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The Sweet Taste of Sugar Beets
September 12, 2022 04:05 PM
Most people think of sugar beets as the large, red, ugly root vegetables that farmers grow in fields. But did you know that sugar beets are actually a type of candy? That's right - sugar beets are one of the sweetest vegetables around! In fact, sugar beets have a high sugar content, up to about 20% of the unprocessed plant root. This makes sugar beets a perfect 1:1 substitute for cane sugar in most recipes. persons with intolerance to refined cane sugar will find beet sugar to be a worthy replacement. NOW Real Food® Organic Beet Sugar is delightfully pure with no added ingredients.
The History of Sugar Beets
Sugar beets have been cultivated for centuries. The first recorded instance of sugar beet cultivation was in 1747 by Andreas Marggraf, a German chemist who discovered that sugar could be extracted from these unusual looking roots. Marggraf's discovery revolutionized the sugar industry and made it possible to produce large quantities of refined Sugar.
How Sugar Beets are Grown
Sugar beets are typically grown in cool climate regions with long growing seasons. They are a hardy vegetable that can tolerate frost and cold weather. Sugar beets are usually planted in the spring and harvested in the fall. The roots are typically white or cream-colored with reddish-brown skin.
Sugar Beet Nutrition
Sugar beets are an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are also low in calories and fat-free. A 100 gram serving of sugar beets contains only 43 calories and 0 grams of fat.
Whether you're looking for a healthier alternative to cane sugar or you're simply curious about this humble root vegetable, NOW Real Food® Organic Beet Sugar is the perfect choice for all your baking needs! Deliciously sweet and naturally gluten-free, our organic beet sugar is sure to please everyone in your family. Try it today!
Non-Intoxicating Hemp and CBD
December 03, 2019 04:37 PM
Benefits of Hemp
Agricultural hemp keeps you healthy, doesn't get you "high."
Hemp contains excellent nutritional value, providing essential nutritional components called Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) that the human body does not product naturally, and must be consumed through the diet. Further, emerging scientific research supports the consumption of CBD from hemp oil for general well-being.
Good for the Earth
Hemp sequesters CO2 and leaves the soil in better condition than before it was planted.
Not only is hemp renewable and fast-growing, nearly every part of the plant is useable - for food, fiber, building materials and fuel, with an estimated 25,000 uses!
Agricultural Hemp (Outdoor Grown)
The Bad Side of Medical Cannabis (Indoor Grown)
Industrial Hemp based CBD has many uses have you given it a try yet?
Why maca is one of the best natural remedies for fertility problems
February 15, 2019 09:38 AM
In recent years, a very large focus has gone into using herbs and supplements to help boost problems humans are facing today. This article specifically touches on the herb maca and has been said to help aid in both physical and mental health, but can it help with fertility? It explores the possibility that by consuming this herb your sexual health and ability to reproduce can increase as well as help stabilize your bodies natural cycle. Additionally, it provides a few ways in which you can ultimately consume it.
"Maca is a tuber native to South America and it is considered an Andean miracle food."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-10-why-maca-is-one-of-the-best-natural-remedies-for-fertility-problems.html
Finding a market for hemp: More than 2000 acres of industrial hemp planted in Minnesota this year
August 31, 2017 04:14 PM
Growing industrial hemp to harvest for food, fiber and other uses is becoming more common especially in Canada. Now Minnesota wants to begin allowing the cultivation of Hemp. Thanks to legislations, Hemp crops have doubled in Minnesota in the last few years and are continuing to grow. The Ag and Renewable Energy Committee of the Kandiyohi County as well as the City of Willmar Economic Development Commission have been working hard to increase production to help farmers while assuring the public that there is no danger from getting high off this particular type of crop.
"According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, there is a 101-acre field of hemp being grown in Chippewa County."
Read more: http://www.wdaz.com/news/4318205-finding-market-hemp-more-2000-acres-industrial-hemp-planted-minnesota-year
Resveratrol Is Good For Diabetic People
March 11, 2017 02:59 PM
Resveratrol is really good for diabetic people. It can be a part of treating diabetes. In one study, it was found that resveratrol helps with controlling blood sugar levels. There were other experiments done as well to see what the effects were. It was found in the end that the drugs used to treat diabetes can now be used to treat Alzheimer's disease.
"The medications or drugs that are used to control levels of glucose and regulate diabetes can be used to halt the onset of dementia as the two diseases are very much alike."
How to grow garlic from a single clove
February 24, 2017 11:19 AM
There is a way to grow garlic from a single clove. Garlic has been used for various purposes since ancient times. It was once described as being a cure for many different medical conditions. Over the years, science has actually backed up many of his claims. It can help to lower your cholesterol and also lower your blood pressure.
"While the optimal planting time to produce beautiful, large bulbs is fall, just after the first frost has passed, cloves can also be planted in late winter or early spring."
Development of castor oil.
January 03, 2017 09:46 PM
There are about hundreds of castor oil factories in China, of which only about 10% castor oil manufacturers start working; large processing plants have around 20; only nine plants have tens of thousands processing capacity. About 70% of Chinese castor oil processing factories in stop production or semi-shutdown state, because there are no adequate, high-quality raw material castor sources. At the end of the 1980s, China extends and built several large scale castor oil factories, each factory's total amount of annual output of castor oil are in 10 -15 thousand tons, total production capacity is about 55,000 tons per year.
The world's major markets of castor oil were concentrated in North America and Europe, of which the France, Britain, Netherlands, United States, Germany, five countries accounted for 61% of annual fuel consumption.
India castor oil used in making soap has about 1.6-1.8 million tons, the textile industry uses 2-3 thousand tons, chemical industries use 2-3 thousand tons, lubricating oil use 5-6 thousand tons, the rest for exporting. In Japan's castor oil use amount, paints accounted for 28.6%, the surfactant is 12.3%, cosmetic raw material is 8.2%, resin is 5.7%, hardened oil is 17.8%, sebum oil is 12.9%, others is 14.5%. Japan needs to import large quantities of castor beans every year; they are mostly imported from China, Pakistan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Brazil and other countries. Castor oil in the United States for the production of plastics and resins was accounted for 25.9%, fatty acids accounted for 12.7%, lubricating oil accounted for 6.3%, paint accounted for 23.7%, cosmetics (mainly synthetic waxes) accounted for 2.1%, others such as inks, surfactants accounted for 29.1%, these castor oils are imported from foreign countries.
Every year, the world needs 700 thousand tons of castor oil, convert into 1.6 million tons castor beans. Nowadays, gasoline resource was gradually reduced, transportation, live used gasoline was rapidly increasing, use gasoline as a raw material for synthetic material will be increasingly constrained in cost. And the United States study found that long-term exposure to polymers which synthesized by gasoline was harmful to human health. California and some other states have enacted laws and regulations for this, to restrict and gradually prohibit using synthetic resin in city buildings, interior facilities and human health-related sites and articles, which is polymerized from petroleum, natural gas cleaved into monomers raw materials, it makes castor oil's demand was rising sharply.
Castor cultivation in China is very commonly; there is no open planted regional division. South from Hainan Island, north to Heilongjiang is cultivated. Because castor hybrids with drought resistance, thin ridge resistant, saline-alkaline tolerance, well-adapted, simple to manage, less invest, high efficiency and other salient features, no matter grain field or hills, rocky land, saline-alkali soil and even around the house can be grown it. So anywhere in China can be planted castor.
Gut bacteria affect our metabolism
December 06, 2016 04:59 PM
Did you know the bacteria in your digestive tract have a big impact on your metabolism? Studies have shown that gut bacteria transplanted from overweight humans causes mice to gain more weight on the same diet as other mice who received gut bacteria transplants from people in the normal weight range.
"The study design is different than previous studies within this field and as such the researchers are able to obtain new observations related to the effect of gut microbes on host metabolism."
What Are The Health Benefits Of The Grain Quinoa?
February 13, 2012 01:57 AM
Quinoa is a gluten free seed rich in dietary fibers with creamy, fluffy and slightly crunchy texture. Its taste is somewhat nutty when cooked. It belongs to the family of spinach, beets, swiss chard and lamb's quarter.It is a complete protein grain with all the essential amino acids. There are nine essential amino acids known as the building blocks of protein. Amino acids help in building strong muscles and nourish the nerves.It is also rich in essential minerals such as manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and iron.
Quinoa is technically a seed, not a grain of a goose foot plant. The name quinoa came from Greek words chen which means goose and pou which means foot. This is because the leaves of the plant of quinoa seeds resemble the webbed foot of a goose.
Quinoa has been cultivated as early as the 12th century by the Incans, the ancient people of South America. They referred to quinoa as the "mother seed",considered as a sacred grain and gold of the Incans.They believed that it is a gift from gods that possesses enhancing properties.The emperor ritually planted and sowed the first quinoa seed of the season using his golden taquiza, a shovel like planting stick. Quinoa gives energy and increases oxygen to the relay teams of bare footed running messengers who lived in the mountains with an altitude considered high enough where oxygen level is reduced.This is because they were holding ash from quinoa plant and cocoa leaves. This combination increases oxygen in their body to sustain the runners increasing need for oxygen. In can armies also used quinoa to energize their body from frequent marching for days. Quinoa is part of the native Indian diet to increase their resistance to prevail over harsh living condition in the high mountains.
Today quinoa is making its name popular in the industry of wonder foods.It is so high in protein that builds and nourishes muscle tissues. It is used to treat people with migraine, diabetes and atherosclerosis. It is a good source of magnesium that relaxes the blood vessels. Magnesium reduces attack of migraine by improving blood and oxygen distribution to the brain.
Magnesium combined with high dietary fiber found in quinoa helps in maintaining healthy blood pressure and prevents cardiovascular diseases. Fibers absorb and eliminate bad cholesterol.It prevents plaque that blocks the arteries and enhances blood circulation.This process prevents atherosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries due to fat deposits and plaque buildup that narrows the arteries.
Quinoa is rich in anti oxidants that shields each cells from getting damaged caused by free radicals, pollution, alcohol and medication. It boosts the immunity and increases resistance from stress. Anti oxidants and fibers prevent risks of cancer and diabetes.Obesity and overweight are the most common risk factor of diabetes. Fibers remove toxins and excess fats, improve digestion and maintain healthy body weight to prevent diabetes.While antioxidants enhances cell regeneration and repair. This process lowers risks of cancer.
Quinoa is highin insoluble fiber thatprevents gallstones and helps in cleansing the liver. Whole grains like quinoa reduce asthma, allergic cough and wheezing in children. The protein in quinoa strengthens the muscle tissues of the air passage, thus prevents inflammation that narrows the airways of asthma patients.
Natural Remedies for Arthritis
February 08, 2012 08:15 AM
Arthritis is a kind inflammation on one or more joint. There are many kinds of arthritis. Each kind has different causes. Most common causes are injury, metabolism problem, immunity disorder, infections, hereditary factors, and much more. The symptoms are various too. But generally, it includes joint pain, swelling, redness, warmth, and stiffness. When the arthritis goes more serious, it could lead to fever, weight loss, and fatigue.
There are many ways to cure arthritis. If the illness is quite serious, you need to go to a doctor. You can undergo a physical treatment. You can orthopedic bracing. Or, you could even need a joint replacement surgery. And if it is not so serious, you can just go to drug store to buy some analgesic, corticosteroid, acetaminophen or some anti-inflammatory medications. But, you need to remember that every drug has side effects. Analgesic could lead you to nausea and stomach upset. Corticosteroid can give make you bruise easily. It can also weaken your bones.
The best recommendation to avoid side effects is to go naturally. Natural remedies have negligible side effects. Those have been used by our predecessors to cure many illnesses effectively. And for arthritis, there are also some ingredients that could be useful. Here are some examples:
Curcumin is derived from the root of tumeric plant. Tumeric is commonly used for Indian cooking and Chinese medication. Curcumin can be an effective anti-inflammatory. It can also cure stiffness and pain. For a better result, combine curcumin with bromelain. Curcumin might be not good for a pregnant woman to consume.
Boswelia acid can also be an active anti-inflamatory. Commonly, it is used to cure several inflammatory problems such as asthma and some digestive ailments. Boswelia supplements sometimes are sold in capsule form.
3. Holy Basil
Holy basil is also known as Tulsi in India. In Ayurveda, tulsi is very sacred herb. That is why it is called as Holy Basil. In India, many houses have it planted on their yard and often use it to cure headache, influenza, and some digestive disorders. Many researches have found that holy basil also contains high anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. But it is not recommended for pregnant women.
Ginger has an active compound called gingerol. Gingerol is very effective to cure inflammatory. You can consume ginger in many ways. You can take it as a supplement. You can easily brew the ginger root at home and drink it when it is warm. You can also just eat it. But if you want to eat it, it would be better to eat it with other foods or you might get heartburn.
Glucosamine is the main element that forms cartilage and synovial fluids. It is formed by glycoaminoglycans and protein inside a human's body. Glucosamine sometimes are formed as glusosamine sulphate. It then is made as supplement and can be bought in a drug store. It is effective for many kinds of injuries and joint disorders.
6. Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a compound can be found in synovial fluids, along with glucosamine. It is very important to keep the volume of synovial fluids and frictionless movement. When a human's body lacked of hyaluronic acid, they will experience an inflammatory conditions such as stiffness, joint pain, and arthritis.
Benefits of Olive Leaf Extract
December 17, 2011 08:13 AM
Olive Leaf Extract
History of Olive Leaf Extracts (Olea Europaea) In Medicinal Use
Usage of Olive leaf for medicinal usage dates back to 2925 BC, with the ancient Egyptians. They regarded it as a symbol of power bestowed from the heaven for the benefit of humans. Later, in 776 BC, ancient Greeks awarded "olive leaf wreaths" to the Olympic Games winners, and it continues till today. It is believed in the Greeks mythology that Olive leaf was created by goddess Athena, who first planted it in Acropolis and endowed it with miraculous powers.
