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Common Herbs to Help Soothe Constipation
September 21, 2018 08:52 AM
About a fifth of Americans suffer from the discomfort of constipation, but luckily there are several natural remedies for this common nuisance. Constipation happens when either food moves too slowly through your system, or the colon sucks too much of the water content out of waste as it passes through. Slippery elm can both soothe and lubricate the digestive tract. Aloe can likewise both help constipation and help soothe other digestive problems. Fenugreek is both an effective constipation remedy and a tasty spice.
"If you have trouble going to the restroom regularly, don’t worry because this can be easily remedied by knowing what’s making you constipated and implementing a few herbs in your diet that are specifically used to help relieve constipation."
Read more: https://www.zliving.com/featured/herbs-to-help-constipation-116076/
Alfalfa as human food: A rich source of nutrients, it is consumedas a tea, herb, supplement and now as flour
August 27, 2018 08:53 AM
Some Romanian researchers have investigated the edible legume, alfalfa, and have made some assessments. The notable livestock feed makes an A-plus human food too. As a human food alfalfa makes the grade nutrition-wise, because it encompasses a wide array of vitamins and minerals.
Shaklee, an American company puts out a product called "Alfalfa Complex." A byproduct of the complex is an alfalfa flour, which was used as a testing source by the researchers. The researchers found the flour to be an ample source of protein and amino acids. Specific minerals found in the flour included, zinc, calcium and iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Alfalfa has also been found to ameliorate the risk for many diseases. It aids circulation and anemia, protects against arteriosclerosis, and strengthens overall immunity. Besides flour, supplementation with alfalfa is possible via powder, capsules and pills.
"Far from just being a source of protein and amino acids, alfalfa concentrate flour can also be considered as a reliable supplier of minerals."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-07-20-a-rich-source-of-nutrients-it-is-consumed-as-a-tea-herb-supplement-and-now-as-flour.html
The super powers of the schizandra berry
June 29, 2018 05:54 PM
The Schizandra berry, a bright red berry native to China, Russia, Japan and Korea, has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. The Schizandra has benefits for a variety of body systems, including the digestive system, liver and adrenals. Schizandra has a somewhat unusual, complex taste, but it can be good when mixed with other ingredients. Chinese Schizandra is often heavily contaminated by pollution, pesticides and radiation, both in China and when imported to the US, so always seek out organic American Schizandra.
"While blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries are common, the shizandra berry is more of an ancient Chinese secret that is only now being fully discovered by health enthusiasts in North America as a medicinal berry that has a positive impact on all areas of the body."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-06-27-the-super-powers-of-the-schizandra-berry.html
6 Alarming Signs Of Low Potassium Levels You Should Never Ignore!
May 29, 2017 05:14 AM
Is your Potassium levels low? If so, you need to do something about it quickly because your good health is at risk. If you do not work to increase your Potassium levels, many health problems may come your way, and there's also an abundance of symptoms that will accommodate the problem. These six signs of low potassium shouldn't be ignored. Are these problems already interfering with your life? Here's a few important facts that you should know.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o241l0wwdms&rel=0
"Potassium is an essential mineral in the human body, which enables proper functioning of the body. it indicates the if the potassium levels in the body are low, it may have side effects on its proper functioning and on the overall health."
House passes cannabis decriminalisation
May 26, 2017 07:14 AM
Decriminalization is not quite the same as legalization but it means the police won't really bother with it. This talks about cannabis being decriminalized. This debate has raged for a long time. Many believe this plant has medical benefits. They say it can help with everything from anxiety to cancer. Others want cannabis to be illegal because it is bad for the lungs and alters mood. No one seems to agree on whether it helps or harms.
Read more: House passes cannabis decriminalisation
Virginia bill passes allowing individuals to grow hemp
April 06, 2017 06:44 PM
West Virginia recently passed a law allowing licensed individuals to grow hemp to be used in manufacturing. House Bill 2453 expands the list of individuals who can grow hemp to those who have already completed an application. Hemp does not possess the levels of THC marijuana does. Hemp is used worldwide in a variety of products such as clothing and health foods. Kentucky also approved the expansion of hemp growing. The hope is to diversify the economy.
Read more: Virginia bill passes allowing individuals to grow hemp
Houses passes bill allowing individuals to grow hemp
April 01, 2017 06:59 PM
Under a new bill in West Virginia, licensed individuals may be able to begin growing hemp. This bill would expand the list of growers by accepting those who have passed the application process. Currently only the Department of Agriculture and colleges/universities are allowed to grow. There is a misconception that hemp and marijuana are the same things. Hemp is a different type of cannabis with a lower THC level. Hemp is much more of an industrial product than it is a drug and, therefore, has been misclassified. This would offer an expansion for industry in West Virginia.
Read more: Houses passes bill allowing individuals to grow hemp
Here Is Why Congress Believes Marijuana Is The Same As Heroin And Meth
March 12, 2017 11:59 AM
Congressman Garrett is working to get marijuana off the federal controlled substance list, which will put marijuana on a level similar to alcohol rather than heroin. The Controlled Substance Act, passed in 1970 by President Nixon, lists marijuana as a tier 1 substance (the highest possible tier, meaning no acceptable medical use), while only 2 years after it was discovered that marijuana posed no threat to the public. While marijuana is considered highly dangerous to the federal government, twenty-eight state governments so far have passes laws allowing medical marijuana. Even cannabis extracts with no THC are considered schedule 1 drugs. And yet, congress has no plan to reschedule any time soon, with several recent attempts all proving unsuccessful.
"Earlier this week, Congressman Tom Garrett, a Republican freshman from Virginia, introduced legislation aimed at federally decriminalizing marijuana."
Read more: https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https%3A%2F%2Fthefreshtoast.com%2Fcannabis%2Fhere-is-why-congress-believes-marijuana-is-the-same-as-heroin-and-meth%2F&ct=ga&cd=CAIyGjViYjkzZDJlODZhNjI0ZWE6Y29tOmVuOlVT&usg=AFQjCNGVMruuanmcWtstgLlU4juLWyStng
Soluble corn fiber can improve women's bone health
January 14, 2017 07:59 AM
A recent new research study has found that daily intake of soluble corn fiber can significantly improve women's bone fiber overall. The reason for this is because the research found that once fiber passes through the gut, the soluble corn fiber is broken down into some short chain fatty acids which then assist in bone health maintenance.
"According to new research daily soluble corn fiber supplementation significantly helps build and retain calcium in bone for women in their teens and post menopause."
Why is it Important that Your Probiotics are Enteric Coated?
By definition, the term probiotic refers to live bacteria that are used for the purpose of boosting the health of a person. Even though most people think of bacteria as pathogenic organisms, the fact is that the body is made up of both beneficial and destructive bacteria. Probiotics are therefore classified as useful bacteria since their activities are beneficial to the body. This article discusses the rationale behind the enteric coating of these substances.
There is one main reasons as to why probiotics should be enteric coated. The first rationale is the fact that the coating technique facilitates the survival of the bacteria until it reaches the desired destination. In the process of being ingested, the probiotics are generally exposed to destructive conditions while it passes through the first stage of digestion.
For instance, the acidic conditions prevailing in the stomach are very harsh to the bacteria and can result to their instant destruction. The coating is therefore used as a means of increasing the chances of survival for these products.
To ensure that the probiotics you consume make it to the intestinal tract where they can thrive and improve health. make sure your probiotic is enteric coated.
Improving Liver Health - Does NAC Help Improve Liver Health?
All organs in our body have purposes why they exist. This includes our football size liver. Many people take their liver health for granted. Since it is an internal organ, we do not see the actual effects of toxins and unhealthy lifestyle as they slowly destroy the liver. However, we might feel the results from time to time. Our liver has the size of a football, making it a star football player in our digestive system where everything passes through it. It cleanses the blood by taking away hazardous chemicals, converting the liquid into bile, which is then used to break down fat from the food we eat. The liver also stores glucose, a sugar that quickly boosts energy. So how do we take care of our liver?
How to Take Care of Liver Health
It is okay to enjoy and have fun, but to do it every day with a lot of alcohol is dangerous. Drinking too much alcohol leads to the swelling of liver cells.
Controlling what you eat and good amount of exercise will help you avoid non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases, a condition that might lead to severe liver damage.
There are some medicines such as Tylenol and cholesterol drugs that may hurt your liver when taken in uncontrolled doses. Also avoid taking medicines with alcohol, because they are not a good combination, or joining different drugs together.
Many studies say that liver diseases are caused by the lack of Glutathione or GSH in our body. That is why NAC comes to the rescue.
NAC is a small protein powerful to restore intracellular level of Glutathione or GSH, an effective antioxidant. The GSH is most needed by those who have liver diseases because it protects the liver against toxicity. When you are suffering from stress caused by a chronic liver disease, there is the reduction of glutathione, which is why there is a need to supplement it. NAC also helps to protect against present liver damages by reducing a wide range of chronic, deteriorating issues which include liver inflammation and impaired glucose control.
Taking good care of our liver health is like grooming a football superstar. Always watch out of the things you are doing to it.
What is chitosan and how effective is it for weight loss?
Chitosan is a compound extracted from the hard shells of shrimps and other crustaceans. While it has many uses, it also claims that it aids in the elimination of excess fat in our bodies which makes it a perfect candidate for inclusion in any weight loss program. It can be ingested in the form of capsules, powder and pills.
How does it work?
Chitosan works by preventing the absorption and storage of fat before it is metabolized in the stomach. Basically, it is a fiber that absorbs fats when they enter the body. Therefore, the fat is broken down and does not get absorbed into the blood stream. Instead, fat and chitosan go through your small intestine or the ileum where they bind with bile acids. They then form an insoluble gel that passes through the large intestine and is excreted out of your body. This means that instead of the fat being absorbed into the blood stream, it is excreted out of the body and no fat absorption means no weight gain.
There is still another way that chitosan helps in weight loss. Since chitosan is a fiber, it promotes cleansing which is important in the process of losing weight.
Another reason this compound seems to work for weight loss is that it makes the body not to crave for fattening foods. It neither starves nor does it make you feel hungry; this is simply because you continue eating fat, the only thing is that the fat does not get absorbed into your blood stream.
Now, since less amounts of fat are entering the blood stream, the body is able to burn the existing fat present in your body. Therefore, your body burns the fat in the body and you constantly lose weight.
Chitosan products contain vitamin C which makes it swell up. This promotes appetite suppression which is very important for weight loss.
Can Peppermint Tea Sooth An Upset Stomach?
Almost everyone has experienced upset stomach at some point in life. There are various possible causes of upset stomach including food and drink, lifestyle factors, and medical issues.
Food and Drink
Upset stomach often results from the food or drinks that we take. According to C. Health (2015), upset stomach might result from food poisoning. For example, food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites can cause upset stomach or vomiting. Overeating and drinking can also lead to upset stomach. C. Health (2015) warns that if an individual drinks or eats too much, he/she can get upset stomach or indigestion. Similarly, some types of foods such as fatty, greasy, or spicy food, can cause upset stomach.
Upset stomach can also result from a number of lifestyles including emotional stress, eating too fast, or smoking (C. Health, 2015). The other possible lifestyle causes of upset stomach include too much alcohol or caffeine.
There are various medical problems associated with upset stomach. These include gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or intestinal infections (C. Health, 2015). The other possible medical causes of upset stomach include lactose intolerance or ulcers.
There are various treatments for upset stomach. These include peppermint tea.
Peppermint is a common flavoring for tea and toothpaste (UMMC, 2015). Peppermint tea helps to soothe upset stomach in various ways.
Peppermint tea calms stomach muscles and improves the flow of bile that helps in digestion of fats (UMMC, 2015). As such, food passes through the stomach more quickly. However, it is not advisable to use peppermint if the indigestion symptoms result from GERD.
Peppermint tea relaxes stomach muscles thus allowing digestive gas to pass.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Peppermint tea treats irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) including, diarrhea, pain, bloating, and gas. UMMC (2015) found that patients who took peppermint flavored tea 3 to 4 times daily for one month rarely experienced upset stomach.
Overall, peppermint kills some types of viruses, bacteria, and fungi implying that it has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. UMMC (2015) asserts that the main ingredients of peppermint include menthol and methyl salicylate which have calming effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, peppermint tea can soothe upset stomach.
C. Health. (2015). Digestive health. Retrieved from, //chealth.canoe.com/channel_section_details.asp?text_id=5293&channel_id=1017&relation_id=76888
University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). (2015). Peppermint. Retrieved from, //umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/peppermint#ixzz3hn1seQSm
What's So Special About Bentonite Clay?
March 09, 2014 10:46 PM
What is bentonite
Bentonite Clay is mined around Fort Benton, Wyoming, from whence it got its name. Really Bentonite is found in ample supply in the northwest of the United States around Wyoming and Montana. Bentonite has been utilized by Indians and locals for a long time to cure a mixture of maladies by detoxifying the form.
Bentonite is really simply regular earth from the beginning. It is 61% silica additionally holds 18% aluminum, and little measures of iron, sodium, and magnesium. It is basic, with a ph of 8.3 to 9.1.
Bentonite works inside by drawing in a mixed bag of toxic substances from the gastrointestinal tract. The Bentonite Clay has a negative charge while the toxins have a tendency to have a positive charge. Along these lines there is the fascination of the toxins to the dirt. When these are assimilated, the figure wipes out the earth and toxins and you are healthier
What Is Agar Powder Used For?
January 27, 2014 09:44 AM
What Is Agar Powder Used For?
Agar, also known as agar agar or kanten, is a gelling agent that comes from a South East Asian seaweed. This natural additive has excellent gelling properties. It is often used by vegetarians as a vegetable gelatin as the true gelatin comes from calf’s feet.
For instance, biologists use it as filler in paper sizing fabric. Biologists also use it as a clarifying compound in brewing. Additionally, agar can be used as a laxative, thanks to its high fiber concentration. Better yet, the product can be used as an appetite suppressant.
People who desire to lose weight fast may find agar useful. It has no calories, no fat, no carbs, and no sugar and is loaded with fiber. As a matter of fact, 80 percent of agar is comprised of nothing but fiber.
What Herbs Help Fight Against Worms And Parasites?
January 23, 2013 12:27 PM
Fighting Against Worms and Parasites
There are thousands of worms and parasites around in the environment and people are always becoming ill because of some of these insects which they come into contact with. Many people are under the impression that something like a tapeworm does not exist anymore. However, although this is less common, people are still being affected by this and it can cause all sorts of complications.
Flatworms, Flukes and Roundworms
The three main problematic worms are flatworms, flukes and roundworms. These all cause some form of damage and need to be dealt with. You have to treat this early on. You must make sure that you take precautionary methods, because then there is little chance of something going terribly wrong. Some of these worms feed on blood and tissue fluids. You will start to lose a lot of weight as a result of a flatworm and often you won't even know that you have one of these in your system. One of these worms can measure up to 20 meters in length.
Eventually the organs will also start to suffer. Parasites can be transmitted in a variety of ways, but most of the time you can't do anything about it. You may be in a tropical country where there are a lot of mosquitoes, fleas and flies buzzing around. These can be harmful and can even cause malaria. One can even be affected by something that passes by in the air. Vegetables and fruit are often contaminated and they need to be washed. Tapeworms have been known to be found in pork, and therefore this should only be bought once it has come back from a butcher. To look after yourself and make sure that you don't run into too many problems, it is important that you treat yourself from time to time.
Black Walnut, Garlic, And Wormwood
Using natural herbs, black walnut and garlic as well as wormwood will help prevent running into any of these complication. Ipecac and Myrrh are two of the well known herbs that work on getting rid of parasites. You will have to use these in a tea form because they are very powerful. They can have minor side effects for some, but it is a lot better than living with some of the worms in your body. Garlic works best with hook worms and is effective in treating parasites. It has been used over the ages and has a very good reputation in this regard. Wormwood is found in a lot of medication on the market and is recommended by many doctors as one of the better ways to clear out your system, especially working to get rid of the roundworm.
Research has said that pumpkin seeds work very well in getting rid of tapeworms. However, if this has got to a very advanced stage, then they may need to be surgically removed. Some experts suggest that these seeds be mixed with milk and honey for the best effects. Most people will tell you that it is a good idea to use herbs and other remedies on a regular basis on their own or in your cooking to keep your system clean and healthy. If you do this, there is less chance of an invasion. If you should have a problem, you will be able to be treated in the early stages.
All about curamin
December 13, 2012 11:35 AM
For those who never really hard about it, they should know that Curamin contains is up to ten times strong than the regular curcumin products. It's actually one of the best ways through which individuals will be able to balance their body's natural inflammation response and many recent and past studies support its ability. Through the removal of pro inflammatory compounds which are generally present in this plant, the impact of boswellia is very much enhanced.
DLPA was showed in many studies to actually be very helpful with maximizing the effects of enkephalins and endorphins, which are natural and very powerful pain relievers produced by the human body. Nattokinase is rounding up the formula and for those who don't have any idea what it is, they should know it's actually an enzyme. It directly affects muscle pain through its ability to have the fibrinogen levels in the body balanced and at the same time it will also ensure people have a healthy blood circulation in the body. Many people are already aware of the fact that if they take ibuprofen and also aspiring for long periods of time, they will experience serious stomach bleeding and at the same time, if they take Tylenol and ibuprofen, the toxicity in their kidneys and liver will increase very much.
However, with the more safer and also more effective alternative of Curamin, who would ever want to consider the aforementioned medicines?
Curamin, this is a natural pain killer anyone can take. Its combination of dl-phenylalanine, boswellia, cuminoids and Curcumin make it a really effective pain reliever. The way it works is that it will help with stopping the triggers that switch on pain pathways and at the same time it will also reduce the inflammation. More than ninety percent of people who have taken Curamin said that in just forty five minutes, they experienced great pain relief. At the same time, they also said there were no side effects to deal with, meaning their kidneys, stomach and intestines didn't suffer any damage. Curamin actually works in conjunction with the body's natural ability to stop inflammations which is the reason why individuals feel pain.
The president and founder of Europharma in the United States said that it is really a great and effective product which everyone who is dealing with inflammations should use. Because he trusts this product so much, millions of Americans have actually turned their attention to it and regard it now as one of the most efficient pain relievers on the market. In 2009 Curamin was awarded the prize for having the best formula so far, a formula which doesn't let people experience any side effects and at the same time, it makes their inflammations and pain go away really quickly. It seems that as time passes, Curamin is also getting better and more and more effective formulas appear. With that being said, everyone who will take Curamin in order relieve his pain or inflammation will feel great in less than an hour!
Can Colostrum help With Herpes?
November 03, 2011 07:34 AM
Colostrum is a special substance produced by female mammals just before they give birth to their offspring. Colostrum is basically not milk but a pre-milk fluid that is often called by many as the “first milk” for the very reason that it is obtained after birth (during first milking). Colostrum production ceases with birth; birth also signals the body to produce milk which will then serve as the infant’s food.
The fluids that are coming out from the female’s mammary glands changes after the first milking; the colostrums concentration is no longer that high and as time passes, all that goes out from the mother’s breast is already pure milk. The transition process would last for approximately 2 to 3 days. For humans and other mammals colostrums is very necessary for survival because of its vital components such as immunofactors. Although death is not eminent for babies who were not able to receive colostrum, those who were able to take the substance are relatively healthier than those who were not able to take it at all.
To make sure that your baby could drink colostrums, it is advisable to harvest the substance as soon as the breasts are already producing it after birth. Once harvested, you can bottle-feed it to the newborn during the first day of life. In this way, you will be certain that your baby will receive enough amounts of quality colostrums that would provide him or her with the vital components that the substance contains. Colostrums truly play a vital role especially during the first 24 hours of life thus; it is a duty of every mother to try whatever ways there are to provide her infant with the wonder substance, colostrums.
It is already a proven fact that for humans and to other mammals, newborns that are able to take colostrums as their first meal is very significant for development and immunity. It is also necessary in keeping the infant healthy for the rest of his or her life. After birth, the immune system of the infant is still very fragile and undeveloped thus, making them very susceptible from various illnesses and diseases brought about by antigens, pathogens, and allergens. With colostrums intake, these newborns will be provided with immune factors that are so potent in regulating and maintaining homeostasis within the immune system.
At present, the prevalence of herpes simplex virus, AIDS, and other immune disorders warrants the necessity of providing newborns with mantle of protection through the utilization of colostrum. As we all know, herpes simplex virus is one potent virus that could cause detrimental effects to one’s health especially to those that have flimsy immune system like infants and the sickly. By allowing infants to take colostrums, they will be somehow protected from the fierce of herpes simplex virus thus prevents them from being sick regularly. Colostrum can strengthen the immune system and our immune system is the only thing that fights off this virus.
When it comes to our health, we should exert superlative efforts to attain the best health state we could ever have because by doing so, we could enjoy the world better.
Digestive Enzymes, Acid Reflux, Cholesterol, Heartburn, IBS, Diabetes, And Blood Pressure
June 13, 2011 02:24 PM
Digestive Enzymes - Can Enzymes Help Me Feel Better?
Irregular bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disease many people suffer from and basically causes your bowels to move irregularly leaving you bloated and in pain. This is mainly due to the average diet of today (too little fiber) but is also caused by genetic reasons and an unhealthy diet. A great way to treat this problem healthily is by taking digestive enzymes supplements.
The first question we should probably ask is what are digestive enzymes? Shortly put – digestive enzymes are live proteins present in all living organisms. Digestive enzymes are secreted along your digestive track and it extracts nutrients from the food and your body passes the rest as waste. The reason why some foods are hard on your digestive system is because we eat most of our food cooked and this process of cooking kills all the live enzymes in the food, leaving it to your digestive system to digest the whole portion, whilst uncooked food breaks 40% – 60% down itself.
Your body isn’t designed to digest mostly cooked food, and this causes almost every digestive problem you might have. A great way to get rid of this problem is drinking digestive enzymes supplements. Before your food moves from your stomach to the next process of digesting the extra digestive enzymes can help to completely digest all the food as so making it much easier on your body to break down.
Making sure your body has enough digestive enzymes is crucial – not only for your digestive health. If your body produces less digestive enzymes than it uses, it may cause damage to your pancreas because you’re overworking it. Remember that it is the pancreas that produces your body’s digestive enzymes. Eventually damage to your pancreas will also lower your immune system and also lower metabolic enzymes and having a constantly depleted level of digestive enzymes will eventually catch up with you. So get yourself some supplements – even if you are a vegetarian Yogi!
Not having enough digestive enzymes, your body can be in deathly dangers. Some of the problems due to a lack of enzymes include acid reflux, high cholesterol, heartburn, IBS, diabetes, high blood pressure and circulatory problems. If you are prone to any of these problems you should consider talking to your doctor about taking some digestive enzymes, they are readily available, not too expensive and they may lengthen your life another decade or two.
To avoid any of these health problems you should look after your body because, evidently, it will make you feel better for longer. Exercise regularly, eat as much raw food as possible, and try to drink digestive enzymes supplements when you eat cooked food and to visit your doctor for a check-up once a year. With the right balance, diet and digestive enzymes you can go a long way to assure yourself a long, healthy life.
How Does Glutathione Work in the Body to Detox
May 06, 2011 10:11 AM
Glutathione a Body Detox
Glutathione belongs to the category of antioxidants that the human body can synthesize. It is an organic compound that is quite pervasive in nature as it is found in many multicellular organisms, microscopic or not. Almost all plants and animals are capable of producing glutathione, and, like human beings, they utilize this substance to neutralize free radicals and detoxify heavy metals.
Scavenges Free Radicals
It is common knowledge that free radicals are harmful to our body. It damages tissues, proteins, and even DNA. Free radicals are highly reactive by-products of cellular respiration. Cells utilize oxygen to power their activities, but in the process produce a group of compounds called reactive oxygen species, which change into radicals, harming cell organelles when not disposed of and raising cellular toxicity.
