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Curcumin and Grapeseed
September 01, 2020 11:03 AM
Smoking, Chemical exposure, pesticides, nutrient deficiencies, to much sun exposure, and over the counter drugs and prescriptions can cause cancer. In the news, there are forever chemical roundup found in our water supply, it is no wonder we are laden with cancer as a society.
Fortunately, a healthy cancer preventing diet along with natural plant compounds can be far more effective and cost a lot less than conventional care alone.
Two top suggested natural medicines available right now are curcumin and grape seed extract. These two herbs are an amazing pair, curcumin is a fat soluble herb to fight oxidation on the fatty oil side in the body and grape seed extract is water soluble, making it a great antioxidant to fight oxidative stress on the water side of a cell. Cells in the body are made up of oil(fats) and water. The impact of both together on your health is virtually miraculous.
Curcumin neutralizes unstable free radicals that take electrons from nearby molecules, and stop them from creating a cascade of damaged cells. It also reduces inflammation reduces inflammation markers in the body to prevent prevent tissue degradation.
Curcumin has been shown to stop the changes that happen from free radical damage causing normal cells to become cancerous, and tumorous formations, and can even stop cancer from metastasizing or migrating to other parts of the body. Published studies anticancer activity have found that it can suppress breast, prostate, liver, skin, colon and lung cancer cells.
Curcumin Must Be Absorbed To Be Useful
One of the challenges or using curcumin for cancer prevention and treatment is that not all curcumin extracts are easily absorbable into the body. Blending curcumin in Turmeric essential oil enhances absorption and provides the additional benefits of ar-turmerone, a compound in the oil.
Curcumin Makes Chemo More Effective
There is big potential for curcumin when used with conventional treatment. BCM-95 curcumin, through research, has shown to sensitize human colon cancer cells to chemotherapy treatment where it would otherwise be resistant to this form of treatment. In some cases tumor recurrence rates can be as high as 60% but when treated with curcumin while under conventional treatment, curcumin boosted the effectiveness of the chemo drug 5-fluorouracil against cancer stem cells.
Curcumin has great potential in conjunction with conventional cancer treatment and recovery. It has been found that as chemo treatment progresses, cancer cells become resistant to the chemo treatment and the dosage has to be increased as the treatment continues increasing the toxic side effects. Fortunately, curcumin taken in conjunction with conventional cancer treatment can improve the effectiveness of chemo and so the dosage can be lowered reducing the toxic side effects for individuals. This is good news!
Curcumin Protects The Body During Cancer Treatment
In a clinical study with curcumin, it showed to alleviate side effects of one of the most common treatments of prostate cancer known as external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) where the doctor uses radiation to destroy tumorous cancel cells. This sort of therapy has many side effects making it a difficult therapy for most men. I often causes sexual dysfunction, digestive problems, urinary tract pain and loss of control. The higher the radiation dosage the more effective the treatment is but this causes significant discomfort, that is why most doctors lean towards lower dosages which makes the treatment less effective.
The clinical study administered 3000mg of BCM-95 curcumin that is 1000mg x 3 per day or a placebo one week before therapy started and during the treatment length. Each capsule of curcumin contained curcuminoids, curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, and essential oil of turmeric, this is a full spectrum curcumin supplement.
At the end of the treatment which lasted 20 weeks the most dramatic difference between the two groups in the study was urinary symptoms. The curcumin group said a 50% decrease in symptoms or side effects of the radiation. Also, researchers noted that the curcumin did not reduce the efficacy of the EBRT.
If you get less than 7 hours of sleep, this is what can happen to your belly fat
July 21, 2017 12:14 PM
When adult don’t get the recommended amount of sleep (7-8 hours), the body is out of balance, especially with a proper eating schedule. Sleep deprivation can lead to poor nutritional habits (i.e. eating convenience food at any hour of the day). This can lead to heart disease and diabetes. Getting enough sleep allows the body to reset and can help ward off many diseases. There are many techniques, such as hypnosis shown in the video, or limited screen time before bed, to relax and aide in the sleeping process.
"Even willpower may not be enough to overcome lack of sleep’s not-so-subtle influence on your appetite, as sleep restriction is associated with activation of your endocannabinoid system — the same one activated by marijuana."
Vitamin C effective in targeting cancer stem cells
March 12, 2017 03:59 PM
Cancer research has taken a front seat to many research projects over the years. Scientists have studied many different chemicals and how they can affect cancer cells. Vitamin C, which is an essential nutrient the body needs normally, has been found to be effective against some cancer cells in studies. Vitamin C has been shown before to be effective against cancer, but more research still needs to be done to show the best way to use this nutrient in therapy. Researchers want to use it to make chemotherapy and other drug options more effective.
""Vitamin C is cheap, natural, non-toxic and readily available so to have it as a potential weapon in the fight against cancer would be a significant step.""
When cancer returns: How to cope with cancer recurrence
November 27, 2016 08:59 AM
Cancer is a very depressing diagnosis. Being diagnosed a second time after recurrence is even more so. Mayo Clinic has some great advice on how to deal with the information that the disease has come back. After dealing with all of the treatment the first time and not knowing if it can work, it is common for a second diagnosis to be even more devastating. Mayo Clinic’s main advice is to take it one day at a time and stay strong.
"The distress you feel is normal — some say the second cancer diagnosis can be more distressing than the first."
Did you know there is a natural remedy to stop heartburn in its tracts?
Acid reflux plague's thousands of individuals each day in the U.S.A. Many of which take over the counter and prescription anti-acid drugs. Doing this is not without side effects, these drugs can cause all sorts of health issues even kidney failure. Fortunately, there is an alternative that can help.
Acid reflux is a sign of an imbalance in the digestive tract. Put it simply, your body is not able to detect the acid that is setting in your stomach from the last time you ate something. If stomach acid is not released from the stomach after your food has been digested, you will experience heart burn. Doctors tell you that taking a drug to reduce stomach acid will solve your problem, but the opposite is actually the case. Since your body does not detect the acid present in your stomach, you need to add more acid. Anti-acids actually prolong and compound the issue with deadly side effects.
Taking a simple inexpensive supplement called HCL with pepsin, one can successfully eliminate heart burn with zero side effects. If you suffer from heart burn, taking one or two pills of Hcl with each meal will solve your problem.
Adding a probiotic and soluble fiber to your diet can help restore balance to your digestive tract and eventually eliminate any recurrences.
Stop taking dangerous anti-acid drugs and start your self on the path to true healing with natural remedies such as Hcl with Pepsin.
The Health Benefits Of Cypress Oil
February 16, 2014 02:30 AM
What is cypress
Cypress oil is extracted from a plant animal types that is local to the Mediterranean district. The taxonomic name of the plant is Cupressus Sempervirens. It is an enduring bush, which develops to something like 28 meters in tallness and is described by a tapered shape and dim takes off. The oil is concentrated from the twigs and stems of the tree, through a procedure reputed to be steam refining. Cypress oil justifies a wide show of health profits, and has been utilized since time immemorial to treat various sicknesses and health issue. Give us a chance to elucidate some of these profits.
Health Benefits of Cypress Oil
Diuretic – Cypress oil holds diuretic lands, which animate the excretory framework and thusly wipes out the gathered poisons from the form. If not uprooted, these poisons can prompt the onset of life undermining maladies and issue, which turn lethal with time. Cypress oil encourages the sound stream of pee and guarantees that all the advanced poisons in the figure are flushed out of the framework before they make inside confusions.
Circulation – Cypress oil has been discovered to be extremely gainful in controlling and pushing the productivity of the form's circulatory framework. The oil controls haemostatic and styptic lands, which empower the optimal conveyance of supplements all around the figure. The haemostatic lands held in the oil are a characteristic coagulant that accelerates the clotting of blood. The styptic lands avert the constriction of veins for standardized blood flow.
Cosmetic - Cypress oil has regenerative lands and has been discovered to be exceptionally restorative for the skin. It is extremely powerful in mending scars and appalling imprints brought on by pimple inflamation on the face. Its extraordinary astringent lands assistance lessen extreme sleekness in the skin. Skin contaminations, for example, perpetual pimple inflamation, which emerge because of the over emission of oil from the sebaceous organs can in this manner be regulated utilizing Cypress oil.
Pain Relief - Cypress oil is a common pain relieving and is extremely powerful in alleviating ache. The oil is adequately used to assuage constant ache initiated by ailment or osteoarthritis. Its pain relieving lands are upgraded when it is mixed with helichrysum.
Weight Loss – Cypress oil has been found to advertise weight reduction in ladies by lessening the gathering of cellulite in the form. Being a common diuretic, the oil invigorates and increments the recurrence of pee and thus flushes out the overabundance fats from the figure through the pee.
Detoxifier – Cypress oil is a common detoxifier. It disposes of the development of unsafe poisons in the form through discharge and sweat. In spite of the fact that overabundance sweat is destructive for the form, breaking into a sound sweat through activity has dependably been energized by M.d.s and health specialists for the support of great health. Cypress oil invigorates the sweat organs, consequently flushing out the poisons in the form through the pores of our skin.
The range of health profits inferred from Cypress oil had been known since medieval times when the Greeks and Assyrians misused its healing lands to treat an assortment of disquietudes. Today, analysts keep on disentangling its restorative uses and have made noteworthy revelations relating to the enthusiastic and mental health profits got from the use of this wonderful oil.
Please evade Cypress oil throughout pregnancy because of its circulatory and hormonal impacts. When you would like to utilize Cypress oil while you are pregnant please counsel a qualified proficient aromatherapist, as it might be particularly gainful in certain circumstances.
There are numerous modest, manufactured duplicates of sweet-smelling oils, yet these are not proposed for remedial utilization. For best comes about buy the most noteworthy quality oils you can conceivably find. Use confirmed natural fundamental oils, or oils that have been tried and are free from pesticide.
What Are The Benefits Of Taking Wheat Germ Oil?
December 31, 2013 04:39 AM
What is Wheat Germ Oil
Wheat germ oil is extracted from a wheat kernels’ germ in a technique known as cold processing. Its color is brown or amber and has a nutty flavor, and strong odor. The following is a look at its immense health benefits, the persons required to take it and the reasons for its intake.
Benefits of Wheat Germ
It is known to be one of nature’s greatest sources of vitamin E, which is very helpful for persons intending to prevent the risk of contracting cataracts, cancers and coronary heart diseases. Vitamin E has been found to interact with zinc and selenium to act as powerful antioxidants.
Persons with skin conditions that result from pollution, ageing, wrinkling, eczema, scaring, stretch marks, psoriasis, sun spots and dry skin have noticed tremendous improvement in their skin after topically applying wheat germ oil. The remarkably positive results have been identified to result from the vitamin E content in the oil, which causes the regeneration of the skin, improved circulation and prevention of further damage.
Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy can benefit from the intake of the oil to prevent the recurrence of malignant tumors.
Wheat germ oil is invaluable for persons with blood clot problems because it enhances the process, which prevents excessive bleeding.