The first reported use of olive leaves for Fighting diseases was in year 1811 with Dr. Pallas using liquid extract from olive leaves to treat malaria. In the mid 1850's, olive leaf tea was used to treat fever and malaria in England. In the 1960's, in Italy, it was used to control blood pressure and treat heart problems and intestinal muscle spams.
Olive Leaf - An Inexpensive Solution For Diseases
Olive leaves are the leaves of olive tree (Olea europaea). Olive leaves are popular for their health benefits and flavor, and the leaves have been medicinally used in various places and times. Olive leaf Extracts (OLE) and natural olive leaf are in markets now as immunostimulator, anti-aging and antibiotic. It has been proven with clinical evidence that it regulates blood pressure and has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. Recently, a liquid extract made from olive leaves got in international focus, when it was shown that its antioxidant capability was twice as powerful as green tea and much more that than vitamin C.
Health Benefits Of Olive Leaf Extracts
Olive leaf extracts are commonly used to fight viral infections like flu and cold, yeast infections, herpes and shingles. Olive leaves have also been shown to alleviate bad cholesterol or LDL (low-density lipoproteins). Researchers have established that olive leaf reduces blood pressure and increases blood flow by relaxing the arteries. Olive leaf extracts may also prove helpful in stroke, brain edema, infarct volume and other neurological disorders.
Olive leaf has strong antioxidant properties, which help the body from the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals can damage the cells due to their reactive chemical nature, if they are not eliminated. Interestingly, a recent research also shows that the antioxidant properties of olive leaf are also effective in treatment of tumors, and in the cancers of breast, skin, liver, colon and prostrate.
Olive Leaf Usage
Olive leaf extracts are available, and can be consumed in various forms. It is obtainable as dried leaf tea, liquid concentrate, capsule or powder form; however fresh leaves or leaf extract are considered more beneficial.
Medicinal Nature Of Olive Leaf Extracts
1. Anti-Inflammatory: It has anti-inflammatory properties, useful to treat gastritis, acidity and other stomach problems.
2. Immunity: It increases immunity power against diseases.
3. Reduce pathogens: It curbs over the generation and spread of pathogens in the body. It controls the growth of viruses and bacteria.
4. Treat obesity: Olive leaf tea reduces obesity when consumed regularly.
5. Acne treatment: The strong antioxidant content s of Olive Leaf Extracts (OLE) clean the skin from inside, and help the skin to remain wrinkle free and maintain a youthful look.
6. Good for Heart: Olive leaf extracts are helpful to control cholesterol and blood pressure.
What Are The Organic Compounds That Provide Our Brains With Their Basic Fuels?
October 12, 2011 01:58 PM
Brain health and nutrition has shown vast growth in interest in terms of research the past years and correctly so because the brain is a very important part of the body. This is something in my point of view that could never be replaced. Other organs like the heart, liver or kidneys can be transplanted or who knows in the far and distant future that it may even be replaceable. Well, I guess that may be just the sci-fi geek in me talking but seriously though, with the complexity in which the brain is made I do not think there will be any possibility even in the wildest of imaginations that humanity will be able to figure out a way to replace the brain.
The irony in all of this though is with human beings pushing the boundaries of their minds and manifesting the results through technological advancements all the more are we needing to protect our brains because life has become more complex. Things that were supposed to make life easier for us now seems to do the exact opposite and each technological advancement causes more and more Americans to have less and less time to devote to making sure they get the right nutrition through the right food preparation so the brain will have all the nutrients it needs. So with this we should look at how we can help augment our efforts in trying to keep our brain functioning healthily in a natural way.
Brain Health and Organic Compounds
There is a wide variety of organic compounds out there and too many of them to mention in this article in fact. Basically, organic compounds are compounds that contain carbon however not all are considered organic but that is irrelevant to what we are trying to achieve right now. So for brain health, the first organic compound that has proven to be very important is the vitamin family of rich antioxidant properties like Vitamin C and E as a couple of examples. Increasing antioxidant levels in the body through these vitamins is a very good way to reduce the risk of diseases and allow better protection for our brain against oxidative stress.
Not only that, it will also allow better health for our nerves and neurons which plays a big role in brain functions. Another example of a potent antioxidant to promote brain health is DHA and ALA or Alpha Lipoic Acid because it is able to get into the brain much easier compared to other antioxidants and fight free radicals there. Carnitine and choline are also essential contributors in modulating brain health as they are precursors to the production of acetylcholine which is an important neurotransmitter to aid in efficient neurological functions. And lastly but certainly not the least, ATP or adenosine triphosphate is also very important to brain function as this compound supplies energy to virtually all the cells in the body and any bodily processes that require energy to function efficiently needs ATP and that includes our entire nervous system.
Keeping your brain healthy is important especially since Alzheimer’s is an ever growing problem in the United States. Keeping your brain healthy with DHA, ALA, and vitamins is the right step for anybody who wants to take preventive measures and protect the brain.
October 26, 2009 12:34 PM
Guarana is a climbing plant that is part of the maple family, Sapindaceae. Native to the Amazon basin, this plant can especially be found in Brazil. Guarana has large leaves and clusters of flowers and is best known for its fruit. The fruit of this plant is about the size of a coffee berry. As a dietary supplement, guarana is an effective energy booster, containing about twice the caffeine found in coffee beans. Similar to other plants producing caffeine, the high concentration of caffeine is a defensive toxin that repels pathogens from the berry and its seeds. The fruit of the guarana plant ranges in color from brown to red and contains black seeds that are partially covered by white arils. The contrast in color when the fruit has been opened is similar to that of eyeballs.
Guarana plays a key role in Tupi and Guarani Brazilian culture. A myth of one of the tribe’s claims that guarana’s domestication began with a diet killing a beloved village child. To console the villagers, a god plucked the left eye from the child and planted it in the forest, which resulted in the wild variety of guarana. Then, the other eye of the child was plucked by the god and planted in the village, giving rise to the domesticated guarana. The guaranais would make tea by shelling and washing the seeds and pounding them into a fine powder. Then, this powder was kneaded into a dough and shaped into cylinders. This product could then be grated and immersed into hot water along with sugar. In the seventeenth century, guarana was introduced into western cavitations and commercialized by 1958.
Guarana was used by some Native American tribes as an energy source when traveling for long periods of time and distances. A South American legend explains the use of guarana by the Incas, hundreds of years before the Europeans colonized. Guarana was an extremely important part of the social life of the Amazon Indians, as they used this herb for energy, as an aphrodisiac, and to treat conditions such as malaria and dysentery. Some Japanese soldiers chewed guarana during World War II to increase stamina and alertness.
This herb is most known for its caffeine content. It is a stimulant on the nervous system. One of the richest sources of caffeine, guarana contains between three and five percent by dry weight. Because of this, it should be used with caution, as caffeine can be harmful and addictive. Guarana causes stimulation to the heart and increased blood flow.
Guarana is often used to lose weight, as the caffeine content is thought to work as an appetite suppressant. This herb may be found in combination with other herbs in weight-loss formulas. It should again be noted that this herb should be used with caution.
The seeds of the guarana plant are used to provide anorectic, astringent, febrifuge, narcotic, nervine, nutritive, and stimulant properties. Primarily, guarana is extremely beneficial in dealing with lack of alertness, lack of energy, lack of stamina, and weight conditions. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by this herb, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store with questions.
September 25, 2009 10:56 AM
The eyebright plant is elegant and small, growing between two and eight inches high. This plant is an annual, commonly growing on heaths and other dry pastures, especially on chalky soil. The plant flowers from July to September and has deeply cut leaves and small, white or purplish flowers. The stem is erect and wiry. It comes in either unbranched, small specimines, or with many opposite branches. The leaves are tiny, about 1/6 to ½ inches in length and opposite to one another on the lower portion of the stem. The flowers, which are white or lilac, have purple veins and terminal spikes. The structure of the flower places the plant in the Scrophulariaceae family. The seeds in this flower are produced in tiny, flattened capsules, and are numerous and ribbed.
When a bee visitor comes in search of the honey lying around the ovary at the bottom the petal tube, it knocks against the anther spurs, setting the pollen free so that it falls on the insect’s head. When visiting the next flower, the bee will then rub its head against the outstanding stigma, in which cross-fertilization takes place.
The eyebright plant has white petals that have a red or purple tinge, resembling bloodshot eyes. It is this appearance that is thought to be the reason for the use of eyebright in treating eye irritations as far back as the Middle Ages. Topical applications of this herb were prescribed by Dioscorides and Theophrastus for eye infections.
The eyebright plant will not grow readily in a garden if it is transplanted unless it is protected by grass. The reason for this is that it is a semi-parasite and relies on its nourishment on the roots of other plants. Above ground, the plant appears to be a perfectly normal plant, with flowers and bright green leaves. But below the surface, suckers from its roots spread around and lie on the rootlets of the grass plants surrounding it. The grass preyed upon does not suffer very much. The eyebright plant, being an annual, renews itself each year. For centuries, eyebright has been the herb of choice for treating eye irritations. It is extremely helpful in conditions that involve the mucous membranes. This herb can help to relieve eye irritations or eyestrain when used as eyewash. The herb’s antiseptic properties allow it to help fight eye infections. Traditional uses of eyebright include eye problems such as failing vision, eye inflammation, eye ulcers, conjunctivitis, and eyestrain. This herb is able to strengthen all parts of the eye and provide elasticity to the nerves and optic devices that are essential for sight. Additionally, eyebright is stimulating to the liver, as it helps cleanse the blood.
The entire eyebright plant is used to provide alterative, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, bitter, and stimulant properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are copper, iodine, iron, silicon, vitamins A, B, B-complex, C, D, and E, and zinc. Primarily, eyebright is extremely beneficial in dealing with blood impurities, cataracts, colds, conjunctivitis, eye disorders and infections, eyestrain, and glaucoma.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in treating black eyes, sinus congestion, coughs, hay fever, headaches, hoarseness, memory loss, and sties. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by this herb, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
August 20, 2009 05:32 PM
Anise is a flowering plant that is part of the Apiaxeae family. It is native to the eastern Mediteranean region and southwest Asia. It is known for its flavor, which resembles licorice, fennel, and tarragon. The anise plant is an herbaceous annual plant that grows to three feet tall. The leaves are at the base of the plant and are very simple. They are about two to five centimeters long and shallowly lobed. The leave higher on the stems are feathery pinnate and divided into numerous leaves. The flowers of the anise plant are white and about three millimeters in diameter. They are produced in dense umbels. The anise fruit is an oblong dry schizocarp that is about three to five millimeters in length. The seedpods are referred to as aniseed. Anise is usually used as food by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, such as butterflies and moths. Among these are the lime-speck pug and the wormwood pug.
The best growth for the anise plant can be found in light, fertile, well drained soil. The plants should be started from seeds as soon as the ground warms up in the spring. Because the anise plants have a taproot, they do not transplant well after they are established. For this reason, the plants should be started where they are to grow, or transplanted while the seedlings are still small.
Anise is sweet and very aromatic. It can be distinguished by its licorice-like flavor. It is widely used in a variety of regional and ethnic confectioneries, including British Aniseed balls, Austrailain Humbugs, New Zealand Aniseed wheels, Italian pizzelle, German pfeffernusse and springerle, Netherland Muisjes, Norwegian knots, and Peruvian Picarones. Anise is a key ingredient in Mexican “atole de anis” which is similar to hot chocolate. It is taken as a digestive after meals in India.
Anise was used in ancient Rome as flavoring. However, it contains nutrients like calcium and iron. This herb was added to foods to prevent indigestion when eating large quantities of food. Additionally, it was used to help with bad breath. Hippocrates recommended this herb to relieve both coughs and congestion.
Anise is used to help remove excess mucus from the alimentary canal and the mucus that is associated with coughs. It is used to stimulate the appetite, relieve digestive problems, and treat colic pain. Some herbalists recommend that anise be used for stimulating the glands and vital organs. Among these organs are the heart, liver, lungs, and brain. Additionally, it helps to normalize estrogen levels.
The oil and seeds of the anise plant are used to provide anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, galactagogue, stimulant, and stomachic properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are B vitamins, calcium, choline, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Primarily, anise provides extraordinary benefits in treating colds, colic, coughs, gas, indigestion, absent lactation, excessive mucus, and pneumonia.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with loss of appetite, breath odor, emphysema, epilepsy, nausea, and nervous disorders. It is important to speak with a health care professional before considering supplementing with any nutrient in order to obtain the best results while on medications. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by anise, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
May 15, 2009 01:08 PM
Basil is a common seasoning that can be found in many kitchens all over the world. This herb is often used to make pesto and to flavor soups, stews, and other foods. Additionally, basil has been used for a long amount of time throughout the world for medicinal purposes. This herb is especially used in Asia and Africa, along with India, where it is thought to be a sacred herb. Basil has been used to treat exhaustion, as it works as a stimulant to promote energy. This herb has antibacterial properties and may help to draw out poisons from stings and bites.
Basil is a low-growing herb that is prominently featured in Italian cuisine. This herb is also a huge part of Southeast Asian cuisines like those of Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. The plant has a similar taste to that of anise, but has a pungent and sweet smell. There are multiple varieties of basil, with the one most typically used in Italian food being sweet basil. Asia, on the other hand, uses Thai basil, lemon basil, and holy basil. Although most types of basil are considered to be annuals, some are perennial and grow in warm, tropical climates. These include the African Blue and Holy Thai basil. Originally native to Iran, India, and other tropical regions of Asia, basil has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years.
The basil plant grows between 30-130 cm tall and has light green, silky leaves that are approximately 3-11 cm long and 1-6 cm broad. The flowers are very big and white in color. They arrange themselves along the plant in a spike shape. The basil plant is extremely sensitive to cold, as it grows best in hot, dry conditions. If there is any chance of frost, the plant will behave as an annual. This plant only grows well in Northern Europe, Canada, the northern states of the U.S., and the South Island of New Zealand if it is grown under glass in a pot, and planted outdoors in late spring or early summer, when there is little chance of a frost. The plant does its best in well-drained sunny places.
