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Alfalfa as human food: A rich source of nutrients, it is consumedas a tea, herb, supplement and now as flour
August 27, 2018 08:53 AM
Some Romanian researchers have investigated the edible legume, alfalfa, and have made some assessments. The notable livestock feed makes an A-plus human food too. As a human food alfalfa makes the grade nutrition-wise, because it encompasses a wide array of vitamins and minerals.
Shaklee, an American company puts out a product called "Alfalfa Complex." A byproduct of the complex is an alfalfa flour, which was used as a testing source by the researchers. The researchers found the flour to be an ample source of protein and amino acids. Specific minerals found in the flour included, zinc, calcium and iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Alfalfa has also been found to ameliorate the risk for many diseases. It aids circulation and anemia, protects against arteriosclerosis, and strengthens overall immunity. Besides flour, supplementation with alfalfa is possible via powder, capsules and pills.
"Far from just being a source of protein and amino acids, alfalfa concentrate flour can also be considered as a reliable supplier of minerals."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-07-20-a-rich-source-of-nutrients-it-is-consumed-as-a-tea-herb-supplement-and-now-as-flour.html
Eating fried food just twice per week increases your chance of early death
August 17, 2018 09:53 AM
Nature News puts out an article on a possible link between routinely eating deep fried foods and premature deaths. One of the possible causes of an early death is acrylamide, which is present in some foods, one of which is deep fried potatoes. To cut down on risks, Nature News recommends cutting back on eating deep fried foods more than once a week(preferably even less often) and finding healthier substitutes. Substitutes could include vegetables or oven baked sweet potato fries.
"To stay healthy and lower your risk of premature death, limit your intake of fried foods like French fries and potato chips."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-08-16-eating-fried-food-just-twice-per-week-increases-your-chance-of-early-death.html
What's the Best Sleep Position for Your Health?
May 21, 2018 01:16 PM
Sleeping on your left side is considered the most advantageous sleeping position due to the fact that it allows toxins and excess fluids to be removed from your body more easily. Other positions such as sleeping on your right side and sleeping on your back can also be beneficial but to a lesser extent. Sleeping either on your stomach or in a fetal position would rate as the least advantageous sleeping positions for several reasons including the strain each of those positions puts on your back.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blrAwlhoRrU&rel=0
October 13, 2017 10:14 AM
Water Fluoridation is adding fluoride to water. The United States puts fluoride in over 70% of their water supply. This is most of any country by far. Putting fluoride into water was first implemented to help with dental issues. Scientists are now starting to realize the harmful effects of fluoride. Fluoride is a poison. Especially since the benefit of fluoride comes from topical use, not from ingesting. Communities all over the United States are now starting to realize the harmful effects of fluoride. Fluoride is outdated and unnecessary.
"The most obvious reason to end fluoridation is that it is now known that fluoride’s main benefit comes from topical contact with the teeth, not from ingestion."
Read more: http://fluoridealert.org/issues/water/
Is chronic fatigue syndrome an inflammatory disease?
August 02, 2017 04:14 PM
Chronic fatigue syndrome has been a very controversial thing for many years. Experts have not been able to gain much insight when it comes to the cause of it. There is a new study out that puts forward the suggestion that it is actually an inflammatory disease. There are wide ranging symptoms which makes it quite difficult to diagnose. It is characterized mostly by debilitating fatigue. it is also usually accompanied by pain and difficulties in retaining focus.
"Characterized by often debilitating fatigue, and sometimes accompanied by pain and difficulties in retaining focus, CFS/ME affects between 836,000 and 2.5 million people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)."
Read more: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318714.php
This weed won't get you high, but it has other perks
May 29, 2017 07:14 PM
A new trend has emerged in the current marijuana market. A new strain offers users all the same medical benefits as marijuana without any psychoactive affects. Since it lacks THC it will not get you high. This puts the product in a legal gray area which may make it difficult to legally use in stricter states. Doctors are currently uncertain if this will have any affect on patients seeking marijuana for medical use. Currently there is likely not enough research to be certain.
Read more: This weed won't get you high, but it has other perks
Cannabidiol Oil Producers Praise New Marijuana Definition
April 24, 2017 03:44 PM
The State of Oklahoma has a new definition for marijuana and it now includes cannabidiol. The new classification made by the Governor is a move greatly supported by the medical companies producing cannabidiol or medical marijuana oil. One of the companies in Oklahoma City has been producing cannabidiol with no THC, the ingredient that leads to a high. Company official believe their product could become used nationwide. Lawmakers made the change in the classification after seeing the important medical benefits in a young patient.
"I think it puts Oklahoma on a map for a viable source for pharmaceutical-grade cannabis products"
Read more: http://www.news9.com/story/35182039/cannabidiol-oil-producers-praise-new-marijuana-definition
What is a ketogenic diet?
February 25, 2017 05:59 AM
The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low-carb diets. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake, and replacing it with fat. The reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain
Why Everyone is Talking About Turmeric
December 16, 2016 06:59 AM
Turmeric, the main spice in curry, is arguably the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease. It has so many healing properties that currently there have been 6,235 peer-reviewed articles published proving the benefits of turmeric and one of its renowned healing compounds curcumin. This puts turmeric on top of the list as one of the most frequently mentioned medicinal herbs in all of science and the next most popular studied herbs include garlic, cinnamon, ginseng, ginger and milk thistle.
"The bright yellow spice is not only an important antioxidant, but it is also an anti-inflammatory, soother of irritations and a skin brightener."
Bursitis and tendinitis
December 12, 2016 06:59 AM
Do you work a labor intensive job? Always throwing or lifting heavy objects? Well if this is the case you may be more inclined to suffer from Bursitis and tendinitis, two diseases that affect the joint and ligaments. A doctor may be able to tell you if your pain is one of these conditions.
"The most important thing is to get into condition gradually and to ease into vigorous exercise gently."
Too Much Salt for Our Kids
December 06, 2016 12:59 PM
Cardiovascular disease kills over 800,000 Americans each year, and high salt intake is a major culprit. Yet American children are having far more salt than the daily recommended limit – which puts them at increased risk of heart disease later in life. Feed your kids fresh fruits and vegetables without added sodium or sauces. Read nutrition labels and buy low sodium food.
"An easy way to assess sodium in a food is to focus on the amount of sodium per serving. Those foods with less than 140 mg per serving are considered low in sodium."
Is Sitting The New Smoking?
So much focus has been put on the bad effects of smoking. Sitting, which is just as bad as smoking is never talked about. The body has been designed for movement on a regular basis. However, most people spend their time sitting. This leads to body inactivity that a 1 hour daily workout cannot counteract. To worsen the situation, most people do not even have a workout plan. This puts their bodies in a sedentary state most of the time. It is not sitting that is dangerous, it's the amount of time that you spend sitting.
Sitting here and there from time to time is perfectly natural. However, sitting for extended periods of time day in day out can have a serious impact on your health. It can really shorten your life. Standing up activates cellular and muscular systems that process triglycerides, cholesterol and blood sugar. This helps to push up fuel to the cells, and if it’s done regularly, it will tremendously reduce the risk of you suffering from obesity and diabetes.
The body was designed to move throughout the day. When you don’t move for extended periods of time, you are basically telling your body that it’s time to shut down in preparation for death. Blood usually flows slower in the heart and muscles when you are in the sitting position. This makes it easier for the fatty acids to cause clogging. Sitting also increases the production of insulin by the pancreases. Increased production of insulin can eventually lead to diabetes. People who sit for long periods of time are two times likely to suffer from heart disease and diabetes compared to those who rarely sit down. Sitting also increases the risk of suffering from colon, endocrine and breast cancers.
Poor digestion, posture problems, muscle degeneration and leg disorders are other problems that have been associated with sitting for long periods of time. Reducing you sitting time can significantly increase your life expectancy.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Flax Meal?
February 21, 2012 08:01 AM
Flax meal is obtained after the flax seeds (brown or yellow/golden) areground into flour/powder which can be made into porridge or added into other foods/drinks so that those who consume it will be able to derive the health benefits that accompany the meal. In some cases flax seed meal can be used as a thickener in many food preparations hence imparting into the foods its components which can be enjoyed by many people across the population thus derive the health benefits that are associated with the flax seed meal.
Flax meal is considered very useful because of the following:-
It is rich in omega-3-fatty acids; this is one of the essential nutrients that the body can not synthesize hence it must be supplied from the diet for example from flax seed meal. The fatty acids play a very important role in fighting inflammation in the body and also breaking down the excess fats that may be present in the body. This is important as it will prevent many chronic diseases such as asthma, arthritis, cardiovascular heart diseases among others which pose danger to the lives of many more especially those who are overweight and obese. Most of the fatty acids that are found in flax meal are unsaturated which makes it very important in reducing body fat.
Fiber: Soluble And Insoluble
Fiber; flax meal is rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber which is essential when one wants to reduce the level of low density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) in the body as the level of high density lipoproteins (good cholesterol) is increased. This is possible as the fiber is able to initiate fat breakdown in various areas of the body which will finally help in stabilizing sugar levels in the body, promote the overall functioning of the intestines and more especially the colon.
Flax meal is rich in phytochemicals, ligans and antioxidants which play various roles in the body. For example ligans are very good in balancing female hormones which in the long run will help in fighting hot flashes. It is worthy to note that this fiber is important in women because it helps in preventing some forms of cancer in women. Flax meal is also important as it helps in boosting the immune system hence puts the body in a good position to fight ailments which may want to take advantage.
Applications of flax meal
As a food additive; flax meal can be added into other foods such as yogurt, ice cream among other foods thus making these foods more nutritious.
In baking; flax meal is usually incorporated in mixes that are used in making cookies and other baked products as it is able to withstand very high temperatures that are experienced in the oven. It improves on the consistence of the baked products and at the same time improving their nutritional content.
Other uses of flax meal include; use in recipes of food preparations and it can be used to replace fats and eggs which will make the food more healthier and nutritious unlike using shortenings and margarines which are unhealthy.
April 08, 2010 04:31 PM
Comments by Craig Gerbore, CEO of Madhava:
Reading through the attack articles and blogs that have surfaced recently one could think that using agave is bad for one's health. These claims are utterly false and misleading. They are extreme views drawn from extreme examples and applied way out of context. They are propagandizing and clearly designed to frighten, not educate. All of the fears and concerns associated with the overconsumption of sugars and calories in general have been unfairly cast on agave.
What is a "healthy" sweetener? One that you use moderately and sensibly.
Health concerns related to fructose and caloric sweeteners are all dependant on the overconsumption of them. All foods have calories and it is the overall consumption of calories that lead to obesity and related issues, not any one food source.
Agave's caloric value is comparable to the other sweeteners in the category. Due to its greater sweetness though, less agave is used compared to the others, so agave actually can reduce caloric consumption per serving. This is due to a higher fructose content. The higher content does not mean higher consumption though, due to the smaller portion used. But, it is not the single serving that matters, it is the number of servings which lead to the overconsumption issues which may result in health concerns.
As a reference point, 9-10 teaspoon servings of agave would be the approximate caloric equivalent of one 16 oz soft drink. With this perspective, is agave really being overconsumed as a choice of sweetener for home use?
Every single health issue which the attackers have tried to associate with agave is really the result of a caloric overconsumption issue. There are no documented issues with normal, moderate consumption of agave or sweeteners in general as part of our everyday diet. For reasons unknown, some have attempted to isolate agave from the real world and real world conditions with the goal of inhibiting agave's use. They play on people's fears, reference false information and fail to address health issues in any meaningful way.
The purpose of this article is to debunk the controversial misinformation surrounding agave. All information debunking the myths and misinformation is based on current science and facts. It is our goal to provide you with useful information so that you can make your personal nutritional choices in a well-informed, science-based manner.
The Agave Controversy: Exposing the fraudulent article by Rami Nagel
By Dr. Susan Kleiner, PhD, RD, FACN, CNS, FISSN
And Craig Gerbore, CEO Madhava
The controversy about agave syrup was manufactured by the publication of a single article on the internet, which has been reproduced and adapted for virtually every other article produced on the internet and other media venues. That article, written by Rami Nagel and published on Naturalnews.com, was highly biased and full of inaccuracies, half-truths and misinformation about agave. Since the Naturalnews.com article has been the sole source of nearly all other popular articles in public media, we want to set the record straight with science-based, reliable information to offer a more balanced resource to those interested in learning more about agave syrup. Who is the author, Rami Nagel?
According to the description on the Naturalnews.com website, Rami Nagel is a "citizen journalist". This means that Mr. Nagel is self-employed, and not employed as an in-house journalist by the website. He wrote and published the article without any editorial or content oversight, and the editor of the website, Mike Adams, makes it clear that the article was not checked for incorrect or inaccurate information or facts. The introduction to the article, written by Mr. Adams, states that readers had written to comment that Mr. Nagel's resources were biased with conflicts of interest due to their financial interests in competing sweeteners, such as brown rice syrup. So even the website editor himself states that the article is not fact-checked, and it is biased and unbalanced.
Who is Russ Bianchi?
The sole resource interviewed for the article is Russ Bianchi, identified by the author as Managing Director and CEO of Adept Solutions, Inc. Mr. Bianchi has clear conflict of interest ties to the sweetener industry. We have documentation of the fact that Mr Bianchi had plans to market a product named Replace. It was to be touted as a low calorie alternative sweetener composed of natural and artificial ingredients! Mr Bianchi was prevented from marketing this sweetener as the result of a lawsuit against him by the owner of the formula.
Mr Bianchi is quoted by Nagel extensively and exclusively. Many, if not all, of his statements are blatantly false or misrepresentations of fact. He is clearly propagandizing against agave nectar.
Was anyone else interviewed for this article?
Yes. Craig Gerbore, president and owner of Madhava Agave Syrup, was extensively interviewed by the author but no parts of that interview were included in the article.
It is important to note that neither Mr Nagel or Mr Bianchi have not made themselves available for questions on their statements since the articles appearance. They remain out of sight and have entirely avoided the controversy their statements created.
What is agave nectar?
The opening line of this paragraph in the article by Mr. Nagel states:
"The principal constituent of the agave is starch, such as what is found in corn or rice."
This is absolutely false. There is no starch in agave. The source of carbohydrate in agave syrup is inulin, a polysaccharide made up primarily of strings of fructose units. Starch is a polysaccharide made up of strings of glucose molecules. They are significantly different, and this difference is why agave syrup is naturally sweet.
The very basis of the argument presented by Mr. Nagel is false.
The agave plant is a succulent, similar to a cactus. The agave sweetener comes from both the Salmiana agave plant and the agave Tequilana (Blue Agave) which are both organically farmed in Mexico and certified organic by USDA approved certifiers. As the salmiana plant grows it produces a stalk called the "quiote" and when this is removed, a natural liquid called "aquamiel". The liquid is collected from the plant, while Blue agave pinons are harvested and shredded to remove the similar juice. Either can be naturally processed thermally or by enzymes into agave nectar.
The juice of the plant is not naturally sweet. The string of connected fructose units that makes up the major proportion of inulin does not have a sweet taste, but when the fructose units are separated (the process is called hydrolysis) by the addition of an enzyme, similar to digestion, or thermally for most blue agave, the syrup becomes quite sweet. That is the entire processing chain for agave nectar. There are no additives, other ingredients or chemicals in Madhava agave nectar. It is absolutely pure and organic and GMO free.
? Mr. Nagel claims that agave syrup is a "refined corn fructose" similar to high fructose corn syrup. This is absolutely false. There is no relationship between agave syrup and high fructose corn syrup in any way, including the source of the product, or the manufacturing process.
? Mr. Nagel refers to a "confidential FDA letter" from Mr. Martin Stutsman, claiming that agave is fraudulently labeled. We contacted Mr. Stutsman at the United States Food and Drug Administration, and his response made it clear that there was never a "confidential FDA letter". He did publish a public letter referenced in an FDA document as "FDA letter from Martin Stutsman to Dr. Eric
Wilhelmsen (Wilhelmsen Consulting), May 8, 2000", regarding evaporated cane juice, a topic wholly unrelated to agave syrup.
? He continued in his response to us that the paragraph in Mr. Nagel's article inaccurately reflected the substance of his comments in the document.
This link will take you to the original document in which the letter was referenced (reference #2):
In fact, Mr. Nagel fabricated the entire story of the letter. Mr. Stutsman is a lawyer, not a doctor. The quotes were completely taken out of context from the document, and the quotes never referred to agave syrup at any time. Nagel goes on to further misrepresent Mr. Stutsman's intent in the published document by weaving in other inaccurate information that is thoroughly unrelated to the original document. Mr Bianchi's subsequent statements on labeling issues are false and without merit.
Mr. Nagel is clearly caught red-handed. He has misrepresented the words of a government official, lied about the facts, and twisted the information to achieve his own agenda. This strategy is repeated throughout the article.
? Mr. Nagel continues his deceptive writing by referring to a quote by the late Dr. Varro Tyler in his book, The Honest Herbal. The first line of the paragraph is a direct quote from the book. Nothing else in that paragraph remotely resembles anything else found in Dr. Tyler's book. Mr. Nagel is trying to claim that agave syrup contains large quantities of saponins, and that they can be harmful to health. Here is the debunking of that paragraph:
1. Dr. Tyler does not include the variety of agave plant used for agave syrup.
2. The entire discussion is about the use of the sword-shaped leaves and the stem. Agave syrup is produced from the natural liquid in the plant. The saponins are isolated from the leaves of the plant.
3. There is no documented evidence to suggest agave syrup contains worrisome levels of saponins and the entire rest of the discussion about health dangers is fabricated and false.
People are going to continue to consume sweet food and drink. There are only three categories of choice to sweeten food. Those are artificial sweeteners, stevia, or caloric sweeteners from natural sources, sugars.
Most people will not choose artificial. Many will not choose stevia. That only leaves the category of sugars. In this group, agave is a good choice due to its organic quality, ease of
use, neutral flavor, low glycemic index and the fact that less is used to equal the sweetness of the others in the category.
The sweeteners in this category are composed of three primary sugars used to sweeten foods: glucose, fructose and sucrose. These sugars belong to a class of compounds known as carbohydrates. "Saccharide" is a term that denotes sugar, or substances derived from sugar. Monosaccharides are simple or single sugars; disaccharides are derived from two joined monosaccharides and when they are hydrolyzed, or separated, they yield two molecules of simple sugar. Strings of more than two sugar molecules are called polysaccharides. This category includes compounds such as starches, cellulose and inulin.
Glucose and fructose are monosaccharides. Glucose and fructose are found abundantly in nature in fruits and plants. Sucrose is the disaccharide formed by the joining of glucose and fructose, also known as table sugar. When comparing their relative sweetness, glucose is the least sweet tasting, sucrose is next, and fructose is the sweetest of the three sugars, measured as 1.4 times sweeter than table sugar. Because it is so sweet, people typically use less fructose when sweetening foods compared to sucrose.