Glutathione is in the employ of every cell, for it is a fundamental part of the antioxidant defense of cells. Throughout the body, it is usually found in its reduced form, which donates reducing equivalents to reactive oxygen species. Glutathione becomes reactive in the process, but easily reacts with other reactive glutathione to form glutathione disulfide. Antioxidant enzymes manufacture glutathione in the presence of glutathione disulfide. This process constitutes the antioxidant mechanism of all cells.
Detoxifies Liver Metabolites
Metabolism is a complex process. Bioactive compounds in the foods we eat produce metabolites and by-products that are not necessarily good for our health. In fact, most of the drugs and medications we take directly harm us. Fortunately, the liver comes to our defense. For example, alcohol is converted into large amounts of acetaldehyde in its first stage of metabolism, creating effects we usually refer to as hangover.
The presence of glutathione enables the liver to easily recuperate from the damages brought on by harmful metabolites. That being said, glutathione in its reduced form does get depleted. One good example is drug overdose. The analgesic paracetamol, or acetaminophen, is known for its toxic by-product that induces liver failure in the absence of glutathione. Drugs are immediately detoxified in the liver with the help of glutathione. Low levels of glutathione may even result in death as is the case with paracetamol overdose.
Expels Foreign Materials
A number of substances in our diet are considered xenobiotics, or foreign materials, by our body. Most of them passes the alimentary canal undigested and enters the colon together with waste materials. However, there are substances that readily undergo absorption in the small intestines, such as trace elements and heavy metals. They pose considerable threats to health when they enter the systemic circulation in large quantities.
Glutathione is one of the compounds that keep xenobiotics in check. It facilitates the excretion of heavy metals and many known toxins. Glutathione conjugation plays a major role in detoxification and quite common at the cellular level. It makes sure that foreign compounds do not undergo reabsorption once it reaches the kidneys, effectively washing them away through the urine.
Is Elderberry Good for Colds and Flu?
April 14, 2011 03:32 PM
Elderberry and your Health.Elderberry is a plant species best known for its medicinal properties believed to effectively treat colds and flu. It is native to Europe and North America, but also has a significant presence in the Middle East. It is cultivated for its flowers and fruits, which are utilized for both culinary and medicinal uses. The flowers are often made into a popular juice, which is the flavor of many local soft drinks. The fruits are consumed raw, and only consumed when fully ripe.
Sambucus nigra is the plant species generally referred to as elderberry although the term elder encompasses the entire genus Sambucus, which comprises up to 30 species. Most species of elderberry thrive well in damp regions where the soil is moderately wet and the area quite shaded, and sambucus nigra is no exception. This species is noted for their dark purplish berries and creamy white flowers, both of which are edible. It is usually categorized as a shrub, but it can grow up to 10 feet on average, looking much like a small tree.
Elderberry has been ascribed with herbal properties since the ancient times, with an emphasis on the amelioration of flu symptoms. All its parts are historically noted for their specific uses. The bark is utilized as an herbal treatment for cardiovascular, digestive, and renal conditions. The leaves are used to disinfect wounds. The berries are for inflammation, allergies, and skin disorders. And the flowers are usually used to relieve sore throat, colds, and influenza. Today elderberry extracts found in health products are obtained from various parts of the plants.
Stimulates Faster Immune Responses
The organic compounds naturally occurring in elderberry appear to speed up the immune responses implicated in viral infections, notably the common colds and influenza B. In Europe, elderberry has enjoyed overwhelming popularity in comparison with other herbal remedies for colds. Indeed it contains unique flavonoids believed to be responsible for stimulating the immune system. Its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties are all attributed to the same organic compounds.
Reduces the Severity of Cold Symptoms
Researchers are enthusiastic about the outcomes of preliminary studies. Earlier studies in Europe recorded noticeable improvements in best known symptoms of the common cold, such as runny nose, nasal congestion, headaches, and sinusitis. Furthermore, it shortened the duration of cold infections. And since its preparations have not been associated with any adverse effect, it can be administered to people of all ages. Succeeding studies conducted in North America yielded very promising results, cutting the severity of symptoms and defeating infections fast.
Effectively Treats Influenza Infections
There have been several studies looking into the efficacy of elderberry preparations, and all of them pointed to a compound called Sambucol. It was first observed to be a viable treatment for Influenza B infections, but more recent studies came to a conclusion that it also effectively treats influenza A. In all studies, Sambucol helped over 80 percent of patients suffering from flu in less than 3 days.
Keep Elderberry on hand in case of emergencies
It is good to keep elderberry on hand for when a cold rears its butt. Starting elderberry at first signs of a cold can greatly increase its effectiveness.
Do you Suffer from Varicose Veins? There Is A Remedy!
February 03, 2011 01:10 PM
Over 12 million people suffer from varicose veins in the US alone, and leg veins in particular are expected to appear by the time women turn 50. There is nothing pleasant about having varicose veins, and complications are not uncommon, giving rise to venous ulcers and even cancerous tissues. The good news is that a treatment proven to be safe and effective has been around for years with the use of horse chestnut seed extract or HCSE as made available by pharmaceutical companies.
Veins may develop conditions leading to the impairment of its functions. Unlike arteries, veins pump blood back to the heart, and acting against gravity bear the weight of the blood coming from the lower extremities. This seems to be a real burden to the veins in the legs, but the vascular walls of all veins have special valves to accomplish this feat. To avoid blood flow moving against the programmed current inside the veins, leaflets of the valves fold and close up as blood passes.
A medical condition called chronic venous insufficiency explains the appearance of varicose veins. Veins anywhere in the body can get inflicted with the same symptoms made evident by varicose veins, but the latter is more noticeable because it lies close to the surface of the skin. The valves inside the venous system must be able to act against the turbulence that may occur inside the tube, and when they don’t, blood flow literally descends into chaos, putting an added pressure on the vascular walls.
The resulting dilated veins are what we refer to as varicose veins, which is just one symptom of chronic venous insufficiency. Age is one major factor in the development of this medical condition. It is a fact that the valves inside the leg veins are more susceptible to decreasing elasticity as we age due to daily wear and tear the veins in the legs has to endure over the years. Since female hormones contribute to the relaxing of the vascular walls, varicose veins are more likely to afflict women.
For most women, varicose veins must be remedied to avoid the social implications they bring. However, there are a number of patients that are plagued with a variety of complications. Some women practically lose the ability to stand or walk for otherwise short stretches of time, significantly affecting their productivity at work. More severe cases include the formation of skin ulcers close to the area of varicose veins, which may worsen into necrosis or skin loss.
All the debilitating effects of varicose veins can be countered by intake of horse chestnut seed extract, including of course the removal of ugly leg veins. Standardized dosage of horse chestnut is among the best remedies for chronic venous insufficiency, accounting for innumerable positive results that have been documented in recent years minus the side effects commonly associated with other medications. In fact, medical professionals in Europe largely rely on the use of horse chestnut to correct varicose veins.
A Healthy Colon Requires Lots Of Fiber
December 16, 2010 02:34 PM
Psyllium Husk Fiber
Nowadays, because of the kind of lifestyle that people have, there is an evident rise of different medical condition which concerns the colon. What comprises our diet will surely affect our health. Hence, those who engage in a diet that contains very low amount of fiber and nutrients will eventually grasp health problems most especially in the digestive system. However, because of the new discoveries in this present world we live in, there is less need for us to fret because there are already a variety of remedy that promises you relief from such feared medical conditions.
Psyllium is one of the many agents being incorporated in many edible products nowadays. It can be found in almost all breakfast cereals mainly because of its unfathomable health benefits that help the individual to have a more effective digestive process. Psyllium came from a native plant in Iran known as Plantago psyllium. Its seeds contains liberal amounts of glycosides and mucilages that is now being used in many food industries to give the products they are selling a texture that is more appealing to the majority of consumers.
Not only for its textural benefits, but most especially for the health faculties it contributes to the health of every consumer. Psyllium husk is an abundant source of water soluble fiber, similar to the kind of fiber present in oats and barley but in more abundant amounts. It has been found out that in every 100 grams of psyllium could give the consumer 71 grams off essential soluble fiber that helps you to attain better metabolism and colon function.
It is definitely good and beneficial for our colon because it does not break down as it enter and passes through the gastrointestinal tract, it increases fecal mass and loosen stool hence (when adequate water is consumed along with it), you can achieve a cleaner colon free from constipation and other digestive problems as well. Psyllium’s health benefits are not only hearsays but are being acknowledge by Food and Drug Administration of the United States of America. FDA also affirmed that psyllium fiber combined with a low-fat diet can help in maintaining blood cholesterol levels within normal values for it contains liberal amount of soluble fiber that prevents the absorption of blood cholesterol and bile acids from the intestinal tract.
Needless to say, psyllium is indeed a gift to the human race. But it alone could not solve all the health problems that we have, hence it is advisable to engage in healthy lifestyle, coupled with proper diet, enough sleep and adequate exercise. Our health is very fragile that is why with all our might we should protect it. We only have one body and one lifetime to live. For us to savor it fully, we should engage in a lifestyle that could not bring any detrimental effect into our health. Let us learn how to identify the components of the food that we eat and make sure that psyllium is one of those.
Keeping your colon clean with plenty of fiber can boost your health and wellness and help you live a long time.
What is stopping you from adding psyllium husk fiber to your diet?
March 29, 2009 10:08 AM
Constipation occurs when one has difficulty passing stools, or infrequently passes hard, dry stools. This is the result of food moving extremely slowly through the large intestine. From time to time, most people experience constipation. However, lifestyle changes and better eating habits can help to relieve the symptoms and prevent recurrences. Constipation usually results from insufficient amounts of fiber and fluids in the diet. Fiber can be found in plant foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Fiber that is water-soluble takes on a soft texture and is helpful in softening the stools. Insoluble fiber goes through the large intestine unchanged and is helpful in adding bulk to the stools to stimulate bowel contractions.
Other factors that can cause constipation include inadequate exercise, advanced age, muscle disorders, structural abnormalities, bowel diseases, neurogenic disorders, and a poor diet, especially a heavy consumption of junk food. Constipation can also be a side effect of iron supplements and some drugs, like painkillers and antidepressants. It is also common during pregnancy. High levels of calcium and low levels of thyroid hormone can also lead to constipation. Those with kidney failure are also prone to having problems with constipation. Constipation is often caused by dehydration in older individuals, with depression being a factor in people of any age. Some medications, like cough syrups, pain medications that contain codeine, antidepressants, iron supplements, blood pressure and heart medicines, calcium supplements, and some antihistamines can also cause constipation.
A small percentage of people with spinal injuries and other similar problems have constipation because the nerves that usually regulate bowel movement have been damaged or destroyed. A condition referred to as Hirshsprung’s disease makes the normal excretion of feces impossible because the nerves inside the bowel are missing. The nerve cells in the colon can also be damaged by long-term use of laxatives, which makes constipation inevitable. A thrombosed hemorrhoid, anal fissure, or a pocket of infection at the anus can create a spasm of pain that is strong enough to contract the muscles and prevent the evacuation of stools.
Constipation can cause a variety of other ailments such as appendicitis, bad breath, body odor, coated tongue, depression, diverticulitis, fatigue, gas, headaches, hemorrhoids, hernia, indigestion, insomnia, mal-absorption syndrome, obesity, and varicose veins. It may even be involved in the development of other serious diseases like bowel cancer. It is important to have regular bowel movements in order to remove toxins from the body. Toxins from bowel bacteria and undigested food particles play a part in the development of diabetes mellitus, meningitis, myasthenia gravis, thyroid disease, candidiasis, chronic gas and bloating, migraines, fatigue, and ulcerative colitis. People can have bowel movements as infrequently as three times a week and still not be constipated, but there are some health practitioners that believe that it is important to have a bowel movement every day.
The following nutrients are very helpful in dealing with and preventing constipation: garlic, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, apple pectin, chlorophyll liquid, essential fatty acids, a multi-enzyme complex, a multivitamin and mineral complex, vitamin B complex, vitamin D3, vitamin E. Additionally, the following herbs are also beneficial: alfalfa extract, fennel seed, aloe vera, ginger, milk thistle, triphala, cascara sagrada, goldenseal, rhubarb root, senna leaves, and yerba mate.
Adding a good fiber supplement as well as the above mentioned supplements can help one stop constipation and start normal bowel movements again. Natural fiber, vitamins, and herbs are available at your local or internet health food store. Look for name brands such as Source Naturals, Solaray, Kal, Planetary Formulas, and Natures Plus to ensure quality and safely of all your natural supplement needs.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins, herbs, and fibers are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
NOW® Introduces Genuine Whole Food™ Labeling
September 27, 2008 01:23 PM
NOW is excited to highlight our line of Genuine Whole Food products with a new icon. These existing products include a wide range of items, including NOW® Flax, Alfalfa Juice, Blue Green Algae, Kelp, Spirulina, Aloe, Hoodia, Colostrum, and Chlorella. One of the most exciting to join this new product category is an Organic Red Yeast Rice that is sourced right here in the United States.
In order to provide you and your customers with the finest possible product, these items undergo a delicate process that helps retain the highest concentrations of nutrients and other beneficial extracts. They are minimally processed without adding or creating new isolates, and we do not spike our active ingredients. This results in safe ingredients that provide nutrients in their original form. NOW® Genuine Whole Foods are concentrated using only deionized water; no harsh chemical solvents are used at any stage during the process.
When it comes to the products that enter your body, natural is always better. Not only are natural products free of potentially dangerous chemicals, they also contain a wide range of nutrient compounds that cannot be recreated in a laboratory. All NOW Genuine Whole Food supplements are 100% natural and free of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives. Our new Genuine Whole Foods icon identifies this commitment made to product quality. Each product delivers a ratio of nutrients similar to that found in natural food sources. This results in greater nutrition that your body can use in the most effective manner possible.
Unlike other companies that offer only a small selection of Whole Food-based products and ingredients, or none at all, NOW has a diverse selection of 68 SKUs that encompasses a wide range of health and wellness needs.
Hyper-immune Egg Vs Colostrum
September 23, 2008 03:36 PM
When a hen lays her eggs she is virtually an antibody-producing factory, as she passively transfers her antibodies and immunoregulatory factors into the egg in order to protect her offspring. These eggs are made up of a concentrated source of antibodies and helpful immune-supporting biomolecules. However, there are significant differences in the way a cow passes immune protection to a calf and the way a mother hen passes protection to a chick.
A newborn calf will nurse for several months, acquiring immune support over the entire period of time. Since a mother hen cannot nurse her chick, it is essential for the egg to provide all the immune support a chick will need until its own immune system is functioning properly. Because of this, an egg is much more concentrated in antibodies and immunoregulatory molecules than is colostrums. This is an advantage for using hyperimmune egg over supplements that are made from bovine colostrums as an immune system support. It has been found that chickens produce almost twenty times more antibody per unit of weight than cows are able to secret in their milk. Additionally, certain egg antibodies are compared to milk antibodies, and it has been found that egg antibodies seem to be more effective in binding antigens.
In order to produce a hyperimmune egg supplement, the following procedure must be followed. First, eggs are collected from the specially designated chicken flocks after they are specifically stimulated. They are then washed and broken. The yoke of the egg white is then removed and dried to produce a find proteinous powder. There have been various processes developed to minimize the amount of heat damage to antibodies and immunoregualtory factors during the spray-drying procedure. The immune eggs are required to be processed under good manufacturing practices in USDA-inspected and monitored facilities. After processing occurs, the powders are combined with other vitamins, minerals, and possibly other ingredients in order to form a formula that possesses a high nutritive value.
Unlike the conventional methodologies, hyperimmune eggs seems to team up with our immune system instead of boosting or suppressing its function. The immune products in hyperimmune egg are a resource for the body. The body is then able to select those immune elements that it needs in order to up or down-regulate the autoimmune and inflammatory pathways.
Because our immune systems are under constant attack, immune disorders are increasing at an alarming rate. Recent research has found that immune malfunction is an important contributing factor to conditions including heart disease, arthritis, and auto immune disorders. By fine-turning and supporting our immune system in order to prevent disease, we can make one of the best investments possible for our health and longevity.
The potential value of using hyperimmune egg for various health conditions has been shown by new research. Some of the most well-known doctors using alternative and complementary health treatments have found that hyperimmune egg supplements are extremely helpful in reversing a wide array of health problems. As research continues and understanding of how hyperimmune egg works increases, the application of hyperimmune egg can be expected to increase. Impressive properties found in hyperimmune eggs make them an excellent supplement for immune support. When we have a balanced and well-functioning immune system, our lives will be much healthier and happier.
August 22, 2008 05:50 PM
Fructooligosaccharides, which shall henceforth be referred to as FOS for obvious reasons, are sugars with chemical linkages known as osidic covalent bonds that resist enzymic hydrolysisis, and so are broken down by neither the salivary nor the digestive enzymes. In other words, they are indigestible.
However, before discussing the biochemistry further, let's have a look at what they can be used for. Your body depends upon certain bacteria for its health. These are essential to help break down and digest certain foods, and also to provide a resistance to disease and infection. FOS is what is known as a prebiotic, which used to feed these friendly bacteria. Just like any other living organism, bacteria require nourishment and while they get plenty of food from our own diet, especially from the fiber content, they find FOS particularly appetizing.
Because fructooligosaccharides cannot be digested, it passes unchanged into the colon, where these bacteria live. As they break down the FOS and live on it, they multiply, and create an environment in your lower intestine that is hostile to many harmful bacteria such as Clostridia and E. coli. However, it is not only these harmful bacteria that cause problems with your digestion since there many other agents that can interfere with the smooth functioning of your gastrointestinal tract.
People all over the world are continually suffering from both minor and very serious digestive problems, ranging from heartburn and upset stomachs to severe diarrhea, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome and even bowel cancers. There is a multitude of reasons for that such as the effects of aging, poor diet and bacteria from contaminated food. Organic foodstuffs do not last long in many warm countries, and while spices can be used to hide the taste, they are not always successful in killing off the bacteria.
Your health depends on a healthy digestive system, and when that is wrong then you will feel ill. If your digestive system is running below par, then you will not feel good, and could suffer from a wide range of symptoms, including tiredness, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, fevers and depression. The health of your intestinal tract in particular is often neglected, and most people need to do something to give it a boost and improve its, and their, overall health.
That is what FOS can do. And it can do more than just feed friendly bacteria: it can help you maintain regular bowel movements, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy immune system, break down hormones and rebuild them again (it is useful for the relief of the symptoms of PMS) and to keep down the cholesterol and fatty acid levels in your blood. It is used to feed beneficial bacteria, not to replace them, and if you are on a probiotic supplement, you can take FOS along with it.
Fructooligosaccharides are also used as artificial sweeteners, and alternative names for them oligofructan and oligofructose. There are two classes of FOS, the first of which is produced commercially by the chemical or enzymic degradation of inulin, a polymer of D-fructose linkages terminated with D-glucose. This is produced commercially predominantly in Belgium and Holland, and it also occurs naturally in chicory and Jerusalem artichoke, and in lesser amounts in bananas, garlic, tomatoes and onions. The second class of FOS is produced mainly in Japan. This is produced by a process known as the transfructosylation of a B-fructosidase from saccharose or aspergillus niger, a black mould found on onions and grapes. This is basically the same as the first class, although the chemical bonds are in different places.
While they resist breakdown by enzymes, they are fermented in the colon by anaerobic bacteria, bacteria that work in the absence of oxygen. Because they are fairly soluble, they can be added to dairy products such as yoghurt and used to feed the bacteria contained in the yoghurt. In fact many supplements containing acidophilus bacteria are fortified with FOS: you drink the bacteria along with its food.
Although FOS is only now assuming increasingly popularity in the West, it has been used as a dietary supplement in Japan for many years. Some of the specific health benefits that FOS coveys by promoting the health of essential bacteria, are:
Calcium and Magnesium Absorption
There have been several studies that have concluded that FOS and inulin improve the absorption of calcium in the intestine of both animals and humans. The fermentation of the FOS by bacteria reduces the pH of the gut, which increases the solubility of these minerals and hence extracts more of them from food. The increased solubility also helps them to be more easily absorbed through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. FOS can therefore help to maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
Strengthened Immune System
By taking a supplement of FOS, you can increase the density of friendly bacteria in your gut fivefold in a matter of weeks. This crowds out harmful bacteria, and so the level of toxins in your body is reduced. Your immune system is allowed to work properly to fight of infection and disease without having to work hard on keeping down the harmful bacteria in your gut.
Apart from being a food for bacteria, since it is not digestible FOS is also a soluble fiber that draws water into your colon, and so promotes easy transport of feces by the peristaltic pumping action of the intestinal muscles. It also absorbs excess water in the chyme and feces and so helps to prevent diarrhea. Furthermore, improving the health of the friendly bacteria also improves your digestive health that also promotes regularity.
The fermentation of FOS by bacteria produces gases and acids. These acids help the body to produce energy, and although not a massive energy boost, when allied to the improved digestion it is significant.
All of these benefits and more suggest that FOS is highly recommended in the event of sporadic and chronic gastrointestinal problems. It is a natural substance that does not have a direct influence on your body's biochemistry, but promotes the health and reproduction of those bacteria that do have a significant influence on intestinal health. Add that to the added benefits discussed above, and FOS is one of these supplements that could almost be called essential.
August 19, 2008 08:38 PM
Folic acid is an important vitamin to the developing fetus in that it aids cell development, particularly those cells involved in the development of the baby's spine. A deficiency can result in neural tube defects, in which the neural tube, down through which the central nervous system passes, fails to close properly.
However, let's first discuss the substance itself so that its function in that process can be more easily understood. Neither should we ignore the other benefits that folic acid gives us, or the problems we can have in the event of a deficiency.
Folic acid is a form of Vitamin B9, sometimes referred to as Vitamin M. Its anionic form is known as folate, which is the form in which it is frequently offered in supplements. Incidentally, it gets its name from the Latin for leaf, so is from the same root as foliage. It is water soluble, and like Vitamin C can be leached through the body if not immediately used.
It is available naturally from leafy and green vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli, spinach and peas, but is also available in fortified breakfast cereals, sunflower seeds and some fruits. You would not normally suffer a deficiency, but if you are taking anticonvulsants, have liver problems or undergoing kidney dialysis, then you might need a supplement. Pregnancy, of course, is the important case in which a supplement should be taken, although, surprisingly, many mothers-to-be are unaware of this.
New body cells need folate for their production, particularly when they are dividing and growing rapidly such as during pregnancy and in infancy. The formation of DNA depends on many chemical entities, among them four nitrogenous bases, of which three, thymine and the two purine bases, adenine and guanine, depend on folate for their synthesis. If the growing fetus is lacking folate then DNA synthesis will be hindered. This retards cell division and growth.
Among the conditions this can cause are a form of anemia known as megaloblastic anemia, and neural tube deficiencies, where the sheath that surrounds the main nerve canal up the spine fails to close properly. The best known of such neural tube defects is spina bifida, though any condition caused by a lack of cell division can also occur. Anemia can be contracted by both adults and children, since production of red blood cells takes place constantly throughout your lifetime. These are the reasons why folic acid or folate is used in breakfast cereals.
The biochemistry is fairly simple to understand, and is important because it explains the importance of two other B vitamins, B3 and B12, in DNA synthesis. The initial stages are a six step reaction that forms methyl tetrahydrofolate from folate, starting with the reduction of folate to dihydrofolate, and then a further reduction to the tetrahydrofolate (THF). Vitamin B3 (in the form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate) is an essential cofactor for these reductions. Vitamin B12 is necessary as an acceptor for the methyl-THF so that it can continue along the biochemical pathway - now that is too complex to discuss here!
