Search Term: " powerhouses "
Medical News Today: Alpha-lipoic acid: Everything you need to know
April 17, 2019 02:34 PM
Alpha-Lipoic Acid(also known as ALA) may be the next great discovery of how to affect health for the better on a cellular level. ALA is made in the center of a cell, in the mitochondria, and seems to help with weight loss, lessening the severity of diabetes, memory loss, cell degeneration and more. Since humans only make a small amount in their bodies, some supplements are available. However, there have been only limited studies on effectiveness and none at all for children.
"Since humans can only produce ALA in small amounts, many people turn to supplements to increase their intake."
Read more: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323738.php
Elderberries are excellent for everyday health and seasonalwellness
April 01, 2019 01:53 PM
If Elderberries aren't a part of your eating habits, it is time to make them. Not only do these tasty berries protect your everyday health,they're also amazing for seasonal wellness. In other words, elderberries work wonderfully to ward off allergies, colds, and perhaps even influenza. It is easy to eat the berries and a lot of fun, too, and thanks to their great taste, you will not mind eating them often, as you should so the health benefits are yours to enjoy!
"Elderberries provide a concentrated source of anthocyanins, a particularly powerful class of antioxidant flavonoids that may boost immune health and help protect cells from damage."
Read more: https://www.justvitamins.co.uk/blog/elderberries-are-excellent-for-everyday-health-and-seasonal-wellness/
Nuts may be tiny but they are powerhouses when it comes to improving your health
July 09, 2018 09:54 AM
In the past, nuts have received a bad reputation due to being so high in sodium and fat. Fortunately, new research is pointing to them actually being healthy due to their fat content containing mainly healthy fats that are not saturated. Maintaining a healthy consumption level of nuts can also allow you to lower your bad cholesterol while heightening your good cholesterol. These benefits can be achieved by taking in 100 grams of nuts each day.
"Once deemed unhealthy due to being high in fat, nuts are now viewed as anything but. It’s these fats, along with many other essential nutrients, that have made nuts a staple in the diets of many health-conscious individuals."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-07-06-nuts-may-be-tiny-but-they-are-powerhouses-when-it-comes-to-improving-your-health.html
Back To Seeds: Let's Start An Epidemic Of Good Health
November 25, 2016 06:59 AM
You may have noticed the recent emergence of seeds on menus and in the organic food industry. This is because seeds pack a major punch when it comes to nutritional value. All types of seeds, cereals, legumes, and nuts, are readily available and can easily be added to all sorts of recipes to boost nutritional value and enhance taste.
"Seeds are nutritional powerhouses. They are packed with proteins, vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and are also the best sources of healthy fats needed by the body."
Gut bacteria unleash anti-aging power of pomegranates
November 21, 2016 01:09 PM
Pomegranates may hold a more significant role than just tasting delicious. There are studies underway that aim to prove the anti-aging benefits of the fruit. It is believed that the breakdown of pomegranate in the gut causes a release of urolithin A, which in turn boosts the cells’ ability to clean up after itself. Without the buildup of mitochondrial matter that happens without urolithin A, the body doesn’t age as quickly.
"As we age, an important process that our cells rely on for energy slows down and begins to malfunction."
What is Dandelion Tea Good for?
March 08, 2011 02:38 PM
Dandelion tea must be best known as a detoxifying beverage that has been associated with improving liver and kidney functions. In the old days the plant is often considered a pesky weed, but today health organizations, such as the European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy, have endorsed its efficacy in relieving liver problems among others. The tea produces a pronounced bitter taste and is often sweetened, but it also packs large quantities of micronutrients.
Peoples from the Old World are no stranger to dandelion tea, but the plant species are native to both Europe and North America. What we refer to as dandelion comprises a large group of flowering plants. The two most notable species are Taraxacum officinale and Taraxacum erythrospermum, both of which are used to make dandelion tea. The fact that it can be found right in your yard is the reason why health magazines regard this herb as one of the readily available nutritional powerhouses.
Maintains Intake of Nutrients during Weight Loss
Dandelion tea has been noted to contain significant levels of vitamins and minerals, the reason why it is popular among individuals who are following a weight-loss program. Many people seem to overlook the fact that depriving themselves of important food sources, such as whole grains, compromises their daily intake of dietary nutrients. Chronic dieting is particularly dangerous in the long run even for those who used to be physically healthy. Dandelion tea offers a solution to people on a diet by meeting the RDA for vitamin A and K and providing up to 30 per cent of vitamin C and vitamin B7. It is also rich in minerals like calcium, potassium, and iron.
Promotes Excretion of Toxins through Diuresis
Not surprisingly, dandelions have been used to aid a long list of symptoms and diseases, and it has been reputed as a natural diuretic for centuries. Due to its worldwide distribution, it is one of the few herbs that have earned visible presence in traditional medicine of the East and the West, and its use has always had something to do with the proper functioning of the liver and the kidneys. The bioflavonoids found in dandelion remove toxins from the liver, like ethanol metabolites, and facilitate their excretion through the urine.
Facilitates Absorption of Bioactive Compounds
Health professionals often point to the nutritional content of dandelion tea and other products from the herb. Most species of dandelions have been documented to be completely edible, and the quantities of bioactive compounds present in them have been compared with vegetables like spinach and broccoli. Consumptions of dandelions have even been considered tantamount to intake of dietary supplements as they are rich in phytochemicals that display the activities of many known polyphenolic substances found in black and green teas and other foods rich in antioxidants. While the plant contains high quantities of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber, the tea has been tied to more effective absorption of these bioactive compounds, making it an ideal beverage to match with any food source.
Exotic Herbs From The Amazon Basin
June 22, 2007 05:07 PM
Although many traditional herbal medicines have yet to find complete scientific corroboration in the West, it follows logically that people wouldn't use an herbal product for centuries if it didn't work.
Many of the popular herbs we all recognize as having great health benefits were only recently considered pretty exotic. Even green tea - a staple in China for centuries -has only lately gone main stream.
So it will likely be with herbs from the Amazon basin and its environs. The Amazon basin is one of the most bountiful environments on the planet. Explorers and botanists from the West have looked to this region for generations for the "next big thing." Of course, in many cases, the "next big thing" has already been in use for centuries.
In this issue of Ask the Medicine Hunter, we're going to look at some energizing and life- stimulating herbs that also happen to have great antioxidant properties, too. Best yet, many of them are available to us here from companies that practice fair trade policies.
Let's take a look at some of the herbal powerhouses coming out of the Amazon (and its nearby neighborhoods):
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) has been cultivated for a long time at least 2000 years. Related to brassica family plants like radishes, mustard and cabbage, its foliage does actually look somewhat radish-like, but grows close to the ground.
Maca is cultivated by the Andean people in Peru's central highlands, and contains a plethora of beneficial compounds that enhance overall health and vitality. The tradition of cultivating maca is an old one some strains have been found in Incan sites that date from 1600 B.C. During early European colonization, maca was used by the local native culture as a form of currency, much of the way cocoa was used by the Aztecs, further north in pre-Columbian Mexico.
Maca thrives in high altitudes - between 10,000 and 16,000 feet. The harsher the conditions, the better it grows, or so it seems. In fact, efforts to grow the plant in Central Europe haven't been as successful - maca seems to enjoy its home turf the best. In Peru, maca is a popular and beloved nutrient-packed superfood, and is commonly powdered and mixed into drinks at roadside stands throughout the Andes.
Q. I've heard of maca being used for healthy libido - are there any other benefits?
A. Maca is a natural energizer, and although it is recognized for it's libido enhancing abilities, it has other uses, too, acting as an adaptogen - similar to rhodiola or ginseng. In fact, in South America, maca is known as "Peruvian Ginseng." Though maca is not ginseng at all, some of the benefits of both plants are similar.
