Patented and trademarked ingredients enhance quality controls and have clinical research. Rosemary Oil provides antioxidant protection for the capsule contents. Enteric coating protects the capsule from stomach acid to deliver its contents past the stomach. This helps to assure full potency and reduces the possibility of the oils repeating.
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: One softgel twice daily, preferably with meals. Try one before using the full dose.
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: Probiotics, Antioxidants, D-Flame
CAUTIONS: Pregnant & lactating women, children and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. Discontinue use if any uncomfortable side effects occur. This information is based on my own knowledge and references, and should not be used as diagnosis, prescription or as a specific product claim.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Josling P. Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey. Adv Ther. 2001 Jul-Aug;18(4):189-93. (AlliSure was used in this study.)
Abramovitz D, Gavri S, Harats D, Levkovitz H, Mirelman D, Miron T, Eilat-Adar S, Rabinkov A, Wilchek M, Eldar M, Vered Z. Allicin-induced decrease in formation of fatty streaks (atherosclerosis) in mice fed a cholesterol-rich diet. Coron Artery Dis. 1999 Oct;10(7):515-9. PMID: 10562920
Ankri S, Miron T, Rabinkov A, Wilchek M, Mirelman D. Allicin from garlic strongly inhibits cysteine proteinases and cytopathic effects of Entamoeba histolytica. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1997 Oct;41(10):2286-8. PMID: 9333064
Cellini L, Di Campli E, Masulli M, Di Bartolomeo S, Allocati N. Inhibition of Helicobacter pylori by garlic extract (Allium sativum). FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 1996 Apr;13(4):273-7. PMID: 8739190
Chowdhury AK, Ahsan M, Islam SN, Ahmed ZU. Efficacy of aqueous extract of garlic & allicin in experimental shigellosis in rabbits. Indian J Med Res. 1991 Jan;93:33-6.
Eilat S, Oestraicher Y, Rabinkov A, Ohad D, Mirelman D, Battler A, Eldar M, Vered Z. Alteration of lipid profile in hyperlipidemic rabbits by allicin, an active constituent of garlic. Coron Artery Dis. 1995 Dec;6(12):985-90. PMID: 8723021
Elkayam A, Mirelman D, Peleg E, Wilchek M, Miron T, Rabinkov A, Oron-Herman M, Rosenthal T. The effects of allicin on weight in fructose-induced hyperinsulinemic, hyperlipidemic, hypertensive rats. Am J Hypertens. 2003 Dec;16(12):1053-6. PMID: 14643581
Feldberg RS, Chang SC, Kotik AN, Nadler M, Neuwirth Z, Sundstrom DC, Thompson NH. In vitro mechanism of inhibition of bacterial cell growth by allicin. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1988 Dec;32(12):1763-8.
Focke M, Feld A, Lichtenthaler K. Allicin, a naturally occurring antibiotic from garlic, specifically inhibits acetyl-CoA synthetase. FEBS Lett. 1990 Feb 12;261(1):106-8.
Hirsch K, Danilenko M, Giat J, Miron T, Rabinkov A, Wilchek M, Mirelman D, Levy J, Sharoni Y. Effect of purified allicin, the major ingredient of freshly crushed garlic, on cancer cell proliferation. Nutr Cancer. 2000;38(2):245-54. PMID: 11525603
Patya M, Zahalka MA, Vanichkin A, Rabinkov A, Miron T, Mirelman D, Wilchek M, Lander HM, Novogrodsky A. Allicin stimulates lymphocytes and elicits an antitumor effect: a possible role of p21ras. Int Immunol. 2004 Feb;16(2):275-81. PMID: 14734613
Rabinkov A, Miron T, Mirelman D, Wilchek M, Glozman S, Yavin E, Weiner L. S-Allylmercaptoglutathione: the reaction product of allicin with glutathione possesses SH-modifying and antioxidant properties. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2000 Dec 11;1499(1-2):144-153. PMID: 11118647
Rabinkov A, Miron T, Konstantinovski L, Wilchek M, Mirelman D, Weiner L. The mode of action of allicin: trapping of radicals and interaction with thiol containing proteins. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1998 Feb 2;1379(2):233-44. PMID: 9528659
Sela U, Ganor S, Hecht I, Brill A, Miron T, Rabinkov A, Wilchek M, Mirelman D, Lider O, Hershkoviz R. Allicin inhibits SDF-1alpha-induced T cell interactions with fibronectin and endothelial cells by down-regulating cytoskeleton rearrangement, Pyk-2 phosphorylation and VLA-4 expression. Immunology. 2004 Apr;111(4):391-9. PMID: 15056375
Shadkchan Y, Shemesh E, Mirelman D, Miron T, Rabinkov A, Wilchek M, Osherov N. Efficacy of allicin, the reactive molecule of garlic, in inhibiting Aspergillus spp. in vitro, and in a murine model of disseminated aspergillosis. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2004 May;53(5):832-6. Epub 2004 Mar 24. PMID: 15044429
Tsai Y, Cole LL, Davis LE, Lockwood SJ, Simmons V, Wild GC. Antiviral properties of garlic: in vitro effects on influenza B, herpes simplex and coxsackie viruses. Planta Med. 1985 Oct;(5):460-1. PMID: 3001801
Uchida Y, Takahashi T, Sato N. [The characteristics of the antibacterial activity of garlic (author's transl)] Jpn J Antibiot. 1975 Aug;28(4):638-42. PMID: 1099271
Yasuo Yamada and Keizô Azuma. Evaluation of the In Vitro Antifungal Activity of Allicin. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1977 April; 11(4): 743–749.
