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Can the Liver Be Repaired Once It Is Damaged?
April 29, 2022 11:33 AM
https://vitamins.vitanetonline.com/wp-content/uploads/liver-2934612_1920.png The liver is a vital organ in the body that performs many essential functions. It can be damaged by a variety of factors, including disease, alcohol abuse, and exposure to toxic chemicals. Once the liver is damaged, can it be repaired? In this article, we will explore the answer to that question. We will also discuss the various ways that the liver can be damaged and how those damages can be repaired.
What is the liver and what does it do?
The liver is a large, multi-functional organ that plays a vital role in the body. Its primary function is to filter the blood and remove toxins, but it also helps to regulate metabolism, store nutrients, and produce bile. The liver is divided into two main lobes, the right lobe and the left lobe. The right lobe is slightly larger than the left lobe and includes the quadrate lobe and caudate lobe. The left lobe contains the left lateral section and the medial section. The hepatic veins drain blood from the liver and pass it through the inferior vena cava to be returned to the heart. The hepatic arteries supply oxygenated blood to the liver tissue, while the portal vein carries nutrient-rich blood from the digestive organs. The bile ducts transport bile produced by the liver cells to the gallbladder, where it is stored until needed for digestion.
The liver is a hardworking organ that performs many crucial functions in the body. By keeping it healthy, we can help to ensure that our entire body remains healthy and functioning properly.
What can damage the liver and how does that damage occur?
The liver is a vital organ that performs many important functions, such as filtering toxins from the blood and producing bile to help digest fats. However, the liver can be damaged by a number of different agents, including viruses, alcohol, and certain medications. Viruses such as hepatitis C and hepatitis B can cause inflammation of the liver, which can lead to scarring and eventually to liver failure. Alcohol abuse is also a major cause of liver damage, as it can lead to fatty deposits, inflammation, and scarring. In addition, certain drugs (such as acetaminophen) can cause toxic damage to the liver cells. If the liver is not functioning properly, it can result in a build-up of toxins in the blood, which can lead to serious health problems.
Can the liver be repaired once it is damaged, and if so, how is that done?
The liver is a amazing organ. It is responsible for so many important functions in the body, from filtering toxins to producing bile to breaking down fats. When it is damaged, it can often repair itself. This is because the liver has a high regenerative capacity. hepatocytes, which are the main type of liver cell, can divide and grow back quickly when necessary. In fact, as long as about 25% of the liver remains healthy, it can regenerate itself completely over the course of a few weeks. There are a number of ways to damage the liver, such as through alcohol abuse or viral infections, but fortunately there are also ways to help it repair itself. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, and avoiding toxins, take liver supporting supplements like milk thistle and NAC can all support liver health and regeneration.
How can people prevent their livers from being damaged in the first place?
The liver is a vital organ that plays an important role in metabolism. However, the liver can also be easily damaged by alcohol, drugs, prescriptions, and environmental toxins, which are in the foods we eat. To help prevent liver damage, it is important to avoid excess alcohol consumption or avoid it all together, take medication as directed and if you are on medications that cause liver damage to discuss alternatives that do not harm the liver, and eat a healthy diet along with taking liver supporting supplements. Additionally, it is important to get regular exercise, as this helps to keep the liver healthy and functioning properly. By taking these steps, people can help to prevent liver damage and keep their organs healthy.
Are there any lifestyle changes or supplements that can help improve liver function even if it has been damaged already?
Liver damage is a serious concern for many people, as it can lead to a number of health problems. While there is no guaranteed way to reverse liver damage, there are some lifestyle changes and supplements that may help improve liver function. One potential change is to limit alcohol consumption, as alcohol is known to be damaging to the liver, mixing alchol and drugs can enhance the progress of liver damage. Additionally, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help improve overall liver function. There are also a number of herbal supplements that are thought to be beneficial for the liver, such as milk thistle and dandelion root. However, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement, as some may interact with other medications.
What are the possible consequences of not repairing a damaged liver?
Liver damage can have serious consequences if left untreated. Depending on the cause, there may be a variety of negative effects that result from an injured liver. For example, if the damage is due to excessive alcohol consumption, then scarring and inflammation of the liver tissue can interfere with its ability to filter toxins out of the blood. This can lead to a host of potentially dangerous health problems, including nausea, chronic fatigue, jaundice, and cirrhosis. You must address the cause before change for the good can happen. In addition, unresolved inflammation can increase one's risk of developing more serious conditions such as cancer or heart disease. To prevent these possible consequences, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after suffering from liver damage. This will allow doctors to properly diagnose the issue and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Addressing the cause is always preferable over simply treating symptoms alone. Ultimately, taking action now can help you protect your health in the future.
How can people find out if their livers need repair and where they should go for help if that is the case?
When it comes to liver health, there are a number of ways to find out if your liver needs some repairs. One method is to get tested for elevated liver enzymes, which are indicative of problems with the organ. You can also watch out for certain symptoms, such as fatigue, bloating or skin discoloration. If you notice any of these markers, you may want to consult with your doctor or a specialist in liver disease, who can help determine the best course of action. Depending on the underlying cause of your liver problem, treatment options may include changes to your diet and exercise habits, medications or even surgery in extreme cases. Whatever route you choose, it is essential that you address any issues with your liver as soon as possible in order to protect your overall wellbeing.
Generally, symptoms only show when liver function has dropped significantly.
Liver damage can often go undetected until it has reached a advanced stage. This is because the liver has an incredible capacity for regeneration and can continue to function even when up to 75% of it has been damaged. As a result, symptoms of liver disease often only become apparent when the organ has been severely compromised. By that point, the damage may be irreversible and serious complications may have developed. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the early signs of liver damage so that treatment can be started as soon as possible. These include fatigue, weight loss, abdominal pain, and yellowing of the skin and eyes.
Fortunately, Supplements like Milk thistle and NAC may help the body assist the liver in its repair.
The liver is a hardworking organ that is constantly exposed to toxins. As a result, it is susceptible to damage. Fortunately, supplements like milk thistle and NAC may help the body assist the liver in its repair. Milk thistle contains silymarin, a compound that helps to protect the liver from damage. NAC is an amino acid that helps to remove toxins from the liver. NAC also helps to replenish glutathione, a substance that plays a key role in liver detoxification. Together, these supplements can help to keep the liver healthy and functioning properly.
Whether you are looking for preventative measures to protect the liver or have an existing issue, it can never hurt to take either milk thistle, NAC, or both to support healthy liver function.
Curcumin and Grapeseed
September 01, 2020 11:03 AM
Smoking, Chemical exposure, pesticides, nutrient deficiencies, to much sun exposure, and over the counter drugs and prescriptions can cause cancer. In the news, there are forever chemical roundup found in our water supply, it is no wonder we are laden with cancer as a society.
Fortunately, a healthy cancer preventing diet along with natural plant compounds can be far more effective and cost a lot less than conventional care alone.
Two top suggested natural medicines available right now are curcumin and grape seed extract. These two herbs are an amazing pair, curcumin is a fat soluble herb to fight oxidation on the fatty oil side in the body and grape seed extract is water soluble, making it a great antioxidant to fight oxidative stress on the water side of a cell. Cells in the body are made up of oil(fats) and water. The impact of both together on your health is virtually miraculous.
Curcumin neutralizes unstable free radicals that take electrons from nearby molecules, and stop them from creating a cascade of damaged cells. It also reduces inflammation reduces inflammation markers in the body to prevent prevent tissue degradation.
Curcumin has been shown to stop the changes that happen from free radical damage causing normal cells to become cancerous, and tumorous formations, and can even stop cancer from metastasizing or migrating to other parts of the body. Published studies anticancer activity have found that it can suppress breast, prostate, liver, skin, colon and lung cancer cells.
Curcumin Must Be Absorbed To Be Useful
One of the challenges or using curcumin for cancer prevention and treatment is that not all curcumin extracts are easily absorbable into the body. Blending curcumin in Turmeric essential oil enhances absorption and provides the additional benefits of ar-turmerone, a compound in the oil.
Curcumin Makes Chemo More Effective
There is big potential for curcumin when used with conventional treatment. BCM-95 curcumin, through research, has shown to sensitize human colon cancer cells to chemotherapy treatment where it would otherwise be resistant to this form of treatment. In some cases tumor recurrence rates can be as high as 60% but when treated with curcumin while under conventional treatment, curcumin boosted the effectiveness of the chemo drug 5-fluorouracil against cancer stem cells.
Curcumin has great potential in conjunction with conventional cancer treatment and recovery. It has been found that as chemo treatment progresses, cancer cells become resistant to the chemo treatment and the dosage has to be increased as the treatment continues increasing the toxic side effects. Fortunately, curcumin taken in conjunction with conventional cancer treatment can improve the effectiveness of chemo and so the dosage can be lowered reducing the toxic side effects for individuals. This is good news!
Curcumin Protects The Body During Cancer Treatment
In a clinical study with curcumin, it showed to alleviate side effects of one of the most common treatments of prostate cancer known as external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) where the doctor uses radiation to destroy tumorous cancel cells. This sort of therapy has many side effects making it a difficult therapy for most men. I often causes sexual dysfunction, digestive problems, urinary tract pain and loss of control. The higher the radiation dosage the more effective the treatment is but this causes significant discomfort, that is why most doctors lean towards lower dosages which makes the treatment less effective.
The clinical study administered 3000mg of BCM-95 curcumin that is 1000mg x 3 per day or a placebo one week before therapy started and during the treatment length. Each capsule of curcumin contained curcuminoids, curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, and essential oil of turmeric, this is a full spectrum curcumin supplement.
