Search Term: " panic "
Is vitamin D a key factor in breast cancer prevention?
May 03, 2019 04:11 PM
CDC data shows that nearly 41,000 American women died of breast cancer in 2013 alone, making it a leading causing of death among women from all racial groups. However, research indicates a strong association between living in a place with lots of sunshine and lower risk of breast cancer. This is almost certainly due to sunlight’s role in production of vitamin D. Only the type of vitamin D produced by the skin from sun exposure seems to have this kind of strong impact on breast cancer rates.
"In fact, breast cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanic American women, and the second highest cause among white, black and Asian/Pacific women."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-27-vitamin-d-breast-cancer-prevention.html
Emerging research finds inositol to be an effective treatment forpanic disorder
March 15, 2019 10:44 AM
Inositol is another name for vitamin B8, and it is showing to be highly effective in the treatment of panic disorder. Taking doses of approximately 20 grams per day has shown to reduce both the frequency and severity of panic attacks that those with the disorder experience. In a recent study, inositol was shown to be just as effective as fluvoxamine in treating panic disorder. Inositol has also shown to help in treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
"However, based on the results of study, a type of sugar called inositol could be used to reduce the frequency of these panic attacks."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-19-inositol-for-panic-disorder.html
The Cannabis Remedy: Simple Solution For Over 40 Million PeopleSuffering With Anxiety
November 24, 2018 11:13 AM
Anxiety is a very prevalent condition, both in the U.S. and worldwide. In fact the National Institutes of Health concur that as much as 33% of the world's population has suffered, or well suffer from some type of anxiety. Besides mentally specific symptoms, such as worry, fretting, inability to focus, nervousness and fearfulness, the condition can create physical symptoms as well, such as clenching, sweating, dizziness, accelerated breathing, pulse and raised blood pressure. At it's worst, anxiety can induce a full-blown panic attack, depersonalization and even a certainty that one is dying. Obviously anxiety is a potentially critical condition, with the ability to disrupt life, even in small ways. As it worsens, anxiety can make it difficult to impossible for sufferers to work or socialize effectively. Though triggers vary, most people are visited by anxiety due to one of three big concerns, namely fears that center around finances, safety, or health. One poll conducted by the American Psychiatric Association concluded that keeping the family safe and bill-paying were huge anxiety triggers that resonated with more than 60% of respondents. The positive news is that many people can experience mitigation, if not complete surcease of these symptoms by using cannabis, which is expected to keep growing as an industry. THC which is the psychoactive component in cannabis, that which makes it illegal if it gets past .3%, is minimal to almost nil in hemp, which is related to, but not the same as marijuana. The THC amount will vary in cannabis products. There is hemp oil, hemp seed oil and CBD oil, which is made from the entire plant, flowers and all, so it may have a bit more THC. Oil products can be taken topically, or sublingually, even smoked. By acting on receptors in the central nervous symptom, the constituents of the oil act to mitigate the symptoms of anxiety. Even beyond pain relief these products have been shown to have efficacy for symptoms of epilepsy, pain and impaired cognition.
"The good news is, there are ways to cope, even ways to alleviate anxiety and its symptoms using natural and drug-free solutions."
Read more: https://www.thealternativedaily.com/cannabis-remedy-solution-people-suffering-with-anxiety/
From OCD to depression to anxiety, learn how inositol can preventmany mental health disorders
November 13, 2018 08:51 AM
Living at maximum wellness constitutes more than having a disease-free body, where all the parts are doing what they should. Mental health is also a key component to overall health. From PMS symptoms all the way to psychotic episodes, more than 40 million U.S. citizens suffer from a mental problem yearly. Although treating these potentially life-clouding conditions with pharmaceutical grade interventions is the norm, these interventions are not without the possibility of potentially hazardous side effects. A B vitamin, inositol is present in the human brain in large amounts. Scientists are considering whether significant supplementation of the vitamin might be a way to treat an array of mental conditions naturally and without side effects. The vitamin has already been shown to have positive effect in some mental conditions, which makes sense, as significant neural transmissions depend on the use of the vitamin. Moreover, it's also been shown that individuals with lesser amounts of the mood-regulating chemicals, serotonin and dopamine, have lower levels of inositol. Although more research needs to happen in some instances, there is promising research to suggest that elevating inositol levels could prove efficacious for an array of mental conditions, including panic attacks, bipolar mood disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression.
"In fact, other major neurotransmitters depend on inositol to relay messages, making it a key component in a lot of chemical systems in a person’s brain, including the ability to handle stress, learning and cognition, mood, productivity, sleep, and addiction."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-11-06-inositol-can-prevent-many-mental-health-disorders.html
How CBD (Cannabidiol) Can Help With Anxiety
September 07, 2018 05:52 PM
Cannabidiol (CBD) has a lot of therapeutic and medicinal effects. One of these effects is treating anxiety. CBD appears to work in similar ways on your brain as Prozac or Xanax. CBD works by increasing your Serotonin levels in the brain. To treat anxiety with CBD it is important to find a high quality CBD oil that you take in the correct dose. The best CBD oil for anxiety is one that contains no THC. The type of anxiety you are treating will change what the best dosage is for you.
"We also discuss how to dial in the best CBD oil dosage for anxiety symptoms, and explore the best CBD oil for anxiety relief."
Read more: https://hightimes.com/health/how-cbd-cannabidiol-can-help-with-anxiety/
CBD oil: the cannabis supplement taking the wellness world by storm
June 22, 2018 08:10 AM
Cannabis oil, despite having proven medicinal properties, is currently illegal in many parts of the world, because it also has high levels of an intoxicating substance. The same cannot be said for cannabidiol oil, which unlike cannabis, which comes from the marijuana plant, is a derived from hemp.
Cannabidiol oil, or CBD oil, affects neural receptors in a positive way, boosting brain chemicals, like serotonin, but without psychoactive elements. This makes the oil a boon for those suffering from various forms of anxiety, as well as PTSD and panic attacks. CBD oil is anti-inflammatory and it promotes REM sleep, which makes it invaluable for joint-pain relief and insomnia.
CBD oil is generally sold as both a capsule and an oil-specific product. It's recommended that users start with small doses, building up slowly. 6.4 mgs 3x a day is a good amount to enhance overall health. However, to address specific concerns, up to three times that amount many be needed. Again, one should only take such a high dose after taking the time to build up to it in increments.
"Cannabidiol (CBD) oil (derived from the stems and leaves of hemp plants) is currently flying off shelves at the moment due to its wide range of purported health benefits that include better sleep and the relief of joint pain, stress and anxiety."
Read more: https://www.getthegloss.com/news/cbd-oil-its-health-benefits-explained
Here's What the Consistency and Color of Your Poop Reveals About Your Health
August 23, 2017 04:14 PM
Poop is natural; every organism does it. It's a product of your digestive system and therefore is a great indicator of how your GI tract is doing. Eating healthy results in a different poop consistency and look than poop from someone who is sedentary or eating an unhealthy diet. Poop can also change color. It should be light to dark brown but can turn out green, red or black. Some of these colors are due to food intake but others can be more warning signs about health.
"Do not panic if you see red poop, it may because of the beetroot or red food color."
Read more: http://www.india.com/lifestyle/heres-what-the-consistency-and-color-of-your-poop-reveals-about-your-health-2417142/
Anxiety Is A Superpower (Here Is Why)
May 04, 2017 06:44 PM
Having a panic attack can be uncomfortable; the sweaty palms, racing heart, inability to breath, queasy feeling in your stomach, it can take its toll on even the most resilient person and make them hate their anxiety. But it's not all bad! Studies have shown that individuals that suffer from anxiety excel at an array of other attributes. Those with anxiety, for example, have proven to be stronger readers with improved memory functions. Physically, individuals who suffer from anxiety are able to perform better in physical sports as well as become more aptly in tune with their senses. And cognitively, those that suffer from anxiety have demonstrated more creativity than those without it. While it may be a natural instinct to hate your anxiety, next time it rears its ugly head try to take a deep breath and remind yourself of the amazing person it has helped you become.
Read more: Anxiety Is A Superpower (Here Is Why)
vitamin b and iron deficiency can cause anxiety and panic attacks
April 18, 2017 08:44 AM
Generally, people are aware of the difference that vitamins and minerals, in this case Vitamin B and Iron, can make towards your overall digestive health. However, the mental health aspects of these vitamins and minerals has generally been completely overlooked....until now!Research shows that these vitamins and minerals can help your body in the case of anxiety and/or panic attacks. So while you are helping your mental health, why not help your overall health at the same time?
"A scientific study from Japan, which monitored 21 individuals, has discovered that the levels of vitamin B6 and iron in the blood are closely related to the occurrence of anxiety and panic attacks."
Read more: https://www.dailyhealthcare.info/vitamin-b-iron-deficiency-can-cause-anxiety-panic-attacks/
Cannabis Connection: From Paranoia and Panic to Calm and Cool
March 27, 2017 03:44 PM
Researchers have discovered that treating mice with CBD can block later symptoms of fear and anxiety from being close to a predator. These findings are highly indicative that cannabis may be a useful tool for treating anxiety in people. This can seem in contrast to some people's experience with cannabis causing them anxiety and paranoia. Researchers are prevented from fully exploring this anomaly by government regulations, but they suggest that many factors can play a role in this including environment, the tolerance level of the user, and the strain of cannabis. Read on for more details into this study.
"Animal and human studies confirm the anxiolytic potential for CBD, and a 2011 study in Neuropsychopharmacology even discovered that CBD helps people speak in public despite social anxiety disorders."
Read more: https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/03/cannabis-connection-from-paranoia-and-panic-to-cal.html
These 10 Foods Affect Heart Disease the Most
March 11, 2017 01:59 PM
Heart disease can affect a man or a woman of any age. Those who are not leading healthy lifestyles are most pron to diseases of the heart that can cause many problems in life and potentially an early death. If you want to live healthily and happily and lessen your risk of heart disease, you must remove the following foods from your diet at once. These foods are accountable for the most cases of heart disease. Dont put yourself at risk!
"If people ate less salt and meat and ate more nuts, fruits and vegetables, they could greatly lower their own risk of heart disease"
Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/heart-health/these-10-foods-affect-your-risk-heart-disease-most-n730141?cid=public-rss_20170310
The empire strikes back: DEA quietly announces "Schedule I" status for CBD extracts to comply with United Nations demands... CBD Prohibition begins on January 13, 2017
December 23, 2016 10:59 AM
There is concern over a rumor that the DEA seeks to create a brand new schedule I class of drugs just for marijuana extracts, known as CBD. They must go through a scheduling action to get approval, but many are outraged over the possibility of losing access to any medicinal product made from Cannabis. This can include non-psychoactive drugs. Some are trying to soothe the panic by stating that it doesn’t include hemp products. As long as it is not a drug, it is not restricted. We will have to wait and see how this plays out.
"Big Media, Big Pharma, Big Government, Big Banks and Big Agriculture are assaulting our bodies and minds by the hour, it seems."
Powerful natural ways to relieve stress, anxiety
November 13, 2016 03:04 PM
Need a few new ways to calm anxiety and stress naturally, without prescription drugs? Here are 10 unique ideas for calming your nerves by activating your senses in new ways. From breathing exercises to keeping a journal and trying some new herbal teas there is sure to be one or two options here that are worth a try for those looking for alternative ways to relax.
"When emergency strikes and you feel a panic attack coming, simple breathing exercises can reverse the situation"
Hyperactivity and Herbs That Can Help
Hyperactivity is a behavioral condition in children that involves being easily distracted, unable to concentrate, being aggressive and also impulsiveness. This often decreases the child grow and sometimes he/she may be punished at school for such behaviors.
The following are herbs recommended for alternative treatment of hyperactivity condition:
Catnip (Nepata cataria) acts as a mild sedative for young children and adults. It also makes one to rest and feel like sleeping.
Chamomile (Metricaria recutita)
It provides a safe nervine action to children while encouraging sleep.
Hops (Humulus Lupulus)
Hop plant flowers help in reducing nervousness and anxiety and encourages sedation.
Kava kava helps offset stress and disruption of sleep patterns as it has antianxiety and anti-panic properties.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
It helps in reduction of too much anxiety and nervousness thereby helping in treatment of hyperactive in children.
Extracts from green oats help in boosting attention and concentration
Passion flowers help in maintaining mental and physical wellness in a restless individual.
It is helpful to people who can’t sleep due to overactive mind as it has some nervine properties.
St. John’s wort
St. John’s wort promotes quiet and restful sleep to individuals who are unable to sleep due to nervous excitement.
Flowers and leaves of this plant help boosting sleep in individuals who are unable to sleep.
It has a mind calming effect that helps in reducing nervous tension and anxiety.
Efficient Actions for Controlling Stress and anxiety
July 18, 2014 04:42 PM
What is anxiety?
Health Benefits of Aconitum Napellus.
June 28, 2014 05:41 AM
Apart from being a beautiful herb, Aconitum Nappellus has been used for centuries in treating a variety of ailments. The herb is mainly found in the United Kingdom, northeastern United States and Eastern Europe. Its common name is monkshood or wolfs bane.
Benefits of aconitum napellus
In ancient Europe, it was used to treat many ailments including flu, fevers, colds and nervous disorders. It was also used to relieve pain, and roots were used as anesthesia. In the modern world.
Aconitum is used to treat different ailments such as
Aconitum is used to treat constipation, vomiting and other stomach upsets. If you suffer stomach upsets, leaves and roots from Aconitum have been found to remedy stomach upsets.
Aconitum pills available in the market have been found to be very effective in treating headache including migraine headache. People who suffer frequent headache have found Aconitum pills to be very beneficial in alleviating headaches.
Treat fear and shock
When properly prepared, aconitum pills will alleviate fear, shock and anxiety. It has significant sedative, ant-neuralgic, analgesic properties and has been proved to alleviate panic attacks and shock.
Aconitum has been found to have antibacterial properties. When frequently used, it will strength your immune system and protects your body against bacterial infections. However, it is always good to use together with other antibacterial drugs.
It is also useful in the treatment of eye ailments. For example, if you suffer swollen, red and hard lids, or your eyes feel dry and hot, aconitum can treat such conditions.
Is used to treat Red, dry, numb, prickling, constricted, burning, stinging throat as well as swollen and dry tonsils.
If you suffer difficulties in urinating, tenesmus and urine retention, aconitum will remedy these conditions.
Aconitum Napellus is poisonous. Symptoms of Aconite poisoning include vomiting crawling skin, and coldness.
November 24, 2012 11:37 AM
Magnesium is important in the body for good health.
Its approximated that about fifty percent (50%) of magnesium is present in bones and the other half is found in body cells.One percent is present in the blood and the body has to maintain this level to prevent an imbalance which could cause problems. Magnesium is needed to aid in biochemical reactions of the body.
It helps to maintain proper nerve and muscle functioning. It helps in keeping the heart rate steady by ensuring smooth flow of the body to prevent cardiovascular diseases, helps maintain a healthy immune system, and helps in making strong bones. Magnesium improves the mineral density in the bones making bones stronger. Magnesium functions together with calcium in regulating the nerves and muscles of the body.
Manage Blood Sugar
Magnesium helps to regulate the levels of sugar in the body to ensure that the body is functioning properly and prevent diabetes. It helps to regulate the body's blood pressure and aids in protein synthesis and energy metabolism.