? In the article by Mr. Nagel he states , "fructose is not what is found in fruit. Commonly, fructose is compared with its opposite and truly naturally occurring sweetener, known as ‘levulose' (made by nature)..."
Another fabrication. In fact, levulose is just another name for fructose. There are various nomenclatures used in the scientific naming of compounds. Fructose and levulose are exactly the same thing; the names are interchangeable. It is no different than if you called your father, "dad", and your sibling called your father, "father". He would still be the exact same person. Fructose and levulose are different names for the exact same thing: a sugar found in nature.
Mr. Bianchi also is quoted to say that the body does not recognize the fructose in agave. This is another false piece of propaganda which demonstrates just how far he is reaching. If this were true, it would have no impact on us. He immediately contradicts himself with the claims of detrimental effects caused by the overconsumption of fructose.
Sugars can be compared to each other in their ability to raise blood sugar levels by using the Glycemic Index. The scale is set from zero to 100, where low numbers do not have much impact on blood sugar levels, and high numbers raise blood sugar levels quickly. Fructose is very low on the scale. Because agave syrup is high in fructose, it has a rating of 32 or lower. Honey, which has a higher proportion of glucose to fructose, has a Glycemic Index of 58. Sucrose has a Glycemic Index of 68, and glucose, serving as the index standard, is 100.
All sugars, whether fructose, glucose, sucrose or others, contribute 4 calories per gram to our total diet. 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams = 16 calories
In addition to calories, sugars sweeten our foods offering a desirable taste and adding enjoyment and pleasure to our dining. During cooking and baking, sugars allow for browning and the unique consistencies of syrups, candies, frostings and frozen desserts. The varieties of sugars, such as crystallized table sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, molasses, honey and agave nectar, among others, contribute different properties and flavors to foods.
When you add your own sugar to foods you are in control of how much sugar you use. Most people would never add as much sugar as do the food manufacturers. Moderate amounts of sugar can certainly be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet for an active individual. Natural sugars are easily metabolized and utilized by the body, offering a very efficient source of fuel for physical and mental activity.
Of course, sugars should be used in moderation in the diet. This can control calories and help create a diet that is dense in nutrients.
Impact of sugar on health and disease
? The remainder of Mr. Nagel's article works to link agave syrup with the increased incidence of obesity, diabetes, metabolic disease, and the general rise of morbidity and mortality in the population. This is an overconsumption issue involving far more than the occasional use of agave. Here are the facts:
• Rats that are fed a high fructose diet become obese and will develop the chronic diseases associated with obesity: insulin resistance, diabetes and metabolic disease.
• No one should eat a diet that reflects this type of experimental diet.
• Too much sugar in the diet, whether from fructose, glucose or sucrose, can be unhealthy. Diets high in sugar promote tooth decay and periodontal disease; create an overabundance of calories and a deficit of nutrients. This scenario typically leads to weight gain and the development of chronic disease.
• Active individuals can include a moderate amount of added sugar in their diet without negative health consequences. When calorie intake is balanced with physical activity, sugar serves as an efficient source of fuel for muscles, the brain and the central nervous system.
• According to the World Health Organization (2003), individuals can healthfully include 10% of their daily calories from added sugars. This translates into 200 calories for a 2000 calorie diet, or 12½ teaspoons of added sugar daily. Clearly, one can safely add a couple of teaspoons of sweetener to a cup of tea or coffee, or have a little sweetened food without worrying about their risk of developing disease.
• Agave syrup, which is sweeter than other sugars and low on the Glycemic Index scale, is a good choice to include as one of the added sugars in your diet because you will use less sugar (and therefore fewer calories) and minimally raise blood sugar levels.
Just a teaspoon of agave: the healthy use of sweeteners in your diet
We all want to live healthier and longer lives. Diet and nutrition plays a key role, impacting our health and our ability to perform physically and mentally now and into the future. Food offers us not only sustenance, but also pleasure and enjoyment. Food is present in so many parts of our lives: at celebrations, business events, family events, religious and spiritual occasions, sports outings, the focus of our family meals, intimate dinners, and sometimes just the excuse to socialize.
Sweet foods make us feel good. Sugar allows for the elevation of serotonin in our brains, the "feel good" neurotransmitter that elevates mood, helps us focus, and in the evening, helps us relax and sleep.
Sugar is a source of energy for our muscles, brain and central nervous system. Without sugar our bodies will not function at peak capacity.
Too much sugar, however, is not good. In small amounts sugar energizes us, but in large doses, repeated throughout the day, day in and day out, sugar puts stress on the body. The extra calories can lead to weight gain and obesity, which in time can lead to chronic disease. In the short term, high sugar intakes can lead to a nutritionally deficient diet and a sense of being on an emotional roller coaster.
So be selective about your use of sugars and use them in moderation in your diet. Just like all foods, a variety will enhance the nutritional content of your diet and the flavor and tastes that you can enjoy. Since sugars come in different forms and have different flavors, they can be used most effectively in specific foods and beverages. For instance, agave syrup is liquid and less viscous than honey, making it easy to mix into cold liquids like iced tea and coffee, and is great to add to cold unsweetened cereals for a little sweet taste. Agave's mild flavor allows chefs and bakers to sweeten foods lightly, without overpowering the taste of the dish.
Pay attention to how much sugar is added to your diet every day. Read labels so that you know when sugar is added to manufactured foods. Keep the consumption of added sugars in your diet to no more than 10% of your total daily calorie intake so that you have plenty of room for nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, protein-rich foods, nuts, seeds and healthy oils.
Remember that nutrition is a science based on facts. We are making great advances in our understanding of the science of foods and nutrition. Beware of people with hidden agendas using fear tactics to influence your choices. Don't take their opinion at face value. What are their credentials? What conflicts of interest do they have? If they do not disclose conflicts, then assume that they are manipulating the truth.
Most of all enjoy food. Think about what you need to eat to promote whole health. Don't overindulge, but don't deprive yourself of the bounty of wonderful tastes, either. Use celebrations as occasions to enjoy your favorite foods and try new ones. A teaspoon or two of sugar easily fits into the diet of an active, healthy person. Agave syrup offers an organic low-glycemic choice for those looking for that option.
Resources for this article:
Charley H. Food Science, 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY, 1982.
Figlewicz DP et al. Effect of moderate intake of sweeteners on metabolic health in the rat. Physiology and Behavior 98:618-624, 2009
Johnson RK et al. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, 2009
Tyler VE. The Honest Herbal, Third Edition. Pharmaceutical Products Press, New York, NY, 1993.
Myth: Agave is bad for you because it is high in fructose.
April 08, 2010 04:14 PM
Higher fructose content does not mean higher fructose consumption. Most common sweeteners contain varying amounts of fructose. Fructose is what puts the sweet into sugar sweeteners, glucose is comparatively not sweet. Some sweeteners are sweeter than others. It is the higher fructose content that makes them sweeter. Agave has approximately 1.4 times the sweetening power of white sugar. Because it is sweeter, one adjusts to taste and consequently uses less, and consumes fewer calories in the process. The real issue is overconsumption and making good overall diet choices. It is certainly true that overconsumption of any one or a combination of sugars can have detrimental effects, but this is not in a vacuum, it involves lifestyles, other food choices and other conditions. Overconsumption of any food or beverage will have ramifications. Sweeteners are only ingredients which are added to other foods in relatively small quantity to make them more palatable. Often times the healthier food choices would not be consumed without this palatability obtained from the sweetener. People do not consume sweeteners as a solitary food in mass quantity. They are just part of the choices people make and consumption can be controlled, each of us chooses what we eat and how much. There are no health issues with moderate consumption of sweeteners; every negative circulating is relative to the overall consumption of one’s diet. Moderation in the overall consumption of sweeteners in one’s diet is the important point.
Protect The Liver with Glutathione And Cysteine
April 23, 2009 01:54 PM
The tripeptide L-glutathione is synthesized in the body from L. glutamic acid, L-cysteine and glycine, a reaction that can occur in any cell of the body although it is essential that it also occurs in the liver. Should glutathione concentrations drop, they can be increased by supplementing with cysteine or any other of the three amino acids that are used in the biosynthesis of this important if substance
The tripeptide exists in two forms: the reduced form (GSH) which contains a sulfhydryl (SH) functional group attached to the cysteinyl part of the molecule, and the oxidized form glutathione disulfide (GSSG). As electrons are lost from the reduced form, two molecules combine to create a dimer formed by a disulfide bridge, the process which can be reversed through reduction of the GSSG. Such electrons are lost during its reaction with free radicals, in which the free radicals are neutralized by the donation of an electron from the oxidized version of glutathione.
The definition of a free radical is a molecule that is lacking one electron from an electronic pair. Its prime purpose is then to steal an electron from the nearest molecule to it. In doing so, it can not only destroy that molecule, but also destroy body cells and lead, not only to premature aging, but also to some potentially fatal conditions.
It is an unusual peptide in that it involves a link between the cysteine amino grouping and the carboxyl functional group of the glutamic acid. It is a powerful antioxidant, acting as an effective free radical scavenger and protecting the body cells from the effects of free radical oxidation. However, it is on its detoxification effect in the liver that we shall focus here prior to discussing some other uses to which the body puts glutathione in its two manifestations.
Much of the detoxification is connected with the thiol group in the molecule. Take mercury for example. The thiol grouping forms a strong Hg-sulfydryl chemical bond within the liver, in the form of a glutathione-mercury chelate. In this form mercury is unable to exert any toxic effect on the body and can be excreted in the normal manner. The same reactive pathway is followed by other heavy metals that can bond to thiol groupings. In this way L-glutathione can protect the liver from the effects of a number of toxic heavy metals such as cadmium and chromium.
This is an important property of the amino acid, particularly in industrial and urban environments where the population is more prone to exposure to heavy metals than their rural counterparts. However, the end result on the glutathione is that it is removed from the body, and, particularly with city dwellers, a supplement may be required to maintain a healthy concentration of this amino acid in the body and in particular in the liver. Therefore, although L-glutathione is not considered an essential amino acid, in that it is biosynthesized within the body, a supplement is sometimes required, particularly by those who live in large cities.
It is important to consider the form in which the glutathione supplement is administered. This is because of the presence of gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase within the digestive system. This enzyme appears to destroy L-glutathione before it can be absorbed in the intestine so normal oral forms of supplementation are likely to be ineffective. Possible forms of effective administration include buccal (between the cheek and teeth) and hypodermically.
An alternative means of supplementation is to take substances such as selenium, methionine, alpha-lipoic acid, vitamin C and glutamine that stimulate the biosynthesis of glutathione. Also, since the substance utilizes the raw materials of L-cysteine, glutamic acid and glycine in its intracellular production, supplementation with these amino acids should also help to produce L-glutathione.
That said, let's return to its antioxidant properties and its effect on the liver that contains the largest stocks of glutathione in the body. It is generally regarded as the most important antioxidant in the body. It protects cellular cytoplasm from oxidation by reducing disulfide groups and maintaining a highly reducing environment within the cytoplasm. It reacts with hydrogen peroxide and other oxidative agents, and is converted to the oxidized form GSSG. It is then reduced back to GSH through the combination of the reducing agent and an enzyme. The reducing agent is nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH), the enzyme being glutathione reductase.
The implications that this strong reducing effect has on the liver are significant. Reduced GSH L-glutathione levels have been found in patients suffering from HIV, hepatitis C and other liver diseases. Supplementation with GSH has been found to restore normal levels of glutathione to the liver, and it has been demonstrated that the treatment has improved such conditions significantly.
Atherosclerosis is a condition of the arteries caused by the deposition of plaques formed from oxidized low-density lipoproteins, otherwise known as bad cholesterol. The strong antioxidant effect of GSH prevents this from LDLs from being oxidized and deposited on the arterial wall. There are other results of glutathione supplementation that indicate the effectiveness of antioxidants in the treatment of serious liver conditions, and there are no doubts that combating the effects of free radicals and oxidizing agents within the liver has a positive effect on many potentially serious liver diseases.
Many of these are exacerbated by the generation of free radicals by relatively modern pollution sources such as pesticides, petrol and diesel emissions, tobacco fumes and various other chemical emissions. A strong antioxidant such as L-glutathione cannot be anything other than an effective means of reducing the biological effect of these oxidants. It protects not only the liver but also the lungs and cardiovascular system.
For all these reasons a supplement consisting of L-glutathione or its constituent parts, glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine, provide significant protection against the stresses and strains of modern living. Increased pollution levels and heightened oxidative stress levels within the body are playing havoc with our body defenses, and GSH is an important one of them that can easily be enhanced by supplementation. There are no known reactions to L-glutathione supplementation, but pregnant women and babies should receive expert medical advice prior to taking it.
January 29, 2009 03:52 PM
Some companies are already manufacturing a blend of cheaper ingredients with hoodia, and claiming it is better than hoodia alone. This means that you might find a product that contains 1,000 mg of total ingredients, but it could contain as little as 50 mg of hoodia. As a general rule, the other ingredients are only included to make the product cheaper. All hoodia supplies are the same strength worldwide. The stems of the plant are picked, dried, and milled, leaving a powder about 5 percent of the original weight, which is why some quote it as a 20:1 extract. However, don’t be misled. Despite what a label may lead you to believe, you’re only getting 50 mg of hoodia.
The minimum dosage that is necessary to have a usable effect is about 800 to 1,200 mg of actual hoodia each day. This amount will help to reduce your appetite so that you can eat smaller meals and, consequently, lose weight. If you think you’d like to try hoodia, look for a product that has been naturally extracted and grown or ethically wild crafted without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or preservatives, preferably in a vegetarian capsule.
Make sure that the product you use is a true standardized full-spectrum herbal supplement that does not include any fillers, binders, or common allergens. Also, keep in mind that even though safety reports to date are encouraging, no long-term safety studies have been performed. Additionally, there is no data on the possible interactions hoodia may have with other drugs.
Hoodia is a non-stimulating herb, which makes it more suitable for a large range of people. Herbal stimulants such as guarana or kola nut, which both contain caffeine, can cause a large range of side effects such elevated heart rate and blood pressure, nervousness, and sleeplessness. P57, the active ingredient in hoodia, has no sedative effects.
Losing weight and maintaining an ideal weight also requires changing attitude and lifestyle. If your main goal is to quickly lose weight so you can fit into your bathing suit, you may be able to achieve that lighter weight, but without exercise, you’re still going to look flabby. Even though the subjects in the hoodia clinical study did not exercise, you should, as exercise plays an important role in losing and managing weight along with overall health.
Weight loss should be about your overall health. Without the proper eating habits, especially nutrition and exercise, you won’t be able to accomplish much. It’s true that less weight puts less stress on your cardiovascular system, but you need to exercise to strengthen your heart muscles. Proper nutrition and exercise also helps to prevent many other health problems, which includes fighting off many digestive ailments.
If you’re considering trying hoodia for weight loss, experts suggest that you supplement with 800 to 1,200 mg a day, divided into two doses and taken with water. For best results, follow the manufacturer’s dosage instructions since products may vary. You should also follow a reduced-calorie diet of natural, unprocessed foods. Even though you can probably lose weight on a diet like this without supplementing with hoodia, adding hoodia may help you to stick to your diet better.
Potassium And Magnesium
December 30, 2008 01:08 PM
Potassium and magnesium are the two most common minerals found within the cells of your body. They each have specific individual functions within your body, and together help to maintain the correct balance of electrolytes and the proper functioning of smooth and striated muscles. That includes allowing muscles to relax properly rather than to cramp.
Before discussing this, let's have a look at the major individual properties of these two metallic minerals with respect to the body's biochemistry.
Magnesium is needed to ensure the proper functioning of the sodium/potassium pump. This is a complex topic, and we shan't dwell on it at length here, although the basics are that it is responsible for the movement of ions into and out of cells. Sodium and potassium ions are moved in opposite directions across the cell plasma membrane, three sodium ions being pumped out for every two potassium ions pumped into the cell.
This is of particular importance to nervous cells responsible for transmitting impulses in response to specific stimuli. In the event of a magnesium deficiency, this pumping action is impaired and the sodium/potassium balance within and without the body cells are imbalanced. This in turn impairs the response of nerve cells to stimuli. Both magnesium and potassium can be depleted through the use of diuretics, in which case a magnesium supplement can redress the imbalance.
There are several consequences of such an electrolytic imbalance, some having potentially serious consequences. Many can cause death if left untreated, although the symptoms usually allow appropriate medical treatment prior to the condition becoming fatal, such treatment frequently involving administration of magnesium and potassium. Among these are:
Calcium overload in certain heart cells that reduces the effective use of oxygen and ATP and causes overactive contraction of the heart muscle.
Spasms in coronary blood vessels.
Over-activity of the striated muscle fibers, leading to cramps in the calf and thigh muscles, for example.
Cramp and pain in the smooth muscles of hollow organs such as the bladder or uterus that can also cause premature labor.
Several heart problems caused by an increase in energy consumption and a calcium overload and potassium deficiency that leads to cardiac ischemia and arrhythmia that continue to create a serious medical condition and hazard to life. Potassium, that can stop the heart if given in excess, can be just as harmful if present in too small a concentration.
The whole situation creates a self-perpetuating cycle that can be broken by a magnesium and potassium supplement that restores the correct gradient of potassium and magnesium across the cell membrane, improves the function of the sodium/potassium pump and reduces the excess cellular calcium by replacing it with magnesium.
This only works if both potassium and magnesium are taken together: just either alone is no good. It also takes time for the effect to occur, so the supplement is not suitable for emergency use. A regular supply can prevent the condition occurring.
There are many other properties that magnesium and potassium possess with regard to the body's biochemistry such as the effect of magnesium in activating certain enzymes. However, in discussing relaxation, both of these essential minerals have a significant part to play.
It has been mentioned that a magnesium and calcium deficiency causes spasms and cramps in the smooth and striated muscles, and the corollary is also true. Magnesium and potassium can be used to relieve such cramps, and relax muscle tissue. Hence, because it can relax excited smooth bronchial muscle tissue, magnesium can be used to relieve asthma attacks. The intravenous administration of magnesium is, in fact, an accepted and proven clinical treatment for acute asthma attacks.
In the same way, magnesium has been used to treat muscle spasms and cramps. Again, it is not an immediate treatment for emergency use, but can be used over a period of days to treat athletes with a history of muscle spasms. Such spasm frequently occur after prolonged periods of exercise, when magnesium and potassium, among other electrolytes, can be lost through a combination of sweating and urination.