Muscle fatigue, spasms, aches and lowered endurance are common in persons, who engage in strenuous activities. The oil is helpful in relieving these effects on the muscles, resulting to restored vitality.
Its omega 3-fatty acid content is helpful in preventing cholesterol and blood pressure levels in persons with high risks of developing diabetes and coronary heart diseases.
If a person is suffering from poor memory, dizziness or fatigue, regular intake of wheat germ oil is essential in relieving these problems. This is due to the oil’s lecithin content, which is effective in strengthening the blood vessels and improving circulation.
Is Colloidal Silver Good For Boils?
February 04, 2013 03:21 PM
Colloidal silver is one of alternative medicines whose popularity is increasing everyday. Although most people in the world are experiencing this product for the first time, the fact is that it has been there for a very long time. The product is prepared by mixing silver nitrate with distilled water. Basically, this product is made by suspending the molecules of silver in distilled water. The resulting suspension is used as a nutritional supplement and also as an antibiotic.
When used as antibiotic, it helps in killing different types of pathogens including bacteria, virus and fungus. It works by disabling a specific enzyme in the pathogen which is responsible for oxygen metabolism. When this enzyme is disabled, the pathogen will not be able to make food and therefore it will die within a very short period of time. The good thing about colloidal silver is that it does not touch healthy blood cells as it only targets the pathogens.
When used as a nutritional supplement, colloidal silver helps to boost body's immunity. When you take this product, it is absorbed into the body through small intestines and then it is transported in to different body cells. The process of eliminating pathogens may take up to four days. It is important to note that many pathogens today are becoming resistant to traditional antibiotics and therefore patients and health professionals are always looking for a better solution. Due to the fact that this product is able to deal with different types of pathogens, it has found use in treating a wide range of infections including boils.
How colloidal silver helps to get rid of boils
Boils are very common among so many people around the world. They are mainly caused by a bacterial infection. One may get boils when exposed to the specific bacteria. When body's immunity falls, one has a higher risk of getting boils. Colloidal silver helps to treat boils in two ways; When this product targets the bacteria causing the boils, the bacteria will die off and the boils will heal. Due to the fact that this product is fast acting, the boils may disappear within 3 or four days. Colloidal suspension provides a different kind of immunity that works parallel to the existing body immunity. This means that the body is given a new power to fight infections. A strong immunity allows the body to effectively fight foreign organisms in the body. Therefore the body will be able to fight the boil bacteria. This will not only ensure recovery, it will also prevent future recurrence of the condition.
Skin Infections - Abscess
April 26, 2010 03:21 PM
When puss accumulates in a tissue, organ, or confined space in the body due to infection, an abscess can be formed. Abscesses may be located either externally or internally, and can often result from an injury or a lowered resistance to infection. An abscess can form in the brain, lungs, teeth, gums, underarms, abdominal wall, gastrointestinal tract, ears, tonsils, sinuses, bones, breasts, kidneys, prostate gland, rectum, scrotum, or almost any other body part. Infections are the most common disorders found in humans and they can be produced by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. A boil is an external abscess.
The affected area can become swollen, inflamed, hot, red, and tender. The individual may also experience fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, and alternating bouts of fever and chills. In some severe cases, blood infection and/or rupture of the abscess can occur. The material that is found inside of an abscess consists of living and dead white blood cells, dead tissue, bacteria, and/or toxins. All of which must be discarded from the body. An abscess that suddenly appears is often referred to as acute, while those that are present for a period of days or weeks is often termed to be chronic. A chronic abscess is more resistant to treatment because of the damage being more severe and widespread. On the other hand, acute abscesses are less extensive and generally respond to treatment within a matter of days.
An abscess that is treated should usually begin to heal in a few days, with complete healing resulting in a week or two. An abscess that does not show any signs of healing within this amount of time can be an indication of problems in the immune system. Although complications are rare, they can include bleeding or recurrence of the abscess. An abscess is basically a sign that the body is trying to rid itself of impurities. These impurities can consist of cells that are deficient in nutrients, which often stems from poor diet and exposure to environmental pollutants, chemicals, and other harmful substances. Eating junk food cluters the system with foods that lack nutrients and prevents cellular wastes from being eliminated efficiently, as it causes problems like constipation and sluggish liver, spleen, and kidney function.
The following herbs are beneficial for healing abscesses and cleansing the blood: burdock root, cayenne, dandelion root, red clover, and yellow dock root. Chamomile tea is also good for treating dental abscesses and consuming distilled water with fresh lemon juice along with three cups of Echinacea, goldenseal, and astragalus or suma tea is also helpful. An Echinacea tea of extract in warm water can be used as a mouthwash for dental abscesses. Also, a poultice that combines lobelia and slippery elm bark is a great soothing way to fight infections. Milk thistle, when taken in the capsule form, is good for the liver and aids in the cleansing of the bloodstream. Also, tea tree oil, applied externally, is a potent natural antiseptic that kills infectious organisms without harming healthy cells. This solution will destroy the bacteria, hasten healing, and prevent the infection from spreading.
Herbs like the above mentioned ones are available at your local or internet health food store. Always choose name brands to ensure quality and purity of the herbal supplement you purchase for consumption.
Fight Cold Sores And Build Collagen
April 29, 2009 10:18 AM
Lysine is an essential alpha-amino acid, in that it cannot be biosynthesized by the human body, and therefore must be taken in your diet or as a supplement. It is synthesized in plants from aspartic acid, and metabolized in the body to produce acetyl-Coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA).
Before discussing its action on herpes, we shall first have look at how Lysine helps with the formation of collagen. Collagen is a protein that is produced in the body from lysine and proline, another amino acid. In fact the primary role of amino acids in your diet is as building blocks to form the much larger protein molecules.
Collagen is fibrous, and forms the connective tissue such as cartilage, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and skin. Even the external parts of the ears. It literally holds our skeletons together, and wraps the whole body up in skin, so if we had no collagen we would literally fall apart! Collagen is also used by body cells to form the matrix that the body cells use to attach to each other and is one of the most important types of tissue in your body.
It is so ubiquitous that over 30% of the protein contained in your body is collagen, and it is designed for its structural strength as opposed to its ability to take part in chemical reactions as other proteins are. Lysine and Vitamin C are essential for the maintenance and formation of collagen.
There is not a lot of lysine in collagen - only about 4%, but it is very active in the cross-linking that forms the fibrils of collagen. Fibrils are the hair-like structures formed in a triple helix arrangement by three protein chains twisting round one another. The fibrils are bundled together in a straight line that has amazing tensile strength. The tensile strength of collagen is, weight for weight, stronger than steel!
In order for lysine to take part in this process effectively, some molecules have to be hydroxylated and others oxidized, forming aldehydes. Things can go wrong here, and deficiencies in the metabolic process can lead to some heritable conditions, or diseases of connective tissue. Among these are lathyrism, Cutis-Laxa and the Menkes kinky hair syndrome.
However, lysine is a very versatile amino acid, and not only is it necessary for the biosynthesis of all proteins, but is also heavily involved in the production of enzymes, hormones and antibodies. It is an important component of the calcium absorption process, and also, as previously stated, can be used in the treatment of herpes simplex.
This form of herpes is known commonly as 'cold sores', and is a result of the activity of the herpes virus. Viruses do not reproduce in order to ensure the 'continuation of the species', but replicate. In order to achieve this it requires the help of another amino acid, arginine. This is a common amino acid whose sources include grains, seeds, peanuts, raisins and chocolate.
Lysine and arginine competes for the absorption and entry of tissue cells, and reduces the strength of arginine, so preventing the growth of herpes. For this reason a supplement of lysine can be used to reduce the effects of the herpes simplex virus, and lessen the symptoms of the cold sore.
However, it is not only cold sores but other forms of herpes that lysine can help to relieve. Herpes zoster is a virus that causes shingles. This virus is generated by the reactivation of the dormant varicella-zoster virus left in the tissues after chickenpox. It is a recurrent condition, and lycine can help to reduce recurrences as well as its severity. Apart from being an effective defense against herpes, and forming collagen, the amino acid imparts several other benefits to the human body.
Among these is osteoporosis. L-lysine is involved in calcium absorption in the intestine, and also helps to reduce the loss of calcium in the urine. In osteoporosis we have to try to make every calcium molecule ingested in the diet to be incorporated in the bone structure. L-arginine can work with lysine to enhance the activity of the body cells that produce bone.
Canker sores are often mistaken for cold sores, but they are actually quite different. They are small sores inside the mouth, and appear in the form of very painful ulcers. The cause is unknown, but is believed to be a virus, and lysine appears to help the condition. Although there have been no proper clinical tests carried out on its use as a remedy for canker sores, lysine appears to help, and a supplement is recommended as a treatment by many doctors. It will do no harm, and anybody suffering from these tiny but painful sores will try anything.
Although lysine deficiency is rare, it can occur, particularly amongst those observing a vegetarian macrobiotic diet, and also in athletes who frequently undertake vigorous exercise, especially with too little recovery time. The effects of a deficiency are fatigue, nausea, appetite loss, anemia, slow growth and kidney stones. The latter is likely due to a failure to absorb calcium, that L-lysine promotes, and the formation of calcium oxalate and other insoluble salts in the kidney.
Dietary sources include beans and other legumes, and although it should be available in cereals, baked foods and doughnuts, for example, the carmelization of sugars binds the lysine to the sugar, and so reducing its bioavailability. However, you can also get it in cheese, eggs, tofu and red meats.
If you are taking an arginine supplement, you should consult your physician prior to taking lysine. The reason for this is that lysine and arginine share biochemical pathways, and arginine can reduce the effective concentration of lysine.
However, it has not been tested by the FDA, nor approved, and any use is at your own risk. This risk appears to be very small, although its manufacture is not regulated. However, do not let this bother you: the proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say.
Many have found lysine to be effective with collagen or herpes problems, and a supplement of between 3,000 and 9,000 mg per day is recommended for those with herpes viral infections. It is not recommended for children under two years old. Lysine is available at your local or internet health food store at discount prices. Look for name brands to ensure purity and quality of the product you purchase.
Another Great Cold Sore Remedy is Red Marine Algae!
March 29, 2009 10:08 AM
Constipation occurs when one has difficulty passing stools, or infrequently passes hard, dry stools. This is the result of food moving extremely slowly through the large intestine. From time to time, most people experience constipation. However, lifestyle changes and better eating habits can help to relieve the symptoms and prevent recurrences. Constipation usually results from insufficient amounts of fiber and fluids in the diet. Fiber can be found in plant foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Fiber that is water-soluble takes on a soft texture and is helpful in softening the stools. Insoluble fiber goes through the large intestine unchanged and is helpful in adding bulk to the stools to stimulate bowel contractions.
