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Optimize your health with these 11 delicious superfoods (that you can consume in one drink)
March 13, 2019 01:26 PM
We hear the term superfood tossed around a lot now, but some foods really have shown to truly boost our immune systems and improve our overall health. For example, moringa is a plant that gives advantages such as replacing the amino acids that should be present within your system. This is also known as a horseradish tree in more common terminology. The moringa also helps fight high off high levels of inflammation and free radicals.
"If you want to get more mileage out of your meals, superfoods are the way to go."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-12-14-optimize-your-health-with-these-11-delicious-superfoods.html
He Pours White Vinegar Inside His Toilet Tank... The Reason Why? Genius!
May 30, 2018 01:16 PM
This video is about an alternative to using bleach and other harsh industrial chemicals in the bathroom in order to clean. This alternative is vinegar, a chemical that has been used for centuries for cleaning, but has been often replaced with bleach when it comes to cleaning. Bleach is dangerous and can cause asphyxiation while vinegar is not and does not cause such an effect on the human body. When looking to clean and kill bacteria, one should consider replacing bleach with vinegar.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2gRQ89KcFk&rel=0
Hemp Oil and Arthritis
November 13, 2017 07:59 AM
Inflammation is associated with a host of diseases including cancer and arthritis. There are compounds in food and natural ingredients that can limit the expression of molecules from immune cells thus reducing inflammation. These include the superfood hemp. Hemp has always been associated with marijuana and has typically been under-advertised. With the latest research, compounds in hemp oil are being tested for use in treating arthritis. Currently some DVMs use the oil in supplements to help arthritic pets. It is likely that in the future, this will hold true for people as well.
"By replacing hundreds of drugs with one simple natural ingredient, like hemp oil, plus an improved diet, arthritis could become a disease of the past and saving consumers millions of dollars in medical bills."
Read more: https://www.marijuanatimes.org/hemp-oil-and-arthritis/
7 Vitamins for Healthy and glowing Skin and Beauty
October 23, 2017 10:14 AM
While we likely grew up with mom or dad telling us to "take your vitamins" everyday, the vitamins we took can actually be found in the food we normally eat. There are 13 essential vitamins that our bodies need for that healthy glow. However, what are vitamins, and why do we need them anyway?
Vitamin A happens to be great for skin issues such as acne, preventing wrinkles and relieving psoriasis.
Vitamin B-2 helps your skin stay in a balanced state, niether too dry nor too oily, and does the same to keep chapped lips at bay as well.
Vitamin C is all about keeping your immune system healthy. Enough of this vitamin will help cuts and bruises heal much faster than if you were lacking.
Vitamin B6 has the job of helping your skin repair itself--replacing damaged cells with healthy new ones, and is essential to keep rashes and dermatits away.
Vitamin B5 is similar to B6 but you'll need both to keep your skin fresh and young. It happens to be an important ingredient in making healthy skin cells.
Vitamin E is a bit of a do-it-all vitamin, and works with all the others to keep skin moisturized as well as slow the process of aging (and can even combat stretch marks).
Lastly there is Niacin, which is great for fighting against canker sores and repairs damaged skin while also protecting the skin.
"Vitamin A is responsible for maintaining and repairing skin tissues."
Read more: http://www.natural-health-news.com/7-vitamins-for-healthy-and-glowing-skin-and-beauty/
The 5 health benefits of eating Millet you never knew
October 10, 2017 01:14 PM
Millet is a crop that is native to Africa and Asia, and is considered a primary source of both carbs and proteins for inhabitants close to where it is grown. Millet is garnering attention from scientists because it is almost impervious to insects and diseases, lending important components to the plant's potential positive impact of benefitting the health of those who ingest it. Millet has five main benefits, including anticancer attributes, it may play a pivotal role in stopping type 2 diabetes, it has a positive impact on the cardiovascular system, it may aid in partially lowering cholesterol, and finally, millet aids in positively impacting bowel health and movements.
"The nutritional value of Millet is also what is making this crop more attractive for western nations."
Read more: https://www.emaxhealth.com/13644/5-health-benefits-eating-millet-you-never-knew
Cannabis Terpene Cocktails—Healthy and . . . Herbal
August 27, 2017 04:14 PM
Instead of chilling you out, this Cannabis Terpene Cocktail is meant to act as a mood lifter. As terpenes are legal in all states (not just the ones that have legalized recreational cannabis use) this cocktail can be served anywhere. The mixologists who make this even claim that imbibing could have potential health benefits. It can help with inflammation and work as a muscle relaxer and sleep aid. The terpene derived from cannabis has many positive uses and the mixologists who use it are looking to incorporate it into society in a positive and intelligent way.
"Terpenes from cannabis have some of the strongest anti-inflammatory properties of any plant, according to proponents, and a good number of doctors are now studying their effects and benefits in replacing opioids."
Read more: http://www.vogue.com/article/cannabis-terpene-cocktails-health-benefits
Why You Need To Eat Fat In Order To Lose Weight
July 10, 2017 04:14 PM
When losing weight, you'd think that avoiding fat is the ideal way to accomplish success. However, the truth of the matter is that you need fat to lose weight. Without some fat, you are doing your body a major injustice. Read this article if you'd like more information about the fat that your body needs to help lose weight. What you learn might surprise you but it will also help you achieve great results and the body that you want.
