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The Kidneys and Your Health: Everything You Need to Know
April 29, 2022 03:10 PM
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that sit in the lower back, on either side of the spine. They play a vital role in your health, filtering toxins from the blood and regulating fluid balance in the body. We will discuss everything you need to know about the kidneys, including common kidney problems and how to keep them healthy!
What are the common kidney problems
The kidneys are a pair of organs that filter waste products from the blood and excrete them in urine. They are also responsible for regulating fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. Kidney problems can range from mild to severe, and can be acute or chronic. Common kidney problems include kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and Nephrotic Syndrome. Kidney stones are small, hard deposits that form in the kidney when there is an imbalance of minerals in the urine. Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria enter the urinary system and multiply. Nephrotic Syndrome is a kidney disorder that causes the body to excrete large amounts of protein in the urine.Kidney problems can often be treated with medication, but in some cases, surgery may be necessary. Early diagnosis and treatment is important to prevent serious complications.
Acute renal failure
Acute renal failure is a sudden onset of kidney failure that can be life-threatening. The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste from the blood and balancing fluids in the body. When they are not working properly, waste can build up in the blood and cause serious health problems. Acute renal failure can be caused by a number of factors, including dehydration, infection, and certain medications. Symptoms include decreased urine output, swelling, fatigue, and confusion. If left untreated, acute renal failure can lead to coma and death. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential for a successful outcome.
Chronic renal failure
Chronic renal failure, or CRF, is a serious medical condition that affects the kidneys. In this condition, the kidneys become damaged and unable to function properly. As a result, toxins can build up in the body, causing a variety of symptoms. Some of these symptoms may include fatigue, bloating and swelling, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, poor appetite, changes in urination frequency or color, and anemia. Diagnosing CRF involves examining several factors like blood test results and overall medical history. Treatment for the condition typically involves managing any associated symptoms with medication or dietary changes. In some cases, dialysis may also be necessary to support patients with severe CRF. Overall, chronic renal failure is a serious but manageable condition that requires careful monitoring and management by patients and their healthcare providers.
Renal artery stenosis
Renal artery stenosis refers to a condition in which one or more of the arteries that deliver blood to the kidneys becomes narrowed or blocked. This can lead to a number of adverse health effects, including increased blood pressure, chronic kidney failure, and possibly even heart attack or stroke. While there are a number of possible causes for this condition, including genetic factors, certain lifestyle choices such as smoking can also increase the risk of developing renal artery stenosis. Fortunately, treatments are available for this condition, including medications and medical procedures like angioplasty. For those who are diagnosed with renal artery stenosis, early and effective treatment is essential for maintaining overall health and wellbeing.
Renal cancer begins in the kidneys, which are a pair of bean-shaped organs that filter waste from the blood and produce urine. The most common type of renal cancer is clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC), which accounts for about three-quarters of all cases. RCC typically affects middle-aged adults and is more common in men than women. Other types of renal cancer include papillary renal cell carcinoma, chromophobe renal cell carcinoma, and collecting duct carcinoma. Treatment for renal cancer may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy. The type of treatment will depend on the stage of the cancer and the patient's overall health. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential for the best possible outcome.
Polycystic kidney disease
Polycystic kidney disease, or PKD, is a complex condition that affects the kidneys and other organs in the body. This disorder occurs when small cysts grow in the kidneys, gradually interfering with their ability to filter waste products from the blood. As these cysts start to expand, they can cause a number of severe symptoms such as high blood pressure, chronic pain, nausea and fatigue. In some cases, PKD also results in serious complications such as renal failure or a stroke. However, there are treatments available that can help people manage this disorder and slow its progression over time. By working closely with a medical team and making lifestyle changes to support kidney health, it is possible for people living with PKD to have long and healthy lives.
Urinary tract infection
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that can occur in any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra. UTIs are most commonly caused by bacteria, but they can also be caused by fungi or viruses. Symptoms of a UTI may include pain or burning during urination, increased frequency or urgency of urination, cloudy or blood-tinged urine, and pelvic pain. If left untreated, a UTI can lead to serious complications, such as kidney damage or sepsis. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential for preventing serious health problems. UTIs are typically diagnosed through urinalysis, which can detect the presence of bacteria or other organisms in the urine. Treatment usually involves antibiotics to kill the infection-causing bacteria. In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary to treat a severe UTI. Additionally, drinking plenty of fluids and emptying the bladder frequently can help to flush out bacteria and prevent reinfection. Wiping from front to back after using the restroom can also help to reduce the risk of UTI development. Avoiding masturbation devices would good idea if you get frequent urinary tract infections because they can introduce new bacteria into the urethra.
UTI and D-Mannose
A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is a common medical condition that can cause symptoms such as painful urination, abdominal discomfort, and sometimes even fever. While conventional treatments typically involve antibiotics, these medications often come with unwanted side effects like nausea and diarrhea. Fortunately, there is another alternative in the form of D-Mannose, a naturally-occurring sugar that has been shown to help treat UTIs by eliminating bacterial biofilms and relieving symptoms. Unlike antibiotics, which can damage gut health by killing off beneficial bacteria along with the harmful ones, D-Mannose does not disrupt this critical ecosystem. As a result, D-Mannose is becoming an increasingly popular treatment for UTIs, offering an effective and safe alternative to antibiotics.
Kidney stones are one of the most painful medical conditions to experience. These small, hard deposits form when there is an imbalance in the levels of certain minerals in the body. As they grow larger, kidney stones can cause severe pain as they move through the urinary tract. Treatment typically involves drinking plenty of fluids and taking pain medication. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the kidney stone. Prevention is the best way to avoid kidney stones, and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle is the best way to do this. Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, and eating a diet high in fiber can help to prevent kidney stones from forming.
Glomerulonephritis is a serious kidney condition that occurs when the tiny filtration units in the kidneys, known as glomeruli, become inflamed and damaged. This can disrupt normal kidney function, causing a buildup of waste products in the bloodstream, resulting in numerous symptoms such as swelling and joint pain. While there is no cure for glomerulonephritis, treatment options can help to reduce inflammation and manage symptoms. These may include medications to control blood pressure or reduce harmful inflammatory chemicals, along with lifestyle changes to support overall kidney health. With proper medical care and close monitoring, many people with glomerulonephritis are able to live healthy lives despite this chronic condition.
Kidney disease is a serious condition that can lead to a variety of health problems. If you have kidney disease, it is important to monitor your symptoms and seek medical treatment as soon as possible. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing kidney disease, but by working with your healthcare team and following their recommendations, you can help improve your health and quality of life. Remember, knowledge is power, so be sure to educate yourself about kidney disease and its treatment options. With the right information and support, you can live a full and productive life despite this serious condition.
Can I Eat Fruit On a Keto Diet?
April 25, 2019 04:45 PM
The ketogenic diet is now trending across the globe, but many have many impressions about this eating regimen that are far from the truth. One of these myths surround the fact that keto dieters cannot consume any carbs at all, making the majority of fruits off limits. Keto followers can actually have up to 50 grams of carbohydrates to start, and they are encouraged to consume healthy fruits that are low in carbohydrates such as lemons or avocados.
"Higher carb fruits are going to be harder to incorporate into a keto diet while still allowing room for the liberal intake of vegetables and avocados encouraged in the Keto Reset."
Read more: https://www.marksdailyapple.com/fruit-keto/
How to beat stage 4 cancer: For one man, going vegan and quitting chemo saved his life
January 07, 2018 07:59 AM
Going vegan has many health benefits, but for this one man it turned out to save his life. He was diagnosed with stage 4, or highly advanced, colon cancer. His body was not reacting to chemo so he decided to take it into his own hands and go vegan. This turned out to be the savior he was looking for. This ties in well to recent recommendations showing that cured meats increase your chances of cancer, so switching to an all plant based diet does make sense when it comes to battling colon cancer.
"He started out vegetarian prior to his first chemotherapy, but with the looming treatments and the way it made him feel, he decided to be vegan “to save his life” and turned to raw superfoods."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-01-05-how-to-beat-stage-4-cancer-for-one-man-going-vegan-and-quitting-chemo-saved-his-life.html
5 ways to relieve period cramps naturally
July 16, 2017 12:14 PM
For most women, there is a cyclical monthly occasion that consumes their bodies with pain and cramping. While some deal with this pharmacologically, there might be natural alternatives to menstrual symptoms. A recent article on foxnews.com provided several tips that may help relieve menstrual symptoms without turning to pills. The following recommendations were made: Fish oil and Vitamin B12 supplementation, increasing vegetable intake while reducing fats, Magnesium supplementation, exercise, and heat therapy. Of course, this article did recommend seeking a physicians advice before implementing any of these dietary or excercise recommendations.
"... what if you could relieve period cramps naturally? Some of these remedies might even help you conquer the cramps once and for all."
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2017/07/10/5-ways-to-relieve-period-cramps-naturally.html
10 cannabis guidelines released in American Journal of Public Health
June 24, 2017 07:14 PM
There are 10 cannabis guidelines that were released in the American Journal of Public Health. Public health and medical experts are supporting ten brand new recommendations that will help to reduce the health risks of using cannabis. Cannabis use has health risks that are best avoided by abstaining. Another recommendation is to delay taking cannabis until much later in life. You should also avoid smoking cannabis. You can choose safer ways to use it. Avoid harmful smoking practices as well.
Read more: 10 cannabis guidelines released in American Journal of Public Health
Increasing use by elders of CBD for anxiety
May 23, 2017 11:44 AM
Medical marijuana has helped those with issues such as dementia cope with the pain but limiting the side effects of getting 'high'. As an example, a woman named Grace in Oregon began using a strain of this to help with her anxiety. In doing so, she was able to stay more calm vs. normal medication. Various facilities in the area help support this with recommendations and for a nominal fee for those interested in learning more.
"If you are living in a facility that accepts Medicare or Medicaid, you cannot use marijuana in any form, even though it’s legal in Oregon."
Read more: http://www.dailytidings.com/news/20170516/increasing-use-by-elders-of-cbd-for-anxiety
Omega 3 Fatty Acid Found To Stop Liver Damage From Getting Worse
April 27, 2017 11:44 AM
Oregon State University researchers have determined an Omega 3 fatty acid can stop the progression of liver damage in lab animals for specific type of liver disease known a nonalcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH. The Omega 3 which produces this effect is docosahexaenoic acid or (DHA) a readily available dietary supplement. However, researchers caution this treatment will most generally be used clinically since the population rarely follows dietary recommendations on supplements. NASH is caused from consumption of the western diet high in sugar, cholesterol and fats and can lead to the development of liver cancer or cirrhosis.
"Characterised by liver inflammation, oxidative stress and fibrosis, NASH is a substantial risk factor for cirrhosis and liver cancer."
Read more: http://www.news18.com/news/health-and-fitness/omega-3-fatty-acid-found-to-stop-liver-damage-from-getting-worse-1378455.html
Why Do We Need Vitamins?
March 09, 2017 07:59 AM
Are you taking your vitamins every day? There are many different vitamins out there available in a pill or a powder form. These vitamins supply the body with the adequate amounts of the vitamin when you may not be getting enough through the foods that you eat. There are many other reasons why it is important to get adequate vitamin supply each day. Why is it so important for you to consume these daily vitamins?
"While many dietary recommendations are beneficial to both men and women, women’s bodies have different needs when it comes to vitamins."
Read more: https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=http%3A%2F%2Fjknewstoday.com%2Fwhy-do-we-need-vitamins%2F&ct=ga&cd=CAIyGjVkYjY3ZDViNDdiNGM3ZTc6Y29tOmVuOlVT&usg=AFQjCNFPQzqMR0ogI6Fd3WcANDV4JyIMzQ
Can CBD Help you Lose Weight?
February 25, 2017 10:59 AM
CBD has been in the headlines and in the spotlight for those battling many different health ailments. Many supporters say that it works better at treating common and uncommon health problems that might affect you. Now, new research is available, suggesting that weight loss is another problem that CBD can help. Learn the facts here.
"Most of the four million medical marijuana patients in the U.S. get their license recommendations from a doctor they never see again."
Salt of the Earth: Sodium and Plant-Based Diets
January 28, 2017 10:19 AM
Taking sodium down a notch in your diet can be very helpful in the long run. A lot of people eat way too much salt. There are many manufacturers in America that are taking down the amount of salt in their food. In general, animal foods have more salt in them than plant foods. The people who eat the most plants tend to meet the recommendations set by the experts on amount of salt you should have a day.
"Every time there is a video on salt, people ask questions about “natural”/pink/sea/Himalayan salt. Other times, people simply assert that sea salt is healthy or perhaps different enough to invalidate studies showing salt is bad for us."
Beans and peas increase fullness more than meat
January 07, 2017 12:59 PM
When trying to eat healthy and lose weight you need to eat less. The problem with eating less is that you can be hungry real quick. Research shows how to battle this, and it is not with meat. Beans and peas help a person feel more full than meat. Perfect way to eat less.
"Meals based on legumes such as beans and peas are more satiating than pork and veal-based meals according to a recent study by the University of Copenhagen's Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports."
World's oldest living person has eaten 3 eggs a day for over 90 years
November 11, 2016 04:49 PM
How many eggs do you eat each day? For one woman, who happens to be turning the tender age of 117 soon, eats two every day, as she has for more than 90 years now. She is doing something right with her diet as she still looks amazing. Perhaps there is something about eggs that help us live long lives!
"Currently government recommendations allow for moderate, not restricted, egg consumption, if that's what you want to do. Guidelines are for one egg per day, or about seven whole eggs per week."
Biotin and Hair Growth
November 15, 2012 07:50 AM
Plenty of people have problems with thinning or hair that's falling off and in the long run, it can really affect them psychologically. The good news though is that no one will ever have to consider any surgical procedures in order to fix this problem if the hair loss is severe, because there are many natural solutions which can help hair grow back. One of these elements is called Biotin and those who will take it will never have to worry about their hair falling off again.
Learning more about Biotin
Biotin provides the human body with the require nutrients and vitamins required in order to allow hair to grow fast and strong. It also helps with boosting the metabolism with proteins, carbohydrates and fats which are required for a strong and thick hair. The fact is that biotin is also known under another name and that is Vitamin H and it helps protect the body against brittle hair follicles and dryness which can affect the natural growth of hair. Not only that, but biotin also increases the hair cortex and the elasticity of the hair follicles in order to help with preventing some of the damage and breakage which stops the natural growth of hair.
If people will decide to take biotin in set amounts, they will not only manage to thicken their hair, but at the same time give the appearance that they have more hair. Even though there are no known side effects, everyone should follow the recommendations on the bottle when taking it.
How much to take?
This is something that depends on each individual. Most of the times, people will be told that their daily dose of biotin depends on their weight, height and age. Follow the directions on the bottle. This vitamin must be taken daily for best results.
Can Fenugreek Seed Help Lower Blood Sugar?
May 17, 2012 08:47 AM
The cells essentially need glucose since it supplies them with energy, and it is the simple sugar traveling in the blood that provides the cell with glucose. Glucose moves from the blood into the cells with the help of the insulin hormone. At times, the body fails at producing insulin or starts reacting abnormally to the insulin in the blood. This way, the cells are not able to use the glucose, which causes the glucose to continue accumulating in the blood until the glucose levels in the blood become really high.
The severity of this condition can lead to diabetes. Fortunately, people can keep their blood sugar levels in a healthy range by using fenugreek seeds, which is a herb this is capable of lowering blood sugar. Before consuming fenugreek, it is better if people consult their doctor and follow their doctor's advice.
What is Fenugreek?
Fenugreek or Trigonella foenum-graecum, is a plant that is also known as Greek hayseed, and it bears seeds. For thousands of years, the Fenugreek seeds have bee used in Ayurveda or traditional Indian medicine. Fenugreek is generally recommended as a remedy for digestive problems, since constipation is relieved and lactation is promoted by the seeds of this herb. Even diabetes, high cholesterol and inflammation can be treated using these seeds. Several biologically active components are contained fenugreek, which lessen the amount of blood sugar, lowering blood sugar levels.
What are the Properties Fenugreek?
Natural chemicals known as saponins and alkaloids are contained in Fenugreek. The way in which carbohydrates are converted by the digestive system into glucose and way in which insulin is secreted and used by the body is affected by some of these compounds. The saponins cause lesser glucose to be absorbed from digested nutrients. The amount of insulin secreted by the pancreas and the number of insulin receptors on red blood cells are increased by the rest of the compounds. Abundant fiber is also contained in fenugreek seeds, as a result of which the absorption of the glucose derived from carbohydrate after a meal is slowed down.
Is There Any Evidence that Fenugreek Helps Lower Blood Sugar?
It has been suggested by several laboratory studies that fenugreek indeed keeps the blood sugar levels in control. The benefits of fenugreek and its seeds have also been suggested by several clinical studies with human subjects. While large trials have not yet been conducted, the present findings seem to be quite promising and definitely suggest that fenugreek effectively lower blood sugar levels.
Precautions and Recommendations
A variety of health food stores are currently selling fenugreek extract and fenugreek seeds. While there is no standard dosage of consuming the extract or the seeds, but it is better if about five grams of the seeds per day or one gram of the extract per day is consumed. Fenugreek might result in mild abdominal bloating or gastric upset, but overall it is regarded safe to use. Thus, consuming fenugreek seeds or extract can prove to be beneficial for the people who are suffering from high blood sugar levels or diabetes.
8 Major Benefits of Nattokinase
February 18, 2012 07:18 AM
The need to live and eat healthy has grown other years. However, every time you hear of a new health supplement or food type, you are never sure of its exact impact on your wellness. But for nattokinase, you can be sure that is benefits to your health are true. Here is how your body benefits from the use of nattokinase.
Background Information of Nattokinase
Before you learn about its advantages , here is a little background on this supplement. Nattokinase or natto is a wholesome and nutritious Japanese food that is derived from soybeans. In its native country,it is taken with rice. To make natto, boiled soya beans are mixed and fermented with a bacterium referred to as Bacillus Natto. After the fermentation process, the enzyme nattokinase - the main active ingredient in the supplement- is produced.
One of the best known effects of natto is that it reduces clotting in blood by dissolving fibrin. When fibrin escapes to blood, it binds platelets together resulting in a clot. In young people, production of plamin - an agent that reduces synthesis of fibrin - is at its maximum. However, as people get older and in some disease conditions, less plasmin is produced thus the risk of developing clots. Natto contains agents that work like plasmin and therefore is used in place of plasmin.
By countering the production of angiotensin converting hormone (ACE), natto lowers the pressure of blood. The hormone mentioned above reduces the elasticity of blood vessels; consequently, the vessels become narrower. Narrow vessel lead high blood pressure. In addition, by making the blood vessels soft and supple , it increases the supply of blood to all parts of the body.
Body cells need proteins to grow and function optimally. However, as people age, the ability of the body to utilize and absorb proteins is reduced. As a result, skin cells grow don't rejuvenate quickly. Natto contains high levels of proteins and vitamin K2 - a well documented anti-aging factor.
Nattokinse and cholesterol
Nattokinase reduces the bad cholesterol in the body by transporting it from the blood vessel to the liver where it's eliminated. Moreover, natto prevents osteoporosis by lowering the rate at which calcium is removed from the body. By taking nattokinase, the risk of heart diseases especially those that plaque blood vessels is reduced.
Other Health Benefits of Nattokinase.Prevents loss of hair.Soothes the muscles and reduces pain joints.Lowers the risk of Alzheimer's disease.Prevents other diseases that are caused by clots in blood. What more! So far there are no serious health side effect are associated with the use of this product.In any case, the Japanese have been using this product for a long time.In fact, the generally low levels of heart diseases in its native society are associated to the use of nattokinase. However, lactating and pregnant women should only take this and other supplement after medical advice.In addition, if you are to undergo surgery, please be sure to consult your surgeon before use. Above all, you must read all the manufacturers instructions and recommendations before use.
What Is A Natural Carb Blocker?
November 05, 2011 01:57 PM
Carbohydrate BlockerThere are so many individuals nowadays who are already overweight because of their natural love for food that are fattening. Overeating has now become a common problem for many individuals hence, has been the primary cause unto why weight problems have become more rampant. Despite how evident the problem is right now, people still find it very difficult to resist food thus, people having weight related problems is still growing in number.
Despite the fact that several diets has been formulated that could help you shed off extra pounds, many of these diets do not work for all because people find it so difficult to adhere to a tasteless diet even for just a week. Because not all diets are easy to adhere with, diet pills has been formulated by experts that helps block carbohydrate therefore, will aid you in getting rid of excess body weight.
Carb blockers are pills that helps inhibits the absorption of carbohydrates in your system. With the help of carb blockers, carbohydrates are passed out naturally which means that carbohydrates will no longer be metabolized by the body into fat. With this mechanism, build up or accumulation of fats in your body will be greatly reduced.
Brown seaweed extract is a notable carb blocker sold in the market today. This particular product is highly effectual and proven to relevantly reduce the absorption of carbohydrates in your body to as much as 82 percent. Weight loss is not the sole benefit of carb blockers because a good and effectual carb blocker also has the capacity of enhancing your metabolic rate which is highly necessary to make reduction of fat a lot faster. Another capacity of carb blockers is that it could significantly reduce appetite hence, will enable you to consume less food that can make you fat. This threefold effect that carb blockers could do for your body will really help you achieve your goals of losing weight. A weight loss of five pounds per week is a guarantee once you follow the recommendations indicated in the product’s label.
Because of the fact that there are already so many carb blockers that are sold in the market today, it is very necessary to choose those that are 100 percent natural and those that contains effectual components such as cactus extract, capsicum extract, prickly pear extract and brown seaweed extract. These components have innate properties that could help you lose weight faster.
Trying ways and means to make yourself more attractive to the eyes of the public is not bad as long as you will only engage on those modalities that will not bring harm on your body. Make sure that the regimens that you will try are highly safe and effectual. If it involves some risk, better not try the regimen because in the end, it is you who will suffer from the health consequences that the product might bring.
Here are recommendations made by Dr. Oz.
September 22, 2011 12:47 PM
FYI - Here are recommendations made by Dr. Oz. See in blue the NOW Foods options.
1. Vitamin D:
- The only nutrient that's also a hormone
- 60% of Americans are deficient
- Helps immunity and cancers, especially colon cancer
- Take if not getting enough sleep
- 3 mg
- Take 2 hours before bedtime
- You should see a change in your sleep pattern within 1-2 weeks
3. Alpha Lipoic Acid
- Increases energy
- Slows the aging process
- Helps with diabetes that affects 80 million Americans
• 400 mg 3 times a day
• keeps immune system strong
• take as soon as symptoms develop
• fights respiratory infections
• NOW Foods Air Defense contains a patented form of Andrographis plus other lung supportive ingredients. a GREAT formula for seasonal health and the frequent traveler.
Fight Anxiety Disorders Naturally
December 14, 2010 04:27 PM
Do you suffer from an Anxiety Disorder?
Before considering how to test for anxiety disorders and discussing natural supplements that can help we should first discuss what anxiety disorders are - what the term means and if there are degrees of anxiety disorders as there are of depression and stress. First, what is anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural reaction to stress and it is anxiety that makes you worry about the consequences of not studying for an exam - so you study. It focuses you on problems so that you will be more likely to solve them, and helps you to perform better whatever you are doing. However, it can get out of hand and these positive mental processes become negative anxiety disorders.
With some people, anxiety becomes a dread of situations that were once everyday occurrences and can make your life a misery. Here are some forms of anxiety disorder.
