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Amino acid arginine found to be crucial to mental health; lowlevels contribute to oxidative stress and inflammation
October 01, 2018 09:52 AM
Mental health problems aren't always easy to treat but now that researchers have found an amino acid called arginine may help. This amino acid reduces oxidative tress and inflammation which lowers the risk of developing mental illness such as anxiety and depression. Improving your diet and supplementing with a supplement containing amino acid arginine could be the key to finally beating these conditions and the decreased quality of life they often bring to the patients suffering.
"Still, the authors argue that more research should be conducted to truly determine the role of amino acids (particularly those that reduce inflammation) in mental health."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-09-16-amino-acid-arginine-found-to-be-crucial-to-mental-health.html
How To Alkalize Water Naturally (And Why You Should)
June 06, 2017 04:14 PM
If you ever wondered about the water that you drink then you should think about alkalize water naturally. Alkalized water is something that has a more controlled PH and will slow the aging process according to many studies. You can do it yourself with lemons or with baking soda. Make sure to check how much water vs. how much lemon or soda. Don't use tap water, even if it tastes okay there are a lot of chemicals in it that your body just doesn't need.
"Advocates of alkaline water believe that it can neutralize the acid in your bloodstream and help your body metabolize nutrients more effectively."
Read more: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/how-to-alkalize-water/
Improving Liver Health - Does NAC Help Improve Liver Health?
All organs in our body have purposes why they exist. This includes our football size liver. Many people take their liver health for granted. Since it is an internal organ, we do not see the actual effects of toxins and unhealthy lifestyle as they slowly destroy the liver. However, we might feel the results from time to time. Our liver has the size of a football, making it a star football player in our digestive system where everything passes through it. It cleanses the blood by taking away hazardous chemicals, converting the liquid into bile, which is then used to break down fat from the food we eat. The liver also stores glucose, a sugar that quickly boosts energy. So how do we take care of our liver?
How to Take Care of Liver Health
It is okay to enjoy and have fun, but to do it every day with a lot of alcohol is dangerous. Drinking too much alcohol leads to the swelling of liver cells.
Controlling what you eat and good amount of exercise will help you avoid non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases, a condition that might lead to severe liver damage.
There are some medicines such as Tylenol and cholesterol drugs that may hurt your liver when taken in uncontrolled doses. Also avoid taking medicines with alcohol, because they are not a good combination, or joining different drugs together.
Many studies say that liver diseases are caused by the lack of Glutathione or GSH in our body. That is why NAC comes to the rescue.
NAC is a small protein powerful to restore intracellular level of Glutathione or GSH, an effective antioxidant. The GSH is most needed by those who have liver diseases because it protects the liver against toxicity. When you are suffering from stress caused by a chronic liver disease, there is the reduction of glutathione, which is why there is a need to supplement it. NAC also helps to protect against present liver damages by reducing a wide range of chronic, deteriorating issues which include liver inflammation and impaired glucose control.
Taking good care of our liver health is like grooming a football superstar. Always watch out of the things you are doing to it.
Diet To Lower Cholesterol
December 26, 2012 12:07 PM
Cholesterol is found naturally within the human body, particularly, in skin, internal organs, nerves, brain, cell membranes and bloodstream. This wax like compound is very important for the body's normal functioning. However, when there is excessive cholesterol buildup within the body, your health is at risk, because it gets deposited within the blood vessels. This article will talk about how to lower cholesterol levels through diet.
Consequences of Excessive Cholesterol Levels
Excessive cholesterol levels can cause dangerous ailments. Food habits as well as lifestyle changes are a few of the main reasons behind its rising level. Presented below are a few of the medical problems associated with high cholesterol levels within the body. When excess cholesterol is deposited on the inside of the arteries, flow of blood is interrupted which leads to inadequate supply of blood to the body. One of the organs that are mostly affected by high cholesterol levels is the heart. Extreme cases might lead to cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks. Blocked arteries and reduced blood flow may lead to blood coagulation. Also, if blood supply to the brain is impaired, it can lead to confusion and stroke.
Research And Foods
Research has indicated that a diet which includes a daily consumption of oats, sterol based foods, nuts, soya based products and fish is extremely effective in decreasing the amount of cholesterol within the body. In fact, it is as effectual as taking cholesterol medication, and definitely a preferable as well as less costly option, with very little or no side effects. However, if you suffer from any special health condition, make sure you first speak with your healthcare professional before you go on a diet that is low in cholesterol. If you are currently taking some medication, you should check with your doctor to make sure the drugs are okay with the low cholesterol food.
Different Foods that Can Lower Cholesterol
Oats provides your body with soluble fiber that is beneficial in decreasing bad low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Foods that contain oat bran, whole oat flour and oatmeal are extremely healthy as well as filling. Oat bran cold cereal and hot oatmeal porridge have been traditionally been eaten for breakfast, however you can include ground oatmeal to casseroles, baked foods and soups as well.
Nuts contain lots of fiber, protein, vitamins, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, phytonutrients, antioxidants and plant sterols. They are not difficult to eat. All you need to do is remove the shell and put a handful in your mouth, lengthy preparations are not necessary.
Foods Rich in Soluble Fiber
You can keep your cholesterol levels low by regularly consuming foods that contain high amounts of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber adheres to cholesterol within the blood to flush it out. It also promotes healthy digestion.
Aside from oats, other examples of foods rich in soluble fiber:
Other foods that can lower cholesterol levels in the blood
However, you must bear in mind that even though eating foods that contain low cholesterol is definitely beneficial, these foods will not cure existing problems. Eating the foods mentioned above regularly in moderation and doing sufficient exercise is the secret to enjoying good health.
There are some supplements known to help lower cholesterol as well:
These are safe and effective ways to help reduce unwanted cholesterol.
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
March 28, 2007 10:29 AM
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) affects about 65 million Americans, or about 1 in 3 adults. There are many potential causes of hypertension, but not necessarily any symptoms. In fact, 30% of the people who have high blood pressure don’t even realize it.