Duke JA. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1985, 423.
Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C, et al. (eds). PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics, 1998, 1116–7.
Mascolo N, Autore G, Capasso G, et al. Biological screening of Italian medicinal plants for anti-inflammatory activity. Phytother Res 1987;1:28–31.
Murkovic M, Abuja PM, Bergmann AR, et al. Effects of elderberry juice on fasting and postprandial serum lipids and low-density lipoprotein oxidation in healthy volunteers: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Eur J Clin Nutr. Feb2004;58(2):244-9.
Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 104–5.
Yesilada E. Inhibitory Effects of Turkish Folk Remedies on Inflammatory Cytokines: Interleukin-1Alpha, Interleukin-1Beta and Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha. J Ethnopharmacol. Sept1997;58(1):59-73. Youdim KA, Martin A, Joseph JA. Incorporation of the elderberry anthocyanins by endothelial cells increases protection against oxidative stress. Free Radical Biol Med 2000;29:51–60.
Zakay-Rones Z, Varsano N, Zlotnik M, et al. Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an outbreak of influenza B Panama. J Alt Compl Med 1995;1:361–9.
OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT:
American Herbal Products Association. Use of Marker Compounds in Manufacturing and Labeling Botanically Derived Dietary Supplements. Silver Spring, MD: American Herbal Products Association; 2001.
Bennani-Kabchi N, et al. Effects of Olea europea var. oleaster leaves in hypercholesterolemic insulin-resistant sand rats. Therapie. Nov1999;54(6):717-23.
Bisignano G, et al. On the in-vitro antimicrobial activity of oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol. J Pharm Pharmacol. Aug1999;51(8):971-4. Gonzalez M, et al. Hypoglycemic activity of olive leaf. Planta Medica. 1992;58:513-515. Visoli F, et al. Oleuropein protects low density lipoprotein from oxidation. Life Sciences. 1994;55:1965-71. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd edition. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:557.
Petroni A, et al. Inhibition of platelet aggregation and eicosanoid production by phenolic components of olive oil.Thromb Res. Apr1995;78(2):151-60. Pieroni A, et al. In vitro anti-complementary activity of flavonoids from olive (Olea europaea L.) leaves. Pharmazie. Oct1996;51(10):765-8. Zarzuelo A, et al. Vasodilator effect of olive leaf. Planta Med. Oct1991;57(5):417-9. OREGANO OIL (OIL OF OREGANO, WILD OREGANO, WILD MARJORAM):
Dorman HJ, et al. Antimicrobial agents from plants: antibacterial activity of plant volatile oils. J Appl Microbiol. Feb2000;88(2):308-16. Force M, et al. Inhibition of enteric parasites by emulsified oil of oregano in vivo. Phytother Res. May2000;14(3):213-4.
Hammer KA, Carson CF, Riley TV. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils and other plant extracts. J Appl Microbiol 1999;86:985–90.
Kelm MA, Nair MG, Strasburg GM. Antioxidant and Cyclooxygenase Inhibitory Phenolic Compounds from Ocimum sanctum Linn. Phytomedicine. Mar2000;7(1):7-13. Lamaison JL, et al. Medicinal Lamiaceae with antioxidant properties, a potential source of rosmarinic acid. Pharm Acta Helv. 1991;66(7):185-8.
Ponce MM, Navarro AI, Martinez GMN, et al. In vitro effect against Giardia of 14 plant extracts. Rev Invest Clin 1994;46:343–7 [in Spanish].
Stiles JC, Sparks W, Ronzio RA. The inhibition of Candida albicans by oregano. J Applied Nutr 1995;47:96–102.