"Our quality of life is determined by the quality of our thoughts, how we choose to fuel our bodies, and how well we move"
Read more: https://www.dmarge.com/2017/07/good-fats-to-eat.html
What is a ketogenic diet?
February 25, 2017 05:59 AM
The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low-carb diets. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake, and replacing it with fat. The reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain
Herbal medicine: It goes far beyond just replacing drugs
February 04, 2017 07:59 AM
When we are sick we go to the doctor, right? Have you ever thought of seeking advice and guidance somewhere else? In America, the use of herbs is significantly overshadowed by dependence on modern medicine. Big Pharma and pill-pushing doctors have made us believe we need those drugs to cure our symptoms and diseases.
"As reported by the American Herbalists Guild, in 1987 about 85 percent of modern drugs were derived from plants. Today, only 15 percent has a plant origin. Herbal medicines are prepared from plants or plant parts which contain hundreds to thousands of other compounds."
Gut bacteria may hold key to treating autoimmune disease
December 29, 2016 07:59 AM
Inflammation and autoimmunity are caused by inappropriate activity of the body's own regulatory T immune cells. A mutation in a gene called Foxp3 causes a fatal disease, IPEX syndrome, where these cells run amok. But new research shows an unexpected link to the gut: Foxp3 mutant mice end up missing a particular type of bacteria from their intestines. By replacing the missing bacterial species in the gut microbiome, many of the T cell-mediated inflammatory symptoms could be improved.
"The study, published online in The Journal of Experimental Medicine, suggests that replacing the missing gut bacteria."
Replacing carbs with protein? Don't overdo it
December 17, 2016 07:59 AM
Protein has become the dietary supplement that everyone is talking about. With benefits thought to range from building muscle to losing weight, protein powders and bars have become a staple in American society. Specialists are beginning to wonder if getting too much protein in the diet can lead to bad side effects. It is estimated that most American men consume double the daily recommended intake. There are concerns that high protein diets can lead to the development of diabetes and liver disease. They are cautioning people to keep their intake closer to the recommended dosage.
"A canned protein drink can contain almost as much protein as a 227g steak, and snack bars or a small bag of protein chips can pack more of the macro-nutrient than a three-egg omelette."
Bulletproof coffee - coconut and butter does improve health
A cup of coffee is a common thing that most of people drink in the morning. However, since many people realized that coconut oil and butter are healthy fats (Axe, 2016), they started replacing cream with them. This coconut and/or butter coffee is known as bulletproof coffee and it is a new trend of healthy morning drink. It has been extremely popular all over the world.
Coconut oil has so many benefits for your body, such as:
· Increases your energy - its ingredient, MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides), is absorbed by the body and metabolized as fuel more quickly (Tifanny, 2016).
· Improves your immune system - There is a lot of lauric acid in coconut oil that is effective to prevent and cure many viruses (WebMD in Tifanny, 2016).
· Improves brain function – Its fatty acid plays an important role in memory and brain functions (Axe, 2016).
· Promotes heart health – Coconut oil contains good cholesterol that is good for your heart (Axe, 2016).
· Acts as anti-inflammatory – Antioxidant content makes coconut an effective anti-inflammatory food that help reduce arthritis (Axe, 2016).
· Is good for hair and skin – It is able to smoothen and tighten the skin, as well as maintain healthy hair (Axe, 2016).
On the other hand, butter also offers many advantages for your health, such as:
· Prevents and treats many diseases - Omega 3 fatty acids in butter are essential for growth, as well as prevention and treatment of arthritis, coronary artery disease, cancer, inflammation, and high blood pressure (Leonard, 2016).
· Improves your brain, blood circulation, and hormonal system – It helps prevent neurodegenerative and heart diseases, increase energy expenditure, and act as anti-inflammatory (NN, 2014).
· Is good for bones and blood circulation – Butter contains vitamin K that plays an important role in blood clotting and keeping the bones strong (Leonard, 2016).
· Helps with weight loss – It makes you feel full for a longer period and its conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is an effective aid for losing weight (Leonard, 2016).
· Reduces caffeine sensitivity – Butter fat can protect the stomach from shakes and nausea caused by caffeine (Leonard, 2016).
· Boosts the energy – It provides more sustained energy for the body (Leonard, 2016).
· Accelerates metabolism and digestion – Vitamin A, D, and E contained in butter are easily absorbed by the body and stored in gastrointestinal tract (Axe, 2016).
Based on the facts above, coconut and butter coffee is a healthy drink. However, excessive consumption of this bulletproof coffee is not good. Healthy fats can only function effectively in the body if the amounts taken are mooderate, not more and not less. Moreover, drink this coffee as the replacement of your breakfast is not recommended since it does not have enough essential nutrients (Gunnars, 2016).
How Do Probiotics Boost Your Immune System?
An average person carries thousands of microorganisms. Among these microorganisms are bacteria. For most of us, the word bacteria usually comes with a negative connotation. It's no wonder that for many years, we have looked for ways to kill bugs.