In other words, just because you don’t have symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have high blood pressure. That’s why it’s called “The Silent Killer.” And, make no mistake about it: high blood pressure is dangerous. It is the number one modifiable cause of stroke. Just lowering blood pressure reduces the chance of stroke by 35 to 40 percent. Other conditions, including heart attack and heart failure can be reduced from 25 to 50 percent, respectively.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we’re going to talk about high blood pressure and an exciting natural treatment for lowering blood pressure safely and effectively.
Of course, changing blood pressure numbers depends, in a large part, on the choices we make every day – how much we exercise, the foods we eat, and our lifestyle overall. But, for those times we need extra help, there is a new, scientifically-studied supplement to help us along our path to better health and lower blood pressure.
Blood pressure guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Q. What exactly is blood pressure?
A. Blood pressure is divided into two parts, systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the pressure of the heart beating. Diastolic is the pressure of the heart and vessels filling. When blood pressure numbers are written out, like “120/80,” 120 is the systolic pressure and 80 is the diastolic pressure. The unit of measurement for blood pressure is millimeters of mercury, written as “mm/Hg.”
Q. What is considered high blood pressure?
A. A person’s blood pressure can naturally vary throughout the day – even between heartbeats.
However, if the numbers are consistently high (over 120 systolic and 80 diastolic), after multiple visits to your healthcare practitioner, you may have either pre-hypertension or high blood pressure.
Young arteries and arteries that are kept young through healthy diet and exercise are typically more elastic and unclogged. Blood flows through them easily and without much effort. However, as we age, our arteries become more prone to plaque buildup (due to diets high in saturated fat and sedentary lifestyles) and don’t “flex” as well under pressure. The result is faster blood flow, all the time. Over the long term, it damages heart tissue, arteries, kidney and other major organs.
To get a better idea of high blood pressure, compare your arteries to a garden hose. When unblocked, a garden hose allows water to flow through it quickly and easily – without any real rush or stress. However, if you block the end of the hose with your thumb, closing it off even a little, water rushes out much more quickly.
For many years, high diastolic pressure was considered even more of a threat than high systolic pressure. That thinking has changed somewhat but high diastolic numbers could still mean organ damage in your body – especially for individuals under 50.
Q. What courses high blood pressure?
A. The reasons for hypertension aren’t always clear. However, there are lifestyle factors that contribute to high blood pressure that you can change:
Body type: Weight isn’t always a reliable indicator of whether or not you’ll have high blood pressure – but the type of weight is. Lean body mass – muscle – doesn’t increase blood pressure levels the way that fat can. However, fat body mass, especially fat around your middle, can contribute to high blood pressure.
Sedentary lifestyle: Too often, many of us sit down all day at work, and then sit down all night at home. Over time, this inactivity usually leads to weight gain, making the heart work harder to pump blood through the body. In a way, it almost seems contradictory, but inactivity usually leads to higher heart rates.
Sodium intake: Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much salt there is in processed foods. However, salt intake in itself is not necessarily bad. For people with a history of congestive heart failure, ischemia, and high blood pressure, sodium is definitely out. For those individuals, it leads to more water retention, which increases blood pressure. (Salt’s effect on water retention is one reason that so many sports drinks have fairly high sodium content – the sodium in the drink prevents your body from sweating out too much water.) But, for healthy individuals, moderate salt intake, especially a mixed mineral salt like sea salt or Celtic salt (good salt should never be white) is fine.
Low potassium intake: Unlike sodium, potassium is a mineral which most Americans get too little of. Potassium helps regulate the amount of sodium in our cells, expelling excess amounts through the kidneys. Low levels of this mineral can allow too much sodium to build up in the body.
Heavy alcohol intake: Having three or more alcoholic drinks a day (two or more for women) nearly doubles an individual’s chance of developing high blood pressure. Over time, heavy drinking puts a lot of stress on the organs, including the heart, liver, pancreas and brain.
Unhealthy eating: Eating a lot of processed or fatty foods contributes to high blood pressure. Adapting a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, fish, nuts and magnesium and potassium (like the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, known as the “DASH” diet) can bring it back down.
Smoking: If you smoke, stop. Smoking damages the heart and arteries – period. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, increases heart rate, and raises blood pressure. This in turn, increases hormone production and adrenaline levels, further stressing the body.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces the oxygen in the blood, making the heart work even harder to make up the difference. Since the effect of a single cigarette can last for an hour, smoking throughout the day leads to continuously revved-up blood pressure.
Some of these factors might sound like a lot to overcome. The important thing to remember is that all of these behaviors are changeable. If you have high blood pressure, modifying any of these can significantly lower blood pressure as part of an overall plan.
Q. What are the blood pressure numbers I should see?
A. Experts consider healthy blood pressure numbers to be 115/75 mm/Hg. The reason? They found that the risk of cardiovascular disease doubles at each increment of 20/10 mmHg over 115/75 mm/Hg. Even small jumps in blood pressure numbers increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Q. okay, so other than diet, exercise and lifestyle changes are there other natural ways or supplements I can use to lower my blood pressure?
A. Yes, in fact, you hear about some of them in the news all the time – fish oil, CoQ10, and garlic. As effective as these symptoms are, they typically lower systolic pressure much more than diastolic pressure.
However, there is a blend of scientifically and clinically studied natural ingredients that lower high blood pressure separately, and work even better when they’re combined. This combination blend contains: dandelion leaf extract, lycopene, stevia extract, olive leaf extract and hawthorn extract.
Every one of these ingredients has been studied and recommended for years. But now, a scientific study on a supplement that combines them in one synergistic formula shows encouraging results for lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Let’s take a look at each:
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) originated in
The leaf of stevia is considered the medicinal part of the plant. Research shows that extracts of the leaf relax arteries and help prevent the buildup of calcium on artery walls – keeping them healthy and reducing blood pressure.
In a long-term, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. On average, participants’ blood pressure reduced from baseline 150 mm/Hg to 140 mm/Hg systolic and 95 mm/Hg to 89 mm/Hg diastolic.