However, the inference you can rightly draw from this is that a deficiency of Vitamin B12 can cause what is known as a 'methyl trap', whereby the methy-THF cannot be used, and so a deficiency in Vitamin B12 can lead to the same symptoms as a folic acid or folate deficiency.
The implications of that are that vitamin B12 is also an essential component of a pregnant woman's diet. The problem here is that this vitamin is available only from animal sources, including dairy products. Its presence in vegetable organisms such as certain algae and fungi has been proposed, but it is believed that the cobalamin (chemical term for the vitamin) from these sources is not bioavailable to humans.
Vegans, therefore, who do not eat dairy products, will need a Vitamin B12 supplement in addition to folic acid or folate, particularly when they are pregnant and with young growing children. In this respect, a vegan diet is unsuitable for young children until their rapid growth period has stabilized.
For those of you wondering why the biochemistry above was discussed: that is your answer. Such discussions can frequently explain why certain supplements are necessary, or certain diets should be reconsidered under particular circumstances. Such things are easier to understand and accept when the logic behind them are explained. A folic acid supplement taken from the onset of pregnancy up to 12 weeks at least, and also a Vitamin B12 supplement in the case of those with a low meat intake, should prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
A daily supplement of 0.4 mg should be sufficient, along with a diet rich in green vegetables, fortified cereals and breads and oranges. Your greens are best steamed since prolonged boiling destroys folic acid - as it destroys Vitamin C. One source of folic acid that you might read about is liver, and its additional iron content might lead you to believe this to be a good component of your diet when pregnant. However, although normally a very nutritious food, liver should be avoided during pregnancy due to its high Vitamin A content. This can be harmful to your baby.
Finally, there are some circumstances under which the dose during pregnancy should be greater. If you have previously had a child with a neural tube defect, or have an NTD yourself (or your partner), if you are diabetic, if you have celiac disease (a gluten allergy) or are taking anti-epileptic medication, you should increase your dose to 5 mg (milligrams) for which you will likely need a prescription from your physician.
NTD is rare, so don't over-worry much about it, but take the above precautions to put your mind at rest since pregnancy is not a time during which you should be nervous but to enjoy. That will pass on to your growing baby, which will then itself be happy.
Denture Bonding Cream
August 04, 2008 12:56 PM
Denture creams, also referred to as adhesives can be a great tool for extra denture suction, which naturally leads to better denture grip. Secure Denture Bonding Cream is not only great for uppers; it is specially designed for lowers. As new technologies develop, denture creams have been prepared with cellulosic materials, such as sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, hydroxyethylcellulose, and hydroxypropylcellulose either alone or in combination with ethylene oxide homopolymers, acrylamide homopolymers and copolymers, or maleic anhydride derivatives to improve the adhesion properties of these creams, but there are some things you should be aware of.
Most denture cream is slowly dissolved by your saliva, and studies have shown that it generally passes through your body without any ill side effects. Denture adhesive creams and similar compositions provide the desirable mechanical and aesthetic properties, at a minimum of cost, making these types of products inexpensive and effective for securing the dentures in your mouth. Being water soluble, these fixatives can dissolve, wash out, and result in the dentures slipping and sliding. Most denture creams are water-soluble and can be washed out by eating or drinking which may not be desirable at times.
These creams act as a real adhesive which create a secure, strong, bond between the dentures and the gums. Look for a cream or adhesive that does not dissolve in water. These creams and adhesives are applied to the face of the denture or plate which is particularly adapted to contact and mold itself to the contour of a particular oral surface in the mouth. Multiple applications of the adhesive are not only inconvenient, but are usually impractical if not impossible depending on the cream or adhesive purchased. When the dentures become loose or pull away from the jaw, it will be necessary to apply more than one application of the denture adhesive per day in order to obtain and maintain sufficient adhesion throughout the day.
Zinc is a very common ingredient in many over the counter and FDA approved products. Zinc is an essential mineral that is found in almost every cell in the body and in foods like red meat, poultry, whole grains and beans and is necessary for the maintenance of good health and nutrition. The potential for absorption of zinc through the gums is minimal but does happen. Zinc denture cream may adversely impact your health and create a copper deficiency in your body if left unchecked. If your mouth absorbs an excess of zinc, this overdose can lead to hypocupremia and neurologic diseases.
Many studies have been performed on zinc over dose and neurological disease. All the studies of denture cream zinc overdose reached the following conclusion: Denture cream containing zinc and chronic excessive use may result in hyopcupremia. Tests for zinc levels in your blood can determine quickly whether you have a zinc overdose in your body. Action should be taken immediately against zinc pPoisoning if you or someone you care about has been experiencing symptoms such as numbness, tingling along nerve pathways and hypersensitivity and you use Poligrip or Fixodent, please consider being examined by your doctor. People who incur permanent damage from zinc poisoning due to use of denture creams may be eligible for compensation for loss, suffering and medical treatments.
In conclusion, good denture cream acts as an inexpensive, though temporary alternative to having your dentures relined. Most creams promise all-day hold however, with out personally testing each cream or adhesive it is likely that one may work for some but not all people. Denture adhesives also come with no warning make sure you read the label and avoid zinc products. However, ill-fitting dentures may impair your health- consult your dentist for periodic examinations and over all oral health.
May 17, 2008 10:07 AM
Discovered by Phoebus Levene in 1905, D-ribose is a monosaccharide, and is a component of RNA that is needed for genetic transcription. It is a stereoisomer of ribose, and although not regarded as an essential nutrient since it is synthesized in the body, it is essential for life. It also takes part in human metabolism, helping to generate energy from food, and is a component of all living cells – animal or vegetable. It is contained in ATP and NADH and we could not live without it.
Because it is contained in all living organisms, D-ribose is a common component of the human diet, and required as a supplement only for specific needs. It for this reason that the human species developed and survived: the chemicals needed for life are either commonly found in nature or are manufactured by the body itself from other raw materials which themselves are common in our diet. The other stereoisomer is L-ribose, and this plays no part in human metabolism.
Energy is needed not only to enable us to walk and to run, but also to drive every part of human physiological activity, and all of the physical and chemical processes of life. Because of its nature energy cannot travel round the body in our bloodstream as if were a chemical entity, but must be released or generated where and when it is needed. For that reason every cell in our body contains an area called the mitochondria in which energy is generated. The molecule of energy, if there is such a thing, is called ATP, or adenosine triphosphate.
ATP controls the production of energy everywhere in the body, and allows muscles to contract and relax. This muscular activity is responsible for all movement, including the circulation of our blood through heart contractions, the diaphragm movement that creates the vacuum that allows us to breathe, and the operation of the digestive system by means of the peristaltic motion of the esophagus and the intestines. Each of the two ways in which ATP is generated involves D-ribose.
One is by means of D-ribose being used to produce new ATP, and the other is the recycling of used ATP. In the latter, D-ribose and ATP react to form ADP (adenosine diphosphate and D-ribose-5-phosphate with the release of energy. This diphosphate then reacts again with the ADP to produce new ATP and D-ribose. The reaction is catalyzed by an enzyme known as a ribokinase, a phosphotransferase that specifically catalyzes reactions involving phosphorus groups with an alcohol receptor group.
The heart muscle is operated by means of the calcium pump that depends upon both calcium and ATP for its operation. When ADP and phosphate are created by the effect of calcium and ATP coming together, then energy is provided to the muscle fibers of the heart. ADP then reacts with the phosphate and D-ribose in the presence of magnesium to reform the ATP. ATP is therefore essential for the continuation of the pumping action of the heart that maintains life in all mammals.
D-ribose is also part of the base of RNA and DNA, without which there could be no life. Because the cardiac muscle is easily depleted of ATP, the presence of D-ribose is of extreme importance and it has been proved that cardiac failure begins with the reduction in energy levels of the heart muscle that can be brought about by a lack of ATP in the muscle cells.
An important property of D-ribose is that it is unchanged by the liver, which is the chemical plant of your body in which a large part of the biochemistry needed for life takes place. This means that D-ribose can be taken in the diet and pass through the liver virtually unchanged, and then be transported in the bloodstream to where it is needed for the maintenance of ATP levels. That is why D-ribose is frequently given to treat heart attacks: because it can rapidly replace lost ATP and enable the calcium pump to get to work and keep the heart beating at its normal strength. Maintenance levels of this important sugar would not go amiss.
However, there are other uses to which the body can put this marvelous substance. Among these is the body’s ability to form Coenzyme A from it. This coenzyme is needed in the body for the breakdown of fatty acids, and many other chemical reactions, and also provides the raw material for many other necessary substances in human biochemistry.
Patients with low energy levels can frequently fail to be able to recover from illness. This is because that when illness stresses your body, your mitochondria become overwhelmed with work and begin to fail to produce sufficient ATP to keep the body going. Naturally, as your energy level drops, and your body cells are unable to respond to this, then the condition you are suffering from gets worse, and become stronger leading ultimately to possible death. Your immune system is put under a great deal of stress that uses up what little ATP you have left.
That is why when people start to get really ill, they tend to fade very rapidly: not because of the spread of the disease, but through a reduction in the ATP needed to provide the energy required for the body to fight the disease. Without an adequate supply of energy, your body would rapidly fade.
By taking a D-ribose supplement that passes unchanged right into your bloodstream and taken to where it is needed most, you body can rapidly generate sufficient ATP to keep up the fight against the agent that is making you ill. Your immune system is given a massive energy boost, and more importantly, your heart is kept beating. D-ribose is the answer to the prayer of many sick people, and also to athletes and bodybuilders needing quick bursts of energy. But what did they use before D-ribose was discovered to have the properties that it has?
At one time, it was adenosine monophosphate (that’s right, not ATP or ADP, but AMP) that was administered intravenously to those suffering from chronic fatigue, this substance being synthesized to ATP in the body over a period of time. However, it take a lot of time to be effective, and the injections had to be made daily into the muscle tissue, so it fell out of favor.
Then came an ATP supplement that could be taken orally, but the side effects were unpleasant, and that too went out of favor. However, towards the end of the 1990’s D-ribose was found to overcome all of these disadvantages, and not only be able to be taken orally, but also to work almost immediately by providing the mitochondria with a direct source of the sugar they need to generate energy.
It is now one of the most popular energy providing supplements on the market, and also a remedy for chronic fatigue that helps the patient to overcome energy-sapping medical conditions both directly and by providing the immune system with the energy needed to keep it operating effectively against masses of invading bacteria and viruses. There is nothing better than D-ribose for providing you with the energy boost that you need, whenever you require it, either to provide energy for your sport or to help you overcome illness.
April 30, 2008 03:03 PM
Sharks do not have skeleton of bone but of cartilage, which is a dense form of connective tissue. Its main components are cells known as chondrocytes that are responsible for producing collagen fibers, an elastic protein called elastin that is responsible for the skin returning to its original shape after being pinched, and ground substance that is rich in proteoglycan, a protein with glycosaminoglycan chains.
Shark cartilage is said to be beneficial in the treatment of many conditions including arthritis, psoriasis (allied to arthritis), rheumatism, eczema, acne, allergies and the most controversial – cancer. It is said to inhibit tumor growth by inhibiting angiogenesis – the formation of new blood vessels by growing them from old ones. This can lead to metastasis, or the spread of cancer between organs and also feed the cancer cells with blood.
Shark cartilage has been used medicinally for thousands of years, particularly in ancient China where its use is documented, and might also have been in other areas where the consumption of fish was high. However, the production of shark cartilage and its trade is not well documented. The major cartilage consuming countries are Australia, India, Japan and the USA, although it is used or consumed in many other countries, especially Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and, increasingly, Europe.
The best quality of cartilage is from the blue shark due to its higher chondroitin quality. Chemically, chondroitin is an acid mucopolysaccharide, and a very large molecule that is used for a variety of purposes. In arthritis it is difficult to get it to the source of the problem due to its physical size and large doses are used to ensure that at least a proportion passes through the capillaries to the joints.
Arthritis is a particularly prevalent disease and comes in two forms: osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis develops over a long period of time, and generally the cartilage roughens and becomes thin, while the bone becomes thinner. Extra synovial fluid, that lubricates the joint, can be formed and that causes swelling. The bone tried to repair itself, but degeneration continues and the tendons become affected. Eventually inflammation can occur leading to severe swelling and pain. There are several causes, the most common being injury or repetitive hard use of the joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is completely different, and is caused by the immune system rather than wear and tear. The immune system mistakes parts of your joints as being foreign, and attacks the synovial membrane, or lining of the joint. It might also attack the sheath around the tendons. This eventually causes the cartilage to thin and the joints to wear, and the inflammatory response can cause painful inflammations. There is no apparent cause, though heredity, lifestyle and hormones might all be connected.
The effect of shark cartilage on arthritis is well documented, and in one study in the 1970s, only 11% of patients did not respond well to a treatment of cartilage injections. The pain relief the injections provided lasted from six weeks to over a year, though no reason could be provided for the vast difference. However, it did seem to demonstrate that the remedy was more than just a placebo. In another study involving bedridden osteoarthritis patients, eight out of ten could leave their beds after only three weeks of oral cartilage treatment. Shark cartilage appears to be effective when administered both intravenously and orally.
In a later placebo study involving 147 arthritis patients, they were given either shark cartilage or a placebo. Those with the placebo were encouraged to use other treatments when their pain became severe. After five years the placebo group reported a 5% drop in pain scores compared to 85% of the group taking shark cartilage. The joint deterioration in each group was assessed, and was considerably less in the cartilage group, who also lost less time at work through pain.
All of these results indicate that shark cartilage can be used to relieve osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis pain in at least 60% of sufferers. Since rheumatoid arthritis has been linked to psoriasis, this could also explain its effects on psoriasis. What the studies did indicate is that you need not wait five years to find if the treatment is effective or not: if you do not experience positive results within between four and six weeks, then shark cartilage treatment will likely not work for you.
There is no doubt that shark cartilage can provide relief to painful, swollen joints, and this is likely due to the mucopolysaccharides. It can also prevent the undesirable growth of new blood vessels into the cartilage and appears to help to regulate the immune system. These are also two of the reasons why it is believed by some to be an effective treatment for cancer by preventing metastasis.
It was the publication of the book “Sharks Don’t get Cancer” that started the rush for shark cartilage as a a treatment for cancer, but the problem is that sharks do get cancer – they even get cancer of the cartilage! However, that does not mean that the scientific reasons for the inhibition of metastsis are invalid. They are valid, and it is metastsis rather than the original cancer that ferquently leads to death. Metastsis is the spread of the disease round the body by the bloodstream, and shark cartilage appears to be able to help to prevent that. It also prevents the growth of blood cells into cancerous areas to feed the cancers with oxygen and other nutrients.
Although there are few reported side effects of shark cartilage, in the interest of safety it is advised that children and pregnant women should avoid it. The same is true of people recovering from recent surgery since it could slow healing due to its effect on repairing blood vessels. If you have a low white blood cell count, do not have a shark cartilage enema since it can cause a potentially fatal infection.
Otherwise it should be safe to take, and is available in many forms including creams, capsules, powders and injections. The recommended dosage is 1 gram dried shark cartilage for each 7 Kg (15 lb) body weight. Once you begin to see an effect on the pain of your arthritis, one can then try to reduce the dose to 1 gram for each 18 Kg (40 lb) body weight.
Activated Charcoal - Highly absorbent material to combat poisoning
April 24, 2008 02:44 PM
Activated charcoal has been treated by heat to open up millions of small spaces between the carbon atoms and turn it literally into an atomic sponge that adsorbs both organic and organic impurities.
This heat treatment is carried out in the absence of oxygen, so the charcoal cannot burn. Instead, what oxygen it did contain is driven off leaving behind all of these interstitial gaps that multiply the effective surface area by factors of ten. Since it is the surface area of the charcoal that determines its potency, then the greater this is the better.
Activated charcoal has a massive surface area, and just ten grams has the same surface area as nine American football pitches or 77 tennis courts. Ten grams is just marginally more than a third of an ounce. The term adsorb has a different meaning to absorb, and while a real sponge absorbs water by mopping it up through capillary action and suction, activation carbon adsorbs substances through a form of chemical attraction. You get rid of water from the sponge by squeezing it, but that doesn’t work with activated charcoal, since the substances are bound to it, not just physically constrained.
This huge surface area provides activated charcoal with innumerable bonding sites, and when chemicals that are attracted to carbon pass by they are attached to the surface. They cannot get free again, as water in a sponge can, but are bound to the surface of the carbon. Because the digestive system has no effect on charcoal then whatever is bound to it passes naturally through the body.
It is most effective at binding other carbon-based materials, and other substances with the right electronic arrangement, but others will just pass straight through. Because it is a chemical process, once all of the empty bonding sites have been taken up, the charcoal loses its effectiveness and has to be replaced. It is possible to regenerate it, but hardly worthwhile for you to do so because of the small quantities you use.
Because of the way it works, activated charcoal can help people to recover from some forms of food poisoning. It can adsorb gases in the intestine and help to relieve the pain of excessive gas in the gut. It has many additional uses that will be touched on later, but for now we will look at its effect on poisons because that is where activated charcoal is of greatest benefit to us.
It does not adsorb and neutralize all poisons, but is very effective with those that it can be sued for. Professor Touery proved a point when he drank a lethal dose of strychnine in front of colleagues at the French Academy of Medicine in 1831 and came through unscathed. He had mixed the strychnine with activated charcoal, and the fact that he lived after drinking a dose that would certainly have led to a very painful death within minutes testifies to the powerful effect of activated charcoal as an potential antidote for poisoning.
Ever medicine cabinet should have an emergency supply of activated carbon, especially those with young children in the household. However, this is not good news for the pharmaceutical companies who have reacted by refuting some of the claims made in its favor: they have claimed that it is not effective against arsenic. If that is so, then how did Michel Bertrand survive after swallowing 5 grams of arsenic trioxide – 150 times what is regarded as the lethal dose? He did this is 1813 after mixing it with activated charcoal, just as Professor Touery was to do 18 years later with ten times the lethal dose of strychnine.
It is true, however, that it does not have this degree of activity with all poisons, and it has no effect on cyanide, alcohols, antifreeze (glycols) and lithium. It also has no effect on corrosive poisons such as the strong alkalis used in oven clearers, or hydrocarbons such as kerosene. The way it works is adsorb the poison and prevent it being released into the body. For that to happen, the poison must have an affinity for carbon, and its adsorption site, and not all substances possess that property. Those that do however are permanently bound and therefore safe.
For charcoal to be effective in neutralizing a poison, it must be swallowed within an hour of taking the poison, or the poison will be too far advanced ion the digestive process for the charcoal to do any good. Keep in mind, though, that it is not selective, and activated charcoal can adsorb nutrients and other beneficial constituents of your body’s chemistry. It is important therefore that you take in only when necessary: you might need several doses if the poison was severe, but once it has done its job it is not meant to be used as a maintenance material to take ‘just in case’. Used like that, it can do harm.
If charcoal can adsorb poisons then it makes sense to believe that it can also adsorb some of the harmful agents that cause food poisoning. Not all food poisoning of course, but certainly those organisms that emit toxins that are attracted to carbon. And this is, in fact, the case. Food poisoning is caused by bacteria rather than viruses, and is not the presence of the bacteria that make you vomit and feel very ill.
As bacteria grow in your body they release toxins, or poisons, into your digestive system. These poisons are what make you ill. They can seriously affect the complete gastro-intestinal tract, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and inflammation and swelling of the small and large intestine. The latter can cause abdominal cramps and severe colic, and the severity of the symptoms depends very much upon the type of bacteria and the number of them in your body.
Many of these toxins are attracted to carbon since they are frequently organic based, and activated charcoal can be used to adsorb them. Once adsorbed they lose their potency, and since carbon is not digested by the body, they are passed harmlessly through the colon and eliminated in the faeces. It can also be used to eliminate many other foreign bodies from your gut, including viruses and fungi and might possibly reduce the concentration of uric acid, which can bring relief to gout sufferers.
Activated charcoal has many uses, and is normally available in capsule form. It can be dangerous to take too much, particularly if you suffer from intestinal problems that cause constipation, because the charcoal itself can have that effect. However, there is no better emergency treatment for accidental poisoning in the home, although, since it is not suitable for all poisons, you must still regard poisoning as an emergency and contact the emergency services.
Activated charcoal, or activated carbon as it is sometimes called, is also a good emergency treatment for vomiting and the other unpleasant effects of food poisoning. It deals with bacterial toxins in the same way as any other, though once again you must refer to your physician before or after using it – preferably the former.
Blue Green Algae a Super Food that is Foods Packed With Nutrients. Vegetarian Friendly
April 11, 2008 11:24 AM
In the USA it is harvested in Oregon, in the upper regions of the Upper Klamath Lake, although it is also available in many other parts of the world. Blue green algae are about the best source of vegetable protein and amino acids available to the human diet, although are now generally used as a supplement rather than as a primary food source.
However, in spite of its name, it is not an alga at all: it is a bacterium: Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA), known as cyanobacteria, after the Greek for blue. Nevertheless, bacteria or not, blue green algae offer exceptional nutritional benefits and also health benefits to people suffering from certain conditions. Here are the best of its benefits:
1. It is natural and therefore easily assimilated and digested. You get a very high useful yield from its nutrient content, unlike other foods where a large proportion can be passed through the gut unchanged. In fact a large proportion of the food you eat passes through your body unchanged, although that is mainly due to a lack of chewing!
2. It is very high in protein, and helps to maintain healthy hair, nails and skin. If you are on a vegetation diet this is an ideal source of non-animal protein (unless you class bacteria as animals!). If you want numbers, at least 60% of the solid content of this material is vegetable protein human-ready for use.
3. It is packed full of enzymes that aid digestion, and so ensures that not only is it itself fully digested, but also that you get the most nutritional benefit from any other foods you eat. A lack of enzymes is very common in the western diet, especially the North American diet, and if you take a regular supply of blue green algae, then you need not also take enzyme capsules.
4. It possesses cleansing and detoxifying properties, and so helps to reduce the incidence of headaches and allow you better and more restful sleep. Toxins can act on your body to cause pain, and is associated with the free radicals discussed below.
5. It is very high in antioxidants that destroy the free radicals in your blood and tissues. Free radicals destroy body cells and can seriously damage your health. Among the health benefits that blue green algae provide due to its antioxidant properties are:
a) It supports the immune system and helps to prevent inflammation in your joints. It also enables you to fight off bacterial and viral infections quicker. b) It maintains the integrity of your body and skin cells, and reduces cell damage by free radicals. This has an anti-aging effect and preserves the youthful appearance of your skin, resisting wrinkling and maintaining its firmness. c) Blue green algae help to prevent the free radical oxidation of the LDL lipids that transport cholesterol that cause the atherosclerosis that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
6. It provides you with energy through its effect on your body’s metabolic conversion of blood glucose to energy within the mitochondria. This is partially due to its antioxidant effect and partially to the nutritional content of the bacteria. The bacteria are also a rich source of glycogen that is your body’s store of emergency energy. Your liver can use the bacteria to biosynthesize its own store of glycogen that your body can use if called upon for a sudden burst of energy.
7. The amino acids it contains are of low molecular size, and can cross the blood-brain barrier. It provides nutrition to the brain, and its high chlorophyll content helps to purify the blood. Its high content of trace minerals and naturally chelated minerals renders them extremely bioavailable, and able to provide a high degree of nutrition to the brain and other organs of the body. Blue green algae contain rhamnose that helps nutrients to cross from the blood to the brain, and then to the brain cells that need it.
8. Blue green algae have been shown to help memory and mood. This is likely due at least in part to its fatty acid content, and its effect on serotonin levels.
