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How Melatonin Can Support a Healthy Sleep Cycle and More
May 11, 2022 12:19 PM
Did you know that melatonin is a powerful free radical scavenger? This means that it helps protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called radicals. Melatonin is also naturally produced in the pineal gland and is present in high amounts in the GI tract. We will discuss some of the ways that melatonin supports health and wellness.
Melatonin and the body
Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland in the brain. It is responsible for regulating the body's internal clock, or circadian rhythm. The production of melatonin increases at night, and decreases during the day. This hormone is also available in supplement form, and is often used to treat jet lag or insomnia. When taken as a supplement, melatonin works by resetting the body's internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. Additionally, melatonin may also help to reduce anxiety and improve mood. As a result, this hormone plays an important role in regulating the body's sleep-wake cycle.
How does melatonin support a healthy sleep cycle?
Melatonin is a hormone that help regulate the sleep cycle. The production of melatonin is stimulated by darkness and inhibited by light. As a result, melatonin levels typically start to rise in the evening as the sun sets, and they remain high throughout the night. In the morning, light exposure causes melatonin levels to drop, helping to wake us up and start the day. Melatonin supplements can be used to help people who have difficulty sleeping and staying asleep. This hormone helps to reset the body's natural sleep cycle, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. As a result, melatonin can be an effective way to support a healthy sleep cycle.
What are some of the other benefits of melatonin?
It can help to boost the immune system, protect against cancer, and reduce inflammation. Research suggests that melatonin may also have neuroprotective effects and could be beneficial for people with Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease.
Tips for getting a good night's sleep
Most people need about seven to eight hours of sleep a day. However, many people find it difficult to get enough rest. There are a number of things you can do to improve your sleep habits. First, create a regular sleep schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends. Second, create a relaxing bedtime routine. This might include taking a warm shower, reading a book, or writing in a journal. Third, create a comfortable sleep environment by making sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. Fourth, avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. Caffeine can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep, while alcohol can disrupt your sleep cycle. Finally, try not to use electronic devices in bed. The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with your body's natural sleep rhythm and take melatonin. By following these tips, you can improve your chances of getting a good night's sleep.
Research on melatonin began in the 1950s, and since then, numerous studies have been conducted on its potential health benefits. Some of the most promising research has found that melatonin may help to prevent cancer. In one study, melatonin supplements were found to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence by half. Other research has shown that melatonin may help to protect against colon cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer. Additionally, melatonin has been shown to boost the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy.
While more research is needed to confirm the exact role of melatonin in cancer prevention, the available evidence suggests that it could play a significant role in protecting against this disease. Therefore, it may be worth considering supplementing with melatonin if you are at high risk for cancer or are undergoing treatment for this disease.
The evidence is clear: Hemp slows the progression of ovarian cancer
July 12, 2018 05:54 PM
Researches have discovered that the hemp plant has anti-cancer effects, so you might see it used more often in natural medicinal treatments. In a recent study, hemp extract was discovered to significantly cause a drop in the migration of cancer cells. Furthermore, KY-hemp also slowed down the discharge of interleukin IL-beta, which are chemicals that been linked to the elevation of cancer. Researchers feel that the hemp plant extract is just as effective as cisplatin, a drug used in chemotherapy.
"New research has shown that the humble hemp plant has anti-cancer effects so profound that it can slow down the progression of ovarian cancer — and can stop cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body, too."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-07-10-hemp-slows-the-progression-of-ovarian-cancer.html
Hemp shows potential for treating ovarian cancer
May 24, 2018 05:16 PM
New studies are showing that a specific form of hemp called KY-hemp is successful at slowing down the process of cell migration when it comes to ovarian cancer. KY-hemp is a form of hemp that is specifically grown and distributed from the state of Kentucky. Although hemp is a member of the cannabis family such as marijuana, it does not promote any psychoactive effects or cause any risk for developing a dependency on the drug.
"Results from some of the first studies to examine hemp's ability to fight cancer show that it might one day be useful as plant-based treatment for ovarian cancer."
Read more: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/eb2-hsp041318.php
Drop Toxic Sanitizers! They Cause Skin to Absorb 10X MORE of the Hormone Disrupting BPA. Instead, DIY the most Effective Hand Sanitizer
March 22, 2017 04:44 AM
Hand sanitizers are often used by individuals who want to protect their health, but studies are beginning to show links between triclosan (the most common active ingredient in hand sanitizers) and serious health conditions. Triclosan is known to disrupt endocrine, which can lead to negative effects for your body, including some cancers. Researchers note that triclosan has an accumulative effect and that children are more vulnerable to the potential negative side effects. Instead of buying potentially toxic hand sanitizers, consider making homemade sanitizer out of aloe vera and antimicrobial essential oils such as tea tree and eucalyptus.
"While triclosan has yet to be classified as a confirmed human carcinogen, scientists have suggested potential links to hormone-related cancers such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer."
Read more: http://www.healthnutnews.com/drop-toxic-sanitizers-cause-skin-absorb-10x-hormone-disrupting-bpa-instead-diy-effective-hand-sanitizer/
What Is Paraben and Why We Should Avoid It?
February 10, 2014 01:53 PM
What is paraben
Parabens are artificial preservatives used in many domestic manufacturing industries especially for cosmetics, food and drugs industries. Most manufactures prefer Parabens because they are cost effective and are also efficient in protection against micro-organisms for long time.
Common types of paraben
The most common type of Parabens are methyl, propyl and butylParaben. There are many harmful effects of Parabens, some of the most notorious side effects are;
Disrupts Endocrine System
When absorbed into the body system, Parabens disrupts endocrine system by increasing production of hormone notably estrogen and at times they may act as estrogen. The body is triggered to produce excessive estrogen which has variety of adverse effects. For example, increased production of estrogen can lead to ovarian cysts, unstable emotions and mood swing.
The most notable effect of increased estrogen in the body resulting from use of Parabens is breast cancer. Research shows that Parabens accumulate in breast and are major contributors to breast cancer.
Leads to sudden weight gain.
Parabens are known to contribute to excessive weight, though actual gain depends on individual and the amount of Parabens in the body, they interfere with thyroid glands which leads to excessive weight gain since body cannot regulate the amount of Parabens in the body. Excessive weight may also be caused by high amount of estrogen produced.
Negative Affects to Reproductive Health
Parabens have negative effects to reproductive health, for instance, they leads to low level of testosterone. This leads to low libido in men and in worst case it may cause infertility.
Although cosmetics aims at enhancing your beauty by making you look young, use of Parabens can actually hastens skin aging process. This alters your look and at times may completely change your skin complexion.
It is clear that Parabens are very dangerous to the body, though Food and Drug Administration has no illegalized use of this product for preservation, there is clear reason why they should be avoided.
Health Benefits of Vitex
December 20, 2013 09:04 AM
Health Benefits of Vitex
Taken from a mediterrenian tree, vitex has numerous health benefits in human life especially to women. Taken as alternative medicine, the herb can affect human body in various ways leading to diverse health benefits.
These benefits include;
What Are The Health Benefits Of Quercetin?
April 18, 2013 07:37 AM
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in grains, leafy greens, vegetables and fruits, and has proven beneficial in the recent years. Plants often generate this flavonol to preserve vitamins and guard themselves against cell injury, bacteria and parasites. Onions, red wine, tea and apple skins are particularly rich in quercetin, which can render several health benefits. Most of these benefits can be attributed to the antioxidant properties of quercetin.
Here are the health benefits of quercetin.
Heart Disease: The antioxidant properties of quercetin can reduce the risks of plaque development in the arteries, which is also referred to as atherosclerosis. Moreover, its anti-inflammatory properties can also prevent damage associated with LDL cholesterol; one of the major causes of heart disease. Since this antioxidant is naturally found in fruits and vegetables, regular intake of quercetin will help in enhancing heart strength. Hypertension or blood pressure can also be controlled with adequate consumption of quercetin.
Protection against Allergies: The anti-inflammatory properties of quercetin have proven quite effective against many allergic reactions like allergic cough, hay fever, hives and asthma among others. It achieves this by inhibiting the production of histamine and other related inflammatory mediators. Therefore, it can reduce the risks of getting infected with various allergic conditions and help in speeding up recovery from these allergies.
Possible Cancer Protection: Just like most antioxidants, quercetin has cancer inhibiting properties. The antioxidant properties of quercetin shield the cells against free radicals by reducing their growth and neutralizing their negative effects in the body. Some in-vitro studies have proven that it can control cancer cells development and may reduce the chances of contracting prostate, colon, ovarian and breast cancer. It can also help people suffering from chronic interstitial and prostatitis cystitis because it acts as an effective mast cell inhibitor.
Cataracts: Quercetin can block the type of sugar which triggers the development of cataracts on your eye. Smokers or those who expose their eyes to excessive UV rays without wearing protective glasses may consider quercetin intake to reduce the risks of cataract formation. Improve Arthritis: Just like most anti-inflammatory drugs, quercetin can help people suffering from arthritis. It is believed that quercetin can reduce the pain and swelling that affects joints due to arthritis. According to some studies, change of diet from the normal western diet to a diet that focuses on vegetables and fruits with high quercetin can alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.
Athletic Ability: Some studies show that consumption of quercetin twice every day enhances oxygen capacity and endurance in active women and men. The athletic ability improvement is attributed to the positive effect of quercetin on the cell energy processors, mitochondria. This effect coupled with the antioxidant properties of quercetin can boost the immune system and might lead to general health improvement.
Other Heath Benefits: Some studies show that quercetin acts as a neutrotoxin hence can help in getting rid of neurological diseases. Since quercetin can help in free radicals control, it can also offer skin care benefits. It can also boost your immune system.
Green Tea - A Powerful Antioxidant
December 27, 2012 11:45 AM
Green tea which is basically obtained from the leaves of Camellia Sinensis, is treated as a medicinal herb. It is gaining popularity all over the world with its medicinal value, which is used to prevent many diseases.
Advantages of Green tea:
Consuming green tea on daily basis makes your bones stronger. This is because of the fluoride content present in it, which is very helpful in strengthening the bones.
Why is green tea a powerful antioxidant herb?
This herb is considered as powerful antioxidant herb because it EGCG content which helps the body kill free radicals which are harmful and which causes early aging of skin, liver transplantation failure, causes cancer, etc. Green tea contains very high concentration of antioxidants called polyphenols. It is beneficiary to take 2-3 cups of green tea or 2 - 3 - 500mg tablets every day. With regular exercise and proper diet, green tea helps in weight reduction.
Regular intake of green tea helps you to be healthy and prevents from attack of diseases. The anti oxidants, which are helpful in defending your body against diseases, are available in high concentration in green tea. It is advised to have at least a cup of green tea every morning on empty stomach.
November 24, 2012 10:28 AM
History of Green Tea.
Green tea originated in China and it has been used as a beverage and for medicinal reasons in China and most of Asia. In Asia besides China, green tea is common in Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Thailand. The book written by 'Lu Yu' from the Tang Dynasty in China is to date considered as the most important book in the history of Green tea. The book is called the " Cha Jing" or "Tea Classic". It was written between 600 and 900 AD.
The book details the medicinal qualities of green tea which include, Easing effects on alcohol, curing blotchiness, acting as a stimulant, quenching thirst, curing the beriberi disease, eliminating indigestion, improving the brain and urinary functions and also preventing fatigue. Green tea was used in Asia to help in almost everything, that is from, helping to heal wounds and bleeding to regulating the body temperatures and blood sugars. It was even used to promote digestion.
Recently, green tea has become popular in the west where Black tea was mainly consumed. Green tea today is being used as a raw material for extracts mostly used in beverages, dietary supplements, healthy foods and even in cosmetic items. Green tea varies in varieties depending on the country its grown, the growing conditions, the desired type of green tea, the production process and the harvesting time.
How its made.
The general process of making a cup of green tea entails, using 2 grams of green tea leaves for 100ml of water or rather, a teaspoon of green tea leaves per a 5 ounce cup of water. When making green tea, the hottest temperature for the water should be between 81 degrees and 87 degrees and the lowest temperature should be between 61 degrees and 69 degrees. Low quality green leaves will mostly require more heating or steeping time than high quality tea leaves, however if you steep or heat for too long it may result in a bitter taste regardless of the quality of the tea leaves.
Benefits Of Green Tea.
Green tea contains a variety of amino acids, carbohydrates, enzymes, vitamins, sterols, lipids,carotenoids, polyphenols, tecopherols and caffeine among others. In a 2012 scientific study, it was concluded that green tea actually does help in reducing certain types of cancer like prostate cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer. the study concluded that a compound contained in green tea not only inhibits the growth of cancer cells but also kills then without causing harm to the healthy body cells. A study in the university of Geneva in Switzerland found out that people who drank caffeinated green tea lost more calories than those who drank regular tea which means it can be of great help to dieters.
Drinking green tea also helps lower the total levels of cholesterol and improve the ratio of HDL cholesterol (Good) to the LDL cholesterol (Bad). A Dutch study has shown that the more one consumes green tea the less severe the clogging of the heart's blood vessels especially in women. The green tea antioxidants help improve the flexibility of the blood vessels thus making them less vulnerable to clogging. Other studies have shown that green tea can also help prevent tooth decay since it has the ability to destroy bacteria.
How Potassium Iodide Helps Under Active Thyroid
June 18, 2012 08:19 AM
Potassium iodide is actually an inorganic compound. Also known as KI, its chemical formula, it became the most commercially important iodide compound and was produced around 37,000 tons in 1985. Compared to sodium iodide, KI is less hygroscopic, meaning that it less readily absorbs water. It becomes a precursor to Agl (silver iodide), a useful chemical used in photography. As a medical treatment, it comes in the form of tablet or liquid. In the liquid form, KI is known as SSKI or Thyroshield which is commonly used as preparation the thyroid gland before surgery. In the form of tablet, it is known as thyrosafe or losat and is used to protect thyroid glands from radiation.