At the end of the treatment which lasted 20 weeks the most dramatic difference between the two groups in the study was urinary symptoms. The curcumin group said a 50% decrease in symptoms or side effects of the radiation. Also, researchers noted that the curcumin did not reduce the efficacy of the EBRT.
Did you know that turmeric is just as effective as 14pharmaceutical drugs?
April 24, 2019 01:46 PM
Turmeric, a spice used in many Indian dishes, contains a high concentration of a substance called curcumin which possesses medical benefits rivaling many pharmaceuticals. Research suggests that turmeric has the potential to replace cholesterol and steroid medications, chemotherapy drugs, and antidepressants. There is even evidence it can be effective in reversing liver damage. Plant-based treatments are now in the process of revolutionizing modern medicine. In the near future, prescriptions for popular drugs such as Lipitor and Prozac could be replaced with prescriptions for Turmeric.
"Without a healthy fat/oil, curcumin may pass right through the body and not be absorbed into the small intestine and into the bloodstream, where it is most effective. Coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado are great to consume along with turmeric. Curcumin absorption is also boosted by piperine, the principle component found in black pepper."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-01-turmeric-is-just-as-effective-as-14-pharmaceutical-drugs.html
How A Powerful Type of Salt and An Ancient Spice Can End ChronicPain For Good
November 09, 2018 04:51 PM
Pain is of course a fact of life, as is the reasonable pursuit to end, or at least mitigate it. But, it's that ending of pain that can prove problematic. Last year Consumer Reports revealed that as many as 4 million plus U.S. citizens bought pharmaceutical interventions of some type in an attempt to deal with a pain. Unfortunately, most pharmaceutical interventions are not without side effects, some of them very serious. Moreover, although these types of interventions can help sufferers cope with symptoms, they can also mask other important symptoms. In general, pharmaceutical pain relievers block receptors that would allow the brain to acknowledge pain. They can also cause a mild euphoria. The most potent type of pharmaceutical pain killers, opioids are also highly addictive. Millions of people abuse prescription drugs and hundreds of thousands die due to overdose every year. There are other options. Alternative forms of holistic treatment have been around for thousands of years, long before many of today's modern interventions. Today, science is discovering that many of them have a right to be considered potent medicine in their own right. Two holistic alternatives to pharmaceutical pain relievers are turmeric and cayenne. Curmerin, the inflammation-fighting component of turmeric, has been proven to fight inflammation-caused pain as well as Ibuprofen. In the same way, the capsaicinoids, which are inherent in cayenne, also work to alleviate inflammation, thereby alleviating pain. Another holistic remedy, Epsom salts, also alleviates pain when users soak in it.
"Big Pharma seems to be working very hard at creating customers, rather than cures. When you take a drug, it often leads to more problems, and ultimately, more drugs."
Read more: https://www.thealternativedaily.com/powerful-type-salt-ancient-spice-end-chronic-pain/
Supplemental nutrition found to treat brain injury better than prescriptions, and may even provide some protection against injury
July 26, 2018 08:58 AM
Researchers from Texas Christian Univeristy recently led a research review into whether nutritional supplements can aid in recovery from Sports Related Concussions (SRC). SRCs, sometimes referred to as mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI), are caused by biomechanical forces resulting from a direct blow to the head, face or neck. While mTBIs are harder to diagnose than other TBIs, they can become progressively more serious through repeated trauma and the brain’s inflammatory response. The research review decided that Curcumin, Creatine and Omega-3 supplements show potential for promoting recovery from SRCs, but noted that more research is needed.
"Mild traumatic brain injuries, however, are not as easily detected as that of a severe TBI. The authors noted that while sports-related concussive and sub-concussive impacts start out as mild, the brain’s inflammatory response to an injury may aggravate it, especially in repeated and prolonged exposures."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-07-23-supplemental-nutrition-found-to-treat-brain-injury-better-than-prescriptions.html
Consuming silicon-rich water or foods can purge your body of up to 70% of the of aluminum in your bloodstream
April 08, 2017 11:44 AM
Despite the fact that aluminum is known to be a dangerous substance, it can be found in a large number of our regular items, for example, prepared sustenance, cookware, immunizations, prescriptions, child items, beauty care products, antiperspirants, sunscreens, cleaning items, tap water, and even noticeable all around we relax. The conclusion that drinking silicon-rich mineral water might be the answer for shield your body and mind from aluminum developments and cerebrum harm. Amid the clinical trials, including both solid people and individuals with Alzheimer illness, and found that drinking around one liter of silicon-rich mineral water each day can accelerate the discharge of aluminum by means of the kidneys and pee by up to 70 percent. Drinking silicon water is a non-intrusive approach to expel more aluminum from the body, something which benefits everybody, including immunized kids and individuals with infections, for example, Alzheimer's, dementia, and Parkinson's.
"Today, aluminum is so abundant in our surrounding environment that it is practically impossible to avoid. Therefore, Dr. Exley has dedicated over two decades of his life to researching the effects of aluminum toxicity."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-04-04-consuming-silicon-rich-water-or-herbs-can-purge-your-body-of-up-to-70-the-of-aluminum-in-your-bloodstream.html
A New Test of Pot's Potential to Replace Painkillers
December 14, 2016 07:59 AM
Hear a lot about marijuana in the news? Not sure of its purpose? Well a new study aims to anwser that. A new study is about to begin that would compare weeds affect as a painkiller, in the place of something stronger like opiods. More will be known as study moves ahead.
"The current status of medical marijuana research is rife with irony."
Parents: How smart are you about antibiotics?
December 02, 2016 06:59 AM
Antibiotic resistance has been called one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. Every time a person takes antibiotics, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant ones may be left to grow and multiply. Repeated and improper uses of antibiotics are the primary causes of the increase in drug-resistant bacteria.
"Antibiotics can be lifesaving and should absolutely be used when they are needed — but they are not without risks and problems."
Does Quercetin Help Fight Allergies?
August 22, 2015 07:57 AM
Every year, thousands of individuals suffer from seasonal allergies. Although many people will head to the pharmacy to fill prescriptions to cover the symptoms of this condition, there are those who seek a more natural approach. Natural treatments are available that have been clinically proven to alleviate itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing associated with allergies. One such natural treatment comes in the form of a supplement called quercetin.
Quercetin is a flavonoid with antioxidant properties, and is naturally found in green tea, onions and apples. Aside from being high in antioxidants, quercetin has also been found to have the same effect as over-the counter antihistamines. By controlling the release of histamines, quercetin can alleviate many, if not all, of the symptoms of seasonal allergies.
When an individual encounters an allergen, such as pollen, the body releases histamines in response. These histamines trigger an inflammatory response within the body, causing congested nasal passages, swollen eyelids, etc. An antihistamine keeps these compounds under control, therefore eliminating any uncomfortable symptoms.
Quercetin has been proven to reduce the symptoms and duration of viral illnesses, and to also prevent the release of histamines. Because it can be difficult for the body to assimilate, researchers have advised that allergy sufferers take a vitamin C supplement along with quercetin to ensure the maximum benefits are being received. Vitamin C also contains antihistamine qualities, and is most potent when taken alongside quercetin. The recommended dosage of vitamin C for allergy sufferers is 500 to 1000 milligrams, three times per day. The recommended dosage of quercetin is 500 milligrams per day, for a period of six to eight weeks. It would be most beneficial to begin taking this supplement one to two weeks before allergy season begins, and for six to seven weeks throughout allergy season.
Allergy season doesn't have to mean weeks of watering eyes and stuffy noses. By supplementing with quercetin and vitamin C, you can alleviate your symptoms naturally and enjoy the outdoors without worry.
How Do You Reduce Arthritis Naturally?
December 05, 2013 02:29 AM
What is Arthritis
Arthritis is a complex family of disorders that affect the musculoskeletal system of humans. It manifests in 100 different diseases or conditions and it affect two-thirds of people who are under the age of 65. It affects both the old and the young. The common forms of arthritis are Osteoarthritis (OA), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Juvenile Arthritis (JA). Exercise remains a valuable tool in the fight against the disease, especially when it’s combined with the appropriate diet and diet supplements. Other than the preventive tactics of avoiding joint injury, arthritis victims can still find help naturally by using glucosamine and hyaluronic acid in foods and plant extracts.
Symptoms of Arthritis
The main symptoms of the disease include difficulty in moving joints as well as swollen joints that may lead to severe problems when movement is forced. The disease also causes eye, skin and other organ disorders but not on all patients.
GlucosamineGlucosamine plays a key role in forming connective tissues. It helps people cope with discomfort and mobility problems that arise out of stiff joints. It works by fortifying the protective cushioning between bones. It does not directly improve the bone function, but it leads to better coping with old age and thus delays the onset of joint diseases like arthritis.
Benefits of Glucosamine
Glucosamine works closely with hyaluronic acid to rebuild and support tissues in joints. The hyaluronic acid hydrates and lubricates the joint tissues because of its excellent water trapping and retaining properties. This helps to enhance the body’s ability to absorb shock.
Natural way to deal with ArthritisA natural way to deal with this disease is to consume foods and extracts that are rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. Some of these foods include methylsulfonylmethane, ginger, turmeric and boswellia. Unlike over the counter prescriptions, boswellia is able to impede inflammation and relieve discomfort by reducing the swelling of joints for those who have arthritis. The other foods like ginger and turmeric are also helpful because they have no serious side effects and they work just as well as boswellia.