Reduce Insomnia, Stress, And Anxiety
Magnesium treats symptoms of depression and insomnia. Taking magnesium supplements reduces stress, panic attacks, anxiety and helps in treating migraines. If one has low magnesium in the body, symptoms may include weakening and softening of bones, diabetes, headaches, high blood pressure, irregular heart beat and muscle weakness. Some foods rich in magnesium include soybeans, spinach, cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds, almonds and black beans.
Prevent Disease With Magnesium
Magnesium is important and to prevent diseases that come as a result of lack of it in the body, one should consider including the above foods in their diet. Eating a balanced diet that includes foods rich in magnesium will help the body function properly and prevent diseases. Care should be taken while taking magnesium supplements to prevent overloading the body with too much magnesium which could cause problems. A sign that magnesium is too much is diarrhea. When taken as directed, this mineral can do wonders to help one relax, improve bowel function, and improve sleep naturally.
Give It a Try and feel the difference!
Can our health benefit from supplmenting choline?
November 18, 2012 11:01 AM
Choline, discovered in 1864 by the German chemist, Adolph Strecker, is an essential nutrient, usually grouped under the vitamin B family. While the human body does synthesize small amounts of choline, dietary consumption is a must in order to maintain a healthy body. Deficiency of choline can lead to a number of serious health issues including neurological problems, insomnia, accumulation of fat in the liver, damage to the kidneys and also cardiovascular disease. There are a range of important functions that choline performs in the body.
Some of the key health benefits of choline are:
Maintenance of brain health: The neurotransmitter or the messenger molecule, acetylcholine, that transmits signals from the brain to the muscles and various organs in the body such as the liver, heart, lungs etc, is synthesized using choline. Thus, it plays a very important role in memory and muscle control. Research also suggests that choline has a calming effect on the brain and helps reduce panic and anxiety attacks.
Maintenance of cell membranes: The integrity and flexibility of cell membranes depends on the presence of satisfactory amounts of choline thus making it a prerequisite for appropriate cell metabolism.
Maintenance of Liver health: Choline is responsible for preventing the accumulation of cholesterol and fat deposits in the liver hence preventing hepatosteatosis, a condition more commonly known as fatty liver.
Anti inflammatory benefits: Studies have revealed that inflammatory markers such as Interleukin-6, C-reactive protein, Homocysteine, etc., which are associated with various illnesses such as Diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, Cardiovascular disease, Osteoporosis and also various cancers, show reduced levels if adequate amounts of choline are consumed in the diet.
Apart from those stated above there are many more health benefits of choline and hence it is very important to consume foods that are rich in this nutrient. In addition to seafood and meat, foods that have high choline content include, Dairy and poultry products like Skim milk and Egg yolk, peanut butter; Vegetables such as Cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, Asparagus, Green beans and Fruits like Bananas and Oranges. Soybeans, due to their high lecithin content, are also a fantastic source of choline. Seeds like flax seed, sesame seeds and grains like corn, barley and oats are also rich in choline content.
Maintenance of adequate levels of choline is imperative in order to maintain optimal health. It is therefore very important to have periodic health checkups so that any deficiencies are identified and addressed as soon as possible.
How does 5-HTP Help the Brain?
May 28, 2012 08:17 AM
5-HTP is the abbreviation of 5-Hydroxytryptophan, an amino acid that converts tryptophan into serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps with the regulation of sleep, mood and appetite, and it is found in the stomach or the CNS. 5-HTP is mainly obtained from animal products especially red meats and eggs. Fish and dairy products are also rich in this amino acid. Vegetarians get this compound from pumpkin seeds, oats, potatoes, peanuts and dried dates. Due to its ability to regulate the amount of serotonin and melatonin in your body, 5-HTP regulates the functioning of your brain.
The following are the health benefits of this compound:
It fixes anxiety
Anxiety and panic disorders are some of the most popular mental disorders that can be cured using 5-HTP. These two illnesses occur when your body experiences a deficiency of serotonin. Therefore, taking supplements of this amino acid reduces your chances of developing any or both of these conditions.
It treats insomnia
Insomnia is a problem that affects the quality of your sleep. Sleep is normally regulated by your brain. Every night, your brain releases receptors that lead to the five stages of a sleep cycle. If your brain fails to release the appropriate receptors, you cannot enjoy a complete sleep cycle. In addition, Melatonin is the hormone that induces sleep and therefore its absence leads to poor sleep quality. The production of sufficient melatonin therefore boosts the quality of your sleep and helps with the treatment of insomnia.
It helps relieve the symptoms of depression
Your mood is controlled by the neurotransmitter serotonin. The absence of this neurotransmitter leads to the development of a depressed mood. However, the availability of 5-HTP in your body leads to the production of sufficient serotonin thus restoring your happiness.
It also treats eating disorders especially among young children Your brain controls your levels of appetite. Serotonin is specifically in charge of this function, and therefore its deficiency in your body leads to a disruption in your appetite mechanism. Most people who have this problem often tend to eat lots of sweet foods that are rich in empty calories, high carb and junk food. This often leads to obesity and overweight. However, taking 5-HTP supplements restores your appetite mechanism thus protecting you from eating disorders and subsequent complications such as obesity.
It is a natural pain killer
5-HTP enhances the production of endorphins, thus helping your body overcome pain and migraines. Chronic headache is often associated with low levels of serotonin, and this can be reversed by taking sufficient 5-HTP. Serotonin has a calming and soothing effect on the central nervous system, and therefore the sufficient release of this neurotransmitter helps ease pain on the head.
5-HTP helps relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is often accompanied by chronic pains and aches that can be relieved by taking sufficient supply of 5-HTP. This is because this amino acid helps with the secretion of serotonin, which helps ease such pains and aches.
It is therefore important for you to ensure that you have sufficient supply of 5-HTP in order to enhance the functioning of your brain.
How Does GABA Help Brain Function?
May 16, 2012 08:43 AM
Gamma Amino Butyric Acid, GABA, is a neurotransmitter found in central nervous system. It has an inhibitory action on nerve transmission and helps in regulating brain activity and function.
Healthy functioning of brain is important to achieve optimal health. In today's fast paced lifestyle, work related stress and anxiety have taken a toll on man's health. Mental stress and anxiety can cause havoc on the internal systems of the body. According to American Psychological Association, stress can affect the physical as well as mental health of a person. It impairs the brain's ability to block certain toxins and can lead to certain aging conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Stress can affect brain's normal functioning and affect intellectual abilities and memory. GABA helps in calming the stress and thereby enhancing the functioning capacity of the brain. Let us understand how does GABA help in brain function?
Role of GABA in cerebral cortex:
The nervous system comprises of neurons, brain, spinal cord and neurotransmitters. The role of neurotransmitters is to transmit nerve signals from one neuron to another or from neuron to muscle or gland cell. The most abundant neurotransmitters in cerebral cortex, Glutamate and GABA, have opposite action on the neuron cells.
Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter, which results in neuron fires and sends an electrical impulse down its length. On the other hand, GABA, made from glutamate, has inhibitory action on the nerve cells and does not allow the electrical impulse to pass through the neuron. In case of deficiency of GABA, nerve cells will fire too often and too easily, resulting in wide number of anxiety disorders such as panic attacks, seizure disorders, headaches and other cognitive impairment disorders. Hence, GABA helps in stopping the transmission of nerve impulses from one neuron to another and thereby regulating brain activity. It has a calming effect on the brain.
Once the activity in the brain is regulated and cognitive abilities are restored by GABA, the person can think better and perform better. This natural tranquilizer allows your brain to function more efficiently. Studies have related many higher brain functions such as visual recognition and language comprehension with declining levels of GABA with advancing age. This results in easy firing of neurons by stimulus, slowing down processing of information in brain.
Health benefits of GABA:
According to studies, GABA plays an important role in healthy functioning of mind and body. It helps in:
1. Treating conditions like depression, anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and epilepsy. The result is due to the calming effect of GABA on brain activity. It helps in clear thinking and better reasoning.
2. Preventing age related conditions such as cardiovascular disorder, diabetes and cancer.
3. Inducing a sense of relaxation by providing tranquilizing effect. GABA increases dopamine hormone in the body and gives a sense of euphoria. You remain happy and of course this has a positive effect on sexual system.
4. Relieving pain.
5. Promoting body building and losing extra fat.
GABA can be purchased as a supplement in the form of pill, capsule or powder form. It is a natural alternative for relieving stress and improving brain function.
What Are The Symptoms Of GABA Deficiency?
September 05, 2011 11:19 AM
In this modern age many of our illnesses comes from the lack of certain substances, chemicals or enzymes just to name a few possibilities but the list could go on. They are called so many different things but they all have one thing in common and that’s being essential to our day to day bodily functions. In this writing we will look into possible symptoms of GABA deficiency.
GABA or Gamma aminobutyric Acid
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an essential neurotransmitter in the body. Its main function is as an inhibitor which mainly focuses on regulating neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system and another function that this chemical has it to aid in the regulation of muscle tone in human beings. In terms of its chemical makeup it is essentially an amino acid however it is very seldom to be called that in the scientific community.
The reason mainly for this is because it is not an alpha amino acid and is never incorporated with a protein which what the term amino acid is commonly reserved for in the medical science world. GABA, to keep things simple is mainly essential to the nervous system and brain health. It is responsible for the maintenance of our nervous system functions and some parts of the brain by allowing the nerves to complete the processes needed to get all the necessary chemicals to keep nerve functions healthy.
GABA Deficiency and Symptoms
As a neurotransmitter it has the ability to influence relaxation and aid in preventing anxiety when GABA levels are too low in the body there are a variety of unwanted effects that can happen. The reasons for GABA being too low in the body can possibly be two things, it can either be genetic or acquired reasons. Just to name some specific possible factors in GABA levels being low are chronic stress and chronic pain. Furthermore, inadequate sleep, caffeine excess, excessive electromagnetic radiation and progesterone deficiency may also further initiate the lowering of GABA levels in the body. With GABA being an essential neurotransmitter the first symptom that may arise with a lack of this brain chemical in the body is expectedly anxiety and depression.
Many studies have shown individuals that suffer from some form of anxiety and depression commonly has low levels of GABA in their body and it has also confirmed that when subjects are supplemented with this brain chemical in an attempt to raise levels in the body they are alleviated of the incidence of depression and anxiety. Feeling panicky, nervous and having a low tolerance for stress are also possible symptoms and also have been shown in researches to be alleviated through GABA supplementation. The most common medication for people suffering from these symptoms is valium and as most of us know, even for those who haven’t used it, it has nasty side effects and one of them is addiction to it however more natural means of supplementing with GABA will be able to give the same desired improvements but with lesser side effects.
Reduce Inflammation, Nasal Drip, And Respiratory Infection With Natural Andrographis
August 11, 2011 01:02 PM
Can Andrographis Help Improve Respiratory Health?
Andrographis is an herb noted for its health effects on the respiratory tract. It has been recognized as an effective treatment for the common cold in several countries all over the world, though it is most popular in China and India. Practitioners of natural remedies have ascribed a number of medicinal properties to andrographolide, which is the major phytochemical constituent of this herbaceous plant.
Andrographis paniculata is a plant species that belongs to the family of plants native to the tropical regions of the Old World. It is found in large concentrations in Southern Asia, but it is also cultivated in the Americas. It grows up to 40 inches in height. It prefers shady places that retain a fair amount of moisture, but survives in open spaces, such as hills, farms, roadsides, wastelands, and even coastlines.
Alleviates Nasal Secretions
Rhinitis is a medical term that refers to the irritation of the nasal cavity. Otherwise known as stuffy nose, it often leads to uncontrolled nasal dripping. Excessive release of mucus characteristic of a congested nose or runny nose stems from the irritation caused by infections, or allergens in the case of allergic rhinitis. It is one of the most visible symptoms of hay fever and cold infections.
Andrographis has been utilized as an all natural remedy for excessive nasal secretions for centuries. In particular, it is an essential ingredient in herbal preparations associated with Ayurvedic Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Recent studies have shown that it produces a drying effect on the nose of participants suffering from colds after they took extracts of the plants in less than a week’s time.
Inhibits Inflammatory Mediators
Nasal dripping is tied to inflammatory responses in the employ of the immune system. Pathogenic microbes, such as viruses, bacteria, or even allergens, trigger immune responses that make use of endogenous chemicals known as inflammatory mediators. The process of inflammation attempts to contain infection, alerting immune cells. Production of mucus increases in the process.
The bitter taste of andrographis has been attributed to an organic compound called andrographolide, which is a natural diterpenoid now under investigation due to its pharmacological activity in vitro. It has been reported to exhibit anti-inflammatory action that even works as an antipyretic. It suppresses mediators of inflammation in the respiratory tract and allays fever tied to flu.
Combats Respiratory Infections
Modern herbalists have dubbed andrographis an immune booster. Indeed laboratory studies have documented that the organic compounds found in this plant prompt immune responses and modulate the disease fighting capacity of immune cells. Due to promising results of preliminary studies, it has often been linked to the amelioration of infections of the upper respiratory tract.
Andrographis is now becoming increasingly popular as an alternative treatment for sinusitis, cough, colds, and even flu. While it has been in use throughout the centuries, its efficacy remains under scrutiny. On the other hand, it is generally considered safe, and no side effects have been noted so far.
Grab some andrographis today and feel the difference!
Control Cholesterol, Loose Weight, Regulate Blood Sugar, And More With Inositol
June 02, 2011 12:10 PM
What Does the B Vitamin Inositol Do for the Body?
Inositol is an organic compound that functions within the human body in the same way as nutrients. Its vitamin-like activities are believed to be similar to other B vitamins. It plays an important role in the upkeep of cells, breakdown of fats, effects of insulin, activities of serotonin, and regulation of cholesterol, among others. It is usually obtained from plant-based food products that contain lecithin.
Myo-inositol is the form most widespread in nature. It is also the form most active within the body as it has been associated with many physiological functions. It is no longer classified as an essential nutrient in that our body is capable of synthesizing it in adequate amounts. That being said, its vitamin-like activities and desirable health benefits have contributed to its popularity as a supplement.
Reduces Cholesterol Levels
One of the biological roles of inositol is to help regulate cholesterol levels in the systemic circulation. This nutrient even reduces overall lipid levels. It limits the conversion of very-low-density lipoproteins to low-density lipoproteins, or bad cholesterol. In addition, it promotes the releases of high-density lipoproteins, or good cholesterol, which contains lower amounts of lipids. By so doing, it lowers free fatty acids and other lipids in the blood and protects the blood vessels from lipid peroxidation.
Modulates Serotonin Activities
Inositol is directly involved in the activities of what we refer to as the happiness hormone, which is the neurotransmitter serotonin. In fact, this nutrient has very visible impact on the effects of serotonin on mood, appetite, sleep, and muscle contraction. Healthy levels of inositol increases the overall tolerance of the human body to risk factors and creates a general feeling of physical well being.
Induces Weight Loss
Fat metabolism relies on the presence of inositol, the reason why this B-vitamin-like compound is commercially touted to aid weight loss. Inositol participates in the chemical reactions that lead to the breakdown of fats. Consumptions of foods rich in inositol have shown to increase effective utilization of fat reserves found in adipose tissues, such as the unwanted subcutaneous body fat. Proponents of supplementation believe that inositol induces breakdown of fats even while sleeping.
Regulates Blood Sugar
The hormone insulin is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels throughout the day. It sends signals to individual cells that promote the uptake of glucose from the blood. Glucose is of course what fuels cellular activities, and thus contributes to the metabolism of compounds utilized by cells. Inositol enables insulin to initiate signal transduction and communicate effectively with cells in the process.