However, this is not the only means by which magnesium is lost from your body cells, and probably not even the main one. Less obvious, but likely of more importance, is the transfer of magnesium from the plasma into the red blood cells (erythrocytes). The amount by which this occurs is directly proportional to the more anaerobic the exercise, hence the need by athletes and weightlifters for more magnesium. It can be rapidly lost through exercise with insufficient oxygen, and cause their muscles to cramp up.
Magnesium deficiency is common in Americans, although factors such as high calcium intake, alcohol intake, diuretics, and kidney and liver disease are more responsible for this than a dietary deficiency. Potassium is readily available in bananas, brown rice, potatoes, tomatoes and oranges and dietary deficiencies are not common although supplements are readily available.
Magnesium is also known to play an important part in the secretion and use of insulin by the body. Supplementation with magnesium can help diabetics to make best use of insulin, become more tolerant to glucose and improve the fluidity of the membrane of red blood cells. The mineral; also has a small but definite effect in lowering blood pressure. Other uses for magnesium supplements include congenital heart failure, where higher magnesium contents lead to greater life expectancy and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) where magnesium supplements can significantly increase energy levels.
Other uses to which your body puts potassium other than to allow proper muscle contraction and relaxation and to maintain the balance of electrolytes in the body, includes the function of brain and nerve neurons. This, however, is academic since should your potassium levels drop by 50%, death would result.
Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium are essential in maintaining the proper workings of your body cells, although the most visible effect of magnesium and potassium is their relaxation properties on the body, put to specific use by sportsmen and women, particularly those involved in the more anaerobic sports.
Vitamin D 1000 IU
October 14, 2008 11:58 AM
Throughout the past few years, vitamin D has rightly gained a lot of overdue respect for the various health benefits that is provides to those throughout the world. However, many of us continue to fall short of the adequate intake of this nutrient as a result of many lifestyle choices. Although it’s important to use it, sunscreen is one of the main culprits contributing to vitamin D inefficiency because it blocks the skin’s ability to make vitamin D during sun exposure. Adding to the problem is the fact that we need even more of this vitamin than we previously thought.
The need for vitamin D is higher than ever, the general population’s adherence to the advice to stay out of the sun or apply sunscreen when outside has inadvertently contributed to 65 to 85 percent of American adults having a vitamin D deficiency. Actually, diet and sun sources of vitamin D are so inadequate that Robert P. Heaney, MD, a bone-mineral specialist and professor at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, urges all adults to supplement about 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day. So if you run low on vitamin D, what’s the problem? For starters, vitamin D deficiency puts your bone health in danger and increases your risk of rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, glucose intolerance, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, and type II diabetes. Additionally, vitamin D is underappreciated for its crucial role in preventing osteoporosis. Since vitamin D is necessary for the efficient absorption of calcium, the principal bone mineral, if you’re planning on getting enough calcium in your body and keep it there, then it is necessary that you have enough vitamin D in your body.
If that isn’t enough motivation to cause you to consider vitamin D supplementation, consider the fact that new research has found that supplementing with vitamin D also prolongs life. Upon reviewing data from 57,000 people involved in 18 different trials, researchers at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France have found that supplementing with vitamin D lowers the risk of death by 7 percent. These trials used vitamin D supplements ranging from 300 to 2,000 IU per day, with the average being approximately 528 IU.
Several experts, those including doctor Robert P. Heaney, MD, are calling for an increase in vitamin D intake for all adults. A good supplement amount of vitamin D is 1,000 to 2,000 IU per day. This amount is safe for everyone, and, considering the importance of vitamin D and the affordability of the supplement, you can’t afford not to do it. The benefits of supplementing with vitamin D far outweigh any costs that are incurred in the purchase of the product. Vitamin D products are sold at many health food stores around the world. To learn more information about the many benefits of vitamin D and its great effects on the body, as well as the results of vitamin D deficiency, don’t hesitate to contact your local health food store.
June 19, 2008 04:06 PM
Many natural health practitioners are looking at chitin as a possible weight-loss tool in a diet program. While still under study, proponents of it have helped this natural product and formulations made from it popular. Those seeking to lose weight efficiently are buying this product in droves. Manufacturers and marketers of chitin have seen great sales growth in Japan and the United States in recent years.
Chitin is a positively charged polysaccharide that comes from an animal source. This source is shellfish in the form of shrimp, crab and lobster. A polysaccharide is a string of sugar molecules found in the outer shell of these crustaceans. Chitin is also found in marine coral and the outer shells of certain insects, such as beetles and ants. Chitin shares chemical similarities with cellulose and starch, which are plant fibers.
The weight-loss benefits of chitin are in its binding properties. Some researchers believe that the positively charged polysaccharides attract negatively charged bile acids and free fatty acids. These acids are now bound by the positively charged chitin and therefore are not absorbed into a person's system. The result is the prevention of an increase in dietary fat, which puts the pounds on a person's frame.
Some evidence from studies does suggest that chitin breaks down in the stomach and changes to a gel. Some researchers believe this is where the binding takes place as this gel traps fats and cholesterols. This process is believed to occur in the intestine, where chitin prevents the fat from becoming absorbed and digested.
All types of fiber are beneficial for preventing the absorption of fat into the body, at least to some degree. Studies show that chitin, as an amino polysaccharide fiber may do this to a greater degree. Some proponents believe chitin has the capacity to expel up to four times its weight in fat. Some claim it binds 10 times its weight in fat and does this better than any other kind of fiber.
Some believe chitin works best when used in conjunction with a high-fat meal. If it's going to be one of those high-fat intake days, they say taking chitin can help you counter the fat. Taking chitin may help bind the fat molecules and take them through your system until they're eliminated. However, chitin does not bind carbohydrates, protein, or alcohol. Over-indulgence in them, even with chitin added to your diet, may mean you will still put on weight.
Because chitin is a non-digestible, non-absorbable fiber, it acts as a carrier. It doesn't absorb into your body as other foods can. It helps carry harmful fats away through its binding capabilities before they have a chance to settle in. Studies suggest chitin may do this and help improve blood cholesterol levels as it goes about its work.
Chitin is a calorie-free fiber supplement. A product that is abundantly available, it is even used in food manufacturing as an edible film to protect foods from spoiling. It is often found at a reasonable cost and is a product known for having few side effects. One caveat with chitin is that those allergic to shellfish should not consume chitin. In addition, pregnant women should not take chitin products because of a possible reduction in calcium and vitamin D absorption. Of course, any weight-loss program needs to rely on healthy foods and exercise in addition to any weight-loss supplements. It's all part of an overall healthy approach to losing weight.
Along with its possible benefits as a weight-loss tool chitin has other benefits. It is used in the manufacture of surgical thread. Being biodegradable, it dissolves over time as a wound heals. It also has properties that allow for its use as a wound-healing agent.
Studies continue in the uses of chitin as a weight-loss product. As a natural product, readily available, diet supplement manufacturers strive to make innovative products from it. Their focus is to further research chitin so they can use it to help those striving to take control of their weight.
Biotin For Better Health!
April 14, 2008 12:42 PM
Biotin is one of the B vitamins, known as vitamin B7 and also, for some reason, vitamin H. If you have a deficiency of this vitamin you will know about it because it makes you bald. So keep up your vitamin B7 intake girls!
However, this should not be difficult since it is contained in cooked egg white (not raw), tomatoes, chard, onions, cabbage, strawberries, walnuts, halibut, carrots, liver, brewers yeast and cucumber to name but a few of the many sources. It makes sense that it has so many sources because biotin is essential for many of the biochemical reactions that take place continuously in your body.
It is contained in raw eggs, but is bound too tightly to the protein to be available to your body. It has to be cooked before the bond is broken sufficiently to render it bioavailable.
Included in these is the all-important Krebs cycle that releases energy from food. It is necessary for the growth of your body cells, for the metabolism of the fats you consume and for the biosynthesis of the fatty acids that are eventually converted to proteins and then the DNA that is essential for life. In other words, without biotin we would not be here.
However, do not get overly worried about the necessity of biotin in your diet, since the same applies to all of the other vitamins you consume. That is what vitamins are chemicals that have been identified ages ago as being essential to life. Without vitamins we could not survive which is why the vitamin supplement industry is so strong and healthy.
So, what does biotin do specifically, other than being necessary for some of the essential biochemical processes in your body? These tend to look after themselves, so what are the physical attributes that biotin provides for you? The name should give you a clue. In fact it should be familiar since it is one of the more commonly mentioned ingredients of hair care products: “Biotin for Healthy Hair” - ring a bell?
Although a deficiency of biotin is rare with a healthy balanced diet, it can happen, and when it does your first sign might be your skin drying out, your cholesterol levels will increase, you will feel continually tired and depressed with a poor appetite and you will be nauseous. You will also frequently vomit, which puts the icing on the cake of a set of very undesirable symptoms. It is important, then, that you do not suffer from a deficiency of biotin, vitamin B7 or vitamin H, whatever you want to call it, and is why many people take a supplement just to make sure.
This is normally taken as part of a general B complex supplement or even a general multivitamin supplement, since almost everybody has no idea what this vitamin is and why it is so necessary for your continued health. So let's have a look at why biotin is so important, with specific reference to your hair, skin and nails. However, we shall also examine its deeper biochemical uses and explain why it is such an essential vitamin.
With regard to biotin supplements in hair preparations, it benefit’s by helping one grow thicker hair, symptoms of a deficiency is brittle hair. If you are deficient, you will lose your eyelashes and eyebrows in addition to your hair, depending on the severity of your deficiency. As stated, however, that is particularly rare. The biotin content of shampoos is likely useless since it is not absorbed through the skin.
What it does in the diet, however, is to thicken the nails and also the hair fiber giving it a fuller appearance, so that you appear to have more hair than you actually have. It also increases the flexibility of the hair, skin and nails rendering them less brittle and less liable to breaking and scaling. However, as previously stated if you eat a good balanced diet you should avoid these problems, although a vitamin B complex supplement will do the job just as well.
So what else does vitamin B7 do for you? Lots in fact, so let's have a look at the more important of them starting with the function of your body cells in the production of energy. Biotin takes part in the Citric Acid Cycle, otherwise known as the Krebs Cycle, whereby energy is created by the conversion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins into carbon dioxide and water. It is one of the essential metabolic pathways of life, and biotin is needed to recharge the Krebs cycle with metabolites when mitochondria become deficient in these essential components.
Without them you would begin to feel tired and lack energy, and this would get increasingly worse without a biotin supplement. It is amazing that your energy is created in the mitochondria which are a part of the tiny cells that make up the tissue of your body, and equally amazing that it depends upon, among other substances, a vitamin of which very few people are even aware of.
In spite of any other effect biotin has on your body, including providing healthy hair, skin and nails, its primary role in your body is in the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates into a form that can be used by your body for the production of energy. Biochemically, it functions as a coenzyme, which is a molecule needed to help an enzyme do its work. In fact an alternative name give to biotin is Coenzyme R.
It helps in the biochemical conversion of sugars to energy, and is a component of enzymes such as pyruvate carboxylase. That enzyme is protein contained within the mitochondria that contains a biotin prosthetic group, without which it could not function to help the body to generate energy during exercise. Suffice it to say that without biotin you would find it difficult to generate energy, especially when the demand for it is at its highest.
Biotin's biochemical role is not restricted to energy production however, and it is involved in the biochemical synthesis of amino acids and also of glucose from other sugars. Glucose is the main blood sugar that is manufactured in the body from the other saccharides that you eat, such as fructose.
A reasonable level of supplementation to ensure that you do not suffer from a deficiency is around 100 micrograms daily, although up to 5 milligrams (5000 mcg) are safe for the treatment of brittle nails or hair loss. Much depends on age and it is best taken as a vitamin B complex supplement, since the B vitamins appear to give best results as a team!
So, while you can have healthy hair, skin and nails with biotin, without it you will have no energy and likely have no need for your hair, skin and nails!
Exotic Herbs From The Amazon Basin
June 22, 2007 05:07 PM
Although many traditional herbal medicines have yet to find complete scientific corroboration in the West, it follows logically that people wouldn't use an herbal product for centuries if it didn't work.
Many of the popular herbs we all recognize as having great health benefits were only recently considered pretty exotic. Even green tea - a staple in China for centuries -has only lately gone main stream.
So it will likely be with herbs from the Amazon basin and its environs. The Amazon basin is one of the most bountiful environments on the planet. Explorers and botanists from the West have looked to this region for generations for the "next big thing." Of course, in many cases, the "next big thing" has already been in use for centuries.
In this issue of Ask the Medicine Hunter, we're going to look at some energizing and life- stimulating herbs that also happen to have great antioxidant properties, too. Best yet, many of them are available to us here from companies that practice fair trade policies.
Let's take a look at some of the herbal powerhouses coming out of the Amazon (and its nearby neighborhoods):
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) has been cultivated for a long time at least 2000 years. Related to brassica family plants like radishes, mustard and cabbage, its foliage does actually look somewhat radish-like, but grows close to the ground.
Maca is cultivated by the Andean people in Peru's central highlands, and contains a plethora of beneficial compounds that enhance overall health and vitality. The tradition of cultivating maca is an old one some strains have been found in Incan sites that date from 1600 B.C. During early European colonization, maca was used by the local native culture as a form of currency, much of the way cocoa was used by the Aztecs, further north in pre-Columbian Mexico.
Maca thrives in high altitudes - between 10,000 and 16,000 feet. The harsher the conditions, the better it grows, or so it seems. In fact, efforts to grow the plant in Central Europe haven't been as successful - maca seems to enjoy its home turf the best. In Peru, maca is a popular and beloved nutrient-packed superfood, and is commonly powdered and mixed into drinks at roadside stands throughout the Andes.
Q. I've heard of maca being used for healthy libido - are there any other benefits?
A. Maca is a natural energizer, and although it is recognized for it's libido enhancing abilities, it has other uses, too, acting as an adaptogen - similar to rhodiola or ginseng. In fact, in South America, maca is known as "Peruvian Ginseng." Though maca is not ginseng at all, some of the benefits of both plants are similar.
In any event, maca is recommended for boosting the immune system, menopause support, and hormonal balance in general. For daily use, maca is most recognized as a great source of energy and all-day endurance. Alkaloids from maca root may be partially responsible for both maca's energizing and libido boost. Research shows that maca affects the hypothalamic-pituitary (HPA) axis - boosting energy and overall aphrodisiac prowess in men and women. Maca contains novel compounds called macamides and macaenes, which have been proven in animal studies to significantly enhance energy, stamina and sexual function reasons people have been so consuming maca for 2000 years.
There are other serious reasons why maca is such an excellent plant. One group of compounds in maca is the isothiocyanates-aromatics constituents that are responsible for the "hotness" of mustards and radishes - fellow members of the brassica family. Isothiocyanates from other members of the brassica family may reduce the risk of breast and stomach cancer. Although the same constituents specifically from maca haven't beentested, it's plausible that they could have the same effects.
Q. I've heard a little about guarana extracts - is it just caffeine?
A. Guarana is widely loved for its mild stimulating effect, which is due to caffeine. But this is by no means this Amazonian herb's sole beneficial compound. Guarana (Paullinia cupana) is so logically ingrained in the culture of Brazil that it's practically a rival (actually out-sells) Coca-Cola in its soft-drink form. Like many other indigenous herbs, guarana was in use locally well before European settlement. Its Latin name comes fromthe German botanist C.F. Paullini, who first encountered the herb in the 1700s. This evergreen vine typically climbs fairly far up the Brazilian forest trees. The seed is the part that gets used. In one clinical study, guarana boosted the memory alertness of participants, even when the caffeine level per dose was a low 9 mg., as compared with approximately 100 mg for a cup of coffee. This effect suggests that other agents than caffeine contribute to a feeling of well being.
Guarana also contains powerful antioxidants including catechin, epicatechin and proanthocyanidins, which protect cells against destruction from free radicals, and impart benefits to the body's tissues and blood. The small seed of this plant is powerful in its health benefits.
Catuaba (Erythroxylum catuaba) is a common tree found in South America from Brazil to Peru, in the same genus as the coca plant. Catuaba contains components known as alkaloids. These alkaloids (called catuabine A, B, and C) are probably responsible for themental boost most people get when they take catuabe-based supplements or mixes.
There may be little confusion regarding catuaba, because various species and genus typesuse the common name. As a result, "catuaba" gets bandied around a lot, and one person'scatuaba may not be the next. Read labels carefully. The catuaba I've had the best luck with is Erythroxylum catuaba.
One of my favorite drinks in the world is coffee, and I'm sure at many people reading thisconsider it the essential part of their morning, too.
The part of coffee that we use the most is the seed of the coffee fruit - which appears as a bright, red berry. Most of the time, this fruit is sloughed off and left behind in the process of making coffee - it's really too delicate to last long in hot conditions.
But advances in technology have tapped a previously discarded resource. Though the fruit of coffee is available in any coffee-growing economy, a high antioxidant commercial extract of "coffee cherry" is now available from the fruits of coffee plants in Mexico.
Coffee fruit has many of the attributes of other dark-colored, anthcyanin-rich fruits. Coffee fruit (also referred to as "coffee cherry") appears not to be just another antioxidant, however. Current research on this once-forgotten, former castoff shows impressive abilities to decrease tumor size, and possibly even prevent their formation in the first place. It seems that the elements in coffee berry activate T-lymphocytes in such a way that mammary tumors are shrunk or simply put on hold. It will be fascinating to see how this science plays out.
Muira Puama Bark:
Muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides) grows between 15 to 45 feet high. Native to theAmazon basin of Brazil, the dried bark has been used for centuries as a traditional energysupport. Components include beta-sitosterol, campesterol and lupeol.
Muira puama, like other central nervous stimulants has been researched lately for its ability to boost memory retrieval and protect neural (brain) tissue. Who knows? Maybe this traditional ingredient could someday be on the cutting edge of natural medicines fighting Alzheimer's, much the way green tea and turmeric are currently. In one unpublished French study of 262 men with low libido and poor erectile function, 62% experienced significant improvement after taking an extract of Muira puama for two weeks.
Acai (Euterpe acai) berry is a traditional favorite (and readily available) food source for people in the Amazon. The tree is a tall-growing palm with berries that provide - a rich source of anthocyanins, potent purple pigments with extraordinary high antioxidant activity.
Once harvested, acai fruits decay rapidly. As with coffee fruits, special processing is the surest way to make certain the nutrients of acai berry make it to those of us outside the Amazon basin.
However, these wonderful fruits not only fight against free radical damage, but help our natural digestive enzymes and boost natural immune defenses, too. In fact, current research is investigating whether compounds in acai may have a fighting effect on leukemia, too. So far, the results have been very positive.