While some of the bacteria we carry can cause diseases, some are “good” and useful. "Good" bacteria helps us break down the nutrients in food, educate the body's immune system to recognize enemies, fight off food poisoning, metabolize drugs and produce moods' determining chemicals.
Unfortunately, some of our activities can significantly reduce the number of healthy bacteria. To replenish the lost bacteria, you can take harmless live bacteria and yeasts commonly called probiotics. Probiotics occur naturally in our bodies, but you can also get them in certain foods and supplements.
How Probiotics Work
Probiotics are essential in food digestion and absorption process. They help move food through the gut. It's for this reason that probiotics can help manage conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, infectious diarrhea, and antibiotic-related diarrhea. The absorption of adequate nutrients leads to a stronger immune system.
Good bacteria are essential for gut health. Modern medicine has found a great link between gut health and the body's immune system. Unfortunately, necessary antibiotics kill bacteria indiscriminately. Probiotics can boost our disease fighting capabilities by replacing lost helpful bacteria.
Probiotics can also boost the body's immunity by offering us protection from “bad” bacteria. They protect us by lowering the number of disease-causing bacteria in the system.
Probiotics also help balance "good" and "bad" bacteria. Balance is essential for optimal body performance. Numerous medical studies have for instance shown that cesarean babies are more prone to allergies and eczema because they have lower levels of helpful bacteria and chemical imbalances in their immune systems.
Beneficial bacteria are not created equal. Our personal gut bacteria depends on the food and supplements we take. Research has shown that some species can produce immune-boosting chemicals. Some bacteria, for instance, can produce chemicals that are great for heart and gut lining health.
Why Is Agave Nectar A Better Sweetener Than Sugar?
February 06, 2014 08:49 PM
What is agave nectar
Agave nectar, also called agave syrup, is sweet liquid that tastes similar to honey, but has unique properties that make it a better sweetener than regular sugar. Agave plant is native to the Mexico region, and the locals have been using it for centuries to produce fermented alcoholic beverages, and incorporate it into various recipes. Agave nectar is less viscous when compared to honey, although it has the same level of sweetness. If compared to sugar, the benefits of Agave nectar are obvious since it has a lower glycemic index.
Can Tribulus Herb Boost Testosterone?
December 02, 2013 07:16 AM
As you all know, testosterone is a male hormone produced by the testicles, which greatly influence sexual characteristics in men. Apart from that,hormo it is also essential for maintaining muscle bulk, for improving the bone growth, and for maintaining a general sense of well-being in men. Therefore, it goes without saying that any decrease in the natural levels of testosterone hormone can cause major problems in a man’s life. So, how can we tackle the natural decrease of this hormone which is often accompanied with aging? One method of doing this is by boosting the testosterone level by some of the natural methods like using the herb tribulus terrestris.
What is Tribulus Terrestris?
It can be thought of as a natural remedy to the low testosterone levels experienced by males. It has been around for thousands of years and was used for this very purpose by many ancient Asian traditional healing doctrines. The main advantage of using tribulus to boost testosterone hormone in males is that as it is a boosting process and not a hormone replacing process it does not get accompanied by unfortunate side effects usually found in hormone replacement therapies which can even include shrinkage of testicles itself. Also, hormone replacement therapies will require you to take these synthetic hormones for your entire life time whereas testosterone boosting supplements can be stopped at any time and allow the body to settle down to its own rhythm. Therefore testosterone boosting is a better method to tackle low levels of testosterone in men when compared to hormone replacement therapies.
How Tribulus Work?Now, here is how tribulus work on males to boost the testosterone levels. The main thing to keep in mind regarding this herb is that it is not a hormone. Instead it acts by stimulating the testicles to produce another hormone called Lutenizing which in turn will prompt your body to produce more testosterone.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Eating Raw Honey?
May 03, 2012 11:23 AM
Raw Unrefined Honey
Raw honey does not only taste sweet but also has numerous health benefits. It is one of Mother Nature's best gift to us and has been used for its natural healing powers since ancient time. The goodness with it is that it has retained its natural properties, excellent flavor and health benefits.
Raw honey is much better than processed honey. Processed honey normally undergoes many heating processes that destroy the critical enzymes. It might appear clean and clear on the outside but it really has no much benefits as compared to the raw unrefined honey. The ultra filtration that processed honey goes through to make it look fine normally removes an important aspect of raw honey; pollen. With no further argument we can boldly complain that raw honey reigns supreme over processed ones. The following are some of the health benefits that can be harvested from consuming it.
It provides a natural healing solution for allergies.
You can eliminate all kinds of allergies by eating raw honey. Honey contains anti-inflamatory, anti-allergenicand expectorant elements which reinforce the immune system in the most effective manner ever known to man. That's part of the reason why it's recommendable to take honey with lemon and hot water when having a cold.
It is the healer of most skin problems.
Raw honey heals and mends skin affected by harmful chemicals. It is applied to rashes,acne and burns with would be regarded as a thin layer of baking soda to reduce the sticky effect. it is also used as a natural moisturizer or use it for treating their scalp with by mixing it with olive oil. It is also a perfect remedy for bleeding gums and canker sores. It aids in the digestive process.