November 06, 2008 10:09 AM
Anxiety responses were needed in previous years to trigger the nervous system into a series of chemical reactions that would initiate action. For our ancestors, this fight or flight impulse often meant the difference between death and survival for another day. Experts warn us that the never-ending stressors that we are constantly encountering can lead to health problems including obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. In contrast to the ancient forms of stress, such as the stress of a hungry bear approaching a cave, modern-day stress sources are more frequently of the chronic variety such as meeting increasing demands at work, studying for an exam, quitting smoking, and worrying about money and relationships.
Anxiety can wreak havoc on the overall health of children, with school work, exams, peer pressure, video games, and other challenges tending to trigger the same self-protective response that adults experience. However, in children, the result is often poor sleep. As a society, it is definitely evident that we need to unwind. The National Sleep Foundation reported that almost 74% of all Americans don’t sleep enough with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claiming that 50 to 70 million people suffer from chronic sleep disorders. Americans actually filled 35 million prescriptions for sleeping pills in 2004 costing $2.1 billion.
All of these previously listed signs indicate how easy it is for us to forget the importance of good rest. Thankfully, there is a solution: Lactium, which is a milk-derived protein that presents a natural alternative for those who suffer from the modern ills that are associated with stress. Lactium is clinically proven to aid with relaxation and stress reduction. It first attracted attention after researchers found the bliss of an infant after drinking milk. The question to ask is why milk does not produce the same blissful state in adults.
A decade of research has led to the conclusion that there is a peptide with relaxing properties within a milk protein called hydroslysate. Following studies confirmed this link between Lactium and the reduction of stress symptoms. Scientists also found that adults do not experience the same calming effects of milk that infants do is because adults do not have the same enzymes that are found in a newborn which allow for the release of this relaxing peptide. Lactium supplements overcome this problem, as Lactium was proven to reduce stress reactivity in healthy women who took it for thirty consecutive days.
Following these results, a multinational team of researchers investigated the effects of Lactium on women who exhibit at least one symptom of stress. The team concluded that a 150 milligram dose of Lactium per day was especially helpful for those people who had exhibited the highest of stress intensities. These women also experienced improved digestive, cardiovascular, intellectual, emotional, and social functioning.
Most experts agree that the best cure to stress is exercise and a healthy diet. However, many people under stress need a little extra help now and then. Lactium presents a safe, non-toxic, and 100% natural option for those people who want to maximize the quality of their sleep and relaxation. Lactium can help you find some of that sleep that nourishes your life and gives you the energy to take on another day. It is available at your local or internet vitamin store.
Immune Boost Herbs
September 17, 2008 11:16 AM
There have been numerous improvements to our quality of life over the last century with advancements in science and medicine. Most families in America have access to healthcare and tools which promise improved health and well being. Even with the benefits and comforts that living in the modern world provides, chronic and preventable illnesses continue to occur. The fast-paced and high-stress lifestyle that many Americans live impacts their health in a variety of ways.
We face more health challenges today than ever before, which makes it more crucial than ever to have a balanced immune system, something that many Americans lack. Although the US leads the world in quality of healthcare, an increasing number of people are suffering or dying from preventable health problems. The environment, lifestyle, genetics, age, and antibiotic resistance are just some of the factors that are to blame for this. Thankfully, boosting immune power can counteract the negative effects of these factors on health.
Most Americans do not sleep enough, do not eat right, and do not exercise like they should. Many of the most common health problems people suffer from today are a result of lifestyle. These problems include hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, and unbalanced immune function. Despite this fact, Americans continue to take part in poor health habits and then give up billions of dollars in prescriptions, doctor’s visits, and surgeries each year when they encounter an illness.
A sedentary lifestyle is a major cause for disease, as inactivity and obesity are both potential risks. Exercising as little as three times a week has been proven to enhance well-being and improve health. A lack of exercise can also contribute to stress, which we all experience. However, a healthy immune system can make our bodies more capable of withstanding the effects of stress. If immune systems can be balanced, Americans may be better able to withstand the potential health problems that living in the modern world brings.
We must take into account the fact that more health problems can arise as we age. Older individuals are much more susceptible to disordered immune systems, as the progressive immune system dysfunction that coincides with aging has been shown to influence an increasing number of age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, and late-life lymphoma. With this knowledge, we should want to supplement and strengthen our immune systems, especially as they get older. We can work to avoid the occurrence of autoimmune disorders and cancers that so commonly occur as we age by keeping our immune systems strong and functioning at optimum levels. A lot of the potential health problems that we are facing today can be traced back to the environment. One environmental problem is the result of toxic chemicals, as the widespread use of pesticides and increase of benzene and other pollutants in the atmosphere are leading to cancer and other reproductive health problems such as endometriosis and fertility issues.
The chemical pollutants in our air, food, and water have been linked to asthma, allergies, autoimmune disorders and weakened immunity. Additionally, we are being exposed to increasing amounts of UV radiation, with occurrences of skin cancer continually rising. Researchers believe that one of the main reasons for the increasing number of melanomas may be due to people spending more time in the sun as well as artificial sources of UV radiation. There are many herbs available to help boost the immune system and detox the body to help one keep a strong immune system.
L-Carnitine For Health And Wellness
April 16, 2008 03:25 PM
Research continues to mount evidence that l-carnitine can help boost energy and quality of life. Carnitine comes from the Latin word for flesh: caro or carnis. L-carnitine was discovered and isolated from meat in the early 1900s. At that time, scientists thought that l-carnitine played a role in muscle function; this was many years before technology would advance so that this theory could be proved. Today, we know that this amino acid is found mostly in tissue of the body that requires lots of energy such as the heart, skeletal muscles, and liver.
L-carnitine is considered a non-essential amino acid since the body manufactures it from l-methionine and l-lysine. Depending on one’s diet, the body manufactures most of, not all, the l-carnitine it needs every day. There are circumstances where a rare genetic disease can cause the body to not manufacture its own l-carnitine resulting in a deficiency which can cause secondary diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver, chronic renal failure, diabetes, heart failure or Alzheimer’s disease. Some medications can cause a deficiency as well, check with your doctor about prescriptions.
The primary energy source for the body is long-chain fatty acids. L-carnitine plays an essential role in energy production process. This amino acid transports long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria, where it is used to produce energy for each cell in the body. l-carnitine then removes the “acyl” group by products out of the mitochondria as they accumulate. Both the transporting in and out of the cells mitochondria is vital for continued muscle function to occur.
Researchers suggest that the limiting factor in high intensity exercise is from the availability of l-carnitine in the muscle tissue. Studies conducted with this amino acid suggest that athletes experience improved performance when supplementing with l-carnitine by reducing post exercise lactate acid levels and improving recovery from exercise stress.
Some research suggests that l-carnitine can help chronic fatigue individuals by shuttling long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria where the body manufactures energy. The bulk of this research was done on chronic fatigue patients who consumed 2 grams per day of l-carnitine. Additional research was performed on individuals over 100 years of age and the results were these individuals experiences increase physical endurance and improved cognitive activity.
L-carnitine can help cardiovascular conditions including angina, congestive heart failure, and peripheral artery disease. Recent studies showed male fertility improvement when l-carnitine was consumed on a regular basis. Men participating had better sperm motility which increases the changes of one reaching an egg and improving the odds of fertilization.
Research also demonstrated that 1 gram of this amino acid daily over three months can help one reduce weight by improving fat metabolism. This holds consistent with the findings that l-carnitine transports long-chain fatty acids (fat) into cellular mitochondria so it can be burned as energy. With a good diet and exercise plan, reports suggest that even more weight loss can be achieved.
Safety is of particular concern when adding extra supplements to one’s diet such as l-carnitine. Good news, l-carnitine is very safe at 1 – 3 grams each day, even higher doses are safe with no side effects. With the mounting evidence on the benefits of l-carnitine consumption, what is stopping you from adding l-carnitine today to your supplement diet to improve health and wellness?
Natural Hormone Balance for Women
December 25, 2007 11:18 AM
The majority of women are affected by moderate-to-severe menopausal symptoms and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) at some point in their life. PMS that is clinically diagnosed consists of symptoms that are so severe and pervasive that careers, social interactions, and family lives are negatively affected. This occurs in eight to twenty percent of women in the Western world. Menopause and PMS are both characterized by a severe fluctuation or major falling of the female hormones estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin. Since many examples of women who are barely affected by natural changes exist, it can be logically inferred that female hormones are capable of remaining close to balanced, while others experience hormones that swing abruptly from one extreme to the next, causing severe mood swings. Although changes in hormone levels are the reason menopause and PMS occur, women do have some control over the severity of their symptoms.
There are many natural approaches to hormone balance along with other medical interventions that can be used either separate or together. However, one must remember that women are biologically programmed to have multiple children, which therefore, would limit the number of menstrual cycles in a lifetime. Additionally, women are now living thirty years past menopause, an experience that is relatively new. Also, a lot of the pain and anguish that is associated with menopause and PMS is actually related to obesity, high-calorie eating habits, and inactivity. Normal body weight and regular exercise often leads to mild or inconsequential PMS.
In 2002, estrogen and progesterone hormone replacement therapy, which is the standard treatment for menopausal symptoms, came under scrutiny after the publication of research that found that supplementation of estrogen significantly increases the risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Supplementing estrogen also does not protect against cardiovascular disease. As a result, US-dispensed prescriptions for estrogen declined from ninety-one million in 2001 to fifty-seven million in 2003. It has been found that a lot of the excess risk for breast and ovarian cancer was due to prescriptions being refilled indefinitely instead of hormone replacement therapy only being used at the onset of menopause. Additionally, supplemental estrogen was not paired and balanced with progesterone, causing a greater risk. Either way, the door to natural alternatives was opened wide, especially for those patients who have a family history of reproductive cancer. Natural therapy for menopause and PMS is based upon phytoestrogens.
Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that contain chemical structures which resemble estrogen. These plant compounds can exert weak estrogenic or antiestrogenic effects. Isoflavones from legumes such as soybean, red clover, licorice, as well as lignans like flaxseed and milk thistle are the most common and familiar phytoestrogens. Black cohosh has been shown to have antiestrogenic effects only. Phytoestrogens have been proven to reduce the risk for estrogen-dependent breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers as well as hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep disturbances. Although phytoestrogens do a good job at protecting women from symptoms of excess estrogen, phytoestrogens cannot replace estrogen when there isn’t enough. They don’t help with vaginal wall atrophy and dryness, thinning hair, lack of sexual desire, menopause-related urogenital itching, or infertility. For the best results, supplements of soy and red clover isoflavone should be taken 2-3 times daily. Although there are no herbal alternatives that actually raise levels of estrogen, natural medicine such as dong quai, licorice, milk thistle, ginseng, pycnogenol, and pollen for menopause and calcium, magnesium, B6, chastre tree, dong quai, and ginseng for PMS can balance existing female hormones and provide relief from symptoms.
Artemisinin For Better Health And Wellness
October 25, 2007 02:09 PM
Artemisinin, also called Ching-hao-su is a herbal medicine extracted from the sweet wormwood herb, also known as the Artemisia annua. Asians have been using the leaf for centuries to cure simple ailments such as colds and parasitic infections, but it has recently become big business for its effect on malaria.
Sweet wormwood is predominantly a Chinese herb, used for over a thousand years for treatment of a large variety of conditions including malaria. It has also been used to treat wound and skin diseases, and has been recorded as far back as 200 BC as a component of Chinese prescriptions for specific illnesses.
Although the origins of sweet wormwood are in Asia however, it is now grown throughout the temperate regions of the world, and reaches its best in midsummer. Although best known today for its use in treating malaria, its medical uses include treating bronchitis, fevers and general feelings of malaise. It is primarily grown now for the supplement industry and as a non-prescriptive natural cure for malaria. It is a common and favorite herb for Chinese herbalists and sold both in the herbal form and as the extracted artemisinin.
Although there is a wide variation in the artemisinin content of sweet wormwood according to where it is grown, and under different agricultural conditions, it is the main active ingredient. Chemically, it is a sesquiterpene lactone containing an endoperoxide bridge that will be discussed later.
In order to attain the optimum yield of active artemisinin, the plant has to be grown in the right site for cultivation and fed with the correct fertilizers, the proper strain of the herb must be selected and the method of extracting the active chemicals is also critical. These are secrets that have been used for centuries by the Chinese herbalists who are masters of their craft and are now known to the west and being applied to scientific production of the extract.
There are benefits of artemisinin other than its effect on malaria, but that is the best known of its uses, so let’s have a look at that first. The herb has been used for a long time to treat parasitic infections, mainly flukes and worms that place great strains on the body having not only to feed these unwanted creatures, but also to excrete their waste and by-products. Malaria is caused by such a parasite, any one of four types in fact, and artemisinin appears to be just as effective on them.
The chemical contains what is known as an endoperoxide bridge that reacts with iron. The product of this reaction is a free radical, normally unwelcome in the body. However, malaria parasites contain high levels of iron, and the artemisinin reacts with that iron, forming free radicals that then go on to kill off the parasite. The free radicals that we take supplements to destroy, actually work for us in the destruction of the parasite that cause malaria. There is a silver lining in every cloud!
The reason that the medical world is so excited with this material is that malaria is second only to tuberculosis in its impact on world health. The problem is that the parasites that cause it have become largely resistant to the normal cures. They are not, however, resistant to the endoperoxide chemistry contained by artemisinin. It is now the major hope of world leaders in the fight to stop the inexorable increase in deaths due to malaria.
Now for the other applications. Another major use of the chemical is in the fight against cancer. Those cancers that involve iron rich cells can be disrupted by artemisinin by the same mechanism that kills off malaria bacteria. It is not only parasites that are susceptible to free radical action, but also human cells, and if these can be selectively destroyed, then it is a step forward towards a cure for cancer. Such a cure does not yet exist, but mechanisms such as the endoperoxide bridge provide a means of controlling at least some cancers, the best results being obtained with leukemia and colon cancer. That is not to say, however, that cures for these cancers are currently available since tests are still under way. However, it would do no harm to use sweet wormwood or the artemisinin extract as a supplement.
Cancer cells tend to accumulate iron because it is needed in the cell division process that cancer takes advantage of. However, if cancer cells could be persuaded to accumulate more surface iron, or were artificially exposed to it, then perhaps the endoperoxide mechanism would be more effective. Studies on this mechanism of controlling cancer are currently under way.
At a more mundane level, if you suffer from intestinal parasites, then one or two milligrams each day should see them off. It has also been effectively used to deal with colds, coughs and other general conditions, but most effectively against those that cause fever of one kind or another. It has been used in Chinese medicine as a form of ‘cure-all’ to be used when specific remedies failed. Its greatest current uses are, however, in cancer and especially malarial treatments.
You have to be careful with artemisinin since it can be toxic if taken in the wrong form. The least toxic, and most active, is the water soluble form known as artesunate. However, it lasts the least time in the body and has to get to work quickly. The oil soluble form, artemether, is the most toxic, but can cross from the blood to the brain. However, the parent form, artemisinin is the very safe itself, and can also cross the blood-brain barrier and while some tend to use a combination of the three, others prefer just the parent form.
If you take too high a dose you can suffer neurotoxicity which makes you wobble when you walk, and makes you impervious to certain levels of pain. However, such doses are next to impossible accidentally, and there have been very few reports of adverse effects in humans. It should not be used for at least a month after you have had radiation therapy because that tends to release iron that can be attacked to form free radicals. The recommended dose is 200 – 100 mg daily though the doses should be spread throughout the day. It should also never be taken within 2 hours of any other antioxidant such as vitamins A, C and E. Otherwise artemisinin can be safely used for better health and wellness in the way that the Chinese have been using it for centuries. Artemisinin is available at your local or internet vitamin store.
Dr. Nugent’s Genetic Key Diet Notes Why is America Losing the Fat Battle?
September 19, 2006 05:48 PM
MSG Factor: increases appetite, triggers something in your body that makes you want more. There are no genetically fat rats but they make them fat by giving them MSG. they have taken an animal that has no natural obese traits or genetics and “enhanced” them. MSG is a flavoring that makes you want to eat more. The phrase “Betch ya cant eat just one!” has true meaning! It is in highly processed foods under different labeling names so that we purposely don’t see the words MSG (Monosodium Glutamate.)
Most tenderizers are high in MSG, “accent” and “adolph’s” are among the list. your fast food restaurants’ are guilty as well. It’s what keeps you coming back and eating far more than you should need.
“Packages that say no MSG is because they are now putting tow preservatives that combine together to make MSG. Ascorbic Acid (preservative), and benzene salts combine to make MSG when heated. Soft drinks are stored in hot ware0houses, transported in hot trucks, and cans heat to over 100 degrees. Soft drinks do not have MSG added, but end up with it.”
Ascorbic acid and benzoate salt are preservatives that are combined in soft drinks and boxed fruit juices. When the drinks are exposed to heat and light the combination can stimulate the formation of benzene. We all know from reading Dr. Nugent’s Toxic Planet book that benzene is highly toxic in levels far below what the EPA states as safe. Considering that a lot of people live in warm, even hot states, the distribution centers and trucks are not kept cool, these drinks are heated in transport and storage. The soft drinks can end up with low levels of benzene. Your body doesn’t have the need, desire or tolerance for benzene at any level! If there ever was a good reason to get off soda and boxed drinks! Think about it.
Have you ever eaten to much at a nice restaurant, maybe a buffet and you must clean up your plate. The next day, you’re starving! Could be the MSG hangover.
Our brain needs 10 teaspoons of glucose each day for normal function. Because people have been warned about the problems with sugar we have added the pink, yellow & blue packets. Worse.
I stood in line behind a woman buying a small sack of prescriptions with a big price tag. She said its very expensive to be sick. (And she had a bottle of diet soda to go along with it.)
My husband said one time, “well, sooner or later we’re all going to get something and die.” I answered – “No-o-o, sooner or later we’re all going to die, but we don’t have to get sick.”
I used to subscribe to prevention magazine. After seeing so many advertisements for drugs, I dropped it. What is there in prevention that could cause me to take a drug?
Try Glyconutrients instead.
Night Health: A new approach to improving sleep.
May 12, 2006 05:41 PM
Our night health, including the quality of our sleep and dreams, may be the most critical overlooked factor contributing to both emotional and physical illness in modern times. For millions, night is a time of growing frustration and deepening struggle with insomnia as well as compromised and insufficient sleep. Mounting data has confirmed that sleep problems are strongly associated with virtually all major illnesses ranging from cardiovascular disease to diabetes, infections and cancer, and obesity to depression.