Look for supplements made using organically-grown, fair trade acai berry. The best companies ensure that the local people harvesting acai and the communities where they live gather more than just short-term benefits. The best companies work not just to provide jobs, but better lives for generations to come.
Q. What is sustainability and fair trade, anyway?
A. Sustainability refers to a set of naturally occurring circumstances, or intentionally designed practices and principles, which ensure that all parts or members of a situation are adequately nourished to promote their healthy continuance. In current parlance, sustainability often refers to practices and programs designed and implemented to keep natural systems healthy and flourishing. Many such programs focus on environmental protection and preservation of traditional cultures. In the world of medicinal plants, sustainable practices include organic agriculture, species management, fair trade, and benefit-sharing programs.
In other words, sustainability pays people fair wages, puts resources back into their communities, and ensures that the resources that benefit us all are going to be around for a long time. It is an earth-friendly, people-friendly concept of commerce that happily, is taking root around the world.
The traditional cultures that use - and have used - these ingredients for generations wouldn't have done so if they hadn't been effective. Fortunately we live in an era when formerly locally-used herbs are now available far beyond their previous range. We are also fortunate to have companies and individuals working hard to make sure that the people who tend and care for these precious resources are paid fairly for their efforts, andthat their families and communities benefit from this commerce as well.
The great thing about using traditional herbs and ingredients that have been gathered in this manner is that you know they'll be around for a long time.
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
March 28, 2007 10:29 AM
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) affects about 65 million Americans, or about 1 in 3 adults. There are many potential causes of hypertension, but not necessarily any symptoms. In fact, 30% of the people who have high blood pressure don’t even realize it.
In other words, just because you don’t have symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have high blood pressure. That’s why it’s called “The Silent Killer.” And, make no mistake about it: high blood pressure is dangerous. It is the number one modifiable cause of stroke. Just lowering blood pressure reduces the chance of stroke by 35 to 40 percent. Other conditions, including heart attack and heart failure can be reduced from 25 to 50 percent, respectively.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we’re going to talk about high blood pressure and an exciting natural treatment for lowering blood pressure safely and effectively.
Of course, changing blood pressure numbers depends, in a large part, on the choices we make every day – how much we exercise, the foods we eat, and our lifestyle overall. But, for those times we need extra help, there is a new, scientifically-studied supplement to help us along our path to better health and lower blood pressure.
Blood pressure guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Q. What exactly is blood pressure?
A. Blood pressure is divided into two parts, systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the pressure of the heart beating. Diastolic is the pressure of the heart and vessels filling. When blood pressure numbers are written out, like “120/80,” 120 is the systolic pressure and 80 is the diastolic pressure. The unit of measurement for blood pressure is millimeters of mercury, written as “mm/Hg.”
Q. What is considered high blood pressure?
A. A person’s blood pressure can naturally vary throughout the day – even between heartbeats.
However, if the numbers are consistently high (over 120 systolic and 80 diastolic), after multiple visits to your healthcare practitioner, you may have either pre-hypertension or high blood pressure.
Young arteries and arteries that are kept young through healthy diet and exercise are typically more elastic and unclogged. Blood flows through them easily and without much effort. However, as we age, our arteries become more prone to plaque buildup (due to diets high in saturated fat and sedentary lifestyles) and don’t “flex” as well under pressure. The result is faster blood flow, all the time. Over the long term, it damages heart tissue, arteries, kidney and other major organs.
To get a better idea of high blood pressure, compare your arteries to a garden hose. When unblocked, a garden hose allows water to flow through it quickly and easily – without any real rush or stress. However, if you block the end of the hose with your thumb, closing it off even a little, water rushes out much more quickly.
For many years, high diastolic pressure was considered even more of a threat than high systolic pressure. That thinking has changed somewhat but high diastolic numbers could still mean organ damage in your body – especially for individuals under 50.
Q. What courses high blood pressure?
A. The reasons for hypertension aren’t always clear. However, there are lifestyle factors that contribute to high blood pressure that you can change:
Body type: Weight isn’t always a reliable indicator of whether or not you’ll have high blood pressure – but the type of weight is. Lean body mass – muscle – doesn’t increase blood pressure levels the way that fat can. However, fat body mass, especially fat around your middle, can contribute to high blood pressure.
Sedentary lifestyle: Too often, many of us sit down all day at work, and then sit down all night at home. Over time, this inactivity usually leads to weight gain, making the heart work harder to pump blood through the body. In a way, it almost seems contradictory, but inactivity usually leads to higher heart rates.
Sodium intake: Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much salt there is in processed foods. However, salt intake in itself is not necessarily bad. For people with a history of congestive heart failure, ischemia, and high blood pressure, sodium is definitely out. For those individuals, it leads to more water retention, which increases blood pressure. (Salt’s effect on water retention is one reason that so many sports drinks have fairly high sodium content – the sodium in the drink prevents your body from sweating out too much water.) But, for healthy individuals, moderate salt intake, especially a mixed mineral salt like sea salt or Celtic salt (good salt should never be white) is fine.
Low potassium intake: Unlike sodium, potassium is a mineral which most Americans get too little of. Potassium helps regulate the amount of sodium in our cells, expelling excess amounts through the kidneys. Low levels of this mineral can allow too much sodium to build up in the body.
Heavy alcohol intake: Having three or more alcoholic drinks a day (two or more for women) nearly doubles an individual’s chance of developing high blood pressure. Over time, heavy drinking puts a lot of stress on the organs, including the heart, liver, pancreas and brain.
Unhealthy eating: Eating a lot of processed or fatty foods contributes to high blood pressure. Adapting a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, fish, nuts and magnesium and potassium (like the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, known as the “DASH” diet) can bring it back down.
Smoking: If you smoke, stop. Smoking damages the heart and arteries – period. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, increases heart rate, and raises blood pressure. This in turn, increases hormone production and adrenaline levels, further stressing the body.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces the oxygen in the blood, making the heart work even harder to make up the difference. Since the effect of a single cigarette can last for an hour, smoking throughout the day leads to continuously revved-up blood pressure.
Some of these factors might sound like a lot to overcome. The important thing to remember is that all of these behaviors are changeable. If you have high blood pressure, modifying any of these can significantly lower blood pressure as part of an overall plan.
Q. What are the blood pressure numbers I should see?
A. Experts consider healthy blood pressure numbers to be 115/75 mm/Hg. The reason? They found that the risk of cardiovascular disease doubles at each increment of 20/10 mmHg over 115/75 mm/Hg. Even small jumps in blood pressure numbers increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Q. Okay, so other than diet, exercise and lifestyle changes are there other natural ways or supplements I can use to lower my blood pressure?
A. Yes, in fact, you hear about some of them in the news all the time – fish oil, CoQ10, and garlic. As effective as these symptoms are, they typically lower systolic pressure much more than diastolic pressure.
However, there is a blend of scientifically and clinically studied natural ingredients that lower high blood pressure separately, and work even better when they’re combined. This combination blend contains: dandelion leaf extract, lycopene, stevia extract, olive leaf extract and hawthorn extract.
Every one of these ingredients has been studied and recommended for years. But now, a scientific study on a supplement that combines them in one synergistic formula shows encouraging results for lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Let’s take a look at each:
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) originated in
The leaf of stevia is considered the medicinal part of the plant. Research shows that extracts of the leaf relax arteries and help prevent the buildup of calcium on artery walls – keeping them healthy and reducing blood pressure.
In a long-term, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. On average, participants’ blood pressure reduced from baseline 150 mm/Hg to 140 mm/Hg systolic and 95 mm/Hg to 89 mm/Hg diastolic.
And, in another double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia lowered blood pressure quite significantly – by an average of 14 millimeters of mercury in both systolic and diastolic readings. Those are impressive numbers!
Despite its role as a sweetener, stevia may have a side benefit to for those with hypertension – blood sugar regulation. Scientific studies show that extracts of stevia regulated blood sugar and reduced blood pressure.
A clinical study showed that stevia extract actually improved glucose tolerance by decreasing plasma glucose levels during the test and after overnight fasting in all participants. Regulating blood sugar is very important for those with high blood pressure. When blood sugar levels are high, blood vessels are inflamed. Many people with diabetes have high blood pressure as well. In a paired, cross-over clinical study, stevioside (one of the compounds in stevia) reduced glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. It shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. Its shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes as well as hypertension.
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp. Oxycantha) has been used since ancient ties as a medicinal herb – even being mentioned by the Greek herbalist Dioscorides, in the first century AD. Traditionally, it has generally been used for support of the heart. Modern research points to bioflavonoid-like complexes in hawthorn leaf and flower that seem to be most responsible for its benefits on cardiac health, like blood vessel elasticity.
The bioflavonoids found in hawthorn include oligomeric procyanidins, vitexin, quercetin, and hyperoside. They have numerous benefits on the cardiovascular system. Hawthorn can improve coronary artery blood flow and the contractions of the heart muscle. Scientific studies show that the procyanidins in hawthorn are responsible for its ability to make the aorta and other blood vessels more flexible and relaxed, so that blood pumps more slowly and with less effort – sparing the cardiovascular system such a hard workout.
The procyanidins in hawthorn also have antioxidant properties – protecting against free radical cellular damage.
And, hawthorn may also inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme. Angiotensin-converting enzyme is responsible for retaining sodium and water, and may have roots in our evolutionary development. It influences blood vessel contraction and dilation, sodium and water balance and heart cell development – just about everything that has to do with blood pressure. This may have developed as a way of dealing with periods of drought and stress. By narrowing the blood vessels, the body could guarantee an adequate supply of blood and focus on repairing tissue.
Unfortunately, that can lead to real problems these days. Since many of us live in an industrialized society, and frequently have pretty sedentary lifestyles, conserving sodium just makes the conditions for high blood pressure that much worse.
Like the other ingredients in this combination, hawthorn showed benefits on other body systems, too. In clinical and scientific studies, it not only lowered blood pressure, but also showed anti-anxiety properties and regulated blood sugar.
Olive leaf extract:
Olive leaf (Olea europaea) comes up again and again in scientific and clinical studies as having beneficial effects on hypertension. One of olive leaf’s most beneficial compounds is oleuropein – the same compound that makes olive oil so helpful in reducing blood pressure. Here again, we have to look at the traditional Mediterranean diet, which features voluminous use of olives and olive oil. Not surprisingly, blood pressure is generally much lower in Greek and Italian populations.
But it’s not just the diet – scientific studies showed that oleuropein lowered blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and prevented buildup of plaque in arteries. Plus, whether in olive leaf extract or in olive oil, oleuropein works as an antioxidant, too.
Dandelion leaf extract:
Dandelion (Taraxacum offinale) leaves provide a healthy supply of vitamins, much like spinach. In fact, although it has become the bane of North American gardeners and lawn owners, dandelion greens are a component of many gourmet salads.
Medicinally, dandelion has been used for centuries, dating back to ancient
They are a very rich source of vitamin A, and contain vitamin D, vitamin C, carious B vitamins, iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc and manganese, too. Dandelion leaves produce a diuretic effect in the body, similar to a prescription drug. Since one of dandelion leaf’s traditional uses was the treatment of water retention, it’s really not too surprising. Dandelion leaf is also rich in potassium – one of the vital minerals many Americans lack in their diet. So, even though it may act as a diuretic, it replaces more potassium than the body expels.
The diuretic effect of dandelion can relieve hypertension by drawing excess water and sodium from the body and releasing it through the kidneys as urine. Getting rid of extra water and sodium allows the blood vessels to relax – lowering blood pressure.
If a nutrient can be called exciting, lycopene is it. Lycopene is found mostly in tomatoes and processed tomato products, like pasta and pizza sauce. Related to beta-carotene lycopene shows great antioxidant abilities among its many talents. In fact, it shows even greater free-radical scavenging properties than beta-carotene, its more famous cousin. Healthy intakes of lycopene can guard against a variety of chronic conditions, including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, lowering homocysteine levels and reducing blood platelet stickiness that can lead to clogged arteries. It’s even being studied for its protective effect against prostate cancer.
And, for proof, you don’t have to look too far to see the amazing effect lycopene intake can have on health. The Mediterranean diet provides an excellent example. Its high intakes of vegetables, (tomatoes, of course, playing a central role) fish, and whole grains improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. The research on lycopene as a stand-alone nutrient has been compelling. A randomized clinical trial found that not having enough lycopene was associated with early thickening of the arteries.
So, it makes sense that other clinical trials, showed that higher intakes of lycopene frequently meant less thickening of arteries, and a reduced risk of heart attack. In one study, the risk of heart attack was 60% lower in individuals with the highest levels of lycopene. In a multicenter study, similar results were found – men with the highest levels of lycopene had a 48% lower risk of heart attack.
Q. What can I expect taking this herbal combination?
A. You should notice both systolic and diastolic numbers lowering in about two weeks. The scientific study showed that for pre-hypertensive and stage I, (early hypertensive individuals) this combination for ingredients lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
When you’re taking herbs to support your blood pressure, it’s important to keep it monitored so you have an accurate reading (and record) of your numbers. If you need to, you can pick up a home blood pressure monitoring device. These can retail for anywhere from $30 all the way up to $200, but buying one in the $30 to $50 range is a good idea and money well spent. Consider taking the machine to your local doctor’s office or fire department to have it tested for accuracy against a professional blood pressure monitor. See the chart below for tips on getting an accurate reading from a home monitor.
Tips for Accurate Blood Pressure Monitoring:
-Relax for about 5 to 10 minutes before measurement.
-If you have just come inside from cold outdoors allow yourself to warm up.
-Remove tight-fitting clothing and jewelry.
-Unless your physician recommends otherwise, use left arm to measure pressure.
-Sit, don’t stand.
-Remain still and do not talk while using the monitor.
Q. Are there any side effects?
A. There were no side effects noted in the study. However, because of the mild diuretic effect of dandelion leaf extract, you may notice an increase in trips to the bathroom. It’s always important to make sure you don’t get dehydrated, so you may want to drink more water during the day.
High blood pressure doesn’t happen overnight. As we get older, the likelihood of developing hypertension increases. And, stressful, fast-forward lifestyles, bad diets and no exercise conspire to raise our blood pressure.
In my own practice I have helped patients move toward a healthier lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and blood-pressure reducing supplements. They live better, more vibrant lives as a result, and their blood pressure normalizes. It really can happen – you can bring your blood pressure back to normal, and this combination of scientifically and clinically validated ingredients can help.
Wellness Fizz - Fast-Acting Immune Defense
February 26, 2007 02:15 PM
The Important Role of Nutritional Magnesium & Calcium Balance in Humans Living with Stress
August 23, 2006 03:14 PM
Part I. The Stress Response
The stress reaction is a host of responses necessary for any animal to live in the world. Commonly called the fight-or-flight reation, we as humans often experience it in rapid heartbeat and increased breathing rate. It comes when we exercise more vigorously than usual, or when we are suddenly and unexpectedly frightened.
We are all different. We show a range in how strongly we experience the stress response. Most of us are usually calm and experience the stress response when an unexpected noise frightens us to alertness, or we run to first base as fast as we can in a benefit baseball game that is not on our usual playtime schedule. We breathe harder for a while and notice our hearts beating faster and harder then usual, but after a while these responses all calm down, and we are again in our usual state—out or the stress response. Others of us are very low key, and it takes a lot to disturb our physiological calm. Still others of us are very sensitive to triggers of the stress response and go into it “at the drop of a hat” and to a greater degree than do calmer people. For some, parts of the stress response are almost always engaged—never really calming down all the way—giving one a hyper-vigilant or anxious demeanor.
When a stress trigger occurs, the body puts out stress hormones, magnesium and calcium, among other things, into the bloodstream. At the same time, nerve cells begin to “fire,” telling heart and muscles to “speed up. NOW!!!” These blood, nerve and organ changes make possible the instantaneous and collective rise in the body’s heart rate, blood pressure, and other necessities for the fight-or-flight reaction.
Much research has been done on the stress response, especially on the effects of stress hormones, such as adrenaline (also called epinephrine) on body, organ and cell. You can get an idea of how widespread the stress response is-affecting every aspect of physiology—by noting some of the reactions to adrenaline, one of the major stress hormones. See Table 1.
Much study as the cellular, biochemical and physiological levels has shown that the stress response vitally involves the influx of calcium into cells, resulting in a drastic change in the cells’ internal magnesium-to-calcium ratio (Mg:Ca).
In simple solutions, such as salt water, all ions are evenly dispersed. Not so in living cells. Ions are carefully and meticulously separated in living cells, and this ion “packaging” is vital to life processes and health. Calcium ions, for the most part, are kept outside cells while magnesium ions are kept mainly inside cells. The stress response changes this. During stress response, calcium ions rush inside the cell, and this alters the internal Mg:Ca ratio. This change in ratio exhibits wide effects because, while magnesium and calcium are very similar in their chemistry, biologically these two elements function and react very differently. Magnesium and calcium are two sides of a physiological coin: they are antagonistic to one another yet comes as a team. For example:
Scientific study shows more and more that the underlying cellular change enabling the stress response is a low Mg:Ca ratio caused by a large and sudden influx of calcium into cells. This stress response subsides when the cell’s magnesium returns to its dominant presence inside cells, moving extra calcium back outside cells to its “normal” Mg:Ca ratio. This underlying principle is present in studies of nerve cell-stress hormone response, organs such as hearts, the high blood pressure response to stress, and the blood-clotting reaction during stress, among many others. See Table 2.
In the normal healthy state, the stress response occurs when necessary, and subsides when the crisis or trigger is over. Since magnesium and calcium—two essential nutrients that must be obtained by the body from its dietary environment—are so essential to this important response, it is not surprising that nutritional magnesium and calcium status can affect the response.
Let’s see how.
In the normal unstressed state, cellular Mg:Ca ratio is high. If this cannot be maintained due to lack of adequate body magnesium or an overwhelming amount of body calcium, the ratio may not be able to maintain or return itself to its healthy nonstressed ratio. In such a case, the stress response, in the absence of an appropriate trigger, can occur. This can be seen when nutritional magnesium deficits cause high blood pressure or increase blood stickiness (platelet aggregation). Additionally, since a low Mg:Ca ratio can increase adrenaline secretion as well as cells’ response to adrenaline, a too low magnesium state can keep the stress response from subsiding in a timely way. Even worse, when body magnesium becomes drastically low, this becomes a stress trigger in itself, alarming the body into further stress response with out enough magnesium to back it up, resulting in a low magnesium-high stress crisis that can end in sudden death.
In the industrialized world, we live in a state of chronic, on-going stress. This environmental reality increases our daily need for magnesium in order to maintain a healthy stress response that can calm when not necessary.