These eight benefits are more than any other individual food source can provide, and in themselves justify the claim that blue green algae is the best individual food source there is. However, when we have a look at the active ingredients, and nutritional content of the bacteria, then it seems even more impressive. There is more to blue green algae than just a few vitamins and minerals. You can get these in any multivitamin supplement: this stuff is completely natural and all of its ingredients are completely compatible with the human digestive system.
Many of the synthetic vitamins you find in boxes and tubs are only partially absorbed due to the form they are in. Either that or they need the presence of other substances before they can be assimilated. An example is calcium, which is next to useless without magnesium and vitamin C also being present to allow it to be incorporated in the structure of the bones and teeth. With blue green algae, every combination of substances that nature needs for them to work properly is there. Everything gets used and everything has a role to play.
The amino acids and proteins have already been mentioned, and these unusual bacteria contain all of the trace minerals that are necessary for the amino acids and proteins to be properly used. It also contains a large quantity of beta-carotene (a natural Vitamin A precursor and strong anti-oxidant), and is also rich in Vitamin B-12 that most vegetarians are deficient in. It is therefore the perfect food for vegetarians and vegans.
If you understand the health benefits of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which blue green algae are also rich in, then you will understand how a foodstuff containing these fatty acids and all of the other nutritional substances listed above could be regarded as a ‘Superfood’.
Blue green algae is probably the richest food available commercially to humans, but before you use it you should ensure that the content of blue algae in the supplement you purchase is clear and that you are purchasing a standardized amount in what you are purchasing.
Otherwise, it is difficult to see how anybody could go wrong with blue green algae, since it is indisputably an excellent source of protein, amino acids, vitamins and much, much more.
Fight Osteoporosis With Minerals To Build Bones And Improve Quality Of Life
April 02, 2008 11:06 AM
Bone consists predominantly of collagen and calcium phosphate. The collagen provides the connective framework for bone that is hardened by the calcium phosphate, and without healthy bones, your quality of life would be significantly reduced due to bone breakage. That is why it is essential to supplement this framework with the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a good bone density at those periods in your life when bone density is liable to deteriorate.
This begins to happen between the ages of 30 and 35 and in women and accelerates during the menopause, when your ovaries stop producing the hormone estrogen that is necessary for the maintenance of healthy bones. Through time, your bone mass drops creating first a condition known as osteopenia, or reduced bone mass, and then osteoporosis, when your bones become brittle, porous and very prone to fractures.
Before we look at what can be done to reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis, lets have a close look at how bone develop so that it will be easier to understand the remedial action that can be taken.
Calcium is the most common mineral in the body, and the vast majority is in the bones and teeth. Phosphorus is also essential for healthy bones because as stated earlier, the bone consists of collagen that is hardened by calcium phosphate. The two main uses of phosphorus are in bone structure and animal metabolism, since phosphates are also essential for the vast majority of the energy-production chemical reactions within your body.
Calcium has other functions within the body other than bone, however, including exchange of fluids within and between cells, the maintenance of your heartbeat and in blood clotting. Vitamin D is necessary to help calcium be absorbed from your diet, through the membranes of the duodenum. More calcium is absorbed there than in the small intestine, and the calcium is also most available to the body when it is in a water-soluble form.
In fact, the reason that stones form in your kidney for example, is that the calcium is rendered insoluble through the formation of calcium oxalate from the oxalic acid in foods such as rhubarb and soy. High fat diets can also slow down the absorption of calcium.
Estrogen plays a significant part in bone physiology, and is an important factor in the maintenance of bone density in women. Bone is living tissue, and is constantly being absorbed and remodeled throughout life. The part played by estrogen is to maintain a proper balance between the osteoclasts, the cells that reabsorb bone tissue, and osteoblasts, the cells that form new bone tissue.
When estrogen is deficient, this balance is lost and rather than bone formation and resorption occurring constantly, they take place in spurts so that first an area of new bone will be formed, then resorption will occur some weeks later, resulting in a structure where there are cavities between areas of bone. With time, these cavities will increase and weaken the integrity of the bone structure.
However, that is not the whole story. The effect of estrogen is to limit the active period of osteoclasts so that the areas of bone resorbed into the body are relatively small so that the removed bone cavity can easily fill up with new bone by the osteoblasts, which are invigorated by estrogen. When estrogen is deficient, not only is the activity of the bone-forming osteoblasts reduced, but the bone-absorbing osteoclasts activity is not regulated, and they form deeper holes in the bone structure than the osteoblasts are able to fill.
The net result is bone loss, with more bone being reabsorbed than is being formed. The end result of all this is spongy bone tissue with many tiny hole and also with larger areas of missing bone. Eventually this passes a critical point and the bone fractures during normal use. A simple jump from one step to another can fracture a bone at its weakest point, such as at the hip joint where the neck of bone is thinner.
Not everybody is at the same risk, and there are certain risk factors that you should be aware of, each of which could increase the chances of you developing weak bones. The condition particular affects white or Asian women, and those who have a small frame. If you smoke and drink an excessive amount of alcohol, you will also be more prone to osteoporosis, although exercise can help you to avoid it. An inadequate intake of calcium and vitamin D will also contribute, and magnesium is an essential part of strong bone development.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has carried out surveys that indicate American women to be taking only 50% of the calcium recommended to maintain a healthy bone density. However, it is not only dietary calcium that is needed for the formation of bone, but also magnesium and boron, and vitamin D also helps with the absorption of calcium in the gut.
If you are on steroids then they can render you more prone to brittle bone disease. Unfortunately the symptoms of osteoporosis do not become evident until there has been a significant amount of bone loss, which is why post menopausal women, and those over 65, should have a bone density scan (DXA test). It is important to understand that osteoporosis is not a disease as such: you cannot ‘catch’ it, but it develops as the result of a gradual reduction in the minerals that maintain the density of your bone structure.
Your diet is important in helping you prevent bone loss and osteoporosis later in life, and your lifestyle is also important. Reducing your daily alcohol intake will certainly help, and cigarette smoking further retards the activity of the bone-creating cells. Calcium and vitamin D supplements will help, but do not restrict yourself only to these.
If you want to maintain proper bone density through and beyond the menopause stage of life, you should take a balanced supplement that contains a combination of vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a healthy balance between natural bone loss and regeneration. There is more to it that only calcium and vitamin D, and a balanced supplement takes this out of your hands. You can rest in the knowledge that you are doing the best for your body and its bone density.
Loose Weight By Cutting Dietary Fat Absorption
December 08, 2007 06:24 PM
You can lose weight by cutting dietary fat absorption, although in order to understand the need for this you have to appreciate the effect that fat has on your weight. Not only fat, but any form of calories.
The word ‘calorie’ appears to have a bad press, and there have been a lot of ill informed comments made about calories and whether calorie controlled diets are effective or not. Quite frankly, it is all said in ignorance. Whether you agree or not, the calorie is a measurement of energy and the calorie content of foods is what is calculated to be the energy value of these foods.
Once inside your body, that energy is either used up or converted to body mass. It is not necessarily converted to fat, since that extra weight could be in the form of muscle tissue. However, it is converted to body mass and so you can put on weight. The basic equation is that if you take in more energy than you use, then you add weight, and if you use more energy than you take in, then you lose weight. It is slightly more complex than that, but it is basically true.
That does not mean that if you eat a pound of dripping (the fat that drips off cooking meat) you will add a pound of weight. It is the calorific value of the dripping in terms of energy, whether measured in calories or in joules, that is the relevant factor, and if that is 4000 calories, which is about average for various types of dripping, then if you use up 4001 calories in exercise, you can safely spread your pound of lard on toast and eat it without putting on weight (you will have also to use up the calories in the toast).
It is the calorie equation that is important, and if this is negative then you will lose weight. You have to: it is a law of science! Whether your calories are in the form of cookies, candies, avocados (loads of them) or dripping, it is all the same. A meat calorie is the same as a vegetarian or vegan calorie. If you eat more than you use you put on weight.
Different foods contain different quantities of energy, or calories. If you buy a Big Mac you eat 570 calories, and 5 from your Super Pepsi. If the guy next to you has an English Muffin, he will have 140 calories. However, if he then goes home and slouches on the sofa watching TV and you go to the gym for a serious workout, he is liable to put on weight and you lose it. It’s all in the equation!
However, you don’t just use calories in exercise. Your metabolism is also important. In fact 65% - 75% of the calories you use in a day are used up by the body at rest: the metabolism that takes place 24/7 to keep you alive. The heartbeat, breathing and brain activity for example, all use up energy. So not all is doom and gloom, and you can burn up these calories even while you are sleeping.
However, there is another way to prevent the fat you eat from turning into weight. (Incidentally, if you exercise a lot, that weight will likely be in muscle mass, but if not then it will certainly be fat). You have a clue to the way that can be done in the first sentence of this article: ‘dietary fat absorption’.
If the fat is not absorbed into the body, then it is not available to be metabolized into body fat. It will pass through the body unchanged. It is not the fat you consume that makes you gain weight, but the amount of that fat absorbed through your intestines. But how is it possible to selectively prevent the fat in your diet from being emulsified by the bile and absorbed through the intestinal wall?
By means of chitosan. This is a fiber that absorbs part of the fat from the food you have eaten and hides it away from your digestive system. It cannot be broken down into sugars and then into fat to add to your unwanted weight. However, because it works after your meal, you get to eat what you want – that ‘finger lickin’ good’ stuff you love, but don’t suffer the consequences of failing to exercise to work it off. It’s like you just ate lettuce without the fried chicken with the crispy fatty skin.
So what is this miracle substance, chitosan? Biologists would recognize the name as being associated with chitin, the acetyl-glucosamine polymer that forms the carapaces, or shells, of crabs, lobsters and other marine shellfish. Chitosan is formed by deacetylating the chitin and is mainly used to enhance the growth of plants, and also as a filtration aid. So what does it do to help to remove some of the fat from your diet after you have eaten it?
The mechanism by which it does this is not fully understood, and in fact is still disputed in some quarters. However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and it appears to act according to the claims. There are two possible mechanisms, one of which is connected with the deacetylation of the chitin molecule. Because of this, the resultant chitosan molecule has cationic groups on the polymer chain. Cations are positively charged, and can react with acids, not the least of which are the bile acids that break down lipids (fats) to render them into a form suitable for absorption.
It is possible for the chitosan to react with the bile acids and prevent them from breaking down the fats into a condition that enables them to be passed through the intestinal wall. However, it has also been proposed that dietary fibers work by increasing the thickness of the boundary layer of the intestine through which the fats would have to pass. This would have the effect of reducing the lipid uptake.
It is also possible that since chitosan is a fibrous substance, it attracts the fats through its charge and absorbs them into a swelling ball of fats and fiber that is not only impermeable by the bile acids, but also passes through the intestinal tract unchanged and eventually excreted. In fact, there is not proof for any of these projected mechanisms, and all are theoretically possible. The fact is that it appears to work, but must be taken for several weeks for the effects to be noticeable.
It is possible to lose weight by dietary fat absorption, and whatever mechanism is used by chitosan, it is well worth trying if you like your fatty foods but also want to lose weight. Combine chitosan with a good exercise regime and you might find that you can control your weight whatever you eat. Chitosan is available over the counter at any health food store.
Support A Healthy Digestive System With Discount Vitamins
November 21, 2007 10:31 AM
Discount vitamins can help to support a healthy digestive system, but to explain how they do you first need to know how the system of pipes, tubes and chemical plants that make up the digestive system basically works.
The digestive system is a system of tubes through which your food is passed during the various stages of digestion, and also organs that produce the chemicals needed to break down your food into the nutrients needed by the body. The digestive system begins with the mouth, where the teeth cut and grind the food, and mix it with saliva containing the enzyme amylase that begins the digestive process by converting starch into maltose and dextrin, which are later converted to glucose. Amylase cannot work in the acidity of the stomach, which is why you should chew starchy foods such as bread and potatoes before it is swallowed and passed down the esophagus to the stomach.
The stomach is a natural food processor, containing concentrated hydrochloric acid that breaks the food down into smaller molecules. Once the food has been mixed and processed it passes into the small intestine where the real digestion begins. The liver and pancreas manufacture digestive juices and pass them into the intestine as the food is expelled from the stomach. These juices are mixed with the food, break it downs chemically into nutrients which are then absorbed through the walls of the intestine. The waste is passed into the colon, from which they are later expelled.
While in the stomach, its glands produce not only the stomach acid but also enzymes that break up proteins into smaller compounds including amino acids. The liver produces a number of digestive juices, including bile that dissolves fats and renders them water soluble to be digested by enzymes from the pancreas. The liver also produces enzymes that further breaks down the food in smaller molecules.
The whole process is controlled by the digestive hormones that are generated by the stomach and small intestine, namely secretin, gastrin and CCK (cholecystokinin). These control the release of the various digestive juices and chemicals into the digestive system, and once the food has been broken down the nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream and transported to the cells of the body where they are needed.
So, starting again from the top, how do discount vitamins and minerals help to support a healthy digestive system? First, we start with the teeth. It is essential for the proper use of food that it is shredded and ground properly before being passed to the body, and that the starches are broken down by the saliva enzyme amylase. The structure of your teeth is dependant on vitamin C and D, and the minerals calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. A deficiency in any of these would result in poor weak teeth, and your food would not be prepared properly for your stomach.
Vitamin B1 keeps your nerves in good working order, without which your appetite could not be regulated. Vitamin B3, or niacin, keeps the digestive tract in a healthy state and functioning properly. Vitamin B9, or folate (folic acid) carries out a similar task, and the B complex vitamins in general, then, keep the digestion process working smoothly and the peristaltic motion that moves the food along, also in good working order.
Manganese and chromium are essential minerals to the digestive system, without which enzyme activity would be limited and without chromium your appetite could not be controlled. Apart from that there is a lot that can go wrong with the digestive system and a good vitamin B complex or Vitamin B1 and B3 supplement, will help to maintain the proper functioning of the system. These vitamins will encourage proper control of the intestinal muscle function, and vitamins C and E will help deal with any inflammation in the bowel, or undue immune system activity. Acidophilus will also help to maintain a good population of healthy bacteria that are essential components of your digestive system. A probiotic supplement taken as instructed should achieve this.
A little considered function of the digestive system, perhaps because it actually takes place in the liver rather than the alimentary canal itself, is the disposal from the body of toxin absorbed by the small intestine. This is the chemical transformation of certain molecules into a form whereby they can be rendered water soluble and expelled in the urine. Substances such as drugs, alcohol, paint fumes and so on are formed into other chemicals that might be even more toxic than the originals for a short time, and since oxidation is used in many of these reactions, free radicals might be formed that can harm the body.
This danger, which is indirectly caused by the digestion of these substances, can be relieved by maintaining a sufficient intake of antioxidants in the form of Vitamins A, C and E to neutralize them. Some liver disease is caused in this way by insufficient vitamin nutrition, and a good discount vitamin supplement can help to prevent it by destroying the free radicals as they are formed.
This detoxification process then proceeds to a phase where the biochemically converted molecules are rendered into the water soluble form so that they can dissolve in the blood and be extracted by the kidneys into the urine. For this, a good supply of the tripeptide glutathione, glycuronic acid and some amino acids is needed. A supplement of these should also help the detoxification process.
Other supplements that can help the digestive system are natural enzymes. These work whether taken on an empty stomach or with food. On an empty stomach, at least two hours after a meal, they will immediately go to work in your blood and improve its condition. Taken with a meal they will help digestion the fats and reduce food waste by improving absorption.
There are many ways in which you can help to maintain a healthy digestive system by the use of discount vitamins, although any problem with your digestive system should be referred to your physician since there are many serious conditions that need expert medical treatment. Vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and other supplements, however, can help to prevent many of these from occurring.
Memory And Focus
May 08, 2007 02:05 PM
Memory & Focus
Some people think getting older often means getting slower. It’s true that as we age, we may find we can’t walk quite as fast, climb as many flights of stairs, or play sports as hard as we could when we were twenty. However, we k now that a healthy diet, regular exercise, and the right dietary supplements can make a huge difference in our health, strength, and mobility as we age.
This is true for our mental abilities as well. We may not think as quickly as we used to, might misplace our keys more often, and experience more “tip-of-my-tongue” word searches. These so-called “middle-aged moments” most often have minor consequences: a missed appointment or the forgotten name of an acquaintance. However, in a small number of cases, these mental slips can also be the first sign of serious diseases of aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease of other dementias.
The good news is, just like our physical health, we can improve how we function mentally. Eating healthy foods, taking the right supplements, and participating in regular mental exercise can significantly increase our mental endurance, improve our memory, and optimize our ability to focus.
In fact, groundbreaking and ongoing research has discovered that specific herbs and vitamins, particularly Ginkgo Biloba, Bacopa monnieri, folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12, and the important co-enzyme and antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid, all have powerful effects on memory and focus. These nutritional supplements have been scientifically shown to quickly reduce mild age-related memory chances, as well as greatly reducing the risk of developing more serious problems like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or other brain diseases later on in life.
Q. What is the difference between age related memory decline and dementia?
A. As we get older, our nerve cells need more time to spark and connect, slowing the process of bringing memories and events to mind. Another theory is that, as we age, we accumulate more knowledge and memories. The mind then has to sort through much more data to reference a memory. Almost everyone middle-aged and older notices this slowdown. Memory decline and problems with mental focus are a normal part of aging.
While it’s true that the older we get, our chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease increase, this illness is not a normal part of aging. Alzheimer’s is an irreversible, progressive dementia that slowly kills nerve cells in areas of the brain where memory, learning, though, and language take place. Often first appearing as people begin retirement, Alzheimer’s disease makes the “golden years” a time of loss and devastation. Memories vanish, relationships are erased, and independence is gradually lost.
After Alzheimer’s disease, the second most common cause of dementia in older people is multi-infarct dementia. Caused by a series of mini-strokes that damage or destroy brain tissue over time, multi-infarct dementia usually affects people between the ages of 60 and 75. Men are slightly more at risk. High blood pressure is the most significant risk factor for multi-infarct dementia.
Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, strokes, Huntington’s disease, Creutzfelt-Jakob disease, and alcoholism can also cause progressive and irreversible dementia.
While normal age-related memory and focus loss may mean we can’t remember where we put our car keys, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia may mean we can’t remember what our car keys are used for.
Q. Are any types of memory and focus loss reversible?
A. Yes. As women enter menopause, they frequently experience trouble remembering. This memory interference is caused by hormone fluctuations and can affect speech, thinking, and attention. Symptoms of menopause-related memory loss and poor focus include recognizing faces less well than in the past, missing scheduled appointments, and misplacing articles. Once a woman passes through menopause, her ability to remember and focus most often improves.
Certain medications, such as the heavily prescribed cholesterol lowering drugs called stains, can temporarily interfere with memory. Low vitamin B levels, artherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and thyroid disease can cause disruption of mental focus and memory loss. These problems usually resolve with treatment of the underlying disorder.
A certain type of stoke, called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) can cause memory loss that may be reversible. A TIA is a brief episode of stroke symptoms that come on quickly. Sometimes referred to as a “mini-stroke” or “warning stroke,” a TIA is caused by a temporary interruption in the blood supply to the brain. But, unlike a stroke, a TIA does not lead to permanent brain damage. While a TIA is usually short-lived, it is likely to occur again if not properly managed and can be a warning of future stroke.
Q. I seem to forget a lot of things. How can I be sure I don’t have Alzheimer’s disease or some other dementia?
A. If you, or other around you, are concerned about your memory, you should be examined by your health care practitioner. Once the cause of your memory and focus problem is diagnosed, treatment can begin. All causes of memory loss and mental focus disruption can be treated, even Alzheimer’s disease. While presently irreversible dementias cannot be cured, the progression of the disease may be slowed, and in some cases, stopped..
Research on memory loss and mental focus disruption has increased dramatically in the past few years. Discoveries regarding Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as well as age-related loss of memory and focus have recently been made. Most importantly, many new treatment options, including the use of nutritional supplements, have been developed.
Q. How can nutritional supplements improve memory and focus?
A. Several herbs and vitamins have been demonstrated to improve memory and mental focus. While some nutritional supplements work now to improve memory and focus, others work to prevent problems we might develop later.
One of the most researched herbs, Ginkgo biloba, has been found to be effective in improving currently experienced memory and focus loss; in other words, problems we are having now. Ginkgo has been studied in individuals who have age-related memory loss, as well as in those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. It seems that ginkgo can improve many brain functions, such as speeding up memory recall, protecting brain cells from chemical changes and free radical damage, improving blood flow to the brain, and helping nerve cells communicate with each other better.
Several studies examined ginkgo’s effect in healthy people who were experiencing normal age-related memory and focus problems. They determined that ginkgo improved memory, attention, and clarity of thinking. Ginkgo can also help restore memories that may be lost in TIAs, those mini-strokes that were discussed earlier.
In studies of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, the results showed that ginkgo slowed down the disease in those severely afflicted and actually improved those with very mild or moderate disease. In one of these studies, ginkgo was compared to four prescription cholinesterase inhibitors, medications commonly used to treat individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Using written mental tests, the researchers found that ginkgo worked just as effectively as the prescription drugs. While those taking one of the cholinesterase inhibitors dropped out of the study because of disturbing side effects, ginkgo had no side effects and improved symptoms equally as well.
Q. Hoe does Bacopa monnieri help memory and focus?
A. Like ginkgo, bacopa works on the memory and focus problems we are experiencing now. Bacopa grows in
Q. How does alpha lipoic acid help memory and focus?
A. Alpha lipoic acid (
Researchers have discovered unmistakable free radical damage in Alzheimer’s disease. Accordingly,
In a recent study, people with Alzheimer’s disease were given tests that measured through and memory. They were then given
Q. How do vitamins B12 and B6 help memory and focus?
A. Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient in the regulation of nerve transmissions. It is required by the nervous system for normal brain function, and it may also help with mood.
Researchers have learned that people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias (including Parkinson’s disease) have elevated homocysteine levels. IN fact, t he amount of homocysteine in the blood corresponds to the severity of the disease. Most people with a high homocysteine level don’t have enough folate, vitamin B5 or vitamin B12 in their diet. Replacing these vitamins helps return the homocysteine level to normal.
Reducing homocysteine levels may prevent the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease, or other brain diseases, and improve the symptoms of those already afflicted.
Q. What about folic acid?
A. Folic acid has long been recognized as a vital nutrient for the brain and spinal cord. Recent research has demonstrated that folic acid has significant importance in Alzheimer’s disease.
An ongoing study of Alzheimer’s disease that began in 1986 has been studying 678 members of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in the hopes of learning how the disease develops, how it might be prevented, and how to treat it. Data collected in the study includes biographies the sisters wrote upon entrance to the order, blood samples from the sisters while they are living, and information gained from the voluntary donation of their brains after death.
Aptly named the “Nun Study,” ground breaking discoveries have already been made. It seems that diet and nutrition have a dramatic influence in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Sisters who had high levels of folic acid showed little evidence of Alzheimer’s-type damage in their brains after death. And, those nuns who had Alzheimer’s disease in spite of high folic acid levels had profoundly less brain damage from the disease. In fact, some sisters who had no outward evidence of Alzheimer’s disease while they were living had surprisingly extensive damage in their brains after death.
Q. Besides taking ginkgo, bacopa, B vitamins, folic acid, and ALA, is there other things I can do to prevent Alzheimer’s disease?
A. You may not know if you have a serious B-vitamin deficiency. Routine lab work does not measure the amount of B vitamins in your blood. You might want to ask your health care practitioner to have your B vitamin level in your blood measured, especially if you are having memory and focus problems. Keep in mind that this type of lab work is fairly expensive, however.
Supplements do not replace the need for a healthy diet, especially a diet with high levels of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and omega-3 fatty acids. Keeping your body healthy helps keep your brain healthy as well.