Other factors that can cause constipation include inadequate exercise, advanced age, muscle disorders, structural abnormalities, bowel diseases, neurogenic disorders, and a poor diet, especially a heavy consumption of junk food. Constipation can also be a side effect of iron supplements and some drugs, like painkillers and antidepressants. It is also common during pregnancy. High levels of calcium and low levels of thyroid hormone can also lead to constipation. Those with kidney failure are also prone to having problems with constipation. Constipation is often caused by dehydration in older individuals, with depression being a factor in people of any age. Some medications, like cough syrups, pain medications that contain codeine, antidepressants, iron supplements, blood pressure and heart medicines, calcium supplements, and some antihistamines can also cause constipation.
A small percentage of people with spinal injuries and other similar problems have constipation because the nerves that usually regulate bowel movement have been damaged or destroyed. A condition referred to as Hirshsprung’s disease makes the normal excretion of feces impossible because the nerves inside the bowel are missing. The nerve cells in the colon can also be damaged by long-term use of laxatives, which makes constipation inevitable. A thrombosed hemorrhoid, anal fissure, or a pocket of infection at the anus can create a spasm of pain that is strong enough to contract the muscles and prevent the evacuation of stools.
Constipation can cause a variety of other ailments such as appendicitis, bad breath, body odor, coated tongue, depression, diverticulitis, fatigue, gas, headaches, hemorrhoids, hernia, indigestion, insomnia, mal-absorption syndrome, obesity, and varicose veins. It may even be involved in the development of other serious diseases like bowel cancer. It is important to have regular bowel movements in order to remove toxins from the body. Toxins from bowel bacteria and undigested food particles play a part in the development of diabetes mellitus, meningitis, myasthenia gravis, thyroid disease, candidiasis, chronic gas and bloating, migraines, fatigue, and ulcerative colitis. People can have bowel movements as infrequently as three times a week and still not be constipated, but there are some health practitioners that believe that it is important to have a bowel movement every day.
The following nutrients are very helpful in dealing with and preventing constipation: garlic, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, apple pectin, chlorophyll liquid, essential fatty acids, a multi-enzyme complex, a multivitamin and mineral complex, vitamin B complex, vitamin D3, vitamin E. Additionally, the following herbs are also beneficial: alfalfa extract, fennel seed, aloe vera, ginger, milk thistle, triphala, cascara sagrada, goldenseal, rhubarb root, senna leaves, and yerba mate.
Adding a good fiber supplement as well as the above mentioned supplements can help one stop constipation and start normal bowel movements again. Natural fiber, vitamins, and herbs are available at your local or internet health food store. Look for name brands such as Source Naturals, Solaray, Kal, Planetary Formulas, and Natures Plus to ensure quality and safely of all your natural supplement needs.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins, herbs, and fibers are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Fiber For Better Health
July 11, 2008 12:27 PM
We have been told that we must eat a certain amount of fiber with our meals because it is ‘good for us’. Most of us have been led to believe that this is because fiber promotes bowel motions and prevents us from suffering from constipation. It is also good for our digestive system. But how true is this, and just what are the real benefits of fiber in our diet?
First of what, what is fiber? Sure, we know there must be fiber in food such as cabbage, beans and celery because we can see it. But is all fiber actually fibrous? Of course not, so let’s first have a close look at what dietary fiber actually is.
Fiber is composed of these parts of a plant that are broken down by the action of enzymes in our digestive juices in the upper parts of our intestinal tract. Some fiber can be digested by the bacteria in our lower intestine, and some is not. So where does fiber come from? By that definition, fiber can be any part of your food, not only the stringy bits, and by definition are of vegetable origin.
Water insoluble fibers increase fecal bulk. That’s the stringy stuff in celery and string beans. It is also contained in cellulose materials, lignin, wheat bran, whole grains and most vegetables. These have the effect of increasing the efficiency of the peristaltic movement of the intestine on the passage of chyme (the creamy fluid that exits the stomach into the duodenum) through your system.
The liquid and nutrients are progressively removed, and the fiber maintains the bulk needed for peristalsis to work properly. Peristalsis is the rhythmic movement of the intestine that forces your food right from your stomach to your rectum. It is also the basis of some forms of industrial pump that operate on the same principle. Without fiber this pump would be inefficient.
Soluble fiber includes the gum and pectin that are obtained from plant cells. They swell up the chyme, and slow down its rate of travel through the gastrointestinal system, although they have no effect on fecal bulk. Specific examples are oat bran, fruit and most vegetables (all plants contain both). A peach, for example, consists of a skin which is insoluble fiber, and the juicy pulp beneath it which is predominantly soluble fiber.
Although a distinction is made between dietary and crude fiber, they both have their part to play. The term ‘fiber’ is a wide one and it cannot be said that fiber as a whole imparts a specific health benefit. The benefits of fiber are a combination of those imparted by the full range of types of fiber and their sources that are contained in the human diet, both crude and dietary, soluble and insoluble.
So what specifically are these benefits, other than just the generalization that they are ‘good for your intestinal health’? As you likely know, it is the fiber in your diet that binds your feces together into a solid, rather than leaving it as a mobile liquid. Although around 75% of feces are liquid, the bulk of the rest is fiber, bacteria and undigested food.
Since insoluble fiber makes feces bulkier and softer it can help treat constipation, where the stool has an excess of solid content. Any substance that absorbs water and swells can help with this condition. The same is true of hemorrhoids and a condition of the wall of the intestine known as diverticulosis. Once the inflammation has subsided, a high soluble fiber diet can help prevent a recurrence.
If you want to lose weight, a fiber diet can make you feel full without the calories, since fiber is calorie-free. There is also the fact that high fiber foods have to be chewed longer before they can be swallowed, and so you are liable to eat less in the same time. However, if you are determined, all that means is that you will have to lunch longer to get the same weight gain!
There is little doubt that a fiber-rich diet contributes significantly to intestinal health, and that if the correct amount of fiber is not taken then problems such as constipation, diarrhea, diverticulosis and a lack of absorption of nutrients will occur. The peristaltic pumping motion of the whole gastrointestinal tract, from the top of the throat to the anus, is dependent on solids rather than liquids. While a semi-liquid fecal consistency will pass through your body, it will take the bulk of the nutrition extracted from your food with it. It is fiber that is needed to bulk it up and to enable the liquid to be extracted through the intestinal wall and the fibrous solid to pass on through the colon to the anus.
There are other benefits of a diet high in fiber, though they generally depend on the type of fiber. Take cholesterol, for example. High LDL blood cholesterol levels are associated with atherosclerosis, and the consequent risk of heart disease and strokes, due to the oxidation of the LDL by free radicals. When the HDL lipids carry cholesterol back to the liver, it is destroyed by the action of bile acids. Since water soluble fiber binds bile acids, it figures that some types of fiber can promote the excretion of cholesterol from the body. The fiber most effective in achieving this comes from rolled oats and also pectin.
It has also been claimed that dietary fiber might be effective in preventing cancer of the colon. The theory is that bowel cancer is caused by toxins in the feces and if the fecal matter is expelled from the body quickly, the toxins will have less time to act. Fiber promotes the expulsion of the contents of the colon. This has not been confirmed, however.
What has been confirmed is that your bowel can collect mucoid plaque that sticks to mainly your colon, and is an ideal environment for parasites and yeast infections. The National Fiber Council has stated that most people do not eat enough fiber, and the average requirement is 38g a day for men and 25g a day for women.
So eat your fiber, because fiber can boost your intestinal health and wellness.
Fight Heart Burn
April 18, 2008 11:38 AM
In a search to promote a long and healthy life, a lot of Americans forget about their stomachs, which results in things ranging from simple heartburn to ulcers and even cancer. The effects of alcohol, smoking, and stress added to the rate of infection create the perfect conditions for stomach distress and disease. A combination of four nutrients: zinc, carnosine, licorice extract, and cranberry, work together to protect stomach function from the environment. These nutrients not only relieve distress, but they also support the body’s natural defense mechanisms against inflammation and the changes that can lead to cancer. A fifth nutrient, picrorhiza, protects the mucosa and can now be included as part of a natural gastric health remedy.
The human stomach, with its extreme acidity, provides a primary defense against infection and also helps in the first stages of digestion. A thick coating of protective mucus is steadily secreted by the surface mucous cells in the stomachs lining to continually protect its self from Hydrochloric acid. Almost everyone has experienced some kind of “upset stomach”, which we associate with overindulgence foods and stress. Although these are only thought of as mild annoyances, each episode causes a bit more lasting damage, which eventually results in cellular injury, which in turn causes inflammation. This inflammation then produces free radicals, which go on to create more tissue destruction and eventually damage DNA, thus potentially leading to cancers of the stomach worst case.
Many natural substances have been used around the world for thousands of years to promote stomach health. Modern science is finding that some of these “folk remedies” actually have potent effects on boosting immunity, reducing inflammation, and simply improving physical protection of the stomach lining. Zinc, a micronutrient that has multiple functions in human biology, mainly functions as a defender against free radical damage. It has been found that the more severe the inflammation in people is directly related to lower levels of zinc in individuals.
Zinc also helps to stabilize the membranes of cells that release burst of inflammatory cytokines when they are stimulated by injury or allergy. This mineral is also a well known immune modulator, which can reduce the recurrence rate of certain inflammation-sensitive cancers. There’s no doubt that zinc is a potent anti-inflammatory, and gastroprotective nutrient, but when it is added to amino acid carnosine, these effects can be boosted even further.
Certain fruits, cranberries particularly, are rich in anthocyanins, which have extreme antioxidant abilities. Other compounds that are found in cranberries also prevent bacteria from settling in the urinary tract. A review by nutritional experts found that regular intake of cranberry juice and other dietary products may be an alternative solution for those people who are at risk for H. pylori colonization. It also seems as though cranberries and there extracts can be placed alongside zinc-carnosine as an important component of an effective stomach health regimen.
Licorice extracts have also been shown to help fight stomach infection. Various studies have found that these extracts have potent anti-inflammatory activies, as they reduce cytokine production and increase the protection of the protective stomach mucus. These characteristics, when placed alongside those of zinc-carnosine and cranberry extracts, provide hope that a basis for an alternative therapeutic agent fighting H. pylori can form.
Picrorhiza, which is already used to speed healing in other infections such as hepatitis A, demonstrates unique wound-healing properties, stimulating tissue growth, nerve cell recovery, and blood vessel formation. Even though the multi-armed approach to gastric protection and improved stomach health seems to be complete with zinc-carnosine, cranberry, and licorice extract, picrorhiza extract brings together the infection-fighting, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and tissue-healing capabilities of multiple compounds, which all have complementary actions.
If you’re looking for a alternative approach to boost stomach health, the vitamins and herbs listed above are a great starting point. Please do not discontinued prescription medication from your doctor, some cases of stomach issues must be consulted with your doctor before discontinuing use.