In any event, maca is recommended for boosting the immune system, menopause support, and hormonal balance in general. For daily use, maca is most recognized as a great source of energy and all-day endurance. Alkaloids from maca root may be partially responsible for both maca's energizing and libido boost. Research shows that maca affects the hypothalamic-pituitary (HPA) axis - boosting energy and overall aphrodisiac prowess in men and women. Maca contains novel compounds called macamides and macaenes, which have been proven in animal studies to significantly enhance energy, stamina and sexual function reasons people have been so consuming maca for 2000 years.
There are other serious reasons why maca is such an excellent plant. One group of compounds in maca is the isothiocyanates-aromatics constituents that are responsible for the "hotness" of mustards and radishes - fellow members of the brassica family. Isothiocyanates from other members of the brassica family may reduce the risk of breast and stomach cancer. Although the same constituents specifically from maca haven't beentested, it's plausible that they could have the same effects.
Q. I've heard a little about guarana extracts - is it just caffeine?
A. Guarana is widely loved for its mild stimulating effect, which is due to caffeine. But this is by no means this Amazonian herb's sole beneficial compound. Guarana (Paullinia cupana) is so logically ingrained in the culture of Brazil that it's practically a rival (actually out-sells) Coca-Cola in its soft-drink form. Like many other indigenous herbs, guarana was in use locally well before European settlement. Its Latin name comes fromthe German botanist C.F. Paullini, who first encountered the herb in the 1700s. This evergreen vine typically climbs fairly far up the Brazilian forest trees. The seed is the part that gets used. In one clinical study, guarana boosted the memory alertness of participants, even when the caffeine level per dose was a low 9 mg., as compared with approximately 100 mg for a cup of coffee. This effect suggests that other agents than caffeine contribute to a feeling of well being.
Guarana also contains powerful antioxidants including catechin, epicatechin and proanthocyanidins, which protect cells against destruction from free radicals, and impart benefits to the body's tissues and blood. The small seed of this plant is powerful in its health benefits.
Catuaba (Erythroxylum catuaba) is a common tree found in South America from Brazil to Peru, in the same genus as the coca plant. Catuaba contains components known as alkaloids. These alkaloids (called catuabine A, B, and C) are probably responsible for themental boost most people get when they take catuabe-based supplements or mixes.
There may be little confusion regarding catuaba, because various species and genus typesuse the common name. As a result, "catuaba" gets bandied around a lot, and one person'scatuaba may not be the next. Read labels carefully. The catuaba I've had the best luck with is Erythroxylum catuaba.
One of my favorite drinks in the world is coffee, and I'm sure at many people reading thisconsider it the essential part of their morning, too.
The part of coffee that we use the most is the seed of the coffee fruit - which appears as a bright, red berry. Most of the time, this fruit is sloughed off and left behind in the process of making coffee - it's really too delicate to last long in hot conditions.
But advances in technology have tapped a previously discarded resource. Though the fruit of coffee is available in any coffee-growing economy, a high antioxidant commercial extract of "coffee cherry" is now available from the fruits of coffee plants in Mexico.
Coffee fruit has many of the attributes of other dark-colored, anthcyanin-rich fruits. Coffee fruit (also referred to as "coffee cherry") appears not to be just another antioxidant, however. Current research on this once-forgotten, former castoff shows impressive abilities to decrease tumor size, and possibly even prevent their formation in the first place. It seems that the elements in coffee berry activate T-lymphocytes in such a way that mammary tumors are shrunk or simply put on hold. It will be fascinating to see how this science plays out.
Muira Puama Bark:
Muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides) grows between 15 to 45 feet high. Native to theAmazon basin of Brazil, the dried bark has been used for centuries as a traditional energysupport. Components include beta-sitosterol, campesterol and lupeol.
Muira puama, like other central nervous stimulants has been researched lately for its ability to boost memory retrieval and protect neural (brain) tissue. Who knows? Maybe this traditional ingredient could someday be on the cutting edge of natural medicines fighting Alzheimer's, much the way green tea and turmeric are currently. In one unpublished French study of 262 men with low libido and poor erectile function, 62% experienced significant improvement after taking an extract of Muira puama for two weeks.
Acai (Euterpe acai) berry is a traditional favorite (and readily available) food source for people in the Amazon. The tree is a tall-growing palm with berries that provide - a rich source of anthocyanins, potent purple pigments with extraordinary high antioxidant activity.
Once harvested, acai fruits decay rapidly. As with coffee fruits, special processing is the surest way to make certain the nutrients of acai berry make it to those of us outside the Amazon basin.
However, these wonderful fruits not only fight against free radical damage, but help our natural digestive enzymes and boost natural immune defenses, too. In fact, current research is investigating whether compounds in acai may have a fighting effect on leukemia, too. So far, the results have been very positive.
Look for supplements made using organically-grown, fair trade acai berry. The best companies ensure that the local people harvesting acai and the communities where they live gather more than just short-term benefits. The best companies work not just to provide jobs, but better lives for generations to come.
Q. What is sustainability and fair trade, anyway?
A. Sustainability refers to a set of naturally occurring circumstances, or intentionally designed practices and principles, which ensure that all parts or members of a situation are adequately nourished to promote their healthy continuance. In current parlance, sustainability often refers to practices and programs designed and implemented to keep natural systems healthy and flourishing. Many such programs focus on environmental protection and preservation of traditional cultures. In the world of medicinal plants, sustainable practices include organic agriculture, species management, fair trade, and benefit-sharing programs.
In other words, sustainability pays people fair wages, puts resources back into their communities, and ensures that the resources that benefit us all are going to be around for a long time. It is an earth-friendly, people-friendly concept of commerce that happily, is taking root around the world.
The traditional cultures that use - and have used - these ingredients for generations wouldn't have done so if they hadn't been effective. Fortunately we live in an era when formerly locally-used herbs are now available far beyond their previous range. We are also fortunate to have companies and individuals working hard to make sure that the people who tend and care for these precious resources are paid fairly for their efforts, andthat their families and communities benefit from this commerce as well.
The great thing about using traditional herbs and ingredients that have been gathered in this manner is that you know they'll be around for a long time.
CoQ10 for Heart Health
March 28, 2007 12:39 PM
CoQ10 for Heart Health
More than 40% of all deaths in the
One of the most – if not the most – important things people can do to improve their overall health and life expectancy is to improve their heart health. Diet, exercise, and the wise use of dietary supplements can improve heart health dramatically. One dietary supplement that’s extremely beneficial to heart health is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. CoQ10 is a natural, fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all cells. CoQ10 also is known as ubiquinone. That’s because CoQ10 is ubiquitous and exists everywhere there is life. CoQ10 is vital to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. ATP is the energy-rich compound used for all energy-requiring processes in the body. Although COQ10 is produced by the body and exists in some dietary sources, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirements. CoQ10 levels diminish with age and as a result of dietary inadequacies and various disease states. Also, some drugs, especially a group of cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs known as “statin,” (Pravachol, Zocor, Lipitor, etc.) significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body.
Q. For what health conditions is CoQ10 used?
A. CoQ10 is beneficial in treating and preventing CVD and conditions such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), angina, and congestive heart failure (CHF). It’s been shown that heart attacks tend to occur when CoQ10 levels are low in the body. In addition, CoQ10 is beneficial for diabetes, immune dysfunction, cancer, periodontal disease, prostate cancer, and neurological disease.
Q. Why is CoQ10 especially important to heart health?
A. The heart is one of the most metabolically active tissues in the body. In the average person, the heart propels 2,000 gallons of blood through 65,000 miles of blood vessls by beating 100,000 times each day. Thus, it requires large amounts of uninterrupted energy. Heart cells have a greater number of mitochondria, and subsequently, more CoQ10 than any other type of cell. Each heart cell can have thousands of mitochondria to meet these energy demands.