Tantaoui EA, Beraoud L. Inhibition of growth and aflatoxin production in Aspergillus parasiticus by essential oils of selected plant materials. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol 1994;13:67–72. ImmunEnhancer AG (Larch tree Arabinogalactan)
Corado J, et al. Impairment of Natural Killer (NK) Cytotoxic Activity in Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection. Exp Immunol. 1997;109:451-457. Currier NL, Lejtenyi D, Miller SC. Effect over time of in-vivo administration of the polysaccharide arabinogalactan on immune and hemopoietic cell lineages in murine spleen and bone marrow. Phytomedicine. 2003 Mar;10(2-3):145-53. PMID: 12725568
Egert D, et al. Studies on Antigen Specificity of Immunoreactive Arabinogalactan Proteins Extracted from Baptisia tinctoria and Echinacea purpurea. Planta Med. 1992;58:163-165. Gonda R, et al. Arabinogalactan Core Structure and Immunological Activities of Ukonan C, An Acidic Polysaccharide from the Rhizome of Curcuma longa. Biol Pharm Bull. 1993;16:235-238. Hagmar B, et al. Arabinogalactan Blockade of Experimental Metastases to Liver by Murine Hepatoma. Invasion Metastasis. 1991;11:348-355. Kelly GS. Larch arabinogalactan: clinical relevance of a novel immune-enhancing polysaccharide. Altern Med Rev. 1999 Apr;4(2):96-103. Review. PMID: 10231609
Kim LS, Waters RF, Burkholder PM. Immunological activity of larch arabinogalactan and Echinacea: a preliminary, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Altern Med Rev. 2002 Apr;7(2):138-49. PMID: 11991793
Levine PH, et al. Dysfunction of Natural Killer Activity in a Family With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Clin Immunol Immunopathol. 1998;88:96-104. Robinson RR, Feirtag J, Slavin JL. Effects of dietary arabinogalactan on gastrointestinal and blood parameters in healthy human subjects. J Am Coll Nutr. 2001 Aug;20(4):279-85. PMID: 11506055
Rolfe RD. The Role of Probiotic Cultures in the Control of Gastrointestinal Health. J Nutr. Feb2000;130(2S Suppl):396S-402S.
Salyers AA, Vercellotti JR, West SE, Wilkins TD. Fermentation of mucin and plant polysaccharides by strains of Bacteroides from the human colon. Appl Environ Microbiol. 1977 Feb;33(2):319-22. PMID: 848954
Uchida A. Therapy of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Nippon Rinsho. 1992;50:2679-2683.
Curcumin - Turmeric Extract
August 19, 2005 12:47 PM
Turmeric- History and Traditional Usage
Native to Southeast Asia, Curcuma longa is a tall
In addition to its
Turmeric is named in
Protects cells and tissues by fighting free radicals.*
Supports joint function*
The numerous beneficial
Animal studies- In vivo protective effects
Through its free radical scavenging
Curcumin exhibits free-radical scavenging ability when
Bioperine-Nature’s Absorption Enhancer
Traditional Ayurvedic herbal
Curcumin is poorly absorbed in the intestinal
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Common Sense Guidelines for Avoiding the Flu and Colds
July 28, 2005 02:07 PM
Common Sense Guidelines for Avoiding the Flu and Colds
1. Eat a healthy diet. The most important way to prevent being infected is through a proper diet. Raw vegetables, fruits, sprouts, nuts, and seeds should be eaten in abundance. Fresh fruit juices such as apple and grape can help the body flush out toxins. Do not overeat. Avoid sugar, soft drinks, white flour products, chocolate, fried foods, alcohol and tobacco.
2. Exercise for health. Exercise at least three times per week to help strengthen the immune system. Regular exercise is known to help enhance the body’s resistance to disease. Exercise can improve the white blood cell count in the body, which fights germs. It stimulates the lymphatic flow and blood circulation, which allows for the blood flow to increase to the brain and all areas of the body. It can help release hormones that actually help you to feel good. Exercise can help relieve anxiety and stress in the body. It can help increase energy and an overall sense of well being.
3. Get plenty of rest. A good night’s sleep helps the immune system fight off illness. This keeps your immune cells powered up, according to research done at the San Diego Veterans Affairs Medical Center. In the study, 42 healthy volunteers were allowed only four hours of shut-eye overnight, which resulted in 30 percent drop in natural killer cells (key players in the battle against viral infections). Sleep deprivation also decreased immune cells, such as T-lymphocytes.3
4. Wash hands regularly. Viruses are easily transmitted during casual contact like shaking hands or touching a doorknob. Wash hands after coming into contact with someone who is ill. Keep hands away from face and mouth.
5. Use paper cups in the bathroom. Viruses can often spread through the family. Using small, disposable paper cups in the bathroom may stop some of the transmission. Toothbrushes should also be replaced regularly to avoid recontamination.
6. Wash towels and linens often. If someone in the family becomes ill, wash towels daily. Hot water should be used in washing to kill the viruses involved.
