Search Term: " magical "
4 reasons you should eat more mushrooms
May 09, 2019 04:52 PM
Mushrooms are a nutritious food with many health benefits. Mushrooms can provide one of the few completely vegan foods with lots of vitamin D, although that is only if they’re exposed to sunlight and not grown in the dark. They’ve got tons of fiber, and are also full of niacin, phosphorus and other minerals. Evidence to support claims that mushrooms help prevent specific diseases is weak, but what is definitely clear is that sautéed mushrooms are delicious, and there’s no reason not to eat them.
"You only need 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine three times a week to get your necessary dose of vitamin D, but if you’re still running low you can supplement with food sources."
Read more: https://www.popsci.com/mushrooms-health-benefits
4 magical herbs that can help you lose weight faster
April 26, 2019 01:34 PM
We're constantly met with over-the-counter supplements loaded with chemicals and preservatives that promote claims of being able to shrink your waistline, but what if there were more natural options? Consuming ginseng helps regulate your blood sugar levels, as well as boost your metabolism. Garlic is almost a magical herb in how it is able to help you fight off cravings due to your body being able to sustain levels of fullness for longer periods of time.
"Those 7 days or 1-month weight loss challenges cannot give you a long-term result."
Read more: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/food-news/heres-4-magical-herbs-that-can-help-you-lose-weight-faster/articleshow/68283825.cms
Could magical mushrooms contain the cure for depression?
February 08, 2017 02:59 PM
More Americans over aged twelve have been diagnosed with depression, a condition that can lead to high risk behaviors and even death from suicide. A medical journal from China recently published the benefits of the hen of the woods mushroom in treating depression. Early studies on mice have shown that it is a safe and effective treatment and has less side effects than chemically formulated medications to treat depression.
"Mental health issues, and depression in particular, have risen to alarming proportions in recent years. The CDC reports that at any given time, 7.6 percent of people in the U.S. over the age of 12 are afflicted with this condition."
12 Amazing Cucumber Juice Benefits for Your Skin, Hair and Overall Health
January 20, 2017 02:59 PM
Looking for the ultimate natural remedy? No need to bother with different herbs, fruits, and veggies this remedy contains only one ingredient: Cucumber! With amazing benefits such as weight maintaining, Rehydrating, and Purifying these twelve different ways to use a cucumber will revolutionize your daily routine and dietary habits, all while helping you be a better you.
"Ever wanted to find a magical elixir that can improve your overall health and give you that glow you’ve always wanted? Presenting: Cucumber juice."
Not enough vitamin C to quell insulin resistance in kids
December 31, 2016 02:59 PM
Most people know vitamin C is healthy. Growing up everyone was told to get enough of this magical vitamin to keep the immune system healthy. New research is coming out to show that it may be even more important. Vitamin C can help kids battle insulin resistance, a major problem. Read on for more.
"Researchers concluded that maintenance of higher vitamin C blood levels, 30 micromole/Liter (µM) above the mean of about 90 µM was associated with "appreciably lower insulin resistance."
Health Benefits Of Chamomile
December 03, 2012 07:56 AM
It is believed that ancient Egypt saw Chamomile as an effective cure for most illnesses. In the modern world too, this golden herb retains its healing properties and is used for treating many a disease and discomforts of the body. Most commonly, German chamomile blossoms are infused to prepare 'Chamomile tea' which is a fragrant concoction full of medicinal properties. The tea can be combined with honey to enhance the taste.
Health Benefits Of Chamomile Tea Chamomile tea, supposedly, helps to bring about restful sleep. It is thus of great value for people suffering from insomnia and other sleep-related disorders. Due to its soothing and relaxing effects, it is generally taken before a person goes to bed. Since time immemorial, Chamomile has been considered a remedy for stomach ailments. Known to soothe gastric and bowel related problems, the herb is a blessing for people with stomach aches.
All in all, Chamomile helps facilitate the complete digestion process by promoting bowel movement. For women facing menstrual cramps and nausea every month, Chamomile tea comes as a welcome relief. Research indicates that regular consumption of Chamomile tea increases the level of glycine in the body. Glycine is a compound that controls muscular spasms, thus it tends to calm menstrual cramps. A healthy cup of golden chamomile tea has also been found to combat the morning sickness of pregnancy. However nothing has been proven till now to this effect. Some studies suggest that this wonder herb accelerates the wound healing process too.