Breast Cancer and Natural Supplements
May 11, 2007 10:47 AM
Breast Cancer and Nutritional Supplements
There is probably nothing more frightening for a woman than the discovery of a lump in her breast. Cancer and all its consequences quickly come to mind. This quick association may materialize, in part, because no woman is immune. Most have a friend, a sister, a mother, or a coworker who has been diagnosed with the disease. And they know how difficult dealing with this disease can be. Fortunately, 80% of all breast lumps are not cancerous. Most are cysts or a benign clump of tissue.
Over her lifetime, a woman’s breasts undergo many, many changes. From before puberty and on, breast tissue is continually evolving. Breasts often feel different before menstrual cycle, returning to normal a few days after. Pregnancy certainly causes changes in a woman’s breasts, as does breastfeeding. And as women age, breast tissue becomes less dense.
Because of these continual changes, breast tissue especially requires adequate nutrition. While everyone benefits from a healthy diet, there are additional nutrients from which women can specifically benefit.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will discuss breast cancer and the vast amount of research that has explored the role nutrition plays in this serious and still deadly disease. Specifically, we will discuss how two B vitamins, calcium D-glucarate, broccoli extract, green tea, maitake mushrooms, and iodine can all help prevent breast cancer.
Q. How can these nutrients prevent breast cancer?
A. Scientists learn a lot about disease from simply observing what is happening around them. One observation that has been recognized for many years is that certain cultures have very low incidence of breast cancer. Women n
Moms (and dads) have also learned a lot about diseases simply by observing what is happening in their families. They have notices that certain vegetables play a large role in the prevention of all types of diseases, including cancer. And, accordingly, they have been urging their offspring to eat their vegetables for several generations.
Building on these observations, scientists have designed and carried out many studies to determine what it is about these nutrients that can prevent breast cancer. What they have discovered, so far, follows. Let’s start with the B vitamins.
Deficiencies of this vitamin can result in a serious type of anemia. Nerve damage can also occur if B12 levels are too low. Researchers are now investigating whether breast cancer may, in part, be caused by a B12 deficiency as well.
Another study, this one taking place in a laboratory setting, discovered that vitamin B12, applied directly against experimental breast cancer cells, actually stopped the cancer cells from growing. The researchers conducting the experiment believe that giving vitamin B12 to women with breast cancer as part of a chemotherapy regime, might help keep the cancer in check.
Low folic acid intake is linked to the development of all cancers. This is because folic acid is crucial to the making and continual repair of DNA, the molecule that carries our genetic code. A recent study discovered that high intakes of folic acid might actually reduce the risk of breast cancer. The researchers looked at the diets of over 2600 women. During interviews with the researchers, the women reported what they usually ate. Once the data was collected, the results showed that women, who ate lots of foods that contained folic acid, had much lower rates of breast cancer.
There is no clear-cut, single cause of breast cancer. Many factors are required for the disease to appear. One such factor is estrogen. A recent study showed that women who developed breast cancer tended to have higher levels of estrogen circulating in their bodies than women without breast cancer. This means that women who got their periods before age eleven or entered menopause after age fifty-five have a higher risk of breast cancer. This also supports the theory that the number of menstrual cycles a woman has affects her risk for breast cancer.
Another factor is drinking alcohol. Because alcohol raises estrogen levels, if a woman consumes even moderate amounts of alcohol her risk of breast cancer also is increased. The link between alcohol and breast cancer may even be stronger than other dietary links. However, an important study has discovered that folic acid may uncouple this link.
A very large study of over 34,000 women recently studied the effect of folic acid on the risk of breast cancer. This project was part of the Nurses’ Health Study, an ongoing, long-term study that looks at nutrition’s role in the development of disease. The women in the folic acid and breast cancer study were followed for 12 years. The participants completed detailed food questionnaires that provided the researchers with important data.
The women were divided into four groups:
1. Women with low folic acid levels and drink alcohol
2. Women with high folic acid levels and rink alcohol
3. Women with low folic acid levels and don’t drink alcohol
4. Women with high folic acid levels and don’t drink alcohol
Within these four groups the women were further divided into subgroups according to the amount of alcohol they consumed each day and their specific folic acid intake.
The researchers found that women who consumed the lowest amounts of folic acid and drank at least one alcoholic beverage a day had the highest rate of breast cancer. In contrast, women who had high intakes of folic acid and also drank at least one alcoholic beverage a day, had the same rate of breast cancer as the women with high folic acid intakes who did not drink. In other words, women who had high levels of folic acid in their diet erased their alcohol-related increase in breast cancer risk.
It seems estrogen can be both friend and foe. While women need the hormone to soften skin, thicken hair, and fill out hips and breasts, estrogen can also nourish breast tumors, helping them grow bigger, stronger, and more deadly. Thanks, in part, to good nutrition, American women get their periods early and go through menopause alter in life. Women today also have fewer pregnancies; families with one or two children are quite common.
All of these factors increase the time women’s bodies are exposed to estrogen. As we discussed before, longer exposure means increased opportunities for estrogen to cause trouble. It is also a troubling fact of modern life that we are continuously exposed to cancer-causing chemicals and toxins. These toxins come in part from contaminants in the food we eat and pollutants in the air we breathe.
The body does have a system that eliminates some of the excess estrogen and toxic chemicals before they can cause harm. In the liver, they are bound or attached to a chemical called glucuronic acid. The bound toxin or estrogen is then excreted in bile and eventually eliminated as a waste product in the stool.
However, an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase can break this bond between estrogen and glucuronic acid. When this happens, the hormone or toxin is released from its bone, capable of causing harm once more. Increased beta-glucuronidase activity is associated with an increased risk for various cancers, particularly hormone-dependant cancers like breast cancer.
Fortunately, scientists have discovered that a natural substance found in foods calcium D-glucarate (CDG) can stop the activity of beta-glucuonidase. CDG keeps the harmful estrogen bound to glucuronidase. While CDG is found in fruits and vegetables, the amounts may not be sufficient to maintain effective levels to stop beta-glucuronidase.
CDG has been shown in experimental studies to significantly stop beast cancer growth. And several human trials are currently underway with CDG to determine its capability to decrease the breast cancer risk in women at high risk for the disease.
There are some very interesting connections between breast tissue and thyroid tissue. Iodine is an essential trace element present in a hormone of the thyroid gland and is involved in several metabolic functions. One iodine function is the protection of breast tissue from cancerous cells.
In a laboratory study, researchers exposed breast cancer cells and breast tissue without any cancer to a type of seaweed that contains high levels of iodine. The seaweed killed all of the cancerous cells, yet did not harm the normal breast cells. Japanese women frequently eat this type of seaweed and have very low rates of breast cancer. The study’s researchers believe one reason for this low incidence of breast cancer may be the iodine in the seaweed.
And, for some as yet unknown reasons, women who have thyroid cancer are at higher risk of developing breast cancer. While they are unsure why this happens, researchers are continuing to study this link, and support of healthy thyroid function remains an important consideration.
For quite some time, scientists have observed that cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, significantly reduce the risk of disease, including cancer. It seems a phytochemical in broccoli sulforaphane, is one of the chemicals responsible for this beneficial activity. Sulforaphane increases certain enzymes in the body called phase 2 enzymes that deactivate cancer-causing chemicals.
Breast cancer cells exposed to sulforaphane in several lab experiments showed that the compound inhibited the growth of the cancer cells up to 80 percent. Researchers are in the process of setting up clinical trials to study sulforaphane’s effect in women who have breast cancer.
There is a tall amount of research, including finding from the Nurses’ Health Study, that suggest green tea beverage consumption is associated with a lower incidence of breast cancer. In fact, researchers have long noted the low rates of breast cancer in
The active compound in green tea responsible for breast cancer inhibition is epigallocatechin-3 gallate or EGCG. When breast cancer cells are exposed to EGCG in lab experiments, the cells stop growing, lose their ability to replicate, and die.
In a recent study, researchers discovered that drinking green tea prevented the recurrence of breast cancer in women who have previously been diagnosed and treated for the disease. This study involved over 1100 Japanese women. The women who drank green tea every day had very low rates of their breast cancer returning.
For thousands of years, maitake mushrooms have been linked to good health in those who eat them. Called “dancing mushrooms” (possibly due to their wavy, rippling appearance or possibly due to the little dance of joy mushroom hunters perform when they find them in the woods), maitakes contain an important compound called D-fraction.
Not only does the D-fraction in maitake mushrooms stop the growth of cancerous tumors, it also alerts and stimulates immune cells (including macrophages and natural killer cells) to fight the disease. Maitake also inhibits some of the mechanism that promotes metastasis, or spread, of cancer cells in the lymph and bloodstream.
Because of this success, maitake is now being used in clinical trials of women with breast cancer. One study reported significant improvement of symptoms, including reduction of the tumor. The maitake was given to breast cancer patients in addition to standard chemotherapy.
Q. Should these nutrients be used in place of traditional treatment for breast cancer?
A. Absolutely not. None of these nutrients can cure breast cancer. However, they can be a part of a validated plan of treatment. If you have breast cancer, talk to your health care practitioner about these nutrients. Remember, nutritional supplements are just that: supplements to food, medication, and treatment. They are intended to enhance and prevent, not replace.
Despite apprehension in performing self-breast exams, women are very proactive in their health. Yearly mammograms and pap tests have been an important part of their lives for many years, and newer and more accurate diagnoses are emerging. The prevention of health problems in themselves and their families has always been a high priority for women. And for women, nutrition has played an important part of health problem prevention.
Nutritionally speaking, what benefits your breasts benefit your whole body. However, as we have learned, there are specific links between nutrition and developing breast cancer that seem to be fairly strong.
Making a few changes may reduce the risk of developing the disease. The nutrients listed here, vitamin B12, folic acid, calcium d-glucarate, iodine, broccoli, green tea, and maitake mushrooms can be an important part of a woman’s preventative health regimen.
Peppermint Oil for IBS
March 24, 2007 11:01 AM
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a painful and frequently frustrating disorder of the intestines that’s often difficult to treat. Fortunately, there are scientifically studied natural products that effectively reduce the distressing symptoms of IBS.
Q. What is IBS?
A. IBS causes crampy pain, gassiness, bloating, and alterations in bowel habits. IBS is termed a functional disorder, because when the colon is examined, there is no visible sign of disease. While IBS causes significant pain and distress, no actual damage is occurring in the intestines.
There is a wide variability in IBS. Symptoms may be mild and fairly well tolerated. Or, the pain, discomfort, and bowel dysfunction may be disabling, limiting social interactions, employment, or travel.
While some individuals with IBS have diarrhea (frequent, loose stools with an urgent need to move the bowels), others have constipation (hard, infrequent stools that are difficult to pass). And, still others may experience both. Individuals with IBS also may have painful abdominal cramps and feel an urgent need to move the bowels, but are unable to do so.
A. The small intestine receives digestive material from the stomach and delivers it to the large intestine (colon). About two quarts (2,000 ml) of digestive material enter the colon from the small intestine every day. The colon absorbs water and salts from the material, which is progressively moved through the colon. This progressive movement continues until most of the fluid and salts are absorbed into the body and stool is formed. The stool passes to the left side of the colon, where it is stored until a bowel movement occurs.