Benefits and Functions of Essential Fatty Acids
June 25, 2005 08:29 PM
Benefits and Functions of Essential Fatty Acids
The body takes combinations of different triglycerides and makes fats from them to help in various processes. The basic building blocks of any fats are the fatty acids. Fatty acids are either essential or nonessential. A fatty acid is considered essential if 1) the body is unable to synthesize it and 2) the only way it can be obtained is through the diet. In addition, it is considered essential if a deficiency will cause a disease. As far back as 1930 researchers discovered that if an animal did not get essential fatty acids in the diet, it could cause symptoms such as poor reproduction, lowered immunity, rough, dry skin, and slow growth, among others. There are basically three essential fatty acids. They are linoleic acid, linolenic acid, and arachidonic acid. Linoleic acid is the most vital. Linolenic and arachidonic acids can be converted from linoleic acid, but linoleic acid must be obtained from the diet. Most people are unaware of the many vital functions of essential fatty acids. The list includes:
Cholesterol is synthesized throughout the body. It is manufactured by cells, glands, the small intestine and the liver. Cholesterol is constructed from dietary by-products of proteins, sugars and fats. If the diet contains excessive fats, especially the saturated types, the body will convert them into cholesterol. People who eat high sugar or fat diets may therefore experience elevated cholesterol levels.
Prostaglandins are found in almost all body cells, and act as catalysts for many physiological processes. They help prevent abnormal blood clotting and nerve inflammation. Prostaglandins also help promote blood circulation by dilating the blood vessels and improve immune system function. The most beneficial type of prostaglandin is called PGE-1. PGE-1 balances cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and stimulates the body’s production of T-lymphocytes which strengthen the immune capabilities. Each cell keeps tiny amounts of EFAs and produces prostaglandins from them as they are needed. The name prostaglandins was coined because these substances were originally found in high amounts in the prostate gland. To date, there have been discovered at least thirty-six different prostaglandins with a wide range of roles in the body.
Echinacea, Radiation and Chemotherapy
June 24, 2005 01:26 PM
Echinacea, Radiation and Chemotherapy
For anyone who has to undergo radiation treatments, echinacea can also be beneficial. One of the drawbacks of both radiation and chemotherapy is that white blood cells are destroyed by the treatments. The particular therapeutic action of echinacea discussed above shows that it can stimulate an increase in white blood cells following radiation treatments. These findings also suggest that echinacea works best to combat infection if taken early, before the infection spreads. In light of these studies, taking echinacea is highly recommended for anyone undergoing radiation or chemotherapy for cancer.
The Dual Immune Function of Echinacea
What is fascinating about echinacea is that while it can raise white blood cell activity it can also lower it when appropriate. This plant has the ability to affect opposite reactions in the body, and it is the body’s condition which determines they type of action initiated. There are no known synthetic drugs which have this dualism to both augment and suppress the immune response according to need. Laboratory tests have shown that echinacea does, in fact, boost the production of antibodies and T-cells. In the case of any infection, the sooner treatment is started, the better the results will be.
Interferon Production, T-Lymphocytes, and Echinacea
Interferon is produced in the body primarily by T-cells. The chemical components of interf e ron are extremely important in activating white blood cells to destroy cancer cells and viruses. Several nutrients can help boost the production of interferon but none seem to have the potency of echinacea. The effect of echinacea is considered remarkable in its ability to stimulate the production and action of interferon.8 It is this effect which results in significant antiviral actions T-Lymphocytes are responsible for what is called cell-mediated immunity. In other words, immune functions that are not controlled by antibodies. This type of immunity is vital in protecting the body against certain diseases caused by fungi (such as yeast infections), parasites, moldlike bacteria and viruses. Contracting these types of infections may indicate that the immune system has already been compromised and is susceptible to invasion. In addition to the disorders listed above, cell-mediated immunity also helps to protect us from autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, allergies and the formation of malignancies. Interferon is produced by T-Cells and acts to boost and potentiate the immune system. Laboratory tests have confirmed that extracts of the echinacea root contain interferon-like properties .9 Clearly, interferon boosts immune function and is currently being tested for its potential value in treating cancer. It is produced naturally in the body and enables body systems to resist viral invasion. Some studies have suggested that echinacea may be effective in fighting tumor related and infectious diseases.10 Echinacea has been found to effectively pre vent the spread of infection.11 It inhibits the production the action of hyaluronidase, an enzyme which is secreted by invading organisms to make surrounding tissue more susceptible to infection proliferation. Hyaluronic acid is the stuff that glues cells together to create tissue. It is vital to protecting our cell walls against the threat of invasion by disease microbes like strep and staph bacteria. Hyaluronidase breaks down the viscosity of this acid making it possible for organisms to enter and destroy. In addition, the polysaccharide contained in the herb can protect cells against diseases such as herpes, canker sores, colds, flu and a variety of infections.
The Lymph Sy stem and Echinacea
Echinacea acts as a natural antibiotic and helps to clear toxins from the glands and lymphatic systems. Lymphatic circulation is vital to the immune system. The lymph system is considered the second circulatory system of the body. It cleans the body of excess waste from cellular functions which is discarded through the kidneys. Lymphatic function can be improved by increasing the circulation of lymph fluid. Echinacea can accomplish this and in addition, helps to expedite waste products through the lymph system.12 Apparently, Echinacea improves the circulation of both blood and lymph, which can facilitate the removal of waste through the skin, kidneys and the bowel.