Many researchers are of the belief that age-old Egyptians and Greeks used Chamomile flowers on wounds to speed up their healing time. Though there is no established evidence as such regarding this subject, history stands witness to the magical healing properties of Chamomile in more ways than one. Diabetes patients are also in for some good news concerning Chamomile tea. Many ongoing studies and surveys conducted worldwide are hinting at Chamomile playing a role in diabetes management.
Consumed regularly in the form of tea, the herb may arrest complications arising out of diabetes and may also prevent hyperglycemia. What's more, the golden herbal tea prepared from chamomile is caffeine-free and will not be addictive in any way. However, it is always a good idea to take professional advice before going all-out for Chamomile. Some people may display allergic reactions to the herb and suffer side-effects.
Therefore, it is best to try the herb first in small amounts before one decides to include chamomile tea in the daily routine of life. Besides its therapeutic uses, chamomile is being increasingly used as an ingredient in cosmetic products and is being considered a good friend of the skin. Since Chamomile is known to be a stress-buster, a cup of chamomile tea after a hectic work day might just prove to be the right beverage to save the evening. With its sedative, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and benefits, Chamomile is sure to become more popular by the day. Used wisely, the golden herb is no less than gold itself.
September 21, 2009 11:12 AM
Horehound has been around for thousands of years. The Romans used this herb in a combination as an antidote for poison. The horehound plant is a bushy plant that produces numerous annual branching stems. The plant is a foot or more in height and has whitish flowers. The leaves are much wrinkled, opposite, petiolate, and about an inch long. They are covered with white, felted hairs that give them a wooly appearance. The leaves have a strange, musky smell that can be diminished by drying the plant. Horehound is known to flower between June and September.
An ancient Greek physician by the name of Galen first recommended horehound for use in treating respiratory conditions. Early European physicians also used horehound to treat respiratory ailments. Early settlers in North America brought horehound with them to treat coughs, colds, and tuberculosis. The herb was also used to treat hepatitis, malaria, and intestinal worms. Horehound was also used to promote menstruation and sweating. Most commonly, the herb is used to treat colds and coughs, to soothe the throat and loosen mucus in the chest. Horehound is a well-known lung and throat remedy.
Warm infusions of horehound are able to relieve congestion and hyperemic conditions of the lungs. They do this by promoting an outward flow of blood. In large doses, horehound will work as a mild laxative. Applying the dried herb topically is a great way to treat herpes simplex, eruptions, eczema, and shingles.
The Romans praised horehound because of its medicinal purposes. Its Latin name Marrubium is derived from the word Maria urbs, which is an ancient town of Italy. The plant was called the ‘Seed of Horus” or the ‘Bull’s Blood,’ and the ‘Eye of the Star’ by the Egyptian Priests. Horehound was a main ingredient in Caesar’s antidote for vegetable poisons. It was recommended, in addition to its uses in coughs and colds, for those that had drunk poison or had been bitten by serpents. Horehound was once thought of as an anti-magical herb. Additionally, horehound is a serviceable remedy against cankerworm in trees. Some believed that if it is put into new milk and set in a place where there are a lot of flies, it will quickly kill all of them.
The marrubiin content of horehound is believed to be the responsible component, giving it its ability to stimulate bronchial mucosa secretions. This information was obtained by German research done in 1959. Horehound can be used as a safe and effective expectorant.
The entire horehound plant should be used to provide alterative, anti-inflammatory, antitussive, aromatic, bitter, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, mild purgative, stimulant, and stomachic properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are iron, potassium, sulfur, and vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, and F. Primarily, horehound is extremely helpful in dealing with asthma, colds, coughs, croup, lung ailments, excessive mucus, phlegm, and respiratory problems.
Additionally, this herb is beneficial in treating bronchitis, infectious diseases, earaches, external eczema, fevers, glandular problems, jaundice, absent menstruation, and external shingles. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by horehound, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
Supplement Efforts - to increase weight loss...
July 07, 2005 11:41 AM
If you're searching for a pill that magically melts away the pounds safely and quickly, allowing you to pig out on cookies and chips every night without having to walk a step or lift a weight, keep looking-- it doesn't exist. (If anyone tells you it does, lace up those high-tech sneakers and run in the opposite direction.) That being said, there are supplements that some folks find helpful in addition to (not instead of) a healthy diet and adequate exercise:
Don't forget a good, all-purpose multivitamin/mineral to make sure you're not missing anything nutritionally. (For in-depth information on another weight-loss option, Coleus Forskolii.) It's always a good idea to get a knowledgeable health practitioner's assistance in designing a supplementation program, especially if you are looking to lose weight because of a pre-existing health condition.