Improves Mental Disorders
Inositol has long been linked to the improvement of mental disorders. It has been observed that individuals diagnosed with clinical depression have low levels of inositol in their cerebrospinal fluid. Supplementation appears to rebalance brain chemicals, enhance mood, and improve mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, major depression, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Improve Your Health with Inositol.
Grab some inositol today and improve your cardiovascular health naturally!
How Does Taurine Help the Brain?
May 13, 2011 01:09 PM
Taurine is an amino acid often added to energy drinks. There have been several theories on how taurine affects brain chemicals and improve cognitive function. For many years, it has been compared to caffeine due to its effects on the human brain that appear to enhance mood. Its exact mechanisms of action remain a mystery to the scientific community, but recent studies are believed to be closing in.
It has long been known that taurine crosses the blood brain barrier, allowing it to exert some effects on several neurotransmitters found in the central nervous system. It has been tied to the alleviation of many mental illnesses, such as epilepsy, post traumatic stress disorder, clinical depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety, making it the subject of a number of studies in the past few years.
Rebalances Brain Chemicals
It has been postulated that taurine influences the activities of neurotransmitters in the brain, but only recently has brain scientists been able to actually track its activities in the brain. A team of researchers at Cornell University managed to find a site for the neurological activity of taurine, with initial results pointing to its relationship with gamma the neurotransmitter aminobutyric acid, or GABA. The researchers do not discount the possibility that taurine may even have a receptor of its own.
Whether taurine interacts with brain chemicals is no longer debatable as it creates homeostasis in the central nervous system. It acts on receptors that the researchers discovered to be the same receptors present in GABAergic mechanisms. That being said, scientists remain inconclusive as to how its interaction with GABA receptors provides energy-boosting benefits as it is marketed in the food and drug industries.
Prevents Neuron Damage
The scientific community is convinced that taurine has neuroprotective properties. High levels of taurine in the brain have been observed to protect brain tissues from cerebral ischemia. Taurine has been linked to many metabolic pathways that are known to promote neurological health, such as the activation of glycine receptors and the regulation of enzymes called cysteine-dependent aspartate-directed proteases.
In addition, taurine serves as antioxidants that protect nerve cells from cellular damage brought on by oxidative stress. The presence of taurine within cells reduces damage from calcium excesses and increases mitochondrial events. For decades, supplementation of taurine has benefited sufferers of brain ischemia, epileptic seizures, panic attacks, anxiety symptoms, and even alcohol withdrawal.
Enhances Cognitive Function
Taurine has already been associated with physiological functions the hypothalamus controls, such as sleep-wake cycle and responses to fatigue. In several laboratory studies, administrations of taurine by way of intraperitoneal injection have successfully induced social interaction in animal subjects. It is one of the amino acids that affect cognitive development, especially in children. While it is one of the most abundant amino acids in the brain, it is depleted as we age, making supplementation a good option.
Protect your brain with Taurine by taking it daily!
Boost Brain Chemistry, Lower Bad Cholesterol, And More
May 12, 2011 01:27 PM
What is Inositol Good for?
Inositol is an organic compound present in many plant-based foods. Popular nutritional sources of inositol include brown rice, wheat bran, whole grains, beans, nuts, and other foods rich in fiber. It is a polyphosphorylated carbohydrate that was once classified as an essential nutrient together with B-complex group of vitamins. It is an important component of signal transduction of cells, amplifying the strength of signals from the receptors on the cell surface to target molecules within the cytoplasm.
Cancer research on inositol is one of the most publicized. Fruits and vegetables that are known for their high fiber content also contain large amounts of inositol, which is believed to prevent the inactivation of DNA repair gene and protect the cells from mutation that lead to carcinogenesis. In laboratory studies it has shown great medicinal potential as a therapeutic remedy for various cancers. In addition, it has been extensively utilized in the treatment of psychiatric disorders.
Rebalances Brain Chemicals
Supplementation of high dose inositol has been observed to be beneficial to sufferers of mental illnesses. There have been numerous clinical trials focused on its effects on the chemical compounds found in the central nervous system, and early studies recorded that its mechanisms of action are similar to a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.
A growing body of scientific literature is devoted to its purported role in the amelioration of anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, clinical depression, and bipolar disorder. It has been favored over some SSRIs because of its desirable results and absence of side effects. It has particularly benefited individuals diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, with testimonies being largely positive. Also, it has been reported to also reduce frequency of panic attacks.
Lowers Bad Cholesterol
High-fiber diet has always been recommended to manage high cholesterol levels. It emphasizes the intake of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. The same group of foods is rich in the carbohydrate inositol. In the latter half of the 20th century, it was discovered that inositol in fact contributes to the breakdown of fatty molecules, such as triglycerides, in the gastrointestinal tract and interferes with their absorption. More importantly, regular consumptions of inositol appear to reduce overall lipid levels in the blood. It is postulated that it blocks the metabolic pathway that integrates triglycerides in very-low-density lipoproteins, the immediate precursors of low-density lipoproteins, also known as bad cholesterol. By so doing, it not only lowers cholesterol and free fatty acids found in systemic circulation but also prevents cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis.
Many nutraceutical products that contain inositol are commercially touted to aid weight loss. Inositol has also been associated with the alleviation of digestive problems, most notably constipation. It is believed to soften the stool by attracting water as it works its way into the alimentary canal, and regular intake promotes regularity. Furthermore, it has been linked to hair growth as low levels of inositol have often been tied to hair loss.
Taking a inositol supplement can help you obtain all the inositol you need for your daily needs!
Fight Anxiety Disorders Naturally
December 14, 2010 04:27 PM
Do you suffer from an Anxiety Disorder?
Before considering how to test for anxiety disorders and discussing natural supplements that can help we should first discuss what anxiety disorders are - what the term means and if there are degrees of anxiety disorders as there are of depression and stress. First, what is anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural reaction to stress and it is anxiety that makes you worry about the consequences of not studying for an exam - so you study. It focuses you on problems so that you will be more likely to solve them, and helps you to perform better whatever you are doing. However, it can get out of hand and these positive mental processes become negative anxiety disorders.
With some people, anxiety becomes a dread of situations that were once everyday occurrences and can make your life a misery. Here are some forms of anxiety disorder.
Typical Anxiety Disorders
General Anxiety Disorder
Its symptoms include excessive sweating, worry, headaches, irritability, difficulty in sleeping, tiredness and tension in your muscles. It can lead to substance abuse and deep depression if left untreated.
These are three typical forms of anxiety, but how do you test for anxieties? Here are some tests that are used, beginning with the easiest - doing it yourself!
Testing for Anxiety Disorders
Many that believe they may have an anxiety disorder either tend to panic or go into a depression. It is far better to carry out a self-test. This anxiety test is very simple: simply tick which of the symptoms below you have experienced in the past six months:
I can't relax
I am always worried about something.
I get headaches for no apparent reason
I frequently sweat a lot and get hot flashes
I have no time for anybody and am easily annoyed
I find it hard to sleep and I often wake up during the night
My attention keeps wandering and I can't focus on anything
I sometimes get so worried I want to be sick or have a lump in my throat
If you have ticked more than three then perhaps you should pay your doctor a visit, or try some of the recommendations below.
b) Doctors' Tests
If you feel you might be suffering some form of anxiety disorder you should consult your doctor, particularly if you have tried the self test above and it indicates that you might be. Your doctor might carry out various tests for your general health, and if it is felt necessary you may be asked about your family history: is there any history of mental problems in the family, particularly with your mother or father.
Other questions may appertain to your own physical and mental background, such as have you been stressed for any reason lately, have you suffered anxiety or panic attacks in the past and what is your normal use of prescription and non-prescription medications and drugs. Do you smoke, drink or take any social drugs.
It is important that you are totally honest: the doctor is not judging you, simply trying to find the cause of your problem. Under the terms of their oath they cannot divulge anything you tell them to anyone else, so be honest and let them help you. Among the tests you will be given will be to declare all your history of anxiety-related symptoms. To achieve that, you will be asked a series of questions while the doctor assesses your mental condition.
Finally, you may be referred to a psychiatrist who will be able to help you more than your doctor. Psychiatrists have a good record in resolving anxiety disorders, but once you are diagnosed positively, what then? Chemical drugs? Or perhaps you would prefer something more natural such as herbal remedies.
Herbal Remedies for Anxiety
There are a number of herbs that can be used to treat anxiety disorders. Here are the more commonly used of these:
Passion flower contains the active substances maltol and ethylmaltol that your body's biochemistry uses to increase the concentration of GABA (gamma-butyric acid) in your brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that calms you and helps you to relax and forget anything that is making you anxious. It relieves muscle tension, can lower your blood pressure and some equate its effect to that of Valium: although it is totally different chemically it is similar in its effect. It offers a sedative effect and helps you sleep.
Kava Kava root
Kava kava. Generally just referred to as kava, comes from the Pacific and the kavalactones it contains increase the concentration of neurotransmitters in your vascular system, particularly serotonin, the feel-good substance. Its sedative effects have been likened to that of alcohol, and it can certainly give you a lift and certainly helps you worry less as it reduces the negative symptoms of stress and depression.
St. John's Wort
St. John's wort is a well-known anti-depressant and it can also help reduce the symptom of anxiety. The hyperforin the plant contains helps to improve the brain's content of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine that make you feel good, and St. John's wort certainly washes away your anxiety. Not only that, but the napththodianthrone in another of its important components, hypericin, promotes a reduction in depression through the inhibition of monoamine oxidase, a pro-depressive enzyme.
An extract of valerian root can help you to relax and sleep well, and this can often be enough to prevent your anxiety attacks. A lot depends on their cause, but if the attacks are mild and don't require extensive medical or psychiatric intervention, then valerian can help, particularly in treating stress-related anxiety. Make sure you stick to the recommended dose because valerian can be dangerous if taken to excess.
The four herbal remedies above should between them be all you need to treat your anxiety. One major problem is that, just like any chemical drugs, they only treat the symptoms and not the underlying cause which is something you and your physician will have to work on yourselves.
However, until then, the above herbal remedies for anxiety disorders are generally safer to use than prescription drugs and each has a well proven effect, both on the symptoms of anxiety and on depression.
Natural Anxiety Remedies
November 11, 2010 05:44 PM
Anxiety disorder is a much more common problem than what was once thought. It often affects people in their teenage years through middle age and later. Anxiety disorder appears to affect twice as many women as men. However, there may not be that wide of a disparity between the sexes. Psychologists simply believe that men are far less prone to report or even acknowledge that they have a problem of this nature. Anxiety disorders can either be acute or chronic. Acute anxiety disorder manifests itself in episodes that are commonly known as panic attacks. A panic attack occurs when the body’s natural “fight or flight” reaction occurs at the wrong time. This is a complex response in which the body prepares itself to deal with an emergency situation. Stress can often cause the body to produce more adrenal hormones, especially adrenaline. The increased production of adrenaline causes the body to step up its metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to quickly produce energy for the body to use. Additionally, the muscles tense up and the heartbeat and breathing become more rapid.
When faced with an assault, accident, or a natural disaster, this type of reaction is perfectly normal. However, the symptoms that are caused by the surge in adrenaline can be distressing and frightening when they occur at the wrong time. A person having a panic attack is often overwhelmed by a sense of impending disaster or death, which makes it impossible to think clearly. Other feelings that can accompany a panic attack include shortness of breath, a smothering, claustrophobic sensation, heart palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, hot flashes or chills, trembling, numbness or tingling sensations in the extremities, sweating, nausea, a feeling of unreality, and a distorted perception of the passage of time. This disorder can eventually have other cumulative effects such as generalized aches and pains, muscular twitching and stiffness, depression, insomnia, nightmares and early waking, decreased libido, and abnormal feelings of tension with an accompanying inability to relax.
panic attacks are usually abrupt and intense, occurring at any time of the day or night, and lasting from several seconds up to half an hour. To the panic sufferer, it often feels as though they are much longer. A person having a panic attack sometimes believes that he or she is experiencing a heart attack or stroke. The attacks themselves are very unpredictable, with some people experiencing one every few weeks, and others having several each day. panic attacks are often triggered by stress or certain emotions, but they can also be a response to certain foods, drugs, or illness.
Many people with acute anxiety disorder become afraid of being alone and visiting public places because they fear having a panic attack. This only adds to the level of anxiety and leads to abnormally restricted lives. Psychologists often believe that at least in some cases, panic attacks are self-induced, meaning that the fear of the panic attack is the very thing that brings it on. The following nutrients are recommended for dealing with anxiety disorders: calcium, magnesium, B1, B12, multivitamin and mineral complex, SAMe, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, chromium picolinate, DLPA, L-glutamine, coenzyme A, essential fatty acids, GABA, melatonin, bilberry, ginkgo biloba, milk thistle, catnip, chamomile, cramp bark, kava kava, hops, linden flower, motherwort, passionflower, skullcap, fennel, lemon balm, willow bark, feverfew, St. John’s wort, skullcap, valerian root, and mandarin oil.
Natural vitamins and herbs can be found at VitaNet ®, LLC Vitamin Store.
Myth: Agave Nectar is adulterated or mixed with HFCS.
April 08, 2010 04:08 PM
There are two methods of making the Agave Nectar from the juice of the plant. One uses a non-GMO enzyme and the second is via thermal hydrolysis. Both process achieve the same goal which is to separate the naturally occurring Fructans which are complex sugar molecules into their simple sugar components fructose and glucose.
Unlike the process of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), which creates fructose out of the glucose from the starch found in milled Corn, Agave Nectar simply separates Fructans or Inulin, a complex naturally occurring sugar into Fructose and Glucose.
Our producers do not use any sort of chemicals in the process and no foreign material is being added such as HFCS. Filtration and evaporation of excess moisture are the rest of the process. The evaporation is done in a vacuum evaporator.
No research has pointed that Blue Agave contains Anodin and Dinordin, the steroid derivatives with contraceptive effects that could lead to a miscarriage. This is clearly a cruel scare tactic. The truth is that there are many types of saponins and they are in a lot of foods we eat. Most beans and legumes, soya beans, onions, paprika, alfalfa - these all contain various saponins. Saponins are phytosterol compounds that occur naturally in some plants. Saponins have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, along with anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating properties.
From the prehispanic times, the only sweet treat available to Indians in Mexico was the cooked leaves of the agave plant. They are still in markets all over Mexico. If there would be any kind of dangerous substance, this would be the absolute extreme case of exposure to it; not a single case of any problem has ever been reported, this goes back over 700 years.
Agave Nectar in its present form has been sold for over 12 years all over the world, including western Europe, Japan and the U.S.. The product has a proven record of safety and is deemed safe by the FDA and all regulatory bodies all over the world and there has never been a report of agave nectar linked to a miscarriage.
Madhava's Agave Nectar does not contain corn syrup, corn products, or any adulteration of any sort. Guaranteed. Our Agave Nectar is 100% pure from the agave plant with no additives whatsoever.
We package our agave nectar at our facility in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies. Madhava's Quality Control representatives routinely visit and inspect all our suppliers’ facilities in Mexico. The suppliers are Organically Certified and 3rd party audited or currently in the process. In addition our facility in Colorado is USDA Organic Certified and we are routinely audited.
Fight Hypoglycemia With Fiber
July 17, 2009 03:46 PM
Symptoms of hypoglycemia can be very subtle and difficult to recognize. Many people with hypoglycemia have become so used to their symptoms that often, they don’t even recognize their own abnormality. This is especially true when it comes to behavioral changes.