The Colds & Flu Report
June 18, 2005 08:38 AM
The Colds & Flu Report by Sherrill Williams Energy Times, October 13, 2004
The nose knows the misery of a cold: stuffiness, watery eyes, sore throat and nagging cough. These annoyances are especially frustrating when there's not enough time in your busy schedule to be sick.
Traditional remedies help: Slurping a cup of Grandma's chicken soup. Sweating in a hot bath. Climbing under the covers until further notice.
While no one can guarantee you won't catch a cold this year, a few simple measures can limit your sick days and give you the best chance to dodge upper respiratory distress. The common cold is a frequent and expensive problem, causing about 15 million lost work days for Americans each year. Some people seem just about immune to the group of viruses that cause colds. But others may endure as many as 12 colds per year. For the lucky ones, a cold's irritations last a couple of days. For the unfortunate, a cold can drag on for a couple of weeks.
Influenza (commonly known as the flu) has many of the same discomforts as a cold, and both disorders originate in the upper respiratory tract. But while a cold usually stays on tract, the flu is often accompanied by fever, prominent headaches and severe aches and pains around the body. Fatigue from the flu can last as long as two to three weeks during recovery. All this distress demonstrates that your body is fighting off the invaders.
Traditional healers advocate the use of the herb echinacea at the first sign of getting sick. Echinacea, commonly known as purple coneflower, is native to North America and was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia until the 1950s.
Rosemary Gladstar, a Vermont herbalist and author of Family Herbal (Storey Books), suggests taking echinacea (Echinacea ssp.) in frequent small amounts in tincture or tea form at the first sign of cold or flu.
" Most of the compounds in echinacea are water soluble, so it makes a fine tea," says Gladstar. She also encourages echinacea tea as a gargle or spray to relieve sore throats.
Research at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts validates what traditional healers such as Rosemary Gladstar have known: echinacea works best if taken at the onset of colds or flu. In an animal study, scientists found that echinacea triggered a humoral immune response, an immune reaction that spurs the production of special proteins that latch onto and destroy viruses (Immunopharmacology & Immunotoxicology 2003 Nov; 25(4):551-60).
In another study, researchers found that echinacea enhances immune actions called T cell subsets or helper cell activity (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 2004 Jul; 27(7):1004-9). Helper cells are lymphocytes that take part in the destruction of viruses. In the quest for the kind of immunity that makes you less vulnerable to infection by troublesome viruses, Gladstar says that "echinacea is safe for children, the elderly and everyone in between."
C Is for Colds-And So Is E
The reputation of vitamin C as the anti-cold nutrient has been batted back and forth in the media for decades. Your body can't store up much of this antioxidant water-soluble vitamin, so you have to consume it every day on a regular basis. And while vitamin C may not prevent the common cold, research does demonstrate that it can help reduce a cold's severity and make it go away faster (Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics 1999 Oct; 22(8):530-3).
Adequate vitamin C is crucial for a healthy immune system. Even a marginal deficiency of this nutrient can leave you more vulnerable to the viruses that cause cold and flu. Plus, if you get a runny nose, researchers believe vitamin C can act as a mild antihistamine, slowing that runny nose to a walk.
In a University of Texas study reported at the 60th Anniversary meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in 2003, daily doses of vitamin C were shown to significantly aid immunity.
After two weeks of taking vitamin C, the people in this study had their blood examined. Researchers found increased numbers of NK (natural killer) cells, immune warriors that destroy infected cells. In addition, vitamin C activated T cells, a class of immune cells that also fight viruses.
And now a newsbreak: you can add vitamin E, vitamin C's antioxidant companion, to your cold prevention shopping list, at least if you're a senior citizen. According to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2004; 292(7):828-36), nursing home residents aged 65 and older who took vitamin E enjoyed a 20% risk reduction when it came to developing upper respiratory infections.
Don't Be Sick, Stay Happy
" When you smile, the whole world smiles with you" is a melody that is music to immunity. Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have found that folks who are relaxed, happy and maintain positive emotions are less likely to catch colds. In addition, people who are depressed, nervous or angry are more likely to complain of cold symptoms whether or not they actually have a cold (Psycho Med 2003 Jul; 65:652-7). According to Sheldon Cohen, PhD, "Study participants who had a positive emotional style weren't infected as often and experienced fewer symptoms compared to people with a negative emotional style."
So you don't have to be a passive cold victim this winter. When viruses threaten you, according to Mary L. Hardy, MD, you can also try:
" The first caution I give people is to get a good diagnosis," says Dr. Hardy. "If your cold is not acting like a normal cold, or if it has lasted more than a short amount of time, make sure you don't have a more serious condition, such as pneumonia." In that case, seek professional help.