Mitochondria are highly specialized structures within each cell and are often referred to as cell powerhouses. These tiny energy-produces produce 95% of the energy the body requires. The number of mitochondria in a cell depends on its function and energy needs. A cell’s ATP production is dependent on adequate amounts of CoQ10.
Heart disease patients are commonly CoQ10 deficient. Correcting such deficiencies often can produce amazing results. The presence of supplemental CoQ10 is a key to the heart’s optimum performance.
In people who have had a heart attack (myocardial infarction), CoQ10 assists in repairing the heart muscle and restoring heart function. This is due to increased ATP production.
Q. What studies support this fact?
A. A 1998 study found CoQ10 can provide rapid protective effects in patients with a heart attack if administered within three days of the onset of symptoms. The study focused on patients admitted to the hospital with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) diagnosis. Seventy-three patients received CoQ10 (120 mg/d). The study’s control group consisted of 71 similarly matched patients with acute AMI. After treatment, angina pectoris (severe chest pain signifying interrupted blood flow to the heart), total arrhythmias (dangerously irregular heartbeats), and poor function in the left ventricle (the essential chamber of the heart) were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden cardiac failure and nonfatal heart attacks also were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared with the placebo group.
In another study, CoQ10 was studied in 109 patients with high blood pressure (hypertension). The patients were given varying doses of supplemental CoQ10 with the goal of attaining a certain blood level (greater than 2.0 mcg/l). Most patients were on medications to treat hypertension. Half the patients were able to stop taking one to three antihypertensive drugs at an average of 4.4 months after starting CoQ10. Only 3% of patients required the addition of one antihypertensive drug. The 9.4% of patients who have echo cardiograms, performed both before and during treatment, experienced a highly significant improvement in heart wall thickness and function. This improvement was directly attributed to CoQ10 supplementation.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a debilitating disease that affects 5 million people in the
Q. I’ve heard that CoQ10 can also help people who have neurological diseases. Is this true?
A. Yes, it is. CoQ10 has been studied for its ability to improve the health of individuals with amotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. A recently completed study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health showed that CoQ10 caused a slowing of the progression of Huntington’s disease, a devastating and degenerative disease that is always fatal. In fact, no other medication, drug, or nutritional supplemental has ever been shown to cause a decline in the progression of this terrible disease.
The study compared CoQ10 against remacemide (an investigational HD drug made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals), in 347 HD patients who were in the early stages of the disease. Remacemide blocks glutamate, the neurotransmitter scientists think may cause the death of brain cells that occurs in Huntington’s disease. While remacemide had no effect on the progression of HD, CoQ10 showed a trend toward slowing the disease by an average of 15%. This meant the HD group taking CoQ10 was able to handle every day activities of life a little longer than the patients taking remacemide or a placebo. They also were able to focus their attention better, were less depressed, and less irritable. The 15% slowing of decline means that CoQ10 can result in about one more year of independence for HD patients. Needless to say, the gift of an additional year of health in the lives of HD patients is incredibly significant.
Because of these impressive results with HD, researchers are hopeful that the studies of CoQ10 in those with ALS and Parkinson’s disease will similarly have a positive effect on the symptoms and/or progression of these neurological disorders, too.
Q. Why is it crucial for a CoQ10 supplement to cross the blood-brain barrier?
A. The brains’ blood vessels are composed of cells with extremely tight junctions. These junctions form the blood-brain barrier, which restricts what can pass from the bloodstream into the brain. While this barrier protects the brain, it can be a significant obstacle to central nervous system therapy. To leave the bloodstream and reach the brain cells, a substance must pass through the tightly connected cells of the capillary walls. Only substances with unique solubilities or those with a transport system can cross the blood-brain barrier to a significant degree. As a result, crossing the blood-brain barrier presents a significant challenge to supporting neurological health.
While most CoQ10 supplements enter the bloodstream and increase blood serum levels, only special forms of CoQ10 have been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier. For CoQ10 to enter the mitochondria within the brain, CoQ10 must first cross the blood-brain barrier to produce significant neurosupportive clinical results.
Q. How can one supplement have applications for neurological diseases, heart health, and even the immune system?
A. Supplements often have more than one function, especially when it’s a substance like CoQ10, which is present in all parts of the body. All nucleated cells (most cells other than red blood cells) have mitochondria and all cells require energy to function. CoQ10 is vital to ATP production. Thus, CoQ10 has applications not only in neurological (neurons or nervous system cells) and cardiac health (myocardium or heart tissue), but also for the immune system.
Q. Are all CoQ10 supplements created equal? Doesn’t CoQ10 just have to get into the bloodstream to be effective?
A. There are some important distinctions among CoQ10 products, as they vary greatly in quality and absorbability. It’s crucial to find a CoQ10 product that’s:
1. Scientifically shown to absorb through the digestive tract, cross cellular membranes, and increase mitochondrial levels of CoQ10. Chewable forms of CoQ10 provide rapid bioavailability and absorption. Serum level determination of CoQ10 in the bloodstream is not necessarily the most important measure of efficacy. For a CoQ10 supplement to be fully effective, it must cross the cellular barrier and raise intracellular CoQ10 levels. A key indicator of effective CoQ10 supplementation is its presence in cell mitochondria.
2. The natural form of CoQ10. The natural process uses living organisms. CoQ10 also can be synthesized by a chemical process, which produces a distinctly different product that contains chemical compounds not found in the natural form.
3. Formulated with ingredients that provide the transport system CoQ10 needs to cross cellular membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Not all forms of CoQ10 have been scientifically proven to cross cell membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Some prestigious groups that have investigated this issue include researchers at
4. Studied by respected organizations, with research published in peer-reviewed journals by reputable scientists.
Q. How much CoQ10 should I take?
A. Take 100 to 200 mg of CoQ10 daily, depending on your family history of heart disease and personal heart disease experience.
CoQ10’s safety has been evaluated. Dosages in studies have ranged from 100 mg to 1,200 mg per day. To date, no toxicities have been reported. Occasional mild stomach upset may occur. Taking CoQ10 with meals usually alleviates this rare effect.
Q. What are some other heart-friendly supplements?
A. CoQ10 is an excellent supplement for overall cardiovascular health, as in L-carnitine. L-carnitine is the naturally occurring form of carnitine that’s found in food and synthesized in the body. Much of the body’s L-carnitine is found in the heart and skeletal muscle, tissues that rely on fatty acid oxidation for most of their energy. Nearly 70% of the energy needed for heart function is derived from fatty acid breakdown. Proper L-carnitine supplementation transports fatty acids into cell mitochondria, where it’s burned for energy. L-carnitine is an excellent addition to CoQ10, especially for people with heart disease, and has been shown to improve many symptoms associated with CVD. In one study, people who had experienced one heart attack received either L-carnitine or placebo. The L-carnitine group had a statistically significant reduction in second heart attacks, and improved overall survival.
Q. What supplements support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol?
A. In addition to maintaining overall cardiovascular health, it’s also important to address your essential fats/lipids levels and healthy circulation/blood pressure. Fish oil supplements can significantly reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and homocysteine levels. Choose a supplement that’s a rich source of EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids naturally obtainable in fish oil. Find a product that’s been clinically studied and purified to ensure it contains the beneficial active constituents of the whole oil, while removing any dioxins, DDT, PCBs, or heavy metals, toxins present in some commercial fish oil preparations. An enteric-coated garlic product that provides a minimum of 5,000 mcg of beneficial allicin supports healthy blood pressure and circulation. And magnesium, niacin, vitamin E, folic acid, hawthorn extract, and L-cysteine provide overall nutritional support to the heart and vascular system.