Because researchers haven’t been able to find actual damage in the colon, it once was suggested that individuals with IBS have emotional problems or are overly susceptible to stress. While stress may cause symptoms of IBS to intensify, it doesn’t cause the condition.
Recent study has determined the colon muscle of an individual with IBS spasms after only mild stimulation. It’s thought the symptoms of IBS are produced by hyperactivity of the intestines. In other words, the intestines of individuals with IBS are more reactive to stressors and diet than usual. Almost everyone has experienced abdominal queasiness in response to everyday stress or certain foods. This may result in a brief bout of diarrhea or an upset stomach. However, this response is exaggerated in individuals with IBS.
Q. How prevalent is IBS?
A. IBS is very common. In fact, it’s one of the most frequent problems seen by family physicians. It’s the most common disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists (physicians specializing in the treatment of digestive disorders). The overall prevalence rates range from 10% to 20% of the general population in most industrialized countries. As a result, the pain and disabling symptoms associated with IBS result in significant socioeconomic costs, as wall as reduction in quality of life for many individuals.
A. Normal bowel function varies from person to person. Some people move their bowels daily, while others may only have two to three stools a week. A normal bowel movement is soft, formed, and is easily passed without cramping or pain.
IBS, however, causes abdominal cramps and pain, which are often severe and disabling. Bowel movements may be irregular and alternate between diarrhea and constipation. The diarrhea may be quite loose and watery. Mucous may be passed. There is often much straining, urgency, and feeling of incomplete evacuation (emptying). Abdominal bloating and passing of gas is common. Nausea, lack of appetite, heartburn, and belching may also be present. Sleep may be disrupted resulting in fatigue and lack of energy. Understandably, persons with IBS often feel anxious and depressed.
Diagnosis of IBS is usually based on the continuous presence or recurrence of these symptoms for at least three months. Other intestinal conditions must be ruled out. These include Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, inflammatory conditions of the stomach or pancreas, ulcers, infectious disease, or gastroesphageal reflux disease.
Q. Are there clinically demonstrated natural alternatives to the over-the-counter drugs prescribed by my doctor?
A. Yes, both enteric-coated peppermint oil and clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs) have significant scientific research behind them. Both have been demonstrated to benefit individuals with IBS.
Q. What is clown’s mustard and what does it do?
A. The scientific name for clown’s mustard is Iberis amara. Other names for this herb are wild candytuft and bitter candytuft. Clown’s mustard is a white-flowering plant from Spain, where it grows in dry soil on hillsides and in cornfields. It is also grown in Britain, France, and the United States. Iberis amara is a member of the Brassicaceae family. Iberis refers to its place of origin, the Iberian Peninsula. Amara means bitter. The key components of clown’s mustard are glycosides and flavonoids that have specific actions on gastrointestinal tract tone.
Q. Is there scientific evidence that clown’s mustard benefits people with IBS?
A. There has been very impressive research on clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs). And, it has been used with great success in Germany for many years to treat IBS and other gastrointestinal diseases.
In a study of an herbal combination containing clown’s mustard, 20 patients were given the herbal combination for three to 32 days. They all had been diagnosed with chronic functional disorders for at least one to 20 years. The symptoms the patients experienced included pressure and pain in the abdomen, belching, heartburn, vomiting, nausea, fullness, lack of appetite, constipation, and diarrhea. The patients have been treated for their problems with a variety of antacids, anti-spasmodic agents, and motility-inducing substances. For the purposes of the study, the patients stopped taking these medications and received treatment only with the herbal combination.
Abdominal pressure and pain in the abdomen was the most common of all the experienced symptoms, with 11 of the patients rating it as severe. After six days of treatment, only sic of the patients continued to rate their abdominal pain and pressure as severe. After two weeks, this symptom had completely resolved for 16 of the patients. Diarrhea had been rated as severe in five of the patients. By day 14, only one patient continued to have moderate diarrhea.
Medications prescribed and taken for cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases often cause gastrointestinal problems. Because these conditions are chronic, these medications must be taken for a long time, often for life. With long-term use, these medications can cause erosion of the stomach lining and actual ulcers. Many of these medication-caused symptoms are similar to IBS symptoms: pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Most, if not all, of the individuals who have gastrointestinal problems caused from medications experience two or more of these IBS symptoms.
Forty patients who were taking medications for various types of cardiovascular disease and arthritis, and who are experiencing gastrointestinal problems related to their medications, were enrolled in a study. These symptoms included pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Twenty patients received clown’s mustard combined with other herbs that support gastrointestinal motility. Three days after the trial started, a significant improvement of all s symptoms was noted in those taking this combination. By day 14, abdominal pressure and pain, nausea, and heartburn were completely eliminated in the herbal combination group. Several other clinical trials that were conducted in Germany report similar results.
Q. How does this herb compare to prescription drugs?
A. A study compared clown’s mustard (combined with other herbs) to Reglan (metoclopramide), which is frequently prescribed to reduce the symptoms of IBS. While metoclopramide is a very effective medication, it also has numerous side effects. Metoclopramide can cause fatigue, anxiety, agitation, jitteriness, insomnia, yellowing of the skin or eyes, changes in vision, hallucinations, and seizures. Because of these serious side effects, metoclopramide must not be taken longer than 12 weeks.
In comparison study, 77 subjects were randomized to receive treatment of either clown’s mustard in a combination with other herbs, or metoclopramide. All subjects had pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. The subjects took 20 drops of their assigned treatment after meals three times daily. The duration of treatment was one to two weeks.
In both groups, a parallel improvement of all symptoms was observed. At no point in the study was a statistically significant difference in symptoms found. Both treatments significantly reduced pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. In short, both metoclopramide and the clown’s mustard herbal combination worked well at reducing the symptoms of IBS.
However, side effects occurred more frequently and severely in the metoclopramide group. Given the lack of differences noted between the products at reducing symptoms of IBS, it would seem sensible to choose the treatment with the fewest reported side effects and no limits on duration of use.
A. Peppermint oil has been shown to relax intestinal smooth muscle. In Great Britain, peppermint oil is currently being prescribed for IBS by physicians and it has been used as a digestive aid and to soothe upset stomachs for generations.
Peppermint oil has also been studied for use in an important examination of the colon. A colonoscopy is a procedure of viewing the interior lining of the large intestine (colon) using a colonoscope, a slender, flexible, hollow, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine supports the idea that even people who are not at risk for colon cancer should have this test. The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women at average risk of colon cancer should have a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50.
During a colonoscopy, individuals are sedated and almost no discomfort is experienced. The insertion of the colonoscope into the rectum and up through the colon causes some spasming. This is a natural and expected event and the physician performing the exam administers medications that effectively reduce the spasms.
A recent study compared the use of peppermint oil and commonly used medications to reduce the colonic spasming in colonoscopy. The peppermint oil was introduced directly into the colon. Effective reduction of colon spasming was observed in 88% of the patients.
In a critical review and meta-analysis of peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, eight randomized controlled trials were identified. The studies collectively showed peppermint oil is superior to placebo in improvement of the symptoms of IBS. Because of the good results of these trials, the authors of the review urged additional study of peppermint oil in IBS.
However, straight peppermint oil is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream from the stomach. In recent studies comparing enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules and non-enteric coated oil, both preparations provided effective symptom relief. However, the studies concluded the enteric-coated capsules delivered the benefit of the peppermint oil directly to the intestines. In the treatment of IBS, enteric-coated supplemental peppermint is most definitely preferred.
In fact, an enteric-coated peppermint oil capsule containing rosemary and thyme is extremely effective in the treatment of IBS. All three of these oils are classified as volatile oils, derivatives found in plants that impart taste and aroma. The combination of peppermint, thyme, and rosemary oils in enteric-coated capsules provides significant relief in IBS-related pain.
Q. Can clown’s mustard and other herbs be taken with enteric-coated peppermint oil?
A. Yes, peppermint oil capsules and clown’s mustard can be used together. However, depending on the symptoms, individuals with IBS may want to start with one supplement and then add the other if needed.
Q. How do consumers find these formulas?
A. Fortunately, herbal combinations containing clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are both available at health food stores, natural product supermarkets, pharmacies, and from health professionals. Most knowledgeable sales personnel and health professionals can direct consumers to the most effective products.
Q. What should customers look for when purchasing peppermint oil?
A. As mentioned before, enteric coating of the peppermint oil is extremely important. The coating prevents the oil from being absorbed in the stomach. The enteric coated-capsule moves through the stomach to the small intestine and eventually to the colon, where it is released for maximum benefit.
Q. What is the dosage for peppermint oil?
A. The German Commission E approved peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable colon. In enteric-coated form, the Commission E recommends 0.6 ml per day. Enteric-coated peppermint capsules are available.
Q. Are there side effects or other contraindications?
A. Sometimes, the enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules may cause a transient burning sensation in the rectum when moving bowls. Reducing the dose will correct this.
Individuals who must refrain from alcohol should not take clown’s mustard in an herbal tincture, which may contain alcohol.
Q. What else can IBS patients do to feel better?
A. Food allergies or food intolerance may be associated with IBS. Dairy products and certain grains may trigger a painful episode of IBS. Determining those foods that initiate the problems and eliminating them from your diet can be very helpful.
Many people report their symptoms occur after a meal. Hyperactivity of the intestine of IBS is the response. Often, the strength of this response after a meal is in direct relation to the number of calories and he amount of fat in the meal. Reducing saturated fat, limiting calories, and increasing fiber intake may be helpful.
Stress also stimulates the intestinal hyperactivity. Relaxation training may reduce some IBS symptoms. Listening to therapeutic audiotapes, hypnosis, counseling, and biofeedback all have been shown to improve the healing response in persons with IBS.
IBS can be painful and frustrating, capable of causing much distress. While currently there is no cure for IBS, the symptoms can be managed. The pain, abdominal discomfort, and bowel problems of IBS all respond well to treatment with the use of key herbs, including clown’s mustard, and enteric-coated peppermint oil. These herbal combinations can be both effective and safe in treating IBS. Clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil are both effective front-line natural alternatives for IBS treatment.
Soft Drinks Contaminated by Benzene
May 27, 2006 09:24 AM
A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) testing program has found cancer-causing benzene in soft drinks at levels averaging four times the standard for tap water. The brand names have not been released.
The test data were uncovered by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which posted the test results on the group’s website, www.ewg.org
Highly elevated Benzene Levels
Between 1995-2001 the RDA tested 24 samples of diet soda for benzene. The result: 79% tested at levels above the federal limit for benzene in tap water, which is 5 parts per billion (ppb). The maximum benzene level detected was 55 ppb. In addition to the diet sodas, the FDA tested a number of other non-diet soft drinks. One cola was contaminated at 27 times the tap water limit, and fruit drink had a 95 ppb level.