And, in another double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia lowered blood pressure quite significantly – by an average of 14 millimeters of mercury in both systolic and diastolic readings. Those are impressive numbers!
Despite its role as a sweetener, stevia may have a side benefit to for those with hypertension – blood sugar regulation. Scientific studies show that extracts of stevia regulated blood sugar and reduced blood pressure.
A clinical study showed that stevia extract actually improved glucose tolerance by decreasing plasma glucose levels during the test and after overnight fasting in all participants. Regulating blood sugar is very important for those with high blood pressure. When blood sugar levels are high, blood vessels are inflamed. Many people with diabetes have high blood pressure as well. In a paired, cross-over clinical study, stevioside (one of the compounds in stevia) reduced glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. It shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. Its shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes as well as hypertension.
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp. Oxycantha) has been used since ancient ties as a medicinal herb – even being mentioned by the Greek herbalist Dioscorides, in the first century AD. Traditionally, it has generally been used for support of the heart. Modern research points to bioflavonoid-like complexes in hawthorn leaf and flower that seem to be most responsible for its benefits on cardiac health, like blood vessel elasticity.
The bioflavonoids found in hawthorn include oligomeric procyanidins, vitexin, quercetin, and hyperoside. They have numerous benefits on the cardiovascular system. Hawthorn can improve coronary artery blood flow and the contractions of the heart muscle. Scientific studies show that the procyanidins in hawthorn are responsible for its ability to make the aorta and other blood vessels more flexible and relaxed, so that blood pumps more slowly and with less effort – sparing the cardiovascular system such a hard workout.
The procyanidins in hawthorn also have antioxidant properties – protecting against free radical cellular damage.
And, hawthorn may also inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme. Angiotensin-converting enzyme is responsible for retaining sodium and water, and may have roots in our evolutionary development. It influences blood vessel contraction and dilation, sodium and water balance and heart cell development – just about everything that has to do with blood pressure. This may have developed as a way of dealing with periods of drought and stress. By narrowing the blood vessels, the body could guarantee an adequate supply of blood and focus on repairing tissue.
Unfortunately, that can lead to real problems these days. Since many of us live in an industrialized society, and frequently have pretty sedentary lifestyles, conserving sodium just makes the conditions for high blood pressure that much worse.
Like the other ingredients in this combination, hawthorn showed benefits on other body systems, too. In clinical and scientific studies, it not only lowered blood pressure, but also showed anti-anxiety properties and regulated blood sugar.
Olive leaf extract:
Olive leaf (Olea europaea) comes up again and again in scientific and clinical studies as having beneficial effects on hypertension. One of olive leaf’s most beneficial compounds is oleuropein – the same compound that makes olive oil so helpful in reducing blood pressure. Here again, we have to look at the traditional Mediterranean diet, which features voluminous use of olives and olive oil. Not surprisingly, blood pressure is generally much lower in Greek and Italian populations.
But it’s not just the diet – scientific studies showed that oleuropein lowered blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and prevented buildup of plaque in arteries. Plus, whether in olive leaf extract or in olive oil, oleuropein works as an antioxidant, too.
Dandelion leaf extract:
Dandelion (Taraxacum offinale) leaves provide a healthy supply of vitamins, much like spinach. In fact, although it has become the bane of North American gardeners and lawn owners, dandelion greens are a component of many gourmet salads.
Medicinally, dandelion has been used for centuries, dating back to ancient
They are a very rich source of vitamin A, and contain vitamin D, vitamin C, carious B vitamins, iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc and manganese, too. Dandelion leaves produce a diuretic effect in the body, similar to a prescription drug. Since one of dandelion leaf’s traditional uses was the treatment of water retention, it’s really not too surprising. Dandelion leaf is also rich in potassium – one of the vital minerals many Americans lack in their diet. So, even though it may act as a diuretic, it replaces more potassium than the body expels.
The diuretic effect of dandelion can relieve hypertension by drawing excess water and sodium from the body and releasing it through the kidneys as urine. Getting rid of extra water and sodium allows the blood vessels to relax – lowering blood pressure.
If a nutrient can be called exciting, lycopene is it. Lycopene is found mostly in tomatoes and processed tomato products, like pasta and pizza sauce. Related to beta-carotene lycopene shows great antioxidant abilities among its many talents. In fact, it shows even greater free-radical scavenging properties than beta-carotene, its more famous cousin. Healthy intakes of lycopene can guard against a variety of chronic conditions, including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, lowering homocysteine levels and reducing blood platelet stickiness that can lead to clogged arteries. It’s even being studied for its protective effect against prostate cancer.
And, for proof, you don’t have to look too far to see the amazing effect lycopene intake can have on health. The Mediterranean diet provides an excellent example. Its high intakes of vegetables, (tomatoes, of course, playing a central role) fish, and whole grains improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. The research on lycopene as a stand-alone nutrient has been compelling. A randomized clinical trial found that not having enough lycopene was associated with early thickening of the arteries.
So, it makes sense that other clinical trials, showed that higher intakes of lycopene frequently meant less thickening of arteries, and a reduced risk of heart attack. In one study, the risk of heart attack was 60% lower in individuals with the highest levels of lycopene. In a multicenter study, similar results were found – men with the highest levels of lycopene had a 48% lower risk of heart attack.
Q. What can I expect taking this herbal combination?
A. You should notice both systolic and diastolic numbers lowering in about two weeks. The scientific study showed that for pre-hypertensive and stage I, (early hypertensive individuals) this combination for ingredients lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
When you’re taking herbs to support your blood pressure, it’s important to keep it monitored so you have an accurate reading (and record) of your numbers. If you need to, you can pick up a home blood pressure monitoring device. These can retail for anywhere from $30 all the way up to $200, but buying one in the $30 to $50 range is a good idea and money well spent. Consider taking the machine to your local doctor’s office or fire department to have it tested for accuracy against a professional blood pressure monitor. See the chart below for tips on getting an accurate reading from a home monitor.
Tips for Accurate Blood Pressure Monitoring:
-Relax for about 5 to 10 minutes before measurement.