CoQ10 is not the only answer to the complex issues of heart disease, neurological disease, or immune dysfunction; however, research indicates that it’s a bigger piece of the puzzle than physicians and scientists ever imagined. The more we study this naturally occurring compound, the more benefits we find.
The key to this supplement is the manufacturing quality. For safety and overall effectiveness, use a CoQ10 product that’s supported by product-specific research from reputable institutions. Choose tested products from a well-respected company to increase your potential to achieve and maintain heart and blood vessel health.
Supplementation with clinically studied products can have a major impact on your heart’s health and strength. However, no supplement replaces the need to eat a healthful diet low in refined foods (especially sugar), and saturated fats, and to exercise your most important muscle – your heart – on a regular basis.
Neurological Health and CoQ10
February 25, 2007 12:06 PM
Between 1946 and 1965, 78 million Americans were born, creating the largest number of children in U.S. history. This Baby Boom generation has greatly influenced the makeup of American society and undoubtedly w ill continue to do so. Thanks to good nutrition and health care, Baby Boomers are aging well and have an excellent life expectancy. For the first time in history, we have more people turning 60 every day, and record numbers of adults reaching their seventh decade. As a result, neurological diseases associated with aging, such as Parkinson’s disease, are becoming major health care concerns. The good news is CoQ10 has applications for neurological diseases, in addition to its better known use for cardiovascular diseases.
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. CoQ10 is a natural, fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all cells. CoQ10 also is known as ubiquinone (existing everywhere there is human life). CoQ10 is vital to the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the energy-rich compound used for all energy-requiring processes in the body.
Q. Isn’t CoQ10 a supplement for heart health?
A. Yes, it is. Because the heart requires lots of ATP to meet its high energy needs, CoQ10’s function in heart health is well understood. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that when individuals with heart disease take CoQ10, their symptoms improve, sometimes quite dramatically. Supplemental CoQ10 improves the heart’s pumping ability, improves blood circulation, increases tolerance to exercise, and improves the heart’s muscle tone. CoQ10 also is a powerful antioxidant and protects heart tissue from free-radical damage.
Q. How does CoQ10 affect brain health?
A. CoQ10 works in the brain the same way it works elsewhere in the body: it’s essential to ATP production. Nearly all human cells contain tiny structures called mitochondria. Mitochondria are referred to as cell powerhouses because they produce cellular energy. Depending on what each cell’s job is. There can be several thousand mitochondria in one cell. If a cell needs a lot of energy, it will have more mitochondria. This explains why heart cells contain so many mitochondria; the continual pumping of blood requires continual ATP production.
The brain also requires huge amounts of uninterrupted energy to regulate, integrate, and coordinate ongoing nervous system transmissions. To meet this need, ATP production within the mitochondria of brain cells is vital. Since CoQ10 exerts such a powerful influence on heart cells in ATP production, it was a natural progression for scientists to wonder how it affects brain cells. Brain and nervous system research led to the conclusion that the same intracellular principles apply. CoQ10 is produced in the body to assist in ATP production. Without it, ATP cannot be produced.
The most important discovery regarding CoQ10 and the brain is that CoQ10, when formulated with certain ingredients, can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain’s mitochondria. If large amounts of CoQ10 can get into the brain cell’s mitochondria, its ability to make ATP is greatly enhanced.
Q. What is the blood-brain barrier and why is it important?
A. The blood-brain barrier is a unique anatomical structure. The cells that make up the blood vessels that provide blood to the brain are extremely close together. This greatly restricts what can leave the bloodstream and enter the brain. While the blood-brain barrier protects the brain and spinal cord from potentially toxic substances, it also can be a significant obstacle to therapy of central nervous system disorders. Only substances with certain solubilities or those that have a transport system can cross the blood-brain barrier to a significant degree.
Obtaining optimal absorption of CoQ10 is difficult. The CoQ10 molecule is large and inflexible. The easiest and least expensive way to increase absorption levels is with the use of harsh solvents such as propylene glycol. However, at higher doses, these types of chemicals are considered dangerous (neurotoxic) to the person with a serious neurodegenerative disease. It is more difficult, as well as more expensive (considering raw materials, research, and proper manufacturing methods) to promote absorption with less harmful alternatives. However, reputable companies ensure that their products are safe for all their customers. Look for CoQ10 products formulated with vitamin E and other safe ingredients such as Micosolle.
Nearly all CoQ10 supplements enter the bloodstream. But, only CoQ10 supplements with special formulations have been scientifically shown to enter the mitochondria and cross the blood-brain barrier.
Q. If CoQ10 is made in the body, why take supplements?
A. While CoQ10 is synthesized in the body, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirements. Researchers have discovered CoQ10 levels diminish with age and as a result of dietary inadequacies and various disease states. They also have determined some medications significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body.
Although CoQ10 exists in some dietary sources, it may not be realistic to obtain CoQ10 through food alone. For example, it would take approximately 3 pounds of sardines, 7 pounds of beef, or 8 pounds of peanuts to equal 100 mg of supplemental CoQ10.
Q. How does CoQ10 help people with Parkinson’s disease?
A. CoQ10 seems to have several beneficial actions in the illness. Researchers have looked at mitochondria in brain cells and determined people with Parkinson’s disease have reduced activity of Complex I in the electron transport chain. Recent research has proposed the reduced activity of Complex I interferes with the brain-signaling chemical dopamine. Stored and newly synthesized dopamine is depleted. The dopamine depletion causes nerve cell degeneration.
A recent clinical study involved 80 patients with Parkinson’s disease (both men and women). The researchers first evaluated all the participants to establish scores for basic motor skills (measuring the ability to control physical movements such as walking), mental status (whether the person was depressed or experiencing memory loss) and the activities of daily living (whether the person was experiencing difficulty with handwriting, dressing themselves, using utensils such as knives and forks, and so on). This scale is known as the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). This process is known as establishing “baseline values,” that is, the condition of the patient before receiving any treatment.
Participants were divided into 4 groups. Each group received either 300 mg, 600 mg, or 1200 mg of the special form of CoQ10, or a placebo. The researchers observed the participants for 16 months.
The results of the study showed that all the participants who received CoQ10 had smaller declines in function compared to the placebo group, but the smallest decline was experienced by the group taking the highest amount of the special form of CoQ10.
The most significant results were noted specifically in the activities of daily living scores by the people taking 1200 mg of CoQ10 daily. These people retained better ability to feed and dress themselves, speak, walk, and bathe or shower by themselves. They maintained greater independence for a longer time. Parkinson’s disease, as with other neurodegenerative diseases, robs the sufferer of their ability to control the movements of their own body and care for themselves. Supplementation with CoQ10, while not a cure, is the first intervention that showed a slowing in the progressive deterioration of the function associated with this disease.
Q. What were the results of clinical research on Huntington’s Disease?
A. A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study respected type of study, was conducted at the University of Rochester. All of the 347 Huntington’s disease (HD) patients were experiencing some HD symptoms, but were still in the early stages of the disease. The patients (who did not know which drug they were receiving) were randomly assigned to four different treatment groups: 25 percent received Remacemide, 25 percent received CoQ10, 25 percent received both, and 25 percent received a placebo, or sugar pill. The researchers, who also did not know which patients got which drug, watched and recorded their progress for two and one-half years. Remacemide is a new drug made by Astra Seneca that blocks the neurotransmitter glutamate in the brain, that has long been suspected of contributing to the death of brain cells in Huntington’s disease.