Basil is not only a flavoring, but a definite source of health benefits. One study done by the University of Baroda in India found basil to help to lower fasting blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglyercide levels significantly. Basil may also help non-insulin-dependent diabetics to control their diabetes. Additional research has found that basil can also be useful for killing intestinal parasites, treating acne, and stimulating the immune system.
The leaves of basil are used to provide anthelmintic, antibacterial, antispasmodic, demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, galactagogue, stimulant, and stomachic properties. The primary nutrients found in basil are calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, D, and B2. Primarily, basil is very beneficial in treating insect and snake bites, colds, headaches, indigestion, absence of lactation, and whooping cough. Additionally, basil can be extremely helpful in dealing with intestinal catarrh, constipation, stomach cramps, fevers, flu, kidney problems, nervous disorders, respiratory infections, rheumatism, urinary problems, vomiting, and worms. For more information on the many health benefits of basil, feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
May 14, 2009 01:22 PM
Barley is a cereal grain that is derived from the annual grass known as Hordeum vulgare. This nutrient serves as a major animal feed crop, but also is used for malting and in health food. Barley is also used in the making of beer and whisky. In a 2005 ranking of cereal crops in the world, barley was ranked number four in both quantity produced and area of cultivation. It is still used as a major food in the middle east. Barley is a member of the grass family, descending from and inter-fertile with wild barley. For this reason, the two forms are often treated as one species. The main difference between the two forms is the brittle spike on the seeds of the wild barley, which help with dispersal.
Barley tends to be more tolerant of soil salinity than wheat, which potentially explains the increase of barley cultivation in Mesopotamia from the 2nd millennium BC and forward. Although barley is not as cold tolerant as the winter wheat, fall rye, or winter triticale, it can be planted as a winter crop in warmer areas of the world like Australia. It is important to note that barley not only as a short growing season, but it is also relatively drought tolerant, making it an easier plant to grow.
Barley was valued by the ancient Egyptians and Greeks for its immense health benefits. Because of this, it was cultivated. Hippocrates even wrote of the benefits of gruel that is made from barley. New World settlers planted barley in order to sustain both health and vitality. Barley juice contains antiviral properties that help to strengthen the immune system. This herb can help cleanse the body on a cellular level. It can also normalize metabolism and neutralize heavy metals in the body, such as mercury. Barley can benefit the body by lowering cholesterol levels, aiding digestion, and relieving constipation. This herb also strengthens the entire body as a whole.
One study done in Japan separated a new antioxidant that has been found in barley leaves called 2-0-GI. This antioxidant was found to be effective in the preservation of food. 2-0-GI was also found to have anti-inflammatory and antiallergenic activity. Another Japanese study found beneficial results in barley’s ability to inhibit the AIDS virus.
Both the juice and powder made from the young leaves and grass of barley are helpful in producing adaptogen, alterative, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, blood purifier, demulcent, emollient, immunostimulant, nutritive, and stomachic properties. The primary nutrients in this herb include calcium, chlorophyll, iron, live enzymes, magnesium, potassium, protein, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and vitamins B1, B2, and C with bioflavonoids. Primarily, barley is beneficial in helping to treat anemia, arthritis, and impurities in the blood, boils, cancer, and metal poisoning. However, this nutrient also offers great benefits with acne, AIDS/HIV, allergies, hay fever, bronchitis, candidiasis, eczema, herpes, infection, kidney problems, leprosy, liver disorders, lung disorders, psoriasis, skin conditions, syphilis, tuberculosis, and ulcers. For more information on the many benefits that barley has to offer, please contact a representative from your local health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Barley is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Guarana Seed Extract
November 17, 2008 11:24 AM
Guarana comes from the Amazon basin, and has been used by the natives of the Amazon rain forest to treat conditions such as diarrhea, arthritis, fatigue and even to reduce hunger. It is, in fact, a climbing plant of the Sapondacaea family, although it is the fruit for which it best known. Each contains a single seed that contains around five times the amount of caffeine of a similarly sized coffee bean.
An interesting piece of trivia is that the reason why such seeds are rich in caffeine is that the substance is poisonous to certain pathogens that would otherwise attack the berry. The same is - true of all seeds that contain caffeine: it is a means of self-defense. Obviously it is an effective defense since the berries appear to relatively immune to such common plant diseases.
Guarana is named after the Guarani tribe of South America, and the language is spoken by many in the area around Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil, and also parts of Argentina. In fact over 67% of Paraguayans speak the language. There is a myth that when child of the Guarana village was killed by an evil god, a more benevolent deity planted the child's left eye in the forest and the right eye in the village. The left eye gave rise to the wild form of the plant, and the right eye the cultivated form.
This likely came about because of the appearance of the fruit when it is split open: it has the appearance of eyeballs. However, what is true is that Guaranis made tea from the seeds, and also a bread known as guarana bread by mashing the powder into a dough and shaping it into a cylindrical bread. It is dry roasted and milled to a fine powder, also known as Brazilian cocoa, but it has never quite managed to compete commercially against the coffee! However, it has its local adherents to whom it is a staple drink.
However, back to the health benefits of the seed. They were recognized as early as the 17th century when Father Felip Betendorf introduced it into Western civilization, but over the centuries since then it has been found that even in spite of the caffeine content it has been demonstrated to have brain-boosting properties and able to increase tasks requiring mental attention. It is certainly known to be an energizer, and able to give a boost to your brain when you really need it. So why should this be, and how does it do this?
The flavor is a bit like chocolate, hence its nickname of Brazilian cocoa, and has been approved by the FDA as a food additive. Extracts from the berry have been shown to possess strong antioxidant properties, and also act as bactericides and fungicide, few of which can be put down the caffeine content. In fact the seed has been proposed for use in the food industry as a natural antioxidant and preservative and as stated below, that is more acceptable to people than synthetic chemicals.
This is probably in response to the fact that synthetic antioxidants are in decline whereas the natural antioxidants such as vitamins, C and E and the various tocopherols and carotenoids are increasing in prominence due to them being more readily accepted by the consumer than the synthetics such as butylhydroxytoluene(BHT). These antioxidants are commonly used as food preservatives, in that they slow down the oxidation of foodstuffs, and people are increasingly feeling that natural products are preferable for this application than synthetic.
Guarana seeds have been found to be exceptionally high in proanthocyanadins with powerful antioxidant properties. They are fatal to free radicals and help to prevent cardiac disease and to improve cellular activity. They also display antimicrobial and antifungal activity. Chemically, they consist of up to 60% starch, pectins, saponins, proteins, and the aforementioned caffeine (3% - 5%). The guarana paste can contain up to 7% caffeine that can be dangerous to those with cardiac problems.
Guarana also contains tannins at levels of up to 12%, including catechin and some proanthocyanadins. The astringency of these tannins represents a problem to their use in the beverage and food industry, although the substance is regarded as safe by the FDA. They have little if any nutritional value and can react with alkaloid and proteins to form unwanted complexes. Were it not for tannins guarana would be more acceptable to the food industry.
However, it is for their energy-boosting properties that the guarana berries and seeds are most prized by many. The fact they it has been traditionally used as a stimulant and aphrodisiac indicates that there is something behind these claims. Studies on mice, hamsters and other animals have supported these effects. It has been found to posses the two desirable properties (to some) of stimulating the nervous system and curbing the appetite.
Consequently, it is used in diet and weight loss pills, and also to maintain high energy levels. In fact weight loss pills are used by many people to maintain their energy levels while not eating. This is a definite bonus to those that want to lose weight, but dislike the lethargy that a strict diet can cause.
There is a downside to that of course, and that is insomnia and an increased heartbeat, and also nervousness and feeling 'on edge'. Once people stop using guarana they suffer withdrawal symptoms such as nervousness, irritability and headaches.
The upshot is that it is basically the high caffeine content of guarana that allows its use as a stimulant that can boost not only energy, but also reduce appetite and act as an effective weight loss supplement. However, used excessively it can lead to nervousness and while it is included as an ingredient in many foods and drinks, you should be careful when using it as an energizing supplement if you have any heart problems at all.
Otherwise, guarana is used to energize the body naturally, and is not only very commonly used for this purpose in South America, but also increasingly so in the USA and elsewhere with some very good results.
NK Immune Boost
September 25, 2008 03:59 PM
The immune system is the ultimate bodyguard that can prevent illnesses before it even takes hold in the body when it is properly taken care of. Immune impairment has become a major concern within recent decades among health professionals. The strength of the immune system directly influences the quality of health. However, it is often something that we take for granted. There are a lot of things that can interfere with proper immune function, including diet, stress, and level of activity. It is within our ability to create a health immune system for ourselves.
If we do something that makes us a little bit healthier, we will experience less disease and suffering. Each of us individually must do what is necessary to protect ourselves from common health threats that can occur if the immune system is compromised like heart disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal problems, AIDS, cancer, and many other illnesses. We will be able to avoid disease and the suffering it causes if we do what is necessary to keep our immune system healthy and balanced.
In order to understand how to fight against health problems in the best way, it is necessary to first understand the basics of how the immune system functions. The smallest components of the immune system are biomolecules, which are also called immune factors or immuno-regulatory molecules. The immune system fights against the potential health dangers by identifying and then eliminating dangerous and unfamiliar particles, which include bacteria and viruses. The immune system can very selectively discriminate between self and non-self, a trait that is extremely unique. It then destroys the foreign antigens and leaves itself alone.
Biomolecules called cytokines work to regulate and simulate the body’s defense system. Cytokines help to fight against foreign molecules, also called pathogens, by inducing the production of antibodies. These antibodies work to neutralize antigens and create immunity to them. Additionally, a functioning immune system remembers the foreign antigens that it has encountered before so that it can prevent or quickly defeat secondary attacks by the same pathogen.
There are many immunity agents that are found in the body. An antibody is a molecule of the immune system that is secreted into the blood and helps to fight against antigens like bacteria and parasites to help create immunity, Antigen are substances that stimulate the production of an antibody when it is introduced into the body. Antigens include toxins, bacteria, foreign blood cells, and the cells that are found in transplanted organs. Colostrum, antibody-rich milk, is produced by a mother during the first week of her child’s life. Cytokines consist of any of several regulatory molecules that are released by cells of the immune system and acts as a mediator in the generation of an immune response. Cytokines assist in the regulating and controlling of the immune system.
Interleukin is a type of cytokine which encourages the growth of immune cells. There are many types of interleukins, with three of the most common stimulating the inflammatory response, the growth of blood stem cells, and the production of helper T cells. Pathogens are agents that cause disease, while tumor necrosis factor is a type of cytokine that has anti-tumor properties. It affects blood vessels, therefore, regulating both inflammation and killing tumors. Lastly, white blood cells help to protect the body from infection and disease.
Keeping the immune system in tip top shape is very important. There are a variety of natural substances such as colostrum that can help the immune system function at optimal levels. Natural supplements are available at your local or internet health food store.
Ginkgo Biloba Extract
September 19, 2008 09:25 AM
Ginkgo biloba, also known as the maidenhair tree, grows naturally in two small areas of Eastern China. It is believed that even these sources are artificial, and planted and maintained by monks over many centuries, and that there are no true natural sources of the tree left. Other than these, all living ginkgo trees are now artificially farmed.
The ginkgo seeds contain nuts that are a traditional food in China, served at Chinese New Year, and on other special occasions such as weddings, and is also used in traditional Chinese medicine. The seeds have been used in the treatment of coughs and asthma, and during the late 1970s and 80s, the uses of ginkgo biloba in medicine was extensively investigated with a view to determine the range of conditions that the tree could be used to treat. Given that many ancient Chinese remedies have found to be effective, and with a relevant scientific basis, this was a logical step.
It has been established that ginkgo biloba could have three possible effects on the body. These are:
* Improvement in circulation including that in the small capillaries.
The last of these has been responsible for many cardiovascular conditions, and disorders of the kidneys, lungs and central nervous system, and is due to the effect of the platelet-activating factor (PAF) that ginkgo appears to inhibit.
Before delving deeper into the possible beneficial effects of Ginkgo, let us first examine the active ingredients believed to be involved in the perceived beneficial effects.
Ginkgo leaf extract contains terpenoids (bilobalides and ginkgolides) and flavonoid glycosides. Flavones can reduce the fragility of capillaries, and protect the body from blood loss through damaged capillaries, particularly in the brain. The Ginkgolides, particularly ginkgolide B, inhibit the platelet-activating factor and so increase the fluidity of the blood that improves circulation, again particularly in the micro-capillaries of the brain. This is also why it is believed to reduce the incidence of cerebral thrombosis and resultant strokes.
The antioxidant effect of ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) has been widely studied, and by scavenging free radicals the extract can help to prevent cell membrane damage, and so prevent cells from being destroyed. It has been established that pretreatment of cells with GBE can prevent such damage in rats.
The anti-inflammatory properties of ginkgo biloba, as seen in some asthma patients for example, is thought to be due to the inhibition of the platelet-activating factor (PAF) by ginkgolide B, PAF playing a significant part in the inflammatory response to allergens, and PAF is now believed to be responsible for conditions such as asthma, renal diseases, central nervous system disorders and ischemia, a restriction in the blood supply, particularly to the brain.
It follows, therefore, that the effect of GBE on these conditions is likely to be due to PAF inhibition, and a reduction in the inflammatory response to a number of conditions. What evidence is there for this? In fact, results of the trials carried out have been inconclusive one way or the other.
Hence, a trial published by the Journal of the American Medical Association reported no effects after a 6 week trial of Ginkgo on Alzheimer’s and memory disorders. However, other trials have indicated positive effects after 6 weeks, and it could be that the GBE has to be taken for more than 6 weeks for any effects to be noticed. It is certainly believed to be a longer term treatment rather than have instant results, although some tests have shown improvement in concentration for up to 2.5 hours after treatment. The bulk of the evidence is favorable on the effect of GBE on memory disorders.