Typical Anxiety Disorders
General Anxiety Disorder
Its symptoms include excessive sweating, worry, headaches, irritability, difficulty in sleeping, tiredness and tension in your muscles. It can lead to substance abuse and deep depression if left untreated.
These are three typical forms of anxiety, but how do you test for anxieties? Here are some tests that are used, beginning with the easiest - doing it yourself!
Testing for Anxiety Disorders
Many that believe they may have an anxiety disorder either tend to panic or go into a depression. It is far better to carry out a self-test. This anxiety test is very simple: simply tick which of the symptoms below you have experienced in the past six months:
I can't relax
I am always worried about something.
I get headaches for no apparent reason
I frequently sweat a lot and get hot flashes
I have no time for anybody and am easily annoyed
I find it hard to sleep and I often wake up during the night
My attention keeps wandering and I can't focus on anything
I sometimes get so worried I want to be sick or have a lump in my throat
If you have ticked more than three then perhaps you should pay your doctor a visit, or try some of the recommendations below.
b) Doctors' Tests
If you feel you might be suffering some form of anxiety disorder you should consult your doctor, particularly if you have tried the self test above and it indicates that you might be. Your doctor might carry out various tests for your general health, and if it is felt necessary you may be asked about your family history: is there any history of mental problems in the family, particularly with your mother or father.
Other questions may appertain to your own physical and mental background, such as have you been stressed for any reason lately, have you suffered anxiety or panic attacks in the past and what is your normal use of prescription and non-prescription medications and drugs. Do you smoke, drink or take any social drugs.
It is important that you are totally honest: the doctor is not judging you, simply trying to find the cause of your problem. Under the terms of their oath they cannot divulge anything you tell them to anyone else, so be honest and let them help you. Among the tests you will be given will be to declare all your history of anxiety-related symptoms. To achieve that, you will be asked a series of questions while the doctor assesses your mental condition.
Finally, you may be referred to a psychiatrist who will be able to help you more than your doctor. Psychiatrists have a good record in resolving anxiety disorders, but once you are diagnosed positively, what then? Chemical drugs? Or perhaps you would prefer something more natural such as herbal remedies.
Herbal Remedies for Anxiety
There are a number of herbs that can be used to treat anxiety disorders. Here are the more commonly used of these:
Passion flower contains the active substances maltol and ethylmaltol that your body's biochemistry uses to increase the concentration of GABA (gamma-butyric acid) in your brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that calms you and helps you to relax and forget anything that is making you anxious. It relieves muscle tension, can lower your blood pressure and some equate its effect to that of Valium: although it is totally different chemically it is similar in its effect. It offers a sedative effect and helps you sleep.
Kava Kava root
Kava kava. Generally just referred to as kava, comes from the Pacific and the kavalactones it contains increase the concentration of neurotransmitters in your vascular system, particularly serotonin, the feel-good substance. Its sedative effects have been likened to that of alcohol, and it can certainly give you a lift and certainly helps you worry less as it reduces the negative symptoms of stress and depression.
St. John's Wort
St. John's wort is a well-known anti-depressant and it can also help reduce the symptom of anxiety. The hyperforin the plant contains helps to improve the brain's content of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine that make you feel good, and St. John's wort certainly washes away your anxiety. Not only that, but the napththodianthrone in another of its important components, hypericin, promotes a reduction in depression through the inhibition of monoamine oxidase, a pro-depressive enzyme.
An extract of valerian root can help you to relax and sleep well, and this can often be enough to prevent your anxiety attacks. A lot depends on their cause, but if the attacks are mild and don't require extensive medical or psychiatric intervention, then valerian can help, particularly in treating stress-related anxiety. Make sure you stick to the recommended dose because valerian can be dangerous if taken to excess.
The four herbal remedies above should between them be all you need to treat your anxiety. One major problem is that, just like any chemical drugs, they only treat the symptoms and not the underlying cause which is something you and your physician will have to work on yourselves.
However, until then, the above herbal remedies for anxiety disorders are generally safer to use than prescription drugs and each has a well proven effect, both on the symptoms of anxiety and on depression.
How to detoxify from heavy metal aluminum toxitity
November 09, 2010 06:04 PM
Although aluminum is not a heavy metal, it can be toxic if present in excessive amounts or small amounts if it is deposited in the brain. Many of the symptoms of aluminum toxicity are similar to those of Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis. Aluminum toxicity can often lead to colic, rickets, gastrointestinal disturbances, poor calcium metabolism, extreme nervousness, anemia, headaches, decreased liver and kidney function, forgetfulness, speech disturbances, memory loss, softening of the bones, and weak, aching muscles. Since aluminum is excreted through the kidneys, toxic amounts of aluminum can often impair kidney function.
When aluminum salts accumulate in the brain, seizures and reduced mental function can often result. In order to reach the brain, aluminum must pass the blood-brain barrier, which is an elaborate structure that filters the blood before it reaches the vital organ. Although elemental aluminum does not ordinarily pass through this barrier, certain aluminum compounds, such as aluminum fluoride, will. Many municipal water supplies are treated with aluminum sulfate and fluoride. These two chemicals readily combine with each other in the blood and are poorly excreted in the urine. The absorption of high levels of aluminum and silicon in the intestines can result in the formation of compounds that accumulate in the cerebral cortex and prevent nerve impulses from being carried to and from the brain in the proper manner. This situation can be aggravated by a chronic calcium deficiency.
People who have spent their career in aluminum smelting plants for long periods have been known to experience dizziness, impaired coordination, and a loss of balance and energy. When aluminum accumulates in the brain, the above symptoms are often caused. Perhaps the most alarming thing to note it that there is evidence to suggest that long-term accumulation of aluminum in the brain may contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. It has been estimated that an ordinary person ingests about 3 and 10 milligrams of aluminum a day. Aluminum, being the most abundant metallic element in the earth’s crust, is primarily absorbed in the body through the digestive tract, but can also be absorbed through the lungs and skin. Additionally, aluminum can be absorbed by and accumulate in the body tissues. Since aluminum permeates our air, water, and soil, it can be found naturally in varying amounts in almost all food and water. Aluminum is also used to make cookware, cooking utensils, and foil, along with being present in many other everyday products including over-the-counter painkillers, anti-inflammatories, douche preparations, antacids, baking powder, food processing, antiperspirants, toothpaste, dental amalgams, bleached flour, grated cheese, table salt, beer, and municipal water supplies.
The following nutrients are very helpful when dealing with aluminum toxicity: apple pectin, calcium, magnesium, coenzyme A, garlic, kelp, lecithin capsules or granules, l-glutathione, a multivitamin and mineral complex, SAMe, vitamin B complex, N-Acetyl Cysteine, and vitamin E. Additionally, the following herbs are great for blocking damage to the body from toxic heavy metals and radiation when taken regularly: burdock root, Echinacea, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, and fiber. Other recommendations to help prevent aluminum toxicity include maintaining a diet that is high in fiber and includes apple pectin; using only stainless steel, glass, or iron cookware, with stainless steel being the best; and being aware of the products that contain aluminum by reading labels and avoiding those that contain aluminum. Sulfur container foods like N-Acetyl Cysteine can help find up heavy metals and eliminate them from the body. If you suspect you have heavy metal toxicity, consult your health care provider immediately.
The pediatrics academy has raised its earlier recommendation to 400 IU per day.
October 14, 2008 10:03 PM
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) today announced that it has doubled the amount of vitamin D recommended for infants, children and adolescents. The increase, from 200 international units (IU) to 400 IU per day, starting in the first few days of life, was detailed at the group’s annual meeting in Boston. The new advice replaces an academy recommendation issued in 2003.
"We are doubling the recommended amount of vitamin D children need each day because evidence has shown this could have life-long health benefits," said Frank Greer, M.D., FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Nutrition and co-author of the report. “Supplementation is important because most children will not get enough vitamin D through diet alone.”
"Breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for infants. However, because of vitamin D deficiencies in the maternal diet, which affect the vitamin D in a mother’s milk, it is important that breastfed infants receive supplements of vitamin D,” said Carol Wagner, M.D., FAAP, member of the AAP Section on Breastfeeding Executive Committee and co-author of the report.
The new advice is based on mounting research about potential benefits from vitamin D besides keeping bones strong, including suggestions that it might reduce risks for cancer, diabetes and heart disease. But the evidence isn't conclusive and there is no consensus on how much of the vitamin would be needed for disease prevention.
"We know 400 IU a day is safe and prevents rickets," Greer said. "We don't have any idea if that amount of vitamin D is enough for other diseases. We also don't know if anything over 400 is safe."
The AAP also made these recommendations:
Infants who are breast-fed or partially breast-fed receive 400 IU a day of vitamin D in supplements, beginning in the first few days of life, continuing unless the infant starts taking at least one quart a day of vitamin D-fortified formula or whole milk, although whole milk should not be introduced until the child has turned 1. Non-breast-fed children and older children should also receive a vitamin D supplement of 400 IU per day.
Adolescents who do not obtain 400 IU of vitamin D per day through foods should receive a supplement containing that amount.
Children at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency (for example, those taking anti-seizure medications) may need higher doses, but this should only be done in consultation with a health-care professional. The new recommendations were expected to be published in the November issue of the journal Pediatrics.
Urinary Incontinence and Overactive Bladder: The Silent Conditions
February 07, 2008 05:56 PM
Even though we are all comfortable talking about cardiovascular issues, mind and brain function, and digestive wellness, the topic of bladder health is rarely discussed. Whether it is vaguely touched upon or completely ignored, bladder issues including urinary incontinence and overactive bladder get a low amount of coverage considering their prevalence throughout the world. Research has shown that 17 million Americans can be diagnosed with urinary incontinence and 33 million Americans suffer from overactive bladder. So with these figures, why is it that we rarely hear about these issues? Firstly, urinary incontinence and overactive bladder have been marked as taboo topics, as sufferers are not eager to openly talk about their experiences since they can be uncomfortable and embarrassing to discuss. Due to the social stigma that is associated with urinary incontinence, it is extremely under-diagnosed and under-reported. Another reason why people aren’t talking about bladder issues is because the market has only recently become recognized as financially viable as the market for urinary incontinence treatment reached more than $7 billion by the end of 2006, as compared to $276 million in 2000. With the new baby boomer population turning 60 in a few years, it is anticipated that urinary incontinence and overactive bladder treatment will soar much higher.
No matter the reason, these are serious health issues that affect people deeply. Both physiological and psychological aspects take their toll on a person. Studies have shown that people with these illnesses have a poorer quality of life, causing sufferers to become reclusive and isolated as they are too embarrassed to talk about their bladder issues.
However, there are a variety of ways that bladder health can be addressed, including pharmaceutical, behavioral, and natural approaches. Various drug therapies have been found to improve bladder control. However, most drug therapies also have unpleasant side effects such as dry mouth, dry eyes, blurred vision, and memory loss. Some drugs can even produce harmful long-term side effects. National continence groups also have recommendations as to behavioral interventions and exercises that can be taken to deal with bladder issues. Bladder control training, which involves teaching the bladder to completely fill and empty, is important to adequate fluids and avoid going to the toilet just in case. Kegal exercises can also be done to help strengthen the muscles that contract if you are urinating.
There are also natural herbal and nutrient options that are worth considering. These include Horsetail and Crateva nurvala, which both are means of improving bladder tone and control. Horsetail, which is high in silica, is known as a urinary astringent and antispasmodic. It relieves involuntary muscle spasms. Crateva has been shown to improve bladder tone and total bladder capacity. It improves urine flow, which helps the bladder to empty completely.
Since bladder health is a concern for many Americans, as it impacts what we do, where we go, our confidence levels, and sense of freedom, we need to start openly discussing bladder health and become more informed about the options that are available to us. Even though sufferers have learned to live with poor bladder health, recent research is making natural dietary ingredients an alternative for those who are looking for support to their bladder health.
Take Charge Of Your Health With Herbal Bio-Identical hormones
November 04, 2007 03:17 PM
Bioidentical hormones assist women in overcoming acute menopausal symptoms, while improving skin. They help by strengthening bones, keeping the mind sharp, promoting energy and well-being, and helping to preserve vaginal tone and resist vaginal dryness. In men, these hormones add energy and vitality, while improving muscle tones and mental sharpness. Bioidentical hormones (BHRT) are exact duplicates of the hormones that are produced by the body. However, they are much more easily metabolized by the body into safe forms of estrogen than their counterparts, which stimulate toxic metabolites. When they are used in physiologic amounts, bioidenticals carry much fewer risks than synthetic hormones. However, despite the fact that research supports their use and proves them safe alternatives to prescription drugs, few physicians are actually using these hormones in their practices.
Those patients, who wish to address menopausal and andropause symptoms, or to achieve lifelong hormonal balance in order to prevent illness, often do not know where to go to find a comprehensive bioidentical hormone replacement program. Instead, they read whatever they can to formulate a plan and purchase various products that are available over the counter, often spending precious time and money on programs and products that don’t do what they’re expected to do. One of the most common errors among people is putting together a program based solely on symptoms instead of first checking hormone levels. Symptoms may overlap from one hormone pattern to another. If you try to replace or augment specific hormones without having an accurate test of the levels first, your results will seldom be good.
If your doctor is prescribing transdermal hormones, make sure to do a saliva self-test to measure your hormones levels as it is much more accurate and revealing than other types of tests. You can submit your samples to Mead Labs, where you will actually receive a telephone consultation from a health professional to interpret your results followed by a program of products prescribed especially for you from one of their medical professionals. With your own results, you can learn a lot about the exact state of your hormones instead of blindly guessing from symptoms which may be similar. For example, men may not need testosterone shots or transdermal patches, as the results may show estrogen dominance. The answer for this is not adding more testosterone, because the man could be converting testosterone into estrogen, but instead a program including special herbs and nutrients may be much more beneficial. No matter your gender, your health professional at Mead Labs will design a safe and effective program based solely on bioidentical hormones, herbs, and nutrients first. In the past years, when prescription, non-bioidentical HRT was used by any women with menopausal symptoms, there was no testing to find out what kind of imbalance was actually occurring. Proponents of BHRT are trying to ensure that this method of prescribing the same combination and amounts of medications to everyone is not used with natural hormones. Because hormone profiles and levels can vary significantly from person to person, even those people in the same gender, testing hormones levels and obtaining recommendations from a medical professional who is experienced in BHRT are the key points to ensure you benefit from this therapy.
Complete Liver Cleanse
April 19, 2007 04:17 PM
Complete Liver Cleanse
Technical Data Sheet
The liver performs over 500 functions, including metabolizing carbohydrates and proteins, synthesizing and storing vitamins, and regulating hormones – naming just a few. To do this job, the liver is also required to be exposed to potentially harmful toxins and chemicals, every day.
One way to support the liver is through periodic supplementation with the proper balance of herbal ingredients, phytosterols, and fiber. Complete Liver Cleanse is a convenient, multi-ingredient formula that supports overall liver health and detoxification.
Complete Liver Cleanse:
Includes ingredients for various aspects of liver and gallbladder support:
-Herbal ingredients that support liver and gallbladder health
-Detoxifying ingredients that keep bound toxins from being reabsorbed
-Phytosterols to block cholesterol absorption in the intestines
-Fiber that moves cholesterol and toxins out of the body
-Oat beta-glucan fiber with up to 4 times higher viscosity than other beta-glucan
-Simple, two week liver cleanse program
Each 3 capsules contain:
Calcium (as calcium D-glucarate) 13 mg
Proprietary PuraFiber Blend: 1 mg
Viscofiber Oat B-Gucan Concentrate, phytosterols
(beta sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, brassicasterol,
and other plant sterols), and glucomannan
Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) Fruit Phytosome 220 mg
One part Milk Thistle Extract, standardized to contain 80%
Silymarin bound to two parts phosphatidylcholine (soy) using
a patented process
Burdock (Arctium lappa) Root Extract 4:1 100 mg
Calcium D-Glucarate 100 mg
Boldo (Peumus boldus) Leaf Extract 2:1 75 mg
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) Rhizome Extract 50 mg
Standardized to contain 90% curcuminoids
Dandelion (Taraxacum offinale) Root Extract 4:1 50 mg
Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) Leaf Extract 30 mg
Standardized to contain 13-18% caffeylquinic
Acids calculated as chlorogenic acid
Contains no: sugar, salt, yeast, wheat, dairy products, artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, ingredients of animal origin, or preservatives. This product contains natural ingredients; color variations are normal.
Other ingredients: See label for most current information
Viscofiber is a registered trademark of Cebena Bioproducts, Inc. The use and composition of the Viscofiber proprietary formula is protected by patients and patent applications filed in the
This product contains calcium D-glucarate, the use of which is licensed from Applied Food Sciences, LLC, and protected by
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Every day, the liver must process an almost unbelievable amount of blood – at a rate of three pints every minute. All the while, the liver performs over 500 physiologic functions, including protein and glucose synthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, vitamin and mineral storage, synthesis of clotting factors, urea formation, metabolism of medications, and the production of bile. The liver also assists in hormonal regulation, blood glucose control, and other regulatory functions.
Harmful substances that have been neutralized by the liver are carried to the intestines and kidneys for excretion. They are transported by bile, a greenish, watery solution that is synthesized, and continuously being excreted, by the liver. Stored in the gallbladder, a small sac cupped in the under surface of the liver, bile is also required for the digestion of dietary fats. However, in the case of toxins, bile is primarily an early transporter of the toxic compounds to the intestines, where they can be bound to fiber that helps transport them out of the body. Environmental toxins, including lipid (fat) soluble toxins, are broken into water-soluble components by bile to be excreted through the kidneys or colon.
Detoxification refers to the process of excreting potentially harmful compounds that are both generated by the body and acquired through exposure to the environment. In the body, toxins are generated as by-products of cellular metabolic processes. Examples include dead and digested bacteria, hydrogen peroxide, cellular debris, and carbon dioxide.
The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that the amount of environmental toxins in the air, groundwater, and soil has increased significantly in the last 40 years. In fact, the use of pesticides has doubled every ten years since 1945. Americans are increasingly exposed to heavy metals, pesticides, fossil fuel emissions, sulfur oxides, hydrocarbons, and other harmful chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that traces of toxic chemicals can now be found in nearly every American.
Herbal Liver Support
One of the major components in Complete Liver Cleanse is its milk thistle extract, standardized to contain 80% silymarin, the plant’s most bioactive compound. Milk Thistle provides support, at a cellular level, for healthy liver function. A patented delivery system, known as the Phytosome process, provides superior absorption of the milk thistle extract.
Silymarin, a key compound found in milk thistle, is a mixture of flavonoids with a long history of liver support. Silymarin supports the health of Kupffer cells, specialized liver cells responsible for removing bacteria, old blood cells, and other foreign matter from the liver’s blood supply. Silymarin scavenges free radicals (superoxide anion radical and nitric oxide) produced by activated Kupffer cells, supports healthy leukotriene levels, and supports glutathione production that is used in detoxification.
Silymarin also supports the health of hepatocytes, highly versatile liver cells with unique physiologic functions. Studies of silymarin have demonstrated that it supports the health of the hepatocyte outer membrane, which is crucial to the liver’s detoxification processes. Silymarin also supports the healthy regenerative ability of the liver through support of protein synthesis in the hepatocytes.
A special, patented proves known as Phytosome enhances the absorption of milk thistle in Complete Liver Cleanse. The Phytosome process pairs herbal ingredients with phosphatidylcholine molecules. Phosphatidylcholine is a naturally occurring substance found in soybeans, egg yolks, and some vegetables. In the body, phosphatidylcholine is an important building block of cell membranes.
When milk thistle (or other herbs) are bound with phosphatidylcholine, the phosphatidylcholine molecule facilitates absorption through the intestines into the bloodstream. Research has shown increased blood and serum levels for phytosome herbs in comparison to the individual herb alone.
To test whether binding an herb with phosphatidylcholine increased its bioavailability, researchers gave volunteers identical amounts of either milk thistle alone, or milk thistle phytosome. The researchers then took blood sample from the participants and measured the level of silybin (a key compound in milk thistle). The measurements showed that silybin levels in participants taking the phytosome form of milk thistle were higher, and that silybin was detected for a longer time, than those who took milk thistle without the phytosome delivery system.
Other Herbal Liver Supportive Ingredients
Herbal extracts are often at their best when they are working synergistically – that is, when different constituents of each plant work together and support each other. Complete Liver Cleanse contains a variety of herbal extracts that have noted benefits for supporting the body’s healthy bile flow and free-radical scavenging effects. These ingredients provide a wide spectrum of liver supportive benefits.
For instance, dandelion root extract supports healthy bile flow from the gallbladder.
Burdock is originally native to Europe and Asia, but was introduced to
Burdock root (Arctium lappa) supports the natural physiologic processes of organs involved in detoxification and elimination: notably, the liver, kidneys, and intestines.
Bolodo (pemus boldus) is a small evergreen native to South America, but naturalized to southern
In scientific studies, boldo appears to have strong free-radical scavenging ability, mostly attributed to the catechin and flavonoids content of its leaves. In a clinical study, boldo also appears to relax smooth muscle and support intestinal transit time.
Artichoke Leaf extract specifically supports healthy bile production in the liver and healthy gastrointestinal function in general. Research into artichoke’s gastrointestinal supportive properties has included at least three clinical trials. Artichoke’s role in supporting healthy cholesterol levels within normal limits has also been investigated.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a perennial shrub native to southern
More recently, turmeric has been investigated for its support of healthy bile secretion, and pancreatic and gastric function.
In a scientific study, dietary curcuminoids derived from turmeric supported healthy lipid metabolism and cholesterol levels already within normal limits.
Curcumin has also been shown in scientific studies to enhance the activity of glutathione S-transferase - an enzyme responsible for linking glutathione (one of the body’s natural antioxidants) with toxins to help remove them from the body. In this way, it provides additional support for healthy liver function.
The process of detoxification is the breakdown and excretion of substances that are no longer needed or may be harmful to the body. One of the ways in which the body excretes hormones and toxins is by binding them to glucuronic acid in the liver, and then excreting this compound in the bile.
However, this process can be disrupted by B-glucuronidase, an enzyme that is produced by intestinal bacteria. This enzyme has the ability to break (uncouple) the chemical bond established by glucuronic acid. This action releases the bound toxins, which are then reabsorbed into the body instead of being excreted.
Calcium D-Glucarate is the calcium salt of d-glucaric acid. It is found in both the human body, and in some plant sources, including broccoli and oranges.
Calcium d0glucarate enhances the body’s detoxification systems by inhibiting the actions of beta-glucuronidase. This helps decrease the portion of active compounds that could be hazardous to the body.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is vital to fat digestion, cell structure, nerve insulation and hormone production. Cholesterol comes from two sources: dietary or “exogenous” cholesterol absorbed in the intestine, and “endogenous” cholesterol formed mostly by the liver and stored in the gallbladder.
Cholesterol occurs in two forms known as lipoproteins. Lipoproteins act as transports that carry fat s to and from the cells.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) carries low lipid density cholesterol (LDL) away from arterial walls and returns it to the bloodstream. LDL then travels back to the liver, which processes and eliminates it. While high levels of HDL cholesterol is desirable, high amounts of LDL cholesterol is not supportive of optimal health.
LDL-cholesterol is both synthesized in the body, or absorbed into the bloodstream through receptor sites in the intestines. Think of these receptors as “parking spaces” for cholesterol. As it happens, the liver can receive up to 500 mg per day of cholesterol from intestinal absorption. (It can also produce as much as 1000 mg per day).