June 25, 2005 09:58 AM
For thousands of years amazing magical and medicinal powers have been attributed to garlic. Prized as a legendary protectant against vampires in Transylvania, it has also been used to enhance sexual prowess and fight off infections. Referred to as “the stinking rose,” it is mentioned in Bible, the Talmud, and in the Odyssey by Homer as well. The Egyptians looked to garlic as a tonic which boosted physical strength and consumed it while building the pyramids. The Greeks utilized its laxative properties, and the Chinese prescribed it for high blood pressure. Vikings and Phoenicians alike extolled the virtues of garlic and used it both for flavoring foods and treating disease.
Garlic is a hardy, perennial bulb which is native to the Mediterranean regions of Africa and Europe. Along with onions, leeks, chives and shallots, garlic is a member of the lily family. The botanical name for garlic, allium sativum may have been derived from the celtic word all which refers to “pungent.” The edible portion of the garlic plant grows underground and consists of a cloved bulb.
Hippocrates believed that garlic could treat uterine cancer and Native Americans used it for stomach cancer. During the Bubonic Plague years in Europe, garlic was used to boost immunity against the infectious organism responsible for so many deaths. Several accounts relate that survivors of the plague were frequently those who had routinely ingested large amounts of garlic. A sixteenth- century herbalist writes, referring to garlic, “The virtue of this herb is thus. It will unbind all wicked winds within a man’s body.”1
During the eighteenth century, Russians utilized garlic to treat influenza. Eventually, garlic would become known as “Russian penicillin.” American colonists regarded garlic for its ability to kill parasites.
In the nineteenth century, Louis Pasteur finally proved scientifically that garlic contains antibiotic properties. His discovery led to the initiation of hundreds of studies which have substantiated his findings. What was thought to be nothing more than a culinary ingredient has medicinal value. Garlic can effectively kill bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. In the late nineteenth century, garlic was routinely used by physicians as an effective treatment for typhus, cholera and whooping cough. It was highly recommended by medical practitioners and considered as staple treatment for infection. Albert Schweitzer used garlic for treating amebic dysentery in Africa. Early in this century, tuberculosis was treated with garlic and it was also used as an antibiotic/antiseptic for wounds during World War II. American and European doctors alike noted a remarkable high cure rate in tuberculosis patients treated with garlic.
2 Septic poisoning and gangrene, which can so quickly develop in battlefield wounds were prevented to a significant degree by using garlic. During the 1950’s Chinese scientists used garlic to successfully treat influenza. Subsequently, western studies found that garlic was an effective treatment for the common cold. Today the widespread use of antibiotics have relegated garlic to the back burner of medicinal therapies for infection. The discovery of penicillin resulted in classifying garlic as nothing more than a folk remedy. Unfortunately, for several decades its medicinal potential was no longer taken seriously by scientists. Over the last decade, scientific interest in garlic has dramatically escalated. In 1990, the First World Congress on the Health Significance of garlic and Garlic Constituents was held in Washington D.C. Herbalists have always considered garlic as an effective treatment and preventative agent against colds, flu and other infectious diseases. The present focus on garlic as a medicinal agent promises to support the notion that garlic should be utilized by medical practitioners much more than it currently is.
Recently, medical research has focused on garlic’s potential value in treating cardiovascular disorders and as an anti-cancer agent. This renewed interest in garlic has contributed to the development of the “Designer Foods Program” which is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.3 This agency investigates foods that may be effective cancer preventatives. Garlic is one of those foods which may have profound cancer prevention potential.
Garlic for the Ages - eat garlic because it's good for your heart...
June 13, 2005 09:58 AM
Garlic for the Ages by Phyllis D. Light, RH Energy Times, January 1 , 2004
If you eat garlic because it's good for your heart, you swallow a plant renowned through human history: Garlic was eaten by Roman soldiers for courage; Egyptian slaves ate it to build strength; Christians, Moslems and Hindus include it in their sacred books. Others have used it as an aphrodisiac, a vampire deterrent and a magical charm.