Used as disinfectant, KI becomes an antiseptic, like in Betadine. Iodine in Betadine is a common topical disinfectant which is utilized in the hospital operating rooms. It functions to sterilize the skin which will be operated. As water purification, potassium iodide is used to purify water during the emergency situation. Due to the antimicrobial properties, KI will eliminate the illness-causing microorganisms. For the time being, KI is also medical treatments.
As medical treatments, KI can be used to help thyroid deficiency. It refers to as hypothyroidism. The thyroid problems are fast becoming. They can cause hair loss, rapid weight gain, anxiety, depression and ongoing fatigue. These problems are usually associated with under active iodine. Hypothyroidism also makes someone older than healthy individual. Even though the only difference from the normal people is only two degrees, this can cause various effects of our body with different symptoms.
The importance of having sufficient iodine is also supported by Michael Tierra in Planet Herbology. She asserts that underactive iodine is major cause to ovarian and breast cancers. Even mild imbalance level of iodine can make the other hormones like progesterone, estrogen and androgen imbalanced.
Potassium iodide has been medically proven to effectively treat patients with under active thyroids. As Schachter Center for the Complementary Medicine reported, it has been used to treat people with chronic Hashimoto's disease or known as thyroiditis.
In terms of under active thyroid or hypothyroidism, potassium iodide can raise up the production of hormones in the thyroid glands. In order to know how KI works to treat iodine deficiency, we can see from the people with these conditions. Commonly, they have weight gain. Even if they have done workouts, the weight will not reduce. Whereas, sufficient iodine is very important to maintain metabolism and prevents the body fat accumulation, as Burton Goldberg writes in Alternative Medicine. That is why KI is required. KI will increase the iodine level so the thyroid will function as normal and the metabolism will also return in usual state.
Therefore, if you have this kind of thyroid problem, then you have to visit your doctor or medical professional. Alternatively, if you have a overweight problem but never do enough exercise, you should not potassium iodide as supplement to lose your weight. KI is not a weight loss supplement, after all. KI has only to be used when you surely have under active thyroid. That will work for this problem.
Serrapeptidase: Natural NSAID
March 27, 2012 03:26 PM
Serrapeptase, also known as Serratia peptidase is a proteolytic (protein-splitting) bioactive enzyme found in the intestines of the silk worm. This silk-worm enzyme is widely used in Europe and Japan in clinical therapy for relieving pain and inflammation. When the silk worm leaves the cocoon, it regurgitates the serrapeptase in to create a hole in the cocoon for its escape. It was soon discovered that serrapeptase enzyme has a unique property to dissolve dead material consisting protein without even harming the living tissue. This property of dissolving dead tissue can be used in treating many health conditions.
How Serrapeptase work?
Protein is the main component of most of the fibrous materials in the body. Once these fibrous materials out-live their purpose or are over-grown, they start causing serious disease conditions involving fibrosis. Fibrosis is an abnormal thickening and scarring of connective tissue caused by infection, injury, surgery or lack of oxygen. Serrapeptase works as an anti-fibrotic and helps in relieving the conditions in connective tissue scarring and thickening has occurred.
Health Benefits of Serrapeptase:
This proteolytic enzyme is considered an alternative to NSAIDS (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) that are used to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Serrapeptase has been used to treat fibromyalgia, colitis, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, varicose veins, ovarian cysts, ear and throat infections, enlarged prostate and postoperative inflammation. Studies have shown its effective results in prevention and removal of arterial plaque.
Serrapeptase in relieving Pain:
Pain and Inflammation Reduction:
Serrapeptase is a great anti-inflammatory and analgesic agent. It reduces the inflammation and gives relief from the pain. It works by blocking the release of pain inducing amines from the inflamed tissues. Due to its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, serrapeptase is used in treatment as an alternative to NSAIDS. This enzyme gives relief from mild to moderate pain like headache and backaches. Hence it is used all the inflammatory conditions such as colitis, sinusitis, arthritis and many more.
Serrapeptidase has an anti-fibrotic and fibrinolytic action that prevents and treats the accumulation of plaque in the arteries. Plaque is the accumulated deposits of cholesterol, fatty substances, cellular waste products, fibrin and calcium. Excessive plaque formation impairs the normal blood flow and cause partial or complete blockage, which also results in arteriosclerosis. Serrapeptidase helps to prevent build-up of plaque in the body. Due to its fibrinolytic action, it also helps in dissolving of proteins and breaking down atherosclerotic plaques. The dissolved deposits are eliminated from the body.
Hence, serrapeptidase prevents coronary artery diseases and improves cardiovascular health.
Due to its anti-inflammatory and mucus dissolving properties, Serrapeptidase is very beneficial for chronic sinusitis sufferers. Serrapeptidase helps in thinning and expelling the thickened mucus secretion present in nasal cavities of sinusitis sufferer.
Serrapeptidase helps in reducing the recovery time in any injuries, wounds or surgery. It promotes healing in post-operative wounds by reducing the inflammation and pain.
Serrapeptidase is available in the form of supplements. If you are taking NSAIDS for any healthy condition, substitute it with serrapeptidase supplement
Omega-3 Oil- Learn Why it is So Important for Your Health
February 13, 2012 09:24 PM
Omega-3 fatty acids are good polyunsaturated fats that are so essential for maintaining excellent health and for our well-being, but unfortunately 8 out of 10 people do not get enough!
There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, DHA, and ALA. You can get ALA from walnuts and canola oil whereas other two are there in oily fish. Of these three, the best ones are only available from the oily fish. In case of ALA, you would need tons of it to get any desired benefits. Another thing to know about them is that they are essential fats that are not produced within the body, so they have to come from outside source.
Lets have a close look at various health benefits of Omega-3 fish oil for you and your family:
1. Cancer prevention-Many studies have revealed that adequate intake of Omega-3 can reduce instances of colon, testicular, ovarian and breast cancer.
2. About thirty percent of brain is actually DHA fat, and when Omega-3 is consumed on regular basis, one can see amazing improvement in concentration and memory.
3 Reverse Heart Disease-Omega-3 helps in reducing instances of plaque build up in arteries. People usually suffer strokes due to atherosclerosis (plaque build up), which get clogged over a period of time in the same way as drains get clogged due to their regular usage.
4. Boosts Immune System- The immune system of body is controlled by essential fatty acids in the regulatory system. Any shortage of Omega-3 fatty acids can lead to the breakdown of immune system. You can reduce various immune disorders by bringing about a balance in the intake of Omega-6 and Omega 3 fatty acids.
5. Fights Various Degenerative Diseases-In degenerative diseases, the structure or function of affected tissues deteriorate over a period of time. You can reduce this process by increasing the consumption of Omega-3 fish oil supplements. They are very beneficial for older people.
6. Increases Fertility-The main reason for infertility in females is the thickening of cervical mucus that impedes the movement of sperms. Aside from that, many vaginal secretions also act as spermicides. In both these cases, deficiency of fatty acids contributes to the problem.
Even in males, healthy reproductive and sexual functioning of sex glands is possible only with good concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids in sex glands.
7. Promotes Healthy Skin-Omega-3 fatty acids are important for your skin health. Each skin cell is wrapped up in membrane that consists of substances derived from Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids.
Where to get omega-3
You can get Omega-3 from fish oils. You will have to take at lest two servings of fatty fish for required quantities of Omega 3 fish oil. With issues such as toxin and mercury contamination in fish, Omega-3 fatty acid supplements are better alternatives.
Why omega-3 fish oil supplements?
The best Omega-3 fish oil pills contain purified and concentrated oil without any risk of toxin or mercury contamination.
Many reputable manufacturers now provide fish oil capsules with high concentration of EPA and DHA fatty acids with low levels of mercury. You should definitely include Omega-3 fish oil caps in your daily diet to get all the health benefits that your body deserves.
DHEA and Your Health
March 16, 2010 12:27 PM
DHEA is a naturally occurring hormone that is produced within the adrenal glands. The most abundant hormone found in the body, it is sometimes referred to as the “mother hormone.” When hormone levels are too low or out of sync, the body is unable to function as intended. DHEA levels reach their peak in the body around age twenty-one. After that, the levels tend to decline over the years. This substance is a precursor hormone that can be metabolized into other adrenal hormones and act with other hormones.
When DHEA levels are normal, it aids the immune system in maintaining balance and fighting diseases and infection. This, in turn, protects the body form a variety of serious problems that can occur, including cancer. Although the full extent of DHEA's benefits is not entirely known, there is a great deal of evidence that links low levels of DHEA to conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, fertility problems, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, allergies, PMS, and even weight problems. Many people even believe that this hormone is the single most important factor in maintaining health.
Scientific studies have determined that individuals with cancer seem to have lower levels of DHEA than those individuals who are healthy. It has been found that DHEA has the ability to inhibit one of the most important enzymes that is responsible for the feeding of cancer cells. Research has also concluded that DHEA can help in a variety of types of cancer, including colon, lung, skin, breast, lymphatic, gastric, prostate, and ovarian. It is believed that DHEA aids in slowing the growth of cancer. This hormone also blocks some of the enzymes that are responsible for cancer proliferation, which helps to prevent the activity of cancer and stops damage from occurring.
Alzheimer's condition is extremely frightening, as it deals with the loss of memory and senility. It has been found that levels of DHEA in Alzheimer's patients are forty-eight percent lower than the normal, healthy level established by the control group. DHEA is responsible for protecting the brain cells from damage and deterioration. Also, it is useful with other degenerative conditions that deal with senility. In healthy individuals, DHEA can be found abundantly in brain tissue, which protects against aging and damage.
DHEA is a precursor for cortisol and adrenaline, both of which are stress hormones. DHEA can become depleted when the body is under stress due to the effect on the adrenal glands. Because of this, chronic stress can lead to lower levels of DHEA, which can be detrimental to one's health. It has been found the prolonged stress can lead to cases of depression, with depression being helped by the addition of DHEA. Individuals with depression have found favorable results when using DHEA.
It has been shown that DHEA therapy is free of side effects when taken in proper amounts. Some problems that occur when excess amounts of DHEA are supplemented include acne, rapid heartbeat, irritability, and headaches. The majority of people solve these problems by lowering the amount they are taking. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by DHEA, please feel free to contact a representative from your local or internet health food store.
Dhea is a hormone naturally found in the body now available over the counter at your local health food store.
August 26, 2009 01:19 PM
Used as a female regulator, cramp bark is considered to be a very valuable herb. It is also used to relieve cramps during menstruation. Early American practitioners used cramp bark to relieve cramps. This is where it got its name. This herb has been recommended by herbalists to help with pregnancy, after-pains cramps, and especially for the nervous discomforts of pregnancy.
Cramp bark is recognized as a uterine sedative. It is also an antispasmodic, used to relax the uterus and ovaries. This herb has been used to treat women when nervous afflictions could possibly cause a miscarriage. Cramp bark can also be used to treat cramps anywhere in the body.
Cramp bark also acts as a muscle relaxant, affecting other organs including the intestine and skeletal muscles. This herb is considered to be the most potent uterine antispasmodic of the Viburnum species. This is because is contains more of the antispasmodic constituent scopoletin. Cramp bark also contains more antispasmodic volatile oils than other species. This herb typically works very quickly for simple menstrual cramps. If it fails to relieve symptoms, the discomfort is probably not due to uterine muscle spasm but to inflammation or irritation of the uterus or ovaries, endometrial infection, or cysts. Black haw, a close relative of cramp bark, is also useful for uterine cramps, congestion, and irritation in the uterus and ovaries with radiating pains. It may be better indicated for those types of complains. This herb has been used to stop contractions during premature labor.
Additionally, it has been used in the last trimester of pregnancy to build up uterine muscles and ensure an easy labor. However, it is important to consult with an experienced herbalist before taking any botanicals during pregnancy. Additionally, the antispasmodic constituents in cramp bark may lower blood pressure by relaxing vessel walls. If it is taken in large dosages of thirty drops or more every two to three hours, this herb may reduce leg cramps, muscle spasms, or pain from a stiff neck.
Fresh or dried berries from the cramp bark tree are used in Russia as a pulse regulator to treat high blood pressure, heart problems, coughs, colds, lung problems, kidney problems, and bleeding ulcers. A decoction of flowers can be used externally for eczema and other skin conditions.
The bark and berries of the cramp bark plant are used to provide alterative, antiabortive, antispasmodic, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, nervine, and sedative properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins C and K. Primarily, cramp bark is extremely beneficial in treating asthma, convulsions, uterine cramps, leg cramps, heart palpitations, hypertension, nervousness, spasms, and urinary problems.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with after-pains of childbirth, colic, constipation, dysentery, epilepsy, fainting, gallstones, gas, jaundice, lockjaw, ovarian irritations, and rheumatism. It is important to consult a health care provider before considering taking this, or any supplement while on prescription drugs. For more information on the many benefits provided by cramp bark, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
April 01, 2009 05:35 PM
Infertility is typically defined as a failure to conceive after a year or more of regular intimate activity during the time of ovulation. This term can also refer to the inability to carry a pregnancy to term. About 6.1 million American couples are impaired when it comes to their ability to have children, with 2.1 million of these couples being infertile. The exact cause of the problem can be extremely difficult to pinpoint, as ovulation, fertilization, and the passage to the fertilized ovum through the fallopian tube and to the uterus are extremely complex processes. In order for pregnancy to occur, many events must work together perfectly.