Raw honey is a kind of inverted sugar that doesn't cause bacteria or ferment in the stomach. Hence it isn't absorbed easily. Its extremely good enzyme content helps in the digestive process. For many years raw honey has been used as a remedy for gall bladder disease,intestinal ulcers as well as a natural laxative.
It contains anti-cancer properties.
Studies done show that raw honey has both the capability as well as ability to prevent and inhibit cancerous diseases. It can also aid in the chemotherapy treatment for cancer patients.
As a sleep aid.
Raw honey is full of vitamins, minerals, calcium, zinc, manganese, potassium, chromium and selenium. All these minerals are needed in the sleep formation processes and to fight insomnia. If you are sleep-deprived, take two teaspoons right before bedtime and experience the magic of this wonderful product made by bees.
It is a natural energy booster.
The sugars found in raw honey are a perfect source of energy, revitalizing the body especially after a workout session.
Now that you know why raw honey is good for you, why not opt for it instead of the processed and refined ones? The next step to take is replacing it with sugar for your cup of coffee and baking needs. It is a natural sweetener that will not only sweeten your beverages and cakes, but also make you healthier.
What Are the Health Benefits Of Collagen Tablets?
April 10, 2012 06:57 AM
Collagen is one of the most important components involved in the formation of your body's ligaments, tendons, cartilage and muscles. As you get older, your body's ability to manufacture the required amount of collagen becomes lesser. Collagen tablets covers up for it by helping maintain the repair process. These tablets also have different benefits that you should consider and these benefits re given below:
Improves blood circulation: this happens because collagen tablets improve the elasticity of blood vessels, making them stronger and this improved blood flow.
It enhances healing of injuries: when our bodies cannot provide sufficient nutrients required to repair the body tissues, these tablets compensate for the loss. The structure of the bones, cartilages and other parts are also strengthened by this. It encourages the regeneration of muscle mass making recovery after sport related injuries faster.
Keep Arthritis pains at bay: the disease associated with joint inflammation and painful mobility around the areas is referred to as Arthritis. Collagen tablets work at reducing this pain making movement around the joints more comfortable.
Reduces the appearance of cellulite: when fatty tissues find way to the upper layers of the skin, dimples often occur. This is referred to as Cellulite. These tablets reduce this occurrence by rebuilding the destroyed fibres that allow cellulite to appear.
Helps in reducing wrinkles: when our bodies no longer produce collagen, certain lines form on the places that move most, like our foreheads and joints. This is referred to as wrinkles. The tablets work by increasing the suppleness of the skin.
Improves the hair structure: these tablets fight free radicals which often affect the texture and growth of our hair. replacing this component in the shaft of your hair will give your hair better appearance.
It is advisable to start taking these tablets from as early as thirty years as this will prevent the onset of the above conditions. It also makes your skin look younger by preventing wrinkles. One should use these tablets because its absorption occurs naturally through the blood stream, making it possible for your body to decide its destination. If you are an athlete, this is just the thing for you as it facilitates the healing of wounds making it possible for you to be back on the field within a short time. The tablets can help soften your stiff joints if you find it hard to exercise because of that. If acne is your problem, then you won't have to worry, because this drug works with your skin's keratin to produce the best results ever. It is also said to have an effect in weight loss.
One thing that you should note is that collagen tablet works best on an empty stomach, so for the best results, take it early in the morning or before meals. These tablets are cheap and easy to find. They contribute greatly to your health and overall appearance. Now that you know, take that short trip to the nearest chemist and take control of your future life! Collagen tablets are a good way to start.
Vitamins and Herbs
April 03, 2009 02:52 PM
The whole human body is made up of cells that contain their own genetic material. In a healthy body, these cells divide at a controlled rate, growing and repairing damaged tissues and replacing dying cells. This predetermined rate of cell division is what keeps our bodies healthy. If cells keep multiplying when new ones are not necessary, a mass of tissue, often known as a tumor, is formed. This tumor can be either benign or malignant.
Benign tumors are not cancerous and can occur anywhere in the body. Benign tumors do not cause a threat to health, do not metastasize, and do not grow back if removed. Malignant tumors are cancerous and are usually serious. Often times, they can be life-threatening. Malignant tumors grow uncontrollably, interfere with normal metabolic and organ functioning, and have the ability to metastasize and invade other tissues. If a portion of a cell’s DNA is damaged, the cell can become abnormal. When an abnormal cell divides, it forms new cells that are a photocopy of the damaged genetic material. This ongoing process occurs constantly within our bodies. The majority of the time our bodies have the ability to destroy these abnormal cells and maintain a sort of cellular equilibrium. If a crucial part of the DNA is destroyed and the abnormal cells cannot be controlled any longer, cancer forms. All cancer cells have two things in common: growing uncontrollably and having the ability to metastasize. The immune system does not recognize cancer cells as dangerous or foreign.
Although the exact cause for the cell damage that initiates the cancer process is unknown (theoretically free radical damage causes DNA damage), the chain of events that leads to cancer is very complex, and each individual body reacts differently. It is a combination of genetic, behavioral, environmental, and lifestyle factors that are thought to be involved in turning normal cells into abnormal cells, and abnormal cells into cancer.