One way to help reduce the absorption of LDL cholesterol molecules it to occupy their “parking places” in the intestines. Phytosterols in Liver Cleanse are essentially the “fat” of plants. They’re found in nuts, corn and rice and are some of the “good” fats associated with the benefits of olive oil, flaxseed oil and other healthy oils.
The structure of phytosterols is so similar to cholesterol that they fit perfectly in the specially-shaped intestinal parking spaces that LDL-cholesterol would normally occupy.
Taken with, or just before meals, phytosterols block the cholesterol receptor sites so that cholesterol is excreted from the body rather than absorbed. Phytosterols also have the additional role of helping promote healthy bile salt excretion in the intestines.
The phytosterol blend in Complete Liver Cleanse can help minimize the absorption of cholesterol from high-protein food sources, help retain healthy cholesterol levels that are within normal limits, and move bile sat through the digestive system.
Fiber and detoxification
Fiber plays a key role in the removal and excretion of intestinal toxins in detoxification. Only fibers that can effectively bind toxins will be successful in eliminating these harmful substances. Due to the unique benefits of individual fibers, the best binding, removal, and elimination effects are noted when combining different fiber types. Complete Liver Cleanse contains a combination of oat beta-glucan and konjac fiber that has been shown in scientific studies to bind to bile salts.
Dietary fibers are complex mixtures of cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, mucilage, and gums, which are resistant to digestive fluids or enzymes – that is, they aren’t absorbed into the bloodstream. So, while fiber itself doesn’t necessarily provide nutrients, it does promote laxation and modulate gastric and intestinal physiology. Intestinal flora that normally reside within the colon utilize fiber as a medium for microbial fermentation, resulting in the synthesis of the vitamins, vitamin K and biotin, and the formation of short chain fatty acids, or SCFA.
SCFA have a simple, but important job: to be absorbed by the colon mucosa, increasing fecal matter bulk and providing energy. Fiber has been demonstrated in numerous clinical studies to provide support of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, immune, and endocrine function health.
Complete Liver Cleanse also features two unique fibers to promote detoxification – konjac and oat beta-glucan.
Konjac, (Amorphophallus Konjac) is a tuber native to
As a fiber, konjac has shown positive results maintaining healthy cholesterol levels within normal limits in clinical studies. This beneficial effect is due to konjac’s ability to boost excretion of bile acid.
Oat beta-glucan has been a widely studied fiber source for supporting healthy cholesterol levels within normal limits.
In a randomized clinical study, oat beta-glucan showed support of healthy HDL/LDL ratios already within normal limits in individuals over a three week trial.
Closely linked to cholesterol, oat beta-glucan has also been studied for its support of healthy bile excretion.
Fiber has benefits beyond maintaining healthy cholesterol levels already within normal limits. It also contributes to healthy blood sugar levels already within normal limits. In a double-blind, clinical study, the oat beta-glucan fiber used in Liver Cleanse was shown to have 4 times higher viscosity than another high concentrate beta-glucan fiber.
Viscosity – the resistance to flow – is an important factor in beta-glucan, and all fiber. Water, for instance, would have a low viscosity, because it provides very little resistance to movement. Fiber, on the other hand, should have a higher viscosity in order to maximize its transit time through the GI tract, providing a gentle “scrubbing” on the intestinal walls. Therefore, the higher the viscosity, the greater the potential benefit.
Three capsules in the morning and three capsules at bedtime for 14 days.
Warnings: Do not use if you know or suspect you have an obstructed bile duct or problematic gallstones. If pregnant, nursing or taking prescription drugs, consult your healthcare practitioner prior to use. Keep out of reach of children.
Glucosamine Sulfate and Chondroitin Sulfate
March 28, 2007 11:10 AM
Glucosamine Sulfate and Chondroitin Sulfate
Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis in the U.S., according to the Arthritis Foundation. One-third of all American adults have X-ray evidence of osteoarthritis of the hand, foot, knee, or hip. Osteoarthritis is responsible for more than 7 million physician visits per year and is second only to cardiovascular disease as the cause of chronic disability in adults. As Baby Boomers age, the number of people suffering from osteoarthritis is expected to rapidly increase in the next 10 years.
While osteoarthritis research ahs led to the development of promising new prescription and over-the-counter medications aimed at reducing pain, none has created the excitement of glucosamine sulfate (GS), which actually addresses the underlying joint destruction.
Q. What is osteoarthritis?
A. Osteoarthritis is a complex, metabolic disorder of the cartilage and bones of certain joints. However, to fully understand how osteoarthritis develops, we need to understand how joints work.
A joint is formed when two or more bones are brought together and held in place by muscles and tendons. Some joints have very little range of movement, such as the joints of the ribs, while others have much more range of movement. Hips, knees, elbows, writs, and thumbs are termed synovial joints, and have the greatest range of movement and mobility of human joints. To allow such mobility, synovial joints have a unique structure.
The bones that form synovial joints are covered with cartilage. Tough fibrous tissue encloses the area between the bone ends and is called the joint capsule. The joint cavity within the capsule is lined with an inner membrane, called synovial membrane. The membrane secretes synovial fluid, a thick, slippery fluid that fills the small space around and between the two bones. This fluid contains many substances that lubricate the joint and ease movement.
The cartilage of synovial joints serves two very important functions. First, it provides a remarkably smooth weight-bearing surface; synovial joints move easily. Secondly, synovial cartilage serves as a shock absorber, providing a soft, flexible foundation. Healthy cartilage absorbs the force of the energy, transmits the load to the bone, and distributes the mechanical stress created by joint movement.
Synovial joints function under almost continual mechanical stress. A joint’s ability to withstand or resist this stress is a reflection of its health. When the mechanical stress is too great or the joint’s ability to resist this stress is compromised, physical changes occur in the cartilage covering the bones.
Cartilage is a tough, elastic tissue, comprised mostly of water, collagen, and complex proteins called proteoglycans. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage starts to weaken, becomes frayed, and eventually breaks down. This exposes the bones of the joint, which then rub together. A gritty feeling and grinding sound may occur when an osteoarthritic joint is bent and flexed. As osteoarthritis progresses, bits of bone and cartilage often break off and float inside the joint space. The bones may enlarge, causing the joint to lose its normal shape. Tiny bone spurs may grow on the joints’ sides and edges. These physical changes in the diseased joint are responsible for progressive damage and continual pain.
People with osteoarthritis most frequently describe their pain as deep and aching. The pain not only is felt in the affected joint but may also be present in the surrounding and supporting muscles. Joint inflammation also may occur, increasing the already considerable discomfort. Joint stiffness is another unfortunate component of osteoarthritis. Exercising the joint most often results in increased pain; however, stiffness tends to follow periods of inactivity. Humid weather often makes all osteoarthritis symptoms worse. As the disease progresses, the pain may occur even when the joint is at rest, creating sleepless nights and miserable days.
Q. What causes osteoarthritis?
A. Osteoarthritis’ exact cause remains unknown. Researchers know aging doesn’t appear to cause osteoarthritis. Cartilage in people with the disease show many destructive changes not seen in older persons without the disease. However, certain conditions do seem to trigger osteoarthritis or make it worse.
Some families seem to have a lot of osteoarthritis, pointing to a genetic factor. This is most commonly seen in people who have osteoarthritis of the hands. Repeated trauma can contribute to osteoarthritis, too. Athletes, extremely active people, and individuals who have physically demanding jobs often develop the disease. Persons who have certain bone disorders are more prone to osteoarthritis due to the continuous, uneven stress in their hips and knees.
Obesity also is a risk factor for the disease. In overweight women, osteoarthritis of the knee is fairly common. Excess pounds also may have a direct metabolic effect on cartilage beyond the effects of increased joint stress. Obese people also often have m ore dense bones. Research has shown dense bones may provide less shock-absorbing function than thinner bones, allowing more direct trauma to the cartilage.
Q. Can osteoarthritis be prevented?
A. While there is currently no sure way to prevent osteoarthritis or slow its progression, some lifestyle changes may reduce or delay symptoms. The Arthritis Foundation states that maintaining a healthy weight, losing weight if needed, and regular exercise are effective osteoarthritis prevention measures.
Optimal calcium intake in younger years is vital to ensure a healthy aging skeletal system. Vitamins A, C, D, and E have been studied for their role in osteoarthritis prevention. These vitamins also have shown benefit in individuals who have osteoarthritis.
Q. What treatments are available for osteoarthritis?
A. The goal of treatment is to reduce or relieve pain, maintain or improve movement, and minimize any potential permanent disability. Typically, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (pronounced “n-sayds”) such as aspirin and ibuprofen are used for pain and inflammation relief. These medications are effective in treating only the pain of osteoarthritis.
These medications have many side effects, some of which are serious. NSAID-induced gastrointestinal complications cause more than 100,000 hospitalizations and nearly 16,500 deaths annually in the U.S. Aspirin can cause an extremely annoying and continual ringing in the ears. NSAIDs frequently cause damage to the stomach lining, which can produce uncomfortable heartburn and abdominal pain. Continued NSAID use may lead to the development of stomach ulcers. NSAID-related ulcers can perforate the stomach lining and cause life-threatening bleeding. Most NSAIDs also interfere with blood clotting and may cause kidney damage. When older persons take NSAIDs, dizziness, drowsiness, memory loss, and decreased attention span may occur.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol and similar medications) is similar to aspirin and other NSAIDs in its pain-relief abilities. However, acetaminophen doesn’t reduce inflammation. And while acetaminophen doesn’t have the same side effects of aspirin and other NSAIDs, if large doses are taken, liver damage can occur.
Newer medications called COX-2 inhibitors provide both pain relief and reduce inflammation without the many side effects of acetaminophen, aspirin, and other NSAIDs. More recent research has indicated that, in certain situations. COX02 inhibitors also can cause stomach lining damage and bleeding. While aspirin, NSAIDs, and COX-2 inhibitors may reduce osteoarthritis pain, they do nothing to stop or slow down cartilage deterioration. In other words, these medications have no effect on the disease itself.
That is why many believe glucosamine sulfate (GS) and chondroitin sulfate (CS) are preferable to pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications in osteoarthritis treatment: they actually improve synovial joint health. And they do this without potentially life-threatening side effects.
Q. How do GS and CS work?
A. GS improves the health of joints affected by osteoarthritis. This supplement is so effective that even physicians who mostly rely on conventional medications routinely recommend it to their patients with osteoarthritis. In fact, GS is so good at treating osteoarthritis, many physicians use it for their own osteoarthritis joints.
There is even more good news. When glucosamine sulfate is combined with low-molecular weight CS, even greater benefits can be achieved. GS and CS are naturally occurring compounds found in human joints. The right GS/CS combination actually reverses damage in joints affected by osteoarthritis, in turn significantly reducing pain and stiffness.
Glucosamine occurs naturally in the body and is found in synovial fluid. Glucosamine is a basic building block for proteoglycans, is a basic building block for proteoglycans, one of the important compounds of synovial cartilage. It also is required for the formation of lubricants and protective agents for the joints.
In Europe, GS and CS have been used to treat osteoarthritis for more than 10 years. While persons with arthritis felt much better when they took GS and CS, no one really knew how these compounds worked. When European and American researchers first started to study glucosamine, they discovered GS can reduce synovial joint inflammation. This explains why people felt better after taking it.
Q. What has additional study of GS and CS revealed?
A. As the scientific study of GS progressed, researchers determined it can stimulate the growth of cartilage cells, inhibit proteoglycans breakdown, and rebuild cartilage damaged from osteoarthritis. In other words, GS does not simply make persons with osteoarthritis feel better; GS actually makes persons with osteoarthritis get better.
GS is the form of glucosamine used in research. It’s the sulfate salt of glucosamine and breaks down into glucosamine and sulfate ions in the body. The sulfate part of GS plays an important role in proteoglycans synthesis.
CS also provides cartilage strength and resilience. CS is an important component of the cartilage proteoglycans of synovial joints. Because CS helps the production of proteoglycans, researchers believe CS works in a similar nature to GS.
Q. Couldn’t GS and CS be taken on their own? Is there any benefit in taking them together?
A. Research has discovered GS and CS act synergistically (work well together) in improving joint health. Several studies have investigated this action and it’s recommended that GS and CD be taken together. However, there may be times when your healthcare practitioner may recommend using one or the other, but not both GS and CS together. Please follow their recommendations to obtain the best results for your own unique health concerns. Low-molecular weight chondroitin sulfate (CS) is the preferred CS form, and the form that has shown the most promise in studies.
Q. Why is it important to take low-molecular weight CS?
A. When CS was first studied, it was given to six healthy volunteers, six patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and six patients with osteoarthritis. Researchers then measured the levels of CS in all study subjects. They found no evidence of CS in any of the subjects. This single study led many physicians and scientists to believe CS can’t be absorbed, and was not an effective natural treatment.
However, several other studies in healthy volunteers have reported CS can be absorbed. The distinct difference for these findings is thought to be associated with the types of CS used in the studies. Some forms are much more absorbable that others. This was demonstrated in a recent study using CS with lower molecular weight. A higher absorption is observed for low-molecular weight CS.
This means CS products with a low molecular weight may be better absorbed, allowing the CS to get into the bloodstream and the synovial fluid of joints where it’s needed.
Q. Are there other supplements that can help osteoarthritis?
A. Several vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and natural supplements have benefits for individuals with osteoarthritis. Proteolytic enzymes effectively offer relief of the pain, stiffness, and swelling of osteoarthritis.
Folic acid and vitamin B can reduce the number of tender joints and increase joint mobility. Vitamins C, D, and E not only may prevent osteoarthritis, but inhibit the disease’s progression. Niacinamide improves joint function, range of motion, and muscle strength. Clinical studies using the herb Boswellia serrata have yielded good results in osteoarthritis.
Application of ointments on osteoarthritic joints may be helpful in reducing pain and stiffness. Menthol-based preparations can provide soothing relief to painful joints. Capsaicin ointments and gel made for cayenne pepper also are very beneficial. When applied to the skin, capsaicin first stimulates, then blocks, nerve fibers that transmit pain messages. Capsaicin depletes nerve fibers of a neurotransmitter called substance P. This neurotransmitter transmits pain messages and activates inflammation in osteoarthritis. Capsaicin ointment is very effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain in many individuals.
Q. Is there anything else I can do for joint pain and stiffness?
A. When osteoarthritis occurs in the hands, use of a paraffin dip can be very comforting. A licensed health care practitioner can provide information about how to safely use paraffin dips at home.
Exercise is an excellent way to keep joints mobile, decrease pain, and increase body strength, too. Water aerobics also can reduce the pressure and stress on joints.
The Arthritis Foundation strongly suggests making movement an integral part of your life. When you’re in less pain and have more energy, more range-of-motion, and a better outlook on life, you’ll reduce stress and be a much healthier person despite your osteoarthritis.
One important last thought
When we don’t feel well, we sometimes have a tendency to self-diagnose. If you haven’t been evaluated by a licensed health care practitioner for your joint pain and stiffness, you need to do so. These symptoms may be caused by other illnesses and may require much different treatment. Only licensed health care practitioner can provide a certain diagnosis of osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis may be a part of life for many of us as we age; however, constant pain and stiffness need not be. GS combined with absorbable CS can actually improve damage in joints affected by osteoarthritis and significantly reduce pain and stiffness. And it can be an empowering way to improve your health.
Why you need a Multinutrient Vitamin-Mineral Supplement?
October 17, 2006 02:00 PM
Accidental, illness and chronic disease
Burns, surgery, wounds, infection and broken bones increase the need for amino acids. Vitamin E, B6, and C, as well as minerals zinc, calcium and magnesium are all essential for cellular repair.
Alcohol damages the lining of the intestinal tract, liver and pancreas, all vital to digestion, absorption and metabolism of nutrients. Regular use of alcohol increases the body’s need for vitamins A, B complex, and C as well as minerals zinc, calcium and magnesium.
Some antibiotics kill healthy bacteria and create deficiencies in B complex vitamins which can result in nervous disorders.
Athletes consume large amounts of foods and undergo extreme physical stress which creates a wide range of needs for amino acids, B complex, vitamin C, iron and potassium.
Individuals, especially those with high physical demands such as athletes and laborers, may have nutritional requirements that exceed official amino acid, vitamin, and mineral recommendations.
While the body is able to store vitamins such as A and E, autopsy data has shown that up to 30% of the population have “at risk” deficiencies of vitamin A.
Coffee, Tea, and Spices
May irritate and inflame digestive linings, reducing digestive fluids and the absorption of vitamins and minerals from foods.
Diets with a high percentage of highly refined carbohydrates such as sugar, white flour and white rice require greater demand for additional sources of B complex vitamins to process these carbohydrates.
Crop Nutrient Losses
Research has shown that intensive agriculture has overworked and depleted our soil of trace elements resulting in decreased vitamins and minerals available in food crops.
Unsupervised, abnormal diets which exclude entire food groups or even low fat diets can be deficient in vitamins and minerals. Vegetarian diets, which exclude meats and animal sources, must be careful to balance amino acids and include vitamin B12.
Highly processed breads and oils, as well as frozen foods, may incrase shelf life of products but can lower nutrient levels, especially the important anti-oxidant vitamin A and E which defend against oxidation damage to all tissues.
Individuals who eat sparingly, including the average woman who maintains her weight at 1800 calories per day, have been shown to be low in thiamine, calcium and iron.
Oral contraceptives, taken by a significant percentage of women increase the need for folic acid, B6, C, riboflavin and zinc.
Up to 60% of women may suffer from premenstrual tension such as headaches, irritability, bloatedness, breast tenderness, lethargy and depression, and have an increased need for amino acids and B complex vitamins.
A smoker has greatly increased metabolic requirements for the important anti-oxidant and immune function provided by vitamin C.
Chemical, physical and emotional stress increase the need for amino acids, the B complex vitamins, and vitamin C and E.
Med schools failing on nutrition teaching
September 19, 2006 05:45 PM
Almost 60 percent of US medical schools do not meat recommendations for nutrition education for med students, producing physicians – the first port of call for nutrition advice for many consumers – who may have inadequate nutrition knowledge.
Twenty years ago the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reported that 21 hours of education in nutrition was required but found that many medical schools did not offer nutrition courses.
Surveys show that hasn’t changed much, so it appears we are producing a pool of physicians who feel largely unprepared to counsel their patients about nutrition.
“Sooner or later, everyone sits down to the banquet of consequences.” Robert Louis Stevenson.
Product Resurfaces under a new name - from HSI - Health Sciences Institute
July 08, 2006 01:55 PM
You may remember the outrageous ruling resulting scandal surrounding Lane Labs MGN3 product back in july 2004. essentially, the FDA forced the company to stop selling the product—not because it was dangerous or ineffective but because the FDA felt that Lane Labs marketing language made disease clams allowed only for FDA-approved drugs.
When that happened, everyone who had experienced great results with this immune system booster (including many HSI members) suddenly found themselves without a safe and effective product they could rely on. So we promised that we would keep a lookout for a natural and effective therapy that would provide similar benefits to the outlawed MGN3 formula.
But we’re officially calling off the search. A new product called PeakImmune4 was introduced in july 2005. but as it turned out, Peakimmune4 really isn’t new at all. It actually contains the same active ingredients as MGN3—it’s just being sold by a different company under a different name.
When products change names and hands, it can be co concerting. And I have to admit that at first, this seemed kind of fishy to me. so I did some digging to find out if Peakimmune4 was really all it was cracked up to be. What I realized at the end of this winding trail was that to best understood the story, you need to start at the beginning.
Connecting the dots
In 1992, Daiwa Pharmaceutical began developing Rice Bran Arabinoxylan Compound (RBAC). RBAC does right to the source of ultimate health: your immune system. Human clinical studies have proven that RBAC can more than triple the activity of Natural Killer cells, the body’s first line of defense against disease like cancer, HIV, and hepatitis. Studies also show that RBAC increases two other vital immune system cells: T cells and B cells.
Daiwa, which is based in Tokyo, Japan, licensed this patented formula to Lanes Labs, which sold it in the U.S. under the trademark MGN3. (We first told you about it back in 1999 in the June Issue of your Members Alert). But then in July 204, the government stepped in and barred Lane Labs from selling MGN3 (in addition to two other products). The FDA did not, however outlaw RBAC, the compound from which the product was make.
Daiwa, was left with a great product but no way to market it in the U.S. that’s when they decided to branch out and open their own company in the states, Daiwa Health Development, so they could continue to offer RBAC and introduce other Daiwa supplements to the market.
In July 2005, Daiwa launched Peakimmune4. it may be hard to find a connection between these two products because you wont find MGN3 mentioned in any of Peakimmune4’s promotional materials. That’s because the court did more than just forbid Lane Labs from selling MGN3. it also stipulated that the MGN3 brand name could not be used in marketing and promotion of supplements made from the same active ingredient, and that products could not be promoted as a replacement or substitutes for MGN3.
However, you can rest easy knowing that this product uses the same active as MGN3, which means the same solid research backs it up.
Recommendations for healthy immune system
Many immune system products require you to cycle on and off. But since Peakimmune4 does not lose effectiveness over time and doesn’t cause the immune system to attack itself, you can take it regularly without worrying about side effects.
Dr, Martin Milner, medical adviser to HIS, has used the RBAC compound for years. He has monitored its effectiveness in his own patients by testing their NK cell response. Milner confirmed clinically that his patients have retained increased levels of NK cell activity even when they used the product for prolonged periods of time.
For the best results, you should follow two simple steps: first, take four capsules three times a day for four weeks (before or after a meal). Then, after four weeks reduce dosage to the maintenance level of four capsules daily. You can find Peakimmune4 at most health food and vitamin stores. And don’t be surprised when it pops up in your doctor’s office under the name BRM4.
If you decide to try Peakimmune4 to support your immune system health, you should work with your health care professional, especially if you are pregnant, are nursing, are being treated for any medical condition, are currently taking medications, or have been diagnosed with a health disorder. And if you are taking immunosuppressant drugs for an organ transplant, you should NOT take a product with RBAC in it, each capsule contains 250mgs of Rice Bran Arabinoxylan Compound (RBAC). HSI www.HSIBaltimore.com
Night Health: A new approach to improving sleep.
May 12, 2006 05:41 PM
Our night health, including the quality of our sleep and dreams, may be the most critical overlooked factor contributing to both emotional and physical illness in modern times. For millions, night is a time of growing frustration and deepening struggle with insomnia as well as compromised and insufficient sleep. Mounting data has confirmed that sleep problems are strongly associated with virtually all major illnesses ranging from cardiovascular disease to diabetes, infections and cancer, and obesity to depression.
Night health refers to a new approach to sleep and dreams that integrates complementary and alternative medicine with effective conventional perspectives. It is essentially a comprehensive body-mind approach to sleep. The first in a series of articles introducing the concept of night health, this article begins with a closer look at the limitations of the simulated sleep offered by sleeping pills. It then examines the basic alternative of supplemented sleep: the place of natural sleep-supporting supplements. Finally, it offers suggestions for increasing the utilization of such alternatives by supplementing supplements with essential information, education and guidance offered by a new and unique software program and the first book about integrative sleep health.
As the public becomes increasingly aware of the health ramifications of sleep disturbances, more and more people are turning to sleeping pills. In fact, according to the IMS Health research, about 42 million prescriptions for sleeping pills were filled last year in the U.S. This represents a nearly 60 percent increase over the past five years alone. Some projections anticipate that the current $2.7 billion in annual sleeping pill sales will more than triple by 2010.