In 40 percent of infertile couples, problems that affect the male partner are either partially or wholly the cause of infertility. Infertility in men is usually the result of a low sperm count or an anatomical abnormality. There are a variety of factors that can result in a low sperm count. Among these factors are alcohol consumption, endocrine disorders, exposure to toxins, radiation or excessive heat, recent acute illness or prolonged fever, testicular injury, and rarely, mumps-induced wasting of the testicles. An abnormal enlargement of veins that drain the testicles, referred to as varicoceles, can cause infertility in men. This is because the veins of the testes are no longer able to moderate the temperature of the testicles correctly, which can negatively affect sperm.
The most common causes of infertility in women include an ovulatory failure or defect, blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids. Additionally, some women are able to develop antibodies to their partners’ sperm, which causes the woman to almost be allergic to them. Chlamydia, a transmitted disease which affects 4 million Americans each year, also causes many cases of infertility. There are also psychological issues, such as stress or fear of parenthood, which can also contribute to infertility.
However, in most cases, stress is usually the result of infertility, not the cause of it. Sperm abnormalities account for about 41 percent of infertility cases. The following reasons are the most common to explain why couples cannot conceive: the woman has endometriosis; the man has abnormal sperm, a low sperm count, or erectile dysfunction; the woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked; ovulation takes place rarely or irregularly; the couple is unable to have complete intimate relations; the cervical mucous attacks and kills the sperm; the woman does not manufacture enough progesterone to carry a baby to term; the woman is over thirty-four; and/or one or both members of the couple eats a poor diet and experiences too much stress. The following nutrients are extremely beneficial in helping one or both partners deal with infertility: selenium, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, vitamin E, zinc, DMG, octacosanol, phosphatidyl choline, essential fatty acids, l-arginine, manganese, proteolytic enzymes, pycnogenol, raw orchic glandular, raw ovarian glandular, 7-keto DHEA, vitamin A, and vitamin B complex. Also, the following herbs have been shown to be beneficial in dealing with infertility: astragalus, damiana, ginseng, sarsaparilla, saw palmetto, yohimbe, dong quai, false unicorn root, gotu kola, licorice root, wild yam root, green oat, and yin-yang-huo. It should also be noted that heavy use of Echinacea, ginkgo biloba, and St. John’s wort may cause infertility in men, and should be avoided.
Infertility can be a complicated and mentally depressing due to lack of pregnancy by both men and women. Depression can lead to more stress and needs managed by a health care provider. Always consult your doctor when you think you are infertile. Natural vitamins like the ones listed above are available at your local or internet health food store. Look for name brands vitamins to ensure you receive quality supplements.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Inositol And Choline
December 11, 2008 12:19 PM
Inositol is a member of the vitamin B complex family, being referred to as vitamin B8, but is not strictly a vitamin because it is biosynthesized in your body. Vitamins are essential substances that are not manufactured by your natural biochemistry, and must be taken in your diet. However, to all intents and purposes it works like a member of the vitamin B family.
The main function of myo-inositol (the commonest isomer of inositol) is in the health of cell membranes, particularly those that comprise the marrow, eyes, intestines and the brain. Without proper regulation of the cell membrane, the cell cannot function effectively. Some of its effects include healthy hair and controlling estrogen levels. It is also believed to help to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.
A deficiency will result in hair loss, eczema, increased blood cholesterol levels and eye abnormalities. You might also suffer constipation, although this is not as serious a condition as those preceding. It is present at highest levels in the heart and brain, which indicates where it is mostly used, although it also helps the liver to break down fats and enables the nerves and muscles to operate as they should.
Those that are depressed are frequently found to have low inositol levels in their spinal fluid, so it is believed to play a part in that condition. It is known that the substance takes part in the function of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is known to play a part in depression, and initial signs are that its use in the treatment of depression could be effective. Neurotransmitters are responsible for passing messages across the gap (synapses) between nerve cells, their messages being decoded by the neuroreceptors. A healthy nervous system depends on healthy neurotransmitters.
For these reasons, inositol has also been tried on other conditions of the nervous system. These include bipolar disorder, bulimia, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit disorder. So far, results have been inconclusive as to its effectiveness, but it is early days yet and field tests are continuing.
A test carried out in Beersheva, Israel, in 1997, found that treatment with inositol produced significant improvement in the depression of 28 patients after four weeks on the Hamilton Depression Scale1, and 21 patients tested with panic disorder (with and without agoraphobia) showed significant improvements in their condition, including agoraphobia. Results on 13 patients with obsessive compulsive disorder also showed significant improvement. These were all double-blind tests.
However, not all tests have been so conclusive, and a study on 42 people with sever depression who did not respond to conventional antidepressant, also failed to respond when inositol was added to their medication.2 Results are therefore not conclusive.
Four hundred people took part in a double-blind test that indicated a possible improvement in the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome when treated with inositol 3,4 and another that inositol treatment on patients taking lithium could help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis, a skin condition believed to be caused by a reaction of the immune system and nerves.5
The supplement has also been found to be just as effective as Luvox (fluvoxamine – similar to Prozac) after four weeks treatment. Although these results are good, they are inconclusive, and more data is need before any indisputable conclusions can be drawn. However, treatment with inositol might be worth considering if conventional treatment for these conditions has been unsuccessful.
The most common natural form of inositol is myo-inositol, an isomer of cyclohehexanehexol, a carbocyclic polyol that form the structural basis for secondary messengers in the cells of eukaryotes.
A secondary messenger system is one whereby a signaling molecule is released in response to a signal from a primary messenger such as a neuroreceptor, which then activates certain intracellular proteins known as effector proteins that exert a response from the cell. An example is cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate) that is a secondary messenger that activates protein kinases and allows them to phosphorylated proteins.
Eukaryotes are organisms that contain cells composed of complex components contained within a cellular membrane, and that also contain a nucleus. Examples are fungi, plants and all animals. Examples of non eukaryotes include the bacteria family.
It is frequently recommended that inositol is most effective when taken with an equal amount of choline, although this might be due to the fact that when inositol deficiency is detected, choline is also frequently deficient. Both are vitamin B family like, and both are lipotropic, in that they aid the breakdown of fats in the body. It is not clear whether this is true or not, but taking both would certainly not harm you, and might be of great benefit.
Inositol is not essential, because it can be obtained from beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, cantaloupe, brewer’s yeast, liver and vegetables. Bacteria in the gut also act on the phytic acid (inositol hexaphosphate) contained in citrus fruits to form inositol.
However, be careful if you drink a lot of coffee. It destroys inositol, and if you are taking the supplement medicinally, steer clear of coffee during your period of treatment because it will lose its effect. Excessive coffee drinking can also result in a general depletion of inositol from your diet, and hence a deficiency. In such a case you are advised to take a supplement, preferably along with choline that might also be deficient.
Although there have been no adverse side effects reported, no specific longer term safety studies have been carried out on inositol. Because of the way it works, inositol should be avoided by people with liver or kidney disease, and also by expectant or nursing women. It should be avoided by young children until safety tests have been carried out, and it is believed that it can cause manic effects in those suffering bipolar disorder.
Other than for these specific cases, trials with many times the average daily intake of the substance, it currently appears safe to take inositol as a long-term supplement. However, as with all such supplements intended for specific disorders, you should seek the advice of your physician.
References: 1. Levine J: Ministry of Health Mental Health Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev,Beersheva, Israel ur Neuropsychopharmacol, 1997 May, 7:2, 147-55
2. Nemets B, Mishory A, Levine J, et al. Inositol addition does not improve depression in SSRI treatment failures. J Neural Transm. 1999;106:795-798.
3. Gerli S, Mignosa M, Di Renzo GC. Effects of inositol on ovarian function and metabolic factors in women with PCOS: a randomized double blind placebo-controlled trial. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2003;7:151-9.
4. Gerli S, Papaleo E, Ferrari A, et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial: effects of myo-inositol on ovarian function and metabolic factors in women with PCOS. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2007;11:347-354.
5. Allan SJ, Kavanagh GM, Herd RM, et al. The effect of inositol supplements on the psoriasis of patients taking lithium: arandomized, placebo-controlled trial. Br J Dermatol. 2004;150:966-969.
Noni Fruit Extract
November 22, 2008 09:34 AM
Tahitian Noni juice can promote a healthy body in many ways. These Noni benefits are conferred by the phytochemicals contained within the fruit pulp, but before discussing the benefits of Noni let's first have a look at what it actually is.
Morinda citrifolia is also known as the Indian or beach mulberry tree, and is a member of Rubiaceae family. Although it originated in Southeast Asia, it has spread all the way to French Polynesia and the Dominican Republic. It is mainly cultivated in Tahiti for its fruit, known as cheese fruit or Noni fruit.
Although it is a staple food in some areas of the Pacific, it has a pungent smell and a bitter taste, and often eaten either raw or cooked only in times of famine. However, the fruit is particularly rich in phytonutrients, and many people swear by the Noni benefits it to maintain a glowing healthy body, free from disease and many of the health problems from which most people suffer.
The strange thing about it is the taste: you would not drink Tahitian Noni juice by choice, nor eat the fruit, so how were these Noni health benefits discovered? Hunger likely explains it: those forced to eat it through hunger were likely the lucky ones, who actually ate a nutritional diet even though they were eating a fruit normally eaten only in times of famine.
Among the conditions that Noni fruit is believed to protect you from are cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol levels, asthma, cholesterol, strokes, migraines, a weak immune system, arthritis and some cancers. Many of these conditions should give you a clue as to the nature of the phytochemicals contained within the fruit, since most of them involve free radical attack and immune system response.
Prior to examining thee diseases and conditions in detail, let's have a look at the chemicals the fruit has been established to contain. It is rich in dietary fiber, offering 100% of the Dietary Reference Intakes of the Institute of Medicine for each 100g serving, and also contains enough carbohydrate to meet 55% of you DTI needs. However, that is just the start.
The Noni pulp powder contains ten times the DRI of Vitamin C, and large quantities of Vitamin B3 niacin), potassium and iron. The Tahitian Noni juice itself contains few nutrients, and only the Vitamin C is retained to any useful level. It is therefore the pulp powder that offers the major nutritional benefit. In fact, because it has to be pasteurized at high temperature to meet regulations the for liquid product, Noni juice loses most of its nutritional content, and even the 31% Vitamin C content is surprising since that too is destroyed at high temperatures.
It is the high phytochemical content of Noni powder that renders it such an important supplement, and a scan down the following components will give you an idea of how the fruit got its reputation. The known Noni benefits are obtained from:
Lignans: these are phytoestrogens that have been reported to offer a reduced risk of ovarian and breast cancers, osteoporosis and also cardiovascular disease. They possess antioxidant properties and although reports as to their effectiveness are varied, they appear to have beneficial health effects.
Flavanoids: These are phenolics, including asperulodisic acid and rutin. The former is believed to be effective against certain cancers, while rutin, also contained in buckwheat, is a strong antioxidant that strengthens capillaries, and also helps to prevent atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Catechin and epicatechin: strong antioxidants that help prevent heart disease, strokes, diabetes and cancers. It also protects your skin against the harmful effects of the ultra-violet component of the sun's rays. Catechin is a form of flavanoid, and one of the more powerful of the antioxidants needed to destroy the free radicals that would otherwise ravage your body through the destruction of your body cells.
B-Sitosterol: a plant sterol that is believed to reduce the cholesterol in your blood, but still requires scientific proof, even though there is plenty of evidence to support its effect. Plant sterols are the basis of the cholesterol-lowering yoghurt drinks that you can but in your local supermarket.
This list is not exclusive, and there are several other phytochemicals found in Noni pulp powder that are believed to confer significant health benefits, but that are still seeking scientific support. The fact that such support has yet to be provided is not a reason to doubt their effectiveness, although the above benefits are sufficient to justify the reputation of this nutritional supplement that few have heard about.
There have been only around 110 reports on Noni research since the 1950s, so it is not surprising that the scientific proof is weak, although of these around 100 have appeared since the year 2000. Don't forget that there was no proof for the effectiveness of penicillin until it was discovered!
Even the biochemistry of the components of Tahitian Noni juice, such as the polysaccharides not mentioned in the above list, is in the early stages of research, and an increasing number of traditional remedies are being found to have a valid scientific and medical basis. These polysaccharides are a form of dietary fiber with probiotic properties that can be fermented by bacteria in the gut to form short chain fatty acids that possess many beneficial health properties.
Take the heterocyclic iridoids, for example. These are unknown to most people, yet they are found in many plants that have extensive medicinal properties, and might be responsible for many of them. They appear to possess anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antispasmodic properties, and support the cardiovascular system, the immune system and help to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. These are also contained in Noni pulp powder.
Another component of Noni fruit that most people have not heard of is damnacanthal. This inhibits certain tyrosine kinesis that basically have a controlling effect on the division of body cells. They particularly inhibit the Ras genes, responsible for some cancers due to uncontrolled cell division. Damnacanthal can prevent Ras genes from causing these cancers.
There are many more benefits that Tahitian Noni juice, or particularly the powdered Noni pulp, can confer, and it is recommended that it be taken as a supplement by anybody needing a general health tonic since it possesses such a wide variety of beneficial properties. The Noni benefits which those that use it enjoy area available to everyone, even though it is one of the lesser known of the beneficial health supplements.
November 03, 2008 09:47 AM
Nowadays, it is so in to be thin and being anything but that carries a stigma, along with increased risks of serious illnesses. If that isn’t enough, recent research has found that infertility, which experts define as twelve months of unprotected intercourse that doesn’t result in a pregnancy, is also related to obesity. For women, the main obstacle is lack of ovulation, which is when the body refuses to release an egg every month. Too much abdominal fat stores an excess of estrogen, the hormone that needs to fluctuate in order for ovulation to occur. At the same time, male hormone levels rise, with all that estrogen and testosterone sending the women’s brain the wrong message.