Part II. Heart Disease Is Often a Magnesium Deficiency
Clearly, an adequate amount of nutritional magnesium—in proper balance with adequate nutritional calcium—is key to a healthy stress response. And yet today we have diets dangerously low in magnesium. Add the recent additions of nutritional calcium via supplements and food fortifications meant to stave off osteoporosis, and many of us are getting inadequate magnesium plus too much calcium. This results in a large occurrence of heart disease.
Not all, but much of the heart disease in the industrialized world can be explained by the low magnesium state of these societies. People with heart disease—for the most part—are people who are in a state of magnesium that is borderline or deficient. Many studies on heart disease patients exist due to medicine’s effort to understand and treat this widespread malady. Although not intended as such, this body of research shows us what stress can do to a person in a magnesium deficient state.
Part III. Mental and Emotional Stress Deplete Magnesium
It is commonly accepted that certain traditional risk factors for heart disease exist. This include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history of heart disease, and other factors, all of which can be linked to a shortage of nutritional magnesium. Recent studies tell us that stresses—both sudden and chronic—with their high magnesium requirements, are also strong risk factors for heart disease.
The sudden stress of the
Emotional stress and phobic anxiety cause heart problems in patients with heart disease—a population we know to be mostly low in their nutritional magnesium status. Chronic states of emotional stress, including a history of childhood abuse, neglect or family dysfunction, depression, and panic disorder, must now be added to the list of traditional risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Depression can be a symptom of low magnesium status. So can anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, hyperactivity, and over-sensitivity to loud noises. Do these newly found risk factors cause heart disease, or are they risk factors because the, as well as heart disease, can all be aspects of low magnesium status? These chronic sources of stress can increase the human need for magnesium as well as be caused by its deficit.
Emotional stress triggers in susceptible people can even bring a sudden death due to heart attack, presumably by initiating a stress/low-magnesium crisis. Such emotional “triggers” include work stress, high-pressure deadlines, social isolation and loneliness, low socioeconomic status, anxiety, war, fear of war, anger and rage. Identical stress triggers cause more human heart attacks regardless of age, race, gender, or geographic location, including continent.
Mental stress, such as working out a math problem, can be shown to have impact upon the magnesium-stress response connection, since it can bring on heart attacks in people with heart disease.
Part IV. Stress, Magnesium and Aging
We are hearing a lot about stress in the health media, and rightly so as this constant companion to our lives brings on the fight-or-flight syndrome, a stress response that, when activated, has been shown to shorten lifespan. When we realize that the stress response is exacerbated when we are low in magnesium, that we are living on low-magnesium foods for the most part, and that our lifestyles are more and more filled with chronic stresses and stressful events, we are not surprised to see that several aspects of magnesium deficiency are remarkably like aspects of the aging process.
When faced with out stressful lifestyles, coupled with a society presenting a chronically low-magnesium/high-calcium diet, what is our best defense? For many of us, magnesium supplements can help to preserve or restore a healthy Mg:Ca balance, so important to our health in these stressful times.
Peter Gillham's Natural Calm
From kids to grownups, there’s a formula for everyone.
October 24, 2005 08:21 AM
The Mighty Multivitamin From kids to grownups, there’s a formula for everyone.
What’s the top-seller in the supplement world, year after year? You guessed it-the humble multivitamin/ multimineral. Millions of people start their day with multis to help ensure they get all the necessary nutrients that eat-and-run dining doesn’t always provide.
The praise bestowed on multis by the lab-coat crowd is richly deserved. In one study, people who took a multivitamin every day didn’t get as many infections, including reparatory and urinary bugs, as those taking placebos (look-alikes).
Harvard scientists fond that adding a multivitamin to a high-produce diet helps the body fend off such common dangers as heart disease and cancer. Swedish multi takers enjoyed reductions in heart attack rates (21% among men, 33% among women); this effect was not tied to such overall health habits as plentiful produce consumption and adequate exercise. And the American Cancer Society reports that long-term multivitamin use has been linked to a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.
No wonder so many people see multis as a nutritional no-brainer. As a report from the Council for Responsible Nutrition puts it, “Supplements are a proven bridge between what we should eat and what we actually eat.”
HERBS FOR HEALTHY SKIN
July 14, 2005 04:07 PM
HERBS FOR HEALTHY SKIN
The skin is actually the largest organ of he body and the largest channel of elimination. The health of the skin is dependent on the health of the other organs in the body. If they are running efficiently, the skin will be healthy. When the body is overloaded with toxins the liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal system cannot process and eliminate them fast enough. This puts excess burden on the skin which may lead to conditions such as acne, psoriasis, boils or rashes.
Red clover is a great blood detoxifier allowing for healthy skin. It is often recommended for cleansing programs.
Yellow dock has been found to be a good alterative, especially for chronic skin problems. It is useful for leprosy, psoriasis and cancer. Modern herbalists recommend yellow dock for anemia, as a blood purifier, liver congestion, and skin problems. It is also considered beneficial for toxemia, infections, lymph congestion, ulcers and wounds. It is considered one of the best blood builders in the herbal kingdom.
Burdock is valued highly in the plant kingdom. It is used to purify the blood and strengthen the liver, kidneys, stomach and lungs. It contains volatile oils which are known to help clear the kidneys of excess wastes and uric acid, and burdock is used as a diuretic. It is used for skin problems such as acne, boils, psoriasis, and canker sores.
DO WE NEED EXTRA LIVER PROTECTION?
July 12, 2005 10:15 AM
DO WE NEED EXTRA LIVER PROTECTION?
Even if you don’t suffer from any liver disease or don’t abuse alcohol, you may still require the therapeutic effects of Milk Thistle. Everything that enters the liver through the portal vein must be de-toxified and neutralized. Many of us eat diets that are too high in protein, take overthe- counter or prescription drugs, and routinely expose ourselves to radiation and other pollutants. Everything we breath, eat and absorb through our skin is purified and refined in the liver. Some of the more detrimental compounds we ingest that increase the liver’ s work load include:
Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. author of Natural Health, Natural Medicine says, “High protein diets impose a considerable work load on the digestive system and may contribute to feelings of fatigue and lack of energy.” The problem with protein is that the liver has to work harder to detoxify the body from the nitrogen waste which results when it is metabolized. This compound called ure a has to eventually be eliminated from the body through the kidneys.
Most of us are routinely exposed to nicotine, toxins of various kinds and a whole host of synthetic drugs fro m ibuprofen to steroids. Most of us overeat the wrong things and pass up what’s really good for us. High fat, high sugar, high protein diets stress the liver. Overeating, especially overcooked, fatty foods puts added strain on the liver. In addition, lack of exercise has an indirect effect on the liver. When we don’t exercise, an excess of toxins can build up and has to be transformed by the liver.
Typically, when we are exposed to chemicals which can injure the liver, the amount of glutathione in the liver d e c reases. When this substance is reduced, the liver becomes susceptible to damage. The Silymarin content of Milk Thistle keeps concentrations of glutathione in the liver elevated by up to 35%.19 The ability of the liver to detoxify the system is largely dependent on the present of glutathione.
According to the American Liver Foundation, liver diseases are the fourth leading cause of death up to the age of 65. It is not commonly known that a significant incidence of liver disease exists in this country. In the past, liver disease was only associated with chronic alcoholics. Now, however, liver disease strikes obese people, social drinkers and people who eat poorly. Milk Thistle can help prevent the subtle kind of liver damage any of us may be susceptible to.
Aches and Pains
June 25, 2005 07:44 PM
Aches and Pains
The dietary factors that are considered to influence the formation of cholesterol gallstones include high intake of cholesterol and fat and low intake of fiber.39 Similarly our high-fat low fiber diets which make us obese lead to osteoarthritis.40 The extra weight we carry puts extra strain on our joints, can cause osteoarthritis, and is one of the reasons we avoid exercise— it definitely hurts! Our western eating habits are giving us some very real pains.
CLA and the Catabolic Cascade
June 22, 2005 09:49 PM
CLA and the Catabolic Cascade
Next fall, when you or a friend goes to the doctor to get a flu shot, notice how a low-grade fever starts. Notice how rundown you or your friend begin to feel for a day or so after the shot. It is as if you are dealing with a small portion of the disease. In some respects you are, but, in reality, the icky, yucky feelings we associate with sickness come from our body’s own response to an invasion. When the immune system goes on the o f f e n s i ve, it puts out hormones called cytokines. T h o s e cytokines cause fever and pain.
Doctors call this process the catabolic cascade. It is our body that produces it. An extreme example might have been when Jim Henson, the wonderful creator of Kermit the Frog, got an extreme bacterial infection. He died within about 12 hours. Although the bacteria caused some severe reactions, it was his body’s intense catabolic response that may have been the direct cause of death.
Cytokines are involved in more than just stimulating the immune system, they are involved in how the body accumulates fat, in how veins accumulate deposits and in how our body during disease can sometimes cause dangerous, rapid weight loss. CLA changes how cytokines work, but how it does it is not certain.
Here’s an example of why this is important: When young animals get sick, their immune systems kick into action. Besides contracting a feve r, the animals’ growth slow s . Furthermore, weight and muscle mass can be lost, not just because of loss of appetite, but because of degradation of muscle tissue. For a poultry farmer, this can be significant. In organized farms, bacteria can abound and young chicks often face sickness. Because their immune systems are firing, the cytokines can stunt growth and, accordingly, stunt the farmer’s profits.
Dr. Mark Cook was working on this dilemma in 1990 and jogging at the campus of the Un i versity of Wi s c o n s i n - Madison. During one of his regular exercise sessions, he began chatting with Dr. Pariza. As researchers do, they began talking about their work. They decided to collaborate, seeing if CLA had an effect on this problem.
In 1993, the scientists at the University of Wisconsin-- Madison injected rat pups with endotoxin, the substances bacteria produce to do their damage.40 This injection activated their immune systems. They also did the same thing in two studies using chicks. In all three studies, the weight-loss was about half what it was during the other studies.
In a study published in 1994, re s e a rchers also injected endot oxin into mice. To some, they gave CLA, to others they didn’t After three days, the scientists weighed the mice and discove re d that those who also re c e i ved CLA in their diets lost much less weight. Indeed, after three days they weighed as much as the c o n t rol gro u p, which re c e i ved no endotoxin at all. The CLA - f e d g roup also had a much better appetite than those that re c e i ve d no CLA with endotoxin. They also had a higher muscle mass.41 Let’s repeat that. CLA gives a higher muscle mass in rats. Stop and think about the implications. Other studies have shown, and, we will get to them, that CLA also cuts the amount of food converted to fat. In an era of increasing battles with the bulge, CLA seems to show great promise. (That weight gain seems to be involved somehow with the immune system and cytokines indicates that working with cytokines may be how CLA affects body fat accumulation.) Yes, CLA can help cut the effects of immune stimulation, but does it do that at the expense of making our immune systems less effective? Does CLA affect how the body battles disease? Not from any evidence in any study. The 1993 studies measured several immune functions, and, if anything, the immune system worked better.42
Again, these are animal studies, not necessarily involved with how humans work. However, these studies involve more than one kind of animal, making it, again, more likely to be useful in humans.
Let’s speculate for a minute. When CLA cuts the catabolic cascade, doesn’t it make sense that the body would feel better, if only because the appetite is better? When CLA cuts weight loss, couldn’t that have immense benefits for patients suffering from long-term illnesses—including those illnesses that affect the immune system—who grow weak from a loss of muscle tone and from a loss of weight?
For the animal industry, of course, this nutrient clearly means better production methods and healthier animals. For those same animals, it seems possible to speculate that CLA may actually work as a growth factor for their young.43 For humans, this nutrient could mean feeling better and feeling stronger while the body fights off disease.
At the beginning of this booklet, we learned that CLA may be one of the most important nutrients discovered in recent years. The support for that statement should be clear. CLA, if the human studies hold true, could cut your risk for cancer, could lower your risk of heart disease, could help you feel better when you are ill, and improve muscle tone while decreasing body fat.
This research has one other interesting side effect. Cook says that during much of the research, graduate students helping in the work would continually report that animals were eating less. Indeed, the animals ate up to 30 percent less while gaining weight or helping the immune system.
If all animals in the world were fed CLA, and it cut feed intake by 30 percent, this would have strong implications on world starvation and feed efficiency. Especially in a world w h e re meat consumption may be growing. Cutting the amount of animal feed necessary to produce the same number of animals is vital. This, too, is a possible result of CLA.44
June 22, 2005 09:40 PM
Next time someone you know puts a burger on a charcoal grill, notice how the fat drops, sizzling, onto the briquettes beneath. As the drippings burn, the chemical content changes. This really is what burning is, a chemical change from a complex form of the substance to a more simple form. As it changes, many chemicals emerge—some harmless, others less so. One of those chemicals, benzopyrene, can cause mutation of bacteria in the test tube, and that led some scientists to believe it might cause cancer.1 Benzopyrene becomes part of the smoke that rises from the charcoal to settle back on the surface of a cooking burger. This was known as far back as the 1970s, and, for those interested in good health, it became another reason to cut meats from the diet and replace them with healthy grains and vegetable products. Many left it at that. Thankfully, scientists began digging more deeply into this phenomenon, measuring other chemicals and other methods of cooking. One such scientist was Michael Pariza. In 1978, Pariza studied heterocyclic amines to see if they were “mutagenic,” that is, if they would cause bacteria to mutate in the test tube. He found that burgers can be quite safely cooked with care.2 But what changed the direction of his research was an entirely original discovery, separate from what his paper set out to find. This discovery has shaped his career since and may well, in the years to come, help thousands, indeed millions, of people improve their health. What he discovered was that something in hamburger has a “mutagenic inhibitory” effect. That is, something in meat seemed to counteract the bad effects of these mutagens, indeed was an anti-mutagen. In his research, Pariza used a popular scientific test called the Ames Test, named for a scientist at the University of California at Berkeley. This test is still used today for its simplicity by numerous scientists. The test requires enzymes form rat livers stimulated with certain chemicals. Scientists put these enzymes and the possible mutagen onto bacteria. They observe the bacteria in a microscope to see if they have mutated. Pariza changed the experiment slightly. Instead of stimulating rat livers, he used enzymes from normal rat livers. The results showed this anti-mutagenic effect, but just what substance caused it was still a question. For nearly another decade, Pariza and others tried to isolate this substance. Finally, they managed to do so in 1987.3 Call it a previously undiscovered nutrient, one, by the best research now available, that seems essentially vital for optimal health. The substance is CLA— conjugated linoleic acid. Laboratory studies using animals show:
Take Your Vitamins: Reviewing Scientific Approaches to Selecting Daily Multiple Supplement
June 21, 2005 05:10 PM
By Adina Licht, MS
Adina Licht, M.S. is a Nutritional Scientist and Science Writer who works as a Marketing Specialist for Source Naturals. She has a B.A. in Environmental Science from UC Berkeley, an M.S. in Nutrition and Food Science from San Jose State University, and training in Technical Communication from Cal State Hayward. Her work has appeared in publications such as Advances in Packaging and Development, Health Supplement Retailer and Delicious Living.
Americans Need More Nutrients
The U. S. population is drastically malnourished. According to the latest A. C. Nielsen survey, only 12% of Americans claim to eat the 5 recommended servings of fruits and vegetables each day (Warner, 2004). And approximately 1/3 of the calories that people do consume are from nutrient-poor foods such as alcohol and soda (Yang, 2004). This combination has led to a population that consumes too few nutrients, which according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Fletcher, 2002) puts people at risk for long-term health concerns. With Americans eating fewer healthy foods, taking a daily multiple is one way for people to increase their intake of nutrients. But the search for what defines a good multiple can be confusing, even to health care professionals.
The Confusing U.S. Government Standards
Scientists first recognized the need for vitamins in the early 1900s (Levenstein, 1993). But setting U. S. government standards for vitamins and minerals didn't start until healthy soldiers were needed to fight World War II. And when a committee of scientists was asked to determine the levels of nutrients needed to maintain good health they could only agree on "recommended allowances" to prevent deficiency with a wide margin of safety. In 1941, these allowances became the first Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for the nation (Levenstein, 1993). In 1997, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) used latest RDAs to set the new Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) standards, which included Adequate Intakes (AIs) for when there was insufficient evidence to determine an RDA, and Upper Intake Levels (ULs) as the safe daily upper limit. To simplify the information, food labels express nutrient information as a percentage of the Daily Value (DV), which includes RDA values for a healthy adult who consumes 2000 calories per day (Whitney, 2002). However, these values do not include AIs or ULs and many individuals need different levels of nutrients than these.
Confusing Standards equals Confusing Recommendations
The RDAs and subsequent DRIs are the basis of the nutrient standards for at least 40 different nations and many professional health organizations. Currently, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) recommends that people who cannot reach the DRIs through diet take a multiple with nutrient levels that do not exceed the RDAs (JADA, 2001). And in 2002, the American Medical Association (AMA) published a paper that included a recommendation for all adults to take RDA levels of vitamin supplements in their Journal of the American Medical Association (Fletcher, 2002). Despite the benefits of having guidelines, most people only hear about the RDAs and DVs, which may be too low for preventing deficiencies while the ULs and AIs, which can be much more beneficial are rarely discussed. For example, the Daily Value of Vitamin E to prevent deficiency is 30 IU while the daily Upper Intake Limit is 1,467 IU. But, according to the ADA, as many as 75% of cardiologists recommend vitamin E to their patients to promote heart health, usually at a dosage of 400 IU (ADA, 2001; Meydani, 2004; & Whitney, 1998). And the Daily Value for Vitamin C is 60 mg while the daily Upper Intake Limit is 2000 mg, but in clinical studies it took 500 mg per day to help maintain healthy blood pressure (Whitney, 1998, & Hendler, 2001).
Lyle MacWilliam is a biochemist and former health advisor to the Canadian Ministry of Health, who decided to research, analyze and publish the Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements. In this book, the individually published recommendations from seven nutrition experts (Phyllis Balch, CNC, Dr. Michael Colgan, Ph.D., Dr. Earl Mindell, Ph.D., Dr. Michael Murray, N.D., Dr. Richard Passwater, Ph.D., Dr. Ray Strand, M.D., and Dr. Julian Whitaker, M.D.) were combined to create an ultimate blended standard of recommended median intakes for 39 nutrients to promote health. Those nutrients include vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and other supplements, that span 14 different health categories and are much closer to the Upper Intake Limit government standards. The guide also includes information about recommended forms, safety, purity and quality (MacWilliam, 2003). One of the most profound differences between MacWilliam?s compiled recommendations and the DRIs is the difference in the number of supplements: 39 vs. 26 respectively. The Comparative Guide standard includes additional nutrients, including many more antioxidants, based on decades of clinical research about their benefits. For example, the fat-soluble antioxidant Coenzyme Q10 that your body manufactures less of as you age is included. So is the fat and water-soluble antioxidant alpha lipoic acid that helps recycle other antioxidants such as vitamins C and E (Hendler, 2001).