There is a whole variety of symptoms that can be caused when the body cells are deprived of sugar or when blood sugar drops too quickly. The most common symptom of hypoglycemia is fatigue. When referring to fatigue, the normal kind of fatigue that occurs after hard work or exercise is not what is being discussed. Hypoglycemic fatigue affects the muscles and nerves and usually can’t be relieved with rest or sleep. The brain is extremely dependent on glucose for its energy source. Once blood sugar levels have dropped, hormones kick into action. The release of adrenaline can cause sweating, tremors, hunger, and weakness. It should also be kept in mind that if your blood sugar levels drop at a more gradual pace, the patient may not even recognize the symptoms as those of hypoglycemia. Those experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia may feel dizzy, confused, clouded, and emotionally unstable without any visible tremors. Symptoms such as anxiety or panic attacks can become a part of hypoglycemic mood swings.
Other mental symptoms of hypoglycemia include melancholy, irritability, hostility, confusion, and paranoia.
Along with the above, there are many other symptoms that can result from hypoglycemia. These symptoms include amnesia, anxiety, antisocial behavior, breathing difficulties, confusion, constant worry, crying jags, depression, digestive disorders, drowsiness, emotional instability, exhaustion, headaches, heart palpitations, impatience, inability to cope, insomnia, intense hunger, internal trembling, irritability, lack of concentration, nervousness, dizziness, seizures, severe sweating, fainting, tingling, and tremors.
Nocturnal hypoglycemia is when blood sugar levels are low at night time, causing insomnia. Eating a whole grain snack or small piece of cheese 30 minutes before going to bed can help to reduce occurrences of this scenario.
There are, unfortunately, hundreds of people that struggle with low-blood sugar symptoms and are unaware as to why. By simply switching for a diet that is high in refined carbohydrates to one that is comprised of protein and complex carbohydrates, one can bridge the gap between a dysfunctional life and a rich one. In order to determine whether you have hypoglycemia, you must first examine your eating habits. Simple facts like what and when you eat can directly affect how you feel. Anyone who has unexplained fatigue, depression, crying spells, anxiety, or apprehension should investigate low blood sugar levels as a potential culprit. You should also look into your family history, as hypoglycemia tends to run within families.
Those people who are chronically stressed and often find themselves on a roller coaster of blood sugar going up and down are especially prone to dips in energy at certain times of the day. These people have adrenals that are not functioning optimally, causing them to want sugar when they hit a real low point. Usually, in the mid-afternoon, adrenal glands are at their lowest level of functioning. If you do, in fact, suffer from hypoglycemia, you will feel good right after you eat and then your mood and physical status will deteriorate from two to six hours after eating.
Keeping your glucose levels stable is important to maintaining good health. Snacking on complex carbohydrate foods can help regulate the amount of sugar that is released into your blood system. Consuming large quantities of fiber can also slow down the absorption of sugar in the digestive tract and level out blood sugar.
Look for great advice and fiber supplements at your local or internet health food store. When purchasing products, always buy name brands to ensure quality and purity of the supplements you buy. Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Lycopene is 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.
Huperzine And Memory
December 04, 2008 01:20 PM
Chinese club moss goes by the name Huperzia serrata, and gives its name to the sesquiterpene alkaloid it contains: huperzine A. This alkaloid has been found to be a superstar in the arena of brain-saving treatments for conditions such as Alzheimer's and age-related senility. Studies in China have found up to 60% improvements in the cognitive functions of such patients, and its potential has been recorded in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This is no mere folk remedy, and is the subject of serious study.
Known as Qian Ceng Ta, Chinese club moss has been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries for the treatment of fever and inflammation, which is not surprising considering that most plants contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. However, what is unusual is the fact that it has also been found effective in treating some forms of dementia and depression, and also helps to reduce the incidence of panic attacks in those susceptible to them.
Not only that, but the plant has been found to possess diuretic properties, and a reduction in the swelling associated with water retention could also help to reduce the pain and other effects of swelling and inflammation. However, for now it is its effect on the brain that we are concerned, and research has indicated the likely mechanism by which huperzine A works.
Huperzine is an enzyme inhibitor - specifically inhibiting the enzyme acetylcholinesterase that breaks down acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in the processes of memory, learning and mood. Outside the brain, it is involved in the movement of skeletal muscle tissue as well as in the regulation of cardiac and other smooth muscles such as those of the blood vessels.
When acetylcholinesterase (AChE) attacks acetylcholine (ACh), the latter attaches to a chemical site on the enzyme where it is then destroyed. It is a deliberate function of the body, designed to terminate a synaptic transmission. The purpose of a neurotransmitter is to allow the transmission of an electrical impulse form one nerve cell to another over a gap between them known as a synapse. Once the transmission has been completed, the enzyme can destroy the neurotransmitter, and then another takes its place. In fact one molecule of AChE can destroy around 5,000 molecules of ACh.
However, with age and for other reasons, these neurotransmitters can become depleted so that it becomes increasingly more difficult for brain cells to communicate with each other, and their destruction becomes undesirable. There are drugs available to help prevent this happening (e.g. donepezil, galantamine and tacrine), and so help to improve the memory and mental function of people as they grow older or contract conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.
Huperzine A has been found to take up the site in the acetylcholinesterase molecule that would normally have been used by the acetylcholine, and so save it from destruction. The more Huperzine A molecules present, the more acetylcholine available to pass messages between brain cells, and the stronger the cognitive function of the subject or patient. The pharmaceutical drugs mentioned in the previous paragraph work in exactly the same way.
This is a very specific reaction, one molecule adopting exactly the same space as the other, and has been proved scientifically by comparing the physical shapes of the two molecules. It's just like a jigsaw puzzle, where only one piece can fit into each position. Except here there are two: Huperzine A and acetylcholine both fit into the exact same place in the chemical structure of the acetylcholinesterase molecule.
The biochemistry of the reactions involved is very complex, and shall not be discussed here, but the upshot is that Huperzine A can do exactly the same job as modern drugs to avoid this hydroxylation of the ACh needed for the proper functioning of your brain.
In fact, clinical trials have indicated Huperzine A not only to be comparable in effect to the drugs current used, but also likely safer with respect to the possible side effects. This has still to be confirmed, but the National Institute on Aging is currently carrying out a trial to evaluate this claim in tandem with its effect on Alzheimer's disease. It has also been examined at Harvard University for its effect on epilepsy on patients with whom alternative pharmaceutical treatments have been unsuccessful.
Another suggested benefit of Huperzine A is that it is an NMDA (N-methyl D-aspartate) receptor antagonist that provides protection against damage to the brain by an excess of glutamates, and that it can also help to protect nerve cells from damage. Since NDMA is responsible for the transmission of some types of pain, the antagonist can also act as an analgesic.
There are other benefits that Chinese club moss can provide, and myasthenia gravis is one of them. Although relatively rare, this is a serious condition in which acetylcholine receptors are deactivated on muscle cells. This is achieved through the autoimmune system malfunctioning and creating antibodies against the receptors, and the end result is paralysis and respiratory failure.
Huperzine A reduces the AChE available and so might possibly enable the acetylcholine to work more effectively and delay or even stop the deterioration of muscle function. When people hear of muscle paralysis they frequently forget that breathing requires muscle function, as indeed does your heartbeat. This is currently surmise, and studies are being carried out to determine whether or not this usage of Huperzine A is viable.
Another promising application of Chinese club moss extract is in preventing organophosphate poisoning. These pesticides permanently suppress acetylcholine. This results in seizures due to a lack of interruption of the signals from nerves to muscles. The seizures can result in rapid death from uncontrollable seizures, or from permanent contraction of the diaphragm muscle that allows breathing. Although no human studies have yet been carried out, animals given Huperzine A prior to organophosphate exposure have survived without seizures.
There are no doubts that Chinese club moss and the Huperzine A extracted from it are effective in preventing the suppression of acetylcholine, and in permitting the proper activity of this important neurotransmitter. It is finding an increasing number of potential uses beneficial to the human body, not the least of which would be a partial remedy for some of the effects of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
May 30, 2008 02:43 PM
You're ready to leave the house, you're already running late and you can't remember where you put the keys. You try retracing your steps, check all of your coat pockets and start to panic. You can't remember where you put them or where you last saw them. Does this sound familiar? Do you have trouble focusing clearly? Our thinking process slows as we age. It is as if a cloud lingers over our brains, making it impossible to think clearly.
Improve Your Mind with Bacopa Extract
There is help for people who can't learn or think as fast as they once could. An all-natural product, bacopa extract, has been used for thousands of years as a "brain tonic" in India. It has been used to enhance memory, learning and concentration. This aquatic plant has strong antioxidant powers. It helps people retain new information by stimulating the brain's neurotransmitters.
Bacopa extract can be used for:
* Relieving anxiety
It also has antispasmodic and anti-allergic properties.
Clinical Study Proves Benefits of Bacopa Extract
A study reported in the August 2002 issue of Neuropsychopharmocolgy, "Chronic Effects of Brahmi (Bacopa) on Human Memory," stated positive results. The study found that "Brahmi decreased the rate of forgetting of newly acquired information."
This means you can learn faster and think more clearly when taking a bacopa extract. Consider, for example, a situation in which you are meeting people for the first time and being introduced to them by name. Will you be able to remember any of their names when you see them across the room in 10 minutes? How about if you run into them a few weeks later?
What if you couldn't remember their name, or worse, called them by the wrong name? That doesn't send a very good first impression. Or maybe you have been on the receiving end of this and have been repeatedly called the wrong name by someone. You know how irritating it can be. Bacopa extract can help in this type of situation. Taken daily over an extended period of time, you will see a difference in the amount of information you can retain. You won't have to struggle so much to recall where you left your keys or the name of the person you just met.
Studies have shown that bacopa extract is effective for mental acuity. It helps by smoothing neurotransmitters and relaxing the brain. It has no known side effects and is deemed safe for children, as well.
Pair Bacopa Extract with a Healthy Lifestyle for Best Results
As with any natural supplement, bacopa will not improve your mental health unless it is accompanies by healthy lifestyle choices. Make sure you get the proper rest your body needs, daily exercise and good nutrition. Furthermore, it is important to exercise your brain. Find ways to challenge your mental alertness on a daily basis. Combine this with a daily dose of bacopa extract and you will see improvement in the clarity of your thinking.
Lipid content by percentage
May 13, 2008 04:54 PM
Phosphatidylcholine (PC) 68% Assists in the introduction of DHA into the or Marine Lecithin heart muscle. Protects the mitochondria from oxidative damage, decreasing the impact of auditory and visual aging.
Phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) 11% Combined with PC, helps in the building of the myelin sheath.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) 9% The most widespread of all membrane PLs, protects from ischemic attacks (stroke) or age-related dementias.
Phosphatidylinositol (PI) 5% Acts on the regulation of cellular calcium. Has shown its effectiveness on obsessive compulsive disorders, panic attacks, depression, manic depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
Sphingomyelin (Sph) 5% Its pro-apoptotic activity decreases the risks of coronary hear t disease and cancer of the bowel (colon). Decreases parietal cell toxicity of bile salts. Sphingolipids are mostly present in the myelin sheathes.
Selecting the Right Probiotic is the Key to proper digestion
May 05, 2007 01:16 PM
Selecting the Right Probiotic is the Key
Do you ever think about what goes into your body each day? You should. One of the key to feeling good and being healthy s eating nutritious food and making sure our gastrointestinal (GI) tract has the tools it needs to optimally digest and absorb nutrients. The GI tract includes the stomach and intestines, which work to digest foods and eliminate waste.
A variety of “good” intestinal bacteria helps to keep the digestive system running. These “good” bacteria are called probiotic bacteria, or probiotics. Probiotics digest food, process waste, and keep the “bad” bacteria – which have the potential to cause disease and illness – in check.
This issue of Ask the Doctor will look at the probiotic bacteria that play an important role in maintaining our health and wellness: we need them, what they can do for us, and how to make sure we are getting enough. Also, we will talk about an exciting process that truly delivers probiotic bacteria taken in nutritional supplements. Encapsulated in a pearl-like sphere, they survive transport to the intestines, set up house, and exert their beneficial effects. As we will see, probiotic supplementation can help prevent and treat many different illnesses, unless the beneficial bacteria reach the intestines alive and active, the supplement is worthless.
Q. I thought bacteria were bad. How can bacteria be good for us?
A. Some kinds of bacteria do cause illnesses and disease in humans. “Strep” throat is an example of an illness caused by bacteria.
However, the majority of bacteria do not cause disease. In fact, there are types of bacteria that are actually beneficial. “Good” bacteria, known as probiotic bacteria, are used in the manufacturing of food and beverages. Some examples of foods that have probiotic food ingredients are buttermilk, yogurt, cheese, sausage, and acidophilus milk.
These same kinds of probiotic bacteria are present in our intestines and help to keep the digestive system running by digesting food and processing waste.
Q. What are probiotics?
A. Probiotics are live bacteria that are non-toxic and do not cause disease (non-pathogenic).
Some of the best-understood probiotic bacteria include members of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium groups. Because of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium’s ability to break down lactose, these probiotic bacteria are also known as lactic acid bacteria. Both of these types of probiotic bacteria are well studied and are available in both food and dietary supplements.
Q. Is there a difference between the probiotic bacteria that is found in yogurt, and in nutritional supplements?
A. Actually, the bacteria that are in yogurt, our intestine, and most natural supplements are the same types of probiotic bacteria, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria longum. Because of this, these bacteria are referred in a generic sense as probiotics. So, the term probiotics may refer to the “good” bacteria that are present in food or that live in our intestine, or that are part of a natural supplement.
Q. Where do these probiotic bacteria come from?
A. As recently as the middle of the last century, bacteria found naturally in food ingredients were used to make a fermented food product. For example, the example, the lactic acid bacteria found naturally in milk were used to make cheese. This was known as wild fermentation.
Wild fermentations are no longer used. Today, the probiotic bacteria used in food and natural supplements are harvested via a highly controlled fermentation process. This process results in high numbers of bacteria and ensures quality and purity of the bacteria.
A. Normal microflora (the term commonly used for intestinal bacteria) is associated with good health. An imbalance in this natural microflora (when the beneficial probiotics are outnumbered by the harmful bacteria) is frequently associated with various disease states such as yeast infections and colon cancer.
Eating foods or taking a nutritional supplement containing probiotic bacteria can help support and modify the composition of the large intestine microflora. Microflora of the large intestine assist digestion through fermentation (by making the intestines more inhospitable to invading bacteria species), protection against disease-causing bacteria, and stimulation of the immune system.
The probiotics, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, occupy a central role in the intestinal and provide health benefits.
Q. How do probiotic bacteria help with digestion?
A. Lactose is an important sugar that is converted to lactic acid by lactic acid bacteria. Lactose intolerance results from an inability to digest lactose, due to the failure of small intestine mucosal cells to produce lactase, an enzyme needed to digest lactose. This often results because of genetics, gastrointestinal disease, or because of the decline in the amount of intestinal lactase levels associated with aging. Lactase deficient people accumulate non-absorbed lactose in the gastrointestinal tract, which draws water and electrolytes into the gut and speeds waste through the intestines, leading to bloating, cramping, and diarrhea.