When a couple is having trouble conceiving, evaluation by a fertility specialist is often a very good idea. Because it is pretty easy to count and evaluate sperm, it is easy to rule out any male problems, first. A woman who has irregular menstrual cycles should look for signs of hormonal imbalances like abnormal body hair, which indicates an excess in testosterone. Testing may reveal polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is marked by many cysts on the ovaries, hormonal imbalances, and/or ovulation problems. But if the male’s sperm and both partners’ hormone levels are normal, and if the woman doesn’t have blocked fallopian tubes or poor thyroid function, then the problem could very well be caused by too much weight.
Obese people usually have some medical problems already; infertility seems to be just another hit. Studies have proven that even just a 5% to 10% loss of your current weight can get your ovaries working again on their own. It is impractical to suggest normal weight, as it’ll take too long, while meanwhile, the ovaries are aging. You shouldn’t wait until you reach your ideal weight before you try to conceive, but rather, keep dropping pounds for the sake of your overall well-being. Your partner may even want to get fit with you, as one study has found that conception can be difficult when both partners are overweight or obese. Since obese men have problems with poor sperm counts or quality, along with weight-related hormonal imbalances, they’re twice as likely to be infertile than men of normal weight. Fathers-to-be may also want to take folate, as low folate levels are linked with increased risk of defective sperm.
If you’re obese, herbs and supplements may help you get pregnant, but weight loss is the critical component. To encourage ovulation, whether you are obese or not, one doctor suggests a weight-loss or weight-maintenance program, along with beta-carotene, a nutrient for ovarian function, and chaste tree berry, for its hormonal effects to optimize ovulation. This plan has proven a fifty percent success rate. Even though fertility aids such as in vitro fertilization result in a live-birth rate of more than 82%, it has been found that only 55% of those births are single babies.
If women trying for children begin eating well and exercising daily, not only will they be able to conceive more easily, but they will be physically fit and able to play with their kids all through their lives. Diet and nutrition as well as natural prenatal supplements and extra folic acid are needed to support the birth of a healthy baby boy or girl. Stop into your local health food store and see what is available for fertility for both men and women.
September 01, 2008 01:04 PM
Garlic is a member of the lily family, related to onions and chives, and offers many health benefits other than deterring vampires. There is now ample scientific evidence and proof of its beneficial effect on both a healthy immune system and the circulatory system.
The active ingredients in garlic are thiosulfinates, of which the predominant one is allicin, sulfoxides such as alliin and dithiins, of which ajoene is the most widely researched. These compounds are not only responsible for the pungent odor of garlic, but also for its benefits to your health. Among the other components of garlic are selenium, manganese and vitamins B6 and C.
Before considering the other effects of garlic on your health, we shall first consider how it benefits the immune system. The immune system is an essential part of human biology, and protects your body from invasion by pathogenic organisms. Without the immune system your body would rapidly be overcome by bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and other foreign bodies, and your body would rapidly fail to function.
The immune system consists of several components that can act in concert to protect you from these foreign invaders. It is too large a subject to be discusses in this article, although its major components are the thymus, the spleen, the lymphatic system, bone marrow, antibodies, and white blood cells of various types. Without it your body would rapidly be broken down to nothing, and would revert to a skeleton in a few weeks.
It is your immune system that causes inflammation, fevers, boils and pus. These are all examples of the immune system at work to protect your body, and even a fever is the immune system raising your body temperature to one that is unfavorable to invaders. Arthritis and hay fever are other examples of how your immune system reacts to invaders, in one case mistaking damaged joint tissue as being foreign and responding by causing inflammation to protect the joint, and in the other a reaction to invading bodies such as pollen.
So what does garlic do to help your immune system? Let's first have a look at the inflammatory reaction of the immune system, a prime example of which is rheumatoid arthritis. The inflammation is caused by compounds known as prostaglandins and thromboxanes, the biosynthesis in your body of which requires the enzymes lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase (LOX and COX). If these enzymes can be inhibited, then the inflammatory response can be modulated, and LOX and COX inhibition is one of the studies currently being carried out into the treatment of some forms of cancers.
However, where garlic comes in here is that two effective non-reversible inhibitors of LOX and COX are the chemicals Di(1-propenyl) sulfide and ajoene, and both of these are components of garlic. Garlic can therefore be used, not to stop the inflammatory response altogether since it is an essential part of the immune system for certain infections, but to modulate it and protect you from the more severe effects of conditions such as arthritis - both osteo and rheumatoid - and asthma, which is also an immune response.
Allicin has been shown to work with vitamin C to kill certain types of bacteria and viruses, and can help the immune system to protect you from colds and flu, Candida and some gastroenteric viruses. It can also be effective against some of the more powerful pathogens such as tuberculosis. It should be stressed that garlic will not cure these conditions, but help the immune system to deal with them. In fact with respect to the common cold, a study at Munich University has shown that garlic significantly reduces the activity of kappa-B, which is a nuclear transcription factor that mediates the inflammatory response. In other words, the cold symptoms are greatly reduced.
This is significant, since increased kappa-B levels can be triggered off by any pathogen that causes an inflammatory response by the immune system (e.g. infection, allergens, physical trauma). The study showed that unfertilized garlic provided a reduction of 25% in kappa-B activity, while garlic fertilized with sulfur reduced it by 41%.
There have been other studies carried out that demonstrated that Helicobacter pylori, the organism responsible for gastritis and peptic ulcers, was less active in those that took a regular amount of garlic in their diet. This was shown by measuring the antibody concentration, and while H.pylori was found in both sets (with and without garlic in the diet), the antibody count in the garlic-eating set was much lower indicating a significantly lower population of the bacterium.
Another unexpected result was that a group taking both cooked and uncooked garlic had a lower antibody count than those taking either cooked or uncooked. This appears to indicate that cooking changes the chemical nature of garlic, so that both forms work together to provide a more potent effect that cooked and uncooked separately.
What has also been established is that odorless garlic has less of an effect on the immune system that natural garlic, so while the odorless type is more socially acceptable, it is not so good at supporting your immune system. The allicin levels in odorless garlic are very much lower than in the natural bulb.
Garlic has also been found to be able to help with certain types of cancer. Two servings weekly have been found effective in protecting from colon cancer. Allicin has been found to protect colon cells from the toxic effect of various chemicals, and also reduce the growth rate of any cancerous cells that develop. People in Southern Europe consuming large quantities of garlic have been shown to be 39% less liable to contract cancer of the mouth and pharynx, and 57% less liable to contract cancer of the esophagus. It also had an effect on other cancers, including breast and ovarian cancer. However, the effect of onions on such cancers is even greater.
Most people are aware of the cardiovascular benefits of garlic, and it can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels and serum triglyceride levels, thus protecting against the harmful condition of atherosclerosis and also of diabetic heart disease. Reduced atherosclerosis means a reduced chance of heart attacks or strokes. It also appears to possess antioxidant properties.
There is no doubt that garlic helps to promote a healthy immune system, although the odorless form appear to be less effective in this respect as natural garlic, and there is evidence that a diet containing uncooked and cooked garlic can be more effective than either of these alone.
DIM For Estrogen Balance
July 10, 2008 03:26 PM
Diindolylmethane from broccoli can help with estrogen balance: There is plenty of evidence to suggest that, but before discussing the whys and wherefores, let's first have a look at the substance, where it comes from and why it should have any effect on estrogen or its balance.
Diindolylmethane is an indole contained in brassicas such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts and cauliflower. It is a dimer of indole-3-carbinol, which is itself formed by the autolytic degradation of glucosinolate glucobrassicin which is found in brassicas. Both this and the dimeric diindolylmethane are currently being tested for their antioxidant, anticancer and antiatherogenic properties, although this type of research has been mainly made on animals. When the cell walls of brassicas are ruptured, the enzyme myrosinase is released, that breaks down the glucobrassicin.
Because diindolylmethane is oil soluble it is more bioavailable to the body in the presence of vitamin E and other lipophilic substances, and these are normally included in oral supplements. However, back to estrogen and its effects upon human estrogen balance. Estrogen is the name for a group of steroids that function substantially as the female sex hormone. They have many effects on the body, including regulation of the menstrual cycle, breast development and promote the formation of secondary female characteristics such as reduced height and muscle mass.
Estrogen is also present in the male, where it regulates several factors pertaining to the reproductive system. It does not, however, take part in the process that determines sexual desire. If all of these properties are considered it would seem logical to believe that estrogen levels could be used to control weight increase, although claims that it can be use to enhance sexual performance seem ill founded: based more on hope than on science!
What science appears to have found, however, is that estrogen dominance, due to an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone levels in the body, can give rise to increased weight, and even obesity, in women. It can also lead to uterine, ovarian and breast cancers, and cervical dysplasia which, while not cancer, can give rise to cervical cancer if not treated. Estrogen imbalance, therefore, is not good news and something to be avoided if it possibly can. So what can be done to avoid it?
The answer is to find a hormonal balance, and this is where diindolylmethane (DIM) comes in. The substance has been found to have a positive effect on the balance between estrogen and progesterone, although eating broccoli will not be sufficient to do the job properly. Insufficient DIM is released by breaking the cell walls of broccoli through chewing to have much effect on the balance, about a kilo of broccoli a day being needed to have any noticeable effect. It is the diindolylmethane supplements that are able to have the desired effect in restoring the hormone balance and eliminating the undesirable effects of estrogen imbalance.
But why should estrogen imbalance occur? What are the factors that cause this dangerous condition, and if it is so common how did our ancestors manage without today's science? The answer to the second question lies in that to the first, but before we discuss that don't go thinking that your ancestors managed through thick and thin. Perhaps yours did, but your life expectancy is significantly greater than that of your parents when they were born. In fact, you don't have to go too far up your family tree to when you would be doing well if you hit forty! So the argument about your ancestors doesn't wash.
In fact, an estrogen imbalance can be caused by several factors: a slow estrogen metabolism that leads to an excess of estrogen because it is not broken down quickly enough is common, but far more common is the effect of pollutants such as pesticides, car exhaust fumes, emulsifiers, household cleaners and even some soaps. They contain chemicals known as xenoestrogens that our body believes to be real estrogens. They can stick to estrogen receptors on healthy cells, and can also prevent true estrogen from binding to the cell it should bind to. This results in an increase in free estrogen that cannot bind to the estrogen receptors that it should. Your ancestors did not have these problems with such 'estrogen mimics' and so managed just fine.
There is also the fact that estrogen can be broken down in the liver by means of two different routes: one leads to a form of estrogen that metabolizes to provide many benefits, such as strong bones and a reduction in heart disease, while the other has the opposite effect of causing cancers, depression, osteoporosis and problems with your immune system. That is by no means the full list: you don't want to see that, believe me!
You might think that if estrogen is dominant over progesterone, then taking progesterone would resolve the problem. It would seem to be a good cure. In fact, it is not a good idea since progesterone can be metabolized into yet more estrogen, making the problem even worse. The real answer is to take a supplement containing the substance that solves the problem by changing the estrogen metabolism pathways in the liver: diindolylmethane. More of the so-called "good" estrogen metabolites are formed, and less of the bad. The actual estrogen levels are not changed, but the way in which the excess estrogen causes harm is changed. That way, it doesn't matter what the imbalance is, the estrogen cannot do ham to your body.
DIM possesses many potential positive benefits when used as a supplement. It can reduce your chances of getting breast, cervical and ovarian cancers, and also acts as a strong antioxidant, and helps to strengthen your immune system. It might help you to lose weight, but more studies are needed before this can be claimed conclusively. However, there is evidence at the moment that it has a weight reducing effect.
Its effect on sexual health is largely unfounded, but the effect of a placebo in this area can be astounding: that indicates how much psychology has to do with sexual performance. Nevertheless, the known and projected benefits of diindolylmethane are so significant that taking a supplement would seem a reasonable thing to do, and although your mom was right about you eating your broccoli, brassicas alone are not a rich enough source for a significant effect.
Natural Hormone Balance for Women
December 25, 2007 11:18 AM
The majority of women are affected by moderate-to-severe menopausal symptoms and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) at some point in their life. PMS that is clinically diagnosed consists of symptoms that are so severe and pervasive that careers, social interactions, and family lives are negatively affected. This occurs in eight to twenty percent of women in the Western world. Menopause and PMS are both characterized by a severe fluctuation or major falling of the female hormones estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin. Since many examples of women who are barely affected by natural changes exist, it can be logically inferred that female hormones are capable of remaining close to balanced, while others experience hormones that swing abruptly from one extreme to the next, causing severe mood swings. Although changes in hormone levels are the reason menopause and PMS occur, women do have some control over the severity of their symptoms.
There are many natural approaches to hormone balance along with other medical interventions that can be used either separate or together. However, one must remember that women are biologically programmed to have multiple children, which therefore, would limit the number of menstrual cycles in a lifetime. Additionally, women are now living thirty years past menopause, an experience that is relatively new. Also, a lot of the pain and anguish that is associated with menopause and PMS is actually related to obesity, high-calorie eating habits, and inactivity. Normal body weight and regular exercise often leads to mild or inconsequential PMS.
In 2002, estrogen and progesterone hormone replacement therapy, which is the standard treatment for menopausal symptoms, came under scrutiny after the publication of research that found that supplementation of estrogen significantly increases the risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Supplementing estrogen also does not protect against cardiovascular disease. As a result, US-dispensed prescriptions for estrogen declined from ninety-one million in 2001 to fifty-seven million in 2003. It has been found that a lot of the excess risk for breast and ovarian cancer was due to prescriptions being refilled indefinitely instead of hormone replacement therapy only being used at the onset of menopause. Additionally, supplemental estrogen was not paired and balanced with progesterone, causing a greater risk. Either way, the door to natural alternatives was opened wide, especially for those patients who have a family history of reproductive cancer. Natural therapy for menopause and PMS is based upon phytoestrogens.
Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that contain chemical structures which resemble estrogen. These plant compounds can exert weak estrogenic or antiestrogenic effects. Isoflavones from legumes such as soybean, red clover, licorice, as well as lignans like flaxseed and milk thistle are the most common and familiar phytoestrogens. Black cohosh has been shown to have antiestrogenic effects only. Phytoestrogens have been proven to reduce the risk for estrogen-dependent breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers as well as hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep disturbances. Although phytoestrogens do a good job at protecting women from symptoms of excess estrogen, phytoestrogens cannot replace estrogen when there isn’t enough. They don’t help with vaginal wall atrophy and dryness, thinning hair, lack of sexual desire, menopause-related urogenital itching, or infertility. For the best results, supplements of soy and red clover isoflavone should be taken 2-3 times daily. Although there are no herbal alternatives that actually raise levels of estrogen, natural medicine such as dong quai, licorice, milk thistle, ginseng, pycnogenol, and pollen for menopause and calcium, magnesium, B6, chastre tree, dong quai, and ginseng for PMS can balance existing female hormones and provide relief from symptoms.
Cranberry May Have More Uses Than Just Bladder Infections
November 03, 2007 01:04 PM
The effects of cranberry on bladder and other urinary tract infections are well known. The infections are caused by a bacterium, Escherichia coli, known to most people as E. coli that attaches to the wall of the bladder or the urinary tract, and is very difficult to dislodge with antibiotics once it is there.
Cranberry contains a glycoprotein that prevents the E. coli from doing this, and so acts by preventing, not the invasion of the bacterium itself, but the mechanism by which it causes the disease. Drinking cranberry juice on a regular basis can prevent cystitis occurring in women, or at least reduce the frequency of incidences.
Now, however, there is a growing body of evidence that cranberry may have more uses than just for bladder infections. It is known to help prevent gum disease by the same mechanism: the bacteria are prevented from sticking to the teeth and gums by means of the same glycoprotein that is effective with E. coli and urinary tract infections
There is also evidence that cranberry juice can be helpful in resolving ear and respiratory infections. A study of a group of children in 2002 has indicated that cranberry juice can inhibit the adhesion to red blood cells of certain strains of the bacterium Haemophilus influenza that might cause a large proportion of middle ear infections. It seems to have an effect on the hair-like pili, by which bacteria stick to surfaces. This has been supported by results that indicated no effect on the bacteria strains that lack these pili.
These tests, however, were carried out experimentally in test tubes, but it is worth keeping in mind that such studies are under way, and that the results are looking very promising. However, they have not yet reached the stage where they can be stated to have been proved, though there is no reason why you should not try cranberry juice if any of your family is prone to such infections, especially of the middle ear.
Yet another study has established that cranberry might be effective in reducing the risk of heart disease by reducing the oxidation of blood cholesterol that makes it very sticky. There are two type of cholesterol, LDL cholesterol that carried the cholesterol from the liver through the blood to areas of your arteries that need repair. Your blood also contains high density lipoproteins (HDL) that carry excess cholesterol back to the liver for destruction and ejection from the body – that is the so-called ‘good’ cholesterol.
The LDL cholesterol works much like putty, covering the cracks in arterial walls, and without it you could have even more severe problems than with high levels of LDL cholesterol. However, when the LDL cholesterol gets oxidized by, for example, free radicals in the blood, then it becomes sticky and too much of it gets laid down on the artery walls.
Free radicals are produced through many agents, but the most common are smoking, environmental pollution and pesticides. These sticky coatings tend to build up after a time and lead to a condition known as atherosclerosis whereby the build up of coating can severely restrict the artery. This causes high blood pressure and can even lead to the artery becoming completely blocked. This can lead to serious heart problems and, if the artery is in the brain, even strokes.
In the study, a group taking one, two then three glasses of 27% cranberry juice daily for a month at a time were found have a 40% reduced risk of heart disease at the end on month three due to a 10% increase in the good HDL cholesterol. This was due to the antioxidant effect of the cranberry juice preventing the oxidation of the LDL cholesterol which causes the problems. Antioxidants mop up free radicals before they can do any damage.
Cranberries contain a high polyphenol content, and it is believed that it is these antioxidants that are responsible, though this has still to be proved. This antioxidant effect can also reduce the risk of cancer, render you less liable to inflammatory conditions and also give your immune system a boost by helping to clear up the free radicals that are one of your body’s worst enemies. However, that is not all that cranberries can do. There are even more exciting new developments that could have an impact on women suffering from ovarian cancer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention record that ovarian cancer is the 7th most common type of cancer in the USA, and the 5th most common cause of cancer deaths amongst women. The general treatment for ovarian cancer is by chemotherapy using the platinum drugs Paraplatin and Cisplatin. The problem with these drugs is that cancer cells can become resistant to them, and if higher doses are used it can lead to side effects including renal failure and nerve damage.
Tests were carried out using ovarian cancer cells and a 27% solution of cranberry juice, a common commercially available concentration. The cells were then treated with Paraplatin. It was found that the Paraplatin was six times more effective at killing the ovarian cancer cells than when the cells had not come into contact with the cranberry juice. This is a considerable difference. The rate of spread and growth of some of the other cancer cells were also reduced.
The reason that the cranberry was used was due to its wide range of potential health benefits in fighting stomach ulcers, cystitis and some other cancers. It is believed that the effect is due to very powerful antioxidants known as A-type proanthocyanidins, which are found only in cranberries. Other studies have found this chemical to have had an effect in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells in lung cancer, colon cancer and leukemia, all involving different types of cancer cell. Other antioxidants such as flavenoids and querticin in cranberry juice might also contribute, but the proanthocyanadin is believed to be the principal active agent due it being found only in cranberries.
The researchers temper their results with the caution that these are tests only, but that theoretically a cranberry supplement could be used as a part of a chemotherapy course. Animal studies are commencing shortly though it will be some time before a new therapy has been developed. It is possible; however, that the therapy could consist of a simple oral dose of cranberry juice taken during the course, but you should consult your physician for the most appropriate treatment for you.
However, what is certain is that cranberry may have more uses than just bladder infections.
Cranberry May Help Fight Cancer
October 31, 2007 12:26 PM
A recent study suggested drinking a glass of cranberry juice before chemotherapy treatment helped boost the effectiveness of the treatment for ovarian cancer. The boost was 6 times the effectiveness with chemotherapy. Researchers stress that this is only a preliminary test, tart juices may be a new option for those who have built up resistance to their treatments. The lead author Ajay Singh, a research associate and natural products chemist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, said: “This was surprising and encouraging.” Also, “cranberries are well known as a great antioxidant and immune boosting berry that can strengthen the body and now we found that it can actually increase sensitivity to chemo several-fold.”
Mushrooms are good for the Immune System
January 26, 2007 06:12 PM
Medicinal Mushrooms Grown on Purple Kculli Corn Yield Life Changing Results
Even though we treat them like vegetables, mushrooms aren’t really plants. They’re fungi and fungi grow much differently than fruits and vegetables. Most food plants, like strawberries, broccoli, and red bell peppers make chlorophyll from sunlight to gain the nutrients they need to grow. Mushrooms don’t make chlorophyll; to get the nutrients they need to grow, mushrooms release enzymes into the forest floor or flora they’re living on to break down the organic matter into a form the mushroom can absorb.
Because most mushrooms that we eat or use today are raised as crops, or cultivated, they are grown on a variety of substrates. Similar to the commercial potting soils you can buy at nurseries and garden stores, mushroom substrates vary widely in quality and the kinds of nutrients within. Mushrooms are really unique in that they can grow on almost anything, such as sawdust, shredded newspaper, and straw.
However, mushrooms are only as nutritious as the substrate they were grown on-even those unique varieties called medicinal mushrooms. While the simple button mushrooms found on pizza are most often eaten for their woodsy taste and texture, the use of medicinal mushrooms is much more complex. These mushrooms are valued because they contain numerous compounds that have been extensively studies by researchers for their ability to activate cells of the immune system.
Researchers have recently discovered that when medicinal mushrooms are grown on a Purple Kculli (pronounced ka-coo-lee) Corn substrate, the resulting mushrooms are jam-packed with powerful and potent disease-fighting compounds. Beautiful Purple Kculli Corn has long been used by the people of the Peruvian Andes as a tasty vegetable, natural food color, and powerful functional food-keeping them healthy and free of disease.
In this issue of Ask the Medicine Hunter, we’re going to talk about four powerful medicinal mushrooms that, when grown on Purple Kculli Corn, have even more potent compounds to prevent and treat cancer and other serious health problems.
Q. How exactly do medicinal mushrooms prevent and treat cancer?
A. Medicinal mushrooms are very complex. They contain numerous compounds that have been extensively studied for their ability to activate cells of the immune system. Some of the most amazing immune boosting compounds in medicinal mushrooms are beta-glucans 1-3, beta glucans 1-6, arabinogalactins, and arabinoxylans – compounds that work “hand-in-hand” with certain cells of the immune system. But to get abundant amounts of these compounds, medicinal mushrooms must be grown on substrates with high levels of nutrients. And the most nutrient dense substrate of all comes from Purple Kculli Corn.
Q. Why is Purple Kculli Corn extract good for growing medicinal mushrooms?
A. You’ve probably heard that brightly colored fruits and vegetables (like beets, broccoli, and blueberries), have more antioxidant power than paler fruits and vegetables (like iceberg lettuce, onions, and garlic). In fact, the deeper the color, the better. And there is no deeper color in nature than the deep purple of Purple Kculli Corn grown in the lush coastal plains of Peru. The kernels from Purple Kculli Corn are not only naturally beautiful, the pigment itself is extremely healthy and have been used by the people of the Peruvian Andes for centuries as both food and food coloring.
Once harvested, the Purple Kculli Corn is naturally processed into an antioxidant-rich extract. When certain medicinal mushrooms are grown on Purple Kculli Corn extract, the Purple Kculli Corn becomes a super-substrate, producing medicinal mushrooms with incredible amounts of the immune-boosting compounds. And when Purple Kculli Corn extract is added to medicinal mushroom formulas the antioxidant power increases, too.
Q. How do the medicinal mushroom compounds fight disease?
A. When bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens are present in the body, white blood cells, or leukocytes, swing into action. Leukocytes work together to defend the body against infections, like colds or the flu, as well as diseases that start within us, like cancer. These disease fighting cells are the backbone of the body’s defense system. And each type of cell works in different ways.
The macrophage, a name that means “big eater,” is a first-strike leukocyte that protects us from disease by, quit literally, devouring invading pathogens. Natural Killer (NK) cells act like sentries – constantly prowling for cancer cells, killing them quickly when they’re discovered. B-cells are the immune system’s military intelligence, seeking out targets and communicating their coordinates, while T-cells are the foot soldiers, destroying the invaders that the intelligence system has identified.
Scientists have long known that medicinal mushrooms help make white blood cells more deadly. But until recently, they weren’t sure how. Research has now shown that macrophages and NK cells have receptor sites specifically for beta-glucans 1-3 and beta-glucans 1-6. When the beta-glucans bind to the macrophages and NK cells, they make the lymphocytes stronger and more lethal. By increasing the lymphocytes’ strength, beta-glucans help them churn out more of the specialized chemical messengers, too.
Arabinogalactins and arabinoxylans, powerful polysaccharides found in medicinal mushrooms, are potent stimulators of the immune system. These compounds increase the activity of interleukins, interferons, and a tumor necrosis factor, all key components in a healthy immune system. When medicinal mushroom extracts with high amounts of Arabinogalactins and arabinoxylans are taken, diseases are dramatically reduced.
Researchers found that complex polysaccharides in four varieties of medicinal mushrooms – Agaricus blazei (Agaricus), Grifola frondosa (Maitake), Coriolus versicolor (Coriolus or Turkey Tail), and Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) – are serious cancer fighters. The chart below explains how:
Mushroom Health Benefit
Agaricus (Agaricus Blazei)
Agaricus not only contains the greatest number of medicinal compounds, it also contains a powerful anti-tumor polysaccharide that all other medicinal mushrooms are lacking. Recently, 100 women who were receiving carboplatin, a chemotherapy drug used to treat ovarian cancer, volunteered for an important study. Half of the women were given an extract of Agaricus mushrooms, while the other half were given a placebo or dummy pill. The researchers discovered that NK cell activity was significantly higher in the Agaricus group. The women in this group were also less nauseated, fatigued, and wear than the women taking the placebo, an important consideration for people with cancer.
Maitake (Grifola Frondosa)
Maitake is one of the most researched of all medicinal mushrooms. In one clinical study, the effect of Maitake mushroom compounds were studied in ten patients with cancer who were not currently taking any chemotherapeutic drugs. The researchers found that the Maitake not only significantly stimulated NK cell activity, it also repressed the cancer’s growth, and stopped the tumors’ ability to metastasize, or spread to other parts of the body. And in another clinical study, 165 patients with various types of advanced cancer were given Maitake mushroom compounds alone or with chemotherapy. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58% of liver cancer patients, 69% of breast cancer patients, and 62% of lung cancer patients. Plus, when Maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, the immune cell activities were enhanced 1.2 to 1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone.
Versicolor compounds show great promise as cancer immunotherapy agents in all cancer stages. In one clinical trial, 34 patients with advanced terminal lung cancer were given Coriolus versicolor polysaccharides or a placebo (dummy pill) for 28 days. While the group getting the Versicolor felt less fatigued and sick, very important considerations at the end-of-life, there were no changes in the placebo group.
Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum)
Reishi mushrooms are too tough to eat, but they’ve been used medicinally for centuries and have been extensively researched. In a safety study to determine Reishi’s effect on blood thinning mechanisms, healthy volunteers received 1.5 gm Reishi or placebo daily for 4 weeks. There were no significant changes in either group and all blood clotting measurements remained within the normal range, demonstrating its safety. In a recent clinical study, researchers determined that Reishi increased the number of cancer killing white blood cells and made them more deadly to cancer cells.
Not only do Agaricus, Maitake, Coriolus, and Reishi have incredible amounts of immune boosting polysaccharides, when they are grown on Purple Kculli Corn, they also have a much higher ORAC value than mushrooms grown on other substrates.
Q. What are ORAC values?
A. ORAC, or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, is a measurement of the antioxidant power in fruits and vegetables. The higher the power, or ORAC value, the stronger the antioxidant is against free radicals. While free radicals are made by breathing oxygen and digesting food, and are simply the consequences of being alive, the older we get the more free radicals we make. And the more free radicals we make the more destructive they can be. Free radicals will rip membranes, wreck cells, cripple mitochondria, and ruin DNA. As this damage accumulates, even more free radicals are made. And if not stopped or slowed, this might lead to heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, dementia, and cancer.
Q. How does Purple Kculli Corn increase the ORAC value of medicinal mushrooms?
A. All brightly colored fruits and vegetables have very high ORAC values; and the higher the ORAC value – the greater the antioxidant power. Not only can we measure the ORAC values of fruits and vegetables, we can also measure the ORAC values of mushroom substrate extracts. Purple Kculli Corn extract has an ORAC value of 1789 (measured in umolesTE/gram). Now, remember that mushrooms are fungi, not fruits and vegetables, and they gain most of their nutrients from the ground (or substrate) they are grown on. When mushrooms are cultivated or “farmed” on substrates with a high ORAC value, they will absorb compounds from the substrate giving them a higher ORAC value, too. So growing mushrooms on antioxidant rich, high ORAC value, Purple Kculli Corn yields medicinal mushrooms with high ORAC values as well.
Q. Some mushroom supplements have more than four medicinal mushrooms. Wouldn’t a mushroom supplement with seven mushrooms or more have a higher ORAC value than a supplement with only four?
A. Well, more is not always better – especially when it comes to medicinal mushrooms. Some supplements have a “kitchen sink” selection of mushrooms. The makers of these supplements hope that by adding modest amounts of many mushrooms, they will end up with a product that just might have some health benefits.
Clearly, it’s not how many or how exotic the mushrooms are in a medicinal mushroom supplement, it’s the substrate that mushrooms are grown on that makes the difference.
Q. How can I make sure the medicinal mushroom supplement I buy contains natural and organic mushrooms grown on Purple Kculli Corn substrate?
A. Become a label reader! Medicinal mushroom formulas have a statement showing accreditation from a certifying agency, such as the American Food Safety Institute, International; California Organic Farmer Association, Minnesota; or Crop Improvement Association, on the label, and have met certain criteria. They must be grown without chemicals or pesticides. The growers must be certified as organic mushroom produces by an accredited third party. And the growers must keep a record of their production and handling practices.
Of the nearly 38,000 varieties of mushrooms, Agaricus blazei, Grifola frondosa, Coriolus versicolor, and Ganoderma lucidum have impressive medicinal properties. With a little help from Purple Kculli Corn, these mushrooms can provide even more potent and powerful cancer preventing properties for superior mushroom supplements.
The sunshine vitamin can impart an all-over healthy glow.
September 18, 2006 03:42 PM
When papers like the Los Angeles Times write articles with titles like “wonder Pill-really” about a seemingly ho-hum nutrient like vitamin D, attention must be paid. The attention is now forthcoming from researchers who are exploring this humble vitamin’s connection to an astonishingly wide spectrum of health issues. And these scientist are concerned that, dispite fortification of such common foods as milk, many people aren’t getting the D they need for optimal well-being.
Vitamin D generally recognized as calcium’s indispensable little helper, which makes it vital to maintaining bone health. But we now know that D’s benefits extend far beyond calcium control; it plays crucial roles in immunity, blood cell formation and hormone regulation.
Scientists believe that vitamin D helps cells differentiate, or mature into specialized roles each is meant to play. That’s important in cancer defense because malignant cells tend to be undifferentiated, primitive types given to reproducing uncontrollably. Cells, both malignant and healthy, have vitamin D receptors on their surface; when d binds to cancer cells, they stop growing.
This may help explain why men with low levels of vitamin D are particularly prone to dying of cancer and why higher rates of prostate cancer occur in climates where exposure to the sun-which powers D creation within the skin—is low. On a more positive note, investigators at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center of San Diego report that taking 1,000IU of vitamin D daily appears to drop the risk of developing breast, colon and ovarian cancer by up to 50% (American Assn for Cancer Research, Ninth Meeting). Other studies suggest that even after cancer develops, D may help hinder disease progression and enhance survival.
Vitamin D does a body good in a number of other ways. For example, the sunshine vitamin lights up both the immune system and production of insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar. In one study women who took the amount of vitamin D generally found in multivitamins (400 IU) and had a 31% reduced fisk of dying from heart disease; in another, D from multivitamins dropped the risk of multiple sclerosis development by 40%. Supplements have also helped stroke victims avoid the muscular wasting that leaks to falls and fractures (Cerebrovascular Disease 7/05). Conversely, low D levels have been linked to poor lung function, unexplained muscle pain and increased obesity risk.
Currently, the federal government recommends daily vitamin D intakes of 200IU for people under age 51, 400IU for those 51 – 70 and 600 IU for ages 71 and up. But many prominent scientists believe those levels are two low, especially since so many folks avoid sun exposure to cut skin cancer risk. “I’m 99% sure that vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common,” Harvard nutrition expert Dr. Walter Willett told the LA Times (06/12/06). Deficiencies are more likely among dark-colored individuals (whose skins do not make D effectively), vegans (who avoid dairy) and people with disorders that reduce intestinal absorption, such as Crohn’s disease. Higher dosages should always be taken under practitioner’s watchful eye, especially if a medical condition already exists.
No matter what health hazard you’re trying to illuminate, don’t hesitate to bask in the sunshine vitamin’s warm radiance. –Lisa James.
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August 26, 2006 02:41 PM
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California Proposition 65 (Prop 65) and Progesterone Cream Warnings
February 17, 2006 06:29 PM
Scientific Safety Information on Progesterone
California Proposition 65 (Prop 65) and Progesterone Cream Warnings Amy Kosowski, M.S., LDN
Prop 65: What is it?
Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 , was enacted as a ballot initiative in the state of California in November of 1986. The Proposition was intended by its authors to protect California citizens and the State's drinking water sources from chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and to inform citizens about exposures to such chemicals 1.
Proposition 65 requires the Governor to publish, at least annually, a list of chemicals “known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity .” Progesterone, as well as other human hormones, appear on this list 1. Set forth below is the information that formed the bases for the addition of progesterone to the Prop 65 list by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (“OEHHA”).
Prop 65 and Progesterone - Perspective
In August of 2004, OEHHA published a document stating the rationale for the addition of Progesterone to the Prop 65 list 2. This document is a review of human, animal, and in vitro studies that used progesterone, synthetic progestins, and other progestagens (progesterone-like compounds). Experimental data from the use of all of these compounds were mixed together, along with data from studies using other steroid hormone derivatives (mainly synthetic estrogens) and many different methods of administration.
Although this review covered the existing scientific literature on progesterone and its many derivative compounds, there are many problems with the type of data analysis that was employed.
First, progesterone is endogenous to humans and necessary for bone and reproductive health while progestins and other synthetic progestagens are not. Progestins and progestagens are similar in molecular structure to progesterone, but when they bind to progesterone receptors, their effects are usually much stronger and more likely to cause abnormal physiologic responses 3, 4. Furthermore, the majority of the studies concerning the health effects of these progesterone derivatives involved combinations with synthetic estrogens 2-4.
There were very few studies mentioned in the 2004 document that used exclusively bio-identical progesterone (the kind found normally produced by humans as well as that used in progesterone creams), and those studies that did were at supra-physiologic doses (very high). The doses of progesterone ranged from 10-1000 times the dose usually recommended by manufacturers of progesterone creams 2, although in a few cases, the doses were closer to the recommended dosages.
The route of administration of progesterone is also at issue. All of the studies cited in the OEHHA document used either oral, injected, or suppository forms of hormones; none was conducted using transdermal creams. This is an important consideration because hormones absorbed through the skin are metabolized differently than hormones that are administered via other routes 5, 6.
Putting it Together
While the OEHHA Prop 65 reference document on progesterone 2 is a broad survey of the published scientific literature examining the potential effects of the pharmaceutical use of progesterone and its synthetic derivatives, it is not clear at all that these effects would be seen with the use of low-dose progesterone creams.
The OEHHA Prop 65 progesterone document evaluates a broad range of information regarding progesterone and synthetic materials that are not natural progesterone. The conclusion reached was not challenged, and it is on that basis that progesterone creams now carry the Prop 65 warning.
1 California OEHHA Web Site: //www.oehha.ca.gov/prop65/p65faq.html .
2 Reproductive and Cancer Hazard Assessment Section, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, California Environmental Protection Agency (2004) Evidence on the developmental and Reproductive Toxicity of Progesterone.
3 Campagnoli C, Abba C, Ambroggio S, Peris C (2005) Pregnancy, progesterone and progestin in relation to breast cancer risk. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 97(5):441-450.
4 Campagnoli C , Clavel-Chapelon F , Kaaks R , Peris C , Berrino F (2005) Progestins and progesterone in hormone replacement therapy and the risk of breast cancer. Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 2005 96(2):95-108.
5 de Lignieres B, Dennerstein L, Backstrom T (1995) Influence of route of administration on progesterone metabolism. Maturitas 21:251-257.
6 Gompel A, et al. (2000) Progestins were also proapoptotic in normal as well as in hormone-dependent breast cancer cells. Steroids 65(10-11):593-598.
7 Bu SZ ( 1997) Progesterone induces apoptosis and up-regulation of p53 expression in human ovarian carcinoma cell lines. Cancer 79(10):1944-50.
10 Things You Should Know About Prostate Cancer
July 27, 2005 02:12 PM
10 Things You Should Know About Prostate Cancer
If you were to compile a top ten list of things men would rather just avoid, prostate exams might even rate above taking out the garbage, doing dishes and going shopping. But there’s no good excuse to ignore this walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and the penis and in front of the rectum. Confused by the debate surrounding nearly ever aspect of prostate cancer and embarrassed to request a physical exam, many men ignore prostate health, only to discover that the benefits of screening far outweigh its risks. As women openly talk about breast and ovarian cancers, prostate health remains a difficult and controversial topic for men to discuss, forcing many to forgo the manual exam that could lead to early detection and straightforward treatment. Though most males eventually develop some cancerous cells in their prostates, many prostate cancers develop so slowly that men often die of other causes. Indeed, it’s often said that most men die with prostate cancer, not from it. But the fact remains that prostate cancer kills more men who don’t smoke than any other cancer: The American Cancer Society reports that more than 232,000 men will be diagnoses with prostate cancer in 2005 and 30,350 will die from it. These statistics seem fairly overwhelming when you consider that one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime, while one in eight American women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Despite the ongoing debate about whether the results of a prostate screening may cause unnecessary treatment, growing evidence suggests that testing for prostate cancer saves lives. The number of men who died of the disease fell by 26% from 1991 to 2001, with a five-year survival rate for men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer of nearly 100%; 10-year survival rates for all prostate cancer patients stand at 92%, while 15-year survival rates fell to 61%. Energy Times evaluated some of the key issues surrounding prostate cancer, including screening misconceptions, risk factors and lifestyle choices that can influence the likelihood of developing this potentially deadly disease. We hope they help you, or your significant other, make well-informed health decisions.
July 25, 2005 10:14 PM
An ovarian cyst usually forms when follicles in the ovary fail to normally develop and subsequent release from the ovary is impaired in some way. As a result of this abnormality, hormonal balance is disrupted with typical estrogen surges resulting in the formation of a growing cyst either from the follicle or from the corpus luteum. Consider the following quote concerning cysts: Natural progesterone, given from day 5 to day 26 of the menstrual month for 2-3 cycles, will almost routinely cause the cyst to disappear by suppressing normal FSH, LH and estrogen production, giving the ovary time to heal. 19
THE PRECARIOUS ACT OF BALANCING HORMONES
July 25, 2005 09:43 PM
THE PRECARIOUS ACT OF BALANCING HORMONES
The very delicate relationship between progesterone and estrogen levels is what creates hormonal balance. Today we frequently hear the phrase, “she’s suffering from a hormonal imbalance.” What exactly does a hormonal imbalance imply, and why is it so prevalent among women of all ages? The simple truth is that our twentieth-century life style creates a great deal of health risks not previously experienced by earlier generations.
Many of these new, modern factors adversely effect our endocrine systems, not to mention our overall health as well. Consequently, when we need to synthesize certain levels of progesterone, we may be lacking the proper nutrients or, as may be the case with women who have used birth control pills, our ovarian functions may be impaired. As a result, an excess of estrogen may develop predisposing us to a number of unpleasant symptoms. Unprecedented degrees of mental stress combined with exposure to toxins, pollutants, preservatives, chemicals, and drugs can impair a woman’s ability to produce progesterone. In addition, the consumption of sugary foods lacking in whole grains, overcooked, over processed, and fatty foods devoid of the raw enzymes we were meant to ingest can also wreak havoc with our glandular health. The consumption of hormonally fattened beef and poultry is certainly a concern, and may explain why premature puberty occurs in some children who are exposed to unnatural sources of animal estrogen.