-If you have just come inside from cold outdoors allow yourself to warm up.
-Remove tight-fitting clothing and jewelry.
-Unless your physician recommends otherwise, use left arm to measure pressure.
-Sit, don’t stand.
-Remain still and do not talk while using the monitor.
Q. Are there any side effects?
A. There were no side effects noted in the study. However, because of the mild diuretic effect of dandelion leaf extract, you may notice an increase in trips to the bathroom. It’s always important to make sure you don’t get dehydrated, so you may want to drink more water during the day.
High blood pressure doesn’t happen overnight. As we get older, the likelihood of developing hypertension increases. And, stressful, fast-forward lifestyles, bad diets and no exercise conspire to raise our blood pressure.
In my own practice I have helped patients move toward a healthier lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and blood-pressure reducing supplements. They live better, more vibrant lives as a result, and their blood pressure normalizes. It really can happen – you can bring your blood pressure back to normal, and this combination of scientifically and clinically validated ingredients can help.
Olive, With a Twist – The Leaves of the Olive Tree are as beneficial to our health as the
October 07, 2006 02:59 PM
Olive, With a Twist – The Leaves of the Olive Tree are as beneficial to our health as the famous oil.
okay class, its time for a beneficial botanicals pop quiz. Raise your hands—how many people here know that olive oil is good for you? The whole room not surprising. Now, how many know that olive leaf is also good for you? There are not quite so many hands up this time. Let the lesson begin.
The olive tree occupies a prominent place in ancient history and no wonder: olives and the oil hey contain were (and are) dietary staples in the Mediterranean world. (The Greeks were so enamored of the olive tree that they ascribed its creation to the goddess Athena.) But the leaf of this venerable tree has also made historical appearances, generally as a folk remedy for bringing down fevers. The mechanism behind that action didn’t come to light until scientists were able to isolate a substance called oleuropein, responsible for both the bitter taste of uncured olives and the tree’s hardy nature and resistance to bugs and bacteria.
In the laboratory oleuropein extract has been as tough on many of the bacteria and viruses that plague human beings as it is on the olive tree’s natural enemies, a finding which helps explain why olive leaf has traditionally worked as well in fighting fevers (a sign of infection). Various types of rhinovirus (common cold), influenza and herpes virus have been numbered among oleuropein’s victims, along with the bacterial bad guys Escherichia coli (a strain of which can cause food poisoning) and staphylococcus aureus (the prime suspect in many hospital acquired infections).
Viruses are especially difficult to vanquish—antibiotics, as anyone suffering from the flu can tell you, don’t touch these tiny marauders. Olive leaf’s power lies in its ability to thwart viruses from replicating; now replication means no new viruses, which means no spread of infection. Olive extract can also incite immune system cells into gobbling up harmful micro-organisms.
In addition to thwarting microbes, olive leaf promotes better circulatory health. The white-coat crowd has discovered that oleuropein extract relaxes constricted arteries, which results in reduced blood pressure. And olive not only reduces blood sugar (glucose) levels but also serves as an antioxidant, a substance that can mop up harmful molecules known as free radicals. Given that oxidation plays a key role in the development of diabetic complications, both actions make olive leaf an intriguing option for people with diabetes. What’s more, oxidation also affects LDL cholesterol, turning it into the bad stuff that clogs arteries; olive leaf appears to interfere with this insidious process. This triple action-the ability to reduce blood pressure, glucose and LDL oxidation—may give olive leaf an important role in fighting metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health woes that helps fuel the worlds epidemic of cardiovascular disease.
The latest news from the olive grove: what boosts your blood may also benefit your bones. French researchers, intrigued by the low occurrence of osteoporosis among people who consume olive-heavy Mediterranean diets, found that female rats who received oleuropein showed less inflammation-induced bone loss than those fed standard rat chow (Clinical Nutrition 2006 online).
Surprised to learn that the olive trees leaf is just as valuable as its fruits? It’s true-and olive leaf deserves to go straight to the head of the class. --Lisa James.
The Immune System and The Antigen Factor
September 19, 2006 05:46 PM
All cells, including infectious microorganisms, carry “ID Tags” called antigens on their surface. Each of these individual molecular signatures or “ID Tags” tells our immune generals whether the intruder is friend or foe. If foe, the antigens stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies to act against it. Amazingly, immune defense cells recognize and response to thousand of antigens. These “ID Tags” are written in glycoforms on the surface of the cells and use the sugar code to pass the information.
Here is a simple explanation of how this works. Immune cells roam throughout the body touching other cells and asking three questions:
1. are you me (part of this body) and are you okay? 2. are you me and are you not okay (do you need help)? 3. are you not me and need to be eliminated or destroyed?
These questions and their answers are translated through the sugar code found on each cell surface. Depending on the response obtained, immune cells:
1. leave the cell alone & move on; 2. send for help to repair or protect the cell; 3. call in the troops to kill off the foreign invader or cancer cell.
Having a ready supply of glyconutrients may help the body speed up the correct immune system response.
Weight Loss and Toxicity: The Missing Link
November 22, 2005 10:44 AM
We are THE toxic generation and therefore must become the DETOX GENERATION. The solution to all of the se conditions is to limit consumption of animal fats because most oil-soluble toxins accumulate in fat. The problem is not the saturated fat content found in animal foods, it’s the toxins that are stored in the animal’s fat. Choosing organic dairy and meats, as well as eating organic vegetables and fruits, is another helpful way to lower your exposure to fattening toxins. For good measure, it is imperative to fortify our intestinal tracts with good bacteria, because over 75 percent of the immune system’s receptor sites are located in the GI tract-so the GI tract, especially the colon, functions as a secondary immune system.
Here’s where a good probiotic can enter the picture. R. Fuller undertook the most recent and accurate description of probiotics in 1989 that redefined it as “a live microbial fee supplement beneficial to the host by improving the microbial balance within the body.” Think of a probiotic like you do your daily multi- it is, perhaps, even more essential.