Approximately 50 million people in the
Lactic acid bacteria have been shown to help the breakdown of lactose, specifically by enhancing the activity of lactase (beta galactosidase), which improves lactose digestion and tolerance. Furthermore, in a randomized, controlled clinical trial, Bifidobacteria longum was shown to assist in the breakdown of lactose and relieve the symptoms of lactose intolerance (flatulence) in people with lactose intolerance.
Q. What is the difference between digestive enzymes and probiotics? Can they be taken together?
A. Digestive enzymes, such as protease, amalyse, and lipase, act upon food, breaking it down into simpler components that can be used by the body for energy. Without enzymes, digestion could not take place. Therefore, the food that we eat could not be absorbed and utilized by our bodies.
Probiotics help the enzymes to digest food and process waste. In essence, probiotic bacteria and enzymes work together to ensure that the digestive tract is running smoothly. When taken together, enzymes assure greater levels of digestion absorption of your food, and probiotic bacteria aid the enzymes in digestion and keep problems in check.
Q. Is helping to ensure a healthy digestive system the only use for probiotics?
A. Absolutely not! Probiotic bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, have been found to help prevent vaginal yeast infections in women that suffer from these reoccurring infections.
Approximately 35% of vaginal infections are caused by the yeast. Candida albicans, Candida, is a fungus that is a component of the normal gastrointestinal microflora. However, Candida must not be allowed to increase in numbers. An overgrowth is associated with adverse health effects like vaginal infections, oral thrush, or even serious systematic yeast infections. Probiotics have been shown to keep levels of Candida in check.
Probiotic bacteria have also been demonstrated to have anti-cancer properties. In baa clinical study, colon cancer patients given Lactobacillus acidophilus fermented milk showed a significant increase in numbers of intestinal Lactobacilli and a decrease in risk factors associated with colon cancer.
Patients suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can benefit from probiotic bacteria supplementation. Studies have shown that probiotic bacteria assist in maintaining remission in ulcerative colitis and preventing reoccurrence of Crohn’s disease. Manipulating the intestinal flora may prove to be more effective and better tolerated than the drugs that are conventionally given to treat these diseases. I one study, Lactobacillus acidophilus was found to improve the intestinal barrier and clinical status in children suffering from Crohn’s disease.
Probiotics supplementation can also improve and prevent skin disease, such as eczema. Studies have shown that probiotic bacteria can actually control inflammation associated with skin conditions. In one study, infants with eczema who were given probiotic-supplemented formulas showed a significant improvement in skin condition.
The chart below summarizes some of the diseases and conditions that probiotic bacteria can help prevent and/or improve.
Q. How often should probiotics be taken to ensure optimal support of the digestion system?
A. Probiotic bacteria do not permanently colonize in the body. They need to be replenished by the consumption of foods containing probiotic bacteria or by taking a probiotic natural supplement. Whatever form you choose to replenish the intestinal probiotics, they need to be ingested daily for their health-promoting effects to continue.
Q. If I take a probiotic nutritional supplement, how many bacteria should a good quality supplement contain?
A. The critical factor is not how many bacteria that a supplement contains, but rather how many bacteria reach the intestines healthy, vigorous, and ready to work.
A good quality supplement will deliver at least 3 billion living, healthy probiotic bacteria per dose to your intestines. The bacteria in the probiotic natural supplement should be a mixture of both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.
Again, the critical key to a good quality probiotic supplement is that the bacteria must be alive to work. Only living probiotic bacteria can colonize in the intestines. A good quality probiotic nutritional supplement will have GUARANTEED levels of live bacteria at the point of consumption. Inferior brands will merely state levels of live bacteria at the point of manufacture.
Recently, a private laboratory tested various probiotic nutritional supplements in the marketplace, including one utilizing a new process that encapsulates the bacteria in a spherical, pearl-like coating. Each of these supplements were best-selling brands, two of them were enteric coated, and all had label guarantees about potency. The lab counted the levels claimed by each manufacturer.
Q. Then how do I know I am getting what I pay for?
A. First, look for a product that has a “use by” date or an “expiration” date clearly stated on the package.
It is also important to look for a probiotic supplement that does not require refrigeration. Probiotic supplements that require refrigeration often have been subjected to warm temperatures during shipment and storage that will inevitably kill off some or all of the bacteria.
It is also important that the product label guarantees live bacteria at the time of purchase, not at the time of shipment or manufacturing. However, from the laboratory test discussed, we see that sometimes these written guarantees are not worth the paper they are written on. There is one scientifically validated process that truly delivers live and vigorous bacteria to the intestine. This process suspends the probiotic bacteria in a moist paste and immediately seals the bacteria in a perfectly seamless, spherical, gelatin ball. This bacterial paste is completely protected from air and dryness so the bacteria are alive until the specialized gelatin dissolves – in the intestines.
Q. Why is it important to dissolve only in the intestine?
A. Lactic acid bacteria are not very resistant to the acids of the stomach. The harsh environment of the stomach destroys the majority of these bacteria.
This pearly-like coating technology protects bacteria from the stomach acid. The sphere is specially developed to only dissolve in the intestines. Enteric coating is not enough as it does nothing to protect the bacteria while they wait for purchase on the shelf.
Q. What does this proprietary coating technology mean to me?
A. This specialized process is an expensive processing step, but it has many advantages to you.
The pearl-shaped spheres actually “seal” the bacteria in the capsule, which protects them from air. Probiotic bacteria are anaerobic, meaning they do not require oxygen to live. In fact, the presence of oxygen can actually injure or kill probiotic bacteria. In addition, the special coating’s ability to seal the bacteria in the capsule stimulates the need for the nutritional supplement to be refrigerated – though they can be kept in the refrigerator, if desired.
By protecting the bacteria on the shelf and in the stomach, the probiotic bacteria successfully reach the intestine. As a result, there will be a greater number of healthy, intact bacteria that can colonize in the intestine.
Many health care practitioners believe all health issues are related in some way to the process of digestion. Probiotics play a crucial role in improving our digestive health, which, in turn, is interconnected to every single function in our bodies.
Taking a probiotic supplement is an excellent way to replenish the good bacteria in your intestinal microflora. A quality probiotic product contains two different types of bacteria from Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species with at least one billion live bacteria per dose.
But how do you know the bacteria re still alive? Look at the package. If there is no fate stamp, put it down. If it says the company guarantees there was a certain number alive at the time of manufacture, put it down. Tat means that the company is not willing to claim the bacteria are alive when delivered to the target site, the intestine. If the product must be constantly refrigerated, put it down. How do you know it didn’t sit in a truck for two days, or was in a warehouse before it was shipped to the health food store?
Find a probiotic that says the bacteria are guaranteed to be alive in the numbers stated on the label until the printed on the package. Find a product using unique, cutting edge science to deliver the probiotic bacteria in a form that uses spherical, sealed, triple coating to protect the bacteria. That company has gone to extra time and expense to make sure you reap the benefits that probiotics can offer.
Air Defense from Now Foods
October 03, 2006 01:36 PM
When it comes to good health, you are constantly on the frontline of defense against an Army of environmental invaders. Exhaust, smoke, airborne toxins and a flurry of other environmental antagonists can make it difficult for even the healthiest of individuals to keep their guard up. Factor this into today’s fast paced, on the go lifestyles, and the need for powerful immune supporting nutrition becomes all to real.
Introducing New Air Defense Immune Booster, from Now Foods. This optimally balanced immune system supplement was scientifically formulated to provide some of the industry’s most trusted cellular safeguards, in one convenient, easy to use formula. One of its most impressive compounds is Paractin – a patented extract of Andrographis paniculata that has been shown in studies to significantly increase the immune system’s production of interferon gamma (IFNg). Interleukin-s (IL-2), and T-cells. Collectively, these infection-fighting cells make up the body’s primary line of defense against scores of everyday threats.*
Many experts agree that the upcoming flue season could potentially be one of the most devastating and widespread on record. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated Paractin’s ability to significantly increase cell-mediated immunity (CMI) in response to stresses, such as those commonly encountered during seasonal changes. By stimulating the body’s natural defense mechanisms, Paractin has been shown to increase the body’s production of cytokines – a key factor in healthy immune system response.*
Each serving delivers an impressive 1,000 mg of free radical quenching vitamin C along with an herbal complex of Astragalus, Elderberry, Echinacea, ImmunEnhancer AG (Arabinogalactan, from Larch Tree) and Olive Leaf. Our expert formulators have also included immune-supporting minerals, such as Zinc and Selenium. This advanced, one-of-a-kind formula unites some of the most trusted nutritional compounds available today, and was scientifically formulated to support healthy immune function during seasonal changes and year-around!
The Important Role of Nutritional Magnesium & Calcium Balance in Humans Living with Stress
August 23, 2006 03:14 PM
Part I. The Stress Response
The stress reaction is a host of responses necessary for any animal to live in the world. Commonly called the fight-or-flight reation, we as humans often experience it in rapid heartbeat and increased breathing rate. It comes when we exercise more vigorously than usual, or when we are suddenly and unexpectedly frightened.
We are all different. We show a range in how strongly we experience the stress response. Most of us are usually calm and experience the stress response when an unexpected noise frightens us to alertness, or we run to first base as fast as we can in a benefit baseball game that is not on our usual playtime schedule. We breathe harder for a while and notice our hearts beating faster and harder then usual, but after a while these responses all calm down, and we are again in our usual state—out or the stress response. Others of us are very low key, and it takes a lot to disturb our physiological calm. Still others of us are very sensitive to triggers of the stress response and go into it “at the drop of a hat” and to a greater degree than do calmer people. For some, parts of the stress response are almost always engaged—never really calming down all the way—giving one a hyper-vigilant or anxious demeanor.
When a stress trigger occurs, the body puts out stress hormones, magnesium and calcium, among other things, into the bloodstream. At the same time, nerve cells begin to “fire,” telling heart and muscles to “speed up. NOW!!!” These blood, nerve and organ changes make possible the instantaneous and collective rise in the body’s heart rate, blood pressure, and other necessities for the fight-or-flight reaction.
Much research has been done on the stress response, especially on the effects of stress hormones, such as adrenaline (also called epinephrine) on body, organ and cell. You can get an idea of how widespread the stress response is-affecting every aspect of physiology—by noting some of the reactions to adrenaline, one of the major stress hormones. See Table 1.
Much study as the cellular, biochemical and physiological levels has shown that the stress response vitally involves the influx of calcium into cells, resulting in a drastic change in the cells’ internal magnesium-to-calcium ratio (Mg:Ca).
In simple solutions, such as salt water, all ions are evenly dispersed. Not so in living cells. Ions are carefully and meticulously separated in living cells, and this ion “packaging” is vital to life processes and health. Calcium ions, for the most part, are kept outside cells while magnesium ions are kept mainly inside cells. The stress response changes this. During stress response, calcium ions rush inside the cell, and this alters the internal Mg:Ca ratio. This change in ratio exhibits wide effects because, while magnesium and calcium are very similar in their chemistry, biologically these two elements function and react very differently. Magnesium and calcium are two sides of a physiological coin: they are antagonistic to one another yet comes as a team. For example:
Scientific study shows more and more that the underlying cellular change enabling the stress response is a low Mg:Ca ratio caused by a large and sudden influx of calcium into cells. This stress response subsides when the cell’s magnesium returns to its dominant presence inside cells, moving extra calcium back outside cells to its “normal” Mg:Ca ratio. This underlying principle is present in studies of nerve cell-stress hormone response, organs such as hearts, the high blood pressure response to stress, and the blood-clotting reaction during stress, among many others. See Table 2.
In the normal healthy state, the stress response occurs when necessary, and subsides when the crisis or trigger is over. Since magnesium and calcium—two essential nutrients that must be obtained by the body from its dietary environment—are so essential to this important response, it is not surprising that nutritional magnesium and calcium status can affect the response.
Let’s see how.
In the normal unstressed state, cellular Mg:Ca ratio is high. If this cannot be maintained due to lack of adequate body magnesium or an overwhelming amount of body calcium, the ratio may not be able to maintain or return itself to its healthy nonstressed ratio. In such a case, the stress response, in the absence of an appropriate trigger, can occur. This can be seen when nutritional magnesium deficits cause high blood pressure or increase blood stickiness (platelet aggregation). Additionally, since a low Mg:Ca ratio can increase adrenaline secretion as well as cells’ response to adrenaline, a too low magnesium state can keep the stress response from subsiding in a timely way. Even worse, when body magnesium becomes drastically low, this becomes a stress trigger in itself, alarming the body into further stress response with out enough magnesium to back it up, resulting in a low magnesium-high stress crisis that can end in sudden death.
In the industrialized world, we live in a state of chronic, on-going stress. This environmental reality increases our daily need for magnesium in order to maintain a healthy stress response that can calm when not necessary.
Part II. Heart Disease Is Often a Magnesium Deficiency
Clearly, an adequate amount of nutritional magnesium—in proper balance with adequate nutritional calcium—is key to a healthy stress response. And yet today we have diets dangerously low in magnesium. Add the recent additions of nutritional calcium via supplements and food fortifications meant to stave off osteoporosis, and many of us are getting inadequate magnesium plus too much calcium. This results in a large occurrence of heart disease.
Not all, but much of the heart disease in the industrialized world can be explained by the low magnesium state of these societies. People with heart disease—for the most part—are people who are in a state of magnesium that is borderline or deficient. Many studies on heart disease patients exist due to medicine’s effort to understand and treat this widespread malady. Although not intended as such, this body of research shows us what stress can do to a person in a magnesium deficient state.
Part III. Mental and Emotional Stress Deplete Magnesium
It is commonly accepted that certain traditional risk factors for heart disease exist. This include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history of heart disease, and other factors, all of which can be linked to a shortage of nutritional magnesium. Recent studies tell us that stresses—both sudden and chronic—with their high magnesium requirements, are also strong risk factors for heart disease.
The sudden stress of the
Emotional stress and phobic anxiety cause heart problems in patients with heart disease—a population we know to be mostly low in their nutritional magnesium status. Chronic states of emotional stress, including a history of childhood abuse, neglect or family dysfunction, depression, and panic disorder, must now be added to the list of traditional risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Depression can be a symptom of low magnesium status. So can anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, hyperactivity, and over-sensitivity to loud noises. Do these newly found risk factors cause heart disease, or are they risk factors because the, as well as heart disease, can all be aspects of low magnesium status? These chronic sources of stress can increase the human need for magnesium as well as be caused by its deficit.
Emotional stress triggers in susceptible people can even bring a sudden death due to heart attack, presumably by initiating a stress/low-magnesium crisis. Such emotional “triggers” include work stress, high-pressure deadlines, social isolation and loneliness, low socioeconomic status, anxiety, war, fear of war, anger and rage. Identical stress triggers cause more human heart attacks regardless of age, race, gender, or geographic location, including continent.
Mental stress, such as working out a math problem, can be shown to have impact upon the magnesium-stress response connection, since it can bring on heart attacks in people with heart disease.
Part IV. Stress, Magnesium and Aging
We are hearing a lot about stress in the health media, and rightly so as this constant companion to our lives brings on the fight-or-flight syndrome, a stress response that, when activated, has been shown to shorten lifespan. When we realize that the stress response is exacerbated when we are low in magnesium, that we are living on low-magnesium foods for the most part, and that our lifestyles are more and more filled with chronic stresses and stressful events, we are not surprised to see that several aspects of magnesium deficiency are remarkably like aspects of the aging process.
When faced with out stressful lifestyles, coupled with a society presenting a chronically low-magnesium/high-calcium diet, what is our best defense? For many of us, magnesium supplements can help to preserve or restore a healthy Mg:Ca balance, so important to our health in these stressful times.