Garlic has a long history as a culinary and medicinal herb that people either love or hate. Its pungent aroma and warming flavor captivates or repels, but its wealth of natural chemicals does great things for your heart.
Garlic (Allium sativum), a member of the onion family, is native to Siberia but, in modern times, has become a treasured naturalized citizen grown all over the world. Garlic's use in folk medicine dates back about 7,000 years, making it one of the oldest known medicinal foods or herbs.
In modern times, garlic is generally used as a condiment lending a unique, pungent flavor to dishes, but in medieval times, garlic was cooked and eaten as a vegetable in its own right. Today you can revel in a wealth of garlic choices, consuming garlic raw, cooked in various recipes, as a dried concentrated powder, as a fresh liquid extract or as aged garlic powder.
Each little clove of garlic is a powerhouse of good-for-you natural compounds, vitamins and minerals. The biologically active constituents of garlic include allyl sulfur compounds as well as the minerals germanium and selenium.
When you chop up raw garlic and allowed it to stand for about 10 minutes or more, the herb's fragments release an enzyme that converts its compounds from allyl sulfur to another natural chemical called allicin.
Although some allicin is found in garlic before it is cut apart, the yield multiplies considerably when the garlic clove is chopped or pressed and exposed to water (Garlic Conference, Newport Beach, 11/15/98; Penn State).
Many researchers believe that the more allicin produced, the better the health benefits. (Although this is still being debated among the garlic cognoscenti.)
But garlic's benefits don't end meekly on the kitchen counter with its allicin content rising.
Cooked garlic and aged garlic contain other helpful chemicals called diallyl sulphides. Consequently, in any form, garlic produces beneficial health effects.
Fortunately, since raw garlic juice or oil can often irritate the stomach lining, especially in people with sensitive stomachs and delicate digestive systems, garlic supplements and cooked garlic are both helpful for heart health.
Aged Garlic Extract
Aging garlic significantly reduces its irritating compounds and makes it easier on the stomach.
In the aged form, all of garlic's healthy sulfur-containing compounds are converted to water- soluble compounds that retain garlic's natural health benefits. In addition, the pungent odor of the garlic is greatly reduced, an outcome many people desire.
When a group of researchers at Brown University studied the effects of aged garlic extract on people's cholesterol levels, they found that after six months, cholesterol dropped about 6% (Am J Clin Nutr 1996; 64:866-70).
In another study from Brown, researchers found that aged garlic extract reduced platelet adhesion, a sticky blood problem that can cause vessel blockages (New Drug Clin 45(3):456-66). When platelets are less sticky, they are less likely to form blood clots that can cause heart attacks.
Garlic and Heart Disease
A growing body of research shows that a clove of garlic a day can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease.
A four-year study of 280 people who took dried garlic powder three times a day found a striking reduction in the types of arterial plaque blockages that threaten the blood supply to your heart. Interestingly, in this particular study, women displayed a greater reduction in plaque than men (Atherosclerosis 2000; 150:437-8).
Another study found that garlic may also keep important blood vessels more supple and less likely to spasm. Arterial spasms have been linked to heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems in women.
As you age, the aorta, one of the main arteries that carries blood, may harden, reducing blood flow from the heart and placing damaging stress on a number of other bodily organs. In research at Ohio State University, people who took garlic supplements had 15% less aortic stiffness than people who avoided garlic (Circulation).
In this study, scientists found that the older people enjoyed the greatest cardiovascular benefits from daily garlic use.
Researchers believe this extra benefit is linked to the fact that as you age, the endothelial tissue in the linings of the aorta and other blood vessels become less responsive to the need to dilate (expand). As a result, when more blood flow is required, and the heart pumps faster, these vessels take more of a beating from the friction of blood passing through them.
That restriction in dilation has two damaging consequences: In one instance, vessel walls can be injured. In response to these injuries, cholesterol collects on artery walls, plaque forms and the blood supply to the heart muscle can be restricted, leading to a heart attack. In other cases, arteries can restrict blood flow to the heart simply because of the inability to expand sufficiently.
The Ohio State researchers found that arteries in folks aged 70 to 80 benefited the most from taking garlic. But those in their 60s also benefited significantly.
Garlic's natural antioxidant properties can also help protect the heart from damage after surgery (BMC Pharmacology 9/02).
In a study performed on lab animals, researchers found that oxidative stress, a source of cell damage that takes place after surgery, dropped when the animals ate a diet that included garlic.