Unfortunately, in the CARE-HD study, Remacemide had no effect on the progression of the disease in patients in the early stages. However, the individuals who received 600 mg of CoQ10 per day experienced some slowing of the disease progression. They were able to manage daily activities, such as meal preparation, housekeeping tasks, and personal care longer than those not on CoQ10. They were also able to focus their attention better and were less depressed and irritable. The portion of the studied patients receiving 600 mg of CoQ10 per day experienced a 15 percent decline in the progression of HD. According to the researchers conducting the study, a 15 percent decline in the progression of HD would roughly translate into approximately one more year of independence for patients. This is the very first study from more than a dozen Huntington’s disease patient trails that showed any modification of the course of the illness.
Of note, the effects of the CoQ10 had not abated at the end of the research study. That is, the benefit of using CoQ10, 600 mg per day, was still increasing; this suggests that the longer a patient supplements with CoQ10, the greater the decline in the progression of HD. The next phase of the CARE-HD research will test a higher dose of CoQ10 (1200 mg or more per day), with more patients (over 1000), for a longer period of time (approximately 5 years). This study should improve our understanding of the optimal dose and the total achievable decline in the progression of HD. The CoQ10 product used in the CARE-HD study was designated an Orphan Drug by the FDA. The product utilizes a proprietary, patent-pending delivery mechanism, which is proven to be safe and tolerable at high doses for people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, substantially improving brain tissue levels of CoQ10.
Q. What other diseases could benefit from CoQ10 supplementation?
A. Studies show CoQ10 levels are greatly reduced in Alzheimer’s patients. Mitochondrial abnormalities also are noted; however, research has yet to determine how or why this occurs. Some scientists believe damage to mitochondria is an early feature of the disease. Free-radical damage also is a feature of Alzheimer’s.
In a study of 27 Alzheimer’s patients, subjects were given 60 mg of CoQ10, 150 mg of iron, and 180 mg of vitamin B6 daily. Each patient’s mitochondria activity was effectively activated. All patients continued to experience gradual decline. However, researchers believed that with this combination, the progression was much slower and allowed the patients to experience 1 to 2 years of extended good health.
ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a progressive, fatal, neurological disease. It occurs when the nerve cells in the brain that control voluntary movement gradually degenerate. Investigation of CoQ10 in individuals with ALS is just beginning. Researchers at the Eleanor and Lou Gehrig ALS Center at Columbia University recently conducted a small clinical pilot trial of CoQ10 in ALS. The study was an open label study, which meant that everyone enrolled received CoQ10, 400 mg three times per day. Of the 16 patients originally enrolled, nine patients completed the study. Six of these nine patients experienced some benefits. The patients declined from 0 – 25 percent in functional scores, 6 percent in strength, and 10 percent in breathing ability. These scores reflect a positive trend compared to the 50 percent decline that is seen in the natural history of ALS over the same period of time (5 to 9 months). Citing the need to conduct more studies of the effectiveness of CoQ10 for people with ALS is rapidly and efficiently as possible to get answers to patients and clinicians, another clinical trial is currently underway at the Gehrig ALS Center. This is a pilot study to determine if CoQ10 has short-term effects on motor nerves in the brain using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). The researchers are going to try to “see” if CoQ10 can change the chemical sin the brain’s upper motor nerves of people with ALS, an important next step of the investigation.
Q. Can taking CoQ10 prevent neurodegenerative disease?
A. To date, there have been no studies or research examining whether CoQ10 can prevent these diseases.
Alzheimer’s disease prevention is being clinically investigated. Researchers have determined that people who take certain anti-inflammatory medications seem less likely to develop the illness. A large, multi-centered trial is studying this connection.
Q. How much CoQ10 should I take?
A. Depending on your family history of neurological disease and your disease experience, studies show benefits at doses of 100 to 200 mg of CoQ10 daily. Some studies used doses of up to 1,200 mg per day.
CoQ10’s safety has been evaluated. To date, no toxicities have been reported. Mild stomach upset may occur. Taking CoQ10 with meals usually alleviates this rare effect.
Q. What should I look for in a CoQ10 supplement?
A. Use products which have a strong clinical research track record, supported by product-specific research from reputable institutions, and have been proven to be safe, tolerable and effective in treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. The CoQ10 product you choose should be proven to: be absorbed, enter the blood stream, cross the blood brain barrier and increase mitochondrial levels of CoQ10. If the product you are considering does not have evidence to support these points, keep looking. Once you have found a candidate, examine the product’s safety and efficacy record for neurodegenerative diseases- if the product has not been proven to be safe and effective, keep looking. Good products exist; however, caveat emptor.
CoQ10 supplementation for people with neurodegenerative diseases is supported by contemporary clinical research. CoQ10 is certainly not the only answer to the complex issues of management and treatment of these types of diseases. However, research indicates that it is a bigger piece of the puzzle than physicians and scientists ever imagined. As we continue to study this naturally occurring compound, we are finding more and more benefits to the body.
All CoQ10 is not created equal. For safety and overall effectiveness, use a CoQ10 product that is supported by product-specific research from reputable institution, which is proven to be safe, tolerable and effective at high doses; deviating from this set of criteria may do more harm than good for people with these serious illnesses. Choose clinically tested products from a well-respected company and increase the potential to achieve and maintain brain and neurological health.
Fruit and Vegetable Lightning drink mixes from Natures Plus
February 06, 2007 02:41 PM
Enjoy the Rainbow – the Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables
We’ve all heard the statistics, and have probably seen the signs in the produce section of our favorite grocery store: eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day is important,
Chances are also pretty good that we’ve also seen the newest food pyramid, encouraging Americans to “eat a rainbow of frits and vegetables.” That is, choose from the rich variety of colors for the best all-around health benefits.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’re going to look at the unique health components of different colored fruits and vegetables, and why they’re so important. Plus, we’ll learn about supplemental options, like fruit and vegetable drink mixes, for those days when our diets just aren’t that great.
Q. What’s the big deal about fruits and vegetables?
A. Well, for the main reason that they are whole foods – created by nature (or at least generations of farming) and are rich in a variety of nutrients. Processed foods can’t match the health benefits of strawberries or broccoli – items that have fiber, vitamins, and enzymes built right in.
Q. What does “eating a rainbow” of fruits and vegetables really mean?
A. This is simply an easy way of remembering to get as much color variety in your diet as possible to maximize your intake of a broad range of nutrients. The colors of fruits and vegetables are often a tangible clue to the unique vitamins and other healthy substances they contain. Getting a variety of colors, therefore, means getting a variety of the essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and strong.
Enjoying the Rainbow: Fruit and Vegetable Benefits:
Q. Can you tell me a little more about the healthy components of fruits and vegetables?
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-studied and important nutrients:
Quercetin is found in apples, onions and citrus fruits (also is hawthorn and other berries and apple-related fruits usually used in traditional herbal remedies and modern supplements). It prevents LSL cholesterol oxidation and helps the body cope with allergens and other lung and breathing problems.
Clinical studies show that quercetin’s main points of absorption in the body appear to be in the small intestine – about 50%. The rest – at least 47% is metabolized by the colonic micro flora – the beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum. You may consider adding these beneficial bacteria (found in yogurt) either through the diet or a supplemental form.
Ellagic Acid is a component of ellagitannins – dietary polyphenols with antioxidant (and possibly anticancer) properties. Polyphenols are the basic building blocks of many plant-based antioxidants. More complex phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids are created from these molecules.
Ellagic acid is found in many fruits and foods, namely raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and walnuts. Clinical studies suggest that ellagitannins and ellagic acid act as antioxidants and anticarcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract.
Ellagitannins are durable antioxidants, and happily, they do not appear to be diminished by processing, like freezing. This means the benefits are still strong, even in frozen packs of raspberries or strawberries, or some of the better multi-ingredient supplement drink mixes.
In scientific studies, ellagic acid also showed an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells, decreasing their ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. ATP is the molecule that provides the primary energy source for the cells in our bodies. In a sense, ellagic acid seems to deprive cancer cells of their fuel.