Top Ranked Multiples for Optimal Health
In the latter half of MacWilliam's book he uses this ultimate blended standard to rank and compare 500 manufactured multiples. Of the five top-ranked multiples, only the Source Naturals multiples, Life Force and Élan Vitàl, are widely available at natural product stores and health outlets. And the new and improved Life Force formulation now rates higher than any of the products evaluated in the current edition of this guide (MacWilliam, 2004; & Mac-William, 2003). The ingredients that can be found in today's multiple supplements can vary greatly. But multiple choices don't have to lead to confusion. Health professionals, such as Lyle MacWilliam, understand the importance of remaining curious, evaluating the available research, and conferring with other scientists to determine the nutrients that support optimal health.
American Dietetic Association. 2001. Vitamin E: Disease Prevention for your Good Health. American Dietetic Association Website. Available at: Public/Other/index_nfs1001.cfm Fletcher, R. H., & Fairfield, K. M. 2002. Vitamins for Chronic Disease Prevention in Adults. JAMA. (23)287:3116-3129. Hendler, S. S., et al. 2001. PDR for Nutritional Supplements. Thomson Healthcare: Montvale. Pages 11-12, 17-21, 60-62, 103, 416-421, 486-498. JADA (Journal of the American Dietetic Association) 2001. Vitamin and mineral supplementation. J AM Diet Assoc.101: 115 Available at: Public/NutritionInformation/92_8343.cfm Levenstein, H. 1993. Paradox of Plenty: A Social History of Eating in Modern America. Oxford University Press: New York. Pages 13-15, 64-67. MacWilliam, L, et al. 2003. Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements. Northern Dimensions Publishing: Vernon. Pages 62-70. MacWilliam, L. 2004. Comparative Guide Individual Assessment of New Life Force Formulation. Warner, J. 2004. Few Follow '5 a Day' Fruit and Vegetable Rule. WebMD website. Available at: ent/Article/93/102158.htm Whitney, N. W., & Rolfes, S. R. (1998). Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition, 5th ed. Page 358. Whitney, E. N., & Rolfes, S. R. 2002. Understanding Nutrition. 9th ed. Wadsworth Thomson Learning: Belmont. Pages A, B, Y, 13-20, 55-56, 307, 331, 335-341, 401. Yang, S. 2004. Nearly one-third of the calories in the US diet come from junk food, researcher finds.
June 18, 2005 09:11 AM
Mushroom Miracles by Bert Hoffman Energy Times, April 12, 2004
Mention mushrooms and few people immediately recognize these humble fungi as important tools that can be used to boost well-being. More often, folks identify mushrooms as food with a peculiar appeal. But mushrooms' potential impact on health far surpasses their culinary reputation.
You don't have to stretch your imagination too far to understand why mushrooms have been much neglected in the modern, Western medical search for plants that can boost health.
Unable to make chlorophyll, often dependent on the kindness of other nutrient-producing organisms for their survival, these humble fungal denizens of dark, damp spaces seem to prefer an anonymous existence that is out of sight and out of the consciousness of the scientific mind.
However, mushrooms have now assumed a spot in the center of the research spotlight. Because of their potent content of natural chemicals that appear to have a strong influence on human health and well-being, during the past decade mushrooms have been the subjects of intensive studies on how they can be used to reduce the risk of cancer and to treat these diseases.
Appropriately, this recent round of research began in a place that has long revered these diminutive organisms: Japan. Japan and other Oriental countries have traditionally recognized the immense value of mushrooms as both food and medicine.
Food and Medicine
As an ancient Chinese saying notes, "food and medicine share a common origin." And one of the very earliest Chinese medical books, Shen Noug's Herbal (Shen Noug Pen Ts'ao Jing), first noted the extraordinary beneficial effects of eating mushrooms 2,000 years ago, back in the first century.
More recently, but still well ahead of Western medical experts, in 1575, Pen Ts'ao Kang Mu (a Chinese compendium of medicinal therapies), written by Li Shi Zhen, outlined the medical benefits of about 20 mushrooms.
Nowadays, modern researchers believe mushrooms' usefulness stems from the fact they contain a wealth of antioxidants. But these aren't just any antioxidants. Scientists think that some of these chemicals can potentially drop your risk of cancer, significantly lower blood pressure, help the body fight diabetes, offer protection for the liver, alleviate some of the ill effects of inflammation, lessen the chance of blood clots and help the body's immune system fend off viruses and other microbes. Quite a collection of benefits for these lowly beings!
The 10,000-Year Mushroom
Through the ages, the reishi mushroom (also known variously as the Mannetake, or 10,000-year mushroom, and the Immortality Mushroom) has been the most popular mushroom in Chinese, Korean and Japanese cultures. The reishi mushroom is frequently depicted in a wide variety of traditional Oriental artwork and even puts in an appearance in Chinese royal tapestries.
To some, reishi's power goes beyond the natural and include the supernatural. Originally grown on aging plum trees, reishi is also sufficiently well regarded to be employed by the Japanese as a good luck charm. But you don't have to believe in the supernatural to be superbly impressed with reishi. The beneficial natural substances in reishi include steroids, lactones, alkaloids, triterpenes and polysaccharides.
Of these chemicals, polysaccharides (complex chains of sugars) in particular have intrigued researchers looking into the way mushrooms help health. These polysaccharide macromolecules are very large (for molecules) and complex, a complexity that leads researchers to believe they are capable of conveying a huge amount of biological information that help the immune system stop cancer in its early stages. The differences in the benefits of various polysaccharides stems from their intriguing geometrical shapes.
Even though two distinctive polysaccharides may contain the same number of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms, their three-dimensional differences-the way they are structured and branch off in different directions-can endow them with very different health benefits.
Though they all share a basic structure (usually, these molecules consist of a main chain of atoms with various side chains), the slight variations of the side chains changes their effects.
By deciphering the microscopic structures of these molecules, scientists think they are beginning to uncover which ones are most effective against cancer. For instance, in isolating a particularly useful polysaccharide called beta-D-glucan from reishi, researchers have found that this substance fights tumors in lab experiments (Chem Pharm Bull 1981; 29: 3611).
Meanwhile, beta-D-glucan and other extracts taken from the maitake mushroom have also been shown to possess powerful anti-cancer effects in lab experiments (Immunopharm Immunotox; 19:175).
In one instance, researchers in the laboratory who were trying out various substances on prostate cancer cells found that applying extracts of maitake results in a kind of programmed self-destruction (apoptosis) of these undesirable cancer cells (Molec Urol; 4:7). In addition, another substance known as maitake d-fraction has been shown to strongly fight cancer in lab animals-in one study, their liver cancer growths were reduced by up to 90% (Ann NY Acad of Sci; 833:204).
At the same time, research in China on people has demonstrated that maitake may help reduce tumors and alleviate the effects of leukemia (Alter Comp Ther 12/98; 420).
According to A.S. Daba and O.U. Ezeronye (Afr Jrnl Bio 12/03; 672), "Mushroom polysaccharides offer a lot of hope for cancer patients and sufferers of many devastating diseases.
" [These substances support]...a fundamental principle in Oriental medicine...[they help] regulate homeostasis of the whole body and... bring the diseased person [back] to his or her normal state."
The Activity of Active Hexose Correlated Compound Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC), an extract taken from shiitake and other mushrooms, is a relatively new substance that is also being researched for its anti-cancer benefits.
Studies on AHCC began in Japan in the 1990s when scientists looked at how it could potentially help people recovering from liver cancer. In those tests, researchers found that giving people AHCC apparently helped them survive longer.
In the future, scientists feel certain that they will uncover even more anticancer uses for mushrooms and the chemicals they contain. A key advantage to these natural substances is their lack of side effects. For instance, in research on an anti-cancer chemical called lentinan, taken from shiitakes, investigators have found that less than one percent of people experience the kind of discomfort that make them discontinue treatment. (This chemical has been used to treat stomach cancer.)
But a long list of beneficial mushroom substances are probably still waiting to be discovered. More evidence of mushrooms' benefits: A study of mushroom workers in a part of Japan called the Nagano Prefecture found that these farmers enjoyed a significantly lower cancer rate than other inhabitants of that part of the country.
In the rest of Japan, about one in six hundred people dies of cancer. But that rate death rate drops to about one in a thousand for mushroom raisers who eat a diet heavy in mushrooms.
John Smith, PhD, from the University of Strath-Clyde, notes that "...increasing evidence [shows] mushrooms offer a remarkable array of medicinally important compounds that have yet to be evaluated by Western medical scientists." Mushrooms offer the best of both worlds: good health that tastes great.
Catch Your Breath
June 14, 2005 05:56 PM
Catch Your Breath
by Carl Lowe Energy Times, October 10, 2004
Asthma is on the rise. This serious breathing problem already afflicts 300 million people around the world and is expected to hinder the lung function of 400 million people in 20 years (Annual World Asthma Meeting, 2/17/04).
In the US, asthma continues to strike our kids. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (2/24/03), the rate at which kids developed asthma doubled between 1980 and 1995. By 2001, 6.3 million American kids had asthma. The cost of treating all these kids: more than $3 billion a year.
Few researchers are prepared to state definitively why asthma rates have continued to climb during the past two decades. However, many investigators point to factors that seem inextricably linked to this disorder, which is marked by wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing spells.
A report from the American Public Health Association and researchers at Harvard puts a lot of the blame for the high rate of asthma on global warming, smog and the atmosphere's growing burden of carbon dioxide. These are linked to industries and car exhaust that release pollution.
In this increasing burden of toxins released into the atmosphere, the rate of asthma among toddlers has grown to be particularly worrisome. Their rate of asthma has climbed more than twice the national average: by 160% between 1980 and 1994. According to these researchers (Inside the Greenhouse: The Impacts of CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and Climate Change on Public Health in the Inner City), global warming-which involves large increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide released by internal combustion engines and and industrial processes-has fomented the asthma epidemic in several ways:
• Extra heat in the atmosphere has stimulated rapid plant growth that results in more fungus, pollen and spores; this causes allergies that often lead to asthma. Weeds like ragweed, which release allergenic particles, have greatly increased during the past few years. • Extreme weather has caused more floods and damp houses, leading to more indoor air pollution from molds. • Diesel pollutants are now combining with pollen and mold to irritate lungs, causing troublesome allergic reactions.
Bus Fume Hazards
The report notes that in neighborhoods like Harlem, in New York City, 25% of all children suffer asthma. Rates are particularly high in children who live in apartments that are located along bus routes.
A finding that surprised the scientists is the fact that carbon dioxide released by city traffic and the burning of coal and natural gas persists over urban areas, causing a dome of CO2 pollution.
Research on air quality in New York City, Phoenix and Baltimore shows that these lingering CO2 domes contain from 400 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide to 600 ppm. Those levels are significantly above the global average of 379 ppm. Over the course of the earth's history, going back more than 400,000 years before the Industrial Age, research shows the atmosphere has averaged only 180 to 280 ppm.
Breathing difficulties that increase at night can point to asthma, according to Robert Fink, MD: "Asthma can be a nocturnal disease, at its worst between 10 pm and 4 am, when cortisol [a hormone that regulates many bodily functions] levels are lowest" (Pediatric Asthma: Diagnosis and Treatment Goals, Medscape).
Dr. Fink says that if problems with breathing are bad enough to interfere with sleep, a health practitioner should be consulted to analyze the difficulty.
Diet and Asthma
Although nobody can guarantee protection against asthma, research suggests that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce your risk. For instance, a study in Australia found that people who ate the most apples and pears reduced their chances of suffering from this breath-robbing disorder.
In research involving about 1,600 people, aged 20 to 44, they found that those who consumed the largest quantity of these fruits enjoyed the lowest rate of asthma (AJCN 2003; 78:414).
This is the latest study to confirm the fact that apples and other fruits help to keep lungs healthy. " There is extensive evidence from studies over the last 10 to 15 years that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is beneficial to lung health," observes Carol Trenga, PhD, a research scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle. "The most compelling evidence is linked to fruits high in vitamin C, which are associated with improved lung function in the general population of adults and children."
Produce for Smokers
Quitting smoking represents one of the best ways to reduce lung disease. But even if you smoke, research on smokers has found that those who ate a moderate amount of fruits and vegetables have fewer lung problems (American Thoracic Society 97th International Conference 5/2001).
And you don't have to change your diet very much to make a difference: In that research, merely eating one and half pieces of fruit a day or eating about a tablespoon of vegetables daily significantly dropped smokers' chances of serious lung disease.
Fruits and Veggies to the Rescue
In a study at the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom, scientists looking at the diets of more than 2,500 people found that eating five or more apples or three tomatoes a week increased lung function. Eating apples and tomatoes also reduced the risk of wheezing.
" The likelihood is that any effect is due to the concerted action of all the nutrients in apples and tomatoes, especially the antioxidants that are particularly rich in the peel of apples and contribute to the coloring of tomatoes," says researcher Sarah Lewis, PhD.
" Antioxidants may work by protecting the airways against the insult of tobacco smoke and other atmospheric pollutants," she adds. Dr. Trenga recommends that everyone eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. She also notes, "[I]t is reasonable to suggest modest supplementation with for example, vitamin C (250-500 mg twice/day) and vitamin E (up to 400 IU per day), in at-risk populations as a complementary therapy after considering the specific needs of the individual...These levels are very safe and have other health benefits (such as vitamin E and heart disease) in addition to potentially improving lung health."
Since asthma is linked to allergies, herbs that help to quell respiratory allergies can possibly lower your risk of asthma. A blend of standardized herbal extracts that contains Phyllanthus emblica (Indian gooseberry or amla), Terminalia chebula (Harda or Haritaki), Terminalia bellerica (bedda nut tree), Albizia lebbeck (Indian walnut), Zingiber officinale (ginger root), Piper longum (Indian long pepper), and Piper nigrum (black pepper) has been found to improve breathing and reduce the effect of allergies (FASEB J 2004; Vol II:A912, Abs. 600.8). Other studies have shown that these herbs can relieve nasal congestion, ease sneezing and clear bothersome mucus (J Am Coll Nutr 22(5): Abs 46, 2003).
Avoiding antibiotics may also lower the risk of asthma. " Over the past four decades there has been an explosive increase in allergy and asthma in westernized countries, says Mairi Noverr, PhD, a researcher who has looked at the lin between antibiotic use with asthma and allergies. " We propose that the link between antibiotic use and dysregulated pulmonary immunity is through antibiotic-induced long term alterations in the bacterial and fungal GI microflora."
In other words, Dr. Noverr's research shows that beneficial bacteria in people's intestines, which take part in strengthening immunity and regulating the immune response to pollen, may have been harmed by the overprescription of antibiotics by physicians. Dr. Noverr and his fellow researchers gave lab animals antibiotics before exposing them to candida albicans (a yeast infection). They then exposed the animals to mold spores. The result: a greater sensitivity to inhaling the spores and breathing problems similar to what people experience during hay fever season (104th General Meeting American Society of Microbiology).
" The studies presented here are the first direct demonstration that antibiotic therapy can promote the development of an allergic airway response," says Dr. Noverr. On a global scale, the outlook for asthma is worrisome. As other countries continue their industrial growth, the burden on the earth's atmosphere will grow. Meanwhile, few serious measures are being taken to reduce global warming, and the national diet frequently neglects lung-friendly vegetables and fruits. But within that uncertain scenario, you can boost your chances of healthy lungs: Eat more apples. Stay away from smoky buses. Hope for clear skies.
Move it and Lose it! Burn off body fat!
June 14, 2005 12:04 PM
Move it and Lose it! Burn off body fat! by Mimi Facher Energy Times, June 1, 1997
So you're feeling a little blah, a little overweight, and you're looking to drop a few of those winter pounds gained during the colder months. Maybe you've dabbled with diets and jogged around the neighborhood a few times but you're still packing unsightly bulges. If so, you may be considering the idea of turning to supplements to help you drop those pounds. Well, two types of diet supplements now generally available, combined with a diet and exercise program, may be able to help you trim those stubborn pounds.
The first type of supplement, called metabolic optimizers, which include ephedra, caffeine and salicin (derived from willow bark), boost your metabolic rate, causing your body to burn calories faster. The second class, lipotropic substances, aid the body in fat mobilization, causing greater utilization of stored fat. These products include chromium, carnitine and hydroxycitric acid (HCA). Both classes of supplements have been around in various forms for quite a while but are now enjoying greater popularity among dieters.
Trying to cope with a weight problem is a dilemma expanding throughout modern society. According to a 1995 Harris poll, nearly 75% of Americans are overweight. Although it's well known that the way to lose weight is to expend more calories than you take in, supplements may be able to help you burn off extra calories.
Thermogenesis and You
Metabolic optimizers are supposed to aid weight loss through a process called thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is a natural process in which fat is burned to produce body heat. Fat that isn't burned is stored on the hips, thighs, stomach, etc. Thermogenic agents are designed to counteract your body's fat storage mechanisms by causing your body to maintain a higher metabolic rate-turning your internal thermostat up to burn fat faster. The thermogenic process can be jump-started by a number of factors including cold, exercise, certain dietary nutrients and metabolic optimizers.
The ephedra herb, also known as ma huang is one of nature's earliest medicines, known for over 5000 years to the Chinese, who used it to relieve allergies, coughing, wheezing and cold and flu symptoms. In the US, ephedra has been available since the 1800s.
The ingredients in ephedra include the alkaloids ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and norephedrine. Concentrated forms of these substances are used in today's over-the-counter cold, allergy and asthma relief formulas.
Ma huang's effectiveness as a weight loss aid is tied to its appetite suppressant and stimulant properties. By speeding up action of the thyroid gland, the ephedrine found in the herb acts a thermogenic agent, boosting the rate at which the body metabolizes fat and promoting weight loss. According to Mark Blumenthal, Executive Director of the American Botanical Council, "When used as part of a total package that includes diet modification and exercise, ma huang can be highly effective in the short run because it increases the speed of the body's metabolism and suppresses appetite."
Because of their strong stimulant effect, ephedra and its derivatives have engendered some controversy. However, in its long history, billions of doses of ephedra have been consumed without problem. But ephedra supplements should only be used as directed on product labels. People with cardiovascular problems, diabetes, thyroid or prostate dysfunction, high blood pressure and those taking MAO inhibitors, pregnant or nursing should avoid this herb.