Night health refers to a new approach to sleep and dreams that integrates complementary and alternative medicine with effective conventional perspectives. It is essentially a comprehensive body-mind approach to sleep. The first in a series of articles introducing the concept of night health, this article begins with a closer look at the limitations of the simulated sleep offered by sleeping pills. It then examines the basic alternative of supplemented sleep: the place of natural sleep-supporting supplements. Finally, it offers suggestions for increasing the utilization of such alternatives by supplementing supplements with essential information, education and guidance offered by a new and unique software program and the first book about integrative sleep health.
As the public becomes increasingly aware of the health ramifications of sleep disturbances, more and more people are turning to sleeping pills. In fact, according to the IMS Health research, about 42 million prescriptions for sleeping pills were filled last year in the U.S. This represents a nearly 60 percent increase over the past five years alone. Some projections anticipate that the current $2.7 billion in annual sleeping pill sales will more than triple by 2010.
But instead of solving the problem, sleeping pills often make sleep problems worse. Sleeping pills commonly result in dependence. They can alter normal sleep architecture, cause amnesia and residual daytime “hangovers,” and they often result in rebound insomnias when discontinued. Some sleep specialists argue that sleeping pill use is further associated with significant increases in mortality. Given the sense of desperation that can accompany insomnia, even such very serious concerns have not prevented sales of sleeping pills from skyrocketing in recent years.
We are currently witnessing an unprecedented advertising campaign on the part of the pharmaceutical industry designed to convince the public that sleep medications are indeed a safe and effective strategy for addressing sleep problems. Despite clever and seductive advertising, however, it remains highly questionable whether sleeping pills can truly offer us sleep. I believe it is more accurate to say that they result in a kind of artificial or simulated sleep. Compared to natural slumber, sleeping pills cause a chemical knockout. Unfortunately, so many people have slept poorly for so long, they have forgotten what it is like to experience truly restorative, deep and refreshing natural slumber. Instead, many people now hold a naïve, limited sense of healthful sleep, confusing it with being knocked out. And sleeping pills satisfy that very naïve notion of sleep.
Rather than artificially simulating sleep with chemical knockouts, sleep-promoting supplements such as melatonin, valerian, and other botanicals support that body’s own sleep-facilitating mechanisms more naturally. Such products work in greater harmony with nature and, unlike conventional drugs, they do not stimulate sleep, they supplement sleep. I think of natural supplements inviting us to sleep. The very potency of many natural products lies in their very gentleness, which works cooperatively with both body and mind to induce healthful sleep.
I believe that the potential benefits and markets for such supplements remain largely untapped. Consumers’ expectations that sleep aids should knock them out rather than gently assist them in letting go into sleep must be addressed through targeted education and information campaigns. Consumers also need to learn how to use alternative sleep supplements in the context of a healthy sleep lifestyle or positive night health.
As helpful as they can be in promoting night health, sleep supplements alone will not do the trick. In fact, I believe many people get discouraged and discount the potentially positive benefits of sleep supplements after using them without proper guidance and understanding. Sleep supplements work best when they are geared to work synergistically as a part of a larger night health promotion program.
The availability of a wide range of over-the-counter health supplements offers an important freedom in healthcare choices. But with increased freedom comes increased responsibility. Consumers need to become significantly more informed. Particularly with regard to night health, such supplements need to be personalized and prescriptive. When it comes to sleep health, one size does not fit all. Whether we choose melatonin or valerian or a specific blend depends upon who we are and exactly what we need. By prescriptive I do not mean ordered by a physician, but specifically tailored to the needs of the individual.
Because of a significant shortage of health care professionals knowledgeable about sleep and the alarming trend towards increased use of sleeping pills, I have assisted in the development of a unique software program that provides sleep solutions that are both personalized and prescriptive. After more than a decade in development, the sleep advisor—an expert software system that thoroughly evaluates and provides personalized comprehensive recommendations for improving sleep—is now available.
More recently, I completed the first truly integrative book on night health. Healing night: the science and spirit of sleeping, dreaming, and awakening offers a new, comprehensive perspective on night health that complements the sleep advisors high pragmatic approach. Together, healing night and the sleep advisor offers essential supplements to sleep supplements.
Rubin R Naiman is a psychologist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at the university of Arizona’s health sciences center. He is also the sleep and dream specialist for dr. Andrew weil;s world renowned program in integrative medicine. Currently he serves as the sleep specialist at Miraval Resort, and is in private practice in Tuscon, AZ.
The above article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat a particular illness. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of a holistically competent licensed professional health care provider. The information in this article has not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Rubin R. Naiman, PhD
Your Cells Supercharge Your Cells
December 20, 2005 11:30 AM
Your Cells Supercharge Your Cells
The differences between aging and growing old are poles apart. Sure, they may sound similar in nature. But when you think about it, the two are as different as night and day. Growing old is about retirement and travel and enjoying what you’ve worked an entire life for. Aging, on the other hand, summons images of wrinkled skin, brittle joints, cloudy minds and medicine cabinets full of prescriptions. It’s safe to assume that the majority of us want to look, live, and feel better as we grow old. Not the opposite. Many of us are on the right track - committed to a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a well-balanced diet. And yes, these do serve as a solid foundation for good health during our golden years. It is our cells, however, that ultimately determine who grows old, and who just ages.
Still, slowing the proverbial hands of time is not all about health clubs and organic produce. If you want to grow old gracefully, you must nurture the ten trillion cells that defi ne you physically. Why? Because these cells are constantly under attack by free radicals - unstable molecules that either lack, or have an unpaired number of electrons. They scour the body in search of stable cells, and do whatever they can to rob them of their electrons, a process more formally known as oxidation. Considering that it’s environmentally impossible to completely avoid contact with the billions of airborne toxins that cause free radicals, the only other option is to safeguard your healthy cells. Making the commitment to a healthy lifestyle is the fi rst step in the process, and can be accomplished by eating healthier foods, exercising on a regular basis, and paying close attention to what you are exposed to environmentally.
The next step is to nourish and protect your cells. The best way to do this is to consume foods that are rich in antioxidants and other cell-friendly nutrients. Unfortunately, this task is often much easier said than done. Today’s average adult is busier than ever, making it far more diffi cult to consume fresh, unprocessed meals 100% of the time. This does not, however, imply that all hope is lost. Over the years, the nutritional sciences have made stunning advances that afford you the opportunity to live your life while still safeguarding the integrity of your most basic building blocks. Here are a few of the best.
Antioxidants work at the cellular level to paralyze the free radicals that cause oxidation throughout the body. Some of today’s most popular nutrients and dietary supplements fall into this category. They include vitamins A, E, and C, Selenium, Zinc, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Lycopene, Lutein, CoQ10, in addition to a host of others. And though similar in function, each of these free radical fi ghters has a unique role within the body.
Take CoQ10 for example. It’s present in every cell of the body, and is especially important for cardiovascular support. Lutein has been used extensively to prevent oxidation in the macular regions of the eyes. Zinc is a powerful immune system booster that has become extremely popular during cold and fl u season. Alpha Lipoic Acid is both fat and water soluble, and is commonly referred to as the “universal” antioxidant based on its ability to quench free radicals anywhere in the body.
Immune Boosting Herbs
Herbs such as Astragalus, Olive Leaf, Rhodiola, Echinacea, Panax Ginseng and Ashwaganda have been used for centuries to help support healthy cells and strong, responsive immune systems. They’ve also been shown to exhibit natural synergistic effects when used together. Today, they remain one of the most popular ways to naturally promote all-around wellbeing. When it comes to supporting healthy cells, NOW is pleased to offer one of the best selections of antioxidants, herbs and immune support formulas. Be sure to look for these and other great products at fi ne health food retailers, nationwide.*
OPCs (proanthocyanidins) are high-powered polyphenol antioxidants that belong to the fl avonoid family. Grape seed extract, pine bark extracts such as pycnogenol and enzogenol, bilberry, gingko biloba, resveratrol and others all fall into this category. Research continues to suggest that OPCs work in the same manner that traditional antioxidants do, however their ability to eradicate free radicals is much greater and more versatile. Equally appealing, OPCs can easily cross the blood barrier of the brain to help protect brain and neural tissues from the damage caused by oxidative stress.
Throughout history, many civilizations have relied on organic mushroom extracts to encourage wellness. What we know now is that mushrooms such as Shiitake, Maitake, Reishi and others are rich in 1,3 Beta-glucans - soluble fi ber compounds that help support both innate and adaptive immunity. In addition, the active compounds in some mushrooms have been shown to stimulate the production of microphages, T cells, and other natural killer cells. These biological warriors serve at the front line when it comes to responding to bacterial attacks. They are of immeasurable value to the immune system, though drastically lacking in today’s average diet. In just the past few years, more and more healthconscious individuals have learned fi rst-hand how benefi cial they can be in the preservation of healthy cells.
New foods double as medicines
October 18, 2005 10:53 AM
New foods double as medicines
As the American public becomes more health conscious, food companies are altering their approaches to match the public’s needs.
For instance, Benecol, a new line of margarines and salad dressings, doubles as a cholesterol- lowering medicine. The active ingredient in Benecol is a compound from pine tree pulp thought to have cholesterol-lowering abilities.
Researchers found that this compound reduced cholesterol by as much as 10 percent. While Benecol is not an alternative to healthy eating and lifestyle, it does mark a new age in food marketing and purpose. By using foods like Benecol in addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle, a person may have more success in managing their heart health than with prescriptions or diet alone. And Benecol’s success may prompt other companies to produce food items that double as medicinal products.