Beta-Carotene: Probably the best-known of the carotenoids, beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A. Many vegetables, especially orange and yellow varieties, are rich in this nutrient. Think summer squash, yams and of course, carrots.
Beta-carotene has long been associated with better eyesight, but it has other benefits, too. In a scientific study, beta-carotene decreased cholesterol levels in the liver by 44% and reduces liver triglycerides by 40%.
Lycopene is a carotenoid mostly found in tomatoes, but also in smaller amounts in watermelon and other fruits. Clinical studies have shown that lycopene consumption may decrease the risk of prostate cancer. In fact, high intakes of lycopene are associated with a 30% to 40% reduced risk. And, as good as beta-carotene is, its cousin, lycopene, seems to be an even stronger nutrient, protecting not just against prostate cancer, but heart disease as well.
Lutein is found in many fruits and vegetables, including blueberries and members of the squash family. Lutein is important for healthy eyes, and in fact it is found in high concentrations naturally in the macular region of the retina – where we see fine detail. It is one of the only carotenoids, along with its close sibling zeaxanthin, that is found in the macula and lens of the eye.
Lutein also supports your heart, too. In a scientific study, lutein reduced atherosclerotic lesion size by 43%. In other words, high intakes of lutein may actually help prevent coronary artery disease!
Interestingly, as is the case with lycopene, cooking or processing foods with lutein may actually make it more easily absorbed.
In clinical studies, men with high intakes of lutein (and its close cousin, zeaxanthin, found in broccoli and spinach) had a 19% lower risk of cataract, and women had a 22% decreased risk, compared to those whose lutein intakes were much lower.
Vitamin C: One of the best-known nutrients out there, vitamin C keeps our immune system strong; speeds wound healing, and promote strong muscles and joints. A free-radical fighter, vitamin C prevents oxidative damage to tissues, builds strength in collagen and connective tissue, and even reduces joint pain.
Sources of vitamin C are scattered throughout the spectrum of fruits and vegetables.
Potassium: Most Americans are deficient in potassium. For the most part, it’s hard to get too much of this valuable mineral. Potassium does great things for our hearts. Higher intakes of dietary potassium from fruits and vegetables have been found in clinical research to lower blood pressure in only 4 weeks.
Many researchers believe that the typical American diet has led to a state of chronic, low-grade acidosis – too much acid in the body. Potassium helps change pH balance to a more alkaline environment in the body and increases bone density.
This was proven in the long-running Framingham Heart Study which showed that dietary potassium, (along with magnesium and fruit and vegetable intake) provided greater bone density in older individuals.
Fiber is another food component many just don’t get enough of – especially if they’re eating a “typical American diet.” Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber. However, fiber from a good fruits and vegetable drink mix should be derived from inulin and chicory root. This soluble fiber source not only adds to the overall amount of fiber you need (25 to 38 grams a day), but also provides a nice “nesting ground” for the beneficial bacteria that populate the intestines. And, even though some fiber has a bad rap for inhibiting mineral absorption, inulin and chicory root are “bone building” fibers – they actually help the body absorb calcium.
Flavonoids are an overarching term that encompasses flavonols, anthocyanidins, and flavones, isoflavones, proanthocyanidins, Quercetin and more. They are almost everywhere: in fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, nuts and seeds – even in the coffee, wine and tea we drink. Flavonoids are responsible for the colors in the skins of fruits and the leaves of trees and other plants.
Flavonoids have many health benefits. They can help stop the growth of tumor cells and are potent antioxidants. Additionally, flavonoids have also been studied for their ability to reduce inflammation.
Anthocyanins: High on the list of important “visible” nutrients are anthocyanins. They color fruits and vegetables blue and red.
Anthocyanins are members of this extended family of nutmeats, the flavonoids. Typically found in high amounts in berries, anthocyanins are readily absorbed in the stomach and small intestine.
As antioxidants, anthocyanins dive deep into cell membranes, protecting them from damage. IT may be one reason why the anthocyanins from blueberries are considered such an important component in battling neuronal decline, like Alzheimer’s. Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are also excellent sources of this flavonoids group.
SDG lignans, (short for secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) are polyphenolic components of flaxseed, pumpkin and other herbal sources. Much of the recent research surrounding lignans has focused on flaxseed. In scientific and clinical studies, lignans from flaxseed support hormonal balance and may have cancer-preventing abilities. In fact, in one study, flaxseed lignans reduced metastatic lung tumor by 82% compared to controls.
The lignans in pumpkin seed, also considered a major source, target 5-alpha reductase activity.
This enzyme catalyzes the conversion of testosterone into the more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT, like testosterone, is a steroid hormone or androgen. Androgens are responsible for the development and maintenance of masculine sex characteristics in both men and women. Excess levels of DHT can cause serious problems with prostate or bladder health. That’s why modulation of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is so important – it helps maintain healthy testosterone and DHT levels. By balancing the levels of these key hormones, pumpkin seed lignans provide protection for prostate and bladder cells.
In addition, pumpkin seed has been shown to modulate the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase is present in the estrogen-producing cells of the adrenal glands, ovaries, testicles, adipose tissue, and brain. Aromatase converts testosterone, an androgen, into estradiol, and estrogen.
Inhibition of the aromatase conversion can help maintain a balance of healthy testosterone levels in women, which has been shown to strengthen pelvic muscles and reduce incidence of incontinence.
In fact, a clinical study, involving a pumpkin extract in conjunction with soy, resulted in significant support for bladder health. After two weeks of supplementation, 23 of the 39 postmenopausal women enrolled in the study showed great improvement in urinary frequency and sleep. By the end of the six week study, 74.4 percent of participants found pumpkin extract safely and significantly improved “nocturnia,” that is, the need to urinate frequently at night. For individuals with 2 to 4 episodes of nocturnia prior to the stud, and 81.8% improvement was seen – also showing great improvement in sleep quality. After all, if you don’t have to wake up every couple of hours to go to the bathroom you’re bound to get better sleep.
Beta glucan: Mushrooms are intense immune-boosting powerhouses due to their beta-glucan content. Three well-studied power-house mushrooms that contribute beta glucan to the diet include maitake, reishi and shiitake.
The most significant constituents of mushrooms are long chain polysaccharides (molecules formed from many sugar units) known as beta-glucan. These huge molecules act as immunoregualtors in the human body, helping to stabilize and balance the immune system.
This includes specific support of white blood cells, or lymphocytes, the primary cells of the immune system. Lymphocytes fall broadly into three categories: T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells.
In one clinical study, 165 patients with various types of advanced cancer were given maitake mushroom compounds alone or with chemotherapy. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58% of liver cancer patients, and 62% of lung cancer patients. Plus, when maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, the immune cell activities were enhanced 1.2 to 1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone.
In another clinical study, researchers determined that Reishi increased the number of cancer killing white blood cells and made them more deadly to cancer cells.
And, in a scientific study of human breast cancer and myeloma cancer and myeloma cancer cell lines, shiitake compounds provided a 51% antiproliferative effect on the cells – inducing “apoptosis’ – the programmed cell death that should occur naturally.
While beta-glucan are distributed throughout the mushroom body, the beta-glucan concentrations are significantly higher in the mycelium – the interwoven fibers or filaments that make up the “feeding structure” of the mushroom.
Bioflavonoids are commonly found in bright yellow citrus fruits, including lemons, limes and oranges. They are responsible for the bright pigment found in the skin of the fruit, and are considered a “companion” to vitamin C, seeming to extend the value of the nutrient within the body.