But instead of solving the problem, sleeping pills often make sleep problems worse. Sleeping pills commonly result in dependence. They can alter normal sleep architecture, cause amnesia and residual daytime “hangovers,” and they often result in rebound insomnias when discontinued. Some sleep specialists argue that sleeping pill use is further associated with significant increases in mortality. Given the sense of desperation that can accompany insomnia, even such very serious concerns have not prevented sales of sleeping pills from skyrocketing in recent years.
We are currently witnessing an unprecedented advertising campaign on the part of the pharmaceutical industry designed to convince the public that sleep medications are indeed a safe and effective strategy for addressing sleep problems. Despite clever and seductive advertising, however, it remains highly questionable whether sleeping pills can truly offer us sleep. I believe it is more accurate to say that they result in a kind of artificial or simulated sleep. Compared to natural slumber, sleeping pills cause a chemical knockout. Unfortunately, so many people have slept poorly for so long, they have forgotten what it is like to experience truly restorative, deep and refreshing natural slumber. Instead, many people now hold a naïve, limited sense of healthful sleep, confusing it with being knocked out. And sleeping pills satisfy that very naïve notion of sleep.
Rather than artificially simulating sleep with chemical knockouts, sleep-promoting supplements such as melatonin, valerian, and other botanicals support that body’s own sleep-facilitating mechanisms more naturally. Such products work in greater harmony with nature and, unlike conventional drugs, they do not stimulate sleep, they supplement sleep. I think of natural supplements inviting us to sleep. The very potency of many natural products lies in their very gentleness, which works cooperatively with both body and mind to induce healthful sleep.
I believe that the potential benefits and markets for such supplements remain largely untapped. Consumers’ expectations that sleep aids should knock them out rather than gently assist them in letting go into sleep must be addressed through targeted education and information campaigns. Consumers also need to learn how to use alternative sleep supplements in the context of a healthy sleep lifestyle or positive night health.
As helpful as they can be in promoting night health, sleep supplements alone will not do the trick. In fact, I believe many people get discouraged and discount the potentially positive benefits of sleep supplements after using them without proper guidance and understanding. Sleep supplements work best when they are geared to work synergistically as a part of a larger night health promotion program.
The availability of a wide range of over-the-counter health supplements offers an important freedom in healthcare choices. But with increased freedom comes increased responsibility. Consumers need to become significantly more informed. Particularly with regard to night health, such supplements need to be personalized and prescriptive. When it comes to sleep health, one size does not fit all. Whether we choose melatonin or valerian or a specific blend depends upon who we are and exactly what we need. By prescriptive I do not mean ordered by a physician, but specifically tailored to the needs of the individual.
Because of a significant shortage of health care professionals knowledgeable about sleep and the alarming trend towards increased use of sleeping pills, I have assisted in the development of a unique software program that provides sleep solutions that are both personalized and prescriptive. After more than a decade in development, the sleep advisor—an expert software system that thoroughly evaluates and provides personalized comprehensive recommendations for improving sleep—is now available.
More recently, I completed the first truly integrative book on night health. Healing night: the science and spirit of sleeping, dreaming, and awakening offers a new, comprehensive perspective on night health that complements the sleep advisors high pragmatic approach. Together, healing night and the sleep advisor offers essential supplements to sleep supplements.
Rubin R Naiman is a psychologist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at the university of Arizona’s health sciences center. He is also the sleep and dream specialist for dr. Andrew weil;s world renowned program in integrative medicine. Currently he serves as the sleep specialist at Miraval Resort, and is in private practice in Tuscon, AZ.
The above article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat a particular illness. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of a holistically competent licensed professional health care provider. The information in this article has not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Rubin R. Naiman, PhD
Lutein to fight age-related macular degeneration!
February 27, 2006 05:53 PM
Lutein: The Antiordinary Antioxidant
Lutein belongs to a class of compounds known as carotenoids. Carotenoids in general are yellow, orange, or red pigments responsible for many of the colors of the foods we consume each day. To date, over 600 carotenoids have been identified in nature, but are only produced by plants, algae and bacteria leaving humans and animals to consume carotenoids in the diet. Forty to fifty carotenoids are consumed in the typical US diet, but only 14 have been detected in the blood, indicating a selective use of specific carotenoids by the body. Lutein is one of these carotenoids found in the blood and has been increasingly associated with eye health over the last decade.
Lutein’s role in eye health
In the human eye, lutein is concentrated in the center of the retina in an area known as the macula. Lutein is deposited in the macula through the lutein we consume in out diet or through supplements. This area is responsible for human central vision and is colored intensely yellow due to high concentrations of lutein. Lutein is thought to be beneficial for eye health by reducing damage in the eye in two ways: 1) by absorbing blue light (blue light is thought to increase free radical formation in the eye) and 2) by acting as an antioxidant, reducing damage in the eye caused by free radicals. Leading carotenoid researchers believe these functions may lead to a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
Age-related macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the USA in those over 65. twenty-five and thirty million people are afflicted worldwide and currently there are no effective treatments for the disease. The disease has two forms known as dry and wet AMD.
Ninety percent of AMD cases diagnosed are the dry form. In dry AMD, also referred to as early AMD, debris deposits under the center of the retina (known as the macula) interfering with its normal function. Parts of the macula atrophy, causing the central vision to slowly become dimmer or more blurry. Wet age-related macular degeneration, also known as late AMD, often develops in areas where dry AMD exists. Abnormal blood vessels grow and leak blood and fluid under the macula, causing scarring, which leads to rapid loss of central vision.
Dr. Joanna Seddon published one of the first studies demonstrating a link between lutein intake and AMD risk in 1994 (1). This epidemiological study compared the risk of developing AMD to nutrient intake and showed a significant reduction in risk for developing AMD as lutein intake reached 6mg per day (57% reduction in risk). Since the Seddon study, researchers have shown that increasing dietary lutein intake raises blood levels of lutein as well as levels of lutein in the eye (2). Bone et al. demonstrated that eyes with higher levels of lutein were less likely to be afflicted with AMD (3).
The latest clinical trial that investigated lutein’s role in AMD is known as the lutein antioxidant supplementation trial (L.A.S.T) (4). This study evaluated the effects of lutein supplementation for one year in 90 veterans diagnosed with dry AMD. Supplementation with lutein in these subjects significantly increased the concentration of lutein in the macula. Improvements in visual function were also detected with lutein supplementation. Glare recovery, visual acuity, and contrast sensitivity were all improved. This study continues to build on clinical evidence that the dry form of AMD may be responsive to changes in nutrition.
A cataract is a natural clouding of the lens, the area of the eye responsible for focusing light and producing clear, sharp images. For most people, cataracts are a natural result of aging. Currently in the US, cataracts are the second leading cause of blindness in the elderly behind AMD.
Lutein is the major carotenoid that has been identified in the human lens asn is thought to provide similar benefits to the leans that are seen in the retina. Two large epidemiological studies consisting of >70,000 women (age 45-71) and >30,000 men (age 45-75) compared the risk of cataract extraction to nutrient intake (5,6). Similar to AMD, a significant reduction in risk of cataract extraction was associated with lutein intakes of 6mg per day (20% reduction in risk). Besides cataract extraction, higher levels of lutein consumption have been associated with a decreased risk of cataract development and improvements in visual acuity and glare sensitivity in people with age-related cataracts.
The richest source of free lutein in the typical US diet are dark green leafy vegetables, with the highest concentration found in kale followed by spinach.
The average daily lutein intake is low, average between 1-2 mg/day. Currently there is no recommendations of the dietary guidelines for Americans 2005 (9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day) you would consume between 4 and 8 mg of lutein a day (7). Epidemiological evidence, animal models, and clinical data have indicated levels of 6-10 mg a day may be necessary to realize the health benefits associated with lutein consumption. By continuing to increase our intake of lutein, we begin to ensure the optimal health of our eyes.
Seddon et al. (1994) dietary carotenoids, vitamin a, c, and e, and advanced age-related macular degeneration. Eye disease case-control study group. JAMA. 272: 1413-20.
Bone et al. (2000) Lutein and zeaxanthin in the eyes, serum and diet of human subjects. Exp. Eye Res. 71: 239-45.
Bone et al. (2001) Macular pigment in donor eyes with and without AMD: a case-control study. Invest. Ophthalmal. Vis Sci. 42: 235-40.
Richer et al. (2004) Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-relaged macular degeneration: the veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry. 75: 216-30.
Brown et al. (1999) A prospective study of carotenoid intake and risk of cataract extraction in the US men. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 70: 517-24.
Chasen-Taber et al. (1999) A prospective study of carotenoid and vitamin A intakes and risk of cataract extraction in US women. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 70: 509-16
HHS/USDA. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. //www.healthierus.Gov/dietaryguidelines/CDC. National health and nutrition examination survey data 2001-2002. //www.cdc.gov/nchs/about/major/nhanes/nhanes01-02.html
Brandon lewis, Ph.D. is the applied research and Technical services manager at kemin health, L.C. in des moines, iowa. His responsibilities include the initiation and management of laboratory projects pertaining to the inclusion and analysis of kemin ingredients in vitamins and dietary supplements, as well as developing new applications and prototypes that include kemin ingredients. Prior to joining kemin, Brandon was enrolled at the university of Florida where he received his Ph.D. in Nutritional Science from the department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
Echinacea: why does it work in real life but not in trials?
February 04, 2006 09:54 AM
The Wellness Revolution
Why clinical trials must take into account real dosage amounts!
You took it, and it worked. You’re one of legions of people all over the world who have found the little purple coneflower called Echinacea to be wonderfully effective in fighting colds. Echinacea is among the most popular herbal supplements in North America, accounting for 10% of herbal sales in the U.S.
So why are some in the scientific community saying it doesn’t work?
How Controversy Over a Little Flower
It was a July 2005 study done at the University of Edmonton in Canada, published in the pages of the New England Journal of Medicine, that fueled the fire of controversy. On one side, there’s the community of people who take Echinacea to ward off colds and other respiratory tract infections (staying well or getting better quickly tends to make enthusiastic and loyal followers). On the other side is a spate of studies, culminating in the July 2005, giving the thumbs down to the flower’s healing powers.
The much-touted study was a placebo-controlled trial and was double-blinded (neither test group knew what they were taking). Healthy college students were given a dose of a rhinovirus infection, and were then sent to individual dorm rooms to take either an extract of Echinacea or a placebo. The results were disappointing to those of us expecting the scientific community’s “proof” to match ours—based on what our bodies and senses tell us. The study found no statistically significant difference between severity of symptoms or duration of the rhinovirus between the Echinacea and the control group. Why didn’t the study results match those of so many individuals?
What went wrong?
Noted herbalist and author Roy Upton states, [“The studies which found] positive results had dosages which were consistent with herbalist recommendations.”]
The University of Edmonton study didn’t.
Two oft-cited clinical trials in which positive results were found in the use of Echinacea for the common cold, both in vivo and in human volunteers, have been conducted by researchers Vinti Goel.
Tiny Doses, Minuscule Amounts of Active Herb
It is widely agreed among herbalists that the trial—also conducted by the team at the University of Alberta, Canada—published in the New England Journal of Medicine in July 2005 used radically smaller doses than those traditionally taken, doses so small they couldn’t possibly have worked. In the Turner trial, Echinacea extracts were given in doses of 1.5 ml tid, equivalent to 900mg daily, if the conductors of trial had consulted the real-life herbalist, say the natural health care community, they could have run a test that would have, well, tested something. The usual prescription dose for Echinacea taken by mouth ranges from 500 to 1,000 milligrams per day, and is taken three to five times a day, for seven days. This creates a range of 1500 to 5,000 mg per day. Most studies have shown Echinacea to have the greatest effectiveness when one starts taking it immediately upon feeling the early symptoms of coming down with a cold or virus.
Importantly, Echinacea has been proven in many tests, including those by Bauer and Wagner, Foster, and Hobbs, to have a supportive effect upon the immune system. That Echinacea stimulates macrophages and killer cells is proven.
Turner RB et al. New England Journal of Medicine, 2005 jul 28;353(4):341-8.
Upton R et al. Echinacea purpurea root: standards of analysis, Quality control, and therapeutics, American herbal pharmacopoeia, 2004
Goel v et al. Efficacy of standardized Echinacea preparation (echinilin) for the treatment of common cold: a randomized, double-blind, placebo- controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Pharmaceutical Therapy 2004: Feb,29(1):75-83.
November 05, 2005 03:32 PM
250-500 mg standardized Green tea extract daily. Make sure the label reads standardized to polyphenol content or EGCG content. You can either take Green tea extract in supplement form or brew your own tea.
Feds Subsidized Poor Nutrition
October 29, 2005 01:54 PM
Feds Subsidized Poor Nutrition
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) this year issued a new food pyramid aimed at convincing Americans to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins such as dairy, meat and beans. While the USDA publicizes its pyramid with much fanfare, the agency implements policies that subsidize the consumption of nutrition-poor, high fat and processed foods, while offering no incentive to farmers to grow healthful crops.
The Pyramid Versus Farm subsidies
A recent Associated Press (AP) article* contrasted the pyramid recommendations with a breakdown of this year’s $17 billion in direct subsidies to farmers.
Overproduction Leads to Lower Prices
U.S. farm policy leads to the overproduction of nutrition-poor, fat and starch-laden foods. As a result, the prices of these foods go down, while healthy food remains less affordable.
A related AP story describes the barriers faced by poor families who would prefer a more nutrition’s diet but end up eating cheap, unhealthy food. Adam Drewnowski, director of the University of Washington’s Center of public Health Nutrition is quoted: “Energy-dense foods rich in starch, sugar or fat are the cheapest option. As long as the healthier lean meats, fish and fresh produce are more expensive, obesity will continue to be a problem for the working poor.”
Food Policy and the wellness Revolution
With obesity and related health problems at a crisis point, some consumer advocates are trying to change our government’s food policies. An effective response to the current dietary crisis requires political charge as well as education about healthy lifestyles. Meanwhile, it is a wise strategy for individuals to develop a personal, nutritional supplement regimen. The centerpiece of this program should be a scientifically advanced and comprehensive multiple such as Source Naturals Life Force.
Sytrinol can lower Cholesterol by 27% - 34%
September 20, 2005 09:56 AM
Sytrinol – MultiPronged Heart Health
According to the American Heart Association, more than 60 million Americans suffer from on of more forms of cardiovascular imbalances. When we add in those individuals with blood cholesterol concerns, we see over 100 million Americans who may be in need of specific diet and lifestyle recommendations for achieving and maintaining heart health.
Aside from the generalized recommendations that we typically hear for heart health (lose weight, exercise more, and eat less fat and more fruits and vegetables) There are a number of potentially beneficial dietary supplements that may help to maintain cholesterol levels in the normal range. Among supplements there is a wide range of safety and efficacy between products—but a newer product called Sytrinol stands out for its clinical effectiveness.
Sytrinol is a patented blend of polymethoxylated flavones (from citrus) and tocotrienols (from palm fruit). One of the factors that sets Sytrinol apart from existing natural products for heart health is its multipronged approach to controlling multiple factors related to overall heart health—including control of cholesterol, cellular irritation, oxidation, triglycerides, and others.
While it is unarguable that cholesterol is an important contributor to overall heart health, it couldn’t be further from the truth that cholesterol is the “only” or even the most important factor when it comes to protecting your heart. Did you know that approximately HALF of all serious heart challenges each year are experienced by people with NORMAL cholesterol levels? If Cholesterol is not to blame, then what is?
In addition to total cholesterol levels (the “number” that you may know as 200 to 240 of other values in “mg/dl” units), we know how that LDL and HDL matter a lot (Low-density lipoprotein—the “bad” cholesterol, and High-density lipoprotein—the “good” cholesterol). We also know that some forms of the bad and LDL can be “Badder” than others—specifically those with lots of structural protein called “apolipoprotein B” (which tends to encourage LDL cholesterol to become embedded in your blood vessel linings—bad!). In addition to our total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and the various apoproteins, we also need to know our triglyceride levels, our levels of cellular irritation, what our free radical load looks like, and what our antioxidant defenses are. Sytrinol addresses each of these important aspects of heart and health simultaneously.
The Sytrinol Solution
Polymethoxylated Flavones (PMFs) in Sytrinol are just what they sound like – flavonoid compounds with extra methoxy groups compared to “regular flavones. Like all flavonoids, the PMFs deliver potent antioxidant activity, but the PMF version is about three times more potent in its ability to address cholesterol levels (20% - 30% reduction in clinical Studies). The two primary PMFs are nobiletin and tangeretin.
In addition to the PMFs, Sytrinol contains palm tocotrienols—one of the most potent antioxidant nutrients known. An interesting effect of tocotrienols is a reduction in cholesterol synthesis in the liver—by a mechanism similar to (but safer than) the commonly utilized mechanism of inhibition of the HMG-CoA Reductase Enzyme.
Sytrinol is known to work via several unique mechanisms to reduce triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL). First, by reducing DGAT activity (Diacylglycerol acetyl transferase) and increasing liver PPAR (Peroxisome porliferator-activated receptor)—Sytrinol can reduce overall synthesis of TG (DGAT inhibition). The overall effect is to reduce TG levels in the blood by two complementary mechanisms.
In terms of LDL effects, Sytrinol also reduces both Apolipoprotein B levels (ApoB—needed for the synthesis of LDL particles) and MTTP levels (microsomal triglyceride transfer protein-needed to transfer fat into the new LDL particles). By reducing levels of both these tructural LDL components, Sytrinol reduces overall LDL levels, and thus total cholesterol levels, in the blood.
The clinical results behind Sytrinol are impressive—showing a reduction in levels of total, LDL, and triglycerides by 27% - 34% within 4 weeks. In one of these studies, ApoB levels were reduced (suggesting reduced LDL) and ApoA1 levels were increased (suggesting increased HDL)—as would be expected based on the biochemistry of PMFs and tocotrienols.
Sytrinol is also wonderfully safe—and at the effective dose of 300mg daily, users will benefit from its multipronged effects. One aspect of Sytrinol safety that I especially like is the finding that, unlike some flavonoids like naringin from grapefruit, there are no known risks of drug interactions with the form of citrus derived PMFs found in Sytrinol (certain grapefruit flavonoids can interfere with liver enzymes needed to metabolize many prescription drugs).
Not since Red Yeast Rice was removed from the market by the FDA, have we had a truly effective, multimechanism solution for cholesterol control (and nearly total heart health). There are certainly other options for addressing heart health and cholesterol levels, but among the available choices, such as policosanol, guggulipid, niacin, and plant sterols, we’re looking at about half the cholesterol-lowering ability (10% - 15% in most cases) compared to Sytrinol. If youre in the “borderline” zone of cholesterol levels (about 240mg/dl and below), you should absolutely consider Sytrinol to keep your cholesterol levels under control.
Kurowska EM, manthey Ja. Hypolipidemic effects of absorption of citrus polymethoxylated flavones in hamsters with diet-included hypercholesterolemia. J Argic food chem.. 2004 may 19;52(10):2879-86.
Kurowska EM, manthey Ja, Casaschi A, Theriault AG. Modulation of HepG2 cell net apolipoprotein B secretion by the citrus polymethoxyflavone, Tangeretin. Lipids 2004 feb;39(2):143-51.
Manthey JA, Grohmann K, Montanari A, Ash K, Manthey CL, Polymethoxylated flavones derived from citrus suppress tumor necrosis factor-alpha expression by human moncytes. J Nat Prod. 1999 mar;62(3)441-4.
Mora A, Paya M, rios JL, Alcaraz MJ. Structure-activity relationships of polymethoxyflavones and other flavonoids as inhibitors of non-enzymic lipid peroxidation. Biochem Parmacol. 1990 Aug 15;40(4):797-7.
Takanaga H, Ohnishi A, Yamada S, Matsuo H, Morimoto S, Shoyama Y, Ohtani H, Sawada Y. Polymethoxylated flavones in orange juice are inhibitors of P-glycoprotein but not cytochrome P450 3A4. J Pharmacol exp. Ther. 2000 Apr;293(1):230-6.
By: Shawn M. Talbott, PH.D.
Disclaimer: The above article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat a particular illness. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of a holistically competent licensed professional health care provider. The information in this article has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Adverse Reactions to Foods and Dietary Supplements
August 27, 2005 08:27 AM
Adverse Reactions to Foods and Dietary Supplements
Answers to common Questions
The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that between 60,000 and 106,000 deaths per year in the United States are caused by prescription drugs. See JAMA, April 15, 1998 – Vol 279, No. 15. Fortunately, adverse reactions to foods and dietary supplements are far more rare than adverse reactions to drugs. However, we each consume a larger variety and quantity of foods than drugs. Because of this, and because each of us can react differently, an allergic or isolated reaction to a food or supplement is a possibility. Here’s helpful information about what to do if you or someone you care for has what appears to be an adverse reaction to a food or dietary supplement.
What types of reactions could I have?
The most common adverse reaction is an allergic reaction. In order to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction, carefully read all labels and buy products from reputable manufacturers who accurately disclose the ingredients in their products. If you need help finding these manufacturers, ask your local health food retailer for recommendations.
How do I know what caused my reaction?
Take time to carefully review what might have caused the reactions. Doctors and experts in toxicology look at several different factors in trying to determine the cause of a particular reaction.
1. Is this reaction a side effect of drugs I am taking?
Asking your self these questions can help limit the number of possible causes and may lead you to an answer more quickly.
What should I do if I have an adverse reaction?
Weather or not you know the potential cause of the reaction, follow these steps:
How can I reach the FDA or another government agency about my concerns?
Various state and federal agencies employ personnel who can help respond to concerns or questions about adverse reactions. Following is contact information for some of the agencies:
How can I report an adverse event?
FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) has an Adverse Event Reporting System (CAERS) that can be contacted in any of the following ways:
You can contact FDA’s MedWatch Program in any of the following ways:
For Non-emergencies related to products purchased via internet, fill out an online form on FDA’s website at vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/qa-top.html (see link to “form to report unlawful sales”)
You may also contact any local poison control center, local or state health agencies, the department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Trake Commision, the Consumer Products safety Commission, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and t hey will forward your report to the FDA.
MSM - Natures Primary Sources of Organic Dietary Sulfur
August 02, 2005 03:48 PM
Lowering cholesterol safely
July 27, 2005 04:10 PM
Lowering cholesterol safely.
By Kim Vanderlinden, N.D., D.T.C.M.
Atherosclerosis and its complications are major causes of death in the United States and have reached epidemic proportions throughout all of the Western world. Heart disease accounts for 36% of all deaths among Americans and ranks as the number-one killer; stroke; another complication of atherosclerosis; is the third most common cause of death.
Foremost in the prevention and treatment of heart disease is the reduction of blood cholesterol levels. The evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that elevated cholesterol levels greatly increase the risk of death due to heart disease. The first step in reducing risk for heart disease is keeping your total blood cholesterol level below 200 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter).
Not all cholesterol is bad; it serves many functions in the body, including the manufacture of sex hormones and bile acids. Without cholesterol, many body processed would not function properly.
Cholesterol is transported in the blood by molecules known as lipoproteins. Cholesterol bound to low density lipoprotein, or LDL, is often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol, while cholesterol bound to high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is referred to as the “good” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure, while HDL cholesterol actually protects against heart disease.