Basically, there are over 100 trillion bacteria and around 400 different strains residing in your GI tract. The key is to have enough of the beneficial and essential bacteria. The optimum balance is 85 percent friendly bacteria to 15 percent unfriendly bacteria. And the trick is to make sure that if you take supplements for your probiotic needs, your supplement can really perform.
There are certain strains of lactic acid bacteria that can attach to your intestinal lining and produce antibodies that are lethal to the most disease producing bugs like the methicillin resistant staph, as well as E. coli (which is harbored in manure used as fertilizer and then shows up on your imported foods) and H. pylor-the bug that causes ulcers, heart disease, migraines, and glaucoma. Simply put, probiotics crowd out the bad bugs by occupying most of the parking space in the bowel wall.
The most promising probiotic strain to be discovered since Metchnikoff isolated the beneficial bacteria from yogurt is the TH10 strain researched and formulated by Dr. I. Ohhira, one of Japan’s leading microbiologists, and a team of research scientists from okayama University.
The TH10 strain is now available here in the U.S. in a probiotic formula known as Dr. Ohhira’s probiotics 12 PLUS. I have been an educator for this product for nearly five years since I discovered it and have found that after one day, my sensitive stomach no longer experienced bloating, flatulence, and other assorted discomforts. The product utilizes primary research, not borrowed science.
Guys should forget the six-pack abs and just lose the beer belly.
September 24, 2005 12:00 PM
Time for a Gut Check
Guys should forget the six-pack abs and just lose the beer belly.
When a woman noticed her husband standing on the bathroom scale and sucking in his stomach, she said, “I don’t think that’s going to help.” “Sure it will,” he responded. “It’s the only way I can see the numbers.”
Funny line, sure. But whether you’re talking about “love handles,” a “spare tire” or the proverbial “beer belly,” having a tummy that hangs over your belt buckle is no laughing matter. It’s not even a matter of the quest for “six-pack abs” or a “washboard stomach.” It’s a matter of health.
Consider this: A recent study appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a man’s waist size can be a good predictor for the development of type 2 diabetes. A Harvard Health Professionals team, led by Dr. Youfa Wang, an assistant professor at the John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, analyzed data from more than 27,000 men who were tracked for more than 13 years. The team found that men with larger waists or a higher body mass index (BMI) were both at greater risk for type 2 diabetes than slimmer men. (You find your body mass index by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters. If your waist size is 40 inches or less, a BMI of 25 or over means you’re overweight.)
“Abdominal fat measured by waist circumference can indicate a strong diabetes risk, whether or not a man is considered overweight or obese according to his BMI,” says Wang. The Harvard team found that men with waist sizes of 40 to 62 inches were 12 times more likely to develop diabetes and suggested that the current recommended waistline of 40 inches or below for men may need to be lowered.
okay, now that we’ve scared the bejeezes out of all you guys under 6-foot-4 who by your pants in the big-man store, let’s talk about what you have to do to shop anywhere in the mall. Again, this is not about looking like a Greek ab god. This is about diminishing your risk for a myriad of health problems and being able to comfortably bend over for a ground ball during the pickup softball game. And there are no shortcuts, so forget about liposuctioning those years of accumulated lard. Despite what all those TV makeover shows say, liposuction can only really enhance your body aesthetic if you lose a large chunk of the surface fat first.
“Those makeover shows have it all backwards,” says Dr. Bruce Nadler, a fitness trainer who also happens to be a plastic surgeon. “They do surgery on someone’s midsection and then have them doing intense workouts when they are supposed to be recuperating from surgery. I wouldn’t do liposuction until you see what diet and exercise can accomplish. When you have all the weight in the midsection the dangerous fat is deep within the body. So liposuction may make you look better but it won’t necessarily improve your health.”
The Gut Check Plan
Talk to any exercise expert worth their weight in body fat, including Nadler, and they will tell you that on of the biggest fitness fallacies is the notion that intense abdominal workouts and use of abdominal machines (like those sold through those interminable infomercials) are the keys to getting a flatter and more “ripped” midsection. In fact, for many people it’s not physiologically possible to achieve a flat tummy because abdominals are not designed to be flat. And the idea of “spot reduction,” exercising the area where you want to lose the fat, is now considered a myth. Research has shown that fat is lost all over your body, not just in the area that you work.
It’s not that you can’t benefit from doing abdominal exercises. Crunches, situps and leg raises, when done properly, are great for muscle tone and endurance (and you do burn calories), but the real key to achieving a wonderful waist size is losing body fat. How do you do that?
“Dropping a few inches from your midsection,” says Nadler, “depends on four things- calorie reduction through proper diet (eating very little fat, consuming complex carbohydrates and doing it all in smaller portions), stepping up aerobic activity (such as running an bicycling, which burns excess calories quickly and safely), and resistance weight training (which not only increases metabolism and helps burn more excess calories, but also builds and strengthens the abdominal wall).” Then, adds Nadler, when you’ve just about reached your waist=reduction goal, but genetics still won’t give you a flatter stomach, “that’s where plastic surgery may come in as icing on the cake.”
Nadler also advises men not to panic if they don’t notice a substantial weight reduction during a training program. “When people are doing weight and resistance training they are too hung up on the scale,” insists Nadler. “Muscle weighs more than fat so don’t judge your progress by what you weigh, but on what your percentage of body fat is. That’s the number you want to see going down.”
So how long does it take for men with an oversized gut to lose the excess? “Depending on how much they have to lose,” Nadler says, “it takes anywhere from three to six months.” By the way, for men in their 30s and up, there are also two important side benefits to decreasing the waist size and firming up the gut: better overall posture and diminishing the potential for chronic back pain. So get to work guys; suck it up so you can stop sucking it in. -Stephen Hanks
New Man Food
July 27, 2005 04:31 PM
New Man Food
Listen up, guys. Masculinity isn’t defined by what you eat. It’s all about how well you hold up through the years, which means taking care of yourselves. So ditch the doughnuts, double burgers and draft beer, and adopt a healthier diet. Here’s how!