It also seems that the use-it-or-lose-it theory applies to our brain as well as our body. Research has shown that people who seek opportunities to keep mentally active, such as reading books, newspapers, and magazines, solving crossword puzzles, playing card games, and visiting museums, lower their risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dealing with age-related memory loss may be both frustrating and frightening. As the population of
In fact, more and more research shows prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is a reality. And age-related memory loss can successfully be improved as well. Taking the scientifically validated nutritional supplements ginkgo, bacopa, vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, and
Supplements good for reducing stress and boosting energy!
March 26, 2007 02:05 PM
More and more Americans are feeling overworked, overtired, and overcome by life’s demands. We just do not have the energy we need to meet our responsibilities to the people we care about. More importantly, we don’t even have the energy to have fun! It seems that a constant feeling of fatigue has become part of the American way of life.
Research has shown that the same processes that cause lack of energy can rob us of sleep, saddle us with excess weight, disrupt our hormonal balance, and create significant amounts of stress in our daily lives. Chronic stress can dramatically contribute to fatigue, sleep disorders, irritability, and anxiety. The research simply confirms what most of us already know – uncomfortable stress can really wear us out mentally and physically! It can take away the satisfaction of a job well done. It can take away our ability to believe in ourselves. And, sadly and maybe most importantly, continual stress can take the fun and joy out of life.
In a separate issue of Ask the Doctor, we discuss the energy and sleeping needs of people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. In this issue, I discuss the 3-step process I call “Vitality 101.” People do not have to accept pain, insomnia, or fatigue. It’s time for everyone to feel great and have a life they love!
Step 1 – Nutrition
Good overall nutrition is important for everyone! As a foundation product to support energy levels, a powdered drink mix is a pleasant, easy way to ensure that you are taking all of the necessary vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that you need to have great energy all through your day.
The following chart lists the most critical ingredients. You can see that almost all of the vitamins and minerals work together to help improve energy levels and overall health.
In addition to the powdered energy drink mix, it is important that you also take a high potency vitamin B-complex supplement. This should include niacinamide, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, and choline, which are especially important to restore the energy production needs of your body. It is also critical to get enough water, as most Americans are chronically dehydrated.
Step 2 – Rest Your Body
Having trouble sleeping is one of the most troubling symptoms of stress. While the stress is wearing us down and making us tired, it’s also keeping us tense and unable tot relax. The result? That easy drift into sleep becomes harder and harder. And if we are lucky enough to actually get some shut-eye, stress will often wake us up, sometimes several times a night.
This occurs because excess stress suppresses the sleep center in the brain. It is important to break the “stress/insomnia cycle” early, before it results in pain and hormonal and immune dysfunction!
Because good quality sleep is how the body repairs and re-energizes itself, it may be helpful to use herbal products to promote good quality sleep. There are many natural supplements that are marketed as sleep formulas. To get the best results, it is very important that the right ingredients are in the sleep formula you buy. Look for a supplement that has a blend of herbs that promote deep sleep, such as valerian, L-theanine, hops, passionflower,
Step 3 – Manage Excess Stress Levels
In this fast paced world, it is important to learn to manage the stressor in our lives. Glandular extracts, such as raw adrenal extract, can offer natural support to help our bodies deal with the effects of stress and, in turn, can boost your energy levels. Exercise is another stress buster. Using your body physically is important for good health. Find something that is fun for you, however, or you are unlikely to stick with it!
Q. Does stress zap my energy in any other ways besides making me lay awake at night and causing me to be a zombie the next morning?
A. Most people are familiar with the body’s dramatic response to an emergency. The heart pounds, the muscles constrict, and the lungs expand – and while this is happening, we are capable of greater than normal strength and speed. This response is the body’s way of rescuing itself when faced with an emergency. We don’t have to think about it to make it happen. It’s automatic.
The same can be said of a chronic stress response. Whether we’re late for a business meeting because we’re stuck in traffic, or worrying about how we are going to pay for our children’s college tuition, our response to stress happens automatically. The difference between the two is that the body’s response in an emergency starts and resolves itself quickly. The response to being stuck in traffic may not.
The body makes the “stress hormone”, cortisol, to handle the normal stresses of day-to-day living. But in an emergency situation, the adrenal glands, located above the kidneys, secrete increased amounts of this hormone until the emergency passes. Then the body returns to its normal function. Unfortunately, however, chronic stress is more complex. When our body is subjected to increased amounts of the hormone, cortisol, for an extended time, it can lead to a condition known as “adrenal burnout” or “adrenal fatigue.” While it’s true that very large amounts of cortisol can have damaging effects on our hormones, too little cortisol doesn’t allow us to respond to stress properly. It’s really a matter of balance.
Q. How can I control the stress in my life and re-energize?
A. Many people who are under constant stress may have adrenal burnout. Adrenal burnout occurs when the adrenal glands are constantly producing cortisol in response to chronic stress. Over time, this exhausts the adrenal reserve, meaning the adrenal gland can no longer increase cortisol production in response to stress.
The good news is that changes in our hormone levels can return to normal when stress is decreased. The key in learning how to deal with daily stress is to allow the body to return to its normal state. I discuss additional techniques for coping with stress in my recent book Three Steps to Happiness! Healing Through Joy (see my website, www. jacobeitelbaum .com, for more information). In addition to stress control, it is important to supplement your adrenals with a glandular therapy regimen to ensure healthy cortisol levels and adrenal function. Glandular therapy, which uses the concentrated forms of bovine (cow) or porcine (pig) glands, can improve the health of our glands. Pioneers in the field of endocrinology (the study of hormones) hypothesized that glandular extracts work by providing nutrients the body lacked and thus repaired the malfunctioning gland.
If you are one of the unlucky folks with stressed-out adrenal glands, you should see great results from taking raw adrenal supplements. Be sure to buy adrenal extract supplement that contains both whole adrenal and cortex adrenal.
The best adrenal supplement should also contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid and licorice. Licorice contains glycyrrhizin, which is broken down into glycyrrhizic or glycyrrhetinic acid. This compound inhibits the activity of an enzyme that turns active cortisol into inactive cortisol. While in high amounts (greater than 100 mg of glycyrrhizic acid/day), licorice administration causes hypertension, no such effects have been observed at lower doses. Experts have speculated that inhibition of the cortisol-converting enzyme may reduce cortisol-related symptoms associated with adrenal insufficiency. The adrenal glands use these nutrients to manufacture cortisone and other compounds. It just makes sense to purchase an adrenal supplement with these supportive ingredients.
Did your grandmother ever tell you to eat your liver so that you didn’t get “tired blood?” Well, it turns out that she was right. Liver extract is another glandular extract that can help improve energy levels.
Liver extract is an excellent source of highly bioavailable nutrients including iron, B vitamins (especially B12), and other minerals. The stamina and energy-enhancing benefits of liver are widely touted. Liver extract has been shown to support healthy function of the liver and increase the energy levels inside our body.
Because heat will destroy the key components in the liver, a high quality liver extract supplement should be cold-processed and encapsulated to enhance speed and absorption of nutrients from liver. A high quality aqueous liver extract supplement should also contain vitamin B12 to support healthy blood iron and oxygen levels to energize.
Q. It will be great to get a good night’s sleep. Are there also any other natural alternatives that could help promote relaxation and increase my energy levels during the day?
A. Yes, there are. Rhodiola rosea is an all-natural herb that has long been used to help relieve stress and increase energy. Rhodiola has also been used to lift our moods, improve sexual satisfaction, and even help in certain nervous system disorders. First used in Siberia and
In clinical trials, the most effective Rhodiola rosea extract was found to contain 3% rosavins and 1% salidroside. While there are many Rhodiola supplements in health food stores, only those containing these specific amounts can provide the best results.
Altered digestion, food intolerances, decreased energy, fatigue, cognitive problems, and sleeplessness create the need for changes in daily living routines. These can include alterations in diet; exercise modifications; alterations in activities of daily living according to one’s energy level; and sleep/rest management. All may require the assistance of a professional clinician, such as a chiropractor, nutrition specialist, physical and/or occupational therapist, mental health professional, or sleep therapist.
Super busy lives demand super strength nutrition. Begin each day with a powdered nutritional supplement after getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night. In addition to the nutritional beverage mix, a vitamin B complex supplement should be taken every morning. The nutritional drink mix and the vitamin B complex supplement will ensure that your body has all the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients to combat your fatigue. Taking a daily adrenal supplement, like the one discussed earlier, will provide the much needed (and often depleted) nutrients your body may be lacking, and help you recover lost energy. Rhodiola rosea, and ginseng can offer additional natural nutritional support in your busy life to boost your energy levels. These nutritional supplements can be used daily and you will feel energized to get through each day’s challenges and opportunities!
Peppermint Oil for IBS
March 24, 2007 11:01 AM
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a painful and frequently frustrating disorder of the intestines that’s often difficult to treat. Fortunately, there are scientifically studied natural products that effectively reduce the distressing symptoms of IBS.
Q. What is IBS?
A. IBS causes crampy pain, gassiness, bloating, and alterations in bowel habits. IBS is termed a functional disorder, because when the colon is examined, there is no visible sign of disease. While IBS causes significant pain and distress, no actual damage is occurring in the intestines.
There is a wide variability in IBS. Symptoms may be mild and fairly well tolerated. Or, the pain, discomfort, and bowel dysfunction may be disabling, limiting social interactions, employment, or travel.
While some individuals with IBS have diarrhea (frequent, loose stools with an urgent need to move the bowels), others have constipation (hard, infrequent stools that are difficult to pass). And, still others may experience both. Individuals with IBS also may have painful abdominal cramps and feel an urgent need to move the bowels, but are unable to do so.
A. The small intestine receives digestive material from the stomach and delivers it to the large intestine (colon). About two quarts (2,000 ml) of digestive material enter the colon from the small intestine every day. The colon absorbs water and salts from the material, which is progressively moved through the colon. This progressive movement continues until most of the fluid and salts are absorbed into the body and stool is formed. The stool passes to the left side of the colon, where it is stored until a bowel movement occurs.
Because researchers haven’t been able to find actual damage in the colon, it once was suggested that individuals with IBS have emotional problems or are overly susceptible to stress. While stress may cause symptoms of IBS to intensify, it doesn’t cause the condition.
Recent study has determined the colon muscle of an individual with IBS spasms after only mild stimulation. It’s thought the symptoms of IBS are produced by hyperactivity of the intestines. In other words, the intestines of individuals with IBS are more reactive to stressors and diet than usual. Almost everyone has experienced abdominal queasiness in response to everyday stress or certain foods. This may result in a brief bout of diarrhea or an upset stomach. However, this response is exaggerated in individuals with IBS.
Q. How prevalent is IBS?
A. IBS is very common. In fact, it’s one of the most frequent problems seen by family physicians. It’s the most common disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists (physicians specializing in the treatment of digestive disorders). The overall prevalence rates range from 10% to 20% of the general population in most industrialized countries. As a result, the pain and disabling symptoms associated with IBS result in significant socioeconomic costs, as wall as reduction in quality of life for many individuals.
A. Normal bowel function varies from person to person. Some people move their bowels daily, while others may only have two to three stools a week. A normal bowel movement is soft, formed, and is easily passed without cramping or pain.
IBS, however, causes abdominal cramps and pain, which are often severe and disabling. Bowel movements may be irregular and alternate between diarrhea and constipation. The diarrhea may be quite loose and watery. Mucous may be passed. There is often much straining, urgency, and feeling of incomplete evacuation (emptying). Abdominal bloating and passing of gas is common. Nausea, lack of appetite, heartburn, and belching may also be present. Sleep may be disrupted resulting in fatigue and lack of energy. Understandably, persons with IBS often feel anxious and depressed.
Diagnosis of IBS is usually based on the continuous presence or recurrence of these symptoms for at least three months. Other intestinal conditions must be ruled out. These include Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, inflammatory conditions of the stomach or pancreas, ulcers, infectious disease, or gastroesphageal reflux disease.
Q. Are there clinically demonstrated natural alternatives to the over-the-counter drugs prescribed by my doctor?
A. Yes, both enteric-coated peppermint oil and clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs) have significant scientific research behind them. Both have been demonstrated to benefit individuals with IBS.
Q. What is clown’s mustard and what does it do?
A. The scientific name for clown’s mustard is Iberis amara. Other names for this herb are wild candytuft and bitter candytuft. Clown’s mustard is a white-flowering plant from Spain, where it grows in dry soil on hillsides and in cornfields. It is also grown in Britain, France, and the United States. Iberis amara is a member of the Brassicaceae family. Iberis refers to its place of origin, the Iberian Peninsula. Amara means bitter. The key components of clown’s mustard are glycosides and flavonoids that have specific actions on gastrointestinal tract tone.
Q. Is there scientific evidence that clown’s mustard benefits people with IBS?
A. There has been very impressive research on clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs). And, it has been used with great success in Germany for many years to treat IBS and other gastrointestinal diseases.
In a study of an herbal combination containing clown’s mustard, 20 patients were given the herbal combination for three to 32 days. They all had been diagnosed with chronic functional disorders for at least one to 20 years. The symptoms the patients experienced included pressure and pain in the abdomen, belching, heartburn, vomiting, nausea, fullness, lack of appetite, constipation, and diarrhea. The patients have been treated for their problems with a variety of antacids, anti-spasmodic agents, and motility-inducing substances. For the purposes of the study, the patients stopped taking these medications and received treatment only with the herbal combination.
Abdominal pressure and pain in the abdomen was the most common of all the experienced symptoms, with 11 of the patients rating it as severe. After six days of treatment, only sic of the patients continued to rate their abdominal pain and pressure as severe. After two weeks, this symptom had completely resolved for 16 of the patients. Diarrhea had been rated as severe in five of the patients. By day 14, only one patient continued to have moderate diarrhea.
Medications prescribed and taken for cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases often cause gastrointestinal problems. Because these conditions are chronic, these medications must be taken for a long time, often for life. With long-term use, these medications can cause erosion of the stomach lining and actual ulcers. Many of these medication-caused symptoms are similar to IBS symptoms: pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Most, if not all, of the individuals who have gastrointestinal problems caused from medications experience two or more of these IBS symptoms.
Forty patients who were taking medications for various types of cardiovascular disease and arthritis, and who are experiencing gastrointestinal problems related to their medications, were enrolled in a study. These symptoms included pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Twenty patients received clown’s mustard combined with other herbs that support gastrointestinal motility. Three days after the trial started, a significant improvement of all s symptoms was noted in those taking this combination. By day 14, abdominal pressure and pain, nausea, and heartburn were completely eliminated in the herbal combination group. Several other clinical trials that were conducted in Germany report similar results.
Q. How does this herb compare to prescription drugs?
A. A study compared clown’s mustard (combined with other herbs) to Reglan (metoclopramide), which is frequently prescribed to reduce the symptoms of IBS. While metoclopramide is a very effective medication, it also has numerous side effects. Metoclopramide can cause fatigue, anxiety, agitation, jitteriness, insomnia, yellowing of the skin or eyes, changes in vision, hallucinations, and seizures. Because of these serious side effects, metoclopramide must not be taken longer than 12 weeks.
In comparison study, 77 subjects were randomized to receive treatment of either clown’s mustard in a combination with other herbs, or metoclopramide. All subjects had pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. The subjects took 20 drops of their assigned treatment after meals three times daily. The duration of treatment was one to two weeks.
In both groups, a parallel improvement of all symptoms was observed. At no point in the study was a statistically significant difference in symptoms found. Both treatments significantly reduced pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. In short, both metoclopramide and the clown’s mustard herbal combination worked well at reducing the symptoms of IBS.
However, side effects occurred more frequently and severely in the metoclopramide group. Given the lack of differences noted between the products at reducing symptoms of IBS, it would seem sensible to choose the treatment with the fewest reported side effects and no limits on duration of use.
A. Peppermint oil has been shown to relax intestinal smooth muscle. In Great Britain, peppermint oil is currently being prescribed for IBS by physicians and it has been used as a digestive aid and to soothe upset stomachs for generations.
Peppermint oil has also been studied for use in an important examination of the colon. A colonoscopy is a procedure of viewing the interior lining of the large intestine (colon) using a colonoscope, a slender, flexible, hollow, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine supports the idea that even people who are not at risk for colon cancer should have this test. The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women at average risk of colon cancer should have a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50.
During a colonoscopy, individuals are sedated and almost no discomfort is experienced. The insertion of the colonoscope into the rectum and up through the colon causes some spasming. This is a natural and expected event and the physician performing the exam administers medications that effectively reduce the spasms.
A recent study compared the use of peppermint oil and commonly used medications to reduce the colonic spasming in colonoscopy. The peppermint oil was introduced directly into the colon. Effective reduction of colon spasming was observed in 88% of the patients.
In a critical review and meta-analysis of peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, eight randomized controlled trials were identified. The studies collectively showed peppermint oil is superior to placebo in improvement of the symptoms of IBS. Because of the good results of these trials, the authors of the review urged additional study of peppermint oil in IBS.
However, straight peppermint oil is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream from the stomach. In recent studies comparing enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules and non-enteric coated oil, both preparations provided effective symptom relief. However, the studies concluded the enteric-coated capsules delivered the benefit of the peppermint oil directly to the intestines. In the treatment of IBS, enteric-coated supplemental peppermint is most definitely preferred.
In fact, an enteric-coated peppermint oil capsule containing rosemary and thyme is extremely effective in the treatment of IBS. All three of these oils are classified as volatile oils, derivatives found in plants that impart taste and aroma. The combination of peppermint, thyme, and rosemary oils in enteric-coated capsules provides significant relief in IBS-related pain.
Q. Can clown’s mustard and other herbs be taken with enteric-coated peppermint oil?
A. Yes, peppermint oil capsules and clown’s mustard can be used together. However, depending on the symptoms, individuals with IBS may want to start with one supplement and then add the other if needed.
Q. How do consumers find these formulas?
A. Fortunately, herbal combinations containing clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are both available at health food stores, natural product supermarkets, pharmacies, and from health professionals. Most knowledgeable sales personnel and health professionals can direct consumers to the most effective products.
Q. What should customers look for when purchasing peppermint oil?
A. As mentioned before, enteric coating of the peppermint oil is extremely important. The coating prevents the oil from being absorbed in the stomach. The enteric coated-capsule moves through the stomach to the small intestine and eventually to the colon, where it is released for maximum benefit.
Q. What is the dosage for peppermint oil?
A. The German Commission E approved peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable colon. In enteric-coated form, the Commission E recommends 0.6 ml per day. Enteric-coated peppermint capsules are available.
Q. Are there side effects or other contraindications?
A. Sometimes, the enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules may cause a transient burning sensation in the rectum when moving bowls. Reducing the dose will correct this.
Individuals who must refrain from alcohol should not take clown’s mustard in an herbal tincture, which may contain alcohol.
Q. What else can IBS patients do to feel better?
A. Food allergies or food intolerance may be associated with IBS. Dairy products and certain grains may trigger a painful episode of IBS. Determining those foods that initiate the problems and eliminating them from your diet can be very helpful.
Many people report their symptoms occur after a meal. Hyperactivity of the intestine of IBS is the response. Often, the strength of this response after a meal is in direct relation to the number of calories and he amount of fat in the meal. Reducing saturated fat, limiting calories, and increasing fiber intake may be helpful.
Stress also stimulates the intestinal hyperactivity. Relaxation training may reduce some IBS symptoms. Listening to therapeutic audiotapes, hypnosis, counseling, and biofeedback all have been shown to improve the healing response in persons with IBS.
IBS can be painful and frustrating, capable of causing much distress. While currently there is no cure for IBS, the symptoms can be managed. The pain, abdominal discomfort, and bowel problems of IBS all respond well to treatment with the use of key herbs, including clown’s mustard, and enteric-coated peppermint oil. These herbal combinations can be both effective and safe in treating IBS. Clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil are both effective front-line natural alternatives for IBS treatment.
Fruit and Vegetable Lightning drink mixes from Natures Plus
February 06, 2007 02:41 PM
Enjoy the Rainbow – the Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables
We’ve all heard the statistics, and have probably seen the signs in the produce section of our favorite grocery store: eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day is important,
Chances are also pretty good that we’ve also seen the newest food pyramid, encouraging Americans to “eat a rainbow of frits and vegetables.” That is, choose from the rich variety of colors for the best all-around health benefits.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’re going to look at the unique health components of different colored fruits and vegetables, and why they’re so important. Plus, we’ll learn about supplemental options, like fruit and vegetable drink mixes, for those days when our diets just aren’t that great.
Q. What’s the big deal about fruits and vegetables?
A. Well, for the main reason that they are whole foods – created by nature (or at least generations of farming) and are rich in a variety of nutrients. Processed foods can’t match the health benefits of strawberries or broccoli – items that have fiber, vitamins, and enzymes built right in.
Q. What does “eating a rainbow” of fruits and vegetables really mean?
A. This is simply an easy way of remembering to get as much color variety in your diet as possible to maximize your intake of a broad range of nutrients. The colors of fruits and vegetables are often a tangible clue to the unique vitamins and other healthy substances they contain. Getting a variety of colors, therefore, means getting a variety of the essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and strong.
Enjoying the Rainbow: Fruit and Vegetable Benefits:
Q. Can you tell me a little more about the healthy components of fruits and vegetables?
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-studied and important nutrients:
Quercetin is found in apples, onions and citrus fruits (also is hawthorn and other berries and apple-related fruits usually used in traditional herbal remedies and modern supplements). It prevents LSL cholesterol oxidation and helps the body cope with allergens and other lung and breathing problems.
Clinical studies show that quercetin’s main points of absorption in the body appear to be in the small intestine – about 50%. The rest – at least 47% is metabolized by the colonic micro flora – the beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum. You may consider adding these beneficial bacteria (found in yogurt) either through the diet or a supplemental form.
Ellagic Acid is a component of ellagitannins – dietary polyphenols with antioxidant (and possibly anticancer) properties. Polyphenols are the basic building blocks of many plant-based antioxidants. More complex phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids are created from these molecules.
Ellagic acid is found in many fruits and foods, namely raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and walnuts. Clinical studies suggest that ellagitannins and ellagic acid act as antioxidants and anticarcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract.
Ellagitannins are durable antioxidants, and happily, they do not appear to be diminished by processing, like freezing. This means the benefits are still strong, even in frozen packs of raspberries or strawberries, or some of the better multi-ingredient supplement drink mixes.
In scientific studies, ellagic acid also showed an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells, decreasing their ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. ATP is the molecule that provides the primary energy source for the cells in our bodies. In a sense, ellagic acid seems to deprive cancer cells of their fuel.
Beta-Carotene: Probably the best-known of the carotenoids, beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A. Many vegetables, especially orange and yellow varieties, are rich in this nutrient. Think summer squash, yams and of course, carrots.
Beta-carotene has long been associated with better eyesight, but it has other benefits, too. In a scientific study, beta-carotene decreased cholesterol levels in the liver by 44% and reduces liver triglycerides by 40%.
Lycopene is a carotenoid mostly found in tomatoes, but also in smaller amounts in watermelon and other fruits. Clinical studies have shown that lycopene consumption may decrease the risk of prostate cancer. In fact, high intakes of lycopene are associated with a 30% to 40% reduced risk. And, as good as beta-carotene is, its cousin, lycopene, seems to be an even stronger nutrient, protecting not just against prostate cancer, but heart disease as well.
Lutein is found in many fruits and vegetables, including blueberries and members of the squash family. Lutein is important for healthy eyes, and in fact it is found in high concentrations naturally in the macular region of the retina – where we see fine detail. It is one of the only carotenoids, along with its close sibling zeaxanthin, that is found in the macula and lens of the eye.