But if you've contracted a run-of-the-mill winter cold, keep your spirits and immunity up! Even if you've been impulsively singing and dancing in the rain, the chill and wet won't result in a cold if you let a smile be your immune umbrella!
Immunity - The Big Picture
June 10, 2005 09:51 PM
Immunity: The Big Picture by Brian Amherst Energy Times, August 3, 1999
Your body wants to be well. Outfitted with a battalion of defenses for strategic deployment, your immune system explodes with resistant force at the first sign of infective invasion.
Think of the time a tiny splinter embedded itself in your thumb. By bedtime, the spot rose and reddened; by morning, white blood cells had launched their campaign, building a hot, throbbing fortification. By day's end, the bit of wood was propelled to the surface and ejected by the immune system warriors. Once again, a foreign assailant was summarily ousted.
The Protective Force
"Supporting the immune system is critical to good health. Conversely, good health is critical to supporting the immune system." So write naturopathic doctors Michael T. Murray and Joseph E. Pizzorno in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima).
Maintaining the immune system requires a comprehensive program of wholesome diet, resilient attitude, fitness enhancing activity and nutrients keyed to the clear and specific needs of this energetic machine.
The all-star lineup for immune sustenance: a high-potency multiple vitamin/mineral formula, vitamins C and A, bioflavonoids, isoflavones, zinc and selenium, antioxidants like ActiVin (grape seed extract) and pycnogenol (French maritime pine bark), as well as the botanicals echinacea and astragalus.
But optimal partnering with your immune system also benefits from understanding its workings.
Lymph, a milky fluid consisting of water protein and immune cells, is the essence of the immune system. Powered by muscle movement (an important reason why exercise boosts immunity), the lymphatic system collects and transports lymph to the lymph nodes. These nodes contain certain immune cells and filter out invading antigens, as well as produce antibodies, before siphoning the lymph out into the bloodstream.
If you've ever had "swollen glands," that means your lymph nodes have been in overdrive.
Macrophages are the immune cells that filter lymph, consuming bacteria and cellular debris while protecting the lymph system from invasion and damage.
The White Blood Cell Album
In Monocytes collect cellular trash after infections and can trigger immune responses; eosinophils can eliminate foreign particles and, with basophils, are involved in immune response.
In Lymphocytes include varieties of T cells, which work with other white blood cells or attack and destroy foreign tissue, cancer cells or virus-infected cells; B cells that produce antibodies that bind to bacteria, viruses or tumors; and natural killer cells (NKCs) that destroy cancerous or virally-infected cells.
(Based on information in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine; The Road to Immunity: How to Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) by Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin; and the Johns Hopkins Family Health Book (Harper Resource).
Keep the System Sound
"But you must always be sure to maintain the mind-body-spirit link," he told Energy Times. "For the mind, it could be exercise, yoga or meditation. Evidence shows improved immune system responses from these therapies. And in any case, you never read in the headlines that somebody has been admitted to the emergency room overdosing on meditation.
"Intentionality also is an important part of the mind link: believing you are going to fare well. For your spirit, you must ask yourself such questions as, Do I feel connected to others?
"For the body, a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement. Much depends on your community: I live on Long Island, where there is a high incidence of breast cancer, so I would recommend green tea and isoflavones from soy products for women."
Dr. Benjamin stresses moderation in the use of immune-intensifying supplements, among which he cites mixed carotenoids, zinc and vitamin E.
The Soy Solution
In a study conducted by the University of Southern California at Norris and published in the March 4, 1998 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers reported that genistein, an active component of soy products, short-circuits the ability of tumor cells to elude destruction by the immune system due to an excess of defensive stress proteins.
Genistein seems to make cancer cells vulnerable to the immune response. Researchers at Wake Forest University told participants at the January 1999 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that dietary or supplemental soy fed to monkeys counteracted cell proliferation that is a cancer precursor.
That Championship C
Immune cells are known to accumulate and retain high levels of vitamin C. Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York now understand how that happens: Proteins called growth factors (which control growth and production of immune cells) also increase those cells' ability to take up vitamin C.
These researchers, reporting in the April 1998 issue of the journal Blood, explain that the additional glucose that the growth factors pump into immune cells (for enhanced energy), plus extra vitamin C, intensify immune response.
And folks with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood serum experience less cell damage from free radicals that leads to cancer, heart and pulmonary disease and other chronic conditions.
Scientists at the University of Buffalo (addressing the June 13, 1997 meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research) deduced from studying population groups that high levels of vitamin C are associated with low oxidative stress and lower risk of cell damage.
From A to Zinc
In Colostrum, the pre-milk liquid produced by mammals during the first 24 to 48 hours after birth, took the spotlight recently as a supplement imbued with multiple immune factors and natural antibiotics that augment body's immune response. A 1992 study showed that bovine colostrum might be able to reduce and prevente infections in immune deficient folks, especially those with AIDS.
In University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers found for the first time (on laboratory animals) that vitamin D appreciably inhibits widespread prostate cancer by binding to cancer cells and triggering cell death or their transformation to benign cells.