Test on rats, in which the blood flow to the brain was mechanically blocked by carotid compression, indicated that ginkgo biloba promoted an increase in the glucose and ATP levels in the brain neurons. Other trials have indicated that neurological damage in mice subjected to neurotoxins was reduced by the administration of GBE, and while not conclusive with respect to humans, the effect of GBE on the brain appears to be more than just opinion.
To sum up, ginkgo biloba is believed to be effective in treating the following disorders by virtue of its effect in improving the fluidity of the blood, protecting fragile capillaries from damage, exerting an antioxidant effect on free radices, and so prevent damage to cell membranes, and its inhibiting effect on platelet-activating factor:
Circulation problems in the arteries can lead to blood clots that in turn cause strokes and cardiac problems. By preventing blood clots through the inhibition of PAF, ginkgolide B can help to maintain a healthy circulation system that also help to maintain circulation in the very small capillaries that feed the brain.
This is caused by hardening and blockage of the arteries, and one of the effects of ginkgo biloba is to soften the arteries, help to unblock them and to prevent plaque formation by its antioxidant effect on the free radicals that cause the plaque by oxidation of LDL lipids. This is particularly true of the cerebral arteries.
The increased blood flow to the brain that GBE promotes can help to improve memory, although test are indicating that treatment has to continue for 6 weeks or more for it to be effective. Reduced blood flow to the brain is a common cause of memory impairment.
Ginkgo biloba has been used in the treatment of the symptoms of this condition, although it cannot be cured. It is thought that the improved circulation in the brain makes best use of the unaffected brain cells, improving memory and cognitive thought.
This is a condition where the extremities fail to warm up after being exposed to cold, and is caused by poor circulation in the small capillaries in which the blood pressure is very low. They symptoms are numbness and pins and needles, and GBE helps to overcome this condition due to improvement in the circulation and protection of the capillaries by rendering them less fragile.
GBE can help to reduce the symptoms of vertigo such as nausea and dizziness. This is believed, once again, to be due to an improvement in blood circulation.
There are few doubts that ginkgo biloba extract improves the circulation, particularly in the micro-capillaries in the brain and extremities of the body, and also possesses antioxidant properties, both of which help to maintain and improve the memory, and that combined with its effect on the platelet-activating factor, most of the properties of GBE is due to its capacity to maintain and improve circulation, particularly through those blood vessels closest to the blood-brain barrier.
Evening Primrose Oil
September 04, 2008 09:08 AM
The tiny seeds of the evening primrose flower are the source of oil that has been valued in the world for building health and overcoming a lot of common health problems. Evening primrose, also known as evening star, night willow herb, scabish, and tree primrose, has a recorded history of at least 500 years of use for its health promoting properties. Growing in a wider variety of climates, the plant can be found in rocky roadsides, shallow streams, or even high deserts.
The plant can even be found growing at elevations as high as 9,000 feet. This plant has yellow flowers from July through September that open after sunset and are pollinated by insects of the night. Open only until sunrise, the flowers die the next day, causing hundreds of small black seeds to form inside. These seeds are the source of the plant’s oil, with about 5,000 seeds being used for just one 500 mg capsule. Due to this, evening primrose can be relatively expensive. Evening primrose’s value in a variety of illnesses was recognized by American Indians and European immigrants. Indians used it to treat skin wounds, asthma, coughs, and also as a sedative. One of the first botanicals exported to Europe from North America, it was brought to Italy in 1619 and planted in the Padua Botanical Gardens. It was so valued by the Puritans that they called it the “King’s cure-all” and exported it to England. The ancients didn’t know scientifically why evening primrose was so effective for so many illnesses, but that didn’t affect its abilities. Modern science has found that the essential fatty acids that are found in the oil of the evening primrose seeds are the secret to the health-building properties.
Fat has gotten a bad name for itself in the past few years, but the truth is that there are actually certain types of fats that are vital for good health. One of these healthy fats is essential fatty acids, which are found in unprocessed vegetable, plant, and fish oils. One of the richest sources known is actually mother’s milk. Like vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids are nutritional substances that have far-reaching effects on many body processes.
These effects include reducing blood pressure, helping to prevent arthritis, reducing the growth rate of breast cancer, lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels, maintaining healthy skin, aiding in transmission of nerve impulses, playing a role in normal brain function, constituting the building blocks of body membranes, promoting proper hormone function, and forming the basis for prostaglandin production.
Because essential fatty acids can not be manufactured in the body, they must be consumed in the diet, with at least three percent of an adult’s daily caloric intake being recommended to be comprised of essential fatty acids. Children and pregnant women should have a diet containing at least five percent essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are essential for normal functioning of all body tissues.
Because of this, the list of symptoms of essential fatty acid deficiency includes reduced growth rate, skin disorders, male and female infertility, kidney abnormalities, decreased capillary resistance, susceptibility to infection, heart problems, anemia, enlarged liver, sparse hair growth in infants, poor wound healing, and an increased susceptibility to infection.
In conclusion, to prevent or heal these conditions, a diet that is rich in essential fatty acids must be present. Evening primrose oil is a good source of essential fatty acids, containing about 72 percent linoleic acid and 9 percent GLA. Have you had your evening primrose oil today?
Genetically Engineered Foods May Cause Rising Food Allergies
January 21, 2008 02:14 PM
Arguments made by the Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates plant produced pesticides, tell us not to worry about the thought of consuming toxic pesticides. Instead, they say that the pesticides used, Bt, are produced naturally from a soil bacterium which has a history of safe use by organic farmers who have used the solution for yeas as a method of insect control. Genetic engineers simply remove the gene that produces Bt and insert it into the DNA of corn and cotton plants, making the plant do the work, instead of the farmer. They also say that the Bt toxin is quickly destroyed in our stomach, and even if it survived would not harm humans or any other mammals. However, these arguments are solely that, arguments, which are unsupported and refuted according to a lot of research.
When a study was done, spraying natural Bt over areas in Vancouver and Washington State for months, about 500 people reported reactions, mostly those being allergy or flu-like symptoms. Six of those people had to go to the emergency room, while workers who applied the Bt sprays reported that their eyes, nose, and throats were irritated. Similarly, farmers who were exposed to liquid Bt said that they had reactions such as infection, ulcers on the cornea, skin irritation, burning, swelling, and redness. One woman even reported fever, altered consciousness, and seizures when she was accidentally sprayed with Bt. This proves that the statements of Bt doing no harm on humans is extremely false. As for being destroyed in the digestive system, studies on mice disproved this as well. Results of these, and other, studies showed that plant-produced Bt is always active and much more likely to trigger an immune response than the natural version.
Additional studies in 2005 reported by medical investigators in India found that hundreds of agricultural workers are developing severe allergic reactions when they are exposed to Bt cotton. This exposure includes picking cotton, loading it, cleaning it, or simply leaning against it. Some people that work at ginning factories must take antihistamines daily in order to go to work. These reactions are only trigger with the Bt varieties and the symptoms are virtually identical to those that were described by the 500 people in Vancouver and Washington who were sprayed with Bt.
Another study was done on the basis that Bt-toxin is produced in GM corn and can be eaten intact. It is also in pollen which can be breathed in. Therefore, a village of Filipino people were studied in 2003 when an adjacent Bt cornfield was pollinating. 100 of these people were stricken with disease which included symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, extreme stomach pain, vomiting, chest pains, fever, and allergies, along with respiratory, intestinal, and skin reactions. The symptoms first appeared in those that were living closest to the field and then progressed to those further away. When the same corn was planted in four other villages the following year, the same symptoms returned in all four areas only during the time of pollination.
All of these studies confirm that GM crops engineered to produce built-in pesticides provoke a great variety of immune responses. Allergic reactions are a defensive and often harmful reaction from the immune system to an external irritant that occur when the body interprets something foreign as harmful and offensive and acts accordingly. Since all GM foods have something foreign and different, it is easy to see why the body would react in such ways. As the GM foods arise on the market place make sure you scan each label to make sure you are not buying a GM vegetable of fruit. Check every label this way you will not be stricken with debilitating symptoms that may prevent you from going to work. Always say NO to GM foods and support your organic foods store.
An organic farmer’s perspective
June 26, 2007 02:03 PM
How effective can remineralization be? Just as Dan Kittredge, executive director of Remineralize the Earth, who is also an organic farmer. Prior to remineralizing his farm, he had weaker crops and a horrendous insect problem. “I put in two greenhouses a year and a half ago and planted Asian greens in them. Last spring, all the plants were inundated with tiny holes made by insects. Unless you are extremely diligent, it happens to all of a particular family of crops around here, including broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.”
This year, however, he had remineralized. “Under the exact same growing conditions and locations, with the exception of adding rock dust last year, the crops are now growing virtually insect free,” he reports.
The crops themselves are extraordinary. “They have this incredible sheen,” Kittredge says. “The flavor is far, far better, and they last longer. We were harvesting broccoli all the way into December, which is pretty amazing, especially from Massachusetts.”
D-Ribose Powder Benefits!
April 10, 2007 11:57 AM
Supports normal heart function*
A significant amount of in vitro, animal and human research suggests benefits of ribose on heart function.* Studies have shown that ribose supplementation can enhance cardiac energy levels and support cardiovascular metabolism.* Ribose has been shown in clinical trials to enhance the recovery of heart muscle ATP levels and improve myocardial function following exercise.
Studies suggest that ribose supplementation can increase the tolerability of the cardiovascular system to exercise-induced fatigue.1 In one study, twenty men underwent treadmill exercise tests on two consecutive days to confirm the onset of fatigue secondary to exercise. The participants were then randomized to the treatment group or a placebo group. The groups received either four doses of 15 grams of D-ribose (60 grams/day total) or the same amount of placebo each day. After three days of treatment, another treadmill test was performed. The time it took to reach the specified level of fatigue was significantly greater in the ribose group than in the placebo group.
Another study investigated the ability of ribose to support healthy heart function and quality of life.2 In a randomized, crossover design study, fifteen individuals were given 5 grams three times a day of either D-ribose or placebo. Each treatment period lasted three weeks. In patients receiving ribose, echocardiography demonstrated enhancement of heart function, reflecting a “more efficient relaxation phase of the heart”. Participants also had a significant improvement in their subjective quality of life scores compared to placebo.
Scientists suggest that suboptimal heart function is a result of the heart requiring more energy to function properly. Ribose supports the heart’s enhanced energy requirements, promoting optimal heart function. It does so by enhancing the stores of high-energy phosphates in heart tissue. These intermediates are necessary for the production and resynthesis of ATP. A double-blind crossover study in which 12 individuals were randomized to receive either ribose or dextrose (both administered as 5 grams three times daily for three weeks, followed by a 1-week washout period and crossover of treatments for three additional weeks) suggested significant enhancements in normal cardiac function during the period of ribose supplementation.3
Perhaps one of the more useful illustrations of the potential for ribose to support heart function comes from a study in which 20 rats received a continuous infusion of ribose for 24 hours (control rats received an infusion of saline). The hearts were then explanted (as they would be for heart transplants) and placed in preservation solution that was enriched with ribose for 4 hours. ATP levels were measured from tissue biopsies and revealed that 10 of the ribose-treated hearts had ATP levels higher than 12.3 micromoles per gram whereas saline-treated hearts (controls) had lower ATP levels, with 20% showing levels below 10 micromoles per gram of tissue. This provides support for the hypothesis that ribose may enhance the preservation of ATP levels in cardiac tissue, promoting normal heart function.4
Further animal studies have shown that ribose significantly enhances heart function after experimentally induced cardiac depression. Rats were injected with isoproterenol (a drug that stimulates sympathetic nervous system function) and had their abdominal aorta constricted to induce depression of heart function and reduce cardiac ATP levels. The decrease in ATP was primarily responsible for the depression of heart function. Continuous infusion of ribose for 24 hours replenished ATP concentrations to normal levels and normalized heart function in these animals.5
Ribose may strengthen and support the body’s crucial antioxidant defenses*
Ribose may support the body’s innate antioxidant mechanisms while promoting an antioxidant effect of its own. Intense exercise and other strenuous activity can induce the production of free radicals. Preliminary studies suggest that ribose can attenuate some of the effects of oxidation seen after performance of intensive exercise.
One small human study indicated that ribose administered at a dose of seven grams before and after a bout of cycling exercise may reduce free radical production.6 Seven volunteers ingested either ribose or placebo both before and after intense exercise. Markers of lipid peroxidation, including malondialdehyde, significantly decreased in the ribose-supplemented group, while increasing in the control group. The results of this study indicate a possible effect of ribose in supporting antioxidant activity.
Supports healthy energy levels in heart and muscle tissue*
After bouts of intense exercise, ATP levels have been shown to decrease by an average of 15 to 20%.7 The amount of ATP stored in the muscle is limited and so the body must have the potential to rebuild ATP stores. ATP is the fuel necessary for the integrity and function of a cell. In addition, several studies have found correlations between ATP content and heart function.1 Research that was also alluded to above suggests that ribose stimulates ATP synthesis and supports heart and muscle function by enhancing ATP levels in cardiac and muscle tissue. D-ribose is an essential building block for the synthesis of ATP through the pentose phosphate pathway.
The results of ribose supplementation enhancing ATP levels in muscle are evidenced by studies suggesting beneficial effects on anaerobic performance. In a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study assessing the effects of acute ribose supplementation, participants receiving the ribose supplement had increases in mean power (a measure of average overall muscular strength output during the sprint) and peak power (a measure of the highest muscular strength output during the sprint) when undergoing a series of cycle sprints.8 While this effect was not noted in all of the six short cycling sprints that the participants underwent, the study does illustrate the potential benefits of ribose on ATP production and, secondarily, on enhancing exercise performance.