Why is there more infertility now that ever before? Why do seemingly healthy young women suffer from all sorts of menstrual disorders and unprecedented levels of PMS? Why is osteoporosis such a threat today, and why is breast cancer killing so many relatively young women? Why do so many of us plow through perimenopause and postmenopause, perplexed by a wide variety of ills that threaten our emotional and physical well-being? All of these questions are profoundly linked to hormonal factors and almost always reflect an estrogen dominance and a progesterone deficiency.
I did not know that such a scenario even existed and like most women, did not understand that too much of certain kinds of estrogen can be extremely harmful. Furthermore, because I assumed that estrogen levels continued to decline as I got older, I never considered the possibility of a pre-menopausal estrogen overload. It is crucial to remember that when estrogen is unopposed by adequate levels of progesterone, a hormonal imbalance occurs. Unopposed estrogen is undesirable to say the least, and explains why so many women suffer from estrogen-related ills even as they approach menopause.
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number
June 13, 2005 07:43 PM
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number by Carl Lowe Energy Times, March 10, 2004
As women age, their physical needs shift. The health challenges that face a woman in her thirties do not match those of a woman in her fifties.
At the same time, some basic health needs stay constant: At any age, every woman requires a wealth of vitamins, minerals and the other natural chemicals that fruits, vegetables and supplements supply. She also constantly needs families and friends to support her spiritual health.
As the internal workings of your body alter, your lifestyle must stay abreast of those adjustments. Peak health demands a finely tuned health program designed with your individual needs-and your stage of life-in mind.
Ages 30 to 45
When it comes to maintaining health, younger women might seem to have it easier than older women. If they exercise and stay in shape, they maintain more stamina than women 10 to 20 years their senior.
Unfortunately, many women in this age group mistakenly think they don't have to be as careful about their lifestyle habits and their eating habits as they will in later decades. But even if your health doesn't seem to suffer from poor eating choices or a sedentary lifestyle right away, your foundation for health in later life suffers if you don't care for yourself now.
By age 45 you should have established the good habits that will carry you successfully through the aging process. As an added bonus, good lifestyle habits pay immediate dividends. If you pay attention to your nutrients and get plenty of physical activity when younger, you'll feel more energetic and probably enjoy better emotional health.
Set Health Goals
According to Gayle Reichler, MS, RD, CDN, in her book Active Wellness (Avery/Penguin), good health at any age doesn't just come to you-you have to plan for it. In order to stick to good habits, she says, "living a healthy lifestyle needs to be satisfying." Reichler believes that you need to picture your health goals to achieve them: "Every successful endeavor first begins in the mind as an idea, a thought, a dream, a conviction." Good health at this age and in later years requires a concrete strategy and visualization of how your body can improve with a healthy lifestyle.
Your long-term health goals at this age should include an exercise program that will allow you to reach a physically fit old age with a lowered risk of disability. In addition, your short-term plans should encompass losing weight, staying optimistic, living life with more vim and vigor, increasing your capacity for exercise and lowering your stress.
As Reichler points out, "Your long-term goal and your ideal vision establish what you want to achieve....[You should do] something good...for yourself every day and every week that makes your life easier and more consistent with your goals."
Develop an Eating Plan
Today, the average American gains about two pounds annually. As a result, every year a greater portion of the US population is obese and overweight. By controlling your food intake earlier in life, you may be able to avoid this weight gain. In his book Prolonging Health (Hampton Roads), James Williams, OMD, recommends basic changes to your diet that can provide long-term support of your health:
Get Supplemental Help
If you're in your thirties or forties and you don't take at least a multivitamin, start taking one today! A large body of research shows that taking vitamin and mineral supplements over a long period of time significantly supports better health.
Calcium and vitamin D are two of the most important supplemental nutrients, helping to build stronger bones now that can withstand the bone-loss effects of aging.
Calcium can also help keep your weight down. One study of younger women found that for every extra 300 milligrams of calcium a day they consumed, they weighed about two pounds less (Experimental Biology 2003 meeting, San Diego).
In the same way, taking vitamin D supplements not only helps strengthen your bones, it can also lower your risk of multiple sclerosis (Neurology 1/13/04). In this study, which looked at the health records of more than 180,000 women for up to 20 years, taking D supplements dropped the chances of multiple sclerosis (although eating vitamin D-rich foods did not have the same benefit). And if you're thinking about having children at this age, a multivitamin is crucial for lowering your baby's risk of birth defects and other health problems. A study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that women who take multivitamins during pregnancy lower their children's risk of nervous system cancer by up to 40% (Epidemiology 9/02).
" Our finding, combined with previous work on reducing several birth defects with vitamin supplementation and other childhood cancers, supports the recommendation that mothers' vitamin use before and during pregnancy may benefit their babies' health," says Andrew F. Olshan, MD, professor of epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health. "We believe physicians and other health care providers should continue to educate women about these benefits and recommend appropriate dietary habits and daily dietary supplements."
In particular, Dr. Olshan feels that folic acid (one of the B vitamins), and vitamins C and A, are particularly important for lowering the risk of childhood cancers and birth defects.
Ages 45 to 55
When you reach this in-between age-the time when most women have moved past childbearing age but haven't usually fully moved into the post-menopausal stage-you enjoy a propitious opportunity to take stock of your health and plan for an even healthier future. One thing that may need adjustment is your sleep habits, as sleeplessness is a common problem for women in this age group. Even if you haven't been exercising or watching your diet until now, it's not too late to start. Making lifestyle changes at this age can still improve your chances for aging successfully.
For instance, it is at these ages that women should have their heart health checked. Research published in the journal Stroke (5/01) shows that having your cholesterol and blood pressure checked at this time more accurately shows your future chances of heart disease than having it checked at a later date after menopause, in your late fifties.
" The premenopausal risk factors may be a stronger predictor of carotid atherosclerosis [artery blockages] because they represent cumulative risk factor exposure during the premenopausal years, whereas the risk factors...during the early postmenopausal years have a shorter time for influence," says Karen A. Matthews, PhD, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In other words, Dr. Matthews' research shows that if you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol before menopause, you are at serious risk for a stroke or heart attack soon after menopause: These are important reasons that you need to start improving your health habits immediately.
Increase in Heart Disease
Before menopause, a woman's hormones and other physiological characteristics usually hold down her chance of heart disease. After menopause, when hormones and other bodily changes occur, the risk of heart attacks and stroke in women rises significantly. (Heart disease is the leading killer of women.) At least part of this increased risk is linked to the postmenopausal decrease in estrogen production.
Dr. Matthews studied about 370 women in their late forties, measuring their weight, their BMI (body mass index, an indication of body fat compared to height), blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Ten years later, after the women had entered menopause, she and her fellow scientists used ultrasound to measure blockages in these women's neck arteries (a sign of heart disease).
The researchers found that indications of potential heart problems (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight) when women were in their forties did indeed forecast future difficulties.
" Women who had elevated cholesterol, higher blood pressures and increased body weight before menopause had increased blood vessel thickening and atherosclerotic plaque formation in the neck arteries after menopause. Such changes in the carotid arteries are associated with an increased heart attack and stroke risk," says Dr. Matthews.
Heart Health Factors
The four main lifestyle factors you should adjust at this age to support better heart function are diet, stress, exercise and weight. According to Dr. James Williams, "[M]ore than any other cause, dietary factors are the most critical factor in cardiovascular disease." He recommends eliminating "dietary saturated fatty acids as found in flame-broiled and fried meats." He also urges women to eat more fish and poultry, consume organic fruits and vegetables and cut back on refined sugar.
Stress becomes an ever more important heart disease factor at this age as estrogen begins to drop.
" Our study [in the lab] indicates that stress affects estrogen levels and can lead to the development of heart disease-even before menopause," says Jay Kaplan, PhD, of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (The Green Journal 3/02).
Dr. Kaplan's research shows that stress in women ages 45 to 55 may reduce estrogen earlier in life and make women more susceptible to the arterial blockages that lead to heart disease. "We know from [lab] studies that stress can lower estrogen levels to the point that health is affected," he says.
Stress can also hurt bone health: In a study of 66 women with normal-length menstrual periods, estrogen levels were low enough in half of the women to cause bone loss, making the women susceptible to osteoporosis.
Exercise and Weight
Although exercise used to be considered to be mainly a young woman's activity, the thrust of recent research suggests that physical activity actually becomes more important to health as you get older.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that exercising and keeping your weight down is probably the most important thing you can do to lower your risk of heart disease as you enter your forties and fifties (Am J Prev Med 11/03).
Of the people who took part in this study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who performed the most exercise were thinner and had a 50% chance less of dying of heart disease than overweight nonexercisers.
" The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, a researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.
An added benefit of exercise: If you burn up calories exercising, you can eat more and not have to worry as much about being overweight.
Supplements and Diet
If you're a woman at midlife, a multivitamin and mineral is still good nutritional insurance. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables are also important for getting enough phytochemicals, the health substances in plants that convey a wealth of health benefits.
As you enter this age group, your immune system gradually slows down. To help support immune function, eating produce rich in antioxidant nutrients, and supplementing with antioxidants like vitamins C and E as well as carotenoids, can be especially important. For example, a study of people with ulcers found that people with less vitamin C in their stomachs are more likely to be infected with Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers and is linked to stomach cancer (J Amer Coll Nutr 8/1/03).
This research, which looked at the health of about 7,000 people, found that vitamin C probably helps the immune system fend off this bacterial infection.
" Current public health recommendations for Americans are to eat five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day to help prevent heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases," says Joel A. Simon, MD, MPH, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.
Calcium and Bones
At midlife, calcium continues to be a vital mineral for supporting bone health.
According to Gameil T. Fouad, PhD, "It has been routinely shown that a woman's calcium status and level of physical activity (specifically, the degree to which she participates in weight-bearing exercise) are positively associated with bone mineral density. It is less well appreciated that this is a process which takes place over the course of a lifetime."
Dr. Fouad adds that calcium works in concert with other vitamins and minerals to keep bones healthy: "Research in the United Kingdom involving nearly 1,000 premenopausal women over age 40 illustrates those women with the highest bone density tended to have the highest intake of calcium. Surprisingly, this study also demonstrated that calcium does not act alone: those women with the best bone health also had the highest intakes of zinc, magnesium and potassium."
Dr. Fouad stresses that supplements should go together with a lifestyle that includes enough sleep and exercise to help the body stay in top shape.
" As a general guideline," he says, "a woman concerned with her mineral intake should take concrete steps to make sure she is getting adequate rest, is eating a well-balanced diet focused on fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein as well as getting adequate exercise....A multi-mineral containing bio-available forms of zinc, magnesium, copper and selenium is probably a safe addition to anyone's routine. Taking these proactive steps dramatically reduces the chances that deficiencies will arise."
Ages 55 and Beyond
Entering the post-menopausal phase of life can present challenging opportunities for a new perspective on life and health. While some signs of aging are inevitable, experts who have looked at how the human body changes with age are now convinced that healthy lifestyle habits can improve how well you can think, move and enjoy life well past age 55.
As Dr. Williams notes, "In your fifties, the force of aging is undeniably present: Your body shape changes and organ function declines, both men and women have a tendency to gain weight....Heart disease becomes more common, energy and endurance are considerably reduced and your memory begins to slip."
But Dr. Williams also points out that you don't have to age as rapidly as other people do. He believes you should employ a "natural longevity program...[that starts] to reverse the course of aging as early as possible."
One key to staying vital as you age is your outlook on life, an aspect of life that's greatly enhanced by strong social ties.
Avoiding the Aging Slowdown The latest research shows that one of the most crucial ways to slow the effects of aging is to exercise and keep your weight down. It won't necessarily be easy, though. The change in hormonal balance at this age makes the body more prone to extra pounds (Society for Neuroscience Meeting, 11/12/03).
" In women, it has been demonstrated that major weight increases often occur during menopause, the time in a woman's life in which cyclic ovarian function ends and the ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone decline," says Judy Cameron, PhD, a scientist in the divisions of reproductive sciences and neuroscience at the Oregon Health & Science University.
In Dr. Cameron's lab trials, she has found that the decrease in estrogen after menopause "resulted in a 67% jump in food intake and a 5% jump in weight in a matter of weeks."
In other words, the hormonal changes you undergo as enter your late fifties causes your appetite to grow as well as your waistline: Developments that increase your chances of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and joint problems.
Vigilance against this weight gain is necessary to save your health: Start walking and exercising. Research on exercise in people aged 58 to 78 found that getting off the couch for a walk or other physical activity not only helps control weight but also helps sharpen your thinking and helps you become more decisive (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2/16-20/04, online edition). This recent study, done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, found that performing aerobic exercise improved mental functioning by 11% (on a computer test).
" We continue to find a number of cognitive benefits in the aerobic group," says Arthur F. Kramer, PhD, a professor of psychology at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois. "The brain circuits that underlie our ability to think-in this case to attend selectively to information in the environment-can change in a way that is conducive to better performance on tasks as a result of fitness." In simple terms, that means that walking at least 45 minutes a day boosts brain power as well as protecting your heart.
An Herb for Menopause
The physical changes that accompan> y menopause can be uncomfortable. But traditional herbal help is available: Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), an herb used for eons by aging women, has been shown in recent studies to be both safe and effective (Menopause 6/15/03).
" This [research] should reassure health professionals that they can safely recommend black cohosh to their menopausal patients who cannot or choose not to take HRT [hormone replacement therapy]," says researcher Tieraona Low Dog, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico Department of Family and Community Medicine.
While HRT has been used to help women cope with menopause, a flurry of studies in the past few years have shown that HRT increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. Instead, black cohosh, which alleviates such menopausal discomforts as hot flashes, has been shown to be much safer.