“These results confirm our suspicions there are highly elevated benzene levels in some very popular drinks,” Richard Wiles, EWG’s senior vice president said in a press release.
Reaction Triggered by Preservatives
According to an article in beveragedaily.com, sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid in soft drinks can react together to form benzene. Sodium benzoate is a common preservative in soft drinks, and ascorbic acid is often added as an antioxidant to extend shelf life.
Negotiations between the FDA and the beverage industry in 1990 resulted in an agreement that the industry would voluntarily reformulate its soft drinks to prevent this combination. The recurrence of benzene contamination may be due to new soft drink manufacturers in the market who were not a part of, or aware of, the original negotiations.
Britain Pulls Soft Drinks from Shelves
In contrast to the U.S. situation, food safety campaigners in England were successful in having benzene –containing soft drinks removed from the supermarket shelves. The British Food Standards Agency pulled four soft drink brands which contained more than 1 ppb of benzene, and rushed out the results of tests on 149 drinks, including a range of fruit juice, iced tea, squash, fizzy and low-sugar drinks, according to The Times of London.
The Wellness Revolution and Contaminated Soft Drinks
The controversy over benzene in soft drinks is an example of how toxic exposure exists in our food and immediate environment. The constant exposure to toxics were-and especially our children—experience is a major cause of chronic illness.
In this situation, the organic products available for purchase in health food stores are especially vital. And since some exposure to toxics is unavoidable we must take advantage of the herbs and nutrients that support detoxification and the liver, the main organ of detoxification, as well as immunity for example, silymarin, N-acetyl cysteine, calcium D-glucarate, folic acid, Reishi and shiitake mushrooms, and turmeric.
Sources: www.ewg.org www.beveragedaily.com 02/25/06. Associated Press 04/11/06. www.fda.org.
Public Pressure Forces Corporations to Curtail Most Soda Pop sales to schools
The Nation’s largest beverage distributors have agreed to halt nearly all soda sales to public schools, according to a deal announced may 3rd by the William J. Clinton Foundation.
The companies have agreed to sell only water, unsweetened juice and low fat milks to elementary and middle schools, according to a spokesman for former President Bill Clinton. Diet sodas would be sold only to high schools.
The deal follows a wave of criticism by school districts and state legislatures amid reports of rising childhood obesity. Soda has been a particular target because of its caloric content and popularity among children.
A healthy lifestyle may prevent prostate cancer recurrence.
July 27, 2005 03:28 PM
6. A healthy lifestyle may prevent prostate cancer recurrence.
Based on a breakthrough study of 1,117 men with localized prostate cancer ( cancer that is confined with-in the prostate), researchers discovered that those who kept body weight down, exercised regularly to the point of sweating and underwent routine screenings were less likely to experience a cancer recurrence. Patients with a high risk of progression were more likely to be obese, exercise less than twice a week and avoid annual prostate screenings. The findings, published by the American Association for Cancer Research, are among the first to quantify the risk that lifestyle factors have on whether prostate cancer will recur in patients.
Nature's Cancer fighters ...
July 07, 2005 12:36 PM
Cancer has always been a word no one wants to hear from a doctor's lips. But as a fatal disease, cancer has gone from dread to worse, passing heart disease as the number-one killer of Americans under the age of 85 (a category that includes the overwhelming majority of us). While death rates for both illnesses has dropped over the past few years, the improvement has been much more pronounced for cardiovascular disorders.
According to the American Cancer Society, 476,009 people died of cancer in 2002 (the last year for which statistics are available). Behind every one of those numbers is a web of lives tangled by cancer's relentless onslaught: A child who misses a mother's comforting arms, a bride without a father to walk her down the aisle, a spouse coming home to a dark, cold house every night. And for those fortunate enough to survive a cancer encounter, there's always the dark worry of recurrence that surfaces with every ache or twinge.
Many people think of cancer as either a random calamity of a genetically driven inevitability, but it ain't necessarily so. Diet is coming up big as a major cancer-risk player: For example, eating a lot of red meat, especially highly processed meats such as bacon, has been linked to high colorectal cancer risk in an investigation published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. On the positive side, a number of nutrients have shown cancer-fighting power, such as the recently discovered link between the B vitamin folate and reduced risk of colon and other cancers (see page 57). Other useful nutrients appear on the chart that follows.
Of course, risk always varies from person to person, and there are some lifestyle issues, like not smoking, that are no-brainers when it comes to cancer deterrence. But isn't it nice to know that protection from such a terrible disease might be as close as the end of your fork?
Nature's Cancer fighters
Vitamin E, Natural
Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP)...
June 21, 2005 05:21 PM
By Isaac Eliaz, M.D.
Modified citrus pectin (MCP) is an essential nutrient for cancer prevention and treatment. It directly attacks cancer, thereby reducing the disease, but also has properties that enhance overall health. A true super nutrient! Let me explain how it can do all this.
Characteristics of Cancer Cells
Cancer cells are different from normal cells in a number of ways. One difference is they way they "look." All cells have a variety of molecules on their surface, which allow them to communicate with each other and their environment:
Cancer cells have odd amounts or unusual molecular markers on their surface, which allow white blood cells to recognize the cells as cancerous and kill them. One type of molecule cancer cells have in excess is galectin-3. Galectin-3 molecules function as "hands" and help cancer spread. First, they are important in reaching out and stimulating growth of new blood vessels; this allows the cancer to obtain the blood flow and nutrients it needs to grow out of control. Second, galectins allow cells that break off from the primary tumor to clump together in the blood stream, enabling them to move to new sites. Third, the galectin hand can grab hold of the new location and complete the metastasis, or spread, of the cancer.
MCP Blocks the Spread and Growth of Cancer Cells
Modified citrus pectin is a natural substance that can bind to galectin molecules and block their spread and growth. Early research on prostate cancer showed that oral administration of MCP to rodents resulted in a dramatic reduction in prostate cancer metastasis to the lungs. More recent research by the same scientists extended MCP protection to breast and colon cancer, and showed that MCP blocks primary tumor growth and formation of new blood vessels.
Successful Clinical Trial
A commercially available form of modified citrus pectin was developed in response to the positive animal studies and tested in men with prostate cancer. A pilot trial using MCP at 15 grams a day and a subsequent phase II trial both showed that MCP slows prostate cancer progression, as evidenced by a reduction in the rate of PSA rise. PSA (prostate-specific antigen) is a protein made by the prostate gland; elevated PSA blood levels may indicate prostate cancer. The phase II trial, published in Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases (Dec 2003), involved men who at first experienced successful primary conventional treatment; subsequently their PSA again began to climb, representing cancer recurrence. Seventy percent of these men showed a significant reduction in the rise of their PSA climb! Because of the mechanism of action, it is expected people with other cancers (leukemia, breast, colon, lung, nasopharyngeal, brain, lymphoma, melanoma and others that express galectin molecules) also would benefit from MCP.
MCP Chelates and Removes Toxic Metals
Heavy metals, in conjunction with environmental toxins and xenoestrogens, constitute a dangerous insult to the body through DNA damage, hormonal modulation, immune suppression, oxidative stress, and hyper inflammation. The metal chelation properties of MCP (Eliaz, U.S. patent #6,462,029) have been confirmed in a recent pilot trial. In healthy individuals, MCP increased urinary excretion of the toxic metals mercury, cadmium, arsenic and lead. In addition, longterm administration of MCP has been shown to reduce the body burden of heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, lead, and nickel. MCP's ability to remove heavy metals and environmental toxins on an ongoing basis may significantly benefit people with cancer and other diseases involving immune dysfunction.
Clinically Validated MCP
Only one form of MCP has been validated in human clinical trials. This is important since no other MCP on the market matches the chemical specifications of the clinically validated product. If the molecular weight of MCP is too high it can't be absorbed into the bloodstream. If it is too low it won't effectively block galectin sites. Another property, the degree of esterification, must be below 5% for optimal binding. The most effective specifications were defined by cell culture studies and remain a trade secret. If you want the effects seen in the clinical studies, you must take the preparation used in those studies, at the recommended dose of 15grams/day.
The Use of Modified Citrus Pectin
MCP Application Use (Take on an empty stomach) Active Cancer 15 grams/day (5 grams, three times a day) Biopsy 15 grams/day (5 grams, three times a day) Take one week before procedure and two weeks after. Heavy Metal Chelation High body burden levels: 15 grams/day (5 grams, three times a day) Lower levels: 15 grams/day for 5 days a month, 5 grams/day the rest of the month Cancer Prevention 5 grams/day ongoing
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.
Botanical Arsenal - Plants can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly ...
June 13, 2005 10:31 AM
Botanical Arsenal by Fred Thomas Energy Times, May 3, 1999
The complexities surrounding the various types of cancer stem from the variety of ways in which these diseases can wreak their havoc. Luckily, the equally complex world of plants contains novel compounds that can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly progress.
Research into these botanical compounds is mushrooming. An example: The mighty maitake, a fungus with flair, alternately known as the king (it can grow as large as a basketball, worth its weight in silver to the ancient Japanese); the prince; the Hen of the Woods (it sticks out of from trees when it grows in the wild); and the dancing mushroom to those who leaped for joy when they found one growing in its native northeastern Japan.
Researchers today dub it with a new moniker: Herbal Heavyweight.
Mushroom with Potential
The maitake, with such other medicinal mushrooms as shiitake and reishi, historically has been eaten to promote general well-being and vitality. In the modern lab, however, scientists focus on the potent immune enhancing powers of maitake, which spotlight its cancer fighting potential.
Twenty years ago, maitake, Grifola frondosa, was an obscure, largely unavailable mushroom. A series of significant Japanese studies then catapulted it into prominence-and popularity.
Hiroaki Nanba, PhD, of the department of immunology at Kobe Women's College of Pharmacy on Kobe, Japan, and a leading international researcher on maitake, conducted the preliminary tests on the mushroom, demonstrating that it stimulates immune function and inhibits tumor growth.
In 1986, Dr. Nanba fed powdered maitake to mice injected with tumor cells; 86.3% displayed inhibited tumor growth.
Dr. Nanba and his colleagues went on to run additional mouse tests, finally reporting that this potent mushroom "directly activates various effector cells (macrophages, natural killer cells, killer T-cells, etc.) to attack tumor cells."
From then, maitake mushrooms were headed to fame as cancer ninjas.
Stoking The Immune Engine
Like other mushrooms, maitake is rich in complex polysaccharides, immunomodulators that successive tests after Dr. Nanba's have shown to be effective in cancer and AIDS treatment.
The polysaccharides in maitake have a unique structure, rendering them some of the most powerful to be studied (Chem Pharm Bull 1987:35:1162-8).
What makes maitake a particularly hot property is beta-D-glucan, its primary polysaccharide. Studies show that the body absorbs it readily, at which point it effectively stimulates interleukin-1, natural killer cells and macrophages, anti-tumor warriors that battle solid cancers (Chemotherapy 1990;38:790-6; also International Conference on AIDS, Amsterdam, 1992).