In Vitamin E exerts formidable immune-enhancing influence on both antibody and cell-mediated immunity. One fundamental study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (245, 1981: 53-58) established conclusively that vitamin E deficiency results in significant impairment of immune function. Later studies demonstrated that it reduces prostate cancer by up to one-third.
In Coenzyme A, described as a metabolic enzyme, takes part in starting numerous body processes that provide energy for the immune system. If you ever run short of this enzyme, fat processing within your body would grind to a halt.
in Researchers looking at a substance with the tongue twisting name 3-acetyl-7-oxo-Dehydroepiandro-sterone, believe it aids immunity by quelling stress hormones.
in Mushrooms contain natural substances called polysaccharides, believed to enhance immunity. In particular, maitake mushroom, which conveys the immune booster beta-D-glucans, is reputed to help fight infections and drop blood pressure.
in Men and women taking selenium supplements for 10 years had 41% less total cancer than those taking a dummy, according to a January 1997 study by Cornell University and the University of Arizona. Other studies have shown it to reduce the risk for colon cancer by about 60%. n Zinc may provide immediate protection against the all too common cold. Scientists at the University of Florida were the first to apply genetic fingerprinting methods like those used in criminal and paternity investigations to understand how nutrients directly affect human immune cells.
The study, in the April 1998 Journal of Nutrition, demonstrates that zinc signals cells to make the protein metallothionein, which protects against infections, toxins and other stressors.
Phytochemicals a la Carte
n Isoflavones from soy, fight angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels form to supply nutrients to cancerous growths. n Sulforaphane in broccoli, kale and cabbage activates anticancer enzymes.
n Omega-3 fatty acids in cold water fish block the synthesis of prostaglandins, natural compounds in the body that promote tumor growth.
n Ginger contains antioxidant compounds, each more potent than vitamin E. Recent studies on mice show ginger can prevent skin tumors. n Rosemary contains carnosol which deactivates carcinogens and helps limit the effects of prostaglandins.
Sometimes the world can look like a dangerous place, especially when you're sick and tired much of the time. But in the search for immunity, menus of health help like this ensure that no matter what your immunity needs, a boost can be yours with the proper nutrient selection.
Basics of the Immune System
June 10, 2005 03:01 PM
Basics of the Immune System
by Leonid G. Ber, MD Energy Times, September 1, 1998
In a world filled with pathogens and microbes, good health and resistance to disease is no accident. It requires a vigorous and vigilant immune system. The immune system should be viewed as an internal security force that is constantly checking the identity of everything entering and already existing in the body. A cell or substance may be recognized as "non-self" and a potential enemy if it does not have the right molecular make-up. A cell displaying molecules produced according to a different blueprint than the body's own code may be recognized as foreign. To eliminate alien material that may harm the body, the immune system must take swift action.
Recognizing entities that originate outside the self forms the key to overall immune system response. This key is carried in the body by cells called macrophages (ma-kro-fajs), a name derived from a Greek term meaning "big eater." Macrophages eat or engulf foreign cells and molecules. When a macrophage encounters something that it distinguishes as being "non-self" or abnormal, it can attack the enemy with a series of assault weapons, including free-radicals (reactive substances) and enzymes, that dissolve and weaken the intruder. In fact, an enzyme produced by macrophages called lysozyme is recognized as one of nature's most powerful anti-infective agents. These chemical defenses, along with engulfment and complete digestion by macrophages, can effectively stymie invasion by disease-causing pathogens.
Harmful invasion can originate in the body's own cells as well as begin from outside sources. While we are constantly exposed to bacteria, viruses, fungal cells and parasites, destructive cancerous growths often start within the body.
Every day, thousands of the body's cells mutate into possible cancers. Under most circumstances, the immune system keeps these cells under control. But when the immune "security" system slips up, these harmful growths multiply unrecognized.
The initial immune response that recognizes invaders is called a "non-specific defense mechanism" since this immune response is generally the same toward all invaders. This counter-attack entails battling every invader pretty much identically: a macrophage can engage, dissolve, weaken, engulf, digest, eliminate. However, if, despite the initial immune efforts, the problem persists, a macrophage can tag an invader and "introduce" it to the rest of the immune system, thus recruiting more specialized types of immune cells to enter the battle. This tagging function endows macrophages with the name "antigen-presenting cells." (Antigens are substances that can provoke specific responses by the immune system.)
Most antigens are proteins. Proteins are relatively large molecules made of smaller units called amino acids. The specific geometric organization of amino acids is what conveys uniqueness to each protein. (Your genetic code forms a blueprint for the production of your own, individual proteins.) Protein molecules produced by one human being can act as an antigen for another human being. That's why organs transplanted from one person to another can be rejected by the immune system. Unless organs are transplanted from one identical twin to another (who share the genetic blueprint for protein creation), doctors must use immune-suppressing drugs to curtail organ rejection. At the same time as these medicines prevent transplant rejection, they also make people more susceptible to infectious diseases and cancer.