Lutein also supports your heart, too. In a scientific study, lutein reduced atherosclerotic lesion size by 43%. In other words, high intakes of lutein may actually help prevent coronary artery disease!
Interestingly, as is the case with lycopene, cooking or processing foods with lutein may actually make it more easily absorbed.
In clinical studies, men with high intakes of lutein (and its close cousin, zeaxanthin, found in broccoli and spinach) had a 19% lower risk of cataract, and women had a 22% decreased risk, compared to those whose lutein intakes were much lower.
Vitamin C: One of the best-known nutrients out there, vitamin C keeps our immune system strong; speeds wound healing, and promote strong muscles and joints. A free-radical fighter, vitamin C prevents oxidative damage to tissues, builds strength in collagen and connective tissue, and even reduces joint pain.
Sources of vitamin C are scattered throughout the spectrum of fruits and vegetables.
Potassium: Most Americans are deficient in potassium. For the most part, it’s hard to get too much of this valuable mineral. Potassium does great things for our hearts. Higher intakes of dietary potassium from fruits and vegetables have been found in clinical research to lower blood pressure in only 4 weeks.
Many researchers believe that the typical American diet has led to a state of chronic, low-grade acidosis – too much acid in the body. Potassium helps change pH balance to a more alkaline environment in the body and increases bone density.
This was proven in the long-running Framingham Heart Study which showed that dietary potassium, (along with magnesium and fruit and vegetable intake) provided greater bone density in older individuals.
Fiber is another food component many just don’t get enough of – especially if they’re eating a “typical American diet.” Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber. However, fiber from a good fruits and vegetable drink mix should be derived from inulin and chicory root. This soluble fiber source not only adds to the overall amount of fiber you need (25 to 38 grams a day), but also provides a nice “nesting ground” for the beneficial bacteria that populate the intestines. And, even though some fiber has a bad rap for inhibiting mineral absorption, inulin and chicory root are “bone building” fibers – they actually help the body absorb calcium.
Flavonoids are an overarching term that encompasses flavonols, anthocyanidins, and flavones, isoflavones, proanthocyanidins, Quercetin and more. They are almost everywhere: in fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, nuts and seeds – even in the coffee, wine and tea we drink. Flavonoids are responsible for the colors in the skins of fruits and the leaves of trees and other plants.
Flavonoids have many health benefits. They can help stop the growth of tumor cells and are potent antioxidants. Additionally, flavonoids have also been studied for their ability to reduce inflammation.
Anthocyanins: High on the list of important “visible” nutrients are anthocyanins. They color fruits and vegetables blue and red.
Anthocyanins are members of this extended family of nutmeats, the flavonoids. Typically found in high amounts in berries, anthocyanins are readily absorbed in the stomach and small intestine.
As antioxidants, anthocyanins dive deep into cell membranes, protecting them from damage. IT may be one reason why the anthocyanins from blueberries are considered such an important component in battling neuronal decline, like Alzheimer’s. Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are also excellent sources of this flavonoids group.
SDG lignans, (short for secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) are polyphenolic components of flaxseed, pumpkin and other herbal sources. Much of the recent research surrounding lignans has focused on flaxseed. In scientific and clinical studies, lignans from flaxseed support hormonal balance and may have cancer-preventing abilities. In fact, in one study, flaxseed lignans reduced metastatic lung tumor by 82% compared to controls.
The lignans in pumpkin seed, also considered a major source, target 5-alpha reductase activity.
This enzyme catalyzes the conversion of testosterone into the more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT, like testosterone, is a steroid hormone or androgen. Androgens are responsible for the development and maintenance of masculine sex characteristics in both men and women. Excess levels of DHT can cause serious problems with prostate or bladder health. That’s why modulation of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is so important – it helps maintain healthy testosterone and DHT levels. By balancing the levels of these key hormones, pumpkin seed lignans provide protection for prostate and bladder cells.
In addition, pumpkin seed has been shown to modulate the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase is present in the estrogen-producing cells of the adrenal glands, ovaries, testicles, adipose tissue, and brain. Aromatase converts testosterone, an androgen, into estradiol, and estrogen.
Inhibition of the aromatase conversion can help maintain a balance of healthy testosterone levels in women, which has been shown to strengthen pelvic muscles and reduce incidence of incontinence.
In fact, a clinical study, involving a pumpkin extract in conjunction with soy, resulted in significant support for bladder health. After two weeks of supplementation, 23 of the 39 postmenopausal women enrolled in the study showed great improvement in urinary frequency and sleep. By the end of the six week study, 74.4 percent of participants found pumpkin extract safely and significantly improved “nocturnia,” that is, the need to urinate frequently at night. For individuals with 2 to 4 episodes of nocturnia prior to the stud, and 81.8% improvement was seen – also showing great improvement in sleep quality. After all, if you don’t have to wake up every couple of hours to go to the bathroom you’re bound to get better sleep.
Beta glucan: Mushrooms are intense immune-boosting powerhouses due to their beta-glucan content. Three well-studied power-house mushrooms that contribute beta glucan to the diet include maitake, reishi and shiitake.
The most significant constituents of mushrooms are long chain polysaccharides (molecules formed from many sugar units) known as beta-glucan. These huge molecules act as immunoregualtors in the human body, helping to stabilize and balance the immune system.
This includes specific support of white blood cells, or lymphocytes, the primary cells of the immune system. Lymphocytes fall broadly into three categories: T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells.
In one clinical study, 165 patients with various types of advanced cancer were given maitake mushroom compounds alone or with chemotherapy. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58% of liver cancer patients, and 62% of lung cancer patients. Plus, when maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, the immune cell activities were enhanced 1.2 to 1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone.
In another clinical study, researchers determined that Reishi increased the number of cancer killing white blood cells and made them more deadly to cancer cells.
And, in a scientific study of human breast cancer and myeloma cancer and myeloma cancer cell lines, shiitake compounds provided a 51% antiproliferative effect on the cells – inducing “apoptosis’ – the programmed cell death that should occur naturally.
While beta-glucan are distributed throughout the mushroom body, the beta-glucan concentrations are significantly higher in the mycelium – the interwoven fibers or filaments that make up the “feeding structure” of the mushroom.
Bioflavonoids are commonly found in bright yellow citrus fruits, including lemons, limes and oranges. They are responsible for the bright pigment found in the skin of the fruit, and are considered a “companion” to vitamin C, seeming to extend the value of the nutrient within the body.
Hesperidin is just one of the valuable bioflavonoids found in citrus. Hesperidin appears to lower cholesterol levels, as well as support joint collagen in examples of rheumatoid arthritis.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG):
Polyphenols, most notably EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, are well-studied and powerful components of tea. EGCG has been shown to reduce colon and breast cancer risk. Green tea also boosts the immune system and encourages T-cell formation – part of the front-line defense of our bodies against sickness and disease.
Q. I’ve been seeing articles about fruits, vegetables and supplements touting “high ORAC value.” What does this mean?
ORAC is an acronym for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, and is simply a measurement of antioxidant activity of nutrients. Oxygen radicals, or free radicals, are unstable molecules. They grab electrons from other cells to use for themselves, and in the process can damage them. It is believed that free radical activity plays a role in the development of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and also plays a role in aging.
Antioxidants help prevent this damage by “loaning out” extra electrons to stabilize free radicals/ Consider any fruit or vegetable with a high ORAC rating as having a lot of “antioxidant power.”
I know I should eat more fruits and vegetables, but it just seems so hard to get five servings a day.
The number one excuse I hear for not buying frits and veggies is that “fruits and vegetables are too expensive.” But are they really? Certainly, fresh foods that aren’t in season and have to be shipped a distance can be a bit pricey. If anyone added up how much spend on fast food, or prepackaged or processed snacks, it would probably be shocking.
Luckily, there are many ways to get your “Daily 5”. For instance, frozen fruits and veggies retain much of their nutrient profile. They can be an excellent alternative when certain foods are out of season. So too, are fruit and vegetable drink mixes – excellent supplemental sources of some of the nutrients our bodies need most.
More recently, the American
Of course, for people not accustomed to the fiber in fruits and veggies, there is some reason to think it’ll increase gas. When cell walls break down, and fiber passes through the system, it can create flatulence. Folks who eat fruits and vegetables every day generally don’t have this problem. Their systems are already accustomed to it.
For those just starting out on a better diet, however, start slowly – it helps your body adapt. Cooking vegetables can help, too, because it begins breaking down the cell walls early on.
One thing is certain, however. The “Typical American Diet” and good health are mutually exclusive. The increase in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension all point to the abuse our bodies suffer by eating diets high in fatty meats, processed sugars, and refined grains.
Q. Can I just drink fruit and vegetables drinks in place of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables?
Green drinks and fruit and vegetable drink mixes aren’t meant to replace whole foods, but they can be an excellent substitute when you’re rushed or traveling or just trying to fill everyday nutritional gaps. Their whole food ingredients absorb very easily and gently in the gut, and many of these drink mixes contain healthy doses of fiber, too.
Green drink mixes and food-based drink mixes combine many colorful fruits and vegetables and sometimes grasses in a healthy, mixable supplement assortment. While there have been many advancements in the field of green drinks, there are only a few that take the primary reason we eat into consideration: taste!
Happily, there are some companies out there with great-tasting drink mixes that also formulate based on the color concept, ensuring you get the broadest assortment of nutrients from a full range of fruit and vegetable colors to promote optimal health.
High-quality fruit and vegetable drink mixes offer the best from nature’s color wheel in a convenient and great-tasting supplement. So, the next tie you feel like taking a coffee break – try a fruit and veggie break instead. Your body and spirit will thank you.
The healing power of borage oil
June 19, 2006 01:27 PM
Borage oil, extracted from the seed of the blue, star shaped borage flower, is gaining much attention by alternative health practitioners and main stream medicine alike for its profound medicinal properties. Whereas the oil is getting all the redit, it is actually the oil’s active component, gamma linoleic acid (GLA), which has drawn the interest of researchers. The majority of the early studies done on GLA, dating back to the late 1940’s, were conducted with the oil of evening primrose. For rezones cited in the title, more bank for the buck, borage seed oil is now thought to be s superior source of GLA compared to evening primrose oil. Other plants forms and food concentrates that contain appreciable amounts of GLA include black currant seed oil and spirulina.
Why GLA Supplementation?
A body with healthy biochemistry has the ability to produce GLA from the most essential fat linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is found most abundantly in the omega 6 family of oils, including safflower, sunflower, and corn oil. While it has been estimated that a majority of Americans and Europeans consume far to many omega 6 fatty acids in proportion to the beneficial omega 3 fatty acids (by approximately 10:1). Most biochemists agree optimal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids should be approximately 1:1. Despite the obvious over consumption of omega 6 oils rich in linoleic acid, some individuals lack the ability to convert linoleic acid to the much needed GLA.
As is the example with many of our modern day nutrient deficiencies, the adulteration of our food supply by today’s processing methods has much to do with the faulty fat metabolism suffered by many. A prime example is the hydrogenation process utilized to convert liquid polyunsaturated oils into semi-solid, altered saturated fats for use as margarine and commercially processed foods. Hydrogenation is accomplished by subjecting the oils to temperatures in excess of 250 C, and bombarding them with hydrogen ions in the presence of the heavy metal nickel, which irreversibly changes the chemical structure of the fatty acid molecule from a healthful “cis” configuration to a dangerous “trans” configuration. When these products are eaten in excess they are known, in some cases, to block the enzymatic conversion of linoleic acid to GLA. In addition to the damaging effects of hydrogenation, certain essential fatty acid nutrient cofactor deficiencies may exist to further complicate the conversion. Vitamins pro-A, A, C, E, B-2, B-3, B-6, pantothenic acid, B-12 biotin and the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, sulfur and zinc are all involved in essential fatty acid (EFA) metabolism.
Particular interest should be given to those afflicted with diabetes, cystic fibrosis, asthma, alcoholism, multiple sclerosis. For a myriad of reasons, including cofactor deficiencies, these individuals lack the enzymatic ability to convert linoleic acid to GLA and must obtain a direct source of GLA for proper hormonal regulation. In addition, excessive consumption of animal fats containing acachidonic acid competes for the same metabolic pathways occupied by GLA, thus minimizing its biological action.
These potential negating effects can simply be diverted to consuming a food source or supplement containing GLA which bypasses any previously necessary enzymatic conversion and floods the metabolic pathways with beneficial GLA. Nutrient deficiency should also be addressed. Here lies the true power of GLA.
Prostaglandins, biochemical regulators
Whereas GLA is the power, the prostaglandins deliver the punch in this biological equation. Just as linoleic acid is normally converted to GLA, GLA is further converted into the prostaglandin E1 (PGE1). Many of the benefits derived from GLA supplementation are a result of the hormonal regulatory action of the prostaglandins. Just like the “parent” precursors they are made from, the hormone-like prostaglandins orchestrate a host of important biochemical activities. Their general regulatory effects include the control of arterial muscle tone, sodium excretion through the kidneys, blood platelet “Stickiness,” inflammatory response and the immune function, just to name a few. The list may be endless as scientists continue to discover the regulating effects of prostaglandins. One way in which GLA has shown to decrease the probability of allergic and inflammatory conditions is by competing with arachidomic acid, which when left unchecked may potentiate a hyperimmune response.
As a result of the powerful regulating effects derived from the conversion of GLA to healthful prostaglandins, borage oil and other GLA supplements have shown to be beneficial in the treatment and relief of many classic and modern day health problems. The disease of diabetes, cystic fibrosis, asthma, multiple sclerosis are thought to be helped by bringing about a balance in an otherwise faulty fatty acid metabolism. According to a study released in the journal diabetes care, supplementation with GLA has shown promise in the reversal of diabetic neuropathy (a condition where the nerves degenerate and symptoms of pain and numbness follow). The study concluded that all diabetics should be considered for dietary protocol of GLA. Other conditions shown to benefit include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, skin conditions, arthritis, allergies, weight loss, improved behavior of hyperactive children and increased strength of hair and nails. Cited in the book, Super Nutrition For Menopause, written by the renowned nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman, is one of the most popular applications of GLA supplementation in the relief of menstrual pain. Sufferers use a maintenance does up to the seventh day prior to menstruation, then double the dose for the duration of their menstruation. Dietary restrictions of meat, dairy and eggs during this time has also shown to compliment this regiment. Many would agree with Ms. Gittleman’s credo in allowing mother nature to cure our ails before relying on synthetic drugs which often come with side effects.
More Bang for the Buck
Now comes the challenge of acquiring a GLA supplement suited to meet your needs. With the help of the information below you may maximize your desired result while at the same time stretching your dollars. Lets take a look at the facts. We will limit out narrative to the tree most popular forms of GLA supplementation: 1) borage oil, 2) evening primrose oil and 3) black current seed oil. Potency is an important factor, as the higher the GLA content per gram, the more likelihood of greater biological activity. Borage oil contains 24% GLA, or 240mg per 1000 mg capsules. Black current seed oil contains 18%, or 180mg per 1000 mg capsule and evening primrose oil contains 10% GLA, or 100mg per 1000 mg capsule. While black currant seed may appear to run a close second to borage and have a slight edge on evening primrose, it contains a potent GLA inhibitor and should be considered last on the list. equally, if not more important than potency, is purity. Make it a practice not to purchase any oil product unless full disclosure of the method of extraction is printed on the label. If it is not, you may assume that the oil has been extracted in one of the following ways. Unfortunately, the popular use of the chemical hexane to extract oils is not required for disclosure. This method employs submerging cracked seed in a gasoline like substance (Hexane) and then slowly allowing it to evaporate off yielding 90% oil recovery. This is the most common method used to extract evening primrose oil because of the incredibly small, hard seed and low oil content. The second creative ploy is the claim that the oil has simply been extracted by a new high-tech method called supercritical fluid extraction (SCFE). This process “pregrinds” the seeds then subjects them to pressures of 6000 – 10000 psi in the presence of the gas CO-2. Under such intense pressure CO-2 gas becomes a liquid in which the seeds are submerged, ultimately yielding a 95% oil recovery. Look for oils that are labeled as “expeller pressed” without the damaging effects of light, heat and oxygen. The products should be contained in opaque (light resistant) bottles to protect them from the damaging effects of light. Optimally, you should find them in the refrigerated section of your local health food store. Due to the higher percentage of oil contained in the borage seed, as compared to evening primrose and black current, borage is typically priced well below the others making it the most potent and economical choice. All things considered an expeller pressed borage oil, contained in an opaque plastic bottle, may provide you the absolute best source of unadulterated GLA supplementation.
One company that provides such a product and always fulfills the quality requirements listed is Barlean’s Organic Oils. Their organic flax oil and borage oils are available at VitaNet.
An Interview with Congressman Sam Farr, Representing California’s Central Coast.
May 30, 2006 02:36 PM
Ambassador to Health Profile
An Interview with Congressman Sam Farr, Representing California’s Central Coast.
Congressman Sam Farr, a fifth-generation Californian, represents the state’s beautiful central coast. His district encompasses the length of the big Sur coastline in Monterey County, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the Salinas Valley “Salad bowl,” the redwoods, mountains and beaches of Santa Cruz County, and the majestic rural landscape of San Benito County. The health and wealth of this region has been strengthened by Rep. Farr’s focus on the environment, education and the economy. Rep. Farr was raised in Carmel, California and graduated from Willamette University with a BS in biology. He later attended the Monterey Institute of International Studies and the University of Santa Clara. He is fluent in Spanish. As a tough advocate for the health food industry, he has lobbied for strict federal organic standards.
Todd: Congressman Farr, thank you for taking the time to speak with us! Id also like to thank you for all the great things you’ve done for our community, form funding marine sanctuaries and authoring the Ocean’s Act to expanding Pinnacles national Monument. The League of Conservation Voters and others have recognized you as an “Environmental Hero”. And, you’ve worked hard to support the economic vitality of central coast’s $3 billion agriculture industry which includes a substantial organic segment. Our backyard here is also the home of a robust group of nutritional supplement manufacturers. An estimated 187 million Americans are currently taking dietary supplements as part of their daily healthy diet. In California, we’ve got 792 natural product manufacturers and distributors. Where do you stand on the state of our industry?
Congressman Farr: Well, thank you for the introduction and for asking to talk to me about nutritional supplement issues. I am very supportive of this industry and include myself in the 187 million Americans taking dietary supplements. I think supplements offer many safe and viable tools to maintain your health. The continued growth of this industry is an indication of both consumer confidence in the products and the products’ ability to fill the gaps where conventional medical care falls short.
Todd: It is estimated that by 2030, more than 70 million Americans will be over the age of 65 and the cost of health care could reach $16 Trillion per year. A recent study by the Lewin Group showed that by taking certain dietary supplements, seniors can lead healthier, more productive, independent lives while saving billions in reduced hospitalizations and physician services. Do you share our view that a Wellness Revolution is needed to counter the dilemma of an aging population versus shrinking health care support in the future?
Congressman Farr: Our health care system is definitely facing a challenge, especially as the Baby Boomers hit their 60’s and Americans are living longer than ever before. As a Baby Boomer myself, I am well aware of America’s aging population and the impact that will likely have not only on our social institutions but also our fiscal well-being. I agree that dietary supplements do play and will play an even larger role in the future as more seniors look for a way to augment their diets in order to stay healthy and active longer than past generations.
Todd: Our industry is regulated by DSHEA (the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act), which was passed unanimously by Congress in 1994 to create a reasonable regulatory framework for access to, information about, dietary supplements. But many say that the FDA and DSHEA weren’t adequately funded to do the job as tasked. “Supplements are unregulated” is a false argument we sometimes hear. To ensure that the FDA is able to carry out the law as Congress intended, Representatives Dan Burton (R-Ind.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) introduced H.R. 2485, the DSHEA Full Implementation and Enforcement Act of 2005. Did you support this bill and where does it stand today?
Congressman Farr: I think the DSHEA is a critical law and was proud to support it when Congress considered it in 1993 and 1994. I would certainly support H.R. 2485 if it came up for a vote in Congress. Unfortunately this bill has not moved since it was first introduced and referred to the Subcommittee on health in the house energy and commerce committee. Since this is an election year we have a tight schedule with only about 60 legislative days scheduled before we adjourn. That means it’s likely Congress will only finalize bills such as the appropriation bills that fund government before adjournment.
Todd: Our business climate has included some valid and rigorous challenges to improve our industry, from good manufacturing practices (GMP), to allergy labeling, to implications of Prop-65 in California. It’s disconcerting that a new bill, H.R. 3156 The Dietary Supplement Access and Awareness Act would try to capitalize on misconceptions about the industry. In an era of declining health care and declining insurance coverage, this bill would regulate supplements as prescription drugs. Among other things, it would also require adverse event reports to be turned over to the FDA, even though other foods, including those with identical ingredients, do not have the same requirements. This has the potential to be the next Prop-65-like Lawsuit mill. The result of H.R. 3156 would be chilling. It will knock smaller producers out of the market. It will result in higher prices for all supplements. It will decrease the availability of health-giving supplements to the public. What’s your feeling on this?
Congressman Farr: I am similarly concerned about H.R. 3156 and would oppose it if it came up for a vote in Congress. Like H.R. 2485, this legislation has been referred to a subcommittee on Health in the House Energy and Commerce Committee without any further action. The supplement industry has worked in good faith with the FDA since passage of DSHEA and H.R. 3156 would re-invent a wheel that isn’t needed. Instead, adequate funding as proposed in H.R. 2485 would provide ample oversight for the industry.
Todd: According to a recent study, 72% of the general population believe the government should fund more research on health benefits of nutritional supplements. Do you agreen and what can be done to meet this need?
Congressman Farr: I definitely agree that the federal government should play a bigger role in support of research regarding the health benefits of nutritional supplements. As a member of the House Appropriation Committee, I sit on the subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the FDA’s budget and I know the tight fiscal restraints the agency is under. I’ve worked with my colleagues to provide adequate funding, but it’s an uphill battle especially when we’re in a “robbing Peter to pay Paul” kind of situation. I recommend that people within the industry organize and use your consumer base to actively lobby Congress for additional funds. I’m fond of reminding people that the squeaky wheel gets grease – so let every Congress member and Senator know how much this issue matters to you.
Todd: When there is overwhelming scientific evidence that nutritional supplements provides relief for a disease condition, it currently takes a lawsuit to get the FDA to relent and allow the claim. Even then, the FDA strictly limits the claim and requires a disclaimer that does more harm than good in communicating this important information to the public. There is a new bill, H.R. 4282, The Health Freedom Protection Act that would end FDA and FTC censorship of health information. As an example, the 50% of all adult males who suffer from an enlarged prostate could receive relief from that condition by consuming a simple and safe ingredient, saw palmetto derived from the fruit of the dwarf American palm tree. The FDA censors that information. The public deserves a better opportunity to be informed about omega-3 EFA and heart disease, folic acid and birth defects, phosphatidylserine and cognitive impairment. Do you agree and do you support this bill?
Congressman Farr: I agree the public needs to access to the best information possible so they can make well informed choices about their health. I likely would support H.R. 4282 if it came up for a vote in Congress. Unfortunately this bill is in a similar situation as other we’ve mentioned in this interview – and again because of the tight schedule of an election year, it’s unlikely action will happen this year.
Todd: According to the barometer study, 85% of the US population is currently using some type of dietary supplement. Do you? Looking at your busy schedule from co-chairing the House Oceans Caucus to your seat on the Travel and Tourism Caucus, you are one busy congressman! Are you popping nutritional supplements please tell us!