A second placebo-controlled trial investigated the effects of four weeks of ribose-supplementation (10 grams /day) on male bodybuilders. Of the 20 participants who were recruited, twelve completed the study. Each subject participated in a heavy-resistance training program designed to increase skeletal muscle mass. The effects of ribose on body composition (body weight, body fat, lean body mass, fat mass, and bone mineral content) were also assessed. The results suggested that ribose increased total work capacity and bench press strength compared to placebo, without altering body composition.9
Supports energy recovery after exercise*
Animal studies have suggested that the administration of ribose after exercise increases the rate of adenine salvage by five to seven-fold in muscle tissue7, supporting energy recovery after exercise. When ATP is utilized by muscle tissue, the degradation products include adenine nucleotides (Adenine is one of two purine bases that is a component of DNA). Adenine is recycled to synthesize DNA, and the salvage of adenine within the muscle tissue is crucial to energy recovery. Studies have shown that the presence of adequate ribose concentrations is the rate-limiting step in the purine salvage pathway. Therefore, increased adenine salvage could potentially help in the recovery and regeneration of ATP after intense bouts of activity.
A study investigated the effect of oral intake of ribose on the synthesis of AMP, a precursor to ATP.10 Participants performed intense cycle training for seven days. They then received either ribose (at a concentration of 200 mg/kg body weight, which is equivalent to 14 grams per day for an average 70 kilogram male) or placebo three times a day for the following three days. Exercise tests were performed again on day 4. Muscle biopsy samples were taken before the first training session, immediately after, and again five hours, 24 hours, and 72 hours after the last training session. No differences were seen in exercise performance between the groups. The intense exercise caused the ATP levels in muscle to decrease in both groups. However, at 72 hours post-exercise, the ribose group exhibited a much higher ATP level than the placebo group. The muscle levels of critical building blocks for ATP, including total adenine nucleotides (TAN) and inosine 5’-monophosphate (IMP), were also significantly higher in the ribose group compared to the placebo group at 24 hours after exercise. Ribose-supplementation was shown to enhance the resynthesis of ATP after intense exercise.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Caution: Insulin-dependent diabetics and pregnant women should consult their physician before use.
Suggested Adult Use: Take 1 or 2 scoops mixed in water, juice or other beverage two times per day. May be taken with or without food.
1) Pliml, W., von Arnim, T., Stablein, A., Hofmann, H., Zimmer, H., Erdmann, E. Effects of ribose on exercise-induced ischaemia in stable coronary artery disease. The Lancet. 1992;340:507-510.
2) Omran, H., Illien, S., MacCarter, D., St. Cyr, J.A., Luderitz, B. D-Ribose improves diastolic function and quality of life in congestive heart failure patients: a prospective feasibility study. The European Journal of Heart Failure. 2003;5:615-619.
3) Illien, S., Omran, H., MacCarter, D., St. Cyr, J.A. Ribose improves myocardial function in congestive heart failure. FASEB Journal 2001;15(5): A1142
4) Muller C., Zimmer H., Gross M., Gresser U., Brotsack I., Wehling M., Pliml W. Effect of ribose on cardiac adenine nucleotides in a donor model for heart transplantation. Eur J Med Res. 1998 Dec 16;3(12):554-8.
5) Zimmer H.G. Normalization of depressed heart function in rats by ribose. Science. 1983 Apr 1;220(4592):81-2.
6) Seifert, J.G., Subudhi, A., Fu, M., Riska, J.J. The effects of ribose ingestion on indices of free radical production during hypoxic exercise. Free Rad Biol Med 2002; 33(Suppl 1) S269.
7) Zarzeczny, R., Brault, J.J., Abraham, K.A., Hancock, C.R., Terjung, R. Influence of ribose on adenine salvage after intense muscle contractions. J Applied Physiology. 2001;91:1775-1781.
8) Berardi J.M., Ziegenfuss T.N. Effects of ribose supplementation on repeated sprint performance in men. J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Feb;17(1):47-52.
9) Van Gammeren, D.V., Falk, D., Antonio, J. The effects of four weeks of ribose supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in healthy, young, male recreational bodybuilders: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Current Ther Research. 2002;63(8):486-495.
10) Hellsten, Y., Skadhauge, L., Bangsbo, J. Effect of ribose supplementation on resynthesis of adenine nucleotides after intense intermittent training in humans. American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 2004;286:R182-R188.
Buy Ribose at Vitanet at a Discount
PsoriaClear New from Source Naturals
August 01, 2006 12:10 PM
Strangely enough, the secret of soft, smooth, silky skin may be a prickly, thorny bush from the inhospitable mountains of Russia and northern China. The berries of sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) are so rich in vitamins and nutrients that they were legendary in China, Russia, and Europe for centuries, but then were forgotten. After many years of being planted as a protective hedge— the thorns are apparently quite vicious—the sea buckthorn is being rediscovered for its nutrients, and particularly, for its amazing properties in skin regeneration.
The oil of the sea buckthorn is one of numerous compounds in Source Naturals PSORIACLEAR ointment, a formula that moisturizes and replenishes the skin cells.
The bounty of the earth has been gathered for this unusual and effective topical ointment— a convenient, natural aid for healthy, glowing skin.
Pegasus, the magnificent flying horse of Greek mythology, was said to have obtained his phenomenal strength from sea buckthorn—berries and leaves so nutritious, they must have been cultivated by the gods on Mount Olympus.
The plant became so identified with Pegasus and legendary racehorses, that sea buckthorn’s botanical name, Hippophae means “shiny horse.” But beyond legend, the benefits of sea buckthorn were discussed in ancient texts such as the Tibetan Rgyud Bzi, by Greek healers Theophrastus and Dioskorid, as well as noted by the court physicians of the Tang Dynasty of China. Used in Russia, Poland, Germany, the Himalayas, and Scandinavia, the sea buckthorn was known throughout the eastern hemisphere and used in traditional herbalism for centuries. Products made from sea buckthorn are valued for their rejuvenating and restorative properties.
Modern studies confirm the nutritious qualities of sea buckthorn. The berries are a natural source of vitamins A, E, B- 1, B-2, K, and P, as well as several carotenes, tocopherols, and flavonoids. The berries are second only to rose hips and acerola in vitamin C content. Most importantly for skin, however, the seeds of the sea buckthorn contain a very high content of essential fatty acids, oleic (C18:1), linoleic (C18:2), pentadecenoic (C15:1), palmitoleic (C16:1), heptadecenoic (C17:1), linolenic (C18:3), eicosenoic (C20:1), eicosadienoic (C20:2), erucic (C22:1) and nervonic (C24:1). Its antioxidant qualities have also been confirmed in modern studies.
The additional ingredients in PSORIACLEAR are natural components that could be found in many farms and forests worldwide: beeswax, animal fat, fatty acids, vitamin C and carotenoids. Source Naturals is pleased to bring you PSORIACLEAR, an easy-to-use topical ointment that has had tremendous success in supporting smooth, healthy, silky skin. Unlike many skin ointments, it is made with natural products; it contains no corticosteroids, hydrocortisone, nor paraffin. Use it as part of your own wellness program, taking charge of your own health and well-being.
Rosch D, et al.2004. J Agric Food Chem 52 (22):6712-8.
Chen, Y, et al. 2003. Formation and Development of New Blood Cells 26(8):572-5.
Rosch D, et al. 2003. J Agric Food Chem 51 (15):4233-9.
Chopra RN, et al. 1986. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants.
The Management of PMS and Ginkgo
June 25, 2005 12:35 PM
The Management of PMS and Ginkgo
Symptoms of PMS usually include water retention, breast tenderness and vascular congestion. One hundred sixty-five women between the ages of 18 and 45 who suffered from significant PMS were tested with ginkgo, which was given from the 16th day of the first cycle to the 5th day of the next. Test studies confirmed that ginkgo was effective against various symptoms of PMS, particularly b reast changes. In addition, mental and emotional symptoms associated with PMS also decreased.15 Because Ginkgo is so safe to use, it may be very beneficial for women who have used drug therapy for PMS that had undesirable side effects.
Ginkgo: An Update
Ginkgo is currently being studied as a safer substitute for antirejection drugs which are routinely given to recipients of transplanted organs. Ginkgolide, the active component of ginkgo, somehow inhibits a chemical found in the body called PAF (platelet activating factor) which plays a role in organ rejection. It may also prove beneficial for congestive heart failure, angina, shock, multiple sclerosis and burns.
June 25, 2005 10:57 AM
Ginkgo has achieved unprecedented popularity within the last decade and has become a familiar household term. Because interest in treating diseases like Alzheimer’s has escalated over the last decade, the biochemical capabilities of ginkgo in regard to brain function have been investigated and are still being researched. Ginkgo is one of those herbs that has become intrinsically connected with notions of herbal elixirs capable of pre s e rving youth and promoting longevity.
Ginkgo comes from the oldest species of tree in the world dating back some 200 million years. Some ginkgo trees have been known to live well over an average of 1000 or more years. The ginkgo tree is also known as the “maidenhair tree” and would have probably become extinct if the trees had not been cultivated in Far Eastern temple gardens and nurtured by Oriental monks.
Ginkgo is a deciduous conifer with separate male and female types. It resembles the pau d’arco tree and like pau d’arco, possesses an unusual immunity to insects and diseases. Ginkgo’s remarkable hardiness enabled it to survive the atomic blast at Hiroshima. Because of its unprecedented longevity, ginkgo biloba has sometimes been referred to as a living fossil.
Ginkgo has been used in China for over 5000 years. The Chinese refer to the fruit of the ginkgo tree as pa-kwo. This fruit is sold in markets throughout China and resembles dried almonds. Ginkgo fruit is pleasant tasting when fresh, but can become quite disagreeable if allowed to get overly ripe. Asians have relied on extracts of the fan-shaped ginkgo leaf since 3,000 B.C. to heal a wide variety of ailments.
The Chinese have been acquainted with the curative powers of ginkgo for centuries and have typically used the herb for ailments related to aging, such as circulatory disorders, mental confusion and memory loss. In China, ginkgo seeds, called baigou, are considered lung and kidney tonics and are used in conjunction with acupuncture. Ginkgo seeds also help to tonify the urinary system, so they are used in cases of incontinence and excessive urination.1
Practitioners of Chinese medicine routinely use ginkgo leaves. Ginkgo was introduced into Eu rope in 1730 and was we l l received, not for its medicinal value, but for its ornamental appeal. It is used extensively in landscaping because of its lovely fern-like leaf. It was brought to America in 1784 to the garden of William Hamilton who lived in Pennsylvania.
Decades passed before the healing properties of ginkgo we re investigated. Consequently, it has been part of the herbal repertoire only since the 1980s. During this time, it became technically feasible to isolate the essential components of ginkgo. Pharmacologically, there are two groups of substances which are significant compounds found in ginkgo: the flavonoids, which give ginkgo its antioxidant action, and the terpenes, which help to inhibit the formation of blood clots. The majority of scientific interest has focused on Ginkgo’s ability to improve the circulation of blood. O ver the past twenty years, scientific testing on the plant has dramatically escalated. Ha rva rd professor Elias J. Core y, Ph . D , synthesized ginkgo’s active ingredient, ginkgolide B, for the first time in the laboratory. Consequently, stepped-up research in this country and in Eu rope resulted. Ginkgo has been the subject of over 300 scientific studies and continues to intrigue scientists. Much modern research has confirmed ancient applications of ginkgo as well as discovered new ones.
Ginkgolide, the active component of the herb, is what creates most of ginkgo’s biochemical attributes. Exactly how ginkgolide B functions is not yet known. One theory is that the compound somehow interferes with a chemical found in the body called PAF (platelet activating factor). PAF has been implicated in cases of graft rejection, asthma and other immune disorders. PAF antagonists have been identified from a variety of medicinal plants. These compounds help to explain the pharmacological basis of several traditional medicines and provide a valuable new class of therapeutic agents.
Particular attention has been paid to ginkgo’s powerful actions on the cardiovascular system. Thousands of Europeans use this herb for peripheral circulatory disorders. As a circulation booster, ginkgo has accumulated some impressive credentials. Because proper circulation is vital to each and every body function, virtually all body systems can benefit from ginkgo therapy.
Ginkgo’s relationship to brain function has also spawned considerable interest. In 1985, Rudolf Weiss said of ginkgo,
“ Significant improvement in mental states, emotional lability, memory, and the tendency to tire easily, have been reported.”
Ginkgo is currently planted in groves and used for a number of medicinal purposes. It is harvested in the summer and can be used in extract, tincture or infusion forms. The therapeutic properties of ginkgo seem endless. Continuing re s e a rch promises to further uncover additional health benefits of this remarkable botanical. Ginkgo extracts are among the leading prescription medications in France and Germany. Currently, millions of prescriptions for ginkgo are written by physicians worldwide.
Your Healthy Harvest
June 14, 2005 11:05 AM
Your Healthy Harvest by Marjorie Flakowitz Energy Times, August 15, 2004
Once frowned on by conventional farmers, organic food has won respect from everyone concerned about the health of both the earth and the people who inhabit it.
Today, organic farming is considered one of the most rapidly growing areas of American agriculture. Organic foods sales topped $9 billion in 2002 and grew about 20%, up to almost $11 billion in 2003 (Organic Trade Association).
So when you buy organic, you join an expanding market that takes advantage of great-tasting, good-for-you food. Long ago, when the practice of farming was first devised, all farming was organic farming. So today's organic movement is bringing farming back to its roots.
But, safe to say, that is not what's motivating most consumers. A main reason for the popularity of organic food derives from the reassurance that organic foods, raised without artificial chemicals and pesticides, cut your exposure to toxic residues. A growing body of research shows organic food is richer in beneficial natural substances, too.
" Organic food and organic farming represent a philosophy that goes beyond just the quality of the food," says Steve Meyerowitz in The Organic Food Guide (Globe Pequot). "It strives to maintain the integrity of the entire food chain-plants, soil, air, water, animals and people. We are all part of the same ecosystem."
By eating organic, you eliminate pollution both from your body and the earth. Because our bodies are made of the animal and plant products we consume, our internal, physiological ecosystem and the earth's environment are inexorably entwined.