Back in 1982, a best-selling, humorous manifesto of masculinity known as Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche epitomized the male backlash against feminism, by then a formidable force in the American cultural landscape. But the joke, it turns out almost 25 years later, is on the men- and not just because quiche doesn’t have that many fewer calories than a Quarter Pounder. We may have maintained out mach-ness all these years by eating “manly food,” but we’ve become unhealthy and ultimately weaker because of it.
In 2000, the National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey revealed that among men 20 years and older, a whopping 65.1 million (67.2%) were considered overweight and 26.6 million (27.5%) were considered obese. Only 30.6 million (31.8%) of men 20 to 74 were considered to have a healthy weight. The fallout from such a fatness factor is that more men are dying each year of heart disease and related illnesses and more money than ever is being spent on health care (to say nothing of how poor male health affects the women and children who depend on the men in their lives). Another cheeseburger, guys?
Those numbers, though shocking at first, shouldn’t be that surprising. As a gender, men are more vain, ego-driven and stubborn than women. How does this manifest itself when it comes to wellness? Until a man is hit with his first health crisis, no matter what the age, he thinks he’s indestructible.
That’s why it’s so difficult to convince men to get regular medical checkups (which they should do especially when they hit 50). It’s not that many American men aren’t trying to lose pounds. It’s just that they are a bit misguided in their efforts. Weight-conscious men really gravitated to the Atkins diet. Why? Because at the same time the plan says to cut carbohydrates and increase protein, it gives men carte blanche to eat mass quantities of high-fat “manly” foods like beef and pork. Trading pounds for clogged arteries doesn’t seem like a good deal.
So the time has come for all American men to turn their testosterone-driven energy into changing their nutritional lifestyle. We have to stop eating the same high-caloric and fat-laden foods we usually consume in large doses and start pursuing a diet based on variety, moderation and balance. It’s time to start eating “new” man food: the kind of foods that will make us feel (and look) like a new man.
Out With the Old
But before we can embrace the new, we must wean ourselves off the old, particularly the male habit of eating food in humongous portions. Easier said than done because all of us, men and women, have found it hard to resist the marketing power of super sizing. Who among us wants to feel like and idiot because we didn’t double the size of popcorn, soda or french fries for a mere 49 cents? But resist we must.
We also have to steer clear of the killer Fs-fried food and fat. New York-based nutritionist Annie Hauck-Lawson, PHD, RN, says that also requires willpower because fried foods can be addicting. “They taste so good and fat conveys a lot of flavor,” she admits. “So the best strategy is going cold turkey to get that taste off the palate.” Hauck-Lawson also suggests not beginning a meal with fried foods or fatty meats.
“The start of the meal is when you’re the most hungry so you’ll eat the most during the first course.” She says. “If you start most lunches and dinners with a broth-based soup or a big salad, you’ll load up on high-fiber, high nutrient foods rather than high-fat foods and you’ll be too full to eat the bad stuff. Besides, food can be broiled with herbs and spices instead of being fried and still be delicious.”
Nutritionists like Hauck-Lawson strongly advise men to eat more fiber-base foods, which means adding more fresh fruits and vegetables (about five servings a day), whole grains and beans to the diet. Fiber may not sound manly, but it aids digestion, reduces the risk of colon cancer by moving waste out of your system, supports healthy cholesterol levels and makes you feel full so you won’t gorge yourself on those super-sized portions.
And when you’re eating all those nutritious and healthy new man foods, please don’t offset the benefits by washing it down with soft drinks. Did you know that a can of cola contains 39 grams of refined sugar, which is equivalent to seven teaspoons of the sweet stuff? okay, we know what you’re going to say when we mention water as an alternative. B-O-R-I-N-G! But you can’t ignore a liquid that is crucial to your hydration, digestion and metabolism. If you must drink something interesting with your meal, try an organic red wine, which can have a positive effect on cholesterol and blood pressure. (When the liquid is the meal, a smoothie can fill the bill.)
During and after your transitional phase into the new man food lifestyle, nutritional supplements can ensure that you get enough vitamins and minerals from your diet. Besides taking a general multivitamin designed for men, you should incorporate heart- and prostate-healthy supplements such as omerga-3 fatty acids (especially if you aren’t eating more fish), magnesium, lycopene (found in abundance in tomatoes), zinc and vitamin D, which supports bone health and offers cancer protection. (You should see a licensed practitioner for guidance on which supplements are best for someone in your age group.)
What it boils down to, guys, is choices. We can choose to be set in our unhealthy eating ways or act like men and do the work it takes to make the adjustments. “men have been stereotyped as meat and potatoes freaks and that view is fairly accurate,” says Hauck-Lawson. “Trying to get men to eat healthier has been difficult.” But then she offers a carrot that men just might bite on. “Look at it this way: if a man eats more fish, fruit and vegetables for the nutrients he needs to stay healthy, he looks smart. And to women, smart is sexy.”
Moderating Male Midlife Moodiness - The lesser known guy version of menopause is now a ...
July 14, 2005 09:28 AM
Moderating Male Midlife MoodinessThe lesser known guy version of menopause is now a syndrome
Question: How can you tell if a man has irritable male syndrome?
Irritable male syndrome (IMS) may sound like a joke, but it's really no laughing matter. Just as women experience anxiety, depression and irritability with hormonal changes, men too can suffer from cyclic and menopausal symptoms-they're just more likely to be chastised for it instead of being consoled with a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
Since men's hormones actually fluctuate every hour rather than every 28 days, it should come as no surprise that male behavior should be affected. For some men over 40, however, the behavior swing can be quite dramatic, leaving a guy in a chronic bad mood. But try telling the grouch that he suffers from "male menopause" and he just might chuck the Ben & Jerry's at you.