Congressman Farr: I do take some nutritional supplements, though they vary and since Ginkgo Biloba isn’t among them I cant remember their names off-hand! One product I do use faithfully is Airborne to help me combat germs and colds that I might get from sitting on an airplane. But, like many Americans my life is over-scheduled and combined with the amount of air-travel I do, I find nutritional supplements helpful as I try to stay healthy despite my hectic lifestyle.
Todd: Thank you Congressman Farr! Live long and prosper!
DSEA Release of Health/Cost Impact Study Conducted by the Lewin Group, Initial Results, Wash DC; Nov. 2, 2005
NNFA database. Adam.F on 3-15-06.
DSEA Nutritional Supplement Barometer Study, 2005 Report, Prepared by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI).
Todd Williams; Source Naturals Marketing Programs Manager.
FOURIER TRANSFORM INFRARED SPECTROSCOPY (FTIR)
December 27, 2005 09:10 AM
FOURIER TRANSFORM INFRARED SPECTROSCOPY (FTIR)
FTIR analysis passes a beam of infrared light through a sample. As the beam shines on the sample substance, the sample absorbs the energy from the beam at certain frequencies. The frequencies at which the sample absorbs energy are charted, and the absorption spectrum is recorded. Analyzing this spectrum and/or comparing it to the spectrum of known standards can reveal the identity and purity of the sample. Poor FTIR results culminate in the rejection of poor lots of raw materials.
Assists Digestion of Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats
September 03, 2005 01:30 PM
Assists Digestion of Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats
Digestive enzymes are produced by the pancreas and secreted into the duodenum (upper small intestine), where proteins, carbohydrates and fats are broken down prior to absorption. As we age, the body’s capacity to produce enzymes may decline. Moreover, stress and other health difficulties can impact enzyme production. Overeating sometimes causes incomplete digestion. Heartburn, bloating, belching, discomfort, and a “sour stomach” often result.
Supplementation with the enzymes in Best For Digestion supports replenishment of the body’s enzyme level, helping to relieve the burden on an overworked pancreas. Digezyme® contains a neutral protease which, like the body’s intrinsic protein-digesting enzymes, is active in the neutral to alkaline pH range. In addition to amylase for starch digestion and lipase for fats, Digezyme® also supplies lactase, which acts on milk sugar, and cellulase, which breaks down cellulose.
Benefits of Enzyme Supplementation
Enzyme supplementation promotes improved digestion and delivery of vital nutrients to the system. This benefits good health in many ways, including better elimination, improved energy levels and maintenance of healthy body weight. Enzymes also help prevent accumulation of undigested foods in the large intestine, which can be a source of toxicity for the body.
Supports Digestive Function According to Ancient Principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Disturbed digestion, whether from overeating or generally poor digestive-organ function, results in sluggish movement of food through the alimentary canal and sub-optimal nutrient absorption. In traditional Chinese medical theory, the functions of transporting food and assimilating nutrients are governed by the stomach and “spleen.” The “Qi,” or vital functional energy of these organs, is complimentary in action. Stomach Qi “descends” as food travels downward through the digestive tract. Overeating and poor digestion interfere with the stomach’s normal descending function, resulting in “food stagnation.” If stomach Qi “rebels upward,” the result is nausea and vomiting. The herbs in Best For Digestion, which include stomach tonics such as Ginger root, assist the descending function of the stomach, and have been traditionally used as remedies for “food stagnation.”
The “spleen” in Chinese medicine encompasses the digestive role of the pancreas. Spleen Qi normally “ascends.” This can also be explained from a Western perspective. When nutrients are absorbed, they enter the circulation through intestinal capillaries, travel upward to the liver via the hepatic portal system, and continue up to the heart, eventually to be circulated throughout the body. Several of the herbs in Best For Digestion are traditional “spleen tonics” that support the ascending of spleen Qi, thus assisting optimum nutrient absorption.
Digestive Enzymes and Traditional Chinese Herbs: A Novel Approach to Better Digestion
Combining digestive enzymes and Chinese herbs that support digestive function is a unique new approach to better digestion. Whether the problem is temporary “food stagnation” or a more long-term need for improved digestive organ function, Best For Digestion provides valuable assistance.
2. Chinese Herbal Materia Medica compiled and translated by Dan Bensky and Andrew Gamble©1986, Eastland Press, Inc., Seattle, WA.
3. Barillas, C., Solomons, N. Effective reduction of lactose maldigestion in preschool children by direct addition of ß-galactosidases to milk at mealtime. Pediatrics 1987;79(5):766-72.
4.DiPalma, J., Collins,M. Enzyme replacement for lactose malabsorpiton using a beta-d-galactosidase. J Clin Gastroenterol 1989;11(3):290-3.
An Essential Fatty Acid
June 22, 2005 09:42 PM
An Essential Fatty Acid
When most people think of fat, they think of the white gooey stuff that deposits around the waist or around the thighs. In many ways, it can be tempting to spell it “fatt”—making it an unspeakable, four-letter word. But at the level of the cell, at the level of molecules, fat means something more complicated. First of all, fat is one method the body uses to store energy for long periods. When we eat, we must either immediately burn the fuel as energy, or store it as fat or as protein for muscle. Fat, therefore, is one way our body tries to make something useful from food. Furthermore, fat serves a vital function in each cell. The membranes of our cells are all made of fat—a collection of fatty acids really. Every cellular function must pass through this barrier.
Hormones act on fat, energy passes through fat, life proceeds because of fat. Fat, then, is not a dirty word. It is vital. Scientists have identified more than 100 fatty acids, and many more fatty acids could theoretically exist. 4 The body produces all the fatty acids it needs except three—linoleic acid, arachadonic acid and linolinic acid. Much the way certain vitamins like vitamin C are essential to good health and are not produced naturally, these acids are essential, hence their name—essential fatty acids. The body can produce linolinic acid and arachadonic acid from linoleic acid, so in some senses, the only vital fatty acid is linoleic acid.
Linoleic acid sits like a highway of some 58 atoms of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen.5 The carbon is the center line with the hydrogen and oxygen being the cars traveling along the way. (Thousands of chemicals contain these three elements in nature. It is the order of these cars, and the varied shapes of the highway, that lead to many different kinds of chemicals.) The highway of linoleic acid sits curved like a mountain switchback. Conjugated linoleic acid is basically a straighter version of linoleic acid. Scientists have studied CLA at least since the 1930s.6 These studies show that bacteria in the stomach convert linoleic acid into CLA.7
CLA occurs naturally in many foods including some vegetable oils, which are the best sources for linoleic acid, but the best source of CLA is in beef, veal and certain dairy products.8 Dr. Mark Cook, who began working with Pariza around1990, said the reason that sheep and cows and other similar animals provide higher sources of CLA is because these animals are ruminants—they have multiple stomachs for bacteria to convert linoleic acid in, instead of one, as in humans.9 The chemistry of CLA really isn’t that significant to any but a researcher, but, in essence, a double bond of two of the carbon atoms switches position from its position in linoleic acid.10 Instead of having two atoms between a pair of double chemical bonds, as in linoleic acid, there is only one atom in between. This is why chemists named it conjugated linoleic acid. This chemical chain can exist in several forms with the double bonds at positions 9 and 11, positions 11 and 13 or at positions 10 and 12.11 Hence, there are several forms of CLA. Which ones are most effective in providing nutrition, or if they are equally effective, is still a question somewhat unresolved, although it is unlikely that it is the 11,13 version.12 What has been resolved is that CLA is one of the most important, and most exciting nutrients isolated in recent years. And there’s good reason to look at supplementing it into your diet. Why? Because we may not be getting as much of it as we once did, particularly in the United States.13 Cows and other animals have traditionally eaten fresh grasses as a way of getting nutrition, but agricultural development makes it more efficient and cost-effective to provide cattle feed grains and other means of nutrition, instead of natural grasses. That seems to mean that the cows today provide much less CLA in their beef than those of only a generation ago. One study out of Australia showed that cattle in that South Pacific nation had more than twice the amount of CLA than American cows. The reason may well be differences in feeding patterns. As evidence for this, have you ever wondered why it is that Americans, despite eating less fat and meat than a generation ago, end up being more fat than their predecessors? Indeed, America’s obesity rate is up substantially over the last 15 years.14
Declining amounts of CLA may explain this disturbing trend. But more on that later.
June 18, 2005 09:11 AM
Mushroom Miracles by Bert Hoffman Energy Times, April 12, 2004
Mention mushrooms and few people immediately recognize these humble fungi as important tools that can be used to boost well-being. More often, folks identify mushrooms as food with a peculiar appeal. But mushrooms' potential impact on health far surpasses their culinary reputation.
You don't have to stretch your imagination too far to understand why mushrooms have been much neglected in the modern, Western medical search for plants that can boost health.
Unable to make chlorophyll, often dependent on the kindness of other nutrient-producing organisms for their survival, these humble fungal denizens of dark, damp spaces seem to prefer an anonymous existence that is out of sight and out of the consciousness of the scientific mind.
However, mushrooms have now assumed a spot in the center of the research spotlight. Because of their potent content of natural chemicals that appear to have a strong influence on human health and well-being, during the past decade mushrooms have been the subjects of intensive studies on how they can be used to reduce the risk of cancer and to treat these diseases.
Appropriately, this recent round of research began in a place that has long revered these diminutive organisms: Japan. Japan and other Oriental countries have traditionally recognized the immense value of mushrooms as both food and medicine.
Food and Medicine
As an ancient Chinese saying notes, "food and medicine share a common origin." And one of the very earliest Chinese medical books, Shen Noug's Herbal (Shen Noug Pen Ts'ao Jing), first noted the extraordinary beneficial effects of eating mushrooms 2,000 years ago, back in the first century.
More recently, but still well ahead of Western medical experts, in 1575, Pen Ts'ao Kang Mu (a Chinese compendium of medicinal therapies), written by Li Shi Zhen, outlined the medical benefits of about 20 mushrooms.
Nowadays, modern researchers believe mushrooms' usefulness stems from the fact they contain a wealth of antioxidants. But these aren't just any antioxidants. Scientists think that some of these chemicals can potentially drop your risk of cancer, significantly lower blood pressure, help the body fight diabetes, offer protection for the liver, alleviate some of the ill effects of inflammation, lessen the chance of blood clots and help the body's immune system fend off viruses and other microbes. Quite a collection of benefits for these lowly beings!
The 10,000-Year Mushroom
Through the ages, the reishi mushroom (also known variously as the Mannetake, or 10,000-year mushroom, and the Immortality Mushroom) has been the most popular mushroom in Chinese, Korean and Japanese cultures. The reishi mushroom is frequently depicted in a wide variety of traditional Oriental artwork and even puts in an appearance in Chinese royal tapestries.
To some, reishi's power goes beyond the natural and include the supernatural. Originally grown on aging plum trees, reishi is also sufficiently well regarded to be employed by the Japanese as a good luck charm. But you don't have to believe in the supernatural to be superbly impressed with reishi. The beneficial natural substances in reishi include steroids, lactones, alkaloids, triterpenes and polysaccharides.
Of these chemicals, polysaccharides (complex chains of sugars) in particular have intrigued researchers looking into the way mushrooms help health. These polysaccharide macromolecules are very large (for molecules) and complex, a complexity that leads researchers to believe they are capable of conveying a huge amount of biological information that help the immune system stop cancer in its early stages. The differences in the benefits of various polysaccharides stems from their intriguing geometrical shapes.
Even though two distinctive polysaccharides may contain the same number of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms, their three-dimensional differences-the way they are structured and branch off in different directions-can endow them with very different health benefits.
Though they all share a basic structure (usually, these molecules consist of a main chain of atoms with various side chains), the slight variations of the side chains changes their effects.
By deciphering the microscopic structures of these molecules, scientists think they are beginning to uncover which ones are most effective against cancer. For instance, in isolating a particularly useful polysaccharide called beta-D-glucan from reishi, researchers have found that this substance fights tumors in lab experiments (Chem Pharm Bull 1981; 29: 3611).
Meanwhile, beta-D-glucan and other extracts taken from the maitake mushroom have also been shown to possess powerful anti-cancer effects in lab experiments (Immunopharm Immunotox; 19:175).
In one instance, researchers in the laboratory who were trying out various substances on prostate cancer cells found that applying extracts of maitake results in a kind of programmed self-destruction (apoptosis) of these undesirable cancer cells (Molec Urol; 4:7). In addition, another substance known as maitake d-fraction has been shown to strongly fight cancer in lab animals-in one study, their liver cancer growths were reduced by up to 90% (Ann NY Acad of Sci; 833:204).
At the same time, research in China on people has demonstrated that maitake may help reduce tumors and alleviate the effects of leukemia (Alter Comp Ther 12/98; 420).
According to A.S. Daba and O.U. Ezeronye (Afr Jrnl Bio 12/03; 672), "Mushroom polysaccharides offer a lot of hope for cancer patients and sufferers of many devastating diseases.
" [These substances support]...a fundamental principle in Oriental medicine...[they help] regulate homeostasis of the whole body and... bring the diseased person [back] to his or her normal state."
The Activity of Active Hexose Correlated Compound Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC), an extract taken from shiitake and other mushrooms, is a relatively new substance that is also being researched for its anti-cancer benefits.
Studies on AHCC began in Japan in the 1990s when scientists looked at how it could potentially help people recovering from liver cancer. In those tests, researchers found that giving people AHCC apparently helped them survive longer.
In the future, scientists feel certain that they will uncover even more anticancer uses for mushrooms and the chemicals they contain. A key advantage to these natural substances is their lack of side effects. For instance, in research on an anti-cancer chemical called lentinan, taken from shiitakes, investigators have found that less than one percent of people experience the kind of discomfort that make them discontinue treatment. (This chemical has been used to treat stomach cancer.)
But a long list of beneficial mushroom substances are probably still waiting to be discovered. More evidence of mushrooms' benefits: A study of mushroom workers in a part of Japan called the Nagano Prefecture found that these farmers enjoyed a significantly lower cancer rate than other inhabitants of that part of the country.
In the rest of Japan, about one in six hundred people dies of cancer. But that rate death rate drops to about one in a thousand for mushroom raisers who eat a diet heavy in mushrooms.
John Smith, PhD, from the University of Strath-Clyde, notes that "...increasing evidence [shows] mushrooms offer a remarkable array of medicinally important compounds that have yet to be evaluated by Western medical scientists." Mushrooms offer the best of both worlds: good health that tastes great.
June 13, 2005 01:18 PM
by Cal Orey Energy Times, August 2, 1999
Depression plagues the creative and the mundane. The disparate desperate driven to distress by depression include painters, poets, actors and musicians as well as truck drivers, clerks, electricians and physicists. The victim list encompasses Vincent van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Audrey Hepburn, Virginia Woolf and Ludwig von Beethoven, as well as millions of other sharers of melancholy misery.
More than 17 million American men and women experience depression in one form or another every year, according to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) in Alexandria, Virginia. This includes the deeply destructive major, or clinical, depression, the wide mood swings of bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), and dysthymia, a milder, long-lasting form of emotional suffering.
Twice as Many Women In the depression scenario, women suffer twice as much: Two times as many women as men endure clinical depression, reports the NMHA. The mood-deteriorating effects of the hormonal disruptions women are heir to may be partly to blame.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about one of 10 Americans wades through at least one depressive swamp sometime during his or her life.
The good news: Research shows that diet and lifestyle can lower your risk of depression.
Birth of the Blues
Nowadays, mounting evidence suggests that depression may result more from physiological factors than psychological woes.
Some of the hidden reasons why you may be depressed include: nutritional deficiencies, exacerbated by overdosing on too much caffeine, sugar, alcohol and high fat foods; allergies; anxiety and chronic stress; and a chemical imbalance in the brain's gray matter. According to the NMHA, people with depression often possess too little or too large a quantity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. Changes in levels of these brain chemicals may cause, or contribute to, clinical depression.
The NMHA also reports that an imbalance of melatonin, a chemical made by the body's pineal gland (located at the base of the brain), contributes to a form of wintertime depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This hormone is made at increased levels in the dark. Therefore, the body may oversupply this hormone during winter's shortened daylight hours.
Since the B vitamins are often involved in the production of energy, and a large component of depression may encompass the inability to get out of bed and deal with the world, experts believe that at least some of the signs of depression are linked to B deficiencies. For instance, studies cited in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima) by Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, demonstrate that folate deficiency and lack of vitamin B12 can compromise mental health (Drugs 45, 1993: 623-36; Lancet 336, 1990: 392-5).
Inositol: This vitamin is also part of the B vitamin complex, and it, too, has shown its ability to lift spirits. Research work in Israel shows that daily inositol given to 28 depressed patients for four weeks produced an overall positive effect. (Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 7:2, May 1997: 147-55). Inositol is found in whole, unprocessed grains, citrus fruits (except lemons) and brewer's yeast.
NADH: Allan Magaziner, DO, in his book The Idiot's Complete Guide To Living Longer & Healthier (Alpha), reports that brain energizing NADH, a metabolite of vitamin B3, enhances the production of the key neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin. "In a recent clinical trial," he claims, "nearly all patients given NADH for depression reported improvement in their symptoms and the absence of side effects or adverse reactions."
Another substance winning the spotlight for its effect on mood is SAM-e: S-adenosylmethionine. In New York on February 24, a symposium coordinated by the American Health Foundation met to hear researchers present information from studies of SAM-e's ability to possibly ease depression.
"SAM-e is a natural product. You and I have it but as people age it declines in production in the body. And that's why we believe supplementation in older people is a beneficial means of bringing that back up and helping people that have depression," said the lead symposium researcher, John H. Weisburger, PhD, MD, Director Emeritus, American Health Foundation in Valhalla, New York.
Another researcher, Teodoro Bottiglieri, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Studies and Neurology, Director of Neuropharmacology at Baylor University reported: "SAM-e has been shown to enhance brain dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitter metabolism and receptor function. It may also aid in the repair of myelin that surrounds nerve cells. These mechanisms are likely to be responsible for the antidepressant effect of SAM-e."
(Bottiglieri is co-author with Richard Brown, MD, and Carol Colman of Stop Depression Now, a report on the powers of SAM-e just published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.)
SAM-e was first touted as an antidepressant in Italy in 1973. It's been reported that nearly 40 clinical trials demonstrate its beneficial effects as a natural antidepressant.
For instance, an analysis of more than 1000 people suffering depression showed that the effect of antidepressants in patients taking SAM-e was 17% to 38% better than dummy preparations. Conventional antidepressants show a 20% effectiveness rate (Bressa G. Acta Neurol Scand S154, 1994: 7-14).
5-HTP: Another popular supplement to boost mood and relieve depression is hydroxytryptophan. "This medication is actually a brain chemical that is metabolized from tryptophan into serotonin," says Magaziner. And since low serotonin levels have been linked with depression, and certain prescribed medications may up serotonin levels, 5-HTP is in demand.
"One of the more impressive studies supporting the efficacy of 5-HTP for depression evaluated 100 people who had previously found conventional antidepressant therapy to be inadequate. Forty-three of these folks reported a complete recovery, and eight showed significant improvement," reports Magaziner. Not only has 5-HTP been shown to work slightly better than drugs known as SSRIs (these include Prozac), he adds, it has fewer side effects than standard antidepressants, too. DHEA: Medical experts also believe that levels of the hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) may influence mood. Ray Sahelian, MD, in his book All About DHEA (Avery) reports an interesting study conducted by Dr. Owen Wolkowitz of the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco. A group of six depressed middle-aged and elderly individuals who took DHEA found that within a month they had better memory and mood. (Biological Psychiatry 41, 1997: 311-18.) "In addition," adds Sahelian, "other studies have also found that DHEA increases energy levels and a sense of well being." But follow package directions: Some people complain of greater irritability and overstimulation with DHEA, when they take large amounts.
St. John's wort: still the most touted natural therapy for defeating depression. In Europe, 23 clinical studies, reviewed in the August 3, 1996 British Medical Journal, found that this herb, also known as Hypericum perforatum, can be helpful in alleviating cases of mild to moderate depression. The work, which included 757 patients, has shown that hypericum produced fewer side effects than conventional anti-depressants.
Although experts have never satisfactorily explained exactly how St. John's wort benefits the brain, some theorize that it boosts serotonin levels. And it can help SAD sufferers.
"In a recent study of 20 people with SAD, four weeks' worth of St. John's wort significantly alleviated feelings of depression. Those people who added full-spectrum lights to the treatment program gained an even greater benefit," notes Dr. Magaziner.
Valerian: Anxiety and stress, which can cause depression and insomnia, may be helped by this herb, says the prolific Dr. Sahelian in his book Kava: The Miracle Antianxiety Herb (St. Martin's). In 101 Medicinal Herbs (Interweave), Steven Foster reports that "Ten controlled clinical studies have been published on valerian...one of which suggests that valerian should be used for two to four weeks before daily mood and sleep patterns improve."
Amino Acid Help
Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, may also help improve mood. (For more on protein, see page 65.) These chemicals are used by the body to construct neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that facilitate mental activity.
For instance, the amino acid L-tyrosine is necessary for the formation of transmitters adrenaline and dopamine. This substance, therefore, is given to alleviate depression and anxiety.
The substance L-dopa which is given to victims of Parkinson's disease is concocted from tyrosine. And several antidepressants alleviate bad moods by boosting the interaction of brain chemicals related to tyrosine.
In addition, since tyrosine is used to make adrenaline, this amino acid may be helpful for folks trying to cope with the mood problems related to stress.
Another amino acid that experts believe useful for better moods, L-methionine, is used by the body to make choline, a crucial substance for brain function. (Choline goes into the formation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.)
Methionine has been given to people suffering from schizophrenia and depression as well as to those with Parkinson's. Methionine plays a number of crucial roles in the brain and body since it helps form other vital proteins.
For those concerned about preserving a positive mood, researchers are positive that smoking worsens depression. A study at the Department of Behavioral Services at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan found that daily smokers run twice the risk for major depression compared to those who only smoked occasionally.
Unfortunately, the investigators found that not only did smoking seem to lead to depression, depression, in turn, led to more smoking (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2/99).
"Smokers who have depression tend to see their smoking become a daily habit and it may be because they use nicotine to medicate their depressed mood," reported Naomi Breslau, PhD, who headed the research. Over a five year period, the researchers looked at about a thousand young people aged 21 to 30. They found that daily smokers generally start smoking in adolescence, and those who report early depression are three times as likely to eventually become daily smokers.
If you're feeling down, don't give up hope. Although depression can prove to be a depressingly complicated malady, daily, healthy habits can offset its effects. Getting consistent exercise, dousing your cigarettes and turning to herbal and nutritional help to treat mild depression may defeat those blues.
Cancer at the Millenium - the war on cancer entering its third decade...
June 13, 2005 10:23 AM
Cancer at the Millenium by Harriet Brown Energy Times, May 1, 1999
With the war on cancer entering its third decade, the necessity grows clearer for medical science to engage the enemy on several fronts. Until recently, high-tech medical weapons like vaccines and gene therapy, inspired by a flood of insights into the molecular basis of cancer, garnered most of the hope, hype, headlines and research money. The science was sexy and the prospect of a "cure" dramatic. But, today, advocates of prevention receive equal, if not greater, attention.
Improving our diets and prudently supplementing with vitamins and minerals, can deliver a major preventive impact. Contentious experts concede that at least a third (and probably more) of all cancers can be blamed on a combination of eating too much of the wrong foods and not enough of the right ones.
The Dietary Difference
Though cancer can progress rapidly once it leaps past its inception, it develops over many years and in several stages. Beneficial compounds in food and supplements may intervene along a line that runs from initial exposure to carcinogens to the final step into outright malignancy. Nutrients may: - counteract environmental poisons and the toxic byproducts of liver metabolism
The Big Picture The dietary guidelines advocated by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute (which generally coincide with those of most health organizations) may sound familiar: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Get lots of fiber. Limit fat, especially animal fat. Go easy on meat and avoid the cured variety (they contain nitrites). If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. Watch your total calories, and your weight. Pretty straightforward stuff.