Salicin Burns Fat
Salicin, a substance derived from willow bark-which is also the original source for aspirin, a related compound-can boost the burning of fat when combined with ephedra. An animal study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that while ephedra boosted calorie burning by almost 10%, when ephedra was combined with aspirin, extra calorie burning just about doubled. Another study in the Internatioanl Journal of Obesity showed that when overweight women took aspirin and ephedrine during a meal, their bodies burned off more calories than normal. (Eating a meal produces a thermogenic effect as your body expends energy in digestion. That's why dieters are told not to skip meals. Skipping meals lowers your metabolic rate, decreasing your calorie expenditure.)
Similar studies also show that caffeine, the stimulant that gives coffee its eye-opening kick, can also boost ephedra's thermogenic properties. But before using these combinations check with a health practitioner knowledgeable about nutrition. Aspirin or salicin may cause stomach upset in some people (although salicin is generally tolerated well.)
Carnitine: Lipotropic Amino Acid
To get carnitine into your system, you don't have to take it as a supplement. Your body already makes this vitamin-like substance. However, your body doesn't make that much. And it is said to be especially low in people with heart disease.
This non-essential amino acid (said to be non-essential because human bodies produce it) is a key ingredient in the formation of mitochondria membranes. Mitochondria are tiny structures in your cells that burn fats for energy. Consequently, sufficient carnitine is necessary for the movement of fat into the mitochondria where it is consumed. When not enough carnitine is present, the breakdown of long chain fatty acids slows down.
Said to improve the recovery rate for athletes (it may limit the production of lactic acid, a waste product in muscle tissue), carnitine can also lower cholesterol levels, boost levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) and decrease serum triglycerides (blood fats linked to heart disease). Not bad for a nutrient that coaxes fat into those teeny, ceullular, mitochondrial furnaces.
Go for the Chrome
Chromium-based supplements work as lipotropic agents by aiding insulin use in the body. This essential trace mineral is required for normal protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism. According to Dr. Michael Janson, author of The Vitamin Revolution in Healthcare and President of the American Preventive Medical Association (APMA), "Chromium is important for proper insulin activity. Insulin moves sugar into the muscle cells, where it is burned off as energy. Chromium improves the activity of insulin, and since insulin causes fat deposition, less of it means less fat deposition." Chromium has also been shown to build muscle tissue and to reduce LDL cholesterol, which has been linked to heart disease.
Although the body's minimum requirement is low, the American diet tends to be deficient in chromium, in part because the mineral can be difficult for the body to absorb. The fact that, in nature, chromium is most powerfully concentrated in brewer's yeast, wheat germ and liver-items most Americans rarely eat-probably hasn't helped either. Other natural sources of chromium include whole grains, molasses and beef. But it is estimated that 50% of Americans are chromium deficient. An early study found that overweight adults taking a chromium supplement lost an average of 22% body fat, while maintaining or gaining lean body mass. In another study, athletes consuming 200 mcg. of chromium a day showed an average loss of 7.5 lbs. of body fat after six weeks, without a corresponding loss of muscle tisue. Overall, although some studies question chromium's precise effects, many experts are optimistic about this substance because of its relationship to insulin in the body's metabolism.
Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA)
Another possible addition to the dieter's arsenal is HCA. In nature, HCA appears chiefly in a fruit called garcinia cambogia (sometimes also called Malabar tamarind or brindall berry), a citrus plant found primarily in Asia, where the rind is often used as a flavoring agent. HCA works by inhibiting the enzyme in the body responsible for converting carbohydrates into fat. HCA causes calories to be burned in an energy cycle similar to thermogenesis and acts as somewhat of an appetite suppressant. HCA is also said to have a role in reducing triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels.
Several animal studies have shown that HCA caused significant weight loss without a reduction in lean body mass. In other words, the pounds that came off came out of fat stores, and not out of energy or muscle reserves. This means that HCA takes off not just weight but body fat, making it a potentially effective tool against weight regain.
Dr. Elson Haas, director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, CA, and author of Staying Healthy With Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine, believes that HCA can be a helpful aid for dieters when used in combination with eating habit changes and exercise. He recommends an HCA and chromium blend for optimum appetite suppression. "This combination can keep the appetite down and reduce sugar cravings," he says.
Although human research data on HCA is still in the preliminary stages, the animal study results are positive, and the supplement seems to have minimal side effects in most people.
Some Overall Recommendations
You are likely to lose weight faster if you eat sensibly. This means avoiding foods high in fat or sugar (which are the most likely to add to stored body fat), but it doesn't mean starving yourself. A sensible balanced diet, along with moderate exercise, is still the best prescription for weight loss. As Dr. Haas puts it, "I'm a firm believer in diet and exercise. Using supplements responsibly can help you to lose weight provided they're combined with dietary changes and exercise. They won't work if you don't change anything." No one is suggesting that dietary supplements are a miracle cure for being overweight-as always in self-health care, there are no magic wands. But, used as directed and combined with a good diet and exercise plan, you could find that these supplements might help you work your way to a slimmer you.
Mimi Facher is a freelance writer who has contributed to Prevention, Cosmopolitan and Self.
Cleanse That Body!
June 14, 2005 11:59 AM
Cleanse That Body! by Lisa James Energy Times, January 6, 2005
When toxins accumulate in your tissues, you can become fuzzy and sluggish. Here's how a New Year's internal cleansing can make you feel fresh and energized.
What's your New Year's resolution? Losing weight? Getting fit? Kicking the [fill-in-the-blank] habit? Whatever the shape of your dreams for 2005, it won't be easy launching a self-improvement program unless you give your body a fresh start. Where to begin? Detoxification-an internal cleansing that can supply the energy you need to succeed in achieving your goals.
No one can avoid toxins in our contaminated world, so many of us suffer from toxic overload, which can lead to fatigue, digestive problems and reduced immune function. " When we get out of balance, we get congested and toxic," says Elson Haas, MD, founder of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, California (www.elsonhaas.com), and author of The New Detox Diet (Celestial Arts), "and our bodies' regular elimination systems cannot keep up with it. We have problems with our skin, our intestines, our sinuses. We also become deficient in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Most people have both congestion and deficiency, and they would benefit greatly from detoxification."
Toxins Within, Toxins Without
Life's fundamental activities-breathing, eating, walking around-generate waste in the form of free radicals, the unstable molecules that can ravage cells and tissues. What's more, Dr. Haas says that just "being under stress, being afraid, being anxious all produce more free radicals in the body" (like when a work deadline hits on the same day your car dies). When you add to your internal toxins all the noxious items coming from the outside, including the dietary ones, the recipe is very unhealthy.
" People are making poor choices in what they're putting in their mouths," says Dr. Haas. "They're taking in too much refined flour and sugar. There's a common problem in our country I call 'obese malnutrition'-people eating too many calories and not getting enough nutrition. People do a lot of junky fats and have a deficiency in the essential fatty acids that help protect cells."
Our bodies are also awash in manmade poisons such as food preservatives and additives, and residues from pesticides and herbicides. "The amount of toxic chemicals we are exposed to in our environment is staggering," says Susan Lark, MD, clinical nutrition expert and author of The Chemistry of Success (Bay Books). She notes that the average American is exposed to 14 pounds of such assorted chemical junk each year.
The body, however, does do its own housekeeping-and all of our cells detoxify every second of every day. "It's always a balance of garbage in, garbage out," says Dr. Haas, who has 30 years of experience in helping people detoxify. "Some of the toxins we break down into smaller components, some we just dump into the intestines for elimination."
Problems arise when there's more dirt than the internal maid service can sweep away. Dr. Lark notes that toxins wind up being stored in cells, especially fat cells, where they can hang out for years. When they are finally released "during times of low food intake, exercise or stress" complaints can range from tiredness to dizziness (sound familiar?).
That's where detoxification comes in, says Dr. Haas: "I think detoxification is a vital health care tool, particularly in this day and age when people are exposed to too many chemicals."
The process of detoxification starts with cleansing the intestinal system. Alternative health practitioners observe that discombobulated bowels can become overly permeable (a condition called leaky gut syndrome) and allow in all sorts of things that they shouldn't, such as semi-digested food particles, leading to inflammation and complaints that include rashes and joint pain.
Cleansing can be as simple as cutting down on what Dr. Haas calls the SNACCs-Sugar, Nicotine, Alcohol, Caffeine and Chemicals-or as thorough as a complete diet-and-supplement program with colonic irrigation (a sort of super-enema, professionally administered; if you're interested, contact the International Association of Colon Hydrotherapy at 210-366-2888 or www.i-act.org). The more powerful the program, though, the more likely you are to experience toxicity reactions such as nausea and headaches because of the volume of material being released. As Dr. Haas puts it:
" If you did water and green salads for a week, you'd detoxify more intensely than if you just gave up sugar and white flour." If you're feeling extremely rundown, take a gentle approach at first or consult a nutritionally aware practitioner, especially if you have a preexisting medical condition.
Getting more fiber is essential. Laurel Vukovic, a natural health teacher and author of 14-Day Herbal Cleansing (Prentice Hall), suggests following this daily regimen for two weeks: a teaspoon of psyllium (a fiber supplement); at least seven daily servings of fruits and vegetables, especially fiber-rich ones like apples, cabbage and carrots; and six glasses of water, along with daily exercise. Extra fiber "supports the intestines in eliminating the larger amounts of toxins that are released," says Vukovic, "prevent[ing] their reabsorption into the bloodstream." Some people find premixed cleansing formulas convenient; check your health food store shelves.
Fasting is a more intense detox approach that, according to Dr. Haas, "promotes relaxation and energization of the body, mind and emotions, and supports a greater spiritual awareness." He especially recommends fasting in the spring and autumn, which are times of transition. Some people do water-only fasts, but fresh vegetable juices are probably a better option, particularly if you haven't fasted before. Juices and plenty of fresh water also help cleanse the kidneys, another vital detox route.
Instead of juices you can use a special cleansing formula, such as the Spring Master Cleanser: 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup and 1/10 teaspoon cayenne pepper in 8 ounces of spring water. Dr. Haas recommends drinking eight to 12 glasses daily (and rinsing your mouth after each glass to protect your teeth from lemon's acids), augmented by water, laxative herb tea, and peppermint or chamomile tea.
Try fasting for a day to see how you feel. Dr. Haas suggests starting out by fasting from early evening through the night, and eating a light breakfast the following day. Subsequent fasts can gradually increase in length-experienced fasters may go up to two weeks without food.
Break your fast properly; for juice or cleansing formula fasts, eat a raw or cooked low-starch vegetable, such as spinach or other greens. "Go slowly, chew well and do not overeat or mix too many foods at any meal," says Dr. Haas.
Don't forget your liver, the organ that transforms noxious chemicals into substances your body can eliminate. The herb milk thistle, used since ancient times as a liver tonic, contains silymarin, which protects the liver from pollutants and helps it renew itself after toxic damage. Dandelion not only promotes the flow of bile from the liver, which helps clean out the junk, but also acts as a diuretic, helping the kidneys do their job. Green-food supplements, such as spirulina and cereal grasses, help neutralize toxins.
To maintain your cleansing gains, eat a healthy diet after detoxing. Focus on fresh organic foods, especially produce, beans and peas, whole grains and seeds (add organic poultry if you eat meat). Organic yogurt provides healthful probiotics, while fresh fish and ground flaxseeds provide omega-3 fats.
Clean Living Pays
The body's largest organ-the skin-provides a valuable contaminant exit path. Sitting in a hot tub or sauna "benefits the internal organs of detoxification," according to Dr. Lark, "by lessening the amount of toxins they must process." When sweatin' out the bad stuff, drink plenty of water and replace the calcium, magnesium and potassium lost through perspiration.
Another way to stimulate skin circulation is dry brushing, which also removes dead skin cells for a healthy glow (and is easier to fit into a daily routine). Using "a moderately soft, natural vegetable-fiber bristle brush" (Dr. Lark's suggestion), work in from the hands and up from the feet with light, short strokes that always move towards the heart. Vukovic says that a hot towel scrub is another option; put three drops of lavender essential oil in a basin of very hot water, dip in a rough terry washcloth and wring out, and then rub the skin briskly, starting with your feet and working your way up.
Once you've detoxified your body, you can start in on your immediate surroundings. Dr. Haas warns against using plastic food storage containers: "When food is heated in plastics some of the plastic material ends up in the food, especially if the food contains acids." Use glass containers instead. He also recommends avoiding aluminum pots and pans, and using stainless steel as an alternative.
Dr. Haas has seen what a good detox program can do: "It's amazing the kind of results people get-looking and feeling younger, more vital and healthy. They say, 'I'm sleeping like a baby,' they have fewer aches and pains. They have more peace in their bodies. I think detoxification is one of the keys to preventive medicine." So cleanse that body and let detoxification bring balance and renewal to your life.
Best Bread ...
June 13, 2005 07:30 PM
Best Breads by Jane Lane Energy Times, December 9, 1999
Few of us can resist the seductions of freshly baked bread, warm and fragrant, poised on the edge of a steaming bowl of soup or painted with an aromatic swath of rosemary scented oil. Even those of us from the most culinary challenged households can recall the pleasures of the simple plump white dinner roll or flaky biscuit piled in a basket on the dinner table.
Bread has blossomed from sideshow status beside the dinner plate to a full-scale mealtime headliner, a scrumptious star enriched by nutritious grains, herbs, fruits and vegetables.
Contemporary cooks build meals around crunchy cornbread or chewy focaccia, presenting soups or salads as satisfying counterpoints. Want to jump into the bread baking basket or hone your skills? Two top vegetarian chefs shared with Energy Times their passion for bread and their expertise in baking. See if you don't find that ardor contagious.
Nancy Lazarus is a chef at the famed Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York, established in 1973 to serve up natural fare with a homecooked, vegetarian emphasis. The bill of fare changes daily at Moosewood, but there's one constant: a cup or bowl of soup, a salad and a thick slice of bread. Some loyal customers have ordered the daily special for 20 years.
That's why bread occupies a cherished spot at Moosewood. Nancy Lazarus tells why and offers some of Moosewood's favorite bread recipes: "Cooking is like art; baking is like science; bread is like magic. No matter how much science you apply, you'll never have complete control: It'll do its own thing on some level, which is part of its charm, if you're charmed by that sort of thing. Breads come out differently depending on heat and humidity, the heat of the oven; yeast is a variable that can be slower or faster acting.
"There are bread machines, of course, and they work. But they're not as satisfying as the real thing, the kneading, which can be almost therapeutic, and the control over the ingredients to your own specifications.
"Bread is not that difficult. Know your own oven, to begin: Good insulation is important and how the heat travels around inside. Convection ovens are a wonderful thing.
"There are difficult breads we recommend you buy at a good bakery: baguettes, Italian, French and Cuban that are crusty outside and soft inside.
"But focaccia is easy. It's a yeasted bread that's better to make at home than buy because it's so fresh and you can control the toppings. It only requires one slow and one quick rising but you have to be there for a while.
"Then there are quick breads that use baking soda or powder, like cornbread. If you want a good meal at home and can make only one thing, make a quick bread. They're satisfying and delicious warm from the oven; and the aroma of bread fills the house. A corn bread with tomato soup for supper is a nurturing meal good for vegans.
"Popovers are fast and simple, a middle American 50s treat, but you do need a hot oven and 45 minutes. Also easy to make: sweet breads- carrot, banana, zucchini-and biscuits.
"To reduce the fat in denser quickbreads and cakes, use applesauce. It gives body and moistness.
"The number of wheat-sensitive people is rising dramatically. A theory I think makes sense is that in the last 30 years the varieties of wheat grown has been reduced to 1 or 2 that are more easily cultivated and harvested with the machinery available. People are overloaded with one type of wheat.
"Gluten is the offending substance in wheat and some oats; try rice, tapioca and potato flours, which are denser and more fine and don't produce a good crust. Improve the crust by baking in a preheated cast iron skillet.
"Also investigate chickpea flour. You don't make a loaf of bread with it- use it for flatbreads like papadam, which is in Indian cookbooks. And it's good for batter for vegetables.
"Spelt is the closest to wheat flour in consistency but some people can be sensitive to it.
"Visit a natural food store to check out the flours. The mills sometimes print handouts with recipes and a lot of those are real good, especially for what works with their flour. Or you may run into a baker who will whet your appetite with ideas and recipes.
"Bread is the supreme comfort food. It can speak to us, and reassure us. The magic of bread and how it varies: There's something appealing in that. In today's world, food is predictable, and that's reassuring to some people. At Moosewood, things are always different, and that's good."
Claire Criscuolo puts an intensely personal spin on the eclectically ethnic style of cooking at her esteemed vegetarian restaurant, Claire's Corner Copia. That 25-year-old institution in New Haven, Connecticut, reflects her zest for the freshest ingredients, robust flavors and inspired combinations. Claire, a teacher and advocate for healthful cuisine, pours her passion into her breadmaking as well:
"Healthy bread is like anything else-it has healthy ingredients. We use the best organic unbleached flour and yeast, pure vanilla, whole eggs (not dried and powdered), whole milk and organic sour cream. You want to use good, fresh ingredients. It's the essence of healthy cooking. "I tell my staff, 'Don't use your soup pot as a garbage pail. Bread is the same. If the ingredients aren't at their freshest for serving, then they aren't right for other uses in the kitchen.
"Our bread is very important at Claire's. We make a country white and a honey wheat in a pinwheel loaf-400 a day-and challah for the morning French toast with sauteed bananas or as buns for veggie burgers. "It's not practical to bake bread every day. We let our bread rise several times, punching it down again and again. For the home cook, it's time consuming. Even I'm happy to buy a good loaf of bread. "But anybody can bake bread. Combine flour, water and yeast and watch it grow! It's delights all your senses. And it a gratifies and satisfies. I was kneading it all by hand until we got up to 12 loaves a day.
"I love a good oatmeal molasses bread; a whole wheat bread with walnuts, rosemary and finely chopped sweet onion sauteed in olive oil for a roasted vegetable sandwich; or an anadama bread with split pea soup.
"Bread is part of a meal. It requires time and effort, but I can't think of many things worthwhile that don't."
Hidden In Plain Sight - The spreading epidemic: Diabetes.
June 12, 2005 06:02 PM
Hidden In Plain Sight by Carl Lowe Energy Times, October 7, 2003
Today, a devastating disease is striking millions of Americans. Sixteen million Americans already have this disease, and every day another 2,200 Americans learn they have it. The spreading epidemic: Diabetes.
The potential ramifications: Millions of people more susceptible to heart disease, dementia, infections, amputations and blindness. Lowering your risk for diabetes is relatively simple and terribly important. Because dealing with some of its effects once you are its victim can be much more complicated.
Signs of Trouble
"Approximately one in four individuals over the age of 60 has type 2 diabetes, which is a remarkable statistic," says Gerald Shulman, MD, of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Yale University. "And, if you add impaired glucose tolerance [a condition that often leads to diabetes], you're talking about 40% of the population."
The economic burden of this epidemic is staggering, estimated at about $100 billion a year and growing.