Hesperidin is just one of the valuable bioflavonoids found in citrus. Hesperidin appears to lower cholesterol levels, as well as support joint collagen in examples of rheumatoid arthritis.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG):
Polyphenols, most notably EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, are well-studied and powerful components of tea. EGCG has been shown to reduce colon and breast cancer risk. Green tea also boosts the immune system and encourages T-cell formation – part of the front-line defense of our bodies against sickness and disease.
Q. I’ve been seeing articles about fruits, vegetables and supplements touting “high ORAC value.” What does this mean?
ORAC is an acronym for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, and is simply a measurement of antioxidant activity of nutrients. Oxygen radicals, or free radicals, are unstable molecules. They grab electrons from other cells to use for themselves, and in the process can damage them. It is believed that free radical activity plays a role in the development of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and also plays a role in aging.
Antioxidants help prevent this damage by “loaning out” extra electrons to stabilize free radicals/ Consider any fruit or vegetable with a high ORAC rating as having a lot of “antioxidant power.”
I know I should eat more fruits and vegetables, but it just seems so hard to get five servings a day.
The number one excuse I hear for not buying frits and veggies is that “fruits and vegetables are too expensive.” But are they really? Certainly, fresh foods that aren’t in season and have to be shipped a distance can be a bit pricey. If anyone added up how much spend on fast food, or prepackaged or processed snacks, it would probably be shocking.
Luckily, there are many ways to get your “Daily 5”. For instance, frozen fruits and veggies retain much of their nutrient profile. They can be an excellent alternative when certain foods are out of season. So too, are fruit and vegetable drink mixes – excellent supplemental sources of some of the nutrients our bodies need most.
More recently, the American
Of course, for people not accustomed to the fiber in fruits and veggies, there is some reason to think it’ll increase gas. When cell walls break down, and fiber passes through the system, it can create flatulence. Folks who eat fruits and vegetables every day generally don’t have this problem. Their systems are already accustomed to it.
For those just starting out on a better diet, however, start slowly – it helps your body adapt. Cooking vegetables can help, too, because it begins breaking down the cell walls early on.
One thing is certain, however. The “Typical American Diet” and good health are mutually exclusive. The increase in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension all point to the abuse our bodies suffer by eating diets high in fatty meats, processed sugars, and refined grains.
Q. Can I just drink fruit and vegetables drinks in place of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables?
Green drinks and fruit and vegetable drink mixes aren’t meant to replace whole foods, but they can be an excellent substitute when you’re rushed or traveling or just trying to fill everyday nutritional gaps. Their whole food ingredients absorb very easily and gently in the gut, and many of these drink mixes contain healthy doses of fiber, too.
Green drink mixes and food-based drink mixes combine many colorful fruits and vegetables and sometimes grasses in a healthy, mixable supplement assortment. While there have been many advancements in the field of green drinks, there are only a few that take the primary reason we eat into consideration: taste!
Happily, there are some companies out there with great-tasting drink mixes that also formulate based on the color concept, ensuring you get the broadest assortment of nutrients from a full range of fruit and vegetable colors to promote optimal health.
High-quality fruit and vegetable drink mixes offer the best from nature’s color wheel in a convenient and great-tasting supplement. So, the next tie you feel like taking a coffee break – try a fruit and veggie break instead. Your body and spirit will thank you.
For Better Heart Health ...
February 06, 2007 12:57 PM
Nutrients Every Heart Needs
High blood pressure. High cholesterol levels. Ever increasing stress. All are factors related to the development of heart disease – the leading cause of death for both men and women. In fact, 1 in 2 women in the
Fortunately, heart disease is a problem you can do something about. Proven ways to prevent or mitigate the effects of heart disease include taking targeted nutritional supplements, making changes in the foods we eat, exercising most days of the week, drinking in moderation, eliminating tobacco use and adapting a positive attitude. Research shows that those of us who are often angry and depressed have more heart disease than people that live their lives with a more positive outlook.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’ll talk about specific nutritional supplements that are heart healthy, whether your goal is to prevent heart disease or reduce the effects of heart disease if you currently have it.
Q. I am trying hard to live a healthier life. But it all seems so overwhelming. How do I start?
A. It may help to know that you’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed. Lots of people feel this way. This is why the Centers for Disease Control and the American Heart Association are both urging people to prevent heart disease by identifying their individual health risk factors.
A risk factor is an indicator of whether or not you may develop a certain health condition. In heart disease prevention, there are two kinds of risk factors. There are risk factor you can control – such as diet, exercise, and the supplements you take. There are also risk factors you can’t change or control –your age, race, and gender, as well as your family’s history of heart disease.
Examples can be really helpful. Let’s follow three adults – Fred, Jane, and Earl – and determine their risk factors.
Fred is 32, single, has a job he loves, has an optimistic attitude about his life, and works out 5 days a week. Most days Fred’s diet is fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat. Occasionally Fred will eat a cheeseburger and fries when he watches the game with his buddies. Fred’s risk factors are his male gender and the occasional high fat content in his diet.
Jane is 55, a lawyer, married, and has a very stressful job. Jane eats lots of salads, fruits, and whole grains. However, her job requires her to work long hours which leaves little time to exercise. Jane is for the most part happy with her life, but her work stress had led to times of negativity. Her father had a heart attack when he was 56. Jane’s risk factors include her age (greater than 50), negativity from job stress, lack of regular exercise, and a family history of heart disease.
Earl is 65, married, and has just retired from a job he hated. He spends most of his day watching TV and eating potato chips and other high fat, salty snacks. Earl has told his friends and family since he worked so hard for so long, he is sure to drop dead soon after retiring. He has high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Earl’s father had a heart attack and died when he was 73. Earl’s risk is his male gender, age (greater than 50), sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, negative outlook on life, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and a family history of heart disease.
Q. OK, it’s pretty easy to see that Fred needs to watch his diet, Jane needs to exercise more, and Earl needs lots of help. But, which supplements should they take?
A. The Whole Heart Nutrition chart is an easy way to determine the supplements each risk level needs. As you can see, everyone wanting to prevent heart disease – Fred, Jane, Earl, you, and I – need to take quality heart formula multivitamin, garlic, and a fish oil supplement providing Omega-3 fatty acids. CoQ10 is also a smart choice for complete heart heath support.
Q. Why do we all need to take a “heart multivitamin”? Why can’t we take a regular multivitamin to prevent heart disease?
A. Since the human heart simply cannot function without adequate amounts of certain vitamins and minerals, it seems logical that a multivitamin would be the foundation of good nutrition for your heart. Heart-health formulated multivitamins provide the exact nutrients needed to prevent heart disease.
That’s why we need to take a specially formulated heart-focused multi-vitamin. The cells and the tissues that make up the heart must have vitamins C, A, and E, as well as B1, B6, and B12 to function. Folic acid, the little B vitamin that is so crucial in preventing spina bifida (a birth defect), breast cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease is also needed to keep heart muscles strong. The B vitamins and folic acid are very important to heart health because they help lower homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a potential and emerging cardiac risk factor,
Magnesium is a mighty mineral and healthy hearts need it every day. Aloha lipoic acid, a fatty acid, provides protection against heart cholesterol and high blood pressure. Lutein and lycopene are all-natural nutrients and keep our arteries free from the buildup of plaque, a condition linked to heart attacks and strokes.
Multivitamins formulated with these exact vitamins, minerals, and nutrients will work with medications often prescribed to treat heart disease and provide the nutrition our hearts need.
Q. Don’t all multivitamins work with medications prescribed to treat heart disease?
A. Many multivitamin formulas contain herbs and other nutrients that can interfere with prescription medications, especially mediations prescribed to treat heart disease. One multivitamin does not fit all.
The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing heart disease.