Peter Gillham's Natural Calm
June 14, 2006 09:44 AM
Excedrin – difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, and face; hives; liver damage; yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)l nausea; abdominal pain and discomfort; sever fatigue; blood problems (easy, unusual bleeding and bruising); black, bloody and tarry stools; vomiting; uncontrolled fever; blood in the urine and vomit; decreased hearing and ringing in the ears; seizures; dizziness; confusion and hallucinations; heartburn; indigestion; nervousness; anxiety; panic attacks; difficulty sleeping.
7-Syndrom Healing and 5-HTP
June 07, 2006 03:49 PM
Boomer Breakthrough – Keeping in the Game
If there is not thing boomers need to manage, its chronic stress. That’s because of its deleterious effects, which include accelerated aging and altered brain function. This month boomer breakthroughs will focus on 5-hydroxytryptophan or 5-htp, one of the most versatile and powerful anti-aging remedies. For starters, 5-htp is a more powerful antioxidant than either vitamin C or melatonin. This it deserves a place in ones daily vitamin regimen based on this fact alone. However, the better-known attribute of 5-htp is its stabilizing effects on the brain and nerves.
Mood, Anxiety and Depression
Chronic stress can lead to mood swings, anxiety, depression, poor memory, and reduced cognitive functions. Last month we recommended the Adaptogenic herbs Ashwagandha and Rhodiola as therapy for smoothing out periods of intense stress such as looming deadlines. For longer term stress supplementation with 5-htp is a better choice. That’s because extended periods of stress reduce brain levels of serotonin. Supplemental 5-htp is produced from the African plant Griffonia Simplicifolia and has over 30 years of safety and effectiveness in clinical use.
How do you know if you have low levels of serotonin? Persistent anxiety is one key and insomnia is another. 5-htp, an intermediary metabolite of serotonin, has proven to be clinically effective in reducing these disorders. Weight gain and eating disorders also appear to be associated with low serotonin levels.
Serotonin the Antiaging Neurotransmitter
Serotonin, one of three major neurotransmitters, has a calming effect and helps keep emotions in check. It has been extremely helpful in lessening panic attacks, various phobias, suppressing appetite, and reducing aggression, anxiety, and pain sensation. And, it may be more effective in relieving mild depression than antidepressants. In a 1991 Swiss study, the effectiveness of 5-htp in alleviating depression was compared to a conventional antidepressant, fluvoxamine (Luvox). Patients were divided into two groups and given either 100mg 5-htp or 150mg of fluvoxamine three times a day for six weeks. At the end of the test period, the 36 5-htp patients showed a greater percentage of improvement than the 33 fluvoxamine patients.
Other studies have compared 5-htp with antidepressants such as chloripramine and imipramine. 5-htp was at least as effective if not more so than the conventional drugs. Moreover, 5-htp has no reported side effects, although some patients have experienced mild nausea when they first take 5-htp. If this happens, merely back off and reduce the daily dose to 50mg and gradually increase it over a four-day period.
5-htp has an advantage over its precursor amino acid L-Tryptophan (LT). it is more readily absorbed than LT and is immune to meals without reducing its effectiveness. 5-htp, unlike LT, is not shunted into niacin, melatonin, picolonic acid and other amino acids. Seventy percent of oral 5-htp ends up in the bloodstream, crosses into the brain and is directly converted into serotonin.
It’s best not to combine 5-htp with antidepressant medications, although there have been no reports of adverse events. Suggested doses is 100mg 3 times a day or 200 to 200 mg taken at bedtime for insomnia.
Pain, Per-menopause and PMS
5-htp has additional benefits for boomers. It reduces hot flashes and is an effective anti-pain remedy. The concern over use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has led to interest in safe and effective methods of reducing hot flashes. Come anti-depressants (Prozac, ect.) have been effective in alleviating hot flashes in women with breast cancer or at risk of the disease. Increasing serotonin is the proposed mechanism by which this occurs. Serotonin in turn resets the brain’s heat regulating system. 5-htp is effective at raising serotonin levels, is free of side effects, and is an effective substitute for anti-depressants.
Additionally, 5-htp has been clinically useful in reducing premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) symptoms such as sadness, hopelessness, self-deprecation, tension, anxiety, emotional instability, tearfulness, anger and irritability.
Migraine and fibromyalgia share a common root in serotonin and adrenal hormone (Cortisol) receptor function. Serotonin plays a role in maintaining pain thresholds, vascular constriction/dilation and maintenance of restorative sleep. It is also thought to disrupt pain signals and induce the activity of endorphins, the brains natural painkiller.
Italian researchers report in two clinical trials involving patients with fibromyalgia, that 5-htp (100mg 3X/day) significantly reduced fibromyalgia symptoms. These include a number of tender points, subjective pain severity, morning stiffness, sleep patterns, and anxiety.
Now offers 5-htp in three convenient doses; 50mg for starters, 100mg for maintenance, and 200mg plus 250mg tyrosine, Niacinamide and vitamin B-6 to stabilize adrenal function and help control minor pain.
Adapted from 7-syndrome healing: Supplement essentials for Body and Mind by Marcia Zimmerman and Jayson Kroner, 2006, Nutrition Solution Publications.
Guys should forget the six-pack abs and just lose the beer belly.
September 24, 2005 12:00 PM
Time for a Gut Check
Guys should forget the six-pack abs and just lose the beer belly.
When a woman noticed her husband standing on the bathroom scale and sucking in his stomach, she said, “I don’t think that’s going to help.” “Sure it will,” he responded. “It’s the only way I can see the numbers.”
Funny line, sure. But whether you’re talking about “love handles,” a “spare tire” or the proverbial “beer belly,” having a tummy that hangs over your belt buckle is no laughing matter. It’s not even a matter of the quest for “six-pack abs” or a “washboard stomach.” It’s a matter of health.
Consider this: A recent study appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a man’s waist size can be a good predictor for the development of type 2 diabetes. A Harvard Health Professionals team, led by Dr. Youfa Wang, an assistant professor at the John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, analyzed data from more than 27,000 men who were tracked for more than 13 years. The team found that men with larger waists or a higher body mass index (BMI) were both at greater risk for type 2 diabetes than slimmer men. (You find your body mass index by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters. If your waist size is 40 inches or less, a BMI of 25 or over means you’re overweight.)
“Abdominal fat measured by waist circumference can indicate a strong diabetes risk, whether or not a man is considered overweight or obese according to his BMI,” says Wang. The Harvard team found that men with waist sizes of 40 to 62 inches were 12 times more likely to develop diabetes and suggested that the current recommended waistline of 40 inches or below for men may need to be lowered.
Okay, now that we’ve scared the bejeezes out of all you guys under 6-foot-4 who by your pants in the big-man store, let’s talk about what you have to do to shop anywhere in the mall. Again, this is not about looking like a Greek ab god. This is about diminishing your risk for a myriad of health problems and being able to comfortably bend over for a ground ball during the pickup softball game. And there are no shortcuts, so forget about liposuctioning those years of accumulated lard. Despite what all those TV makeover shows say, liposuction can only really enhance your body aesthetic if you lose a large chunk of the surface fat first.
“Those makeover shows have it all backwards,” says Dr. Bruce Nadler, a fitness trainer who also happens to be a plastic surgeon. “They do surgery on someone’s midsection and then have them doing intense workouts when they are supposed to be recuperating from surgery. I wouldn’t do liposuction until you see what diet and exercise can accomplish. When you have all the weight in the midsection the dangerous fat is deep within the body. So liposuction may make you look better but it won’t necessarily improve your health.”
The Gut Check Plan
Talk to any exercise expert worth their weight in body fat, including Nadler, and they will tell you that on of the biggest fitness fallacies is the notion that intense abdominal workouts and use of abdominal machines (like those sold through those interminable infomercials) are the keys to getting a flatter and more “ripped” midsection. In fact, for many people it’s not physiologically possible to achieve a flat tummy because abdominals are not designed to be flat. And the idea of “spot reduction,” exercising the area where you want to lose the fat, is now considered a myth. Research has shown that fat is lost all over your body, not just in the area that you work.
It’s not that you can’t benefit from doing abdominal exercises. Crunches, situps and leg raises, when done properly, are great for muscle tone and endurance (and you do burn calories), but the real key to achieving a wonderful waist size is losing body fat. How do you do that?
“Dropping a few inches from your midsection,” says Nadler, “depends on four things- calorie reduction through proper diet (eating very little fat, consuming complex carbohydrates and doing it all in smaller portions), stepping up aerobic activity (such as running an bicycling, which burns excess calories quickly and safely), and resistance weight training (which not only increases metabolism and helps burn more excess calories, but also builds and strengthens the abdominal wall).” Then, adds Nadler, when you’ve just about reached your waist=reduction goal, but genetics still won’t give you a flatter stomach, “that’s where plastic surgery may come in as icing on the cake.”
Nadler also advises men not to panic if they don’t notice a substantial weight reduction during a training program. “When people are doing weight and resistance training they are too hung up on the scale,” insists Nadler. “Muscle weighs more than fat so don’t judge your progress by what you weigh, but on what your percentage of body fat is. That’s the number you want to see going down.”
So how long does it take for men with an oversized gut to lose the excess? “Depending on how much they have to lose,” Nadler says, “it takes anywhere from three to six months.” By the way, for men in their 30s and up, there are also two important side benefits to decreasing the waist size and firming up the gut: better overall posture and diminishing the potential for chronic back pain. So get to work guys; suck it up so you can stop sucking it in. -Stephen Hanks
Prostate cancer is more common among certain ethnic groups.
July 27, 2005 03:25 PM
4. Prostate cancer is more common among certain ethnic groups.
African-American men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than men of any other racial or ethnic background, and they are twice as likely to die of the disease. “Genetics and poverty are two things that may contribute to the numbers of African-Americans who have prostate cancer,” says Berger. “They also tend to have a more advanced stage when they are diagnosed.” White men, who are more likely to be diagnosed at an early stage, rank second in prostate cancer prevalence. Hispanic men aer at a lower risk of being diagnosed with the disease than either African-American or white men, but it is still the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Latino men. Prostate cancer is least common in Asian and Native American men.
THE FDA AND STEVIA
July 15, 2005 12:45 PM
THE FDA AND STEVIA
While stevia in no way qualifies as an “artificial sweetener,” it has been subject to rigorous inquiry and unprecedented restraints. In 1986, FDA officials began to investigate herb companies selling stevia and suddenly banned its sale, calling it “an unapproved food additive.” Then in 1991, the FDA unexpectedly announced that all importation of stevia leaves and products must cease, with the exception of certain liquid extracts which are designed for skin care only. They also issued formal warnings to companies and claimed that the herb was illegal. The FDA was unusually aggressive in its goal to eliminate stevia from American markets, utilizing search and seizure tactics, embargoes and import bans. Speculation as to why the FDA intervened in stevia commerce points to the politics of influential sugar marketers and the artificial-sweetener industry.
During the same year, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) began their defense of the herb with the goal of convincing the FDA that stevia is completely safe. They gathered documented literature and research on both stevia and other non-caloric sweeteners. The overwhelming consensus was that stevia is indeed safe, and the AHPA petitioned the FDA to exempt stevia from food additive regulations.
Food Additive vs. Dietary Supplement
FDA regulations of stevia were based on its designation as a food additive. The claim was that scientific study on stevia as a food additive was inadequate. Ironically, extensive Japanese testing of stevia was disregarde—regardless of the fact that this body of documented evidence more than sufficiently supported its safe use. Many experts who have studied stevia and its FDA requirements have commented that the FDA wants far more proof that stevia is safe than they would demand from chemical additives like aspartame.
Stevia advocates point out that stevia not a food additive, but rather, a food. Apparently, foods that have traditionally been consumed do not require laborious and expensive testing for safety under FDA regulations. The fact that so many toxicology studies have been conducted in Japan, coupled with the herb’s long history of safe consumption, makes a strong case for stevia being accepted by the FDA as a safe dietary substance. Still, it was denied the official GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status and designated a food additive by the FDA.
The FDA Reverses Its Position
As a result of the Health Freedom Act passed in September of 1995, stevia leaves, stevia extract, and stevioside can be imported to the United States. However, ingredient labels of products that contain stevia must qualify as dietary supplements.
Stevia had been redesignated as a dietary supplement by the FDA and consequently can be legally sold in the United States solely as a supplement. Its addition to teas or other packaged foods is still banned. Moreover, stevia cannot, under any circumstances, be marketed as a sweetener or flavor enhancer.
SUGAR, SUGAR EVERYWHERE
Ralph Nader once said, “If God meant us to eat sugar, he wouldn’t have invented dentists.” The average American eats over 125 pounds of white sugar every year. It has been estimated that sugar makes up 25 percent of our daily caloric intake, with soda pop supplying the majority of our sugar ingestion. Desserts and sugar-laden snacks continually tempt us, resulting in an escalated taste for sweets.
The amount of sugar we consume has a profound effect on both our physical and mental well-being. Sugar is a powerful substance which can have drug-like effects and is considered addictive by some nutritional experts. William Duffy, the author of Sugar Blues, states,“The difference between sugar addiction and narcotic addition is largely one of degree.” In excess, sugar can be toxic. Sufficient amounts of B-vitamins are actually required to metabolize and detoxify sugar in our bodies. When the body experiences a sugar overload, the assimilation of nutrients from other foods can be inhibited. In other words, our bodies were not designed to cope with the enormous quantity of sugar we routinely ingest. Eating too much sugar can generate a type of nutrient malnutrition, not to mention its contribution to obesity, diabetes, hyperactivity, and other disorders. Sugar can also predispose the body to yeast infections, aggravate some types of arthritis and asthma, cause tooth decay, and may even elevate our blood lipid levels. Eating excess sugar can also contribute to amino acid depletion, which has been linked with depression and other mood disorders. To make matters worse, eating too much sugar can actually compromise our immune systems by lowering white blood cells counts. This makes us more susceptible to colds and other infections. Sugar consumption has also been linked to PMS, osteoporosis and coronary heart disease.
Why Do We Crave Sweets?
Considering the sobering effects of a high sugar diet, why do we eat so much of it? One reason is that sugar gives us a quick infusion of energy. It can also help to raise the level of certain brain neurotransmitters which may temporarily elevate our mood. Sugar cravings stem from a complex mix of physiological and psychological components. Even the most brilliant scientists fail to totally comprehend this intriguing chemical dependence which, for the most part, hurts our overall health.
What we do know is that when sugary foods are consumed, the pancreas must secrete insulin, a hormone which serves to bring blood glucose levels down. This allows sugar to enter our cells where it is either burned off or stored. The constant ups and downs of blood sugar levels can become exaggerated in some individuals and cause all kinds of health problems. Have you ever been around someone who is prone to sudden mood swings characterized by violent verbal attacks or irritability? This type of volatile behavior is typical of people who crave sugar, eat it and then experience sugar highs and lows. Erratic mood swings can be linked to dramatic drops in blood sugar levels.
Hypoglycemia: Sign of Hard Times?