LDL transports cholesterol to the tissues. HDL, on the other hand, transports cholesterol to the liver for metabolism and excretion from the body. Therefore, the HDL-to-LDL ratio largely determines whether cholesterol is being deposited into tissues or broken down and excreted. The risk for heart disease can be reduced dramatically by lowering LDL cholesterol while simultaneously raising HDL cholesterol levels. Research has shown that for every one percent increase in HDL levels, the risk for a heart attack drops three to four percent.
Dietary cholesterol is a major risk factor in developing atherosclerosis. The evidence is substantial. However, several studies have shown that a lower dietary cholesterol intake was associated with up to a 37% lower risk of death from any cause, or an increased life expectancy of roughly 3.4 years.
Although dietary cholesterol intake is an important contributor to atherosclerosis, most of the cholesterol in the body is actually manufactured in the liver. Reducing dietary cholesterol alone is not always sufficient to lower blood cholesterol levels.
In an attempt to reduce blood cholesterol levels, many physicians are ignoring the need to give dietary recommendations and are instead utilizing drugs as the primary treatment. Using drugs before diet is clearly not the best approach, in terms of both effectiveness and cost. In fact, the Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Cholesterol in Adults clearly states: “Dietary therapy is the primary cholesterol-lowering treatment.”
The drugs lovastatin (Mevacor), prevastin (Pravachol), and simvastatin (Zocor) are commonly used to lower blood cholesterol levels. The main side effect of these drugs is liver damage. In fact, due to the seriousness of the possible adverse effects on the liver, it is necessary to have periodic blood tests to determine if the drug is harming the liver. Other side effects include: muscle breakdown, muscle pain, nausea, diarrhea, flatus, abdominal pain, headache, and skin rash.
The most important first approach to lowering a high cholesterol level is to follow a healthful diet and lifestyle. The dietary changes are simple: Eat less saturated fat and cholesterol by reducing or eliminating the amounts of animal products in the diet; increase consumption of fiber-rich plant foods (fruits, grains, and legumes); and lose weight, if necessary. Lifestyle changes include; Regular aerobic exercise; stop smoking; and reduce or eliminate consumption of coffee (both caffeinated and decaffeinated).
Here are the six key recommendations of U.S. Surgeon General, American Heart Association, and the National Research Council’s Committee on Diet and Health:
When there is a need for additional support to the dietary and lifestyle practices that can lower cholesterol levels, it simply makes more sense to use safer and more effective natural alternatives. When evaluating overall effectiveness, both LDL and HDL cholesterol levels must be taken into consideration. When you look at the cost, safety, and effectiveness, it is clear that natural alternatives are substantially superior to standard drug therapy.
Keep in mind that the natural alternatives discussed are, just like the dugs, still best utilized in a comprehensive program that stresses a healthful diet and lifestyle.
Niacin, or vitamin B3, has long been used to lower cholesterol levels. In fact, niacin is recommended by the National CholesterolEducation Program as the first “drug” to use to lower blood cholesterol levels.
The safest form of niacin at present is known as inositol hexaniacinate. This form of niacin has long been used in Europe to lower cholesterol levels and also to improve blood flow. It yields slightly better results than standard niacin, but is much better tolerated, both in terms of flushing and, more importantm long term side effects.
Gugulipid is the standardized extract of the mukul myrrh tree that is native to India. Several clinical studies have confirmed that gugulipid has an ability to lower both cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Typically, cholesterol levels will drop 14% to 27% in a four- to twelve-week period, while triglyceride levels will drop from 22% to 30%.
The dosage of gugulipid is based on its guggulsterone content. Clinical studies have demonstrated that gugulipid extracts standardized to contain 25 mg of guggulsterone per tablet given three times per day is an effective treatment for elevated cholesterol levels, elevated triglyceride levels, or both.
Garlic and onions exert numerous beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, including lowering blood lipids and blood pressure. Numerous studies have demonstrated that both garlic and onions are effective in lowering LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides while simultaneously raising HDL-cholesterol levels.
Without question, the best approach to lowering cholesterol levels is through diet and lifestyle modifications. When additional support is require, there are safer and more effective natural alternatives to commonly prescribed drugs.
The goal of therapy, whether natural or synthetic, is to get blood lipid levels down into target ranges as quickly as possible. Once the target range has been achieved, begin reducing the amount of medicine by half, or take it every other day. Recheck your cholesterol levels in one month. If they have stabilized or continued to improve, you may no longer need the medication. If the levels begin to rise again, return to previous dosage.
If you are currently on a cholesterol-lowering drug, you must consult your doctor before discontinuing the medication.
More men under 65 are being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
July 27, 2005 02:58 PM
3. More men under 65 are being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
More than 75% of prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over 65, but the disease is now found more frequently in men in their 50s. While doctor recommendations for prostate cancer screenings vary, many encourage yearly screening for men over 50. For those with high risk factors, such as race (see the next item), having a father or brother with the disease or eating a diet high in animal fat, screening should start at age 45. Ongoing studies are evaluating whether yearly screening to detect prostate cancer will decrease a man’s chance of dying from the disease.
The 50 Year Service Check...
July 07, 2005 09:18 AM
Sad but true: Guys who wouldnt forget to give their cars an oil change will go years without having their own inner workings inspected. But a reluctance to have ones chassis checked at the practitioner's office can translate into serious body engine failure. While physical exams are always important, they become a nevessity with advancing age. We're not saying 50 is old, mind you--a couple at Energy Times staffers are starting the big five-oh right in the face--but it's a good time to start getting regular checkups if you haven't been in the habit. Here's some of the things to look for next time they pop your hood.
Get those choppers checked at least once a year--untreated gum disease can lead to the kind of low-level inflammation now thought to be a culprit in numerous illnesses, including heart disease.
Some experts recommend yearly testing for glaucoma, a condition in which increased pressure within the eyeball can cause blindness if not treated. Presbyopia, the farsightedness that accompanies increasing age, generally starts in one's 40s; time to invest in a pair of reading glasses.
Have your blood pressure taken by a professional at least once a year. Checks for cholesterol and blood sugar are part of a metabolic panel (Standard blood work) to be done every three years; it should include total cholesterol, LDL "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides (blood fats). Discuss testing for CRP (C-reative Protein), a marker of chronic inflammation, with your practitioner.
The American Thyroid Association suggests an initial check of your thyroid, a gland in your neck that serves as the body's energy transformer, at age 35 with retests every five years afterwards. If you can't seem to lose weight and/or are sonstantly tired, ask about having your thyroid hormone levels assessed.
Your liver won't send out distress signals until it's pretty banged up. Since the standard metabolic panel includes the liver-enzyme check be sure to have it done every three years; that frequency may need to increase if you have a history of heavy alcohol or workplace exposure to toxins.
Having a yearly digital rectal examination (DRE) is recommended. Blood testing for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is more contraversial.
Colonoscopy, in which a lighted tube is used to view the entire colon, is the gold standard (although doctors are working on a less invasive virtual colonoscopy); once every 10 years starting at age 50 is recommended. A fecal occult blood test (FOBT) should be preformed every year, but keep in mind it can yeild false results, positive and negative.
Don't Forget to:
Screening frequencies are for healthy individuals with no known risk factors. If you have a pre-existing condition or are at risk for one, follow your practitioner's recommendations.
: Energy Times
Supports Healthy Blood Sugar Levels-Herbally
July 05, 2005 10:18 AM
The introduction of refined sugars into the modern diet has had tremendous negative health consequences on world health. For example, diabetes, especially insulin-independent diabetes (Type 2), is growing rapidly in the United States particularly among children. This type is partly due to the inability of insulin to effectively transport sugar to receptor sites and into cells, where the sugar can be metabolized. Instead of being "burned up," sugar builds in the blood, creating a potentially serious health problem. This inefficiency can occur for a number of reasons, including: insufficient insulin production due to pancreas dysfunction (though many Type 2 diabetics produce excess insulin); the inability of insulin to carry sugar to receptor sites; a defect in the insulin; or a defect in the receptor that does not allow for the sugar to be transported through the cell membrane. Even if one does not have diabetes, it is important to maintain healthy blood sugar levels through proper diet, exercise, and weight management. This is especially important in children who were recently found to obtain 14% of their daily calories from sweet drinks (sodas), overtaking white bread as the primary source of total daily caloric intake. Regardless of the reason, a number of botanicals, in addition to key lifestyle recommendations, have been shown in modern research to support healthy blood sugar levels by enhance sugar metabolization. (Cinnamomum aromaticum syn. C. cassia*) is one botanical that has been shown to have a positive effect on potentiating the effects of insulin.
*The study referrd to the material used as Cinnamomum cassia. The officially accepted botanical nomenclature has changed and is now Cinnamomum aromaticum.
Spices have been used historically to increase metabolism, raise body heat (thermogenesis), improve digestion and assimilation, and potentiate the effects of other substances. For this reason, in many herbal traditions, small amounts of hot pungent spices were added to many traditional compounds. Regarding sugar metabolization, a study by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) looked at the potential effects of 49 spices on insulin function (Broadhurst et al. 2000). These researchers found that cinnamon was the most bioactive in directly stimulating cellular glucose metablosim, i.e. the ability of cells to utilize sugar. The same researchers followed up with constituent studies and determined that it was water-soluble compunds in the extract that had this insulin-potentiating effect. This was followed by a clinical trial (60 subjects), also with involvement of the USDA, on the effects of cinnamon for potentiating insulin. The equivalent of 1, 3, and 6 grams (g) of cinnamon powder (approximately 1/4 to 1.5 teaspoons) reduced blood glucose levels 18-29% in 40 days (Khan et al. 2003).
There was a significant increase in efficency between the 1 and 3 g doses, but an insignificant increase between the 3 and 6 g doses. One mechanism of action that has been postulated is that cinnamon increases the activity of PI-3 kinase, an enzyme that is critical in regulating the ability of glucose to be transported into the cell, where it can be utilized as energy. In addition to its ability to potentiate insulin, the cinnamon also supported healthy triglyceride and cholesterol levels, both important health benefits in general.
There is an additional benefit of using cinnamon for many Americans; like many spices it is a potent thermogenic agent. This means it can be used as a healthy adjunct to a weight loss program that includes dietary modification and proper exercise. The excessive consumption of simple sugars in conjunction with poor diet and sedentary lifestyles can cause unhealthy blood sugar levels while providing themogenic support can have long-lasting health benefits.
There have been a number of popular articles on the recent studies. This had led some to ask if crude cinnamon powder can be used with the same effect and safety. This has not been tested. As with all spices, cinnamon is rich in essential oils. Essential oils have beneficial effects, but the insulin-potentiating effect was found to occur in the water extract. This would suggest that many of the oil soluble compunds were lost in the processing. Also, essential oils can be stimulating and irritating, one of the reasons they are generally used in small amounts as flavoring agents. Therefore, it would be best to look for products that contain the water extract to ensure you are delivering the preparation that most closely reflects the preparation used in the studies.
Maintaining healthy weight and increasing lean body mass are key components in the supporting healthy blood sugar levels. Recently it was reported that only two days of inactivity resulted in a decreased level of insulin sensitivity. Therefore, supporting healthy blood sugar levels is extremely important for those wanting to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In obesity, or in those with a significantly higher percentage of body fat over lean muscle (body mass index greater that 25), it is very difficult for insulin to do its job effectively. The reason is quite simple: fat cells can prevent insulin from actually reaching insulin receptor sites; the fat physically blocks the receptor, and the sugar that should have been burned off through cellular function remains in the blood. It is important to know that, in such cases, there is often nothing at all wrong with the pancreas (the insulin-producing organ), the insulin, or the receptor sites. The fat simply prevents insulin and sugar from reaching their target. In many cases, people are over-producing insulin in an attempt to get more sugar to the receptor sites. After awhile, the pancreas can become exhausted and no longer produce adequate amounts of insulin. Therefore, a primary therapy for supporting healthy blood sugar levels is proper weight management through diet and exercise.
Broadhurst CL, Polansky MM, Anderson RA. 2000. Insulin-like biological activity of culinary and medicinal plant extracts in vitro. J agric Good Chem. 48(3):849-852. Khan A, Safdar M, Khan M, Khan K, Anderson R. 2003. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 26912):3215-3218.
Roy Upton is trained in Western and traditional Chinese herbalism, and has been a professional herbalist for 18 years. He is past president and current vice-president of the American Herbalists Guild (AHG) and is also executive director and editor of the American Herbal Pharnacopoeia. an organization dedicated to the development of authoritative monographs on botanicals used in supplements and medicines. Roy is general manager of Planetary Formulas and a memeber of the Standards Committee of the American Herbal Products Association. He is the author of several books, including St. John's Wort and Echinacea in the Keats Publishing Good Herb Series and co-author of the Botancial Safety Handbook, published by CRC Press. Roy lectures and writes extensively.
Disclaimer: The above article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat a particular illness. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of a holistically competent licensed professional health care provider. The information in this article has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
LIFE FORCE MULTIPLE - Essential Nutrients to Support Your Low Carb Lifestyle..
June 29, 2005 10:39 AM
Taking care of your body is an especially important challenge in today’s stressful and hectic world. Choosing a low carb lifestyle is an increasingly popular way to seek better health. In fact, there are approximately 30 million U.S. adults counting their carbs right now. While effective for weight control and therefore having positive health effects, low carb approaches can also result in serious nutrient imbalances. Thus, adding the right multiple to your low carb approach is an enormously important next step for your good health. LIFE FORCE MULTIPLE, the top-ranked and award–winning multiple from Source Naturals, replenishes these nutrients and provides compounds that will help your body process the increased proteins and fats better while you are restricting carbs.
Low Carb Benefits
Restricting carbs can have many health benefits. And lowering your intake of refined simple carbs, such as sugar and white flour, can help you promote healthy blood sugar and insulin levels, which is critical for your good health. Insulin is used to move the glucose from carbs into your cells for energy. Ingesting too many refined carbs can greatly reduce your body’s ability to use insulin well, which can lead to short and long-term health concerns.
Replenish Nutrients with LIFE FORCE
LIFE FORCE contains optimal levels of many nutrients that might be deficient in low carb meals. Counting carbs can lead to restrictions of nutrient dense foods such as dairy products, grains, fruits and vegetables. LIFE FORCE contains many of the same protective antioxidants, vitamins and minerals as fruits and vegetables, including beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, flavinols, magnesium and selenium. It also contains high levels of the same vitamins found in grains, including all of the B vitamins, to support your body’s healthy energy metabolism. And it contains nutrients found in dairy products such as calcium, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin D.
Support Healthy Fat and Protein Consumption with Life Force
Low carb lifestyles mean higher consumption of proteins and fats. Unfortunately, there are artery, heart, colon and many other health concerns associated with meals that are high in fat and protein and low in fiber and produce. However, the nutrients in LIFE FORCE can help you better process eating this way. LIFE FORCE contains high levels of protective fat-soluble antioxidants such as alpha lipoic acid, ascorbyl palmitate (vitamin C ester) and vitamin E to protect your body from the free radicals generated by consuming more fats. It also contains many nutrients for liver health, such as silymarin, CoQ10, N-Acetyl Cysteine and turmeric to help support the fat metabolism your liver is responsible for. LIFE FORCE also contains a high level of the B vitamin biotin, which aids in fat, protein and energy metabolism.
Restricting simple carbs can do much more than help you maintain a healthy weight; it can also be the foundation for maintaining good health throughout your long life. But you need to develop a thoughtful holistic strategy for success. When you integrate LIFE FORCE MULTIPLE into your wellness plan, then you can benefit from decades of clinical research about the nutrients your body needs to support optimal health and a low carb lifestyle, long before this information becomes part of mainstream health recommendations. Join this wellness revolution by adding LIFE FORCE to your strategies for health and allow yourself to start feeling energized today!
Life Force - The Energy Activator
June 29, 2005 10:35 AM
Don’t Be Confused About Multiples – Get the Top-Ranked Multiple That Scores 100%
We can help you decide how to pick the most advanced daily multiple for your wellness. Listen to the experts. Source Naturals LIFE FORCE MULTIPLE was honored as a leading formula in an independent scientific analysis of 500 multiples, ranking higher than any other national brand. Lyle MacWilliam, author of the Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements (ide.com) ranked multiples based on criteria developed from the published recommendations of the most renowned nutritional authorities: Phyllis Balch, C.N.C.; Michael Colgan, Ph.D.; Earl Mindell, Ph.D.; Michael Murray, N.D.; Richard Passwater, Ph.D.; Ray Strand, M.D.; and Julian Whitaker, M.D. Source Naturals’ success in this rigorous scientific analysis reflects our Bio-Aligned™ formulation method. LIFE FORCE goes deep to the underlying cause of health imbalances by supporting multiple body systems. And now, based on the latest scientific research, we have improved the formula by adding even more antioxidants and other cutting-edge ingredients. According to Lyle MacWilliam, “Source Naturals made a top ranked multiple even better!” And based on Lyle’s analysis of the new formula, LIFE FORCE is now the highest rated multiple of any evaluated in the current edition of this guide, scoring a 100% rating.
Bio-Align™ Yourself with Life Force
LIFE FORCE MULTIPLE was chosen as one of America’s most elite and comprehensive multiples, as reported in the Comparative Guide to Dietary Supplements by Lyle MacWilliam, 3rd ed. LIFE FORCE received this acknowledgement by nutrition experts because it is uniquely effective. This Bio-Aligned Formula™ goes beyond ordinary multiples that simply replace nutrients missing from the diet. LIFE FORCE provides key organ-specific nutrients to support your body’s energy generation, heart, brain, immune system, musculoskeletal system, skin, liver, eyes, and more. When all your body systems function in harmony, everything in life comes together. Your mood is positive, your mind is clear, you’ve got energy in your step—that’s your LIFE FORCE working for you.
Get Ahead with Activated Energy and a Healthy Metabolism
Your metabolism determines how much you weigh, how energetic you feel, and the effective functioning of all your systems. LIFE FORCE is a rarity – a unique multiple containing an incredible number of nutrients at the potency levels that truly support your healthy metabolic function. For example, it contains coenzyme Q10, which plays a crucial role in cellular energy production. CoQ10 is a vital intermediate in the electron transport chain, one of the body’s energy production cycles, which converts glucose, or blood sugar, into ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), a high energy molecule that is the body’s “energy currency.” LIFE FORCE also supplies alpha-lipoic acid and the potent R-lipoic acid form of lipoic acid, which are both referred to as the universal antioxidants and important intermediaries in the Krebs cycle, another energy production cycle.
LIFE FORCE also contains tyrosine and iodine, both precursors to thyroid hormones. These hormones regulate key metabolic functions like heart rate, digestive function, weight management and energy levels. No discussion of metabolism would be complete without mentioning the B vitamins and their coenzymated forms, such as thiamin cocarboxylase, riboflavin mononucleotide, and the methylcobalamin form of vitamin B- 12. These critical vitamins and their immediately bioavailable coenzymated forms are formulated to play critical roles in thousands of enzyme reactions that promote carbohydrate metabolism, energy production, and the mental functions that invigorate and activate you as you move through your busy days. And now green tea extract with EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) has been added to the formula for added metabolic support.
Protect Your Heart and Circulatory System
The amazing muscular organ that is your heart beats more than 100,000 times a day, 365 days a year, promoting vitality and alertness by constantly oxygenating our tissues. LIFE FORCE supports your cardiovascular system with antioxidant coenzyme Q10, which helps support heart muscle metabolism. LIFE FORCE also contains the minerals potassium and magnesium, electrolytes vital for healthy heartbeat and heart function, and the herb hawthorn, a rich source of antioxidant flavonoids, which has traditionally been used as a heart tonic. LIFE FORCE also supplies vitamins B-6, B-12 and folic acid to help maintain healthy homocysteine levels and vitamin K to support healthy circulation. Unlike common multiples, it supports cholesterol wellness, circulatory health and antioxidant cardiovascular protection, with both the typical d-alpha form of vitamin E but and the more potent and effective gamma-tocopherol and similarly structured tocotrienols.
Skin and Musculoskeletal Support
LIFE FORCE furnishes nutrients to build healthy bones, muscles and skin. We all know that calcium and magnesium are crucial for bone health, but many people don't know that there are a variety of nutritional cofactors that help build bone, such as vitamin D (which enhances calcium absorption and utilization), boron, manganese and copper. LIFE FORCE also supplies vitamin C and copper, necessary nutrients for collagen production (collagen is a key constituent of connective tissue in joints, skin and other areas), and the cutting-edge nutrient methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), an assimilable form of the mineral sulfur, used by the body to build and maintain connective tissues, including joint cartilage, hair, skin and nails. Additional nutraceuticals to support healthy skin include DMAE bitartrate, CoQ10, and alpha lipoic acid. LIFE FORCE also now includes rutin, quercetin, green tea extract and 65% more turmeric extract for your joint comfort.
Brain and Nerves Nutrition
The hectic pace and constant demands of life can keep our pulse racing, our nerves jangling and our temples throbbing. Our nervous systems are crying out, “Help!” LIFE FORCE provides that help. LIFE FORCE supplies the most highly bioavailable and bioactive forms of the amino acid tyrosine – the N-acetyl form and the acetyl-L form. Tyrosine is an important precursor to epinephrine and norepinephrine (collectively known as the catecholamines), which helps you respond to stress. It also contains high doses of vitamins C and B-6, required by the adrenal glands to produce the catecholamines. In addition, LIFE FORCE delivers the full spectrum of B vitamins, all important for healthy nervous system function. Now LIFE FORCE also contains a more bio-available form of tyrosine, acetyl-L-Tyrosine. And LIFE FORCE contains Neuroceutical® nutrients that support healthy brain function by furnishing DMAE and choline. Both are precursors to the important neurotransmitter acetylcholine and are important for memory focus and muscular movement. Choline is also a precursor to phosphatidylcholine, an important constituent of the cellular membranes that surround and protect our brain cells. In addition, LIFE FORCE contains the renowned herb Ginkgo biloba and now even more grape seed extract, both effective antioxidants that can prevent lipid peroxidation, which is critically important for the high amounts of fatty tissue in the brain. LIFE FORCE—good food for the brain.
LIFE FORCE MULTIPLE supports your immune system, so you can feel your best through the seasons. LIFE FORCE contains the immunosupportive nutrient vitamin A, which fosters cell-mediated immunity and protects the epithelial linings of the respiratory and digestive tracts. Two forms of vitamin A are supplied: preformed vitamin A and its precursor, the potent antioxidant betacarotene. Other immuno-supportive nutrients in LIFE FORCE include vitamin B-6, vitamin C and zinc, which is fundamental for proper functioning of our T-cells, the “seek and destroy” cells of our immune system. LIFE FORCE also now includes 40% more lipoic acid, including the highly bioavailable alpha and R-isomer forms. Lipoic acid along with the B vitamins and CoQ10 promote building the energy reserves needed when the immune system needs to kick into high gear.
Powerful Liver Support
Your liver is responsible for converting many nutrients into their metabolically active forms before your body can use them. After activation, these nutrients travel through the blood stream to target organs where they perform their metabolic functions. Not only does the liver activate nutrients, but it also plays a crucial role in a variety of other metabolic functions, from fat digestion and cholesterol production to blood sugar regulation to the processing and elimination of toxins, an important role in today’s increasingly polluted world. For all these reasons, nourishing the liver is crucial. And LIFE FORCE does just that. LIFE FORCE contains alpha-lipoic acid, turmeric, silymarin and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) – all potent antioxidants that support healthy liver function. NAC and alpha-lipoic acid both help produce glutathione, one of the liver’s primary detoxifying molecules. Silymarin, the active flavonoid complex of the herb milk thistle, as well as coenzyme Q10, have been shown in vitro to inhibit lipid peroxidation of cell membranes. Turmeric extract promotes bile flow and is a rich source of the antioxidant, curcumin. LIFE FORCE also contains choline and inositol, vitamin- like molecules which act as lipotropics, unique substances that prevent the deposition of fat in the liver. Since the liver is naturally high in fats, LIFE FORCE is one of the only multiples that contains the fat-soluble form of vitamin C, ascorbyl palmitate, for antioxidant protection.