Oxidative stress can seriously reduce cardiac function, limit the amount of blood the heart can pump and cause permanent damage to the heart muscle.
Garlic Against Blood Clots
Under normal circumstances, blood clots serve a useful purpose: Cut yourself and a blood clot stops the bleeding. Without this clotting ability, you might bleed to death. But if your blood is too prone to clotting, these clumps can cut off blood supply to your heart and other organs, endangering your life.
In a study of apparently healthy individuals whose relatives had already suffered from heart disease, researchers found that their blood formed thick, tangled blood clots, increasing their risk of heart problems (Circulation rapid access 9/23/02). These blood clots are made of a substance called fibrin, a protein in the plasma that can form elastic threads that cut off blood flow.
While these researchers recommended aspirin as an anti-clotting measure for people at risk of heart disease, garlic can also help break up fibrin and possibly lower your chance of heart problems (Pharmatherapy 5(2): 83).
The fibrin that forms clots is produced by blood cells called platelets. Other scientists who have looked into garlic's benefits believe that one of its natural chemicals called ajoene may keep platelets from producing excessive fibrin and gumming up the flow of blood through arteries.
If you've rarely indulged in garlic, you may need a period of adjustment in growing accustomed to its unique taste and aroma. But its heart benefits confirm the long-ago observation by Pliny, an ancient Roman naturalist, that "garlic has powerful properties."
The Science of Healthy Hair
June 10, 2005 03:44 PM
The Science of Healthy Hair
by Susan Weiner Energy Times, January 5, 2002
From the strength-giving mane of Sampson to the magically long locks of Rapunzel, hair has had the power to captivate since biblical times. Today, its lure is just as compelling and hair remains an important form of self-expression and self-image. A healthy head of hair is more than an asset to your appearance. A hairstyle can reflect a mood, an attitude or a personal style, while unkempt hair may reveal the status of one's emotional or physical health. Even a "good" hair day vs. a "bad" hair day can significantly determine how your frame of mind takes shape. We can't always control the frizz factor or the humid weather that makes our curls fall flat, but many natural approaches are available to allow us to put our best looking follicle forward. Whether your hair is sleek and stylish, long and slinky, spiky punk rock-hip or wash-and-wear, botanical-based products and proper nutrition can bring out the very best in your locks.
Don't Fool Mother Nature
No matter how often you cut, dye, perm or blow-dry your hair, Mother Nature, with the help of your DNA, has blessed you with a quite specific quality and quantity of hair. Styling may work to change the appearance of your hair, but nothing can change your genetics. Every hair on your body, from the soft down on your arms to the coarser, longer hairs on your head, grows from a cell-lined indentation called a follicle. The hair follicle consists of three cylinders; the central cylinder determines whether your hair is straight, wavy or curly. Each hair shaft alternately grows or goes into a dormant phase. "At any one time, approximately fifteen percent of the one hundred thousand or so hairs on the head are resting, while the rest are growing or lengthening," say Arthur Balin, MD, PhD, and Loretta Pratt Balin, MD (The Life of the Skin: What It Hides, What It Reveals, and How It Communicates, Bantam). Hair constantly comes and goes, falling out consistently even when it is healthy. Consequently, a normal head can shed up to one hundred resting-phase hairs a day. When hair is subjected to harsh chemicals and treatment, even more may fall out. If you're concerned with hair loss, gently pull on a small section of hair; if fewer than five hairs come out, hair loss is within normal range.
What's Your Type?
Normal hair is an elusive commodity in these stressed-out days of over-washed, over-dried and chemically treated hair. If your tresses look frizzy, tangle easily or generally lack moisture, they're probably dry. Dry hair lacks the proper oil content to maintain an ample sheen and is usually dull-looking. To gain back a natural shine, cut back on shampooing and use a natural conditioner formulated for dry hair. Look for essential oils such as jojoba, evening primrose, blue chamomile, and white camellia, and B vitamins (such as panthenol) and aloe vera, suggests Aubrey Hampton, founder of Aubrey Organics. Drinking plenty of water, eating a diet that's not ultra-low in fats and using a humidifier may also help improve dull-looking dry hair, points out David E. Bank, MD (Beautiful Skin: Every Woman's Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age, Adams Media). (Excessively dry hair may be a significant sign of metabolic disease. If you don't notice a marked improvement in your scalp after taking measures to improve dry hair, or your hair is abnormally dry, consult your health practitioner to see if stronger cures should be implemented.)