The term "irritable male syndrome" was coined by Gerald A. Lincoln, a researcher at the Medical Research Council's Human Reproductive Sciences Unit in Edinburgh, Scotland. Lincoln first observed IMS while studying Soay sheep, a large, curly-horned variety known for their boisterous rutting rituals that rival the masculine intensity of any Super Bowl party. After mating season, however, Lincoln noticed that as testosterone levels dropped off, the rams became agitated, fearful, withdrawn and likely to irrationally strike out at other males. The hypothesis behind this behavior is that the withdrawal of androgens affects melatonin and serotonin uptake and can make for one cranky ram. However, IMS in two-legged, human subjects can present itself with more complexity.
Psychotherapist Jed Diamond, author of The Irritable Male Syndrome: Managing the Four Key Causes of Depression and Aggression (Rodale Books), defines IMS as "a state of hypersensitivity, anxiety, frustration and anger that occurs in males and is associated with biochemical changes, hormonal fluctuations, and loss of male identity" that can occur at any time during a man's life. A lot of IMS involves depression; normally thought of as a female problem, this emotional downer often comes out differently in men, more outwardly than inwardly directed.
One point of similarity between the sexes is that IMS, like depression in women, is often linked to the multi-source stress that pervades modern living. The result? According to Diamon, "Up to 30% of men, especially those in adolescence and midlife, exhibit symptoms of IMS. In its mildest forms, it can cause men to be moody and irritable. At its worst, it can lead to violence and even suicide."
Is it a Bad Day or a Bad Decade?
So how can you really tell if a man has irritable male syndrome? Since a guy isn't likely to say flat out that he's having trouble with relationships or is having hot flashes (you read that right), there are other, more telltale signs to look for. While we all may temporarily experience bad moods, if you or someone you know exhibits one or more of these feelings with frequency over a period of time, IMS may be the cause: anger, sarcasm, defensiveness, blaming, withdrawal, anxiety, defiance, being argumentative, feeling unappreciated, frustration.
Physical IMS symptoms include fatigue, unexpected weight gain or loss, frequent urination, hair loss (besides the typical male pattern) and impotence. The thyroid gland, which serves as the body's master energy controller, is often out of whack on men suffering from IMS. If that sounds familiar, see your practitioner for a thyroid hormone check.
Less Flabby Means Less Crabby
Sometimes, IMS is not a matter of lowered testosterone levels but one of elevated estradoil, the usable form of the female hormone estrogen. This condition can develop with consumption of too many hormone-laced meats (eating organic meat is a good option). In addition, a diet high in high-glycemic carbs such as white breads and white pasta will undermine testosterone levels as well as pack on unwanted pounds.
To help trim down and keep IMS symptoms at bay, Larrian Gillespie, MD, author of The Gladiator Diet: How to Preserve Peak Health, Sexual Energy, and A Strong Body at Any Age (Healthy Life Publications), recommends a diet that's 40% protein, 35% low-glycemic carbs (read: green veggies) and 25% fat, of which only 10% should be saturated fat. To help keep testosterone levels up, avoid apricots, carrots, white potatoes, white rice (whole wheat past and rise are okay) and-sorry guys-dark beer.
Gillespie also recommends that men take a multivitamin daily along with calcium, magnesium and the herb saw palmetto to inhibit the breakdown of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone a precursor to prostate disease.
Now that you know IMS is real, you can take the bull (or Soay ram) by the horns and do something about it. IMS can be treated through diet, natural hormone replacement therapy and counseling, if necessary.
Question: What do you call a man who is always tired, miserable and irritable?
Wrong answer! That was the old guy. Mr. Nice is back. -Karyn Maier
Fats and Oils: Clearing the Confusion
June 21, 2005 05:31 PM
Fats and Oils: Clearing the Confusion
By Fred Pescatore, M.D.
Aside from tax forms, it's hard to find anything more confusing to consumers than fats and oils. Fat-free diehards still don't know that fat is essential for the brain, hormones, cellular membranes: life itself. The clueless still use shortening, margarine and damaged grocery store vegetable oils. But what worries me more is that supposedly educated consumers aren't even getting it right. Should we be surprised since their doctors probably don't know the truth?
Mistakes made by your customers. They:
Let's clear up these myths so consumers can get busy being confused about something else:
I hope this helps you educate consumers about the proper use of fats. Unfortunately, that still leaves a long list of other things they've been misled about.
Clearing the Air
June 13, 2005 10:34 AM
Clearing the Air by Robert Gluck Energy Times, August 1, 1999
One crisp winter morning in Vermont, Alan hoisted his skis over his shoulder and tracked through the dazzling snowpack to the lift about a quarter-mile away. He had trekked this gently uphill route many times and valued it as an invigorating warmup for a day on the ski trails. The path seemed to grow steeper, however, and the winter sun more blazing as Alan struggled for breath, sweat dampening his woolen cap. Weak and wheezing, he paused for what seemed like an eternity and finally turned back, plodding arduously through the ice.
Fit and athletic, the 42-year-old Alan heard the alarming news from his health care practitioner: asthma. The therapy: inhaled steroids.
The incidence of asthma-a chronic condition characterized by narrowing of the bronchial tubes, swelling of the bronchial tube lining and mucus secretion that can block the airway, making breathing difficult-has ballooned to alarming rates.
In the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of people reported to suffer from asthma increased from 10.4 million in 1990 to 15 million in 1995. In 1998, the epidemic cost about $11.3 billion.
Worldwide, experts estimate that the prevalence of asthma increased approximately 50% over the last 10 to 15 years. Nations with the highest rates are the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia; lowest are Indonesia, Albania, Romania and Georgia.
Deaths from asthma have doubled in the last decade and, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, asthma is the seventh most common chronic health condition in the United States. Children constitute the most disturbingly burgeoning segment of the asthma explosion, its sufferers numbering five to six million. The rate of asthma among children five to 14 years old increased 74% between 1980 and 1994; the rate for preschool kids skyrocketed 160%. Asthma is the number one chronic childhood illness and the third leading cause of hospitalization for children under age 15. More than 5000 Americans die from asthma annually; the fatality rate among children five to 14 years old more than doubled from 1979 to 1995, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation.