Complete Antioxidant Defense
Oxidative stress is the primary cause of accelerated aging. This and other forms of free radical damage are constantly threatening your body. Whether it is from pollution, ultraviolet light, food additives, or from other sources, it is more critical than ever to protect your body with antioxidants. LIFE FORCE contains 24 of the most powerful antioxidants known to science, including eight new antioxidants based on the latest research. It contains antioxidants that are water soluble, such as quercetin and rutin, and ones that are fat soluble, such as alpha-lipoic acid and lycopene. There are antioxidants that are especially protective of specific body systems, such as lutein to protect the macula in your eye, lycopene to protect your prostate gland, and tocotrienols to protect your arteries.
Cutting-Edge Vision Nutrition
The structure and functions of your eyes are very complex. LIFE FORCE contains nutrients to help support and maintain healthy eye tissue, which is particularly susceptible to oxidative stress from free radicals. To support your healthy macula, aqueous tissue and optical nerve signals, LIFE FORCE includes ingredients such as lutein, astaxanthin, beta carotene, bilberry, zinc, lipoic acid and quercetin.
Life Force Replenishes Essential Nutrients to Support Your Low Carb Lifestyle
LIFE FORCE contains optimal levels of many nutrients that might be deficient in low carb meals. Counting carbs can lead to restrictions of nutrient-dense foods, such as dairy products, grains, fruits and vegetables. LIFE FORCE contains many of the same protective antioxidants, vitamins and minerals as fruits and vegetables, including betacarotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, flavinols, magnesium and selenium. It also contains high levels of the same vitamins found in grains, including all of the B vitamins, to support your body’s healthy energy metabolism. And it contains nutrients found in dairy products, such as calcium, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin D.
Support Healthy Fat and Protein Consumption with Life Force
Low carb lifestyles mean higher consumption of proteins and fats. Unfortunately, there are artery, heart, colon and many other health concerns associated with meals that are high in fat and protein and low in fiber and produce. However, the nutrients in LIFE FORCE can help you better process these foods when eating this way. LIFE FORCE contains high levels of protective fat-soluble antioxidants such as alpha lipoic acid, ascorbyl palmitate (vitamin C ester) and vitamin E to protect your body from the free radicals generated by consuming more fats. It also contains many nutrients for liver health, such as silymarin, CoQ10, NAcetyl Cysteine and turmeric to help support the fat metabolism your liver is responsible for. LIFE FORCE also contains a high level of the B vitamin biotin, which aids in fat, protein and energy metabolism.
Complete Energizing Nutrition
LIFE FORCE is the only multiple to target organ systems with specific nutrients and bio-botanicals, antioxidants and Neuroceuticals® for total body harmony and energy activation, system by system. Only this dedication to going deep to the cellular root of system imbalances can produce a multiple so effective that it is acknowledged in a prestigious scientific review, the Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements. A nutritional program with LIFE FORCE at its center can be an easy first step in joining the Wellness Revolution. The goal of this revolution is a long, healthy and fulfilling life. Allow yourself to feel your best, to achieve mental and physical harmony, to radiate energy and vitality. Feel your LIFE FORCE!
Acetyl L-Carnitine & Alpha Lipoic Acid - For Cellular Vitality
June 24, 2005 05:24 PM
You may not think that your good health is related to the vitality of your cells, but it is. Your body is comprised of billions and billions of cells that work together in complex systems to keep you healthy.
But each of these cells also has a unique life. A primary role of your body is to keep these cells healthy and vital in every part of your body throughout your life. And to stay healthy, each of these self-contained cells must produce its own energy – cells can’t borrow energy from each other. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to maintain these cells that are so critical to your good health.
Source Naturals, the science company, introduces ACETYL L-CARNITINE & ALPHA LIPOIC ACID for your cellular vitality. It contains alpha lipoic acid and acetyl L-carnitine, two compounds that can support your cellular vitality for your better overall health.
For Cellular Vitality
ACETYL L-CARNITINE & ALPHA LIPOIC ACID is a groundbreaking new combination of two amazing nutrients, alpha lipoic acid and acetyl L-carnitine, that support your body’s own system for maintenance of cell function as you age.
Alpha Lipoic Acid for Vitality
Alpha lipoic acid is a fat and water soluble compound that is naturally found in your body. It directly recycles vitamin C and indirectly recycles vitamin E to help your body maintain beneficial levels of these important and protective antioxidants. Alpha-lipoic acid also supports the immune system and healthy liver function.
One of the most important roles alpha lipoic acid plays in your body is its role in cellular energy production. Alpha-lipoic acid is a coenzyme that assists in the conversion of pyruvate to acetyl-coA. Acetyl-coA is the beginning point for the Krebs cycle, one of the body's main energy production cycles, which produces the high-energy molecule ATP (adenosine triphosphate). By supporting the Krebs cycle, alpha lipoic acid supports your cellular vitality.
Acetyl L-Carnitine for Vitality
Acetyl L-carnitine is a nutrient for your mind and your body. Medical experts believe that this form of carnitine, derived from an amino acid, is the most bioavailable form available. It supports your body’s synthesis of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is critical for learning and memory. One of the most important functions that acetyl L-carnitine performs in your body is its role in supporting cellular energy. This critical biochemical compound transports longchain fatty acids into the mitochondria in your cells. Cellular mitochondria are where these fatty acids are used to generate ATP, the metabolic energy for your cellular vitality.
Join the Wellness Revolution
Your life can seem to move at a dizzying pace. You might not have a lot of time to focus on your good health, and mainstream medicine doesn’t always incorporate the scientific advances of recent decades into their health recommendations for you. But you can benefit from new information right now by shopping for products like ACETYL L-CARNITINE& ALPHA LIPOIC ACID at your local health food stores and outlets, the only places where you will find these groundbreaking products to support your lifelong vitality.
Packer L et al. (1995). Alpha-Lipoic Acid as a Biological Antioxidant. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 19(2): 227-250. Hagen T et al. (2002). Feeding acetyl-L-carnitine and lipoic acid to old rats significantly improves metabolic function while decreasing oxidative stress. PNAS. 99(4): 1870-1875. Kern M et al. (2003) Effects of Acetyl-LCarnitine and Lipoic Acid supplementation on physiologic and psychological factors in older men. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 35(5S): 267.
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.
America's Most Wanted
June 14, 2005 05:23 PM
America's Most Wanted
by Brian Amherst Energy Times, January 6, 2000
The United States eats well, a little too well, according to experts. Amply supplied with a large supply of high-calorie food, our diets might seem to be chock full of every conceivable nutrient. Well, to the question "Getting all the right vitamins, minerals and other nutrients?" the most appropriate answer seems to be "Not exactly." Eating a lot doesn't equal eating a lot of the most important vitamins and minerals. So, which vitamins and minerals are likely to show up in short supply in the typical American diet? Calcium certainly sits at the top of list. According to the most recent Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals, which is conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), women and girls age 12 and up are not consuming adequate calcium from their diet. Research reveals that about 1200 mg. day suffices for those over age 50 and 1000 mg a day should be adequate if you're between the ages of 19 and 50. Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Stanford University, ". . .osteoporosis is a pediatric disease." For long-range protection against that bone-weakening disease, kids should eat calcium-rich, low-fat dairy products and plenty of leafy greens (broccoli, cabbage, kale) as well as salmon (with bones), seafood and soy. But the calcium campaign does not end in early adulthood. Bone mass begins to deteriorate at about age 30. Menopausal hormonal changes can exacerbate bone brittleness. Medical conditions, including cancer, liver disease and intestinal disorders; prescription drugs; tobacco and alcohol indulgence; or a decline in activity, especially the weight-bearing kind, also jeopardize bone strength. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about one in every two American women will break a bone after age 50 due to osteoporosis. That translates into about half a million fractured vertebrae and more than 300,000 shattered hips. Frequently, those breaks are life-threatening.
The critical role of calcium in many body functions is perhaps the most extensively clinically documented among nutrients. Researchers in the Department of Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, reviewed epidemiological and clinical studies conducted over the past two years on the relationship between dietary calcium and blood pressure (J Am Coll Nutr October 1999: 398S-405S). "Nearly 20 years of investigation in this area has culminated in remarkable and compelling agreement in the data," the researchers report, "confirming the need for and benefit of regular consumption of the recommended daily levels of dietary calcium." Investigators at the State University of New York, Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, presented results of their studies of calcium and vitamin C and gum disease at the June 26, 1998 meeting of the International Association for Dental Research. Two separate inquiries revealed that people who consumed too little calcium as young adults, and those with low levels of vitamin C in their diets, appear to have nearly twice the risk of developing periodontal disease later in life than folks with higher dietary levels of either nutrient.
Calcium: Much Documented Researchers offer extensive evidence of calcium's benefits on many fronts: n Osteoporosis poses a threat to older men as well as women, according to Randi L. Wolf, PhD, research associate at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Wolf presented her award-winning study to an October 3, 1999 meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Dr. Wolf suggests that men increase their consumption of calcium, particularly after age 80, to avoid age-related declines in the amount of calcium absorbed. According to Dr. Wolf, "It appears that the hormonal form of vitamin D, which is the main regulator of intestinal calcium absorption, may have an important role. We are conducting more research to better understand the reasons for why calcium absorption declines with age in men." n Scientists at Tufts University in Boston did some earlier work on the calcium-vitamin D connection and reported it in the September 4, 1997 New England Journal of Medicine. Using the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) increased recommended daily intake of 1200 milligrams of calcium and 400 to 600 international units of vitamin D for people over 50, the Tufts researchers found that with supplementation of the nutrients, men and women 65 and older lost significantly less body bone and, in some cases, gained bone mineral density. n Two studies published in American Heart Association journals show that atherosclerosis and osteoporosis may be linked by a common problem in the way the body uses calcium. The September 1997 Stroke revealed that, in a group of 30 postmenopausal women 67 to 85 years old, bone mineral density declined as atherosclerotic plaque increased. Researchers reporting in Circulation (September 15, 1997) advanced the theory that the osteoporosis-atherosclerosis connection may be related to a problem in handling calcium. n For people who had colon polyps removed, taking calcium supplements decreased the number of new polyps by 24% and cut the risk of recurrence by 19%, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, School of Medicine. The study, published in the January 14, 1999 New England Journal of Medicine, was a first in crediting calcium with anti-cancer properties.
The D Factor
Without adequate vitamin D, your absorption of calcium slips and bone loss can accelerate, increasing the risk for fractures. Fifty percent of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fractures at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston had a previously undetected vitamin D deficiency (Journal of the American Medical Association, April 28, 1999). University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers told participants at the April 14, 1997 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research that vitamin D "significantly inhibits highly metastatic, or widespread, prostate cancer in animals," suggesting its potential for treating men with similar conditions. Few foods that Americans eat, except dairy, contain much vitamin D, but we can usually synthesize sufficient amounts from as few as five minutes' exposure to the sun. But as skin ages, its ability to act as a vitamin D factory decreases. According to Michael F. Holick, the director of the Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center, upwards of 40% of the adult population over age 50 that he sees in his clinic are deficient in vitamin D. Recently, the National Academy of Sciences (the official body that decrees the required amounts of necessary nutrients) increased the daily recommendations of vitamin D to 600 IU for people over 71, 400 IU for those aged 51 to 70 and 200 IU for people under 50. The best dietary sources, apart from dependable supplements, are dairy and fatty fish like salmon. Four ounces of salmon provide about 300 IU.
The Facts About Fats
The American lust for low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets filled with sugary foods has exploded into nothing short of "obsession," according to experts at the General Research Center at Stanford University Medical Center (Am J Clin Nutr 70, 1999: 512S-5S). That mania oftens robs us of the crucial balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids typical of the Mediterranean diet that protect us from heart disease by controlling cholesterol and making blood less likely to form clots. These fatty acids cannot be made by the body but are critical for health: n Omega-3 fatty acid (linolenic acid) comes from fresh, deepwater fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) and vegetable oils such as canola, flaxseed and walnut. n Omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid) found primarily in raw nuts, seeds and legumes and in saturated vegetable oils such as borage, grape seed, primrose, sesame and soybean. The American Heart Association recommends limiting total fat consumption to 30% of daily calories. Saturated fats like those in dairy and meat products as well as vegetable oil should comprise 10% of total calories; total unsaturated fat (fish oils, soybean, safflower nuts and nut oils) should be restricted to 20 to 22% of daily calories.
Be Sure About B12
Vitamin B12 presents a particular problem for the elderly because older digestive systems often don't secrete enough stomach acid to liberate this nutrient from food. (The elderly have no problem absorbing B12 from supplements, because it's not bound to food.) Vitamins generally moderate the aging process but, ironically, that process and the diseases that frequently accompany it affect vitamin metabolism (Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax 83, 1994: 262-6). And because of those changes, we need more of certain vitamins. This is the case for vitamins D, B6, riboflavin and B12. Crucial for health, B12 is necessary to prevent anemia, and, according to recent studies, needed (along with folate and B6) to help stave off heart disease. B12, with thiamine and niacin, boosts cognition (Adv Nutr Res 7, 1985: 71-100). Screening for vitamin B12 deficiency and thyroid disease is cheap and easy and can prevent conditions such as dementia, depression or irreversible tissue damage (Lakartidningen 94, 1997: 4329-32). In the January 5-12, 1999 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the AHA urged doctors to screen levels of homocysteine (the amino acid byproduct of protein digestion that damages arteries, causes heart disease and, possibly, strokes) in patients at high risk for heart disease. They also recommended all Americans to up their daily levels of vitamins B6 and B12, as well as folic acid. Since fruits, vegetables or grains lack B12, vegetarians need B12 supplements. And they're a good idea for the rest of us, too.
Folic Acid Benefits
Folic acid made headlines in the early 1990s when the U.S. Public Health Service declared that "to reduce the frequency of neural tube defects [spina bifida, or open spine, and anencephaly, a lethal defect of the brain and skull] and their resulting disability, all women of childbearing age in the United States who are capable of becoming pregnant should consume .4 milligrams (400 micrograms) of folic acid per day." This recommendation followed voluminous research that showed taking folic acid was associated with a significantly reduced risk of birth defects. (The advisory is based on the fact that nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned. If you think you are pregnant, consult your health practitioner for supplementary advice.)
A Team Player
Folic acid's efficacy intensifies when it works with other nutrients. Among many studies on the preventive powers of folic acid on birth defects, one published in The New England Journal of Medicine (327, Dec. 24, 1992: 1,832-1,835), disclosed an even greater decrease in neural tube defects when supplements of folic acid contained copper, manganese, zinc and vitamin C. As a warrior against homocysteine, folic acid joins the battalion of B12 and B6 in detoxifying this harmful protein. At the University of Washington's Northwest Prevention Effectiveness Center, researchers recently analyzed 38 published studies of the relationship between folic acid, homocysteine and cardiovascular disease and, according to associate professor Shirley A. Beresford, MD, folic acid and vitamin B12 and B6 deficiencies can lead to a buildup of homocysteine.
Canadian researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (275, 1996: 1893-1896) that men and women with low folic acid have a 69% increase in the risk of fatal coronary heart disease. This 15-year study of more than 5,000 people stressed the need for dietary supplementation of folic acid. Folic acid also has been credited with the potential to protect against cancers of the lungs, colon and cervix. It appears to help reverse cervical dysplasia, the precursor cells to cervical cancer, especially for women taking oral contraceptives, which may cause a localized deficiency of folic acid in the cells of the cervix. According to Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning, authors of The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery), folic acid derivatives work with neurotransmitters, the chemicals that permit signals to be sent from nerve fiber to nerve fiber. A lack of folic acid can cause some nervous-system disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia and dementia; it also may be related to some forms of mental retardation. Other supporting roles of folic acid, according to researchers: the formation of normal red blood cells, important for preventing the type of anemia characterized by oversized red blood cells; strengthening and improving white blood cell action against disease; limiting production of uric acid, the cause of gout.
The Best Sources
Many foods are rich in folic acid: beef, lamb, pork and chicken liver, spinach, kale and beet greens, asparagus, broccoli, whole wheat and brewer's yeast. But experts believe that only 25 to 50% of the folic acid in food is bioavailable. Processing also reduces an estimated 50 to 90% of its content. Folic acid supplementation overcomes these obstacles with little risk, as it has no known toxicity. Women taking folic acid who are current or former users of oral contraceptives may require additional zinc. And be sure to augment your folic acid supplement with its synergistic counterpart, vitamin B12.
Focus on Fiber
The American Heart Association came out squarely behind fiber in a June 16, 1997 issue of its journal Circulation: Double your daily intake to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. The American diet is consistently low in fiber, notes Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, author of the article. Twenty-five to 30 grams a day from foods (or supplements) are not only heart healthy but seem to aid weight control.
Getting enough iron? An estimated 25% of adolescent girls in the United States are iron deficient, according to an October 12, 1996 issue of the British medical journal The Lancet, which reported that girls who took iron supplements performed significantly better on verbal tests than those who took a placebo. "Teenage girls should be regularly tested for iron deficiency because rapid growth and the onset of menstruation during puberty increase the body's need for iron," says Ann Bruner, MD, of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and a lead author of the study.USDA data reveal that women up to age 50 also tend to get much less than recommended levels of iron, a lack of which leads to anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells, hemoglobin or volume of blood. For kids, deficiency is more common from six months to four years and during the rapid growth spurts of adolescence when the body is growing so quickly that the body's iron stores may sink to dangerous levels. Vegetarian women run the greatest risk for deficiency, as meat is iron-rich; foods like beans, grains and vegetables also contain some iron. Supplements, of course, supply easily absorbable iron. And to absorb iron from vegetarian sources, take vitamin C with your meals. That boosts the amount of this mineral you will take in. Bear in mind, however, that certain folks-older men and post-menopausal women-generally have adequate dietary supplies of iron. Of greater concern, in fact, is excessive iron, and for these folks iron-free multivitamin and mineral supplements are available.
Ante Up the Antioxidants
Antioxidant nutrients help protect the body from oxygen-scavenging molecules called free radicals. The products of pollution, the body's own metabolic processes and other sources, free radicals are linked to heart disease, cancer and other chronic health problems. The most important antioxidants, which include vitamin C, E, beta carotene, and selenium, are often lacking in the American diet. Plus, optimal amounts of vitamin E cannot be consumed from food. You need supplements. The bottom line: even though we live in a land of plenty, you can still miss vital nutrients. So make sure to consume these vital substances.
Source of Missing Nutrients In the search for the nutrients missing from America's diet, one big help is the sprout. The sprout is truly one of nature's heavyweights: fresh, tiny and moist, its power punch of vitamins, minerals, protein, chlorophyll and disease-busting phytochemicals land it in a weight class far beyond that of its full-grown competitors. Size does NOT matter to this nutritional giant. A championship belt currently wraps around the miniscule broccoli sprout, catapulted into the ring by Paul Talalay, MD, professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Talalay discovered that the seedlings contain substantially more of the cancer-fighting substance sulforaphane than mature plants (Proc. Natnl. Acad. Sci. USA, 94, 10367-10372). Sprouts, the quintessential health food of the Sixties, provide a wonderfully varied and versatile way to get your daily greens. Raw or cooked, strong or mild, vegetable and grass sprouts and their algae cousins add low-calorie texture to recipes and a rich, diverse complement of nutrients and fiber.
Ancient Asia to the Modern Lab
Asians stir-fried sprouts as one of the earliest fast foods as long as 5,000 years ago. The ancient Chinese relied on sprouts for year-round vegetables in colder regions of their vast country. Today, researchers studying sprouts and adult plants have identified their important chemoprotective and other health-bolstering substances. In Paul Talalay's research project at Johns Hopkins, scientists found that three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain up to 50 times more sulforaphane than mature plants, which prompts the body to produce an enzyme that prevents cancer tumors from forming. Uniform levels of the compound saturate the shoots, unlike the chemically uneven adult plants. The Brassica family of broccoli and cabbage is richly endowed with phytochemicals that also help reduce estrogen levels associated with breast cancer. Other phytochemical compounds in the Brassica family are associated with the prevention of stomach and lung cancers. Most of the initial landmark work on phytochemicals' cancer-fighting powers has taken place since 1989 under the aegis of the National Cancer Institute's "Designer Food Program," which isolated, for example, the isoflavones in beans that seem to neutralize cancer-gene enzymes.
Strong Suit: Soy and Spirulina
The isoflavones and phytosterols in soy produce an estrogenic effect that appears to relieve menopausal symptoms and help prevent breast cancer. Soy foods expert Mark Messina, PhD, has done extensive work on the subject, some of which has been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-6. Researchers also have synthesized a bone-strengthening form of soy isoflavones called ipriflavone, following impressive clinical trials in the treatment of osteoporosis (American Journal of Medicine, 95 [Suppl. 5A] (1993): 69S-74S). Spirulina and other micro-algae are fascinating organisms that inhabit a niche between the plant and animals kingdoms. Named for its tiny spirals, spirulina, a blue-green algae, grows in saline lakes but is cultured for maximum nutritional content. In her book Whole Foods Companion (Chelsea Green), Dianne Onstad notes that spirulina contains "the highest sources of protein, beta carotene and nucleic acids of any animal or plant food." Its nucleic acids, she says, benefit cellular regeneration; its fatty acids, especially GLA and omega-3 acids, make it one of the most complete foods. Sprouts, like any other produce, should be rinsed thoroughly before serving. People at high risk for bacterial illness-young children, the very elderly or folks with weakened immune systems-should limit their consumption of raw sprouts. But no matter how you eat them, you may find more spring in your step from these tiny, sprouting nutritional wonders.
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.
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number
June 13, 2005 07:43 PM
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number by Carl Lowe Energy Times, March 10, 2004
As women age, their physical needs shift. The health challenges that face a woman in her thirties do not match those of a woman in her fifties.
At the same time, some basic health needs stay constant: At any age, every woman requires a wealth of vitamins, minerals and the other natural chemicals that fruits, vegetables and supplements supply. She also constantly needs families and friends to support her spiritual health.
As the internal workings of your body alter, your lifestyle must stay abreast of those adjustments. Peak health demands a finely tuned health program designed with your individual needs-and your stage of life-in mind.
Ages 30 to 45
When it comes to maintaining health, younger women might seem to have it easier than older women. If they exercise and stay in shape, they maintain more stamina than women 10 to 20 years their senior.
Unfortunately, many women in this age group mistakenly think they don't have to be as careful about their lifestyle habits and their eating habits as they will in later decades. But even if your health doesn't seem to suffer from poor eating choices or a sedentary lifestyle right away, your foundation for health in later life suffers if you don't care for yourself now.
By age 45 you should have established the good habits that will carry you successfully through the aging process. As an added bonus, good lifestyle habits pay immediate dividends. If you pay attention to your nutrients and get plenty of physical activity when younger, you'll feel more energetic and probably enjoy better emotional health.