Too Much Oil
Hair that appears greasy within 24 hours after shampooing is oily. In that case, try gentle shampoos and herbal rinses with essential oils including quillaya bark, amino acids mixed with saponins, non-coloring henna and peppermint. For an oily scalp and dry ends, condition only the ends. Styling products should be oil-free. For thin or flyaway hair, products with natural thickening agents such as panthenol can help pump up the volume. Color treated and damaged hair can benefit from sulfur-containing amino acids; check your natural foods store for hair care products that contain horsetail, coltsfoot and cysteine. Tea tree oil products are effective when you are trying to control dandruff and a problem scalp.
If the label lists sodium lauryl sulfate, steer clear, warns Hampton. And, says Dr. Bank, sodium C-14-16 olefin sulfonate, a harsh chemical found in cheap shampoos, is the worst of the worst when it comes to offensive hair care ingredients. "You also need to watch out for sodium chloride-table salt-in the ingredient list. It's a cheap ingredient to thicken shampoo and strips the hair of oils."
Feed Your Head
To optimize shine and fullness, improve your nutrition, says Bruce Miller, MD, author of The Nutrition Guarantee (Summit Publishing Group). "Good nutrition is as essential to healthy, attractive hair as it is to clear, glowing skin," notes Dr. Miller. "Your hair directly reflects your care and feeding of it." Your hair consists of about 97% protein, containing nineteen of the twenty-two amino acids that form protein, explains Dr. Miller. If you skimp on quality protein, your hair may reflect this amino acid imbalance by breaking, cracking and splitting. Hair follicles pass on the nutrients you consume, nourishing the new cells that form the growing hair shaft. As the hair gradually pushes upward, the shaft is continually lubricated by the busy sebaceous glands. For a smoother transition through the shaft and undamaged hair, lecithin provides a welcome dose of lubrication, as well as the important B vitamins choline and inositol, vital to healthy hair. In fact, the B vitamins are crucial to the growth of full bodied, healthy hair. The B complex strengthens, forms and smoothes the hair shafts, and helps maintain an even hair color, even warding off the beginning of gray hair. For thick and shiny hair, vitamin A works in conjunction with the B vitamins. Zinc can strengthen the hair shafts by thickening them. Thicker and stronger hair shafts increase your chances of holding on to your hair and suffering fewer lost hairs. When it comes to hair retention, genetics count. The more hair your parents retained, the greater your chance of keeping yours.
If you're interested in optimal hair health, think nutrition. Eating for the sake of your curls is a lot like eating for overall health: plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy grains and lean sources of protein, including tofu and other soy-based foodstuffs. To support healthy hair, some experts advocate foods high in biotin, including brown rice, brewer's yeast, bulgur, green peas, lentils, oats, soybeans, sunflower seeds and walnuts. The natural phytochemicals in green tea may aid hair, while ginkgo biloba improves circulation to the scalp. Don't forget your daily vitamins and be sure to take an iron and B12 supplement.
Herbs from China show great promise for helping hair. He Shou Wu, made from Polygoni multiflori (the eastern wild rose), is reputed by devotees to restore color, slow hair loss, and help hair grow back. In Chinese medicine, this botanical has been used as an adaptogen to boost overall health and longevity. Within the context of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), He Shou Wu is supposed to strengthen the liver and kidney meridians and support healthy blood. Many Asians use the herb to promote higher levels of qi, the TCM concept that encompasses your life's overall energy.
Show a Little Tenderness
Long-term exposure to sunlight and seawater can damage hair, as can combing or brushing wet hair. Treat your hair with kid gloves, use natural products that are gentle on hair, and avoid chemical treatments. If you're looking to lose weight, avoid crash diets; a sudden drop in nutrition can cause deficiencies and lead to hair damage and loss. Keeping a wonderful head of hair means staying ahead of the curve with proper nutrition, the right supplements and a continuous program of TLC. In that way, you can maintain the crowning head of hair you've always coveted.
VITAMIN A and CAROTENOIDS - What are they good for?
June 09, 2005 09:27 AM
In 1912, Casimir Funk coined the term 'vitamine' to refer to a 'vital factor' he proposed was an essential component present in foods. His conjecture dovetailed with other research, leading to the isolation in the 1930's and 40's of the compounds we now call vitamins.