DEPRESSION—STANDARD AND ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS
July 15, 2005 09:13 AM
DEPRESSION—STANDARD AND ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS
Depression is a commonly occurring disorder; according to one recently published report, it affects nearly 17 percent of all Americans for the length of their lives.7 Because depression often involves a complex mixture of severity, length, and mode of treatment, it is often a difficult decision for doctors and patients alike to decide how to treat the depression. Many practitioners and patients are reluctant to use antidepressant drugs because of associated side effects. It seems logical, then that any additional forms of treatment with little risk, credible benefit, and moderate cost would be a useful addition to depression management.
Extracts of St. John’s wort have long been used in “folk” medicine for a range of symptoms and problems, including mood and depression disorders. Extracts of St. John’s wort are licensed in Germany for the treatment of “anxiety and depressive and sleep disorders.” In 1993, more than 2.7 mil-lion prescriptions of Hypericum were counted in the seven most popular preparations in Germany.8 In the past ten years, several randomized clinical trials have compared the effects of pharmaceutical preparations of Hypericum with placebo and common antidepressants, with nearly all showing favorable practical application of Hypericum treatments for depression and other related disorders.
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.
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
June 13, 2005 03:44 PM
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
by Mary Ann Mayo & Joseph L. Mayo, MD Energy Times, September 4, 1999
It's front-page news. It's politically correct and socially acceptable. Talking about menopause is in. Suddenly it's cool to have hot flashes. Millions of women turning 50 in the next few years have catapulted the subject of menopause into high-definition prominence.
It's about time. Rarely discussed openly by women (what did your mother ever advise you?), meno-pause until recently was dismissed as "a shutting down experience characterized by hot flashes and the end of periods." Disparaging and depressing words like shrivel, atrophy, mood swings and melancholia peppered the scant scientific menopausal literature.
What a difference a few years and a very vocal, informed and assertive group of Baby Boomers make. Staggered by the burgeoning numbers of newly confrontational women who will not accept a scribbled prescription and a pat on the head as adequate treatment, health practitioners and researchers have been challenged to unravel, explain and deal with the challenges of menopause.
Not An Overnight Sensation
Menopause, researchers have discovered, is no simple, clear cut event in a woman's life. The "change of life" does not occur overnight. A woman's body may begin the transition toward menopause in her early 40s, even though her last period typically occurs around age 51. This evolutionary time before the final egg is released is called the perimenopause. Erratic monthly hormone levels produce unexpected and sometimes annoying sensations.
Even as their bodies adjust to lower levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, some women don't experience typical signs of menopause until after the final period. A fortunate one-third have few or no discomforts.
According to What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause (Warner Books) by John R. Lee, MD, Jesse Hanley, MD, and Virginia Hopkins, "The steroid hormones are intimately related to each other, each one being made from another or turned back into another depending on the needs of the body...But the hormones themselves are just part of the picture. It takes very specific combinations of vitamins, minerals and enzymes to cause the transformation of one hormone into another and then help the cell carry out the hormone's message. If you are deficient in one of the important hormone-transforming substances such as vitamin B6 or magnesium, for example, that too can throw your hormones out of balance. Thyroid and insulin problems, toxins, bad food and environmental factors, medication and liver function affect nutrient and hormone balance."
The most important reproductive hormones include:
Estrogen: the female hormone produced by the ovaries from puberty through menopause to regulate the menstrual cycle and prepare the uterus for pregnancy. Manufacture drops significantly during menopause. Estradiol is a chemically active and efficient form of estrogen that binds to many tissues including the uterus, breasts, ovaries, brain and heart through specific estrogen receptors that allow it to enter those cells, stimulating many chemical reactions. Estriol and estrone are additional forms of estrogen.
Progesterone: also produced by the ovaries, it causes tissues to grow and thicken, particularly during pregnancy, when it protects and nurtures the fetus. Secretion ceases during menopause.
Testosterone: Women produce about one-twentieth of what men do, but require it to support sex drive. About half of all women quit secreting testosterone during menopause.
Estrogen's Wide Reach
Since estrogen alone influences more than 400 actions on the body, chiefly stimulating cell growth, the effects of its fluctuations can be far-reaching and extremely varied: hot (and cold) flashes, erratic periods, dry skin (including the vaginal area), unpredictable moods, fuzzy thinking, forgetfulness, fatigue, low libido, insomnia and joint and muscle pain.
Young women may experience premature menopause, which can occur gradually, as a matter of course, or abruptly with hysterectomy (even when the ovaries remain) or as a result of chemotherapy. Under such conditions symptoms can be severe.
In the 1940s doctors reasoned that if most discomforts were caused by diminishing estrogen (its interactive role with progesterone and testosterone were underestimated), replacing it would provide relief. When unchecked estrogen use resulted in high rates of uterine cancer, physicians quickly began adding progesterone to their estrogen regimens and the problem appeared solved.
For the average woman, however, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) became suspect and controversial, especially when a link appeared between extended use of HRT (from five to 10 years) and an increase in breast and endometrial cancers (Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 37, 1997). The result: Women have drawn a line in the sand between themselves and their doctors.
Resolving The Impasse
Since hormone replacement reduces the risk of major maladies like heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, colon cancer and diabetes that would otherwise significantly rise as reproductive hormone levels decrease, most doctors recommend hormone replacement shortly before or as soon as periods stop. Hormone replacement also alleviates the discomforts of menopause.
But only half of all women fill their HRT prescriptions and, of those who do, half quit within a year. Some are simply indifferent to their heightened medical risks. Some are indeed aware but remain unconvinced of the safety of HRT. Others complain of side effects such as bloating, headaches or drowsiness.
Women's resistance to wholesale HRT has challenged researchers to provide more secure protection from the diseases to which they become vulnerable during menopause, as well as its discomforts. If the conventional medical practitioners do not hear exactly what modern women want, the complementary medicine community does. Turning to centuries-old botanicals, they have validated and compounded them with new technology. Their effectiveness depends on various factors including the synergistic interaction of several herbs, specific preparation, the correct plant part and dosage, harvesting and manufacturing techniques.
Research demonstrates that plant hormones (phytoestrogens) protect against stronger potentially carcinogenic forms of estrogen while safely providing a hormone effect. Other herbs act more like tonics, zipping up the body's overall function.
Help From Herbs
Clinical trials and scientific processing techniques have resulted in plant-based supplements like soy and other botanicals that replicate the form and function of a woman's own estrogen.
The complementary community also can take credit for pushing the conventional medical community to look beyond estrogen to progesterone in postmenopausal health.
Natural soy or Mexican yam derived progesterone is formulated by pharmacologists in creams or gels that prevent estrogen-induced overgrowth of the uterine lining (a factor in uterine cancer), protect against heart disease and osteoporosis and reduce hot flashes (Fertility and Sterility 69, 1998: 96-101).
A quarter of the women who take the popularly prescribed synthetic progesterone report increased tension, fatigue and anxiety; natural versions have fewer side effects.
These "quasi-medicines," as Tori Hudson, a leading naturopathic doctor and professor at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Oregon, calls them, are considered "stronger than a botanical but weaker than a medicine." (Hudson is author of Gynecology and Naturopathic Medicine: A Treatment Manual.)
According to Hudson, the amount of estrogen and progesterone in these supplements is much less than medical hormone replacement but equally efficacious in relieving menopausal problems and protecting the heart and bones.
According to a study led by Harry K. Genant, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, "low-dose" plant estrogen derived from soy and yam, supplemented with calcium, prevents bone loss without such side effects as increased vaginal bleeding and endometrial hypoplasia, abnormal uterine cell growth that could be a precursor to endometrial cancer (Archives of Internal Medicine 157, 1997: 2609-2615).
These herbal products, including natural progesterone and estrogen in the form of the weaker estriol or estrone, may block the effect of the stronger and potentially DNA-damaging estradiol.
Soy in its myriad dietary and supplemental forms provides a rich source of isoflavones and phytosterols, both known to supply a mild estrogenic effect that can stimulate repair of the vaginal walls (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-46).
To enhance vaginal moisture, try the herb cimicifuga racemosa, the extract of black cohosh that, in capsule form, builds up vaginal mucosa (Therapeuticum 1, 1987: 23-31). Traditional Chinese herbal formulas containing roots of rehmannia and dong quai have long been reputed to promote vaginal moisture.
Clinical research in Germany also confirms the usefulness of black cohosh in preventing hot flashes and sweating, as well as relieving nervousness, achiness and depressed moods caused by suppressed hormone levels. It works on the hypothalamus (the body's thermostat, appetite and blood pressure monitor), pituitary gland and estrogen receptors. Green tea is steeped with polyphenols, mainly flavonoids, that exert a massive antioxidant influence against allergens, viruses and carcinogens. The risks of estrogen-related cancers such as breast cancer are particularly lowered by these flavonoids, as these substances head directly to the breast's estrogen receptors. About three cups a day exert an impressive anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, antiviral and anticarcinogenic effect.
Other phytoestrogen-rich botanicals, according to Susun Weed's Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way (Ash Tree Publishing), include motherwort and lactobacillus acidophilus to combat vaginal dryness; hops and nettles for sleep disturbances; witch hazel and shepherd's purse for heavy bleeding; motherwort and chasteberry for mood swings; dandelion and red clover for hot flashes.
Our Need For Supplements
Adding micronutrients at midlife to correct and counter a lifetime of poor diet and other habits is a step toward preventing the further development of the degenerative diseases to which we become vulnerable. At the very minimum, you should take:
a multivitamin/mineral supplement vitamin E calcium
Your multivitamin/mineral should contain vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Look for a wide variety of antioxidants that safeguard you from free radical damage, believed to promote heart disease and cancer, as well as contribute to the aging process.