Set Health Goals
According to Gayle Reichler, MS, RD, CDN, in her book Active Wellness (Avery/Penguin), good health at any age doesn't just come to you-you have to plan for it. In order to stick to good habits, she says, "living a healthy lifestyle needs to be satisfying." Reichler believes that you need to picture your health goals to achieve them: "Every successful endeavor first begins in the mind as an idea, a thought, a dream, a conviction." Good health at this age and in later years requires a concrete strategy and visualization of how your body can improve with a healthy lifestyle.
Your long-term health goals at this age should include an exercise program that will allow you to reach a physically fit old age with a lowered risk of disability. In addition, your short-term plans should encompass losing weight, staying optimistic, living life with more vim and vigor, increasing your capacity for exercise and lowering your stress.
As Reichler points out, "Your long-term goal and your ideal vision establish what you want to achieve....[You should do] something good...for yourself every day and every week that makes your life easier and more consistent with your goals."
Develop an Eating Plan
Today, the average American gains about two pounds annually. As a result, every year a greater portion of the US population is obese and overweight. By controlling your food intake earlier in life, you may be able to avoid this weight gain. In his book Prolonging Health (Hampton Roads), James Williams, OMD, recommends basic changes to your diet that can provide long-term support of your health:
Get Supplemental Help
If you're in your thirties or forties and you don't take at least a multivitamin, start taking one today! A large body of research shows that taking vitamin and mineral supplements over a long period of time significantly supports better health.
Calcium and vitamin D are two of the most important supplemental nutrients, helping to build stronger bones now that can withstand the bone-loss effects of aging.
Calcium can also help keep your weight down. One study of younger women found that for every extra 300 milligrams of calcium a day they consumed, they weighed about two pounds less (Experimental Biology 2003 meeting, San Diego).
In the same way, taking vitamin D supplements not only helps strengthen your bones, it can also lower your risk of multiple sclerosis (Neurology 1/13/04). In this study, which looked at the health records of more than 180,000 women for up to 20 years, taking D supplements dropped the chances of multiple sclerosis (although eating vitamin D-rich foods did not have the same benefit). And if you're thinking about having children at this age, a multivitamin is crucial for lowering your baby's risk of birth defects and other health problems. A study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that women who take multivitamins during pregnancy lower their children's risk of nervous system cancer by up to 40% (Epidemiology 9/02).
" Our finding, combined with previous work on reducing several birth defects with vitamin supplementation and other childhood cancers, supports the recommendation that mothers' vitamin use before and during pregnancy may benefit their babies' health," says Andrew F. Olshan, MD, professor of epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health. "We believe physicians and other health care providers should continue to educate women about these benefits and recommend appropriate dietary habits and daily dietary supplements."
In particular, Dr. Olshan feels that folic acid (one of the B vitamins), and vitamins C and A, are particularly important for lowering the risk of childhood cancers and birth defects.
Ages 45 to 55
When you reach this in-between age-the time when most women have moved past childbearing age but haven't usually fully moved into the post-menopausal stage-you enjoy a propitious opportunity to take stock of your health and plan for an even healthier future. One thing that may need adjustment is your sleep habits, as sleeplessness is a common problem for women in this age group. Even if you haven't been exercising or watching your diet until now, it's not too late to start. Making lifestyle changes at this age can still improve your chances for aging successfully.
For instance, it is at these ages that women should have their heart health checked. Research published in the journal Stroke (5/01) shows that having your cholesterol and blood pressure checked at this time more accurately shows your future chances of heart disease than having it checked at a later date after menopause, in your late fifties.
" The premenopausal risk factors may be a stronger predictor of carotid atherosclerosis [artery blockages] because they represent cumulative risk factor exposure during the premenopausal years, whereas the risk factors...during the early postmenopausal years have a shorter time for influence," says Karen A. Matthews, PhD, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In other words, Dr. Matthews' research shows that if you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol before menopause, you are at serious risk for a stroke or heart attack soon after menopause: These are important reasons that you need to start improving your health habits immediately.
Increase in Heart Disease
Before menopause, a woman's hormones and other physiological characteristics usually hold down her chance of heart disease. After menopause, when hormones and other bodily changes occur, the risk of heart attacks and stroke in women rises significantly. (Heart disease is the leading killer of women.) At least part of this increased risk is linked to the postmenopausal decrease in estrogen production.
Dr. Matthews studied about 370 women in their late forties, measuring their weight, their BMI (body mass index, an indication of body fat compared to height), blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Ten years later, after the women had entered menopause, she and her fellow scientists used ultrasound to measure blockages in these women's neck arteries (a sign of heart disease).
The researchers found that indications of potential heart problems (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight) when women were in their forties did indeed forecast future difficulties.
" Women who had elevated cholesterol, higher blood pressures and increased body weight before menopause had increased blood vessel thickening and atherosclerotic plaque formation in the neck arteries after menopause. Such changes in the carotid arteries are associated with an increased heart attack and stroke risk," says Dr. Matthews.
Heart Health Factors
The four main lifestyle factors you should adjust at this age to support better heart function are diet, stress, exercise and weight. According to Dr. James Williams, "[M]ore than any other cause, dietary factors are the most critical factor in cardiovascular disease." He recommends eliminating "dietary saturated fatty acids as found in flame-broiled and fried meats." He also urges women to eat more fish and poultry, consume organic fruits and vegetables and cut back on refined sugar.
Stress becomes an ever more important heart disease factor at this age as estrogen begins to drop.
" Our study [in the lab] indicates that stress affects estrogen levels and can lead to the development of heart disease-even before menopause," says Jay Kaplan, PhD, of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (The Green Journal 3/02).
Dr. Kaplan's research shows that stress in women ages 45 to 55 may reduce estrogen earlier in life and make women more susceptible to the arterial blockages that lead to heart disease. "We know from [lab] studies that stress can lower estrogen levels to the point that health is affected," he says.
Stress can also hurt bone health: In a study of 66 women with normal-length menstrual periods, estrogen levels were low enough in half of the women to cause bone loss, making the women susceptible to osteoporosis.
Exercise and Weight
Although exercise used to be considered to be mainly a young woman's activity, the thrust of recent research suggests that physical activity actually becomes more important to health as you get older.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that exercising and keeping your weight down is probably the most important thing you can do to lower your risk of heart disease as you enter your forties and fifties (Am J Prev Med 11/03).
Of the people who took part in this study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who performed the most exercise were thinner and had a 50% chance less of dying of heart disease than overweight nonexercisers.
" The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, a researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.
An added benefit of exercise: If you burn up calories exercising, you can eat more and not have to worry as much about being overweight.
Supplements and Diet
If you're a woman at midlife, a multivitamin and mineral is still good nutritional insurance. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables are also important for getting enough phytochemicals, the health substances in plants that convey a wealth of health benefits.
As you enter this age group, your immune system gradually slows down. To help support immune function, eating produce rich in antioxidant nutrients, and supplementing with antioxidants like vitamins C and E as well as carotenoids, can be especially important. For example, a study of people with ulcers found that people with less vitamin C in their stomachs are more likely to be infected with Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers and is linked to stomach cancer (J Amer Coll Nutr 8/1/03).
This research, which looked at the health of about 7,000 people, found that vitamin C probably helps the immune system fend off this bacterial infection.
" Current public health recommendations for Americans are to eat five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day to help prevent heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases," says Joel A. Simon, MD, MPH, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.
Calcium and Bones
At midlife, calcium continues to be a vital mineral for supporting bone health.
According to Gameil T. Fouad, PhD, "It has been routinely shown that a woman's calcium status and level of physical activity (specifically, the degree to which she participates in weight-bearing exercise) are positively associated with bone mineral density. It is less well appreciated that this is a process which takes place over the course of a lifetime."
Dr. Fouad adds that calcium works in concert with other vitamins and minerals to keep bones healthy: "Research in the United Kingdom involving nearly 1,000 premenopausal women over age 40 illustrates those women with the highest bone density tended to have the highest intake of calcium. Surprisingly, this study also demonstrated that calcium does not act alone: those women with the best bone health also had the highest intakes of zinc, magnesium and potassium."
Dr. Fouad stresses that supplements should go together with a lifestyle that includes enough sleep and exercise to help the body stay in top shape.
" As a general guideline," he says, "a woman concerned with her mineral intake should take concrete steps to make sure she is getting adequate rest, is eating a well-balanced diet focused on fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein as well as getting adequate exercise....A multi-mineral containing bio-available forms of zinc, magnesium, copper and selenium is probably a safe addition to anyone's routine. Taking these proactive steps dramatically reduces the chances that deficiencies will arise."
Ages 55 and Beyond
Entering the post-menopausal phase of life can present challenging opportunities for a new perspective on life and health. While some signs of aging are inevitable, experts who have looked at how the human body changes with age are now convinced that healthy lifestyle habits can improve how well you can think, move and enjoy life well past age 55.
As Dr. Williams notes, "In your fifties, the force of aging is undeniably present: Your body shape changes and organ function declines, both men and women have a tendency to gain weight....Heart disease becomes more common, energy and endurance are considerably reduced and your memory begins to slip."
But Dr. Williams also points out that you don't have to age as rapidly as other people do. He believes you should employ a "natural longevity program...[that starts] to reverse the course of aging as early as possible."
One key to staying vital as you age is your outlook on life, an aspect of life that's greatly enhanced by strong social ties.
Avoiding the Aging Slowdown The latest research shows that one of the most crucial ways to slow the effects of aging is to exercise and keep your weight down. It won't necessarily be easy, though. The change in hormonal balance at this age makes the body more prone to extra pounds (Society for Neuroscience Meeting, 11/12/03).
" In women, it has been demonstrated that major weight increases often occur during menopause, the time in a woman's life in which cyclic ovarian function ends and the ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone decline," says Judy Cameron, PhD, a scientist in the divisions of reproductive sciences and neuroscience at the Oregon Health & Science University.
In Dr. Cameron's lab trials, she has found that the decrease in estrogen after menopause "resulted in a 67% jump in food intake and a 5% jump in weight in a matter of weeks."
In other words, the hormonal changes you undergo as enter your late fifties causes your appetite to grow as well as your waistline: Developments that increase your chances of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and joint problems.
Vigilance against this weight gain is necessary to save your health: Start walking and exercising. Research on exercise in people aged 58 to 78 found that getting off the couch for a walk or other physical activity not only helps control weight but also helps sharpen your thinking and helps you become more decisive (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2/16-20/04, online edition). This recent study, done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, found that performing aerobic exercise improved mental functioning by 11% (on a computer test).
" We continue to find a number of cognitive benefits in the aerobic group," says Arthur F. Kramer, PhD, a professor of psychology at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois. "The brain circuits that underlie our ability to think-in this case to attend selectively to information in the environment-can change in a way that is conducive to better performance on tasks as a result of fitness." In simple terms, that means that walking at least 45 minutes a day boosts brain power as well as protecting your heart.
An Herb for Menopause
The physical changes that accompan> y menopause can be uncomfortable. But traditional herbal help is available: Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), an herb used for eons by aging women, has been shown in recent studies to be both safe and effective (Menopause 6/15/03).
" This [research] should reassure health professionals that they can safely recommend black cohosh to their menopausal patients who cannot or choose not to take HRT [hormone replacement therapy]," says researcher Tieraona Low Dog, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico Department of Family and Community Medicine.
While HRT has been used to help women cope with menopause, a flurry of studies in the past few years have shown that HRT increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. Instead, black cohosh, which alleviates such menopausal discomforts as hot flashes, has been shown to be much safer.
Keeping Track of Crucial Vitamins
While continuing to take multivitamins and minerals at this age is important, some experts believe that as we grow older, vitamin D supplementation, as well as taking antioxidant nutrients, is particularly vital. Arthritis is a common affliction of aging, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one particularly destructive form of this joint problem. But taking vitamin D can significantly lower your risk of this condition.
When scientists analyzed the diets of 30,000 middle-aged women in Iowa over 11 years, they found that women who consumed vitamin D supplements were 34% less likely to suffer RA (Arth Rheu 1/03).
Other vitamins are equally important to an older woman's well-being. For example, vitamins C and natural E have been found to lower the risk of stroke in those over the age of 55 (Neurology 11/11/03). In this study, smokers who consumed the most vitamin C and natural vitamin E were 70% were much less likely to suffer strokes than smokers whose diets were missing out on these vitamins.
Rich sources of vitamin C in food include oranges and other citrus fruits, strawberries, red and green peppers, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils such as sunflower seed, cottonseed, safflower, palm and wheat germ oils, margarine and nuts.
Saving Your Sight
After age 55, your eyes are particularly vulnerable. Eight million Americans of this age are at risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that destroys structures in the back of the eye necessary for vision (Arch Ophthal 11/03). But you can drop your risk of AMD by taking supplements of antioxidant vitamins and zinc, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute.
Their research shows that a dietary supplement of vitamins C, natural vitamin E and beta carotene, along with zinc, lowers the chances of progressing to advanced AMD in certain at-risk people by about 25%. Daily supplements also reduced the risk of vision loss by about 19%.
The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin also help protect aging eyes. When scientists compared healthy eyes with eyes suffering from AMD, they found that AMD eyes contained lower levels of these vital nutrients (Ophthalmology 2003; 109:1780). Furthermore, they found that levels of these chemicals generally decline as you grow older.
Healthy at All Ages
When it comes to designing a healthy lifestyle, general rules like these can be followed, but you should individualize your plan to fit your needs. No matter which type of exercises you pick out or what healthy foods you choose, look for a strategy and a plan you can stick to. If you think a selection of foods are good for you but you absolutely hate their taste, chances are you won't be able to stick to a diet that includes them.
The same goes for exercise: Pick out activities that you enjoy and that you can perform consistently. That increases your chance of sticking to an exercise program.
Staying healthy is enjoyable and it helps you get more out of life every day, no matter what stage of life you're in.
Centering Your Heart
June 13, 2005 10:15 AM
Centering Your Heart by Lisa James Energy Times, January 4, 2004
The romantic view of the human heart conjures up vivid images: The gallant lover, the committed enthusiast, the wise sage. When the romantic philosophy speaks of the heart, it speaks of things that lie at the very center of what it means to be human.
Western medical science, though, views the heart as a biomechanical pump-marvelously engineered to be sure, but a physical device amenable to surgical and pharmaceutical tinkering.
Between romance and technology lies the Eastern path. Eastern medical traditions, including Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and India's Ayurveda, see the heart as a seat of energy that must be kept in right relationship with the rest of the body.
TCM: Yin, Yang and Qi
The two great polarities of yin and yang are always shifting and rebalancing, according to Chinese philosophy, in our bodies as in everything else. Yin is dark, inward, cold, passive and downward; yang is light, outward, warm, active and upward.
The energy that keeps us alive is called qi, or life force. Organs, including the heart, are seen as places where qi resides. Organs supply and restrain each other's qi, which flows along carefully mapped meridians, or channels. Disease occurs when disturbances in qi interrupt the flow of energy so that an organ experiences either a deficiency or excess of yin/yang.
According to Chinese precepts, disturbances in the heart affect the whole body. "The movement of the blood throughout the body, TCM circulation, is managed by multiple organs, which in turn interact with one another. A failure in any one part of this system can result in pathology," says Jonathan Simon, LAc, an acupuncture expert in private practice and at the Mind-Body Digestive Center, in New York.
"If there's a circulation issue, all the organ systems are going to be deprived of the nourishment supplied by the blood. The heart seems to have a dramatic effect on everything else in the body," says Ross Rosen, JD, LAc, CA, MSTOM, Dipl AC & CH (NCCAOM), of The Center for Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine P.A. in Westfield, New Jersey.
Connecting the Dots
While Western medicine probes the heart's physical functioning, TCM searches for energy imbalances by looking for patterns in a person's complaints.
"The wrong approach, in my opinion, is to try to relieve a Western ailment before you have established the proper pattern," Simon notes. "For example, I once had a 20-year-old, slim patient who came to me complaining of hypertension. She had seen several other acupuncturists before she got to my clinic, all of whom had prescribed the number-one formula for hypertension in TCM. When I interviewed her, I discerned a very different pattern from the classic one for hypertension. I gave her the formula associated with her pattern, not her symptom, and she had great relief over the next three weeks. After consultation with her Western physician, she began to cut back on her medication, and is now off of her meds."
TCM emphasizes taking a thorough medical history and using a sophisticated pulse-taking technique called the shen hammer method. Rosen calls pulse "the blueprint of one's health."
As in conventional Western medicine, TCM sees diet as a major culprit in heart disease. "Poor diet will cause problems depending upon on the constitution of the person," explains Simon. "For example, if one eats an excess of greasy and spicy food, that may build up and generate excess heat in the body. That may manifest itself as someone with a quick temper, red face and high blood pressure. On the other hand, a vegetarian who eats only salads may have low energy, a sallow complexion and low blood pressure. I try to tell my patients to keep balance in their diets, but to avoid cold, raw and greasy foods."
TCM also sees unsettled emotions as a source of illness. Stress "creates stagnation in qi and in the blood, eventually," Rosen says. "When stagnation is long or severe, heat starts being produced. We say that heat goes into the blood and steams the body, and heat starts to dry out the vessels. This process winds up turning into atherosclerosis-it kind of vulcanizes the vessel wall. It deprives the vessel of its moisture, which deprives it of its elasticity. Blood pressure starts to increase."
Managing one's emotions and not overworking body or mind is key, says Rosen: "The heart houses the spirit, the shen. When we see people with imbalances in emotion, the spirit starts to become agitated; once the spirit becomes agitated, the whole heart system goes out of balance."
Signs of agitation include insomnia, anxiety and an inability to feel joy, along with chest pain and heart palpitations. TCM uses nutrition, herbs and acupuncture to bring the body back into balance.
Ayurveda: Constitutional Energies
Like TCM, Ayurveda sees health as a matter of balancing the subtle energies that power our bodies. In Ayurveda, these energies exist as three doshas, or basic constitutions:
* Vata is cold, dry, light, clear and astringent. The skin of vata individuals is generally dry, thin, dark and cool, with hair that's curly, dark and coarse. Vatas change their minds readily and crave warmth.
* Pitta is sharp, light, hot, oily and pungent. Pitta people tend to have skin that's soft, fair, warm and freckled, along with fine, fair hair. Quick-witted, pittas hold strong convictions. They prefer coolness, since they tend to perspire profusely.
* Kapha is cold, heavy, oily, slow and soft. Kapha skin is pale, cold and thick, and kapha hair, which is usually brown, is thick and lustrous. Stable and compassionate, kaphas don't like the cold.
Few people are one, pure dosha. Most contain varying levels of vata, pitta and kapha (abbreviated VPK), generally with one predominating.
Ayurveda views the heart as "governing emotions and circulating blood," according to Sophia Simon, MS, LAc, of the Karma Healing Center in Newtown, Pennsylvania. In Ayurveda "heart problems arise mainly due to improper diet and stressful lifestyles," which causes a "derangement of vata dosha. This leads to thickening of the arteries, resulting in angio-obstruction."
"Stress reduction is very important in heart disease," says Simon. "Meditation helps a lot with stress reduction, especially simple breathing exercises, yoga, etc." Some of Simon's recommendations have a familiar ring: Don't smoke, do exercise, eat a plant-based, low-fat diet. In addition, she says you should:
* Avoid coffee and other beverages that contain caffeine.
* Be loving and compassionate to all mankind.
* Do things in a casual way. Speak softly. Avoid anger, especially holding anger for a long time.
* Indulge in healthy, whole-hearted laughter.
In addition, Simon notes that garlic is an Ayurvedic herb "most useful for heart problems.
Keep your balance: In the great Eastern healing traditions, it is the key to keeping your heart healthy.
Basics of the Immune System
June 10, 2005 03:01 PM
Basics of the Immune System
by Leonid G. Ber, MD Energy Times, September 1, 1998
In a world filled with pathogens and microbes, good health and resistance to disease is no accident. It requires a vigorous and vigilant immune system. The immune system should be viewed as an internal security force that is constantly checking the identity of everything entering and already existing in the body. A cell or substance may be recognized as "non-self" and a potential enemy if it does not have the right molecular make-up. A cell displaying molecules produced according to a different blueprint than the body's own code may be recognized as foreign. To eliminate alien material that may harm the body, the immune system must take swift action.
Recognizing entities that originate outside the self forms the key to overall immune system response. This key is carried in the body by cells called macrophages (ma-kro-fajs), a name derived from a Greek term meaning "big eater." Macrophages eat or engulf foreign cells and molecules. When a macrophage encounters something that it distinguishes as being "non-self" or abnormal, it can attack the enemy with a series of assault weapons, including free-radicals (reactive substances) and enzymes, that dissolve and weaken the intruder. In fact, an enzyme produced by macrophages called lysozyme is recognized as one of nature's most powerful anti-infective agents. These chemical defenses, along with engulfment and complete digestion by macrophages, can effectively stymie invasion by disease-causing pathogens.
Harmful invasion can originate in the body's own cells as well as begin from outside sources. While we are constantly exposed to bacteria, viruses, fungal cells and parasites, destructive cancerous growths often start within the body.
Every day, thousands of the body's cells mutate into possible cancers. Under most circumstances, the immune system keeps these cells under control. But when the immune "security" system slips up, these harmful growths multiply unrecognized.
The initial immune response that recognizes invaders is called a "non-specific defense mechanism" since this immune response is generally the same toward all invaders. This counter-attack entails battling every invader pretty much identically: a macrophage can engage, dissolve, weaken, engulf, digest, eliminate. However, if, despite the initial immune efforts, the problem persists, a macrophage can tag an invader and "introduce" it to the rest of the immune system, thus recruiting more specialized types of immune cells to enter the battle. This tagging function endows macrophages with the name "antigen-presenting cells." (Antigens are substances that can provoke specific responses by the immune system.)
Most antigens are proteins. Proteins are relatively large molecules made of smaller units called amino acids. The specific geometric organization of amino acids is what conveys uniqueness to each protein. (Your genetic code forms a blueprint for the production of your own, individual proteins.) Protein molecules produced by one human being can act as an antigen for another human being. That's why organs transplanted from one person to another can be rejected by the immune system. Unless organs are transplanted from one identical twin to another (who share the genetic blueprint for protein creation), doctors must use immune-suppressing drugs to curtail organ rejection. At the same time as these medicines prevent transplant rejection, they also make people more susceptible to infectious diseases and cancer.
After one set of immune cells chemically tags antigens (invaders) for recognition, other highly specialized parts of the immune system go into action: Cells called T cells or T lymphocytes acknowledge the invaders and can take the further action (second line of defense) that is necessary to render them harmless.
T cells get their name from the thymus (an organ located behind the sternum) where they originate. The thymus, most active when we're young, usually shrinks and apparently slows or shuts down its activity about the age of forty.
A wide variety of T cells inhabit lymph nodes (soft, usually round, pea- or nut-sized organs) and other body areas. For instance, natural killer cells, as their name implies, are a particularly aggressive type of T cell. Another type of T cell is called T helper (a cell that supports development of immune response). T suppressors halt immune response when infection ends.
In order to make all these different cells work in concert, cytokines or messenger molecules are produced that facilitate constant communications between all the parts of the immune system.
The B Team
Other organs of the immune system include:
*bone marrow: a powerful cell producing organ where the majority of immune cells are born;
*spleen: an abdominal organ that forms a reservoir for the production of immune cells.
Lymph nodes oversee particular segments of the body where they collect and recycle tissue fluids. Like an early warning system, lymph nodes react when an invader is detected in the part of the body that it controls.
Yet another step in the so-called immune cascade entails action by lymphocytes, called B cells, which originate in the bone marrow. These cells produce antibodies which are immune proteins (immunglobulins) that attack specific antigens.