Effective And Safe
In addition to lab tests, trials on people have shown that maitake may offer powerful therapy against liver and stomach cancer (studies in China), breast and colon cancer (US research) and Kaposi's Sarcoma, the virulent cancer attacking AIDS sufferers.
Importantly, studies show that no side effects or interactions accompany maitake's efficacy.
Maitake fortunately has won the interest and enthusiasm of the scientific community. Currently, researchers at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, headed by Denis Miller, MD, are completing an exhaustive test of the anticancer and immunostimulatory actions of maitake on folks with advanced colorectal cancer. These investigators hypothesize that the polysaccharide beta-glucans derived from the fruitbody of maitake fight tumors and boost immune function. "Though it cannot be said that maitake ...[is] the cancer cure," said Dr. Nanba in his closing remarks at the Adjuvant Nutrition in Cancer Treatment Symposium in Tampa, Florida, in October 1995, "one can safely say that they do maintain the quality of life of patients and improve the immune system, resulting in the possible remission of cancer cells with no side effects."
More Bodily Benefits
Maitake maven Dr. Nanba also has tested-with strongly positive results-the effect of maitake on blood glucose, insulin and triglycerides in mice, whose levels of all three substances declined when they were fed the mushroom (H. Nanba working paper, Anti-Diabetic Activity by Maitake Mushroom, 1994).
With colleagues, Dr. Nanba showed that maitake lowered blood pressure in hypertensive rats (Chem. Phann. Bu//36:1000-1006,1988). Other studies suggest it may accelerate weight loss.
This admirable adaptogen (meaning it helps the body adapt to stress and normalize its functions) is water soluble and may be eaten in food or taken as a supplement. Vitamin C is believed to intensify maitake's beta-glucans and enhance their absorption.
It's not just what you eat that may help protect against cancer, but what you drink as well. Research from China and Japan, where tea is the everyday drink and rates of several cancers like breast and prostate are lower, may persuade you to turn over a new leaf in your own beverage choice. One of the first studies to spark interest in tea came from Shanghai (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, June 1, 1994), where people who drank two to three cups a day were found to have about a 60% reduction in the risk of cancer of the esophagus. The reason: tea leaves contain compounds called polyphenols, potent antioxidants.
In fact, in tests at the University of Kansas, three of these, known as catechins, far outshone the common antioxidant vitamins C and E. Clinical trials are just starting, but early results are encouraging. A team of Chinese scientists reported that in a third of people with precancerous mouth sores who drank three cups of a mixture of green and black tea the lesions shrank significantly.
Researchers at the Saitama Cancer Center in Japan found that green tea seems to improve the prognosis of breast cancer. They followed a group of women with early-stage tumors for seven years. Those who drank more than five cups of green tea a day were only half as likely to suffer a recurrence as patients who consumed fewer than four cups a day.
And at the University of Indiana, toxicologist James Klaunig found that the lungs of cigarette smokers who drank the equivalent of six cups of tea a day suffered 40 to 50 percent less damage from the toxins in smoke, potentially lowering their risk of lung cancer and other pulmonary problems. Simultaneously, research from Purdue University suggests tea's cancer-discouraging powers go beyond being an antioxidant. Scientists Dorothy and D. James Morre showed that a tea catechin dubbed EGCG inhibits a growth-promoting enzyme on the surface of many cancer cells-happily without affecting normal cells. And researchers at the Ohio State University College of Medicine found that EGCG counteracted another enzyme, urokinase, that helps cancer cells spread. To top it off, Mayo Clinic scientists recently showed that EGCG prompted prostate cancer cells to commit suicide (Cancer Letters, Aug. 14, 1998).
So far, most tea research has focused on green tea, and investigators agree it's more potent than the black tea most Americans favor. But because both kinds come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis (it's the processing that makes the difference as black tea is fermented, green tea isn't) both contain cancer-fighting polyphenols, just in different quantities. As long as the tea you drink (even decaffeinated) is fresh brewed, it's likely to provide some benefit; powdered and prepared teas probably don't. And adding milk may dilute the effect.
Astragalus Against Tumors
Astragalus, an herb commonly used in Asia to boost stamina, has impressed western doctors for its potential for helping people cope with chemotherapy. As John Diamon, MD, W. Lee Cowden, MD and Burton Goldberg point out in the Definitive Guide to Cancer (Future Medicine), "Astragalus appears to protect the liver against the harmful toxic effects of chemotherapy and may be effective in treating terminally ill liver cancer patients." (They cite a study in the Jrnl of Ethnopharmacology 1990, 30:145-149.) In addition, they point out, research in Japan supports using a ginseng-astragalus combination to improve the function of natural killer (NK) cells which can boost immunity (Japanese Jrnl of Allergy, 37:2, 1998, 107-114).
Other studies confirm astragalus' potential in fighting off cancer. Research at the General Hospital of PLA, Beijing, showed that flavonoids (pigments) in astragalus could help protect cell membranes from oxidative damage caused by ultraviolet exposure (Chung Kuo Chung Yao Tsa Chih, 21(12):746-8; 1996 Dec).
A study of laboratory animals at Cunma University in Maebashi, Japan, found that Astragalus could help preserve immune function against the harmful side effects of chemotherapy (Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih, 15(2):101-3, 1995 Feb).
Like a flame attracting moths, garlic bulbs have irresistibly drawn the attention of medical researchers. A study at Aarhus University, Denmark, found that skin cells in laboratory dishes treated with garlic supplements lived longer, healthier lives than untreated cells (Jrnl Ethnopharm, 1994. 43:125-133).
Meanwhile, a long list of research demonstrates that garlic's phytochemicals may fight tumors and reduce the carcinogenicity of the pollutants and chemicals that assault us daily. A study in China reported in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine showed that garlic helped slow tumors in lab animals (1983, 11:69-73). Another study in the Journal of Nutrition found that compounds in garlic could "suppress the growth of human colon tumor cells" (126, 1355-1361).
Added to those benefits, Robert A. Nagourney, MD, reports in the Journal of Medicinal Food (1:1, 1998, 13-28), garlic may "modify the carcinogenicity of foodstuffs." In other words, studies show that garlic can make chemicals in foods like pork less likely to cause your cells to become cancerous. (Ind J Physiol Pharmacol, 39:347-353).
DNA, the stuff that genes are made of, face constant threats from free radicals, caustic molecules that can alter cellular structure and possibly cause genetic mutations that lead to cancer. But research into what are called oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC), flavonoids (pigments) derived from fruits vegetables, grape seed extract and the bark of maritime pine trees shows that OPC may be able to shield DNA from injury.
In particular, studies of a grape seed extract called Activin have demonstrated this substance can help liver cell DNA escape a destructive process called peroxidation (FASEB, 11:3, 2/28/97).
In these experiments, Activin demonstrated the ability to inhibit the growth of tumor cells as well as slow the replication enzymes of HIV viruses. This protective ability proved to be more potent than that of vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin E.
What does the future promise to reveal? Scientists believe that many unexamined plants probably contain undiscovered phytochemicals that hold great potential for helping us fight the cancer epidemic.
Certainly, if the next few years produce as many results as the past decade, the next millennium will witness a long line of cancer-prevention discoveries. Before long, you should be able to take advantage of these potent substances.
As you gulp your garlic, tip your tea cup, mull your maitake, acquire Activin and await your astragalus, you may meditate on what may soon be added to our growing anti-cancer arsenal. Undoubtedly, scientists with a botanical bent will be uncovering more coveted anti-cancer secrets before too long.
Lose the Gluten - everyone who suffers from food allergies
June 10, 2005 10:20 PM
Lose the Gluten by Phyllis D. Light, RH Energy Times, October 14, 2004
Are you a glutton for gluten, the sticky protein found in bagels and many other breads? Unfortunately, not everyone can enjoy the taste of fresh-baked bread because it contains this natural substance that can cause allergic reaction or intolerance in susceptible folks.
And while not everyone who suffers from food allergies or intolerances has a problem with gluten, other foods that can cause distress include items like watermelon, fish or even the benign-seeming peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Still, with a little guidance, even if you have an allergy or two, you can enjoy meals and reduce food-related difficulties when you make food choices wisely.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, more than one in 50 adults and one in 12 children in the US suffer food allergies. But the problem may be even larger. Researchers believe even more of us have food allergies and don't know it: many food allergies and intolerances may be mistaken for irritable bowel syndrome or conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome.
The involvement of the immune system in an allergy represents the dividing line between intolerance and allergy. A food allergy strikes when the immune system attacks food ingredients as though they were threatening substances. Usually, proteins trigger these physiological alarms. The most common food allergens include wheat, soy, peanuts, shellfish, eggs, fish, tree nuts, milk and watermelon. Fortunately, many children who suffer allergies outgrow them as their bodies mature.
Signs of a food allergy may include a rash, hives, nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, itchy skin, shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling of the airways and a condition called anaphylactic shock, a serious occurrence that can cut off breathing and requires immediate medical help.
If you believe you have a food allergy, see your health practitioner. If you have reasons to suspect an allergy to a particular food, avoid it altogether.
Intolerance Versus Allergy
Food intolerances are more common than allergies. They happen when food irritates the digestive system or offers substances that the digestive tract cannot break down. A food intolerance, however, does not provoke the immune system into an attack. The most common foods that cause intolerance are wheat, rye and barley; they all contain gluten.
Figuring out an intolerance generally requires adding and eliminating foods to gauge your response. Signs can include nausea, stomach pain, gas, cramps, bloating, vomiting, heartburn, diarrhea, headaches and irritability or nervousness. If you suspect you have a food intolerance, keep a food diary-recording what you eat and how you feel afterwards.
In addition, an elimination diet, wherein you avoid certain foods and track your responses, can help determine food intolerances. After you have dropped certain foods from your diet, reintroduce them, one at a time, until you eat a food that causes a return of your problems. These foods should then be permanently avoided.
Celiac sprue is a particularly severe inflammatory response to wheat or other grains containing gluten. According to the National Science Foundation, one in every 200 Americans suffers from this often misdiagnosed condition. That's more than a million of us!
If left untreated, celiac sprue can cause anemia, contribute to osteoporosis by limiting calcium absorption and increase the risk for intestinal cancer. Signs include headaches, weight loss, nutritional deficiencies, fatigue and neurological symptoms. The only treatment is to avoid all grains that contain gluten.
According to researchers in England, celiac sprue is often mistaken for chronic fatigue syndrome, type 1 diabetes or irritable bowel syndrome and can result in infertility (Med J Austral 2004 May 17; 180(10):524-6). Because sprue can confuse health practitioners, many people spend years trying to find an answer to their discomforts before finding that a gluten-free diet relieves their pain.