Waging War on the Wheeze
Asthma is indeed chronic, but it can be prevented and controlled and its effects reversed. Mainstream MDs command an arsenal of pharmaceuticals, some of which are essential for severe or urgent conditions. Consult your health care practitioner about any breathing difficulties.
Because of its complexity, however, asthma requires a balanced therapeutic approach: careful attention to diet, exercise and stress reduction while taking supplemental nutrients and botanicals can help ease asthma's discomforts. Antioxidant nutrients like vitamins C and E, fruits and vegetables rich in phytochemicals plus herbs like echinacea and garlic, all possess the potential for helping the body fight asthma.
Induced by an array of inherent physiological vulnerabilities, some of which may not manifest until adulthood, as well as environmental factors, asthma benefits from extra sleuthing into its causes and planning for relief.
Triggers and Therapies
Asthma is derived from the Greek word meaning panting or breathing hard, which pretty much sums up the malady: Wheezing and shortness of breath typify the attack.
In bronchial asthma, the commonest variety, the passages that carry air from the throat to the lungs narrow as a result of muscle contraction, local inflammation or production of excess mucus. Breathing becomes difficult and wheezy as air is expelled.
"Asthma symptoms are triggered by various factors such as allergens, irritants, infections, pollutants, medications, and emotions," says Anthony Rooklin, author of Living with Asthma: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Controlling Asthma While Enjoying Your Life (Penguin). "Triggers are substances or situations that would be quite harmless to people with ordinary airways, but that bring on asthma symptoms in susceptible individuals."
According to Ellen W. Cutler, nutritionist, enzyme therapist, chiropractor and author of Winning the War Against Asthma & Allergies: A Drug-Free Cure For Asthma and Allergy Sufferers" (Delmar), asthma is an allergic disease that is always triggered by allergens. "These allergens include not only foods, pollens and environmental factors such as perfume, animal dander and chemicals but also bacteria, climactic conditions and emotions," says Cutler.
"When these allergies are active from birth, asthma can be diagnosed early in life, even in infancy," she adds.
Cutler believes every individual with asthma should be able to lead a normal, drug-free life.
"Most asthmatics have been told that asthma is a chronic problem they will have to contend with for the rest of their lives. Asthma can be cured, not miraculously and instantaneously, but inevitably and permanently, once the allergies that cause it have been eliminated," she adds.
Dilating on Nutrients
Although it is vitally important for folks with asthma to develop a treatment plan with a trusted health care provider, that plan, according to experts, may lend itself to a rich variety of complementary options, especially nutrients, phytochemicals, minerals and enzymes.
According to Ruth Winter, author of A Consumer's Guide to Medicines in Food: Nutraceuticals That Help Prevent and Treat Physical and Emotional Illnesses (Crown), researchers in Nottingham, England, linked magnesium and lung function.
"Magnesium is involved in a wide range of biological activities, including some that may protect against the development of asthma and chronic airflow obstruction," Winter says. "Dr. John Britton and his colleagues at Nottingham University measured the magnesium in the diets of 2,633 adults aged 18 to 70 and they found that low magnesium was associated with reduced lung function and wheezing" (The Lancet 344, 1994: 357-62).
Magnesium actually boasts a long history as a bronchial relaxant, first demonstrated in 1912 on cows. Its potential was eclipsed, however, by pharmaceutical antihistamines and bronchodilators until its recent rediscovery.
Defending the Lungs
Antioxidants, with their ability to bolster the lungs' defense mechanisms by battling oxidizing free radicals that constrict bronchial tissue, wield tremendous force in the anti-asthma offensive. Michael T. Murray, ND, and Joseph E. Pizzorno, ND, in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), connect the steady decrease in dietary intake of antioxidants to the burgeoning incidence of asthma.
Among the top asthma-busting antioxidants:
Vitamin C. Murray and Pizzorno note that C is the major antioxidant present in the lining of the airway and cite generous evidence that when vitamin C is low, asthma incidence is high (Annals Allergy 73, 1994: 89-96). Vitamin C, taken over time, effectively suppresses histamine secretion by white blood cells.
Flavonoids. Also credited with reducing histamine production, flavonoids, notably quercetin and the extracts from grape seed, pine bark and ginkgo biloba, are key asthma-fighting antioxidants (J Allergy Clin Immunol 73, 1984; 769-74).
Carotenes. They limit production of allergy-related compounds (called leukotrienes) and bolster the lining of the respiratory tract (Biochem Biophys Acta 575, 1979: 439-45).
Vitamin E and selenium. Both reduce secretion of leukotrienes (Clinical Exp Allergy 26, 1996: 838-47).
Vitamin B12. Murray and Pizzorno cite the work of Jonathan Wright, MD, whose clinical trials with supplemental vitamin B12 proved strongly effective, especially for children with asthma.
A Bundle of Botanicals
Herbal remedies for asthma date back more than 5000 years to the Chinese emperor Shen-nung. The ancient Egyptians treated respiratory ailments with herbs as well; the Greeks favored mint, garlic, cloves and myrrh for pulmonary problems.
Today, the power of plants has been validated by clinical research and standardized for predictability. (Always consult a health care practitioner when seeking complementary therapies, and read the package labels carefully for dosages and cautions.)
In their book, Asthma: An Alternative Approach (Keats), Ron Roberts and Judy Sammut provide a concise guide to asthma-easing botanicals: Garlic: acts as antiviral, antibacterial and antihistamine; enhances immune response; contains the antioxidant selenium. Garlic also is an expectorant.
Echinacea: a traditional treatment for immune disorders and infections of the upper respiratory tract, known to shorten the duration of colds, coughs and flus.
Ginkgo biloba: inhibits the chemical responses that induce asthma discomfort (Br J Clin Pharmacol 29, 1990: 85-91).
Ginseng: stimulates immunity and the production of steroid-like hormones; helps chronic coughs.
Licorice: an expectorant, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic that also inhibits leukotriene production (Acta Med okayama 37, 1983: 385-91).
Tylophora asthmatica: an Ayurvedic treatment that many respected experts believe can act both as an antihistamine and antispasmodic (Planta Med 57, 1991: 409-13).