There are also factors that are believed to slow the process, while other factors can speed up the process. Possible contributors to the development and growth of cancer can be divided into three categories: external, internal, and lifestyle. External factors include unhealthy workplace environments and exposure to air and water pollution, chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides. Included in the internal factors include both genetics and infections. Lifestyle factors are those we personally can most readily control, such as diet, smoking, drinking, and sun exposure. External and lifestyle factors account for 80 percent of cancer deaths in the United States.
Just as each of us looks different, each of our bodies has its own unique composition. Some of us may react adversely to what some of us react well to. This is why some treatments prove to be successful for some, but not for others. This is why dietary wellness and prevention is so important. If we can keep our bodies healthy and avoid known cancer-causing agents, we have a good defense against cancer in the first place.
The following nutrients and supplements are designed for persons who have been diagnosed with cancer, as well as for those who wish to enhance their chances of avoiding the disease: coenzyme Q10, colostrum, DMG, garlic, IP6, melatonin, MSM, proteolytic enzymes, selenium, 7-keto DHEA, shark cartilage, SOD, vitamin A, shiitake extract, acidophilus, chromium picolinate, flaxseed oil, grape seed extract, kelp, l-carnitine, multienzyme complex, a multi-mineral complex, multivitamin complex, NAC, raw glandular complex, taurine, and vitamin B complex. Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial: astragalus, birch, burdock root, cat’s claw, chaparral, chuchuhuasi, cranberry, dandelion, Echinacea, fennel, green tea, licorice root, macela, milk thistle, parsley, pau d’arco, red clover, suma, cardamom, cayenne, ginger, rosemary, sage, thyme, turmeric, ragwort, wood sage, curcumin, essiac, noni, olive leaf extract, rosemary, and boswellia.
All of the above listed herbs and vitamins can help restore the body to good nutrition and help boost the immune system so the body can find and fight back against cancer. Natural vitamins and herbs are available at your local or internet health food store. When purchasing supplements, look for name brand vitamins like Solaray and Source Naturals to ensure you receive quality and you get what you pay for.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Natural vitamins and herbs 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.
Potassium And Magnesium
December 30, 2008 01:08 PM
Potassium and magnesium are the two most common minerals found within the cells of your body. They each have specific individual functions within your body, and together help to maintain the correct balance of electrolytes and the proper functioning of smooth and striated muscles. That includes allowing muscles to relax properly rather than to cramp.
Before discussing this, let's have a look at the major individual properties of these two metallic minerals with respect to the body's biochemistry.
Magnesium is needed to ensure the proper functioning of the sodium/potassium pump. This is a complex topic, and we shan't dwell on it at length here, although the basics are that it is responsible for the movement of ions into and out of cells. Sodium and potassium ions are moved in opposite directions across the cell plasma membrane, three sodium ions being pumped out for every two potassium ions pumped into the cell.
This is of particular importance to nervous cells responsible for transmitting impulses in response to specific stimuli. In the event of a magnesium deficiency, this pumping action is impaired and the sodium/potassium balance within and without the body cells are imbalanced. This in turn impairs the response of nerve cells to stimuli. Both magnesium and potassium can be depleted through the use of diuretics, in which case a magnesium supplement can redress the imbalance.
There are several consequences of such an electrolytic imbalance, some having potentially serious consequences. Many can cause death if left untreated, although the symptoms usually allow appropriate medical treatment prior to the condition becoming fatal, such treatment frequently involving administration of magnesium and potassium. Among these are:
Calcium overload in certain heart cells that reduces the effective use of oxygen and ATP and causes overactive contraction of the heart muscle.
Spasms in coronary blood vessels.
Over-activity of the striated muscle fibers, leading to cramps in the calf and thigh muscles, for example.
Cramp and pain in the smooth muscles of hollow organs such as the bladder or uterus that can also cause premature labor.
Several heart problems caused by an increase in energy consumption and a calcium overload and potassium deficiency that leads to cardiac ischemia and arrhythmia that continue to create a serious medical condition and hazard to life. Potassium, that can stop the heart if given in excess, can be just as harmful if present in too small a concentration.
The whole situation creates a self-perpetuating cycle that can be broken by a magnesium and potassium supplement that restores the correct gradient of potassium and magnesium across the cell membrane, improves the function of the sodium/potassium pump and reduces the excess cellular calcium by replacing it with magnesium.
This only works if both potassium and magnesium are taken together: just either alone is no good. It also takes time for the effect to occur, so the supplement is not suitable for emergency use. A regular supply can prevent the condition occurring.
There are many other properties that magnesium and potassium possess with regard to the body's biochemistry such as the effect of magnesium in activating certain enzymes. However, in discussing relaxation, both of these essential minerals have a significant part to play.
It has been mentioned that a magnesium and calcium deficiency causes spasms and cramps in the smooth and striated muscles, and the corollary is also true. Magnesium and potassium can be used to relieve such cramps, and relax muscle tissue. Hence, because it can relax excited smooth bronchial muscle tissue, magnesium can be used to relieve asthma attacks. The intravenous administration of magnesium is, in fact, an accepted and proven clinical treatment for acute asthma attacks.