It is rather disturbing to learn that statisticians estimate that almost 20 million Americans suffer from some type of faulty glucose tolerance. Hypoglycemia and diabetes are the two major forms of blood sugar disorders and can deservedly be called modern day plagues. Hypoglycemia is an actual disorder that can cause of number of seemingly unrelated symptoms. More and more studies are pointing to physiological as well as psychological disorders linked to disturbed glucose utilization in brain cells. One study, in particular, showed that depressed people have overall lower glucose metabolism (Slagle, 22). Hypoglycemia occurs when too much insulin is secreted in order to compensate for high blood sugar levels resulting from eating sugary or high carbohydrate foods. To deal with the excess insulin, glucagon, cortisol and adrenalin pour into the system to help raise the blood sugar back to acceptable levels. This can inadvertently result in the secretion of more insulin and the vicious cycle repeats itself.
A hypoglycemic reaction can cause mood swings, fatigue, drowsiness, tremors, headaches, dizziness, panic attacks, indigestion, cold sweats, and fainting. When blood sugar drops too low, an overwhelming craving for carbohydrates results. To satisfy the craving and compensate for feelings of weakness and abnormal hunger, sugary foods are once again consumed in excess.
Unfortunately, great numbers of people suffer from hypoglycemic symptoms. Ironically, a simple switch from a high sugar diet to one that emphasizes protein can help. In addition, because sugar cravings are so hard to control, a product like stevia can be of enormous value in preventing roller coaster blood sugar levels. One Colorado internist states: People who are chronically stressed and are on a roller coaster of blood sugar going up and down are especially prone to dips in energy at certain times of day. Their adrenals are not functioning optimally, and when they hit a real low point, they want sugar. It usually happens in mid-afternoon when the adrenal glands are at their lowest level of functioning. (Janiger, 71) Our craving for sweets in not intrinsically a bad thing; however, what we reach for to satisfy that craving can dramatically determine how we feel. Stevia can help to satisfy the urge to eat something sweet without changing blood sugar levels in a perfectly natural way and without any of the risks associated with other non-nutritive sweeteners.
Diabetes: Pancreas Overload?
Diabetes is a disease typical of western cultures and is evidence of the influence that diet has on the human body. Perhaps more than any other disease, diabetes shuts down the mechanisms which permit proper carbohydrate/sugar metabolism. When the pancreas no longer secretes adequate amounts of insulin to metabolize sugar, that sugar continues to circulate in the bloodstream causing all kinds of health problems. The type of diabetes that comes in later years is almost always related to obesity and involves the inability of sugar to enter cells, even when insulin is present. Diabetes can cause blindness, atherosclerosis, kidney disease, the loss of nerve function, recurring infections, and the inability to heal. Heredity plays a profound role in the incidence of diabetes, but a diet high in white sugar and empty carbohydrates unquestionably contributes to the onset of the disease. It is estimated that over five million Americans are currently undergoing medical treatment for diabetes and studies suggest that there are at least four million Americans with undetected forms of adult onset diabetes. Diabetes is the third cause of death in this country and reflects the devastating results of a diet low in fiber and high in simple carbohydrates. Most of us start our children on diets filled with candy, pop, chips, cookies, doughnuts, sugary juice, etc. Studies have found that diabetes is a disease which usually plagues societies that eat highly refined foods. Because we live in a culture that worships sweets, the availability of a safe sweetener like stevia, which does not cause stress on the pancreas is extremely valuable. If sugar consumption was cut in half by using stevia to
June 25, 2005 08:13 PM
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Boosting Fiber Consumption To Prevent CVD
June 25, 2005 07:43 PM
Boosting Fiber Consumption To Prevent CVD
“Dietary fiber reduces blood fat and blood pressure.”26 While most of us know how important it is to reduce the amount of fat we consume, many of us remain oblivious to the very profound role that fiber plays in helping to keep our arteries clear, preventing obesity and expediting elimination of toxins from the bowel. 27 Ideally, a decrease in dietary fats combined with an increase in fiber and exercise comprise the winning prescription for preventing CHD.28, 29 Coronary heart disease is an insidious killer which can go undetected until it’s too late.
Scents of Balance
June 14, 2005 11:54 AM
Scents of Balance by Rosemary Sage Energy Times, January 5, 2005
Life can feel like an emotional rollercoaster, with the high-stress jitters following the low-mood blues. But aromatherapy-the healing power of scent-can restore equilibrium.
The use of volatile plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological and physical well-being dates back thousands of years. The ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used infused oils and herbal preparations for medicinal, fragrant, cosmetic, even spiritual reasons.
During the late 20th century, people started to relearn the benefits of aromatherapy and these days, aromatherapy's reputation as a soothing, healing art continues to grow. Once you've experienced the odiferous power of aromatherapy's essential oils, you'll keep coming back for more: These gently wafting odors have the power to stimulate or calm, invigorate or relax.
When you enter this scented world, "there you will find nature in one of its most powerful forms-aromatic liquid substances known as 'essential oils,'" says Valerie Ann Worwood in The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy (Thorsons). Essential oils form what Worwood refers to as the "fragrant pharmacy," a collection of concentrated substances used in pharmaceuticals, foods and cosmetics.
When you sniff the aromas of essential oils, "they enter and leave the body with great efficiency, leaving no toxins behind," Worwood points out. "The most effective way to use essential oils is...by external application or inhalation. The methods used include body oils, compresses, cosmetic lotions, baths-including sitz, hand and foot baths-hair rinses...perfumes...and a whole range of room [scenting] methods."
As Worwood explains, essential oils are produced in various parts of different plants. As a result, it takes a great deal of specialized work to extract essential oils. About 60,000 rose blossoms are consumed in the production of an ounce (!) of rose oil.
Just as the antioxidant phytonutrients we eat in vegetarian foods link our bodies to the health-promoting chemistry of plants, the penetrating nature of essential oils are thought to connect our souls to the essences of flora. "From inside comes the voice and from inside comes the scent," observed the 19th century German doctor Gustav Fechner, quoted by Robert Tisserand in The Art of Aromatherapy (Healing Arts Press). "Just as one can tell human beings in the dark from the tone of voice, so, in the dark, every flower can be recognized by its scent. Each carries the soul of its progenitor."
Fechner believed that the power of essential oils to stir our deepest emotions derives from their function as a vital means of communication in the plant world. As Tisserand asks, can't we imagine that flowers "communicate with each other by the very perfumes they exude, becoming aware of each other's presence?"
The Science Behind the Scent
While alternative medical practitioners have acknowledged the effectiveness of aromatherapy for thousands of years, only recently have conventional medical researchers begun seriously looking into how this technique works.
For instance, a study of estragole, a chemical found in basil, fennel and tarragon, determined that it could potentially ease back pain by inhibiting inflammation of the sciatic nerve. (The sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body, runs from the back down the leg.) The researchers discovered that estragole is "active on nerves," a conclusion that aromatherapy practitioners, who employ the scent of these oils to soothe pain, already knew. Science is verifying another piece of information long known to practitioners-that while certain essential oils can calm you down, others prod your alertness. In a study performed at the University of Northumbria in England, scientists found that sniffing the scent of lavender lulls the human brain into a comfortable, rather stupefied state, while rosemary, in contrast, can sharpen recall.
As the English researchers noted, lavender "produced a significant decrement in performance of working memory, and impaired reaction times for both memory and attention-based tasks." That's probably why the odor of lavender is noted for enhancing sleep. On the other hand, the scientists found that rosemary "produced a significant enhancement of performance for overall quality of memory and secondary memory factors." However, they did point out that under the influence of both of these oils, performance slowed when tackling a battery of memory tests. Apparently, the oils mellowed people so that they had little motivation to rush through the paperwork.
As Frazesca Watson notes in Aromatherapy Blends & Remedies (Thorsons): "The aroma of the oils directly affects our moods and emotions and sometimes our short- and long-term memory. Together with a wide range of physiological benefits, the aroma can help with emotional upsets such as depression, anxiety, nervous tension, anger, apathy, confusion, indecision, fear, grief, hypersensitivity, impatience, irritability, panic and hysteria."
Essential oils are especially helpful at defusing stress. Watson notes, "Treatments with essential oils are therefore very helpful for all sorts of stress-related problems, so common in our modern life."
As scientific research into the effects of these oils continue, conventional medical practitioners are sure to embrace them in increasing numbers. But before there were scientists around to confirm the effects of these wonderful scents, the ancient medical practitioners in Egypt and Greece attributed the origins of aromatherapy to the gods. For many people in today's overstressed world, the relaxing assurance of essential oils certainly seems heaven-s(c)ent.
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart
June 13, 2005 10:06 AM
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart by Louis McKinley Energy Times, January 2, 2004
From time immemorial, people have tuned into life's lessons that come from the heart. Sadly, times are changing: If you're like most inhabitants of today's harried world, you may be too distracted to detect important clues about your cardiovascular circumstances.
And while heart lessons may be more complicated than simply connecting the physiological dots, understanding those heart messages are imperative for improving and maintaining your heart health.
Every cell in your body relies on heart-powered blood flow to keep it supplied with nutrients, oxygen, hormones and other natural chemicals necessary for survival. Without that supply of life-giving substances, few cells in the body-including those within the heart itself-can survive very long.
And just as damage to a major roadway can cause mayhem with traffic patterns, damage to blood vessels and the heart can wreak a lumpy cardiovascular havoc that blocks the passage of blood and endangers your heart's well-being.
Your Heart Disease Chances
Within the last ten years, scientific research performed by investigators around the world has focused on the specific factors that most strongly influence your chances of developing heart disease and suffering either a heart attack or a stroke.
While much of your risk depends on your genetic inheritance and family history, several factors that determine your heart health are within your control.
The most important factors you can do something about include:
* Smoking: free radicals generated by burning tobacco causes significant damage to blood vessels and other cells
* Lack of exercise: the human body is designed for consistent, moderate physical activity; without exercise, the body slacks off in creating antioxidant protection for arteries
* Diabetes: when excess blood sugar persists, physiological processes begin that endanger the heart and arteries
* Cholesterol: when oxidized (a chemical process that has been compared to a kind of internal rusting), cholesterol can form artery-blocking plaque; antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and natural vitamin E may help the body limit this process
* High blood pressure: excessive pressure within the blood vessels raises the risk of damage to the heart and arteries; a program of weight loss and exercise can help control blood pressure
* Being overweight: the extra body fat carried around your middle is linked to a greater risk of heart problems
Heart Attack Signs
Do you think you know what a heart attack feels like? Well, if you think it feels like a dramatic pain somewhere in your chest that knocks you to the floor, you're probably wrong. "Most heart attacks do not look at all like what one of my colleagues calls the 'Hollywood' attack-the heart attack you see on television or in the movies," warns Julie Zerwic, MD, professor of surgical nursing who has studied what happens when people develop heart disease and suffer damage to their hearts.
"The symptoms [of heart problems] are not necessarily dramatic. People don't fall down on the floor. They don't always experience a knife-like, very sharp pain. In fact, many people describe the sensation as heaviness and tightness in the chest rather than pain," she says. And, if you're a woman experiencing a heart attack, you may not even feel discomfort specifically in your chest. Instead you may experience a severe shortness of breath. The apparent ambiguity of the discomforts caused by a heart attack lead many people to either ignore them or take hours to realize they need to go to the emergency room at the hospital.
Consequently, much fewer than half of all individuals undergoing a heart attack actually go to a hospital within an hour of the start of the attack. That delay can be a fatal mistake.
"Timing is absolutely critical," laments Dr. Zerwic. "If treatment starts within a hour after the onset of symptoms, drugs that reestablish blood flow through the blocked coronary artery can reduce mortality by as much as 50%. That number drops to 23% if treatment begins three hours later. The goal is to introduce therapy within two hours."
However, in Dr. Zerwic's research, only 35% of non-Hispanic whites go to the hospital within an hour of the start of a heart attack. And among African-Americans, the number of people going to the hospital right away drops to a frighteningly low 13%.
Often, people will lie down or use a heating pad to relieve the tightness they feel in the chest," says Dr. Zerwic. "They may take some medicine and wait to see if that works. All these steps postpone needed treatment."
Signs of a possible heart attack include:
* Chest discomfort: Heart attacks most frequently cause discomfort in the center of the chest that can either go away after a couple of minutes (and come back) or persist. The discomfort may feel like strong pressure, fullness or pain.
* Upper body discomfort: An attack may set off pain or discomfort in either or both arms, and/or the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
* Shortness of breath: Chest discomfort is frequently accompanied by shortness of breath. But it's important to note that shortness of breath can take place even in the absence of chest discomfort.
* Other signs: You can also break out in a cold sweat, or feel nauseated or light-headed.
A Woman's Sleep Signs
If you are a woman who suddenly experiences a marked increase in insomnia and puzzling, intense fatigue, you may be in danger of an imminent heart attack.
In an attempt to understand how women's symptoms of heart problems differ from those of men, researchers talked to more than 500 women in Arkansas, North Carolina and Ohio who had suffered heart attacks. (Technically, what they had experienced is referred to as acute myocardial infarction.)
They found that chest pain prior to a heart attack was only reported by about 30% of the women surveyed.
More common were unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances and shortness of breath (Circulation Rapid Access, 11/3/01).
"Since women reported experiencing early warning signs more than a month prior to the heart attack, this [fatigue and sleep problems] could allow time to treat these symptoms and to possibly delay or prevent the heart attack," says researcher Jean C. McSweeney, PhD, RN, nursing professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. In Dr. McSweeney's study, more than nine out of ten women who had heart attacks reported that they had had new, disturbing physical problems more than a month before they had infarctions.
Almost three in four suffered from unusual fatigue, about half had sleep disturbances, while two in five found themselves short of breath.
Other common signs included indigestion and anxiety.
"Women need to be educated that the appearance of new symptoms may be associated with heart disease and that they need to seek medical care to determine the cause of the symptoms, especially if they have known cardiovascular risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight or a family history of heart diseases," says Dr. McSweeney.
Dr. McSweeney warns that, until now, little has been known about signs that women are having heart trouble or heart attacks. The fact that most of Western medicine's past attention has been on heart problems in men has obscured the warning signs in women. As part of Dr. McSweeney's studies, she and her fellow researchers have discovered that more than 40% of all women who suffer a heart attack never feel any chest discomfort before or during the attack.
"Lack of significant chest pain may be a major reason why women have more unrecognized heart attacks than men or are mistakenly diagnosed and discharged from emergency departments," she notes. "Many clinicians still consider chest pain as the primary symptom of a heart attack."
Vitamins for Diabetes and Heart Disease
Having diabetes significantly raises your chance of heart disease, which means that keeping your blood sugar levels under control can reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack.
Today, 17 million Americans have diabetes and, as the country's population in general gains weight and fails to exercise, the number of people suffering this problem continues to grow.
The first line of defense against diabetes consists of exercise and weight control. All you have to do is take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day to drop your chances of diabetes (American Journal of Epidemiology 10/1/03).
"We have found that men and women who incorporate activity into their lifestyles are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who are sedentary. This finding holds no matter what their initial weight," said Andrea Kriska, PhD, professor of epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
To help your body fight the development of diabetes, researchers also recommend vitamin C and natural vitamin E.
Researchers working with lab animals at the University of California at Irvine have found that these antioxidant vitamins can help insulin (the hormone-like substance secreted by the pancreas) reduce harmful blood sugar. In addition, these vitamins shrink the chances of organ damage that can be caused by diabetes (Kidney International 1/03).
In this investigation, these vitamins also helped reduce blood pressure, another risk factor that raises heart disease risk.
"Blood pressure was lowered to normal, and free radicals were not in sufficient numbers to degrade the sugars, proteins and nitric oxide," notes Nick Vaziri, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California. "We think this shows that a diet rich in antioxidants may help diabetics prevent the devastating cardiovascular, kidney, neurological and other damage that are common complications of diabetes."