Chilling Arctic Evidence
As evidence of this connection, consider what's happened in the Arctic. Researchers who have analyzed Arctic water, ice, snow, soil and plants have found that chemicals used in farming and industry in other parts of the world have traveled north and accumulated in alarming quantity. How and if these chemicals break down depends on sunlight and the amount of organic matter contained in Arctic waters (American Chemical Society, 9/11/03).
" Once pollutants enter the water column, their behavior is poorly understood-particularly the processes that govern their lifetime and concentrations," says Amanda Grannas, PhD, a researcher at Ohio State University. "Such pollutants are now being found in wildlife, from fish to seals to whales, and even in people living in the Arctic."
Dr. Grannas and others looked at the pesticides lindane and hexachlorobenzene (HCB), two chemicals that have migrated to Arctic waters. Lindane is used by American farmers to treat seeds before they are planted. HCB, banned in the US in 1984, is still used in other countries to protect wheat from fungus.
The scientists found that sunlight at the top of Arctic waterways can help break down some pesticides. At lower depths, however, cut off from the sun's rays, pesticides can remain largely intact. In this research, lindane proved to persist much more readily than HCB.
" Lindane is one of the most persistent of pollutants," warns Dr. Grannas. "This could be because it's photochemically inert, whereas pollutants like HCB degrade relatively quickly. The main message is that pollutants can behave quite differently. These pollutants already affect local ecosystems, and could have repercussions for human health."
Organics Means More Benefits
Researchers are also finding that organic produce contains larger quantities of beneficial natural chemicals. For instance, one study (Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 2/26/03) showed that berries and corn grown organically can have almost 60% more polyphenolics. Polyphenolics are antioxidants plants use for protection against disease and which are good for humans. Researchers believe that when crops are grown conventionally, protected by pesticides and herbicides, they produce fewer of these substances. " This really opens the door to more research in this area," says Alyson Mitchell, PhD, assistant professor of food science at University of California at Davis, who led the research.
These scientists compared levels of total polyphenolics and vitamin C content in marionberries (a type of blackberry) and corn grown organically, sustainably or conventionally, and also looked at chemicals in strawberries grown either sustainably or conventionally. (Sustainable farming falls between the organic and conventional methods, and concentrates on farming that's self-sufficient-for example, feeding cows hay you've grown yourself, and then using the cows' manure to fertilize another crop.) They found that organic marionberries and corn had 50% to 58% more polyphenolics. The sustainably grown strawberries had 19% more polyphenolics. And all the organic produce contained more vitamin C.
Self-Defense for Plants
According to Dr. Mitchell, the organic crops contained the high levels of polyphenolics you'd expect to find in wild plants, suggesting that, on conventional farms, pesticides reduce the necessity for plants to make these protective, natural chemicals. " If an aphid is nibbling on a leaf, the plant produces phenolics to defend itself," she says. "[P]henolics guard the plant against these pests."
Pesticides kill insects like aphids and thereby reduce the antioxidants produced by the plant. " This helps explain why the level of antioxidants is so much higher in organically grown food," Mitchell says. "By synthetically protecting the produce from these pests, we decrease their need to produce antioxidants. It suggests that maybe we are doing something to our food inadvertently.
" We know [polyphenolics] are beneficial [to human health], but we don't know what types of polyphenolics are beneficial, or in what quantities," Dr. Mitchell notes. " Originally, the question was just really intriguing to me. I found that the higher level of antioxidants is enough to have a significant impact on health and nutrition, and it's definitely changed the way I think about my food."
Vitamin C in Oranges
Meanwhile, nutritional research on the vitamin C in oranges turns up similar results: organic oranges are richer in this antioxidant nutrient than conventionally grown oranges (Great Lakes Regional Meeting, American Chemical Society, 6/2/02).
The more common supermarket oranges are significantly larger than organically grown oranges, and they have a deeper orange color. Because of their larger size, "we were expecting twice as much vitamin C in the conventional oranges," says Theo Clark, PhD, chemistry professor at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.
But when he isolated the chemicals in the oranges and further refined his search with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), spectroscopy demonstrated that organically grown oranges possess 30% more vitamin C than the conventionally grown fruits-even though they are only about half as large.
Dr. Clark isn't sure why organic oranges are richer in vitamin C, but he says, "...[W]e speculate that with conventional oranges, [farmers] use nitrogen fertilizers that cause an uptake of more water, so it sort of dilutes the orange. You get a great big orange but it is full of water and does not have as much nutritional value.
" However, we can only speculate. Other factors such as maturity, climate, processing factors, packaging and storage conditions require consideration." Along with analyzing oranges, Dr. Clark and his research team questioned about 70 people to measure their concept of the nutritional value of organic oranges. In this survey, 85% of the respondents thought that organic oranges have a higher nutritional content than conventionally grown fruit.
Dr. Clark's laboratory work shows that "they were right on." In Dr. Clark's view, these issues are important because consumers have a right to know the real nutritional content of organic produce, and the fact that analyses show that organic fruit has much more vitamin C validates the benefits of eating organic.
Both plants and animals protect themselves from disease with many of the same chemicals. The natural substances that, in a farmer's field, defend vegetables from insects and microbes before they are harvested for your dinner go to work defending your body after you eat and digest them.
When you eat organic you bolster your health with more of these natural wonders. No wonder organic is becoming so popular!
June 11, 2005 05:04 PM
Power Protein by Joanne Gallo Energy Times, August 4, 1999
Chances are, if you've been trying to lose weight, build muscle, or increase your energy levels, then you've been hearing about protein. This essential nutrient has stolen the spotlight of the health industry as the alleged key to vitality and a solid physique.
With books like Protein Power (Bantam) and Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution (Avon) firmly implanted on The New York Times bestseller list, and protein bars and shakes growing in popularity, more people than ever are seeking to tap into the power of protein.
But before you go on an all-out protein-blitz, how can you decide what's best for you?
The Purpose of Protein
No doubt about it, protein performs a variety of roles. First and foremost, it is used to manufacture and repair all of the body's cells and tissues, and forms muscles, skin, bones and hair. Protein makes up the connective tissue that forms the matrix of bones; keratin is a type of protein used to make hair and nails.
It is essential to all metabolic processes; digestive enzymes and metabolism-regulating hormones (such as insulin, which influences blood sugar levels) are all made of protein. This nutrient also intricately takes part in transport functions: Without sufficient protein the body cannot produce adequate hemoglobin, which carries nutrients through the blood. Lipo-proteins are fat-carrying proteins which transport cholesterol through the bloodstream.
Protein helps regulate fluid and electrolyte balance, maintaining proper blood volume. Immunoglobulins and antibodies that ward off diseases are also comprised of protein.
Any protein that you eat that is not utilized for these purposes is stored as fat, although some may be broken down, converted to glucose and burned for energy. This can occur during intensive workouts, or when the body runs out of carbohydrates from the diet or glycogen from its muscle and liver stores.
"Even though the body can depend on the fat it has stored, it still uses muscle protein, unless it is fed protein as food," explain Daniel Gastelu, MS, MFS, and Fred Hatfield, PhD, in their book Dynamic Nutrition for Maximum Performance (Avery). "When dietary circumstances cause the body to use amino acids as a source of energy, it cannot also use these amino acids for building muscle tissue or for performing their other metabolic functions."
One can see why it is so important to eat a sufficient amount of protein daily in food, shakes or bars. Without it, bone tends to break down, the immune system can become impaired, and muscle strength drops as the body uses up muscle protein for energy.
Proteins are built of chains of amino acids, and 20 different kinds of these building blocks are necessary for protein synthesis within the body. Eleven of them can be manufactured by the body through a process called de novo synthesis; these are referred to as non-essential amino acids. The other nine, which must be obtained from the diet, are known as essential amino acids. (Although some amino acids are called "non-essential," in actuality they are vital: The body needs all 20 amino acids to function properly.)
Some of the more familiar non-essential amino acids include: n Carnitine helps remove fat from the bloodstream n Arginine helps burn sugar Essential amino acids include: n L-tryptophan, a precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin, helps create calm moods and sleep patterns n L-lysine, required for the metabolism of fats n L-methionine a component of SAM-e (a supplement intended to relieve depression and arthritis, see p. 45)
The body forms and destroys protein from amino acids in a constant cycle of synthesis and degradation. You must consume protein regularly to replace the lost amino acids that are oxidized when protein is broken down and used for fuel. The amount of amino acids lost each day depends on what you eat and how much exercise you do.
Athletes vs. Weekend Warriors
Protein intake in the general population is still adequate, notes Gail Butterfield, PhD, RD, director of Sports Nutrition at Stanford University Medical School. "But we're learning that what is true for the general population may not be true for the athletic population," she says. "With heavy training there is greater protein degradation and you need to increase your intake. Thus, protein requirements are higher for athletes than regular people."
Also, if you diet or restrict your eating in any way, you may also not be getting enough protein.
Certainly, if you work out, eating protein is important. Providing four calories of energy per gram, protein keeps blood sugar steady during exercise. After exercise, it helps replenish and maintain stores of glycogen (stored muscle fuel) and decreases the loss of amino acids, as recent research has shown (J Appl Physiol 81 (5), Nov. 1996: 2095-2104). Lab studies in animals show that protein consumed after you run, lift weights, bike, etc..., helps stimulate muscle growth (Jrnl of Nut 127 , June 1997: 1156-1159)
High-protein diets are frequently touted to promote weight loss and increased energy. One of the most influential: the so-called 40-30-30 formula, developed by Barry Sears in his book The Zone: A Dietary Roadmap (HarperCollins), which describes a diet whose calories are 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat. The rationale: when you eat too many carbohydrates, your body uses these starches for energy instead of burning body fat. A high protein diet is supposed to keep your blood sugar balanced and stimulate hormones that burn body fat instead of carbohydrates for energy.
Other fitness experts such as Sherri Kwasnicki, IDEA International Personal Trainer of the Year of 1998, say that while protein is a necessary component of any diet, extreme high-protein plans aren't necessary for recreational fitness buffs. However, she notes that maintaining muscle mass is the key to aging gracefully, and getting enough protein is critical for that.
Many people today won't eat meat and dairy for ethical reasons, or to avoid the antibiotics and other chemicals in the raising of poultry and cattle. But that doesn't have to prohibit adequate protein intake. All soybean products, including tofu and soymilk, provide complete proteins, which supply ample quantities of all the essential amino acids.
In the past vegetarians were told to combine particular foods to make sure they consumed all the essential amino acids at each meal. (For example, beans with either brown rice, corn, nuts, seeds or wheat forms "complete" protein.) Today, diet experts aren't so picky. Eating a variety of plant-based foods throughout the day is just as effective as combining them at one meal.
Vegans who avoid all animal products should eat two servings at sometime during the day of plant-based protein sources, such as tofu, soy products, legumes, seeds and nuts.
The newest sources of protein are bars and shakes, which are growing steadily in popularity. Protein bars now constitute about 12% of the so-called energy bar market, with sales increasing about 38% per year. These bars generally provide at least 20 grams of protein, including soy and whey protein and calcium caseinate (milk protein). The benefits: bars supply protein along with carbohydrates for energy; protein powders, on the other hand, provide quickly digested, easily absorbed amino acids.
Edmund Burke, PhD, author of Optimal Muscle Recovery (Avery), suggests "If you need extra protein, you may benefit from the convenience of a mixed carbohydrate-protein supplement... choose a supplement that's healthy and low in fat."
Amino acid supplements are also growing in popularity, reported to build muscle and burn fat, or improve mood by boosting brain neurotransmitters. The amino acids glutamine, phenylalanine, tyrosine and 5-HTP (a form of tryptophan) are all used to boost spirits and enhance brain function.
And if you still ponder the merits of those high protein diets, do keep in mind that protein may be better at controlling hunger than carbohydrates or fat since it steadies blood sugar, so it may help you stick to a reduced-calorie plan. But excess protein can't be stored as protein in the body: It is either burned for energy or converted to fat. And carbs are still the body's top energy source, so forgoing too many can leave you tired and sluggish.
Still, with so many vital functions-and a variety of sources to choose from-you can't afford to not explore the benefits of protein.
Iron: The Body's LifeBlood
June 10, 2005 10:29 PM
Iron: The Body's LifeBlood by Carl Lowe Energy Times, October 16, 2004
Two billion people, including one in 10 American women, are lacking iron. Here's how veggies and other foods can supply you with enough of this vital mineral.
Back in the days of black and white television, a popular commercial cautioned viewers about the dangers of iron-poor blood. While those ads trumpeting the debilitating fatigue of iron deficiency have disappeared from our colorized video world, medical researchers now recognize that many of us, in fact, are hampered by an iron shortage. What those old ads missed: a lack of iron can slow you down mentally and physically even before it shows up in your blood.
A Woman's Dilemma: Hidden Deficiencies Experts estimate that one in 10 American women are low in iron but many haven't become so deficient that they are aware of their shortage. In other countries, up to eight in 10 women run short on iron. While researchers once believed that iron deficiency was only serious if it was drastic enough to cause anemia (what used to be called "tired blood"), studies now show that even mild deficiencies can compromise health.
Worldwide, public health experts believe that the lives of about 2 billion people are affected by iron deficiency. Most of these people are women, who lose blood on a monthly basis during their childbearing years. Men are generally not low in iron. Iron is necessary for the formation of red blood cells-particularly the creation of hemoglobin, the reddish pigment in these cells that enables them to deliver oxygen to muscles and other bodily tissues. If you are very low in iron, the resulting anemia leaves you feeling fatigued.
Your body stashes iron not only in your blood cells, but in your liver and other tissues as well. When you don't consume enough iron, first your liver stores decrease, then your tissue supplies disappear and, finally, your blood runs low and you develop anemia. Early on in the iron-depletion process, a low iron count won't make your daily activities more difficult. Cornell University researchers found, in experiments on women who were mildly depleted, that taking or not taking iron supplements had no effect on how these women felt while exercising.