In the same way, magnesium has been used to treat muscle spasms and cramps. Again, it is not an immediate treatment for emergency use, but can be used over a period of days to treat athletes with a history of muscle spasms. Such spasm frequently occur after prolonged periods of exercise, when magnesium and potassium, among other electrolytes, can be lost through a combination of sweating and urination.
However, this is not the only means by which magnesium is lost from your body cells, and probably not even the main one. Less obvious, but likely of more importance, is the transfer of magnesium from the plasma into the red blood cells (erythrocytes). The amount by which this occurs is directly proportional to the more anaerobic the exercise, hence the need by athletes and weightlifters for more magnesium. It can be rapidly lost through exercise with insufficient oxygen, and cause their muscles to cramp up.
Magnesium deficiency is common in Americans, although factors such as high calcium intake, alcohol intake, diuretics, and kidney and liver disease are more responsible for this than a dietary deficiency. Potassium is readily available in bananas, brown rice, potatoes, tomatoes and oranges and dietary deficiencies are not common although supplements are readily available.
Magnesium is also known to play an important part in the secretion and use of insulin by the body. Supplementation with magnesium can help diabetics to make best use of insulin, become more tolerant to glucose and improve the fluidity of the membrane of red blood cells. The mineral; also has a small but definite effect in lowering blood pressure. Other uses for magnesium supplements include congenital heart failure, where higher magnesium contents lead to greater life expectancy and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) where magnesium supplements can significantly increase energy levels.
Other uses to which your body puts potassium other than to allow proper muscle contraction and relaxation and to maintain the balance of electrolytes in the body, includes the function of brain and nerve neurons. This, however, is academic since should your potassium levels drop by 50%, death would result.
Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium are essential in maintaining the proper workings of your body cells, although the most visible effect of magnesium and potassium is their relaxation properties on the body, put to specific use by sportsmen and women, particularly those involved in the more anaerobic sports.
Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D
August 06, 2008 12:32 PM
Osteoporosis has always been known to threaten women, as it afflicts 8 million females in the US, but this bone-thinning disorder is becoming a serious public health issue among men also. More than 2 million men may be at risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures, with 6% of them over age 50 will experience a hip fracture as a result of this disease. Even though osteoporosis does not affect men as often as it does women, the risk for men increases with age, with the risk factors being similar to those of women. Osteoporosis often shows no symptom until a bone fracture occurs, which makes early detection extremely important.
With new bone material constantly replacing the old, more bone is produced than removed during childhood, which lets the skeleton grow. Bone mass peaks for most people during their 30s, with the processing reversing itself afterwards. The amount of bone slowly begins to decline as the removal of old exceeds the formation of new. Because female hormone production drops rapidly at menopause, this condition is immediately associated with increased bone loss. Hormonal changes in men occur much more slowly, with testosterone levels declining about 1% each year after the age of 40, remaining unnoticeable until after age 60.
Women lose bone more rapidly than men up until after age 65, when the rates equal out. The absorption of calcium decreases in both sexes, while excessive bone loss increases the fragility of bones, leading to fractures in the hip, spine, and wrist. Women begin to get spine fractures in their late 50s, while men take about 10 years longer for this to begin, which can partially be attributed to their larger skeletons, which takes longer for osteoporosis to develop.
Along with being brought on by advancing age and lower testosterone levels, osteoporosis can develop due to small stature, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, gastric cancer, HIV infection, celiac disease, various medications, and growth hormone deficiency. Because nothing can be done about one’s stature, some basic lifestyle adjustments, such as not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks each day, and increasing exercise, can help a man protect his bones. A man should also look for treatment for any other underlying medical conditions that affect bone health.
Calcium, one of the best known nutrients associated with healthy bones, needs help to provide maximum protection. Therefore, other skeleton-strengthening minerals necessary are magnesium, which regulates calcium transport within the body; zinc, which is required for collagen; and boron, which is a trace element that helps the body to use calcium, magnesium, and other minerals. Boron is also important because it activates vitamin D.
Finally, vitamin D is another key bone nutrient. In order to ensure adequate D intake, at least 10 minutes of sunlight a day or dietary supplements is important. In colder, cloudier times, vitamin D supplementation is highly recommended. Additionally, B vitamin deficiencies have often been associated with an increased chance of developing osteoporosis. The best way for a man to avoid osteoporosis is to be aware of his risk. The knowledge of osteoporosis in women has led to a downward trend in women breaking hips, but the incidence is still going up for men.
August 05, 2008 01:13 PM
Unlike macro-minerals such as calcium, which the body needs in gram amounts, trace minerals such as iron, selenium, zinc, silicon, chromium, sulfur, and copper are only needed in milligram or micrograms. However, these small quantities do not reflect the importance of trace minerals, as inadequate intake can have huge effects on the body. Lets discuss a few of these trace minerals.
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide, with 20 to 50 percent of people affected. The average body contains only one teaspoon of iron, but this mineral is crucial in oxygen transportation throughout the bloodstream and into cells. A lack of iron will starve the body of oxygen and energy, which cause the symptoms of iron deficiency to be fatigue, foggy thinking, irritability, headaches, and lethargy.