If you never exercise, carry around a substantial amount of stomach fat and have seen your weight climb significantly over the years, you are among the people at higher risk for diabetes.
These lifestyle habits eventually render your body unable to efficiently process blood sugar. In technical terms, researchers investigating how the body uses and misuses blood sugar have identified what they have called "syndrome X" or "metabolic syndrome," a condition that puts you at high risk for both diabetes and heart disease.
If you have three or more of the following signs, you now have metabolic syndrome and, unless you change the way you live, may eventually suffer diabetes (Circulation 7/14/03):
* Fat around your middle
* High blood pressure
* High triglycerides (blood fats)
* Low level of HDL ("good" cholesterol)
* High fasting blood sugar
In a study of more than 6,000 men in Scotland, having three of these metabolic problems almost doubled the risk of heart disease and more than tripled the risk of diabetes. If you have four of these risk factors, your risk of heart disease just about quadruples, and your diabetes risk skyrockets almost 25 times.
The cells in your body get the energy they need to survive when they take sugar out of your blood and oxidize it along with fatty acids. Normally, insulin, a hormone-like substance released by the pancreas, speeds the absorption of blood sugar by the cells. When your pancreas cannot make insulin at all or makes too little, you suffer what is called type 1 or juvenile diabetes. This condition is usually treated by taking insulin.
But if your pancreas secretes what should be enough insulin for glucose absorption, and your cells are still unable to take sufficient sugar from your blood, you have what is called type 2 or adult-onset diabetes.
Understanding exactly why cells develop difficulties in taking sugar out of the blood and using it for energy has long troubled medical investigators. This condition, before it develops into full-blown diabetes, is called insulin resistance. Researchers have now linked it to malfunctioning mitochondria, the little structures in cells that make the energy that keeps cells functioning.
Scientists have long known that, as you age, you become more susceptible to diabetes. And when researchers compare the mitochondria in young people with those found in the cells of the elderly, they find that older mitochondria are more sluggish.
The mitochondria within the cells oxidize glucose and fatty acids to make energy. (They accomplish this in a complicated metabolic action called the Krebs cycle.) Difficulty with this process, or insulin resistance, can occur when fat and fatty acid waste products accumulate in your liver and muscle tissue.
"We hypothesized that there were two routes to this type of fat accumulation," says Dr. Shulman. "One is that the fat cells might release more fatty acids to be delivered to muscles and/or defects in mitochondrial oxidation might then lead to the accumulation of these fatty acids."
Research confirms that fatty molecules probably collect in muscle cells because the mitochondria's ability to burn fat breaks down over the years. On average, mitochondrial activity dips about 40% in older people.
Dr. Shulman thinks that the final coup de grace in the development of diabetes from insulin resistance takes place when the mitochondria malfunction in the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas.
Although Dr. Shulman says that more research is needed to understand why mitochondrial function slips with age, he recommends keeping your mitochondria from slacking off by exercising. Studies now show that regular physical activity can probably increase the mitochondria in your muscles by activating release of an enzyme called AMP kinase. "...an encouraging note in this study is that-since we've shown that exercise leads to more mitochondria by activation of [the enzyme] AMP kinase-by staying active, the elderly might...maintain mitochondrial content and head off such health problems," says Dr. Shulman. "This is yet another reason for seniors to maintain an active lifestyle," he adds.
Maitake for Metabolic Syndrome
Another natural way to fight the metabolic syndrome is with an extract of the maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa). The extract, called sx-fraction, is attracting research investigating its ability to help the body manage blood sugar more efficiently. In one study, five people with diabetes improved their blood sugar levels with sx-fraction (Diab Med 2001; 18).
This research found that taking maitake sx-fraction is often accompanied by drops in blood glucose levels ranging from 30% to 63%. According to Mark Kaylor, PhD and Ken Babal, CN, in Syndrome X and SX-Fraction (Woodland), "...Studies have demonstrated that whole maitake or its fractions are potent agents for improving 'diabetic conditions.'"
Take the Whole Grains Home
Eating a daily dish of whole grains, like whole wheat and brown rice, can also reduce your risk of diabetes (AJCN 8/22/03). In a twelve-year study of more than 40,000 men between the ages of 40 and 75, researchers found that those who ate three servings of whole grains a day cut their risk in half.
The researchers found that even overweight people lowered their chances of diabetes by eating whole grains and exercising.
Consuming more magnesium also helped; whole grains contain amounts of this mineral missing in refined-grain foodstuffs. Magnesium improves insulin response.
In an age of junk food, our simple taste for sugar and refined grains may threaten our health. Yet, your defense against this scourge is no further away than simply eating more fibrous foods and going for a simple, everyday walk.
Keeping Your Edge - The state of your outer body reflects the inner you.
June 12, 2005 05:22 PM
Keeping Your Edge by Carl Lowe Energy Times, December 2, 2003
If you want to keep your mental edge, better keep your physical edge. As your body goes, so goes your brain: The state of your outer body reflects the inner you.
A flabby body leads to flabby thinking. Weight gain and toneless muscles on the outside are evidence of an out-of-tune brain and thinking processes as soft around the edges as your stomach. But staying in shape physically can boost your mental powers.
As you age, one of the biggest threats to keeping your thoughts sharp is Alzheimer's disease, a progressive brain deterioration (dementia) that destroys your memory and your ability to think.
Today, about 4.5 million Americans suffer Alzheimer's disease. Over a lifetime, the average cost per person suffering this disease adds up to a staggering $175,000. Consequently, according to the Alzheimer's Association (www.alz.org), this disease drains approximately a billion dollars a year from the US economy.
Thanks to an aging population and the growing girth of Americans, the rate of Alzheimer's threatens to explode into an epidemic over the next two decades.
Experts now believe that if you are carrying around too much weight, those extra pounds puts you at a higher risk of losing your thinking abilities. And being seriously overweight greatly expands your chances of developing this debilitating type of dementia.
An 18-year study of about 400 people in Sweden, all aged 70 at the beginning of the research, concluded that your chances of suffering dementia significantly increases with every extra pound (Archives for Internal Medicine 7/03).
Cholesterol Conquers Minds
In addition to the extra risk to your thinking capacity from body fat, having high levels of cholesterol in your blood also threatens your brain's ability to reason. Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have found that:
* Excess amounts of cholesterol can lead to accumulation of APP, a protein found normally in moderate amounts in both the brain and the heart.
* Excess APP linked to cholesterol can, in turn, lead to the development of larger amounts of a substance called amyloid protein.
* Pieces of amyloid protein can form plaque on the brain, destroying cells and leading to the development of Alzheimer's disease.
"Past research has shown that high cholesterol levels appear to increase APP levels, which in turn leads to increased levels of beta amyloid protein and the risk of accumulation of amyloid beta peptide," says Vassilios Papadopoulos, PhD, professor of cell biology at Georgetown. "Our research showed that high cholesterol levels also increase the rate at which the amyloid beta peptides break off and form the tangles that kill brain cells." Added to that, the Georgetown scientists have demonstrated that high cholesterol seems to cause the body to boost its production of the protein, apolipoprotein E (APOE), a chemical that normally helps take cholesterol out of cells. But when APOE accumulates, this chemical leads to an excess of free cholesterol, which kills nerve cells.
"Our study adds to the growing body of evidence implicating high cholesterol as a significant risk factor in Alzheimer's disease, and breaks new ground in showing the damage caused by excessive levels of cholesterol," says Dr. Papadopoulos.
Since high blood pressure also increases your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (BMJ 6/14/01), devoting yourself to a heart-healthy lifestyle (eating plenty of fiber, cutting back on saturated fat in red meat and avoiding trans fats in cookies and cakes) can increase your chances of keeping your wits about you as you move through life.
As part of that heart-healthy lifestyle that keeps your brain functioning at top capacity, experts recommend regular helpings of omega-3 fatty acids, the type of fats found in fish, flax and hemp.
In research that focused on people between the ages of 65 to 94, researchers have found that eating seafood at least once a week drops your risk of Alzheimer's by about 60% compared with folks who forego fish (Archives of Neurology 7/03).
Along with fish, the scientists recommended munching more nuts, which are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids.
In the report on the relationship between eating and Alzheimer's, Robert Friedland, MD, of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, noted: "A high antioxidant/low saturated fat diet pattern with a greater amount of fish, chicken, fruits and vegetables and less red meat and dairy products is likely to lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease, as that for heart disease and stroke."
Wake Up Your Brain
If your thinking has been fuzzy lately, take a nap.
Getting enough sleep right after you learn something new helps maintain your learning abilities, according to research at the University of Chicago. In a test of how sleep can help people remember words and language, these researchers taught students to recognize a unique vocabulary spoken by a machine. After the learning session, students were then tested on their new abilities.
The scientists found that students trained in the morning tested poorly when tested later the same evening. But when students were trained right before bedtime and then tested the next morning, their test scores soared (Nature 9/9/03).
"Sleep has at least two separate effects on learning," according to the researchers. "Sleep consolidates memories, protecting them against subsequent interference or decay. Sleep also appears to 'recover' or restore memories."
The concept of this research originated in observations of birds.
"We were surprised several years ago to discover that birds apparently 'dream of singing' and this might be important for song learning," says researcher Daniel Margoliash, professor of biology and anatomy at the University of Chicago.
While you may not dream of singing like a bird, you may dream of having a sharper intellect. Luckily, the tools for sharpening your mental powers are easy to find and put to good use: Methods for keeping your brain in shape are basically the same techniques effective for keeping your body and heart in shape.
Diet Phen - Dietary Supplement and weight Loss ...
June 01, 2005 12:36 PM
Getting slim, trim and fit is no easy task. To do it you need adequate Energy, Nutritional and Emotional Support, and a Positive Attitude. Source Naturals puts them all together in the DIET-PHEN Weight Loss Plan. The plan includes an herbal-safe nutrient formula that combines optimal amounts of St. John’s wort with synephrine and green tea extract, plus L-phenylalanine and chromium. Meet your weight loss goals the natural way. Try Source Naturals DIET-PHEN dietary supplement in conjunction with the Diet-Phen Weight Loss Plan.
THE PLAN HELPS TO:
DIETING – It Starts in Your Head.
Successful dieting depends on the right mind-set: you need a positive outlook and determination. When your head is in the right place, your body may follow. That’s why the DIET-PHEN Weight Loss Plan includes natural herbs and amino acids to help support a sense of active calm.
ST. JOHN’S WORT – The CenterPeace of DIET-PHEN. In use since ancient times, Hypericum perforatum is a flowering herb highly valued for its positive influence on mental well-being. Known for its soothing effect, it seems to promote relaxation without drowsiness. Recent research has focused on the connection between hypericin (the principal phytochemical in St. John’s wort) and serotonin, a key neurotransmitter associated with mood. About 90% of your serotonin receptors are found in your brain’s emotional center, the limbic system.
SYNEPHRINE, GREEN TEA AND L-PHENYLALANINE – Energize with an Attitude! Synephrine and green tea extract are added for that extra energy needed during dieting. The brain uses phenylalanine to manufacture dopamine and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters that play an important role in drive and determination.
ACETYL L-CARNITINE – Transporting Fat to the Furnace. Within each of your trillions of cells are thousands of tiny energy factories called mitochondria. They convert fats and sugars into metabolic energy. Acetyl L-carnitine supports this process by transporting fat molecules to the mitochondria.
THE PLAN INCLUDES A DAILY SERVING OF 3 DIET-PHEN TABLETS TO PROVIDE:
GET STARTED WITH THE PLAN ! Get DIET-PHEN dietary supplements and the Weight Loss Plan at VitaNet health food store.
Cholestrex - Lower Cholesterol with Source Naturals Supplements
June 01, 2005 10:41 AM
Our lives depend on an uninterrupted flow of blood throughout the 60,000 miles of arteries, veins, and capillaries that bring vital nourishment to our cells. Our bodies have complex chemical strategies to maintain and repair blood vessel walls. Cholesterol is an important part of the process. However, too much cholesterol in the bloodstream can have serious consequences for our well-being. By understanding how nutrition affects blood cholesterol, we can gain valuable control of our health. Source Naturals CHOLESTREX has been formulated to provide the nutritional support that we need to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
SINCE DOCTORS FIRST DISCOVERED that cholesterol was the primary ingredient in the sticky deposits that clogged their patients’ arteries, scientists have gained a thorough understanding of cholesterol’s role in our health. Essential to human and animal life, cholesterol is part of every cell in the body. Because cholesterol is so important, the liver synthesizes from 1 to 2 grams of it each day. In addition, we get about another 500 mg from the foods we eat. Problems occur when too much cholesterol gets into the bloodstream. Today, it’s estimated that over 50 million adults in the United States have cholesterol levels that are too high. The body’s processes to manage excess cholesterol depend upon a lifestyle that includes exercise, stress reduction and proper nutrition. Source Naturals Cholestrex is designed to deliver a comprehensive combination of nutrients known to support a healthy blood vessel system – and keep the life stream flowing.
The nutrients in CHOLESTREX are known to support a healthy blood vessel system
Cholesterol: What It Is Cholesterol is a solid waxy substance, technically classed as a “sterol.” Cholesterol enables our cell membranes to maintain their integrity. It is the basic raw material from which the body makes steroid hormones, which include the sex hormones. Cholesterol is the primary component of bile salts that the liver creates to help us assimilate fats, fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids. The liver also uses bile to rid itself of stored toxins. Our skin contains large amounts of cholesterol, making it resistant to the absorption of water-soluble toxins. Even the brain is 7% cholesterol (dry weight).
Blood vessel walls cover a surface area of half an acre and are under constant pressure
Cholesterol in the Blood
Because it’s not water-soluble, cholesterol must be attached to a carrier molecule in order to be transported in the bloodstream. The liver manufactures two types of carrier molecules for cholesterol, LDL and HDL. LDL (low density lipoprotein) molecules carry cholesterol from the liver out to cells of the body. One of its functions is to repair damaged cells, including those of the artery walls. LDL is primarily made up of saturated fats, (meat fats, butter, etc.). HDL (high density lipoprotein) molecules transport cholesterol and fatty acids from body tissues back to the liver for disposal. HDL helps remove excess fat and cholesterol from the bloodstream. HDL is composed of liquid fats (most vegetable oils). It’s crucial to have a proper balance between LDL and HDL cholesterol. High LDL – a sign that the body has too much fat – is a threat to the health of blood vessels, because excess LDL cholesterol may accumulate in damaged areas of vessel walls. These “fatty streaks” are the beginning stage of artery blockage.
The oxidation of LDL cholestrol is at the heart of the problem
Cholesterol and Artery Damage
The walls of the blood vessels cover a surface area of half an acre and are under constant pressure. Of all the blood vessels in the body, the coronary arteries are under the greatest stress. Named for the Latin word for crown (corona), they sit directly on the heart muscle and must continually expand and contract with every heartbeat. That’s 100,000 times each day. This constant squeezing can cause small lesions in the artery wall. This triggers a repair process where LDL cholesterol comes in to patch up the damage. Recent research has found that the crux of the problem is the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Rich in fatty acids, the LDL molecule becomes permanently altered when oxidized by free radicals (overreactive molecules that steal electrons from other molecules). These rancid, oxidized LDL molecules are no longer recognized by the body, so they’re attacked by immune system cells. These immune cells become bloated with the oxidized lipids, accumulate in artery lesions and create plaque in blood vessels. Why is LDL cholesterol being oxidized? First of all, there’s too much of it in the blood, while not enough HDL. Secondly, the blood doesn’t have enough antioxidants to neutralize free radicals. The ingredients in Source Naturals Cholestrex address these specific problems in several ways. Cholestrex also provides nutrients that protect and strengthen blood vessel walls.
In the typical American diet, 95% of the cholesterol meant for removal is reabsorbed
Cholestrex Has It All
Vitamin C helps maintain the health of artery walls because it’s the key building block for collagen and elastin, the primary constituents of blood vessels. Copper is required by the enzyme that weaves together the fibers of collagen and elastin into the matrix that makes vessel walls both tough and flexible. As an antioxidant, vitamin C scavenges free radicals in the blood plasma and also regenerates vitamin E within the LDL molecule. Vitamin E has a critical role as the primary protector of LDL, preventing its oxidation. One molecule of vitamin E can protect 200 molecules of polyunsaturated fatty acids from free radical damage. GTF Chromium is involved in insulin activity and the normalization of blood sugar. Excess simple sugars are converted to triglycerides, the blood fats which can accumulate in artery walls. Lecithin is a component of HDL that emulsifies excess blood fat so it can be more readily transported in the bloodstream to the liver, where it’s metabolized. Vitamin B3 (niacin) assists in the metabolism of fats, and puts an electric charge on red blood cells so they repel each other, which prevents blood clumping. The amino acid, L-Arginine, works to lower serum cholesterol and triglycerides by inhibiting fat absorption.
Beta sitosterol neutralizes incoming dietary cholesterol
The Body’s Cholesterol Removal System
HDL molecules carry cholesterol from tissues throughout the body back to the liver, where it is incorporated into bile salts. These bile salts are sent to the intestines, where they combine with fiber for excretion. One problem with the typical American low fiber diet is that 95% of the bile-bound cholesterol is reabsorbed. Since this is the body’s primary pathway for ridding itself of excess cholesterol, another strategy incorporated into Cholestrex is to maximize the production of bile salts and minimize their reabsorption by increasing levels of fiber. Fiber is a key element of Cholestrex. Its four types of soluble fiber bind with bile salts that are laden with cholesterol to ensure their excretion from the body. Oat Bran & Fiber, Grapefruit Pectin, Psyllium Seed Husks and Alfalfa Seeds also absorb cholesterol from our food, thereby lowering total blood cholesterol. Alfalfa seeds are considered a blood purifier. Beta sitosterol, a plant equivalent of cholesterol, binds to sites in the intestines that would otherwise absorb cholesterol. Cholestrex provides a daily total of 300 mg of beta sitosterol which may, by itself, neutralize 200 to 300 mg of incoming dietary cholesterol by preventing its absorption. Vitamin C, among its many other vital roles, is the key factor in activating an enzyme that will increase the liver’s conversion of cholesterol into bile salts. CHOLESTREX uses bioactive mineral ascorbate forms of vitamin C that will not irritate the digestive system. Working in conjunction with the fiber in CHOLESTREX, Calcium increases HDL, while lowering total serum cholesterol.
Cholestrex–Intelligent Nutritional Support
Our generation is fortunate to witness the remarkable progress made by modern science in understanding the body’s complex biochemical processes. As we realize the vital connection between nutrition and cholesterol levels, we are empowered to improve our health and vitality beyond previous standards of wellness. Source Naturals CHOLESTREX. For you and the ones you love.