While traveling in the blood, an antibody can bind to an antigen, curtailing its harmful action. This bound up molecule forms a complex easily recognized by scavenging macrophages which make a quick meal out of the unlucky invader.
After enemy cells are removed from the body, knowledge of this victory resides in the immunological memory prolonging your resistance toward specific disease pathogens indefinitely. That's why someone who has recovered from a disease like the measles may be impervious to reinfection.
Rules for Optimum Immunity
Even though the immune system consists of a complex team of hard-working cells, enhancing your immunity is relatively easy:
Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Avoid continuous stress and negative emotions or cope with them through exercise or meditation. Consistent, moderate exercise can boost the immune system. Massage can also help although extreme care must be taken when inflammation or disease is already present.
Sleep 7-8 hours a day. Sleep allows the body to recover and rebuild. Protein synthesis, vital for a healthy immune system, increases during the night.
Stick to a healthy diet. Your immune system consists of trillions of cells. Consequently, nutrients important for cell health boost the immune system. A balanced low-calorie diet rich in complex carbohydrates, "good" fats (including fish oils, olive oil and flaxseed oil) along with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrient antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables can fortify immune cells. Plus, drinking plenty of water helps improve circulation of lymph fluid.
These recommendations are not hard to meet once they become a part of your daily routine. However, extra immune security may be necessary during flu season, while traveling long distances (airplanes are notorious sources of pathogens) or when working extensive hours in front of a computer screen. In addition, exposure to x-rays, immunosuppressive chemicals, ultraviolet radiation (the sun) or simply aging may give your immune cells extra burdens.
Your "specific" immune system does not respond immediately to the challenge of invasion by an infectious organism. Instead, it may require about 2 weeks for an effective reaction after antigen recognition and alerting T cells. During this period, the macrophages' non-specific defense assumes a crucial role in keeping infection in check.
Enhanced activity by macrophages is especially important for recognizing and destroying cancer cells. The most dangerous cancers are those that can mimic normal cells and avoid the immune system's wrath. Few substances can activate macrophage function in the body (aloe vera contains substances that contribute to this process). The most powerful macrophage activator recognized by the scientific community is a sugar-like substance called beta-1,3-D-glucan. Beta-glucan, extracted from the cell walls of common Baker's yeast, when taken in certain small amounts, can prevent infection by making macrophages more active in recognizing and attacking infectious bacteria, fungi and certain viruses.
This kind of activation can encourage macrophages to attack previously unrecognized tumor cells. As a result, tumors may be eradicated as the immune system mobilizes and produces what may be known as "spontaneous healing."
When a macrophage works overtime fighting disease, its demand for nutrients and energy increases dramatically. Vitamin C, known for its immune supporting function, seems to be especially important for maintaining fully active macrophages. Vitamin C collects in macrophages, often reaching forty times the concentration found in surrounding blood. What are conventionally considered normal amounts of vitamin C in the body may be insufficient to keep macrophages well supplied with this antioxidant. Therefore, extra amounts of vitamin C can keep the immune system in fighting trim.
Scientists are only now beginning to uncover the secrets of the highly organized immune system. One thing's certain: The immunity security team depends on proper lifestyle, nutrition and supplements to maintain the critical defenses necessary for good health.
Dr. Ber received his doctorate in internal medicine from the Yaroslavle, State Medical Institute in Yaroslavle, Russia.
May 09, 2005 06:10 PM
It's in the BloodNatural alternatives abound for managing cholesterol levels, backed by a growing body of research ©VR By Paul Bubny
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) last July lowered the threshold for considering the use of statin drugs—a move which some say was motivated more by profits than scientific evidence. For example, the Center for Science in the Public Interest pointed out that eight of the nine authors behind the new recommendations had financial ties to statin manufacturers, which stand to reap billions of dollars more from a category that grossed $14 billion in the U.S. last year. And though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January decided against authorizing over-the-counter (OTC) sales of statin drugs, drug companies would still like to see this happen.
“The medical establishment’s pushing of these drugs to becoming the number one category of prescribed drugs in the world has led them to keep lowering the total cholesterol number that triggers the drug recommendation,” said Neil E. Levin, C.C.N., D.A.N.L.A., nutrition educator, product formulator, and “Truth Advocate” for NOW Foods (Bloomingdale, IL), which produces a number of supplements for addressing cholesterol. “This is despite the lack of evidence that total cholesterol means much as regards cardiovascular risks.
“Other tests are much more important in terms of predicting risks, including CRP (C-reactive protein), the balance of different cholesterol fractions, and homocysteine,” he continued. “Add adult-onset diabetes to the risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).”
At the same time, the allegation that enormous sales potential lay behind the lower threshold for prescribing statin drugs illustrates how widespread the problem of hypercholesterolemia (elevated total cholesterol) is. More than 100 million Americans have elevated cholesterol (total cholesterol values of 200 mg/dl and higher), and of these, more than a third have high cholesterol (levels of 240 mg/dl and higher), according to the American Heart Association. Those numbers have unfavorable implications for the incidence of CVD, as high cholesterol is considered a risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke.
While statin drugs haven’t garnered the same degree of negative publicity that COX-2 inhibitors have suffered lately, safety concerns have arisen nonetheless. For one thing, these drugs lower the liver’s production of coenzyme Q10 (coQ10) along with its production of cholesterol. “CoQ10 is related to energy production and immune functions, is an antioxidant, and [is] an important cardiovascular nutrient,” Levin said. “It is not good to lower one’s coQ10 levels by half!”
Moreover, said Levin, statins increase the tendency of muscle tissues to break down. “Combined with inactivity or certain drugs, this can stimulate muscle wasting,” he said. “Muscle is where a good deal of calories are burned, so a loss of muscle could affect mobility and energy production, potentially adding to obesity problems. These muscle changes occurred in patients and persisted for years after treatment was discontinued, as shown by muscle biopsies, even if no obvious muscle problems were observed by the patients.”
And the last word on the subject may not have been spoken. Predicted Dr. Frank King, Jr. president of King Bio Natural Medicine (Asheville, NC), “Once the appropriate studies are finished, these drugs, along with hypertensives, will hit the fan bigger than the COX-2 inhibitors.”
Also looking toward the future, Levin said that of the 20 million Americans who will be “targeted” for statin drug prescriptions under the new NCEP guidelines, “Some of these will want to try natural methods first. Others will rebel at the side effects of the drugs and experiment with alternative products.”
King and Levin both saw opportunity for natural products in the fallout from drug safety concerns, with King projecting that sales of his company’s cholesterol-related homeopathic remedies will double in 2005. “The reports of deaths from drugs will always overshadow the trumped-up studies and news reports blasting dietary supplements,” said Levin. “Vioxx knocked vitamin E off the media’s radar screens pretty rapidly, though we still see ignorant reporters citing that [Johns Hopkins] vitamin E analysis as if it were true. But the comparable safety of supplements means that open-minded people will want to at least try natural therapies before signing in to a lifetime of drug therapies. Meanwhile, the studies on natural products will continue to build our credibility.”
Those studies keep coming in, with at least four major findings published in the past few months, plus a heart-health claim on walnuts authorized by FDA. They join a raft of earlier findings that link natural products—branded and otherwise—to healthy cholesterol levels.
"Blur of Products"
With so many natural alternatives to cholesterol drugs available, it can be hard to keep track. “As with any other category, the blur of products as they cascade over several shelves means that the retailer needs to have a good sense of what works and what they want to recommend to their customers,” Levin said. “Really, each person needs a protocol that would include antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, herbs, and oils. The pre-mixed cholesterol support formulas are a good starting place.”
To help retailers get a sense of “what works,” here is an alphabetical discussion of several nutrients that have demonstrated benefits in serum cholesterol levels. They include the following:
Barley may help lower cholesterol, according to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2004, vol.80, no.5: 1185-1193). Twenty-five adults with mild hypercholesterolemia consumed a controlled diet low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol for 19 weeks. They then added whole-grain products containing barley to their diets that contained low (0 g), medium (3 g), or high (6 g) amount of beta-glucan per day for five weeks. Total cholesterol was reduced by 4 percent 9 percent, and 10 percent, respectively. The diet with the highest amount of beta-glucan led to a decrease in LDL cholesterol of 17 percent.
Chromium. There’s evidence, Levin said, that chromium in doses of 500 mg a day may decrease levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the so-called “bad” cholesterol) and total cholesterol while raising levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good” cholesterol). At the annual meeting of the American College of Nutrition last October, a poster presentation on the safety of Benicia, CA-based InterHealth Nutraceuticals’ ChromeMate niacin-bound chromium won first prize; among other things, the presentation cited chromium’s role in maintaining healthy blood lipid levels.
Fatty Acids. The latest in a long line of studies demonstrating the benefits of fatty acids in heart health is a study published in The International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics in December 2004. It showed that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid, can restore normal blood vessel function in children with inherited high cholesterol. The study, which used Martek DHA produced from microalgae, concluded that restoration of normal blood vessel function has the “potential for preventing the progression of early coronary heart disease in high-risk children.”
“The evidence continues to accumulate on the cardiovascular benefits of DHA for people of all ages,” said Henry “Pete” Linsert, Jr., chairman and CEO of Martek Biosciences, an ingredient supplier based in Columbia, MD. “This study clearly indicates that DHA played an important role in healthy blood vessel function in the children in this study.”
On the Omega-Research.com Website maintained by fish oil manufacturer Nordic Naturals (Watsonville, CA) can be found summaries of several earlier studies linking omega-3 fatty acids to maintaining healthy blood lipid levels, as well as related benefits such as elasticity of the arteries. In a 2003 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that women receiving a mixture of 4 g eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA along with 2 g of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) had lower levels of LDL cholesterol after 28 days compared to those who received either the EPA/DHA supplements without DHA, EPA/DHA with a smaller dose of GLA, or GLA alone.
Flax is another source of omega-3s, and Arkopharma/Health From The Sun (Bedford, MA) offers FiProFLAX in a variety of forms. Marketing director Hugues P. Mas said the flax is “QAI [Quality Assurance International] certified organic and guaranteed GMO [genetically modified organism]-free.” On its Website, the company offers a cholesterol quiz geared to consumers, discussing the importance of omega-3s as well as other nutrients.
Garlic. Adding to an already considerable body of research demonstrating that garlic can lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides while increasing HDL cholesterol, researchers at UCLA in 2003 reported that Kyolic aged garlic extract reduced or inhibited plaque formation in the arteries of 19 cardiac patients taking statin drugs.
Lead researcher Matthew Budoff, Ph.D. commented at the time that the study “suggests that aged garlic extract may be a useful and beneficial dietary addition for the people who have high cardiovascular risk or who have undergone heart surgery.” Budoff has since presented several trade show seminars sponsored by Los Angeles-based Wakunaga of America, the makers of Kyolic.
Guggul. In use for centuries as a component of Ayurvedic medicine, guggul—a gummy resin tapped from the Commiphora mukul tree, which is native to India—has been studied since the early 1960s for its hypolidemic (blood-lipid lowering) properties. Sabinsa Corp. (Piscataway, NJ), an ingredient supplier which produces a standardized extract under the brand name Gugulipid, says the studies on guggul indicate that its hypolipidemic activity can be attributed to more than one mechanism of action.
Among the possible mechanisms are: inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis, enhancing the rate of excretion of cholesterol, promoting rapid degradation of cholesterol, thyroid stimulation, alteration of biogenic amines, and “high affinity binding and anion exchange.”
Homeopathy. “Homeopathy activates the body’s own control system to work properly,” said King. “This is the safest and most curative approach to take.
“Forcing the body into biochemical change even naturally doesn’t actually have the curative action of homeopathy,” King continued. “Homeopathy can even correct the genetic predispositions to disease we may have inherited from as deep as a thousand years into our family chain.” King Bio makes Artery/Cholesterol/BP, a homeopathic formula intended to help tone heart muscles and blood vessels.
Low glycemic index foods. In a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that high glycemic load is negatively correlated to serum levels of HDL cholesterol. Assessing the relationship between blood levels of lipids and diet in a test population of 32 healthy males and females ages 11 to 25, the researchers found that glycemic load accounted for 21.1 percent of the variation in HDL cholesterol. They concluded that glycemic load appears to be an important independent predictor of HDL cholesterol in youth and noted that dietary restrictions without attention to glycemic load could unfavorably influence blood lipids.
Medicinal Mushrooms. Although its product SX-Fraction is intended primarily to address high blood sugar, Maitake Products, Inc. (MPI, Ridgefield Park, NJ) found in a clinical study that LDL cholesterol in diabetic patients declined modestly (from 142 mg/dl to 133 mg/dl) over a two-month period. Those taking SX-Fraction also lost about 7 lbs. in the same time period.
“The more impressive lowering of cholesterol, however, comes from the dietary fiber that is found in all medicinal mushrooms,” said Ellen Shnidman, manager of scientific affairs at MPI. She cited animal studies which documented the cholesterol-lowering properties of four different mushrooms: maitake, shiitake, agaricus, and enokitake.
For example, a study reported in the September 1996 issue of Alternative Therapies showed “a 44 percent reduction in total cholesterol in rats consuming maitake mushroom in their diet,” said Shnidman. “This cholesterol reduction is accompanied by weight loss, relative to rats eating a similar high-choelsterol diet without mushrooms. Apparently, cholesterol is excreted by the rats in sufficient quantity to aid in weight loss.”
Oat bran. A 2004 consumer study conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI, Harleysville, PA) for Nurture, Inc. (Devon, PA), which produces the ingredient OatVantage, found that 63 percent of consumers managing their cholesterol levels prefer oat-based ingredients.
Oat bran is the subject of a health claim authorized by FDA in 1999, and NMI research found that 69 percent of respondents preferred the FDA-permitted health claim, “Helps Lower Cholesterol,” over the model structure-function claim, “Helps Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels.” “This is significant for food, beverage, and dietary supplement manufacturers who want to increase sales by using a more consumer-desired claim on the product label,” said Griff Parker, Nurture CEO.
Plant sterols. Also the subject of an FDA-approved claim for heart health, plant sterols (structurally similar to cholesterol in humans) can block the absorption of cholesterol, according to a number of studies. In an “Ask the Doctor” publication (available online at www.atdonline.org), Decker Weiss, N.M.D. noted that sterols enter the same receptor sites that cholesterol enters on its way to the bloodstream. “The cholesterol, being blocked from absorption, remains in our intestines where it is eventually excreted,” Weiss wrote. General Mills has just introduced Yoplait Healthy Heart, a yogurt high in plant sterols.
Policosanol. A mixture of fatty alcohols derived from sugar cane or beeswax, policosanol has been favorably compared in clinical studies to several types of prescription drugs for managing cholesterol. On its own, policosanol was found in a 1999 study to reduce LDL cholesterol while raising levels of HDL cholesterol.
Probiotics. “Several studies have indicated that consumption of certain cultured dairy products resulted in reduction of serum cholesterol, as well as triglycerides,” wrote Dr. S.K. Dash, president of probiotic manufacturer UAS Laboratories (Eden Prairie, MN), in his Consumer Guide to Probiotics. Among other studies, Dash cited two controlled clinical studies from the VA Medical Center at the University of Kentucky.
“In the first study, fermented milk containing [Lactobacillus] acidophilus was accompanied by a 2.4 percent reduction of serum cholesterol concentration,” he wrote. “In the second study, a different L. acidophilus strain reduced serum cholesterol concentration by 3.2 percent. Since every 1 percent reduction in serum cholesterol concentration is associated with an estimated 2 to 3 percent reduction in risk for coronary heart disease [CHD], regular intake of fermented milk containing an appropriate strain of L. acidophilus has the potential of reducing risk for [CHD] by 6 to 10 percent.”
Dash said his company’s DDS Probiotics contain DDS-1 L. acidophilus, “which has been researched and demonstrated to show cholesterol-lowering effect.”
Psyllium. “Internal cleansing is very important” in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, “especially if you do it with a lot of fiber,” said Sunil Kohli, vice president of Chino, CA-based Health Plus, Inc. The cholesterol-managing ability of fiber in general and psyllium in particular is “very well-established,” he said.
However, Kohli said, “It will probably do you no good if it’s random. It should be done on a regular basis, and it should be supervised. Consulting the doctor or pharmacist is important.”
Soy. The protein in soy “has evidence of lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, based on reviews of studies using over 20 g of soy protein per day,” said Levin. “Soy isoflavones are considered only partly responsible for this effect.”
Sytrinol. A patented proprietary formula derived from natural citrus and palm fruit extracts and containing citrus polymethoxylated flavones and palm tocotrienols, Sytrinol has been shown in clinical trials to improve total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides by up to 30 percent, 27 percent, and 33 percent, respectively. Having just wrapped up Phase III of a long-term trial of Sytrinol, Chicago-based SourceOne Global Partners, which owns the exclusive worldwide license for intellectual property associated with the ingredient, is commencing a study that combines Sytrinol with plant sterols.
Tocotrienols. On its Website discussing the science and benefits of tocotrienols (www.tocotrienol.org), ingredient supplier Carotech Inc. (Edison, NJ) identifies several benefits for blood lipid levels. Tocotrienols, according to the Website, have been shown to “inhibit cholesterol production in the liver, thereby lowering total blood cholesterol;” “[suppress] hepatic HMG-CoA reductase activity [and result in] the lowering of LDL cholesterol levels;” and “inhibit cholesterogenesis by suppressing HMG-CoA reductase.”
With all of this, Levin said, it’s important for retailers to remember that “they are not allowed to discuss diseases and remedies unless there is an approved FDA health claim allowed on the label, as with soy protein and plant sterols. What is allowed are structure-function claims such as ‘cholesterol support,’ ‘promoting normal, healthy circulation,’ ‘homocysteine regulators,’ etc.”
Supplementation is only one tool for managing cholesterol levels, manufacturers pointed out. “Besides nutrition, lifestyle is a key to controlling cholesterol,” Levin said. “Eating a variety of antioxidant-rich foods will prevent the liver from churning out cholesterol as a ‘cheap’ antioxidant. The body uses oxidized cholesterol to patch leaky and damaged blood vessels, so the ability to build healthy collagen is a must, using nutrients like vitamin C, Pycnogenol, rutin, hyaluronic acid, and MSM.
“Don’t forget exercise and stress reduction,” he added. “Stress results in high cortisol levels—usually accompanied by poor blood lipid levels—and a lack of good sleep to produce unhealthy people.” VR
Vitamin Retailer Magazine, Inc., 431 Cranbury Road, East Brunswick, NJ 08816 //www.oprmagazine.com/
May 09, 2005 10:08 AM
Calm Child is a clinically derived herbal formula, specifically designed to support many body systems that are critical to the health and well-being of children. It is truly a multi-purpose herbal treasure, useful for supporting the health of the immune system in winter, enhancing digestive processes, and promoting restful sleep issues commonly experienced by most children. It also helps defend the system against the negative effects of stress, eases occasional restlessness, and promotes calm focused attention.
The Challenged Child
Difficulty in focusing and concentrating is one of the fastest growing problems for children today. This is a "new" problem, recognized as such over the last thirty years of the twentieth century. In the nineties, up to 5 percent or more of all school-age children were identified as having issues with focus (greater than 5 million children in 1995, over 25% higher than in 1985!). Since then, this number has continued to grow. Signs of the problem include the following and must be present for at least six months in more than one setting (home, school, etc.) especially before the age of seven: distractibility (inattention); inability to concentrate or focus; impulsivity (poor self-control); and excessive activity. Of course, measures of all of these are very subjective and are a part of the development of almost every child. Additionally, situations such as premature separation from parents, or unresolved emotional issues, or a family crisis, can cause children to withdraw or, conversely, act out due to an inability to appropriately express their feelings. Further, excessive and violent TV and computer games, lack of physical exercise, and poor diets can cause over-stimulation, internally and externally. Determining when such behavior is a problem is subject to interpretation. Too often, children are provided with a diagnosis before they are out of pre-school and are far too often prescribed pharmacological interventions such as amphetamines (Ritalin).
The Birth of Calm Child
My husband, Michael Tierra, originally formulated Calm Child for our own child, Chetan, then one year old, to address a wide array of potential childhood issues. His underlying intention was to use Calm Child for all children, based on his belief that most childhood emotional complaints are due to the unconscious pain of separation from the security and comfort of the womb. It was also based on the fact that historically, botanicals have been widely used to support the development of healthy children. Chamomile and lemon balm are perfectly suited for this purpose. Both are incredibly gentle-acting and deliciously fragrant botanicals that promote relaxation and calmness. Both also address underlying digestive imbalances that can give rise to occasional irritability and restlessness.
The Calm Child Formula
The herbs in Calm Child have a long history of use for calm focused attention in children: Lemon Balm: In his herbal of 1640, the renowned English medical botanist John Parkinson quoted Serapion the Younger (802-849) who said lemon balm is used "to cause the mind and heart to become merry...to strengthen the weakness of the spirits and heart, and to comfort them..." This belief in the comforting effects of lemon balm persisted and was repeated by Avicenna, who stated "it makes the heart merry and strengthens the vital spirit." In the 16th century, the renowned herbalist Nicholas Culpeper reported on the use of lemon balm for melancholy and sadness. Herbalists and midwives today continue to use lemon balm for the same purposes. Chamomile: Well-known in the nineteenth century, chamomile was used for crying, weepy children and to support calm digestion. Herbalists have long recognized a relationship between upset stomachs and restless children. Today, it is still widely used in homeopathy for babies' teething and children's clinginess. Other complementary ingredients in Calm Child include: jujube seeds (zizyphus), one of the most nourishing and relaxing nerve tonics used in Chinese herbalism; the incredibly nourishing berries of hawthorn and amla; the calming, aromatic, and digestive promoting effects of catnip, anise, clove, and long pepper; the legendary gotu kola for promoting mental well-being and attention; and the minerals magnesium (taurinate) and calcium (citrate), both necessary for normal nerve and muscular function.
Works in Three Important Ways
Together these botanicals work in three important ways to promote calm focused attention in children. They: 1) promote a calm relaxed nervous system; 2) provide added nourishment which is essential for normal brain function; and 3) support a calm and healthy digestive system which is often an underlying cause of childhood restlessness.
Calm Child was developed more than 20 years ago and has been used by literally tens of thousands of children worldwide. In my own clinical practice, I have found Calm Child to have a wide range of uses. It is great as a wintertime supplement, to support normal digestion, promote relaxation and sleep, and perhaps most important, to cultivate a strong, centered, focused sense of mental and emotional well-being, specifically in children though many parents of active children have benefited from it as well. When it is given in conjunction with a diet that is low in refined sugars and food colorings and additives, parents report tremendous success in dealing with teething, occasional headaches and digestive imbalances, increasing attention in school, or helping their children cope with the stresses of day care.
For best results, herbs are always given in conjunction with diet and lifestyle recommendations. When using Calm Child, make sure the child is eating sufficient protein for his/her needs along with lots of cooked vegetables and some whole grains. Include some fruit, but keep fruit juices to a minimum as they contain too much simple sugar for children. Eliminate sugar, white flour products, foods with colors and preservatives, and caffeinated products as much as possible. Be sure to give plenty of water (many children never drink water but depend on juices or sodas instead!). Also, children inherently have much more energy than their parent and teacher handlers who try to make them sit still and focus on something that has little meaning to them. Make sure they get plenty of physical exercise to burn off some of the energy that teachers and parents have difficulty harnessing.