A lot of athletes have inadequate iron intake, impairing their exercise performance as it decreases hemoglobin levels and the amount of oxygen that is delivered to the muscles while it increases the time that is needed to recover from exercise. Iron is also important in immunity, with optimal iron intake strengthening the immune system and building resistance to colds, infections, and diseases. Even though inadequate intake is a common concern, too much can also cause health problems including stomach and intestinal cramps, nausea, and constipation.
The most important function of selenium is its antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase. This enzyme is invaluable in protecting red blood cells and cell membranes from free radical damage. Selenium works closely with vitamin E, sometimes replacing it in certain situations. Selenium holds an important role in maintaining the immune system and has been shown to reduce the risk of many health problems which include several types of cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain birth defects.
Zinc is a valuable antioxidant that supports many aspects of the immune system. Zinc works in the eyes to protect them against sunlight-related free radicals. Zinc supplements have been found to slow the progression of macular degeneration, but high intakes of zinc and other antioxidants have been shown to lower the risk of developing this eye disease in the first place. This mineral can reduce the severity and duration of the common cold when in lozenge form, if started within 24 hours of the first cold symptom and taken every couple of hours. Taking 50mg of zinc daily or higher amounts for short periods of time is a good idea, but amounts over 150mg daily could cause metallic taste, stomach upset, or impair immune function.
Many modern diets contain extremely low amounts of silicon, especially since food processing removes much of the silicon. Silicon improves the elasticity and suppleness to skin that has been damaged by excessive skin exposure. Silicon is also important in natural bone formation, since deficiencies in silicon lead to bone weakness and sluggish wound health. Bone mineral density can be improved in people with osteoporosis by raising the intake of silicon.
Chromium is important in maintaining blood sugar levels, as well as many other roles in the body. Chromium deficiency impairs the blood sugar-insulin relationship, while chromium supplementation improves insulin response. Studies have shown that supplementing with chromium picolinate improves diabetes management by lowering blood sugar, insulin, cholesterol, or triglyceride levels and reducing the reliance on blood sugar medications. This mineral is also important in the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates.
Finally, Sulfur is needed in the joints to keep the connective tissues within them strong and stable. One source of sulfur, MSM, has been shown to significantly relieve pain and improve use of knee joints in studies. Through all of the above, one can see that trace minerals are extremely important contributors to health, even in small amounts.
Third- The Science (Putting It All Together) Boswellia & Inflammation
April 03, 2008 12:44 PM
Frankincense has traditionally been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, and is even mentioned in the Bible. The trunk exudes a resin containing mono- and sesquiterpenes that possess powerful anti-inflammatory properties. They are also well known antiseptics and astringents, and support the immune and respiratory systems.
These terpenes are commonly referred to as boswellian acids, and consist of a carboxylated pentacyclic triterpene with at least one more functional group. Both the alpha and beta acid have a hydroxyl (-OH) grouping, and there are also the acetyl (CH3CO-) equivalents with an acetyl group replacing the OH. There are other so-called-boswellian acids, and it is believed that they all play a part in the anti-inflammatory properties of the resin.
The acetyl derivatives are thought to be involved in the death of some cancer cells, particularly those involve in brain and colon tumors, and also leukemia. The way in which they achieve this appears to be a programmed progression that ends with the dying out of the cells rather than a violently destructive mechanism, which lends credence to the Ayurvedic belief that the treatment is a natural one designed by nature.
The anti-inflammatory properties of the acetyl triterpenes are due to their effect on leukotrienes that sustain the inflammatory reactions of many allergic reactions and also of asthma. They appear to inhibit the enzyme elastase in leukocytes; this is a crucial enzyme in the production of the chemicals that promote inflammation.
It has been established that the inflammatory response of the immune system is due to the action of specific enzymes, so it stands to reason that if you can inhibit these enzymes, then you will also inhibit the immune response to specific initiators and so reduce the pain involved. Bosellian acid in the form of triterpenes appears to contain these inhibitors, and this would appear to explain its effectiveness. Pinene and phellandrene are among the terpenes isolated from Boswellia.
A standardised dose of 60% - 65% of Bosellian acids is generally used, so if you are purchasing Boswellia this is what you should be looking for. Keep in mind that it is intended to treat inflammation, ands that inflammation is an indicator that something with your body is not quite right. Therefore, while inflammation is painful, and Boswellia may help, you should also treat the cause of the inflammation by treating the immune system.
Lutein: A Plant Pigment That Provides Protection From The Sun
October 23, 2007 10:00 AM
Lutein is a plant pigment, and protects protection from the sun needed to prevent damage to the skin and eyes from its strong ultra violet (UVB) radiation. Lutein is a carotenoid and strong antioxidant that is found in red, yellow, orange and dark green fruit and vegetables such as broccoli, curly and sea kale, spinach, carrots peppers and squashes. It is also available from egg yolks, corn and some fruits such as pomegranates. It is the colored pigments, especially the reds, yellows and oranges, in which lutein is most found.
Lutein can also prevent cataracts and provide benefits for age related macular degeneration. However, before discussing the benefits, it is necessary to discuss exactly what these conditions are and what causes them. Let’s have a heads up on cataracts first.