" Supplementation makes no difference in exercise-training improvements in women with low iron storage who are not yet tissue-iron deficient or anemic," says Thomas Brownlie, one of the Cornell researchers.
Supplementing Your Supply
Even in the beginning stages of iron deficiency, however, experts still believe you should take supplements: an uncorrected iron shortage can mean serious problems lurk ahead (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 5/04). For that reason, the next time you visit your healthcare practitioner you should request a serum transferrin receptor concentration test, which can detect an early iron shortage. (Don't start taking iron supplements without consulting a knowledgeable medical professional.)
" It would be useful for women who test low for iron but who are not yet anemic to have this test," notes Cornell's Brownlie. "Women found to be tissue-iron deficient will find exercise exceedingly difficult without improving their iron status-which could be achieved by increasing consumption of iron-rich foods or iron supplementation."
If you let your iron levels run down so low that it shows up as anemia, not only will you be tired but your thinking may be fogged as well. " Millions of women who are mildly iron deficient must work harder than necessary when exercising or working physically, and they can't reap the benefits of endurance training very easily," says Jere Haas, PhD, one of the researchers involved in these studies and a nutrition professor at Cornell. "As a result, exercise is more difficult so these women are more apt to lose their motivation to exercise."
Meanwhile, researchers at Wake Forest University in North Carolina report that, as you age, anemia can make you more vulnerable to disabilities while weakening your muscles and draining your strength (Journal of the American Geriatric Society 5/04). That type of anemia may be linked to shortages of both iron and vitamin B12.
" Our results suggest that anemia is a risk factor for disability, poor physical function and low muscle strength-all which can threaten the independence of older adults," says Brenda Penninx, PhD, lead researcher. If you are a woman who exercises frequently, cuts calories to lose weight or eats a mostly vegetarian diet, watch out-you may be at high risk for iron depletion.
To steer clear of iron shortages, the Cornell researchers recommend eating lean red meat. If you are a vegetarian, taking vitamin C with meals improves your iron absorption from iron-rich foods like peanuts, whole wheat, brown rice and leafy green vegetables, as does using iron cookware.
When it comes to absorbing supplemental minerals like iron, not all minerals may be created equal. In particular, minerals that are in chelated form are generally believed to be absorbed more efficiently in your digestive system. The word "chelate" comes from the Greek word for claw. Chelated minerals are chemically implanted into proteins known as peptides. This bound molecular structure mirrors the way minerals are contained in natural whole foods, which have been found to contain their own natural chelates.
Chelated minerals are more well-suited to your digestive tract. A key advantage of chelated formulations is their stability after you swallow them. Many other forms of supplemental minerals-which are often combined with inorganic salts or organic acids-may be broken down prematurely in the digestive tract, leading to poor absorption and a stomachache.
Chelates, however, maintain their structure sufficiently to reach the spot in the digestive tract where they are most efficiently taken into the bloodstream. Once there, the body's digestive enzymes dismember the proteins and convert the minerals into absorbable form.
Getting enough iron and other minerals is not that difficult a task-it's just one that is too often overlooked. But if you pride yourself on your iron will or iron constitution, or just seek to iron out a few of the kinks in your health, you may need to significantly pump up your iron.
Herbs in Perspective
June 10, 2005 10:25 PM
Herbs in Perspective by Phyllis D. Light, RH-AHG Energy Times, June 16, 2004
"I don't claim a cure...I just try to give people some ease," noted Tommie Bass, a traditional Southern herbalist whose life has been the topic of several books, including Mountain Medicine by Darryl Patton (Natural Reader Press) and Trying to Give Ease by John Crellin and Jane Philpott (Duke University Press). That philosophy reflects the perspective embraced by herbalists for eons.
The traditional use of herbs is incorporated into all cultures. Herbs were the first medicine and the origin of what we now call modern medicine. These plants have not been prescribed to conquer specific illnesses but instead nourish the body and aid in building overall health.
Observation, psychological need and human instinct form the foundation of traditional herbal knowledge and use. This knowledge has been passed down through generations based on practice and experience. The result: a depth of information about the safe and effective use of herbs that spans thousands of years.
The goal of a traditional herbalist is to bring the body into balance (homeostasis), prevent disease and support immune functioning. Unfortunately, any kind of therapeutic knowledge can be misused, and that has happened with some herbs, causing some people to question herbal medicine's safety.
As more people turn to natural therapies, scientists have begun to perform evidence-based research into their safe and effective use. The good news is that much of this research has validated the effectiveness of herbs and supplements.
Echinacea to the Rescue
Do the sniffling sneezes that herald a cold have you reaching for your bottle of echinacea? If so, you are in good company. Echinacea (Echinacea spp) is one of the top-selling herbs.
The colorful American prairie plant was extremely popular during the early 1900s, until the use of modern antibiotics relegated it to the back shelf. But a resurgence of interest in herbs propelled echinacea back into the mainstream in the second half of the twentieth century. And this herb boasts an impressive body of research and has an excellent record of safety.
For instance, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy have found echinacea to be effective in supporting the body's defenses against upper respiratory tract infections and for reducing the duration of discomforts that accompany the common cold (Pharmacotherapy 2000; 20(6):690-7).
Although studies have not confirmed its ability to prevent colds, echinacea is widely used by many folks for just that purpose. Researchers have found that echinacea's effectiveness may drop if you use it for eight straight weeks (Am J Health-Syst Pharm 1999; 56(2):121-2). So if you take it for a couple of months, take a couple of weeks off before using it again.
St. John's wort is another herb with ancient origins that has experienced a modern resurgence. Named after St. John the Baptist, St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) is generally in bright yellow bloom around St. John's Day (June 26). According to herbalist Michael Tierra, author of The Way of Herbs (Pocket Books), St. John's wort affects the liver and the nervous system. In 1984, the German Commission E, a recognized herbal authority, approved St. John's for depressive disorders, and in topical form for acute injuries and first-degree burns.
Modern research has reaffirmed the use of St. John's wort in the short-term treatment of mild to moderate depression (Cochrane Review Issue 2, 2004). It has also been found to be useful in premenstrual depression (Int J Psy Med 2003; 33(3):295-7). (Researchers have found that the herb may alter how the body processes some prescription medications, so check with your healthcare provider before using such medicines along with St. John's wort.)
King of Herbs
" Ginseng (Panax) received the lofty title, King of Herbs, due to its reputation as a tonic and its ability to stimulate the body into healing," notes herbalism writer Darryl Patton. This plant was once so popular in China that it was worth its weight in gold.
In fact, ginseng is the popular name for two different types of ginseng, American and Korean (Panax quinquefolium and P. ginseng). Both are considered adaptogens, or substances that help the body deal with stress more effectively. And modern research has found that ginseng can be used to improve overall energy and vitality, and to help the body deal more effectively with chronic stress (J Pharm Sci 2003 Dec: 93(4):458-64).
Researchers have found that ginseng helps boost the immune system (J Med Food 2004 Spring; 7(1):1-6). This ancient herb is also a powerful antioxidant that confers protection on the heart (Biochem Biophys Acta 2004 Feb 24; 1670(3):165-71). In other studies, ginseng has been found to reduce symptoms of menopause, improve endurance and lower blood sugar levels. To avoid overharvesting wild ginseng, most of the herb on the market is now grown on farms.
Ode to Ginkgo
Known as the Living Fossil, ginkgo is the oldest known plant in the world. A native of Asia, ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is now found in many US cities, where it has been planted as a quick-growing shade tree. Traditionally, ginkgo was used for disorders and diseases of the lungs and the kidneys, as a remedy for bronchitis and to improve circulation in older people.
Ginkgo contains substances that act as potent antioxidants by scavenging cell-damaging free radicals, and it is thought to help reduce the risk of disease. By opening capillaries, ginkgo increases circulation, and enables nutrients and oxygen to move around the body, especially to the extremities.
Indeed, recent research indicates that ginkgo may ease pain associated with arterial disease in the legs (Am J Med 2000; 108:276-81). Other studies support the use of ginkgo for acute stress (J Pharm Sci 2003 Dec; 93(4):458-64) and some cases of hearing loss (Acta Otolaryngol 2001; 121:579-84).
In a UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute study on ginkgo, researchers found significant improvement in the verbal recall of people who had age-related memory problems. According to Dr. Linda Ercoli, lead author of the study, "Our findings suggest intriguing avenues for future study...with a larger sample to better measure and understand the impact of ginkgo on brain metabolism."
Traditionally, fiery ginger (Zingiber officinale) has been used to aid digestion, reduce nausea, relieve gas, reduce symptoms of arthritis and strengthen the heart. Modern researchers have started to validate these traditional uses; ginger has reduced the nausea and vomiting of morning sickness in studies (Aust NZJ Obstet Gynaecol 2003 Apr; 4392:139-44).
Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Minnesota have applied for a patent on a substance found in ginger, believing it to have anticancer activity. According to Ann Bode, "Plants of the ginger family have been credited with therapeutic and preventive powers and have been reported to have anticancer activity."
Ginger can be found in natural food stores as fresh or dried root. It often appears in small amounts in herbal formulas as a carrier herb-one that helps move other herbs around the body.
The best medicine combines the health support of herbs with the scientific rigor of conventional medicine. And as scientists continue to search for new medicine from ancient remedies, we can enjoy the best of both perspectives.
Basics of the Immune System
June 10, 2005 03:01 PM
Basics of the Immune System
by Leonid G. Ber, MD Energy Times, September 1, 1998
In a world filled with pathogens and microbes, good health and resistance to disease is no accident. It requires a vigorous and vigilant immune system. The immune system should be viewed as an internal security force that is constantly checking the identity of everything entering and already existing in the body. A cell or substance may be recognized as "non-self" and a potential enemy if it does not have the right molecular make-up. A cell displaying molecules produced according to a different blueprint than the body's own code may be recognized as foreign. To eliminate alien material that may harm the body, the immune system must take swift action.
Recognizing entities that originate outside the self forms the key to overall immune system response. This key is carried in the body by cells called macrophages (ma-kro-fajs), a name derived from a Greek term meaning "big eater." Macrophages eat or engulf foreign cells and molecules. When a macrophage encounters something that it distinguishes as being "non-self" or abnormal, it can attack the enemy with a series of assault weapons, including free-radicals (reactive substances) and enzymes, that dissolve and weaken the intruder. In fact, an enzyme produced by macrophages called lysozyme is recognized as one of nature's most powerful anti-infective agents. These chemical defenses, along with engulfment and complete digestion by macrophages, can effectively stymie invasion by disease-causing pathogens.
Harmful invasion can originate in the body's own cells as well as begin from outside sources. While we are constantly exposed to bacteria, viruses, fungal cells and parasites, destructive cancerous growths often start within the body.
Every day, thousands of the body's cells mutate into possible cancers. Under most circumstances, the immune system keeps these cells under control. But when the immune "security" system slips up, these harmful growths multiply unrecognized.
The initial immune response that recognizes invaders is called a "non-specific defense mechanism" since this immune response is generally the same toward all invaders. This counter-attack entails battling every invader pretty much identically: a macrophage can engage, dissolve, weaken, engulf, digest, eliminate. However, if, despite the initial immune efforts, the problem persists, a macrophage can tag an invader and "introduce" it to the rest of the immune system, thus recruiting more specialized types of immune cells to enter the battle. This tagging function endows macrophages with the name "antigen-presenting cells." (Antigens are substances that can provoke specific responses by the immune system.)
Most antigens are proteins. Proteins are relatively large molecules made of smaller units called amino acids. The specific geometric organization of amino acids is what conveys uniqueness to each protein. (Your genetic code forms a blueprint for the production of your own, individual proteins.) Protein molecules produced by one human being can act as an antigen for another human being. That's why organs transplanted from one person to another can be rejected by the immune system. Unless organs are transplanted from one identical twin to another (who share the genetic blueprint for protein creation), doctors must use immune-suppressing drugs to curtail organ rejection. At the same time as these medicines prevent transplant rejection, they also make people more susceptible to infectious diseases and cancer.
After one set of immune cells chemically tags antigens (invaders) for recognition, other highly specialized parts of the immune system go into action: Cells called T cells or T lymphocytes acknowledge the invaders and can take the further action (second line of defense) that is necessary to render them harmless.
T cells get their name from the thymus (an organ located behind the sternum) where they originate. The thymus, most active when we're young, usually shrinks and apparently slows or shuts down its activity about the age of forty.
A wide variety of T cells inhabit lymph nodes (soft, usually round, pea- or nut-sized organs) and other body areas. For instance, natural killer cells, as their name implies, are a particularly aggressive type of T cell. Another type of T cell is called T helper (a cell that supports development of immune response). T suppressors halt immune response when infection ends.
In order to make all these different cells work in concert, cytokines or messenger molecules are produced that facilitate constant communications between all the parts of the immune system.
The B Team
Other organs of the immune system include:
*bone marrow: a powerful cell producing organ where the majority of immune cells are born;
*spleen: an abdominal organ that forms a reservoir for the production of immune cells.
Lymph nodes oversee particular segments of the body where they collect and recycle tissue fluids. Like an early warning system, lymph nodes react when an invader is detected in the part of the body that it controls.
Yet another step in the so-called immune cascade entails action by lymphocytes, called B cells, which originate in the bone marrow. These cells produce antibodies which are immune proteins (immunglobulins) that attack specific antigens.
While traveling in the blood, an antibody can bind to an antigen, curtailing its harmful action. This bound up molecule forms a complex easily recognized by scavenging macrophages which make a quick meal out of the unlucky invader.
After enemy cells are removed from the body, knowledge of this victory resides in the immunological memory prolonging your resistance toward specific disease pathogens indefinitely. That's why someone who has recovered from a disease like the measles may be impervious to reinfection.
Rules for Optimum Immunity
Even though the immune system consists of a complex team of hard-working cells, enhancing your immunity is relatively easy:
Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Avoid continuous stress and negative emotions or cope with them through exercise or meditation. Consistent, moderate exercise can boost the immune system. Massage can also help although extreme care must be taken when inflammation or disease is already present.