According to the Celiac Sprue Association, if you have gluten intolerance you should avoid durum wheat, semolina wheat, rye, kamut, spelt, barley, triticale and often oats. Some people find they can tolerate spelt, a distant cousin to wheat that's high in fiber and contains more protein (talk to your practitioner). Oats are generally well-tolerated by most people with gluten intolerance, but because oats are often processed on the same machinery as wheat, they may have traces of gluten. If you are gluten intolerant, you can still eat rice, corn, soy, potatoes, beans, sorghum, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, arrowroot and amaranth.
Other food ingredients can trouble digestion. They include:
If you have what seem to be allergies and intolerances, fermented foods that contain beneficial bacteria (probiotics) can aid the functioning of your digestive tract. Yogurt, kefir, buttermilk and sauerkraut supply active bacterial cultures and are generally easy to tolerate because they are predigested. According to researchers at Tufts University, yogurt can improve your digestive health and soothe difficulties linked to allergies and intolerances (AJCN 2004 Aug; 80(2):245-56).
In addition, yogurt and other probiotic foods have been found to reduce the recurrence of irritable bowel flare-ups and may help reduce the risk of colon cancer. Yogurt improves gut microflora, increases bowel transit time and enhances immune response. Probiotics are also available as supplements.
If you have problems with certain foods or additives, becoming an amateur food detective can make meals more pleasant. Before eating a packaged food, always read the label; if you are unsure of the ingredients, contact the food manufacturer. But, in any uncertain situation, if you are in doubt of a food's ingredients, do without. Better to avoid food problems than realize too late that you've eaten a food that has upset your digestion.
Some people find their food intolerance comes and goes, often depending upon the amount eaten and how often a food is consumed. For example, some people with lactose intolerance find they can have a little milk in their coffee or on their breakfast cereal one day a week, but have problems if they drink milk on two consecutive days.
While deciphering which foods in your diet cause you problems can be time consuming, the reward for eliminating these nutrients, better digestion, is great. Don't give up! Persevere and, eventually your digestion will thank you.
June 10, 2005 04:01 PM
Real Solutions by Susan Risoli Energy Times, November 1, 1997
The alarm sounds, you stumble out of bed and head to the bathroom. Suddenly, a burning sting wakes you with a jolt as you begin to urinate. One doctor visit later, you're on a strict antibiotic regimen to treat your urinary problem.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect 8 million to 10 million Americans, mostly women, each year. The culprit: the bacteria E. coli. Neglect may allow a UTI to spread to the bladder (where it causes cystitis), or kidneys: possibly life-threatening.
The good news: medical experts recognize that a diet change and avoiding certain risk factors may help fight off UTIs.
According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, about 20% of women experience UTI at least once, and many suffer recurrences. Sexually active women tend to incur more UTIs because of anatomical vagaries: the bladder sits just above the vagina, while the urethra, a structure from the bladder to the outside, protrudes in a tubelike ridge down the top part of the vagina to just above the vaginal opening. This structure allows sexual intercourse to push infecting bacteria into the urethra. Women's vulnerability to UTI also derives from their short urethras which are located near the rectum, a main source of UTI germs. These tubes provide an easy path to a bacterial home in the bladder.
Another risk booster: pelvic exams which may increase chances of UTI. A 1996 study conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago and reported in the Archives of Family Medicine (1996;5:357-360) found that 43% of women with UTIs had received a pelvic examination within the two months preceding infection. Only 16% of the uninfected had been examined.
Bladder infections can occur frequently in postmenopausal women due to thinning and drying of the vaginal lining. And mid-life women are not immune. "With the loss of estrogen support, the urethra becomes less flexible and elastic and, like the vagina, it can become easily irritated after sexual intercourse and, thus, much more prone to infection," reports Susan Lark, MD, in her book, Women's Health Companion: Self Help Nutrition Guide and Cookbook (Celestial Arts). "As women age, the lower urinary tract also stops manufacturing anti-adherence factors, which help to prevent bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall."
Every woman should keep her own "female" botanicals on hand to help boost her immune system when she is at high risk of developing a bladder infection. These include:
Cranberry: This immune-boosting, vitamin C-rich berry prevents germs from invading the lining of the urinary tract. A 1994 study of 153 elderly women conducted by researchers at the Harvard Medical School and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (1994:271: 751-4) showed that cranberry juice may keep harmful bacteria at reduced levels. More recently, a study by Amy B. Howell, PhD, and a team at Rutgers University found that cranberries contain a type of condensed tannin, a chemical compound called proanthocyanidins, that seemed to stunt the growth of E. coli, preventing it from adhering to the walls of the bladder and kidneys.
"However, once you have an infection, cranberry juice cannot eradicate the bacteria. So drinking cranberry juice may be helpful in preventing an infection, but not in treating an existing one," according to Larrian Gillespie, MD, in her book You Don't have to Live with Cystitis (Avon Books).
Drinking two glasses of juice a day can help if you're UTI-prone. To avoid the sugar added to cranberry juice, concentrated cranberries are available in a gel-cap form.
Echinacea: This North American herb bolsters immune function and is believed to possess antiseptic and antiviral properties which may rev up the white blood cells that fight infection, reports John Cammarta, MD, in his book A Physician's Guide To Herbal Wellness (Chicago Review Press).
While cranberry is most commonly recommended for prevention, other herbs can also kill bacteria and are diuretic. These include:
Barberry: "The chemical berberine found in this herb is an impressive infection fighter. Studies show it kills the bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections," says author Jim O'Brien in his book Herbal Cures for Common Ailments (Globe).
O'Brien recommends making a tea with one half teaspoon of powdered root bark, then put it on low boil for 30 minutes. "The taste is unpleasant, so you may wish to add natural sweeteners and flavorings."
Uva-ursi: contains the ingredient arbutin, which fights germs in the urinary tract. "In addition," adds O'Brien, "the herb contains several diuretics that help flush the urinary tract, leading to faster healing. It also has several tannins, which act as powerful astringents drying out swollen, infected tissue. A third property of uva-ursi is allantoin, which promotes the growth of new cells."
"For this herb to be effective you must not eat or drink anything of acidic nature, such as citrus fruits or juices. Don't even take vitamin C supplements while using it," cautions O'Brien.
Coping With Pain
In her book Herbal Remedies for Women (Prima), medical herbalist Amanda McQuade Crawford offers an herbal recipe to help restore the urinary tract's normal pH. Herbal Formula I calls for 4 ounces of uva-ursi leaf, three ounces of marshmallow leaf, two ounces of yarrow flower (omit during pregnancy) and one ounce (or to taste) cinnamon bark. Steep the herbs for 10 to 20 minutes, then strain through bamboo or wire mesh. Drink 2 to 5 cups daily for 10 days. Crawford advocates drinking one to two cups per day for a week to 10 days after all symptoms have disappeared.
Urologist Gillespie has found that women with cystitis may notice certain foods and beverages (such as alcohol and acidic foods) exacerbate problems of pain and burning. Gillespie recommends cystitis sufferers avoid foods like apple juice, apples, apricots, melon, carbonated drinks, spicy foods, citrus fruits, coffee, ginger, grapes, guava, lemon juice, peaches, pineapple, plums, rhubarb, strawberries, tea, tomatoes and vinegar.
Limit refined sugar: this nutrient may stunt immune reactions. Most importantly, you can lower the risk of UTIs by drinking liquids. Water helps flush bacteria from the body so drink at least 6 to 8 eight-ounce glasses of filtered water daily.
June 10, 2005 02:48 PM
by column Energy Times, April 1, 1999
If you've ever felt burned out, bored and/or just plain tired of your exercise program, you may be in need of a taste of cross training. When your exercise routine becomes too routine, you run not only the risk of losing your motivation for physical activity, but you may also run an added chance of injury. The possible cause: overusing particular muscles that receive an excessive amount of stress as other muscles practically atrophy while waiting for a chance to show off their stuff.
For instance, if you are a devoted runner who spends hours jogging, your upper body may wither unless you give it a reason not to. At the same time, your achilles, hamstrings, knees and lower back muscles may protest those miles after miles. As Frank Jobe, MD, Neal EllAttrache, MD, and Karen Mohr, PT, point out in Athletic Forever (Contemporary), "Dedicated runners are among the most injury-prone of all athletes. If running is your main form of exercise, you have a 37 to 56 percent chance of sustaining an injury each year and your chances for a recurrence of that injury are as high as 70 percent."
The basic principle of cross training is simple: take part in various activities that supplement each other. Runners should lift some weights or at least shoot a few hoops to keep those arms and shoulders toned. Bikers should walk or run now and then to keep their bones healthy. (Bicycling, since it is not a weight bearing exercise, does little to promote bone strength.) Swimmers should find something to do on dry land so that their bones react to gravity and grow stronger. And, no matter what your sport, you should stay well-nourished and supplied with plenty of antioxidants.
As Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, points out in Optimum Health (Bantam), while athletes may enjoy health benefits from exercise, "The vigorous training pursued by competitive athletes renders them more prone to catabolic stress-a situation in which tissues are constantly broken down."
He goes on to point out that the low fat diet many athletes follow may be short of antioxidant nutrients. Unfortunately, that shortage can lead to injury. The metabolic acceleration caused by athletic activity may increase potentially harmful oxidative stress at the cellular level. Without antioxidant nutrients to help quell that stress... Well, the results may not be pretty. Potentially, that kind of oxidative damage may, theoretically, lead to cancer or heart disease. As Dr. Sinatra says, in those circumstances, "the supplemental use of glutathione, vitamins C and E, coenzyme Q10 and magnesium seems reasonable. Some athletes, such as menstruating women, may also need iron supplementation."
In addition, water is crucial for athletes to stay adequately hydrated during activity. According to Daniel Gastelu and Fred Hatfield, PhD, in Dynamic Nutrition for Maximum Performance (Avery), when you run short of water "this can adversely affect performance and, in the long run, can cause peaks and valleys in the athlete's performance." In addition, they advise using sports drinks to stay adequately supplied with electrolytes. "The major electrolytes found in bodily fluids are chloride, magnesium, potassium and sodium."
Electrolytes serve a host of duties, including keeping the heart muscle functioning properly. Gastelu and Hatfield explain, "An electrolyte is an ion that is required by the body to regulate the electric charge and flow of water between the cells and the bloodstream."
Getting Better All the Time
Even if you cross train religiously and try to avoid overdoing one particular sport, sooner or later you may incur injury. If you do (or even before you hurt yourself), the trio of Stanley W. Jacob, MD, Ronald M. Lawrence, MD, PhD, and Martin Zucker, authors of The Miracle of MSM (Putnam), believe that methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) can provide reliable relief for pain and suffering.
"Many people experience rapid relief after starting MSM," say this trio. They go on to claim that "this nutritional supplement has real potential to make a significant impact on the quality of life."
"Your main enemy in the hours following an injury is inflammation," warns Athletic Forever. For injury, they recommend RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. In other words, put the injured body part in a firmly wrapped bandage (don't cut off the circulation!) Keep the injury cold but don't put ice directly on it (watch out for frost bite). Rest a while and keep the injury elevated. Then, don't exercise again until you've fully recovered.