Also on the list: mixed carotenoids such as lycopene, alpha carotene and vitamin C; and folic acid to help regulate cell division and support the health of gums, red blood cells, the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system.
Studies indicate a deficiency of folic acid (folate) in 30% of coronary heart disease, blood vessel disease and strokes; lack of folate is thought to be a serious risk factor for heart disease (OB.GYN News, July 15, 1997, page 28).
Extra vitamin E is believed to protect against breast cancer and bolster immune strength in people 65 and older (Journal of the American Medical Association 277, 1997: 1380-86). It helps relieve vaginal dryness, breast cysts and thyroid problems and, more recently, hit the headlines as an aid in reducing the effects of Alzheimer's and heart disease. It is suspected to reduce the thickening of the carotid arterial walls and may prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which contributes to the formation of plaque in arteries.
Selenium also has been identified as an assistant in halting cancer (JAMA 276, 1996: 1957-63).
The Omegas To The Rescue
Essential fatty acids found in cold water fish, flaxseed, primrose and borage oils and many nuts and seeds are essential for the body's production of prostaglandin, biochemicals which regulate hormone synthesis, and numerous physiological responses including muscle contraction, vascular dilation and the shedding of the uterine lining. They influence hormonal balance, reduce dryness and relieve hot flashes.
In addition, the lignans in whole flaxseed behave like estrogen and act aggressively against breast cancer, according to rat and human studies at the University of Toronto (Nutr Cancer 26, 1996: 159-65).
Research has demonstrated that these omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can reverse the cancer-causing effects of radiation and other carcinogens (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 74, 1985: 1145-50). Deficiencies may cause swelling, increased blood clotting, breast pain, hot flashes, uterine and menstrual cramps and constipation. Fatigue, lack of endurance dry skin and hair and frequent colds may signal EFA shortage. Plus, fatty fish oils, along with vitamin D and lactose, help absorption of calcium, so vital for maintaining bone mass.
In addition, studies show that the natural substance Coenzyme A may help menopausal women reduce cholesterol and increase fat utilization (Med Hyp 1995; 44, 403, 405). Some researchers belive Coenzyme A plays a major role in helping women deal with stress while strengthening immunity.
Can't shake those menopausal woes? Menopause imposters may be imposing on you: The risk of thyroid disease, unrelenting stress, PMS, adrenal burnout, poor gastrointestinal health and hypoglycemia all increase at midlife. Menopause is a handy hook on which to hang every misery, ache and pain but it may only mimic the distress of other ailments. For this reason every midlife woman should have a good medical exam with appropriate tests to determine her baseline state of health. Only with proper analysis can you and your health practitioner hit on an accurate diagnosis and satisfying course of therapy.
And if menopause is truly the issue, you have plenty of company. No woman escapes it. No woman dies from it. It is not a disease but a reminder that one-third of life remains to be lived. Menopausal Baby Boomers can anticipate tapping into creative energy apart from procreation. If not new careers, new interests await. An altered internal balance empowers a menopausal woman to direct, perhaps for the first time, her experience of life. She has come of age-yet again. Gone is the confusion, uncertainty, or dictates of a hormone driven life: This time wisdom and experience direct her. There is no need to yearn for youth or cower at the conventional covenant of old age. Menopause is the clarion call to reframe, reevaluate and reclaim.
Mary Ann Mayo and Joseph L. Mayo, MD, are authors of The Menopause Manager (Revell) and executive editors of Health Opportunities for Women (HOW). Telephone number 877-547-5499 for more information.
May 09, 2005 06:10 PM
It's in the BloodNatural alternatives abound for managing cholesterol levels, backed by a growing body of research ©VR By Paul Bubny
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) last July lowered the threshold for considering the use of statin drugs—a move which some say was motivated more by profits than scientific evidence. For example, the Center for Science in the Public Interest pointed out that eight of the nine authors behind the new recommendations had financial ties to statin manufacturers, which stand to reap billions of dollars more from a category that grossed $14 billion in the U.S. last year. And though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January decided against authorizing over-the-counter (OTC) sales of statin drugs, drug companies would still like to see this happen.
“The medical establishment’s pushing of these drugs to becoming the number one category of prescribed drugs in the world has led them to keep lowering the total cholesterol number that triggers the drug recommendation,” said Neil E. Levin, C.C.N., D.A.N.L.A., nutrition educator, product formulator, and “Truth Advocate” for NOW Foods (Bloomingdale, IL), which produces a number of supplements for addressing cholesterol. “This is despite the lack of evidence that total cholesterol means much as regards cardiovascular risks.
“Other tests are much more important in terms of predicting risks, including CRP (C-reactive protein), the balance of different cholesterol fractions, and homocysteine,” he continued. “Add adult-onset diabetes to the risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).”
At the same time, the allegation that enormous sales potential lay behind the lower threshold for prescribing statin drugs illustrates how widespread the problem of hypercholesterolemia (elevated total cholesterol) is. More than 100 million Americans have elevated cholesterol (total cholesterol values of 200 mg/dl and higher), and of these, more than a third have high cholesterol (levels of 240 mg/dl and higher), according to the American Heart Association. Those numbers have unfavorable implications for the incidence of CVD, as high cholesterol is considered a risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke.
While statin drugs haven’t garnered the same degree of negative publicity that COX-2 inhibitors have suffered lately, safety concerns have arisen nonetheless. For one thing, these drugs lower the liver’s production of coenzyme Q10 (coQ10) along with its production of cholesterol. “CoQ10 is related to energy production and immune functions, is an antioxidant, and [is] an important cardiovascular nutrient,” Levin said. “It is not good to lower one’s coQ10 levels by half!”
Moreover, said Levin, statins increase the tendency of muscle tissues to break down. “Combined with inactivity or certain drugs, this can stimulate muscle wasting,” he said. “Muscle is where a good deal of calories are burned, so a loss of muscle could affect mobility and energy production, potentially adding to obesity problems. These muscle changes occurred in patients and persisted for years after treatment was discontinued, as shown by muscle biopsies, even if no obvious muscle problems were observed by the patients.”
And the last word on the subject may not have been spoken. Predicted Dr. Frank King, Jr. president of King Bio Natural Medicine (Asheville, NC), “Once the appropriate studies are finished, these drugs, along with hypertensives, will hit the fan bigger than the COX-2 inhibitors.”
Also looking toward the future, Levin said that of the 20 million Americans who will be “targeted” for statin drug prescriptions under the new NCEP guidelines, “Some of these will want to try natural methods first. Others will rebel at the side effects of the drugs and experiment with alternative products.”
King and Levin both saw opportunity for natural products in the fallout from drug safety concerns, with King projecting that sales of his company’s cholesterol-related homeopathic remedies will double in 2005. “The reports of deaths from drugs will always overshadow the trumped-up studies and news reports blasting dietary supplements,” said Levin. “Vioxx knocked vitamin E off the media’s radar screens pretty rapidly, though we still see ignorant reporters citing that [Johns Hopkins] vitamin E analysis as if it were true. But the comparable safety of supplements means that open-minded people will want to at least try natural therapies before signing in to a lifetime of drug therapies. Meanwhile, the studies on natural products will continue to build our credibility.”
Those studies keep coming in, with at least four major findings published in the past few months, plus a heart-health claim on walnuts authorized by FDA. They join a raft of earlier findings that link natural products—branded and otherwise—to healthy cholesterol levels.
"Blur of Products"
With so many natural alternatives to cholesterol drugs available, it can be hard to keep track. “As with any other category, the blur of products as they cascade over several shelves means that the retailer needs to have a good sense of what works and what they want to recommend to their customers,” Levin said. “Really, each person needs a protocol that would include antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, herbs, and oils. The pre-mixed cholesterol support formulas are a good starting place.”
To help retailers get a sense of “what works,” here is an alphabetical discussion of several nutrients that have demonstrated benefits in serum cholesterol levels. They include the following:
Barley may help lower cholesterol, according to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2004, vol.80, no.5: 1185-1193). Twenty-five adults with mild hypercholesterolemia consumed a controlled diet low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol for 19 weeks. They then added whole-grain products containing barley to their diets that contained low (0 g), medium (3 g), or high (6 g) amount of beta-glucan per day for five weeks. Total cholesterol was reduced by 4 percent 9 percent, and 10 percent, respectively. The diet with the highest amount of beta-glucan led to a decrease in LDL cholesterol of 17 percent.
Chromium. There’s evidence, Levin said, that chromium in doses of 500 mg a day may decrease levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the so-called “bad” cholesterol) and total cholesterol while raising levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good” cholesterol). At the annual meeting of the American College of Nutrition last October, a poster presentation on the safety of Benicia, CA-based InterHealth Nutraceuticals’ ChromeMate niacin-bound chromium won first prize; among other things, the presentation cited chromium’s role in maintaining healthy blood lipid levels.
Fatty Acids. The latest in a long line of studies demonstrating the benefits of fatty acids in heart health is a study published in The International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics in December 2004. It showed that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid, can restore normal blood vessel function in children with inherited high cholesterol. The study, which used Martek DHA produced from microalgae, concluded that restoration of normal blood vessel function has the “potential for preventing the progression of early coronary heart disease in high-risk children.”
“The evidence continues to accumulate on the cardiovascular benefits of DHA for people of all ages,” said Henry “Pete” Linsert, Jr., chairman and CEO of Martek Biosciences, an ingredient supplier based in Columbia, MD. “This study clearly indicates that DHA played an important role in healthy blood vessel function in the children in this study.”