Sleep 7-8 hours a day. Sleep allows the body to recover and rebuild. Protein synthesis, vital for a healthy immune system, increases during the night.
Stick to a healthy diet. Your immune system consists of trillions of cells. Consequently, nutrients important for cell health boost the immune system. A balanced low-calorie diet rich in complex carbohydrates, "good" fats (including fish oils, olive oil and flaxseed oil) along with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrient antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables can fortify immune cells. Plus, drinking plenty of water helps improve circulation of lymph fluid.
These recommendations are not hard to meet once they become a part of your daily routine. However, extra immune security may be necessary during flu season, while traveling long distances (airplanes are notorious sources of pathogens) or when working extensive hours in front of a computer screen. In addition, exposure to x-rays, immunosuppressive chemicals, ultraviolet radiation (the sun) or simply aging may give your immune cells extra burdens.
Your "specific" immune system does not respond immediately to the challenge of invasion by an infectious organism. Instead, it may require about 2 weeks for an effective reaction after antigen recognition and alerting T cells. During this period, the macrophages' non-specific defense assumes a crucial role in keeping infection in check.
Enhanced activity by macrophages is especially important for recognizing and destroying cancer cells. The most dangerous cancers are those that can mimic normal cells and avoid the immune system's wrath. Few substances can activate macrophage function in the body (aloe vera contains substances that contribute to this process). The most powerful macrophage activator recognized by the scientific community is a sugar-like substance called beta-1,3-D-glucan. Beta-glucan, extracted from the cell walls of common Baker's yeast, when taken in certain small amounts, can prevent infection by making macrophages more active in recognizing and attacking infectious bacteria, fungi and certain viruses.
This kind of activation can encourage macrophages to attack previously unrecognized tumor cells. As a result, tumors may be eradicated as the immune system mobilizes and produces what may be known as "spontaneous healing."
When a macrophage works overtime fighting disease, its demand for nutrients and energy increases dramatically. Vitamin C, known for its immune supporting function, seems to be especially important for maintaining fully active macrophages. Vitamin C collects in macrophages, often reaching forty times the concentration found in surrounding blood. What are conventionally considered normal amounts of vitamin C in the body may be insufficient to keep macrophages well supplied with this antioxidant. Therefore, extra amounts of vitamin C can keep the immune system in fighting trim.
Scientists are only now beginning to uncover the secrets of the highly organized immune system. One thing's certain: The immunity security team depends on proper lifestyle, nutrition and supplements to maintain the critical defenses necessary for good health.
Dr. Ber received his doctorate in internal medicine from the Yaroslavle, State Medical Institute in Yaroslavle, Russia.
May 12, 2005 09:33 AM
Keeping the Intestines Healthy"Friendly Bacteria" Therapy Breakthrough
by Richard Conant, L.Ac., C.N.
Ninety percent of the cells found in the human body are not of human origin.
No, this does not mean we are all products of some sinister alien experiment.
The human body is made up of about 10 trillion cells. This huge number is dwarfed by the bacteria we all carry around in our intestinal tracts. The lower bowel is a campground for roughly 100 trillion bacteria, single-celled plant organisms that can be seen only through a microscope.
When we enjoy good intestinal health, the bulk of these bacteria are beneficial. Known as "friendly flora," these tiny guests help digest our food by breaking down undigested proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The friendliest of the friendly bacteria are the "lactobacilli," so named because they produce lactic acid in the bowel, by fermenting carbohydrates. This lactic acid production is profoundly important for keep the intestines healthy. And good intestinal health is the foundation of overall health.
How do we maintain a thriving population of lactic acid-producing bacteria in the gut? First introduced into the human body through mother's milk, lactobacilli are somewhat fragile. Stress, poor diets, and antibiotics can kill them off. They should be replanted fairly regularly throughout life. One way to do this is through consumption of cultured milk products such as sour milk, kefir and yogurt, which contain live lactobacilli. They can also be consumed in dietary supplements, but this may or may not be a reliable route. Bacterial products do not keep very well on the shelf, they require refrigeration, and are largely destroyed on the trip from the mouth to the gut by our own digestive juices.
Introducing Lactobacillus sporogenes- a revolutionary new friendly bacteria supplement.
This article will focus on one particular species of lactobacilli, a relatively unknown member of the family called Lactobacillus sporogenes. This lactic-acid producing bacteria may prove to be one of the most practical forms for use in supplements, thanks to a unique property not shared by the more well-known friendly flora such as acidophillus. L. Sporogenes is a spore-forming bacteria. Safely enclosed within a spore coat that protects it from the environment, L. sporogenes is resistant to heat, oxygen and digestive acids. Once L. sporogenes reaches the intestines, its spore coat dissolves, freeing the bacteria to multiply and churn out the beneficial lactic acid. (The spore coat, made up of a calcium-protein-carbohydrate complex, is harmless).1
The difficulty of keeping friendly bacteria supplements alive is an ongoing problem for manufacturers of these products. Studies have analyzed various commerical products claiming to contain acidophilus and found they often contain few live bacteria.2,3 L. Sporogenes is naturally microencapsulated; this insulates it from the gauntlet through which friendly bacteria in dietary supplements must pass.1 Autointoxication-Poisoning by Bacterial Toxins The intestinal tract may also play host to pathogenic, or disease-causing bacteria. These "unfriendly flora" cause putrefaction and release injurious toxins into the lower bowel. This healthy picture is all too common, and has long been concern of wholistic health practitioners.
The concept of "autointoxication," poisoning of the body by intestinal toxins, was popular among doctors in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. An editorial on the dangers of autointoxication which appeared in the June 3, 1893 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) declared that "most likely a large majority of chronic diseases take their origin from this cause."4 The famous Russian physician Eli Metchnikoff pioneered the use of lactobacteria for preventing autointoxication and restoring bowel health. His landmark work 'Prolongation of Life' sparked interest in lactobacilli as a food supplement.5,6
Naturopathy, widely practiced during the early twentieth century, has always stressed the fundamental importance of bowel cleansing. With the advent of so-called "scientific medicine," naturopathy slipped into decline, and the concept of autointoxication was discredited. Over the last thirty years or so, this has changed. Naturopathic medicine has rebounded, and the importance of bowel health is once again recognized. A paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1964, while opining that autointoxication "was exploited by quacks and faddists" in the early 1900's concedes that "the concept of autointoxication must now receive serious consideration."7
Leaders in the rebirth of natural medicine such as Dr. Bernard Jensen have helped educate the public about the importance of keeping the bowels healthy through regular use of lactobacilli. Jensen is well-known for his extensive studies of regions such as the Hunza Valley in Pakistan where people commonly live well over one hundred years. Jensen and others have noted that the consumption of fermented dairy products containing lactobacilli is a common dietary practice in these areas. Their observations have contributed to the popularity of friendly bacteria supplements. At the same time, clinical research has provided ample evidence of the beneficial effects of lactobacteria supplementation.5,9<.sup>
Eubiosis-Keeping a Healthy Bacteria Population in the Intestinal Tract
In his book 'Tissue Cleansing Through Bowel Management, which contains a wealth of valuable wisdom on intestinal health, Dr. Jensen writes, "Where health and vitality are found, we invariably find the friendly and beneficial microbes ... To a large extent the flora in the bowel determines the state of health in an individual."8 In a healthy bowel the friendly flora make up the bulk of the bacteria population. The unfriendly, disease-causing organisms are in the minority. The good bacteria keep them firmly under control. This healthy microbial balance in the gut is called "eubiosis."
Life in our modern industrial society is hardly favorable to eubiosis. Residents of the Hunza Valley lead unhurried lives in a pristine, pollution-free environment. They grow their own food in fertile, nutrient-rich soil, work close to the landÐand consume lactic-acid producing bacteria on a daily basis. For the rest of us who cannot hope to enjoy this enviable lifestyle, eubiosis is something we should never take for granted. This means taking proactive steps to plant the seeds of health in our intestinal garden, by using a viable friendly bacteria supplement.
Supplements which help to populate the intestinal tract with friendly bacteria are known as "probiotics." The term "probiotic" literally means "for life.' (In contrast, "antibiotic" means "against life.") Probiotics restore the natural state of "eubiosis" that is so very important for health and longevity.
L. Sporogenes-an ideal probiotic
Not every species of lactobacilli qualifies as an effective probiotic. As noted above, many do not survive processing, storage and passage through the digestive system very well. The following attributes make L. Sporogenes an ideal probiotic supplement:1,10,11
1) Naturally microencapsulatedÐstable at room temperature and can be stored unrefrigerated for long periods without loss of viable organisms.
2) Tolerates heat, stomach acid and bile, allowing it to successfully travel into the lower bowel.
3) Non-pathogenic, has only beneficial effects on its host. Has similar characteristics as acidophilus: prefers a mild acid environment; produces lactic acid, digestive enzymes, etc.
4) Readily multiplies in the human gut. In the stomach, the spore coat absorbs moisture and begins to swell. Upon reaching the small intestine, the bacteria cells germinate and begin to multiply, doubling in number every 30 minutes.
5) Produces enzymes which help digest protein, fats and carbohydrates. These enzymes include lactose, the enzyme that digests milk sugar.12
6) Creates a favorable environment (mildly acidic) in the gut for other friendly bacteria to thrive. Prevents overgrowth of pathogenic organisms.
7) Produces lactic acid in the form of L- lactic acid only.
The last point is especially important. Lactic acid occurs in the form of three isomers (substances with identical molecular structures that have different shapes): L-lactic acid, D-lactic acid and DL-lactic acid. The D form is metabolized slowly, and can produce acidosis in the system. (Infants have a particularly difficult time metabolizing D-lactic acid.)11,13 DL-Lactic acid, the kind acidophilus makes, may be converted to either D or L.
The L form is the one we want. L. sporogenes is a "homofermenter," it makes L-lactic acid exclusively. Lactic acid keeps the gut mildly acidic. This acidity is essential for the gut to be a hospitable home for friendly bacteria, and stops the growth of the unwelcome disease-causing bacteria.
L. sporogenes has only one drawback. It is a transient visitor that does not permanently colonize in the digestive tract. A study on the retention of L. sporogenes found no bacteria in the feces six days after consumption was discontinued.14
L. Sporogenes-Results from Clinical Studies
L. Sporogenes is used extensively in Japan and approved by the Japanese equivalent of the FDA. L. sporogenes has been given to hospital patients suffering from intestinal complaints such as gas and bloating due to abnormal fermentation, constipation, diarrhea and indigestion. (These problems often occur after surgery or chemotherapy.) A total of 16 clinical reports are on record in Japanese hospitals, documenting 293 case of digestive complaints treated with L. sporogenes.15 The overall improvement rate is an impressive 86 percent. Results are typically seen within four to five days. L. sporogenes has also been used with success to clear up diarrhea in newborns.16 Like other lactobacilli, L. sporogenes lowers blood cholesterol. (Lactobacilli break down cholesterol and bile salts in the intestinal tract.) Researchers at a hospital in New Delhi, India gave L. sporogenes tablets to 20 patients with high cholesterol for twelve weeks.17 Total cholesterol levels were substantially reduced, along with LDL cholesterol, and the beneficial HDL rose slightly.
The popularity of L. sporogenes in other countries as an ideal friendly bacteria supplement will no doubt be soon matched in the U.S. This microscopic helper for intestinal health is now sold in probiotic products under the name "Lactospore®."
1. Gandhi, A.B., Nagarathnam, T. Probiotics in veterinary use. Poultry Guide 1990;27(3):43-47.
2. Brennan, M., Wanismail, B., Ray, B. Prevalence of viable Lactobacillus acidophilus in dried commercial products. Journal of Food Protection 1983;46(10):887-92.
3. Gilliland, S.E., Speck, M.L. Enumeration and identity of lactobacilli in dietary products. Journal of Food Protection 1977;40(11):760-62.
4. Dalton, R.H. The limit of human Life, and how to live long. JAMA 1893;20:599-600.
5. Shahani, K.M., Ayebo, A.D. Role of dietary lactobacilli in gastrointestinal microecology. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1980;33:2448-57.
6. Metchnikoff, E.. Prolongation of Life. New York: G.P. Putnam Sons;1908.
7. Donaldson, R.M. Normal Bacterial populations of the intestine and their relation to intestinal function. New Eng. J. Med. 1964;270(18):938-45.
8. Jensen, B. Tissue Cleansing Through Bowel Management. Escondido, CA: publ. by Bernard Jensen, D.C.;1980.
9. Schauss, A.G. Lactobacillus acidophilus: method of action, clinical application, and toxicity data. Journal of Advancement in Medicine 1990;3(3):163-78.
10. 'General InformationÐLactospore®' 1996; Sabinsa Corporation: Piscataway, NJ.
11. Gandhi, A.B. Lactobacillus sporogenes, An Advancement in Lactobacillus Therapy. The Eastern Pharmacist August 1998:41-44.
12. Kim, Y.M., Lee, J.C., Choi, Y.J., Yang, H.C. Studies on the production of beta galactosidase by lactobacillus sporogenes. Properties and application of beta galactosidase. Korean J. Appl. Microbiol. Bioeng. 1985;13(4):355-60.
13. Oh, MS. D-Lactic acidosis in a man with short bowel syndrome. New Eng J Med 1979;31(5):249-52.
14. Hashimo, K. et. al. New Drugs and Clinics 1964;13(9):53-66.
15. 'Abstracts of papers on the clinical studies of Lacbon' Unpublished data.
16. Dhongade, R.K., Anjaneyule, R. Lactobacillus sporogenes (Sporlac) in neonatal diarrhea. Unpublished data.
17. Mohan, J.C., Arora, R., Khaliullah, M. Preliminary observations on effect of Lactobacillus sporogenes on serum lipid levels in hypercholesterolemic patients. Indian J. Med. Res. 1990;92(B):431-32.
VitaNet ® Staff