Free Radical Blues
Dr. Vaziri and his group of researchers found that untreated diabetes raised blood pressure and increased the production of free radicals, caustic molecules that can damage arteries and the heart. Free radicals can change blood sugar and other proteins into harmful substances, boosting tissue and heart destruction.
In Dr. Vaziri's work with lab animals, he found that treating diabetes with insulin lowered blood pressure and helped keep sugar and protein from changing into dangerous chemicals, but allowed the free radicals to subvert nitric oxide, a chemical the body uses to protect itself from free radicals.
In this investigation, adding vitamins C and E to insulin insulated the body's sugars, proteins and nitric oxide from oxidative assault. This produces a double advantage: Lowering the risk of heart disease and other damage to the body from diabetes.
Maitake, an Oriental mushroom that has been shown to have many health benefits, can also be useful for people with diabetes who are trying to avoid cardiovascular complications. Laboratory studies in Japan demonstrate that maitake may help lower blood pressure while reducing cholesterol (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1997; 20(7):781-5). In producing these effects, the mushroom may also help the body reduce blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of tissue damage.
Tobacco smoke is one of the most notorious causes of heart problems. In the same way a hard frost exerts a death grip on a highway, the smoke from cigarettes can freeze up arteries and hamper their proper function. A healthy artery must stay flexible to comfortably allow adequate circulation.
But "...when blood vessels are exposed to cigarette smoke it causes the vessels to behave like a rigid pipe rather than a flexible tube, thus the vessels can't dilate in response to increased blood flow," says David J. Bouchier-Hayes, MD, professor of surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who has studied the deleterious effects of tobacco.
This rigidity is called endothelial dysfunction. When arteries are rigid, blockages gum up vessels, clots and other impediments to blood flow appear, and your risk of heart attack and stroke increases (Circulation 2001 Nov 27; 104(22):2673).
This condition can also cause chest pain (angina) similar to that caused by a heart attack, and should be evaluated by a knowledgeable health practitioner.
Although all experts recommend you stop smoking to lower your heart disease risk, some studies have found that Pycnogenol(r), a pine bark extract that helps the body fight inflammation, may ease some of smoking's ill effects.
In a study of platelets, special cells in the blood that can form dangerous blood clots, researchers found that Pycnogenol(r) discouraged platelets from sticking together (American Society for Biochemical and Molecular Biology 5/19/98). By keeping platelets flowing freely, this supplement may alleviate some of the heart-threatening clots that tobacco smoke can cause.
In Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional therapy from India, an herb called guggul has also been used to lower the risk of blockages in arteries. This herb, derived from the resin of the mukul tree, has been shown to reduce cholesterol by about 25%. People taking this herb have also reduced their triglycerides (harmful blood fats) by the same amount (Journal Postgraduate Medicine 1991 37(3):132).
The Female Version of Heart Disease
For one thing, women often don't suffer from the crushing chest pain that for most people characterizes a heart attack; instead, many women experience back pain, sweating, extreme fatigue, lightheadedness, anxiety or indigestion, signs that can be easily misread as digestive troubles, menopausal symptoms or indicators of aging.
The genders also differ in how heart disease poses a threat. While men seem most endangered by the buildup of blockages in arteries, women apparently are more at risk from endothelial dysfunction. But more study needs to be done since, in many cases, researchers have been unable to pin down the precise mechanism that causes many women to die of heart disease.
Scientists have found that the number of women in their 30s and 40s who are dying from sudden cardiac arrest is growing much faster than the number of men of the same age who die of this cause. But research by the Oregon Health & Sciences University and Jesse E. Edwards Cardiovascular Registry in St. Paul, Minnesota, shows that while doctors can pinpoint the coronary blockages that kill men, they can't find specific blockages in half of the female fatalities they have studied (American Heart Journal 10/03).
"This was an unexpected finding. However, the study underscores the need to focus on what is causing these younger women to die unexpectedly because the number of deaths continues to increase," says Sumeet Chugh, MD, a medical professor at Oregon.
Since the failure of arteries to relax probably contributes to heart disease in many women, eating red berries, or consuming supplements from berries such as chokeberry, bilberry or elderberry, may be important in lowering women's heart disease risk. These fruits help arteries expand and allow blood to flow freely.
Red berries are rich sources of flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocynanins. The anthocyanins are strong antioxidants that give the berries their color. Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that these chemicals can interact with nitrous oxide, a chemical produced by the body, to relax blood vessels (Experimental Biology conference 5/20/02).
As researchers work to devise lifestyle roadmaps that can steer you around the perils of heart disease, they are finding that exercise is a key path to avoiding cardiovascular complications.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that those who exercised and kept their weight down (or took weight off and kept it off) experienced a significantly lower risk of heart problems (Preventive Medicine 11/03).
"The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. Burning calories in physical activity may be the secret to reducing heart disease risk and living longer, she says.
Dr. Fang's research used information collected from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1975 and then computed how much people exercised, how their body mass indices varied and which of these folks died of heart disease during the next two decades.
In the study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who worked out and consumed more calories cut their risk of heart disease death in half.
Exercise Is Essential
"Subjects with the lowest caloric intake, least physical activity, and who were overweight or obese had significantly higher cardiovascular mortality rates than those with high caloric intake, most physical activity, and normal weight," Dr. Fang notes. The individuals in the study who were overweight and didn't exercise had a bigger risk of heart disease even if they tried (and succeeded) at eating less.
"This suggests that heart disease outcome was not determined by a single factor, but rather by a compound of behavioral, socioeconomic, genetic and clinical characteristics," according to Dr. Fang.
According to researchers, if your job requires a great deal of physical activity, your health will be better if you get another job. Exercise on the job not only doesn't decrease your risk of heart disease, it may actually raise it. The reason: On-the-job activity is linked to heart-endangering increases in job stress.
Research into this subject, performed at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, found that while recreational exercise slowed hardening of the arteries, workers who had to exert themselves during the workday had arteries that were blocked at a younger age (American Journal of Medicine 7/03).
In this study, researchers examined about 500 middle-aged employees as part of what is called the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study.
"We found that atherosclerosis progressed significantly faster in people with greater stress, and people who were under more stress also were the ones who exercised more in their jobs," says James Dwyer, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School. According to Dr. Dwyer, "This suggests that the apparent harmful effect of physical activity at work on atherosclerosis-and heart disease risk-may be due to the tendency of high-activity jobs to be more stressful in modern workplaces.
"It appears from our findings that the psychological stresses associated with physically active jobs overcomes any biological benefit of the activity itself."
On the other hand, the scientists found that heart disease drops dramatically among those who exercise the most in their spare time. In the study, people who vigorously worked out at least three times a week had the lowest risk. But even those who just took walks enjoyed better heart health than people whose most strenuous activity was working the TV remote. Dr. Dwyer says, "These results are important because they demonstrate the very substantial and almost immediate-within one or two years-cardiovascular benefit of greater physical activity."
Lowering your risk of heart disease is substantially up to you. Listen to what your heart tells you it needs; then, exercise your right to fetch some cardiovascular necessities.
In the Clear - Skin is always in danger of acne and inflammations
June 12, 2005 02:13 PM
In the Clear by Dianne Drucker Energy Times, August 3, 2003
Your skin needs protection even as it offers itself as your body's first line of defense against the outside world. Skin is always in danger of acne and inflammations during its daily encounters with stray microorganisms, streams of ultraviolet light and a barrage of pollutants.
Tending to your skin, keeping a clear complexion while safeguarding your well-being, requires proper feeding, watering and tender, loving care.
Your skin not only has to protect you, it has to look good while doing it. Unfortunately, much can go wrong with skin. One of the most common skin irregularities is the acne that often arises when pores clog and inflammation creates unsightly blemishes.
While conventional medicine has long insisted that your chances of developing pimples are unrelated to what you feed your body and your skin, recent studies are calling that accepted wisdom into question.
Research in the Archives of Dermatology (12/02) argues that today's pimples are linked to what you ate yesterday. Skin scientists now suspect that the typical American diet, filled with refined foods, sugars and simple starches, causes the exaggerated release of insulin and related secretions that foment pimples and blemishes.
The evidence: When researchers spent two years combing through the rainforests of New Guinea and trekking to remote parts of Paraguay, they took a close look at indigenous people's faces and couldn't find a single pimple. The inhabitants of these isolated areas eat homegrown food and wild game. They've never eaten crackers or cookies from a box or slurped a milkshake through a straw. And they've never had to cope with embarrassing acne.
The researchers concluded that no refined foods meant no blemishes.
Refining the Pimple Process
According to this latest theory, pimples can start when your digestive tract quickly absorbs refined, starchy carbohydrates from white bread or potatoes or sugary soft drinks. These foods are ranked at or near the top of the so-called glycemic index. That means that these foodstuffs cause your blood sugar to climb rapidly, the process that the glycemic index measures.
That rise in blood sugar causes the release of insulin from your pancreas into your bloodstream. Insulin, a hormone-like substance, helps cells soak up the excess sugar circulating in your blood. However, along with insulin, another substance, is also released. These two chemicals boost the production of testosterone, the male hormone that, in turn, can cause the skin to overproduce sebum, an oily goo that plugs up pores and gives birth to acne. (Previous research has already established the causal relationship of testosterone to pimples.)
Lorain Cordain, PhD, a health professor at Colorado State University and lead researcher in this study, points out that more than 80% of the grains we eat are highly refined and cause significant blood sugar increases, a factor that makes skin break out. In addition, he says, teens are especially susceptible to pimples because they are growing rapidly and, as a result, tend to be insulin resistant. Insulin resistance means it takes more insulin to persuade cells to take sugar out of the blood. This condition consequently results in even larger amounts of insulin being released and more skin blemishes being created.
According to Dr. Cordain, eating low-glycemic foods like whole grains, vegetables, fish and lean meat should lower your risk of acne. These foods don't bump up blood sugar as much, to be released and, as a result, are kinder to your skin.
Aside from improving your skin condition by improving the food you eat, taking supplements to help the bacteria in your lower digestive tract may also clear up your undesirable dermatological developments. Eczema, a discomforting and embarrassing skin inflammation, is now believed to depend on the interaction between intestinal bacteria and your immune system.
According to research in Finland (The Lancet 2001; 357:1076), eczema may appear on your skin when your immune system, influenced by the gut's bacteria, misbehaves, using unnecessary inflammation to defend against a non-existent infection that it mistakenly believes threatens the skin.
Atopic eczema, a variety of eczema that often runs in families, has long been known to be linked to allergies and immune overreactions.
In looking into the fact that more and more people have been suffering eczema, scientists came to the disturbing conclusion that this increase may be at least partly attributed to our obsession with cleanliness.
When we are young, our immune systems learn the proper ways to fight off germs by interacting with the bacteria and viruses they encounter. But during the past ten years, so many of us (and our parents) have kept our houses so neurotically spic-and-span, according to the latest theory, that our immune systems are failing to develop the proper responses. So, like a bored, inexperienced security guard who imagines a threat when there is none, our immune defenses are going slightly haywire, causing the defensive inflammation of eczema even in the absence of real bacteriological invasions. The possible solution: Probiotic supplements of harmless bacteria like Lactobacillus GG. This bacteria, similar to the friendly bacteria that live in our large intestines, seems to calm immunity so that it is less likely to panic and start an unnecessary inflammation.
These supplements are so safe, medical researchers are now giving them to pregnant women and newborn babies. In the research in Finland, giving these probiotics to mothers and newborns cut the rate of infant atopic eczema in half. (Similar, live bacteria are also found in yogurt, although yogurt should not be fed to newborns.)
The skin on these children is benefiting for long periods of time. "Our findings show that the preventive effect of Lactobacillus GG on atopic eczema in at-risk children extends to the age of 4 years," notes Marko Kalliomäki, MD, author of the study.
Tea Tree Help
Further natural skin help can be had from Australia in the form of tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia). Long revered by the aborigines of this continent, tea tree oil was allegedly given its English name by British sea captain James Cook, who used the plant to make a tea that improved the flavor of beer.
But Australians have long used tea tree oil as an antiseptic. Its popularity increased during World War II, when, after it was used as a lubricant on heavy machinery, mechanics who got the oil on their hands noticed it fought skin infections. As pointed out in The Chopra Center Herbal Handbook (Three Rivers Press), "The essential oil of tea tree...contains a number of terpenes, of which terpinen-4-ol is believed to be responsible for its beneficial anti-infective activity." Terpenes are special, beneficial types of protein found in essential oils.
Tea tree is especially useful against skin outbreaks caused by fungus infections. Research in Australia shows that it can help quell athlete's foot (Austr Jrnl Derm 1992; 33:145) as effectively as some pharmaceutical preparations. Other research confirms that it can help quiet many different fungi that cause unsightly skin outbreaks (Skin Pharm 1996; 9:388). The Chopra Center Herbal Handbook recommends that "every household should keep some tea tree oil close at hand. It can be applied directly to skin irritations."
Revered by the pharaohs' healers in Egypt during the ancient age of the pyramids, and depended upon for centuries by the Greeks for a variety of medicinal purposes, chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is still employed for a range of skin problems. This botanical helps ease abscesses, bruises or sunburn, and is included in many massage oils. (But never apply chamomile's undiluted essential oil to the skin.)
In addition, creams and sprays with chamomile are used to calm the nerves and nourish the skin. As an element in aromatherapy, chamomile, whose odor has been compared to apples, is well-known for soothing and rejuvenating the spirit. Explaining exactly how chamomile heals and calms has not been easy for scientists. Essential oils like chamomile contain so many different natural chemicals that exploring their holistic effect on the human body requires detailed analysis. As an aromatherapeutic agent, researchers believe chamomile and other essential oils may interact with the brain, activating glands that stimulate healing systems within the body. But that has yet to be proven.
What has been proven is that herbs like chamomile and tea tree, and natural treatments like probiotics, can make a big difference in keeping your skin healthy and clear. With their help, you can present your best face to the world.
Stevia, Xylitol Sugar alternatives ...
June 09, 2005 06:15 PM
Sugar Solution by Kristin Daniels Energy Times, January 4, 2002
Sugar Solution by Kristin Daniels
Low blood sugar-a blood sugar recession-can make the good times recede. While you can't live without blood sugar, too much or too little wreaks havoc on your body and mind. And when blood sugar dips low enough to cause hypoglycemia you may feel like your emotions have been shredded. Knowing how the body regulates blood sugar allows you a measure of control in keeping blood sugar in the proper groove, and makes life a little sweeter. Hypoglycemia occurs when you feel dragged out because of low blood sugar. Ironically, this low blood sugar syndrome may be caused by an overabundance of sugar in your meals and snacks. Those who point to hypoglycemia as a widespread problem claim that up to two of three women in America suffer from hypoglycemia. That would make it an epidemic of monstrous proportions. In a survey of 1000 folks complaining of hypoglycemia, published in the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation's winter 2000 edition, researchers found that low blood sugar sufferers complained of hypoglycemic discomforts in several main categories: 94% of the people in the study reported nervousness, 89% mentioned irritability, exhaustion affected 87%, depression struck 86% and drowsiness hit 73%. Other miseries included fatigue, cold sweats, tinnitus (ringing of the ears), rapid heart rate, blurry or double vision, confusion, sudden hunger, convulsions, sweating, sleeping problems, paleness, muscle pain, memory loss, crying jags, fainting and dizziness.
Body of Evidence
Diary of a Maddening Condition