Q. What can garlic supplements do for Fred, Jane and Earl or other people with low to high risk factors?
A. Garlic supplements have a very long and very successful history of preventing premature death from heart attacks. Lately, however, there have been some conflicting news stories about supplemental garlic’s ability to lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure – the causes of heart disease and death. That’s because many different garlic supplements have been used in these studies – garlic oil, garlic powder, aged garlic extract, and supplements made from fresh garlic. They have all been studied clinically for their effects in heart disease.
The best garlic supplements (and the ones that showed the best effects in garlic studies) contain alliin, which is then converted to allicin. Allicin is the compound that lowers harmfully high cholesterol levels and dangerous blood pressure readings. Allicin is also responsible for garlic’s characteristic odor. Because alliin is very stable when dry, properly prepared and enteric coated fresh garlic preparations preserve the allicin-producing action until the garlic mixes with the fluids of the intestinal tract. Fresh garlic extract’s enteric coating also prevents garlic breath. In contrast, aged garlic contains absolutely no allicin or allicin potential. This fact is probably responsible for the poor results noted in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure from aged garlic preparations.
The most effective garlic supplements are made from fresh garlic, enteric coated, and provide a daily dose of at least 10 milligrams (mg) alliin or a total allicin potential of 4,000 micrograms (mcg). Taking a once-daily garlic supplement that delivers 4,000 mcg of allicin will lower Jane’s and Earl’s high blood pressure and Earl’s high cholesterol, naturally and effectively.
Whole Heart Nutrition
Each additional risk factor requires additional supplements or increased doses for protection from heart disease.
Q. What about fish oil supplements? I know they can prevent heart disease but I’ve also heard they contain harmful substances, too.
A. You’re right on both counts. But, there are excellent fish oil supplements naturally loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, powerful nutrients that prevent heart disease, that are also certified free of harmful contaminants.
In the 1980s, researchers first began noticing the native Inuit (Eskimo) populations of Greenland and
Research has shown that the Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements can:
-Reduce the risk of arrhythmias, lethal heartbeat rhythms that cause sudden death.
-Lower the levels of triglycerides, fats in the blood that can increase a person’s
risk of dying from a heart attack, even if a person’s cholesterol levels are normal.
-Slow atherosclerosis – the growth of harmful plaque on artery walls.
Atherosclerosis develops over many years. If the plaque growth is slow and
stable, chances are low that a heart attack will result. However, rapidly growing
or unstable plaques can rupture. The body responds with inflammation, which
causes blood clots to form. These blood clots block the artery and cause a heart
-Keep blood pressure levels low. Many people have high blood pressure for years
without knowing it. That’s because it has no symptoms. Uncontrolled high
blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney failure.
While 25% of Americans have high blood pressure, nearly one-third of these
people don’t know they have it. This is why high blood pressure is often called
the “silent killer.”
You can get all of this heart disease preventive protection from just 600-1800 mg of fish oil. It’s pretty simple to see why Fred, Jane, Earl, and you and I need to take fish oil supplements every day.
However, it is absolutely critical that the fish oil supplement you take is free of contaminants and guaranteed fresh! Make sure that the manufacturer of the fish oil supplement you buy is able to provide documentation of purity in their product. Supplements should contain no detectable dioxin (a widely used toxic preservative), DDT (a toxic insecticide), PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) or heavy metals such as mercury and lead.
Before you buy any fish oil supplement, ask the clerk if you can open the bottle or jar and smell the contents. A fishy smelling fish oil supplementation means it is rancid. Rancid fish oil is not going to help your heart at all and may actually hurt it.
Q. That leaves CoQ10. Why is it important for Jane and Earl?
A. CoQ10, also known as ubiquinone, is the premier heart supplement! CoQ10 is part of our energy producing system. It works directly in the mitochondria of each cell. Mitochondria are highly specialized structures within each cell and are often referred to as powerhouses. These tiny energy producers generate 95% of the energy the body requires. The number of mitochondria in a cell depends on its function and energy needs. The heart has very important functions and requires a vast amount of energy. Thus, the heart has a lot of mitochondria or little powerhouses.
CoQ10 is incredibly crucial to the health of our hearts. Especially to hearts that are pumping blood with too much cholesterol. But, in a dangerous paradox, CoQ10 levels can become dangerously depleted when physicians treat high cholesterol in their patients with certain medications. The so-called “statin” drugs (Mevacor/lovastatin and Crestor/rosubastatin are two examples) are powerful and medications prescribed to lower harmful cholesterol levels. However, one very harmful side effect they share is that they deprive cells of CoQ10. While some physicians are aware of this serious side effect and tell their patients to take at least 400 mg of CoQ10 each day, most are not. The result? Any good the statin drugs may be doing is actually negated by their depletion of CoQ10.
Q. How does CoQ10 actually work? Has it been studied in heart disease?
A. Yes, it has! CoQ10 has been extensively studied in heart disease. This natural nutrient is present in every nucleated cell in our body (the only cells that don’t contain CoQ10 are red blood cells). Heart cells, however, are absolutely loaded with CoQ10. Its job is fairly simply – CoQ10 is vital to the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the compound our body uses for 95% of its energy needs.
In 1998, 144 patients who had been admitted to the hospital after a heart attack, participated in a CoQ10 study. Half of the patients received 120 mg of CoQ10 a day in addition to the usual treatments given to heart attack patients. The other half, the control group, received the usual treatments and a placebo, but no CoQ10.
The results showed that the group taking CoQ10 had less irregular heartbeat, experienced less angina (a type of heart pain), and had much better function in the left ventricle (the most essential chamber of the heart), compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden heart failure or another heart attack were also reduced in the CoQ10 group.
Q. What if I have already been diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure? Will CoQ10 still help me?
A. CoQ10 has been proven in study after study to help slow down the destruction that occurs in congestive heart failure (CHF), a serious heart disease, and heal the heart muscles damaged by heart attacks. In fact, heart attacks often occur when the body’s CoQ10 levels are low.
In a CHF study, patients received 100 mg of CoQ10 or a placebo twice daily for 12 weeks. Before and after the treatment period, the researchers introduced a catheter into the right ventricle of the patients’ hearts to determine the degree of muscle damage CHF had caused. In the group who took CoQ10, the pumping ability of the heart improved significantly. The placebo group’s hearts did not. The researchers conducting the study recommended that people with CHF add CoQ10 to the other medications they need to take to stay alive and well.
Q. Are some types of CoQ10 better than others?
A. Indeed they are. CoQ10 products are not created equally. The key to this natural medicine is the quality of the manufacturing. Take a CoQ10 supplement that’s been used in research conducted by prestigious universities (it will tell you this right on the label). Researchers want the best CoQ10 for their studies. You want the best CoQ10 for yourself and your loved ones.
The best CoQ10 has to meet the following criteria:
1. Must be easily absorbed during the digestion process so that it can get into the
2. Must reach the mitochondria in the cell.
3. Must be proven effective in studies.
4. Must be safe and free of impurities.
Q. It sounds as if CoQ10 is only for people with moderate or high risk factors. Can others benefit from this supplement?
A. Many people, including those like Fred with low risk factors or no risk of heart disease take CoQ10 every day. CoQ10 supplements may reduce your risk of cancer, prevent gum disease, and help certain nerve cells work more effectively.
Understanding your personal risk factors, making it better lifestyle choices, taking a multivitamin formulated for your heart, an enteric-coated fresh garlic supplement, fish oil supplement with Omega-3 fatty acids, and CoQ10 – the heart’s super-nutrient – can help keep your heart healthy and strong.
Helen Keller, the famous lecturer and author, who was both blind and deaf wrote, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot e seen or even touched. They must be felt with the human heart.”
Healthy hearts have the most opportunities to “feel” the best and are the most beautiful thing our world has to offer.
January 21, 2006 01:10 PM
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