Vitamins are chemical substances which play a variety of roles in the human body. They are core components of any nutritional supplementation program.
While many people are aware of vitamins as necessary substances for good nutrition, few have a grasp of the extraordinary complexity of the roles they play in our bodies. As you'll see below, vitamins are involved in trillions of biochemical interactions every minute to keep us alive and functioning. For example, B-vitamins are converted into coenzymes which are directly necessary for the production of ATP energy from food, a process that goes on continuously in every cell in the body and which in turn fuels myriad physiological events such as muscle contraction, brain activity or tissue repair.
Source Naturals offers a full line of vitamins in bioactive forms, allowing you to tailor a nutritional supplementation plan to your individual needs.
VITAMIN A and CAROTENOIDS
Vitamin A is a generic term for a class of fat-soluble substances called retinoids, which can either be consumed preformed or synthesized by the liver from plant pigments called carotenoids (see 'Carotenoids', below). An essential nutrient, vitamin A is perhaps best known for its role in vision.
The outer segments of the rods, a type of light-sensitive cell in the retina of the eye, contain a pigment called rhodopsin (or 'visual purple') that mediates vision in dim light. Cone cells mediate color vision via three additional pigments. Both rods and cones are surrounded by pigmented epithelial cells that store vitamin A. Rhodopsin is formed from a protein called opsin and a vitamin A-dependent compound called 11-cis retinal. As light strikes the rods and cones it is absorbed by the pigment molecules, and retinal is split off from opsin. This chemical change allows an electrical impulse to be sent to the optic nerve and thus to the brain. The pigment must then be regenerated from opsin and retinal. Repeated small losses of retinal during this process require a constant replenishment of vitamin A to the eyes.
Vitamin A also plays an extremely important role in epithelial cell differentiation. Cell differentiation is the process by which a cell undergoes a change to a specialized cell type, allowing it to perform particular functions in the body. It is not yet understood precisely how vitamin A is involved in this process. One hypothesis is that it directly affects gene expression through its interaction with chromatin, a complex of DNA, RNA and protein in the cell nucleus. These interactions affect the process of transcription of DNA to messenger RNA, leading to synthesis of a specific group of cellular proteins.
Each one of us carries in our DNA a unique genetic blueprint. This genetic material is the same in every cell of our bodies. It is only because of this mysterious and magical process of differentiation that we have specialized cell types - and therefore eyes, ears, lungs and hearts.
Vitamin A is necessary, either directly or indirectly, for the healthy growth and functioning of many of our tissues and organ systems, including the eyes, the skin, the bones, the reproductive system, and the natural defenses. It is not yet known whether this requirement is due to the role of vitamin A in cell differentiation or whether there are other physiological processes for which vitamin A is essential.
Vitamin A is related to a class of nutrients called carotenoids, including alpha and beta carotene, lycopene and lutein. Carotenoids are botanical pigments whose colors range from red to orange to yellow. Some carotenoids, particularly beta carotene, can be converted into vitamin A predominantly in the intestinal mucosa and to some extent in the liver. Carotenoids are completely non-toxic; their conversion into vitamin A is well-regulated by the body, making them extremely safe sources of this essential nutrient.
In addition to their role as safe sources of vitamin A, carotenoids are powerful nutrients in their own right. Their primary claim to fame is their powerful antioxidant action, particularly against singlet oxygen. Singlet oxygen is an 'excited' ion of oxygen which, while not technically a free radical, is nonetheless highly reactive. It causes 'oxidative' reactions which can impair or destroy membranes, enzymes and DNA. It can also lead to the formation of free radicals which can cause additional damage.
Certain carotenoids such as beta carotene, because of their chemical structure, can neutralize singlet oxygen by absorbing its extra energy and dissipating it throughout the carotenoid molecule, releasing the energy as heat and converting the singlet oxygen back to 'normal' oxygen. One molecule of beta carotene can quench up to 1000 molecules of singlet oxygen.
In addition to their role as singlet oxygen quenchers, carotenes provide antioxidant protection against free radicals as well. In nature, they protect plants from photo-oxidative reactions; in humans, certain carotenoids, notably beta carotene, may help protect the skin from such reactions. Other carotenoids may provide more localized protection to particular organs. Lutein and zeaxanthin, for example, are selectively concentrated in the retina of the eye. Along with vitamins C and E, carotenes are among the most important nutrient antioxidants in the human body.