On the Omega-Research.com Website maintained by fish oil manufacturer Nordic Naturals (Watsonville, CA) can be found summaries of several earlier studies linking omega-3 fatty acids to maintaining healthy blood lipid levels, as well as related benefits such as elasticity of the arteries. In a 2003 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that women receiving a mixture of 4 g eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA along with 2 g of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) had lower levels of LDL cholesterol after 28 days compared to those who received either the EPA/DHA supplements without DHA, EPA/DHA with a smaller dose of GLA, or GLA alone.
Flax is another source of omega-3s, and Arkopharma/Health From The Sun (Bedford, MA) offers FiProFLAX in a variety of forms. Marketing director Hugues P. Mas said the flax is “QAI [Quality Assurance International] certified organic and guaranteed GMO [genetically modified organism]-free.” On its Website, the company offers a cholesterol quiz geared to consumers, discussing the importance of omega-3s as well as other nutrients.
Garlic. Adding to an already considerable body of research demonstrating that garlic can lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides while increasing HDL cholesterol, researchers at UCLA in 2003 reported that Kyolic aged garlic extract reduced or inhibited plaque formation in the arteries of 19 cardiac patients taking statin drugs.
Lead researcher Matthew Budoff, Ph.D. commented at the time that the study “suggests that aged garlic extract may be a useful and beneficial dietary addition for the people who have high cardiovascular risk or who have undergone heart surgery.” Budoff has since presented several trade show seminars sponsored by Los Angeles-based Wakunaga of America, the makers of Kyolic.
Guggul. In use for centuries as a component of Ayurvedic medicine, guggul—a gummy resin tapped from the Commiphora mukul tree, which is native to India—has been studied since the early 1960s for its hypolidemic (blood-lipid lowering) properties. Sabinsa Corp. (Piscataway, NJ), an ingredient supplier which produces a standardized extract under the brand name Gugulipid, says the studies on guggul indicate that its hypolipidemic activity can be attributed to more than one mechanism of action.
Among the possible mechanisms are: inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis, enhancing the rate of excretion of cholesterol, promoting rapid degradation of cholesterol, thyroid stimulation, alteration of biogenic amines, and “high affinity binding and anion exchange.”
Homeopathy. “Homeopathy activates the body’s own control system to work properly,” said King. “This is the safest and most curative approach to take.
“Forcing the body into biochemical change even naturally doesn’t actually have the curative action of homeopathy,” King continued. “Homeopathy can even correct the genetic predispositions to disease we may have inherited from as deep as a thousand years into our family chain.” King Bio makes Artery/Cholesterol/BP, a homeopathic formula intended to help tone heart muscles and blood vessels.
Low glycemic index foods. In a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that high glycemic load is negatively correlated to serum levels of HDL cholesterol. Assessing the relationship between blood levels of lipids and diet in a test population of 32 healthy males and females ages 11 to 25, the researchers found that glycemic load accounted for 21.1 percent of the variation in HDL cholesterol. They concluded that glycemic load appears to be an important independent predictor of HDL cholesterol in youth and noted that dietary restrictions without attention to glycemic load could unfavorably influence blood lipids.
Medicinal Mushrooms. Although its product SX-Fraction is intended primarily to address high blood sugar, Maitake Products, Inc. (MPI, Ridgefield Park, NJ) found in a clinical study that LDL cholesterol in diabetic patients declined modestly (from 142 mg/dl to 133 mg/dl) over a two-month period. Those taking SX-Fraction also lost about 7 lbs. in the same time period.
“The more impressive lowering of cholesterol, however, comes from the dietary fiber that is found in all medicinal mushrooms,” said Ellen Shnidman, manager of scientific affairs at MPI. She cited animal studies which documented the cholesterol-lowering properties of four different mushrooms: maitake, shiitake, agaricus, and enokitake.
For example, a study reported in the September 1996 issue of Alternative Therapies showed “a 44 percent reduction in total cholesterol in rats consuming maitake mushroom in their diet,” said Shnidman. “This cholesterol reduction is accompanied by weight loss, relative to rats eating a similar high-choelsterol diet without mushrooms. Apparently, cholesterol is excreted by the rats in sufficient quantity to aid in weight loss.”
Oat bran. A 2004 consumer study conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI, Harleysville, PA) for Nurture, Inc. (Devon, PA), which produces the ingredient OatVantage, found that 63 percent of consumers managing their cholesterol levels prefer oat-based ingredients.
Oat bran is the subject of a health claim authorized by FDA in 1999, and NMI research found that 69 percent of respondents preferred the FDA-permitted health claim, “Helps Lower Cholesterol,” over the model structure-function claim, “Helps Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels.” “This is significant for food, beverage, and dietary supplement manufacturers who want to increase sales by using a more consumer-desired claim on the product label,” said Griff Parker, Nurture CEO.
Plant sterols. Also the subject of an FDA-approved claim for heart health, plant sterols (structurally similar to cholesterol in humans) can block the absorption of cholesterol, according to a number of studies. In an “Ask the Doctor” publication (available online at www.atdonline.org), Decker Weiss, N.M.D. noted that sterols enter the same receptor sites that cholesterol enters on its way to the bloodstream. “The cholesterol, being blocked from absorption, remains in our intestines where it is eventually excreted,” Weiss wrote. General Mills has just introduced Yoplait Healthy Heart, a yogurt high in plant sterols.
Policosanol. A mixture of fatty alcohols derived from sugar cane or beeswax, policosanol has been favorably compared in clinical studies to several types of prescription drugs for managing cholesterol. On its own, policosanol was found in a 1999 study to reduce LDL cholesterol while raising levels of HDL cholesterol.
Probiotics. “Several studies have indicated that consumption of certain cultured dairy products resulted in reduction of serum cholesterol, as well as triglycerides,” wrote Dr. S.K. Dash, president of probiotic manufacturer UAS Laboratories (Eden Prairie, MN), in his Consumer Guide to Probiotics. Among other studies, Dash cited two controlled clinical studies from the VA Medical Center at the University of Kentucky.
“In the first study, fermented milk containing [Lactobacillus] acidophilus was accompanied by a 2.4 percent reduction of serum cholesterol concentration,” he wrote. “In the second study, a different L. acidophilus strain reduced serum cholesterol concentration by 3.2 percent. Since every 1 percent reduction in serum cholesterol concentration is associated with an estimated 2 to 3 percent reduction in risk for coronary heart disease [CHD], regular intake of fermented milk containing an appropriate strain of L. acidophilus has the potential of reducing risk for [CHD] by 6 to 10 percent.”
Dash said his company’s DDS Probiotics contain DDS-1 L. acidophilus, “which has been researched and demonstrated to show cholesterol-lowering effect.”
Psyllium. “Internal cleansing is very important” in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, “especially if you do it with a lot of fiber,” said Sunil Kohli, vice president of Chino, CA-based Health Plus, Inc. The cholesterol-managing ability of fiber in general and psyllium in particular is “very well-established,” he said.
However, Kohli said, “It will probably do you no good if it’s random. It should be done on a regular basis, and it should be supervised. Consulting the doctor or pharmacist is important.”
Soy. The protein in soy “has evidence of lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, based on reviews of studies using over 20 g of soy protein per day,” said Levin. “Soy isoflavones are considered only partly responsible for this effect.”
Sytrinol. A patented proprietary formula derived from natural citrus and palm fruit extracts and containing citrus polymethoxylated flavones and palm tocotrienols, Sytrinol has been shown in clinical trials to improve total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides by up to 30 percent, 27 percent, and 33 percent, respectively. Having just wrapped up Phase III of a long-term trial of Sytrinol, Chicago-based SourceOne Global Partners, which owns the exclusive worldwide license for intellectual property associated with the ingredient, is commencing a study that combines Sytrinol with plant sterols.
Tocotrienols. On its Website discussing the science and benefits of tocotrienols (www.tocotrienol.org), ingredient supplier Carotech Inc. (Edison, NJ) identifies several benefits for blood lipid levels. Tocotrienols, according to the Website, have been shown to “inhibit cholesterol production in the liver, thereby lowering total blood cholesterol;” “[suppress] hepatic HMG-CoA reductase activity [and result in] the lowering of LDL cholesterol levels;” and “inhibit cholesterogenesis by suppressing HMG-CoA reductase.”
There are also nutrients that are emerging as potential weapons in the fight against cholesterol. Levin cited rice bran oil, resveratrol, pantethine, l-carnitine, and niacin as showing promise.
With all of this, Levin said, it’s important for retailers to remember that “they are not allowed to discuss diseases and remedies unless there is an approved FDA health claim allowed on the label, as with soy protein and plant sterols. What is allowed are structure-function claims such as ‘cholesterol support,’ ‘promoting normal, healthy circulation,’ ‘homocysteine regulators,’ etc.”
Supplementation is only one tool for managing cholesterol levels, manufacturers pointed out. “Besides nutrition, lifestyle is a key to controlling cholesterol,” Levin said. “Eating a variety of antioxidant-rich foods will prevent the liver from churning out cholesterol as a ‘cheap’ antioxidant. The body uses oxidized cholesterol to patch leaky and damaged blood vessels, so the ability to build healthy collagen is a must, using nutrients like vitamin C, Pycnogenol, rutin, hyaluronic acid, and MSM.
“Don’t forget exercise and stress reduction,” he added. “Stress results in high cortisol levels—usually accompanied by poor blood lipid levels—and a lack of good sleep to produce unhealthy people.” VR
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