After one set of immune cells chemically tags antigens (invaders) for recognition, other highly specialized parts of the immune system go into action: Cells called T cells or T lymphocytes acknowledge the invaders and can take the further action (second line of defense) that is necessary to render them harmless.
T cells get their name from the thymus (an organ located behind the sternum) where they originate. The thymus, most active when we're young, usually shrinks and apparently slows or shuts down its activity about the age of forty.
A wide variety of T cells inhabit lymph nodes (soft, usually round, pea- or nut-sized organs) and other body areas. For instance, natural killer cells, as their name implies, are a particularly aggressive type of T cell. Another type of T cell is called T helper (a cell that supports development of immune response). T suppressors halt immune response when infection ends.
In order to make all these different cells work in concert, cytokines or messenger molecules are produced that facilitate constant communications between all the parts of the immune system.
The B Team
Other organs of the immune system include:
*bone marrow: a powerful cell producing organ where the majority of immune cells are born;
*spleen: an abdominal organ that forms a reservoir for the production of immune cells.
Lymph nodes oversee particular segments of the body where they collect and recycle tissue fluids. Like an early warning system, lymph nodes react when an invader is detected in the part of the body that it controls.
Yet another step in the so-called immune cascade entails action by lymphocytes, called B cells, which originate in the bone marrow. These cells produce antibodies which are immune proteins (immunglobulins) that attack specific antigens.
While traveling in the blood, an antibody can bind to an antigen, curtailing its harmful action. This bound up molecule forms a complex easily recognized by scavenging macrophages which make a quick meal out of the unlucky invader.
After enemy cells are removed from the body, knowledge of this victory resides in the immunological memory prolonging your resistance toward specific disease pathogens indefinitely. That's why someone who has recovered from a disease like the measles may be impervious to reinfection.
Rules for Optimum Immunity
Even though the immune system consists of a complex team of hard-working cells, enhancing your immunity is relatively easy:
Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Avoid continuous stress and negative emotions or cope with them through exercise or meditation. Consistent, moderate exercise can boost the immune system. Massage can also help although extreme care must be taken when inflammation or disease is already present.
Sleep 7-8 hours a day. Sleep allows the body to recover and rebuild. Protein synthesis, vital for a healthy immune system, increases during the night.
Stick to a healthy diet. Your immune system consists of trillions of cells. Consequently, nutrients important for cell health boost the immune system. A balanced low-calorie diet rich in complex carbohydrates, "good" fats (including fish oils, olive oil and flaxseed oil) along with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrient antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables can fortify immune cells. Plus, drinking plenty of water helps improve circulation of lymph fluid.
These recommendations are not hard to meet once they become a part of your daily routine. However, extra immune security may be necessary during flu season, while traveling long distances (airplanes are notorious sources of pathogens) or when working extensive hours in front of a computer screen. In addition, exposure to x-rays, immunosuppressive chemicals, ultraviolet radiation (the sun) or simply aging may give your immune cells extra burdens.
Your "specific" immune system does not respond immediately to the challenge of invasion by an infectious organism. Instead, it may require about 2 weeks for an effective reaction after antigen recognition and alerting T cells. During this period, the macrophages' non-specific defense assumes a crucial role in keeping infection in check.
Enhanced activity by macrophages is especially important for recognizing and destroying cancer cells. The most dangerous cancers are those that can mimic normal cells and avoid the immune system's wrath. Few substances can activate macrophage function in the body (aloe vera contains substances that contribute to this process). The most powerful macrophage activator recognized by the scientific community is a sugar-like substance called beta-1,3-D-glucan. Beta-glucan, extracted from the cell walls of common Baker's yeast, when taken in certain small amounts, can prevent infection by making macrophages more active in recognizing and attacking infectious bacteria, fungi and certain viruses.
This kind of activation can encourage macrophages to attack previously unrecognized tumor cells. As a result, tumors may be eradicated as the immune system mobilizes and produces what may be known as "spontaneous healing."
When a macrophage works overtime fighting disease, its demand for nutrients and energy increases dramatically. Vitamin C, known for its immune supporting function, seems to be especially important for maintaining fully active macrophages. Vitamin C collects in macrophages, often reaching forty times the concentration found in surrounding blood. What are conventionally considered normal amounts of vitamin C in the body may be insufficient to keep macrophages well supplied with this antioxidant. Therefore, extra amounts of vitamin C can keep the immune system in fighting trim.
Scientists are only now beginning to uncover the secrets of the highly organized immune system. One thing's certain: The immunity security team depends on proper lifestyle, nutrition and supplements to maintain the critical defenses necessary for good health.
Dr. Ber received his doctorate in internal medicine from the Yaroslavle, State Medical Institute in Yaroslavle, Russia.