Carotenoids, as their name suggests, are orange and red pigments in fruits and vegetables, most notably carrots and tomatoes, although they're also in everything from sweet potatoes to spinach and brussels sprouts (in the latter their distinctive color is masked by green chlorophyll).
Lycopene, a carotenoid found primarily in tomatoes, displays double the free radical-fighting activity of beta carotene, the most widely studied carotenoid. Of 72 studies looking at consumption of tomatoes or tomato-based products reviewed in the February 1999 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, almost half showed a significant reduction in one or more of a variety of cancers.
Research shows that lycopene may be best at lowering a man's risk of prostate cancer. A 1995 Harvard Medical School study (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995; 87: 1767-76) queried nearly 48,000 male health-care professionals about their consumption of fruits and vegetables. The only foods that reduced their risk of prostate cancer were, apparently, tomato sauce, tomatoes, pizza (tomato paste). For those who ate ten servings a week, risk dropped 45 percent; with four to seven servings, 20 percent. In animal studies lycopene decreased the number and size of mammary tumors (Eleventh International Symposium on Carotenoids, 1996).
Tomatoes are one of the richest sources of lycopene. Cooking tomatoes helps by releasing the lycopene from the plant cell walls. Also, the oil in tomato sauce enhances absorption in the stomach. Lycopene is also available in supplements.
Wine drinkers rejoiced when resveratrol, a constituent of the skin of red grapes, was found to protect their hearts (by blocking oxidation of LDL cholesterol and discouraging blood clotting). Now they have another reason to toast this potent antioxidant. When researcher John Pezzuto at the University of Illinois at Chicago screened about 1,000 plants for anticancer activity, he came up with one whose active ingredient turned out to be resveratrol. In lab tests it squelched both free radicals and inflammation, two well-known cancer inducers (Science, 6/10/97). In a study with mice, resveratrol reduced the number of skin tumors by up to 98 percent compared to control animals. Because the effective doses were high (Pezzuto estimates a person would have to quaff about five gallons of wine a day to get the equivalent) and because more than a drink or two a day may raise the risk of breast cancer, researchers don't recommend nondrinkers take up wine. But supplements of synthesized resveratrol (as well as grape juice) may help.
Saturated fat is an authentic dietary villain. Aside from clogging arteries, it's a suspected contributor to several cancers, though the evidence is greater for some cancers (prostate) than for others (breast cancer)
Of the two other main categories of fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, mono seems benign, if not positively protective. For example, in a study of the influence of diet on breast cancer, Greek researchers discovered that women who consumed higher amounts of olive oil (which is mostly mono) were less likely to be afflicted with breast cancer (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995: 87; 110-116).
When it comes to polyunsaturated fats, however, things get complicated. The fat that predominates in corn, sunflower and other vegetable oils, called omega-6, has long been associated with cancer risk in animal experiments. Likewise the type found in margarines, trans fats, which are partially saturated vegetable oils. On the other hand, the omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA, which are found primarily in deep- and cold-water fish like cod, mackerel, and halibut, protect against both heart disease and cancer. In an epidemiological study covering 24 European countries, British researchers established that mortality rates for colon and breast cancers declined as fish and fish oil consumption rose (British Journal of Cancer 1996: 74; 159-64). And Finnish scientists discovered that the breast tissue of women who had breast cancer contained significantly less DHA and EPA than the breasts of healthy women (Nutrition and Cancer 1995: 24; 151-160).
Experts believe the omega-3s' anticancer effect derives from its ability to tamp down the prostaglandins that stimulate inflammation. Chronic inflammation unleashes a steady stream of free radicals, which can damage DNA and thereby trigger cancer. Omega-3s also help the liver detoxify potentially harmful substances.
Fortunately for the fish-phobic, nonmarine sources of omega-3 fats include flaxseed and hemp oils.
Minerals to Lower Cancer Risk
n Calcium: possibly protective against colon cancer. In a recent trial (New England Journal of Medicine, 1/14/99) researchers gave people with a history of precancerous colon polyps either two 600 mg calcium tablets a day or a placebo for nine months and found fewer polyps. n Selenium: powerful antioxidant and supporter of immunity. Researchers find that cancer rates in various regions is lowered when soil and vegetables contain more selenium
In a selenium-depleted area in China afflicted with one of the highest incidences of stomach and esophageal cancer mortality in the world, scientists asked different groups to take various combinations of nutrients. After five years they found a significant reduction in the cancer rate among those who had gotten supplements of selenium, vitamin E and beta carotene (Biological Trace Element Research 1985; 7: 21-29). In the U.S. researchers studying the potential effectiveness of selenium supplementation for preventing nonmelanoma skin cancers came up with a surprise. The 200 mcg a day the subjects received for an average of 4.5 years had no impact on skin cancer but did significantly cut the rates of lung, colorectal and prostate cancers (Journal of the American Medical Association, 12/25/96).
More recently Harvard researchers determined that men with prostate cancer had much lower levels of selenium in their toenails (a measure of consumption) than healthy men (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 8/119/98).
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale, have long been singled out for their association with protection against cancer. In a 1996 survey of 94 population studies and clinical trials focusing on consumption of cruciferous vegetables, 67 percent showed a reduced risk, the strongest link being with lung, stomach, colon and rectal cancers (Cancer Epidemiological Biomarkers 1996; 5: 733-748).
Scientists at Johns Hopkins showed that sulforaphane, from these plants, stimulates enzymes that help detoxify carcinogens generated in the liver. When they injected rats with a cancer-causing chemical, only 26 percent of the rodents pretreated with sulforaphane developed mammary cancer, compared to 68 percent of controls. Even animals who did come down with cancer had tumors that appeared later and smaller.
Other researchers have focused on a cruciferous-vegetable compound called indole-3-carbinol, which has proved especially effective against breast cancer cells. Recently, scientists at the University of California at Berkeley found that indole-3-carbinol, rather than acting as an anti-estrogen, (as had been thought), actually stops breast cancer cells by turning off a protein critical to their replication (Jrnal of Bio Chem, 2/13/98). Consequently, when treating certain forms of cancer, some doctors have paired indole-3-carbinol with the chemotherapy drug tamoxifen - which counteracts estrogen - and found that the combination has proven more potent than either separately.
Several decades ago British physician Denis Burkitt proposed that the low incidence of colon cancer among native peoples in South Africa was attributable to the fact that their diet was rich in fiber. The fiber, it was hypothesized, bulked up the stool, speeding its passage through the bowel and reducing the time carcinogens contact its lining; it also helped neutralize cancer-promoting bile acids.
This concept has been backed up by numerous studies. Recently, Harvard researchers sprinkled cold water on this idea, finding that an examination of the eating habits of more than 80,000 female nurses, could find no protective effect against colon cancer or precancerous polyps from consuming fiber (NEJM, January 21, 1999). Most experts' take on this apparent refutation: Maybe the "high fiber" intake in this case wasn't high enough, and this is just one study among many.
Fighting Breast Cancer
Fiber has also been linked to reduced rates of breast cancer. At first it was thought that if fat was a breast-cancer culprit, fiber might just be a marker for a low-fat diet. But a look at Finland undermined that idea: Finnish women eat both a lot of fat and a lot of fiber, and their breast cancer rate ranks much below that in the U.S., (where we eat gobs of fat and little roughage).
Fiber helps take estrogen out of circulation as it passes through the liver, while the isoflavones in many high-fiber plants and vegetables are themselves weak estrogens, which compete for slots on breast tissue's estrogen receptors. The special fiber in flaxseed oil called lignans act against estrogen in two ways: by binding its receptors and by inhibiting the enzyme that converts other hormones into estrogen.
Fiber comes in two basic forms, insoluble (e.g., wheat bran, celery, the skins of fruits and vegetables) and soluble (e.g., oat bran, citrus fruits, beans). Until a few years ago, scientists believed that cancer protection came mainly from insoluble fiber, but that thinking has turned around.
A soluble fiber called citrus pectin has been shown to halt the tendency of prostate, lung, breast and skin cancers to metastasize, or spread (e.g., Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995; 87: 3448-353). Typically cancer turns deadly only when it gets into the bloodstream and invades new territory. Modified citrus pectin appears to stop this aggression by preventing cancer cells from attaching to healthy tissue.
While the name inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) sounds like a mouthful, many of us consume mouthfuls of this natural substance every day - in foods like corn, rice, whole-grain cereals, oats and wheat.
But now scientists have isolated IP-6 and found that this powerful antioxidant can slow the destructive cellular processes that lead to tumors. In a study published in Anti-Cancer Research (Nov/Dec 1998), scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine demonstrated that IP-6 could shrink liver tumors in laboratory animals.
The researchers believe that IP-6 can help prevent cancer and also be useful in lowering the risk of health problems like kidney stones and heart disease. Research like this continues to expand our knowledge of how to lower the risk of cancer. In the next millennium, with more and more information making its way into the media and onto websites, our power and the responsibility to reduce our risk of cancer will continue to grow and offer new possibilities.
Thanks for the Memory
June 11, 2005 03:49 PM
Thanks for the Memory by Estelle Sobel , February 6, 2002
Thanks for the Memory By Estelle Sobel
"I feel like every day, I lose my memory more and more. It started when I couldn't find my car keys, sometimes I forget directions. My mother has Alzheimer's so I'm concerned," says Jerry Solowitz, a 63 year old man.
Ellen Lerner, 37, sometimes worries that she can't keep track of everything in her job as a public relations executive. "I feel like stress can get to me easily, and I worry because I forget simple things like where I put a file."
Should these people be concerned?
"Yes," says Lynda Toth, Ph.D., co-author with Pavel Yutsis, M.D., of Why Can't I Remember? Reversing Memory Loss (Avery, 1999).
Jerry should start a specific program with a health practitioner who specializes in memory loss, due to lots of unsuspected new causes for memory dysfunction. Ellen needs to make lifestyle changes, as stress can definitely lead to memory loss.
"Cortisol, which is one of the stress hormones, can be harmful because it keeps calcium in the memory pathway too long and destroys the neurons, which is very damaging to the brain," notes Toth.
Why Does Memory Fail?
Memory fails for several reasons, says Augustine DiGiovanna, M.D., author of Human Aging: Biological Perspectives, (McGraw-Hill 2000), and Professor of Biology at Salisbury State University in Salisbury, MD.
Normal Aging: Much of diminished memory as we age is due to reduced blood flow to the brain from atherosclerosis, which is hardening and narrowing of the arteries. Decreased blood flow causes neurons to shrink and function less effectively.
Also, as we age we lose neurons and neuron connections that can lead to memory loss. So the way people think, how much they remember, and the mental activities they do determine how many brain cells survive through the years.
Finally, as people live longer, the chance is greater that the body's immune system and other defense mechanisms won't be able to protect against certain diseases that affect the brain and memory (Parkinson's, strokes, Alzheimers, atherosclerosis).
A Starving Brain: The brain is not getting fed the nutrients it needs (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, glucose). Without the right "food" the brain's energy levels become lowered and stop powering the memory cells. Then, free radicals can do more dirty work and continue to rust memory cells.
Drink And Sink: Alcohol passes through the blood-brain barrier and slows down the processing of information between memory neurons. Memory loss increases over time, as memory tissues shrink.
Sad Stories: Depression can imbalance the neurotransmitters and electrical charges of neurons.
Tense and Tight: High blood pressure can constrict and narrow blood vessels, limiting blood and oxygen flow to the brain.
One way to boost brain power is to take the right supplements.
Ginkgo biloba: The powerful medicinal herb ginkgo biloba increases blood flow and circulation to the head by dilating blood vessels in the brain, allowing more oxygenated blood to get to the neurons. It also protects against free radical damage.
Research: Ginkgo biloba extract displayed a significant effect on helping the mental abilities of people 50-59 years old (Phytotherapy Research 13, 1999: 408-415).
Pregnenolone: This powerful hormone regulates the balance between excitation and inhibition in the nervous system and helps enhance memory and brain function, possibly by repairing a fatty substance that is part of the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve cells. Research: A St. Louis University School of Medicine study on mice showed that pregnenolone enhanced memory and helped mice to navigate mazes better.
Huperzine A: This herbal supplement is derived from club moss found in China; in purified form it inhibits the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that you need for memory.
Research: Studies conducted by Alan Mazurek, M.D., found that huperzine A in purified form improves memory, enhances focus and concentration and has been used to improve memory loss in Alzheimer's patients (Alt. Ther. in Health Med. 5 , March 1999: 97-98).
Another study in The Journal of Neuroscience Research showed that huperzine A is a potent inhibitor of cholinesterase, which penetrates the brain and produces a dose-dependent increase of the neurotransmitters acetylcholine, norepinephrine and dopamine in rat cortex (41, 1995: 828-835).
Phosphatidylserine (PS): This substance, which occurs naturally in nerve cell membranes, helps keep fatty substances soluble and cell membranes fluid and helps reduce levels of cortisone which are damaging to tissues.
Research: Phosphatidylserine encourages a sense of calm by raising the levels of alpha brain waves and increasing the production of acetylcholine (Neuropsychobiology 24, 1990-1991: 42-48).
Vitamin E: This potent antioxidant attaches to bad cholesterol and helps prevent free radical damage to cells.
Research: Age-related processes like memory function and problem solving can be affected by free radical damage. Several studies show that vitamin E might slow the effects of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease (JAMA 282, August 18, 1999: 621). Acetyl-l-carnitine: Increases cognitive performance because it rejuvenates cellular membranes of mitochondria, the storehouses of energy contained in every living cell.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid: Preserves memory tissue by increasing glutathione levels, which protect fat stores in neurons from being damaged.
Nine Ways to Remember
Dr. Lynda Toth suggests the following ways to make the most of what you've now got.
1) Power Up Your Smile. Remove dental fillings and replace them with porcelain or ceramic ones. The mercury in metal fillings may be harmful (some believe) and can affect the brain and nervous system, inflaming memory tissue and preventing the entry of nutrients into the cells.
2) Don't Be a Tin Man/Woman Avoid exposure to aluminum. Don't use aluminum pots to cook in. Aluminum accumulates in memory tissue, damaging cells. In fact, autopsies of Alzheimers patients show they have unusually huge amounts of aluminum in the brain. But no one knows where this aluminum comes from.
3) Eat Right. Eat organic and pesticide-free foods. Pesticides get into the cells and can damage DNA.
4) A Matter of Taste. Avoid foods with artificial coloring, monosodium glutamate (MSG, often called "natural flavors" or "natural seasoning"). Also avoid processed foods with taste enhancers called exito toxins such as l-cysteine and aspartic acid.
5) In the Raw. Make sure that your diet consists of enzyme-rich 50% raw foods (fruits and vegetables) to feed the brain. Eat less animal fats.
* Drink green juices to support levels of the brain's clean-up enzymes.
*Eat lots of fiber, which helps remove toxins from the body. Pick up psyllium fiber.
*Limit intake of processed sugar, caffeine and alcohol to lessen the load on the liver and pancreas.
6) Cut Bait. Watch the fish that you eat. Lots of ocean and inland-caught fish are contaminated with mercury. Go for deep, cold water fish such as cod. Avoid shark and swordfish.
7). Oil Up. Supplement your diet with omega-3 fatty acids, such as cod liver oil or flaxseed oil. These fats lubricate memory cells.
8) Work That Body. Stay fit and exercise. Exercise helps oxygenate the body, reduces cholesterol, and builds and energizes new memory cells which reduces wear and tear on the brain function.
9) Do Mind Games. Read, listen to music. Tune into different radio stations than the ones you normally listen to. Do crossword puzzles and a wide selection of word games which can stretch your brain and give it a tough workout.
Student of Life
You need to keep learning your whole life to keep your brain and memory in tip top shape. The brain is adaptable, and you are always building new neurons, says Dr. Toth, which means that there is no limit to how long it can develop. Anything that stimulates the brain will help it to grow. That's why as you get older it's even more important to take classes, start a new hobby, travel. In fact, the challenge of learning and doing new things (without stopping in a fit of frustration) causes your brain to grow, says Dr. Mazurek.
The Good News
As people get older, their brains may actually improve and repair themselves through a complicated process that is designed to eliminate faulty neurons that are prone to making mistakes. At the same time, brain activity goes on that results in the development of new and improved connections with neighboring neurons.
Research also shows that memory improves if you train people to have faith in themselves. (The brain helps those who help themselves.) Apparently, a confident perspective can encourage the brain to actually improve to the point where its new-found abilities may increase to the point where it fulfills expectations.
So keep your chin up and stay away from the artery-clogging saturated fat that can cut off the brain's blood supply. It's all in the attitude, says Dr. DiGiovanna. And, of course, the key to a long and happy life with your brain is also on the end of your fork and in that bottle of supplements.
Estelle Sobel, is the co-author of Beautiful Skin: Every Woman's Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age (Adams Media, May 2000).
Immunity - The Big Picture
June 10, 2005 09:51 PM
Immunity: The Big Picture by Brian Amherst Energy Times, August 3, 1999
Your body wants to be well. Outfitted with a battalion of defenses for strategic deployment, your immune system explodes with resistant force at the first sign of infective invasion.
Think of the time a tiny splinter embedded itself in your thumb. By bedtime, the spot rose and reddened; by morning, white blood cells had launched their campaign, building a hot, throbbing fortification. By day's end, the bit of wood was propelled to the surface and ejected by the immune system warriors. Once again, a foreign assailant was summarily ousted.
The Protective Force
"Supporting the immune system is critical to good health. Conversely, good health is critical to supporting the immune system." So write naturopathic doctors Michael T. Murray and Joseph E. Pizzorno in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima).
Maintaining the immune system requires a comprehensive program of wholesome diet, resilient attitude, fitness enhancing activity and nutrients keyed to the clear and specific needs of this energetic machine.
The all-star lineup for immune sustenance: a high-potency multiple vitamin/mineral formula, vitamins C and A, bioflavonoids, isoflavones, zinc and selenium, antioxidants like ActiVin (grape seed extract) and pycnogenol (French maritime pine bark), as well as the botanicals echinacea and astragalus.
But optimal partnering with your immune system also benefits from understanding its workings.
Lymph, a milky fluid consisting of water protein and immune cells, is the essence of the immune system. Powered by muscle movement (an important reason why exercise boosts immunity), the lymphatic system collects and transports lymph to the lymph nodes. These nodes contain certain immune cells and filter out invading antigens, as well as produce antibodies, before siphoning the lymph out into the bloodstream.
If you've ever had "swollen glands," that means your lymph nodes have been in overdrive.
Macrophages are the immune cells that filter lymph, consuming bacteria and cellular debris while protecting the lymph system from invasion and damage.
The White Blood Cell Album
In Monocytes collect cellular trash after infections and can trigger immune responses; eosinophils can eliminate foreign particles and, with basophils, are involved in immune response.
In Lymphocytes include varieties of T cells, which work with other white blood cells or attack and destroy foreign tissue, cancer cells or virus-infected cells; B cells that produce antibodies that bind to bacteria, viruses or tumors; and natural killer cells (NKCs) that destroy cancerous or virally-infected cells.
(Based on information in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine; The Road to Immunity: How to Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) by Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin; and the Johns Hopkins Family Health Book (Harper Resource).
Keep the System Sound
"But you must always be sure to maintain the mind-body-spirit link," he told Energy Times. "For the mind, it could be exercise, yoga or meditation. Evidence shows improved immune system responses from these therapies. And in any case, you never read in the headlines that somebody has been admitted to the emergency room overdosing on meditation.
"Intentionality also is an important part of the mind link: believing you are going to fare well. For your spirit, you must ask yourself such questions as, Do I feel connected to others?
"For the body, a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement. Much depends on your community: I live on Long Island, where there is a high incidence of breast cancer, so I would recommend green tea and isoflavones from soy products for women."
Dr. Benjamin stresses moderation in the use of immune-intensifying supplements, among which he cites mixed carotenoids, zinc and vitamin E.
The Soy Solution
In a study conducted by the University of Southern California at Norris and published in the March 4, 1998 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers reported that genistein, an active component of soy products, short-circuits the ability of tumor cells to elude destruction by the immune system due to an excess of defensive stress proteins.
Genistein seems to make cancer cells vulnerable to the immune response. Researchers at Wake Forest University told participants at the January 1999 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that dietary or supplemental soy fed to monkeys counteracted cell proliferation that is a cancer precursor.
That Championship C
Immune cells are known to accumulate and retain high levels of vitamin C. Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York now understand how that happens: Proteins called growth factors (which control growth and production of immune cells) also increase those cells' ability to take up vitamin C.
These researchers, reporting in the April 1998 issue of the journal Blood, explain that the additional glucose that the growth factors pump into immune cells (for enhanced energy), plus extra vitamin C, intensify immune response.
And folks with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood serum experience less cell damage from free radicals that leads to cancer, heart and pulmonary disease and other chronic conditions.
Scientists at the University of Buffalo (addressing the June 13, 1997 meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research) deduced from studying population groups that high levels of vitamin C are associated with low oxidative stress and lower risk of cell damage.
From A to Zinc
In Colostrum, the pre-milk liquid produced by mammals during the first 24 to 48 hours after birth, took the spotlight recently as a supplement imbued with multiple immune factors and natural antibiotics that augment body's immune response. A 1992 study showed that bovine colostrum might be able to reduce and prevente infections in immune deficient folks, especially those with AIDS.
In University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers found for the first time (on laboratory animals) that vitamin D appreciably inhibits widespread prostate cancer by binding to cancer cells and triggering cell death or their transformation to benign cells.
In Vitamin E exerts formidable immune-enhancing influence on both antibody and cell-mediated immunity. One fundamental study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (245, 1981: 53-58) established conclusively that vitamin E deficiency results in significant impairment of immune function. Later studies demonstrated that it reduces prostate cancer by up to one-third.
In Coenzyme A, described as a metabolic enzyme, takes part in starting numerous body processes that provide energy for the immune system. If you ever run short of this enzyme, fat processing within your body would grind to a halt.
in Researchers looking at a substance with the tongue twisting name 3-acetyl-7-oxo-Dehydroepiandro-sterone, believe it aids immunity by quelling stress hormones.
in Mushrooms contain natural substances called polysaccharides, believed to enhance immunity. In particular, maitake mushroom, which conveys the immune booster beta-D-glucans, is reputed to help fight infections and drop blood pressure.
in Men and women taking selenium supplements for 10 years had 41% less total cancer than those taking a dummy, according to a January 1997 study by Cornell University and the University of Arizona. Other studies have shown it to reduce the risk for colon cancer by about 60%. n Zinc may provide immediate protection against the all too common cold. Scientists at the University of Florida were the first to apply genetic fingerprinting methods like those used in criminal and paternity investigations to understand how nutrients directly affect human immune cells.
The study, in the April 1998 Journal of Nutrition, demonstrates that zinc signals cells to make the protein metallothionein, which protects against infections, toxins and other stressors.
Phytochemicals a la Carte
n Isoflavones from soy, fight angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels form to supply nutrients to cancerous growths. n Sulforaphane in broccoli, kale and cabbage activates anticancer enzymes.
n Omega-3 fatty acids in cold water fish block the synthesis of prostaglandins, natural compounds in the body that promote tumor growth.
n Ginger contains antioxidant compounds, each more potent than vitamin E. Recent studies on mice show ginger can prevent skin tumors. n Rosemary contains carnosol which deactivates carcinogens and helps limit the effects of prostaglandins.
Sometimes the world can look like a dangerous place, especially when you're sick and tired much of the time. But in the search for immunity, menus of health help like this ensure that no matter what your immunity needs, a boost can be yours with the proper nutrient selection.