Keeping Track of Crucial Vitamins
While continuing to take multivitamins and minerals at this age is important, some experts believe that as we grow older, vitamin D supplementation, as well as taking antioxidant nutrients, is particularly vital. Arthritis is a common affliction of aging, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one particularly destructive form of this joint problem. But taking vitamin D can significantly lower your risk of this condition.
When scientists analyzed the diets of 30,000 middle-aged women in Iowa over 11 years, they found that women who consumed vitamin D supplements were 34% less likely to suffer RA (Arth Rheu 1/03).
Other vitamins are equally important to an older woman's well-being. For example, vitamins C and natural E have been found to lower the risk of stroke in those over the age of 55 (Neurology 11/11/03). In this study, smokers who consumed the most vitamin C and natural vitamin E were 70% were much less likely to suffer strokes than smokers whose diets were missing out on these vitamins.
Rich sources of vitamin C in food include oranges and other citrus fruits, strawberries, red and green peppers, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils such as sunflower seed, cottonseed, safflower, palm and wheat germ oils, margarine and nuts.
Saving Your Sight
After age 55, your eyes are particularly vulnerable. Eight million Americans of this age are at risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that destroys structures in the back of the eye necessary for vision (Arch Ophthal 11/03). But you can drop your risk of AMD by taking supplements of antioxidant vitamins and zinc, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute.
Their research shows that a dietary supplement of vitamins C, natural vitamin E and beta carotene, along with zinc, lowers the chances of progressing to advanced AMD in certain at-risk people by about 25%. Daily supplements also reduced the risk of vision loss by about 19%.
The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin also help protect aging eyes. When scientists compared healthy eyes with eyes suffering from AMD, they found that AMD eyes contained lower levels of these vital nutrients (Ophthalmology 2003; 109:1780). Furthermore, they found that levels of these chemicals generally decline as you grow older.
Healthy at All Ages
When it comes to designing a healthy lifestyle, general rules like these can be followed, but you should individualize your plan to fit your needs. No matter which type of exercises you pick out or what healthy foods you choose, look for a strategy and a plan you can stick to. If you think a selection of foods are good for you but you absolutely hate their taste, chances are you won't be able to stick to a diet that includes them.
The same goes for exercise: Pick out activities that you enjoy and that you can perform consistently. That increases your chance of sticking to an exercise program.
Staying healthy is enjoyable and it helps you get more out of life every day, no matter what stage of life you're in.
Menopause Multiple - Eternal Woman
June 03, 2005 05:54 PM
Menopause happens to all women, but affects each woman uniquely. For some, the end of fertility (and the end of concerns about contraception) brings a sense of freedom. For others, it is a time of troublesome symptoms or perhaps the need for certain lifestyle adjustments. Menopause is a bridge to a point in life when many women report feeling more confident, empowered and energized than in their younger years. MENOPAUSE MULTIPLE is a Bio-Aligned Formula™ that helps bring alignment to a range of interrelated body systems: hormonal regulation, bone metabolism, cardiovascular health, energy generation and circulation.
After menopause, the ovaries no longer secrete two critical steroid hormones in the amount or pattern characteristic of a regular menstrual cycle. These two hormones are estrogen and progesterone. The transition from regular ovarian function to its absence is often called the perimenopause or perimenopausal transition. The time involved can range from one to 10 years. More than one third of the women in the United States, about 36 million, have been through menopause. With a life expectancy of 81 years, a 50-year-old woman can expect to live more than one third of her life after menopause. Low estrogen levels are linked to some uncomfortable symptoms in many women. The most common and easy to recognize symptom is hot flashes -- sudden intense waves of heat and sweating. Some women find that these hot flashes disrupt their sleep, and others report mood changes. Other symptoms may include irregular periods, vaginal or urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence (leakage of urine or inability to control urine flow), and inflammation of the vagina. Because of the changes in the urinary tract and vagina, some women may have discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse. Many women also notice changes in their skin, digestive tract, and hair during menopause. Because the menopausal years place unique nutritional demands on a woman’s body, Source Naturals created MENOPAUSEMULTIPLE. This comprehensive formula brings together optimal amounts of the finest phytonutrients and herbs--including genistein, black cohosh, and chaste berry--plus vitamins and minerals known to support the biochemistry of mature women.
MENOPAUSE MULTIPLE is a comprehensive herbal-nutrient formula that supports the multiple, interconnected systems involved with female hormone function.
Hot flashes are related to hormone levels. As estrogen declines, FSH and LH (folliclestimulating and luteinizing hormones) increase, causing blood capillaries to dilate. This brings more blood and higher temperatures to the skin. Soy isoflavones and other herbs can mimic the effects of estrogen. Support for the adrenal glands is important since they account for most estrogen production after menopause.
During and after menopause, a woman’s hormonal balance and biochemistry change. Lower estrogen levels may affect bone density. Phytonutrients and calcium are important to maintain healthy bones in postmenopausal women. Calcium and magnesium work together in the metabolism of bone.
Heart & Circulation
Menopause increases concern for the health of the heart and circulatory system. Soy isoflavones and other ingredients may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. To regulate homocysteine levels for cardiovascular health, vitamins B-6, B-12, and folic acid are critical.
Among its many functions, the liver has the important job of promoting hormonal balance by processing excess levels of hormones. The powerful antioxidant, N-acetyl cysteine, helps the liver detoxify chemicals and milk thistle is a liver protectant.
The fatigue that is common during menopause makes nutritional support for energy and metabolism especially important. Metabolism can influence weight, energy levels, and mood. MENOPAUSE MULTIPLE contains ingredients that support energy generation, including the advanced nutrients CoQ10 and lipoic acid and ginkgo biloba.
Antioxidants help protect the circulatory system, which is important as estrogen declines. Antioxidants also defend tissues and cell membranes in all your body systems from free radicals, which are formed during normal cellular metabolism. Some important antioxidants: vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium, zinc, and manganese all have strong antioxidant powers.
Lifestyle Tips for a Healthy Transition
Get Moving. Exercise is a powerful remedy for many menopause complaints and may help prevent future menopause-related diseases. It promotes better, more restorative sleep, and it stimulates production of endorphins, or “feel good” brain chemistry. Some women report having fewer hot flashes when they exercise regularly. Eat Well. A balanced diet low in saturated fat and high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, with adequate water, vitamins and minerals contributes to good health. Women at perimenopause and beyond have special dietary concerns, because both heart disease and osteoporosis are greatly affected by diet. A balanced diet is also important for bone development and maintaining bone strength. Some women – especially those who are elderly and have reduced appetites, who diet frequently, who don’t consume diary products, or who have eating disorders – may not consume adequate vitamins and minerals to maintain optimal bone mass. There is evidence that the natural, estrogenlike compounds in soybeans and many other plant foods used in MENOPAUSE MULTIPLE may reduce hot flashes and vaginal dryness and increase bone density in women after menopause. Studies suggest that body cells respond to plant estrogens as if they were weaker versions of the human hormone. So consuming more of these estrogen-mimicking compounds may help compensate for the loss of estrogen naturally as women age. Prevent Bone Loss. Osteoporosis is one of the most preventable of bone diseases. Exercise maintains the strength of bones through aerobics, stair climbing, hiking, or walking. Prevention focuses on nutrition for bones, including a sufficient calcium intake of 1000 to 1500 mg/day.
Musculoskeletal System: Black Cohosh, Dong Quai, Licorice, Soy Isoflavones, Boron, Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Vitamins A, B-6, B-12, C, D & E, Folic Acid
Heart and Circulation: Black Cohosh, Coenzyme Q10, Dong Quai, Licorice, Soy Isoflavones, Magnesium, Vitamins B-6, B-12, & E, Folic Acid
Hormonal Regulation: Black Cohosh, Dong Quai, Licorice, Soy Isoflavones, Vitex, Vitamins B-5 & C
Liver Support: Coenzyme Q10, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Dandelion, alpha-Lipoic Acid, Silymarin, Selenium, Vitamin C, Biotin
Antioxidant Defense: Coenzyme Q10, N-Acetyl Cysteine, alpha-Lipoic Acid, Silymarin, Selenium, Zinc, Vitamins A, C & E
Energy Generation: alpha-Lipoic Acid, Coenzyme Q10, Magnesium, Manganese, Zinc, Vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, & B-6, Niacinamide
Improve Your Diet and Stop Being S.A.D.
May 27, 2005 09:24 AM
Improve Your Diet and Stop Being S.A.D.
The Standard American Diet (or S.A.D.) is exactly that ? sad! Sadly lacking in essential nutrients and sadly loaded with an excess of the wrong things, like fat, cholesterol, salt and sugar. How can we improve our diets and truly nourish our bodies?
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Why are fruits and vegetables so important? Not only are they high in vitamins and minerals, but they also contain bioflavonoids?naturally occurring plant constituents that act as antioxidants and support the integrity of our connective tissue. And fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, so crucial in maintaining our digestive tract health.
What fruits and vegetables don't contain is just as important as what they do contain: fruits and vegetables are free of cholesterol, additives and preservatives, contain no added sugar or salt, and are low in fat?nature's perfect foods. All you have to do is look at the bright, crisp colors?the vibrant greens, yellows, oranges, reds and purples?to know how good fruits and vegetables are for you.
Eat More Whole Grains
Whole grains, like oats, brown rice and barley, help us meet important nutritional goals. They are low in fat and high in fiber, and, because the germ of the grain has not been lost in the milling process, they are higher in essential fatty acids, vitamin E and B vitamins compared to processed grain products like white bread or pasta. And they're delicious! Have a bowl of hot oatmeal with fresh fruit and nuts for breakfast?or make a hearty barley-vegetable stew for dinner. Your body will thank you!
Increase Your Fiber Consumption
Fiber exercises our digestive tract?toning and strengthening the muscle that surrounds our intestines just the way lifting weights tightens and tones our skeletal muscles. Low-fiber diets increase our risk for a variety of bowel problems, from constipation and hemorrhoids to diverticulosis and diverticulitis to colon cancer. Increasing fiber in the diet is good for the digestive tract, helps regulate blood sugar and may also help reduce cholesterol levels.
What are the best dietary sources of fiber? All plant foods (whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds) contain fiber. And all animal products (meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products) contain zero fiber?that's right, none!
Eat Healthy Fats and Oils
Fats and oils have gotten a bad rap. Somehow the idea has been promoted that all fats are bad and we should eat as little fat as possible. The truth is that fat is an essential part of our diet, and dietary fats are used for many important functions in the body, from energy production to cell membrane maintenance to nerve conduction. While much of the focus has been on the amount of fat we should eat, the type of fats we eat is at least as important.
High-quality fats are rare in the standard American diet. Most of the fats and oils we eat have been damaged by exposure to heat or light during processing or cooking. This damage destroys essential nutrients and creates free radicals, chemically unstable molecules that can wreak havoc in the body. For this reason, fried foods and highly processed fats like margarine and shortening are best avoided. Health concerns have been raised about margarine, as it contains trans fatty acids?a configuration of fatty acids not found in nature.
And our ratio of fat consumption is skewed. Most Americans consume too many saturated fats and not enough polyunsaturated oils. How do you tell which fats are saturated and which are not? Saturated fats are solid at room temperature (think butter, lard and coconut oil). Polyunsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature (like corn oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil). In addition to polyunsaturated oils, olive oil, a monounsaturated oil, is also a heart-healthy choice and one of the best oils to use.
Reduce Your Consumption of Animal Products
While animal products (meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products) contain many valuable nutrients, as a nation, we tend to overdo it. A diet high in animal products is a diet high in cholesterol, and is strongly linked to the number-one killer in the industrialized nations: cardiovascular disease, which includes high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
How do you know which foods contain a lot of cholesterol without having to read labels? All animal products contain cholesterol. All plant foods (grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables and nuts and seeds) contain zero cholesterol. It's that simple. Eating a predominantly vegetarian diet is one way to maintain your cardiovascular health.
Avoid Stimulants?Like Caffeine
Most people think caffeine "gives" them energy. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Caffeine in fact robs the body of energy?by withdrawing from your energy 'savings account' now, leaving you less reserves to draw upon later. The pick-me-up feeling artificial stimulants provide is inevitably followed by an energy crash.
Reduce Your Caloric Intake
About a quarter of the U.S. population is now considered to be obese, and the numbers are rising. Our children are increasingly overweight, from a steady diet of junk food and TV-watching. As a nation, we are overfed and undernourished?our diets are too high in "empty" calories and too low in essential nutrients.
Being overweight significantly increases the risk for a variety of cancers, including colon, prostate, breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer. Animal studies have shown that the only consistent way to extend the life spans of laboratory animals is to put them on a lower calorie diet. Thinner rats live longer?and we suspect the same is true for humans.
Are you too serious about your diet? Do you miss out on social opportunities because you are too busy counting calories or grams of fat? Lighten up! To paraphrase one poet, "?Tis better to eat steak and beer with cheer than sprouts and bread with dread!" Don't allow your dietary restrictions to rule you or limit your social life.
Eating out is possible, even on a restricted diet. Most restaurants are willing to accommodate your requests. It's just a matter of learning how to order the healthiest meal possible. Good options include poached fish with lemon, salads with vinaigrette dressing, and plain baked potatoes. Get in the habit of ordering sauces on the side and avoid filling up on empty calories, like white bread rolls.
Take Time To Savor Each Meal
We often make the mistake of eating hurriedly, standing at the sink wolfing something?anything!?down so we can move on to the next activity in our busy lives. But digestion actually functions better when we take the time to slow down. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for enhancing circulation to the digestive organs and promoting the flow of digestive juices. There is only one catch?we must be relaxed for our parasympathetic nervous system to predominate. So, take a deep breath and relax, there's plenty of time!