A cataract takes the form of a clouding of the lens of the eye that leads to blurred vision and eventual virtual blindness when the cloudiness is extreme. It is not blindness due to problems with the nerves of the eye, but due to the lens become cloudy, and scattering light entering the eye. It is not a film over the eye as many people believe, but a cloudiness of the lens, and cataracts can normally be treated by removing the whole lens and replacing it with a lens implant – or a synthetic lens.
It is not fully understood how lutein can help cataracts, but studies have shown that those take a large quantity of lutein in there diet have up to 50% less chance of getting cataracts that those that do not. It has also been demonstrated that men who ate broccoli and spinach regularly had a 25% less chance of getting cataracts. The same is true of those that include a lutein supplement of around 6 mg daily, although up to 20 mg is considered an effective dose.
However, it not only through its properties in protecting against cataracts that lutein can help to preserve the health of your eyes. It is also through its effect on macular degeneration. The macula is small part in the center of the retina that allows you to see central vision in high detail, especially close up when you use the center of your eye. Age-related macular degeneration, known as MD, affects your macula so that you can see fine round the edges, but your central vision is blurred. It is therefore difficult to drive, read or carry out tasks that need good central focus. You will find it next to impossible to thread a needle for example. It can come on very slowly, in fact so slowly that you never notice it because the change from day to day, or even week to week, is so small.
It is not coincidence that lutein is concentrated in the macula, and that a lutein supplement can help to prevent macular degeneration. Lutein is believed to filter out some of the blue wavelengths of light, and it is the blue wavelengths that are though to cause free radical damage and oxidative stress to various organs of the body exposed to light, but specifically the eyes. That is why it is believed that lutein helps to prevent macular degeneration, and studies have indicated a good supplement to consist of up to 30 mg each day.
It can also protect the skin from damage by UV radiation, and also prevents free radical damage to skin cells causing premature aging of the skin. The latter occurs through its antioxidant properties, while the former is because if its light filtering properties. It can not only filter out the blue light that can cause macular degeneration but also ultra-violet radiation that affects the skin and can cause skin cancer. There is a fine line between the blue and ultra violet wavelengths from sunlight, and both can contribute to certain medical conditions. However, the absorptive properties of lutein are such that it can absorb the more harmful of these.
The antioxidant properties of lutein are important in their own right, and can help to reduce cholesterol deposition in arties and help to maintain a healthy arterial wall thickness. The same is true of any carotenoids that reduce heart problems, some cancers, especially of the cervix, stomach and lungs, and others that can be caused by free radical action and narrowed arteries such as strokes and brain hemorrhages.
Although it is not one of those supplements considered essential, lutein is biologically essential in that it cannot be produced by the body. It has to be taken through the diet. There is no specific recommended daily allowance (RDA) because life can go on without it, but it does play a role in your everyday health.
However, the average person has a lutein intake less than that needed to take advantage of its UV protection or antioxidant effect. As previously stated, the effective dose is considered to be 30 mg daily, and the average American intake is about 2 mg. That’s an awful lot of egg yolks or tomatoes you are going to have to eat! If you do intend to take your lutein from the natural source, then it much more easily assimilated into your body if not overcooked. Lightly steaming is the best way to prepare your vegetables for maximum nutritional effect.
You can also take lutein as a supplement in the form of tablets, creams and drinks, and can also be found in other supplements that contain carotenoids such as lycopene and beta-carotene. Although not consider essential to life, do not underestimate the health benefits to be gained from a diet high in lutein, especially if you value the health of your eyes.
All strong antioxidants provide you with health benefits due to their ability to destroy the free radicals that in turn destroy the DNA in your body cells, and disrupt the cells themselves. Combine that with their action as filters to the damaging rays of the sun and you have in lutein a plant product that is far reaching in the health benefits that it can provide you with. If you are looking for a lutein supplement, stop into your local or internet health food store for lutein is an over the counter supplement.
Memory And Focus
May 08, 2007 02:05 PM
Memory & Focus
Some people think getting older often means getting slower. It’s true that as we age, we may find we can’t walk quite as fast, climb as many flights of stairs, or play sports as hard as we could when we were twenty. However, we k now that a healthy diet, regular exercise, and the right dietary supplements can make a huge difference in our health, strength, and mobility as we age.
This is true for our mental abilities as well. We may not think as quickly as we used to, might misplace our keys more often, and experience more “tip-of-my-tongue” word searches. These so-called “middle-aged moments” most often have minor consequences: a missed appointment or the forgotten name of an acquaintance. However, in a small number of cases, these mental slips can also be the first sign of serious diseases of aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease of other dementias.
The good news is, just like our physical health, we can improve how we function mentally. Eating healthy foods, taking the right supplements, and participating in regular mental exercise can significantly increase our mental endurance, improve our memory, and optimize our ability to focus.
In fact, groundbreaking and ongoing research has discovered that specific herbs and vitamins, particularly Ginkgo Biloba, Bacopa monnieri, folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12, and the important co-enzyme and antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid, all have powerful effects on memory and focus. These nutritional supplements have been scientifically shown to quickly reduce mild age-related memory chances, as well as greatly reducing the risk of developing more serious problems like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or other brain diseases later on in life.
Q. What is the difference between age related memory decline and dementia?
A. As we get older, our nerve cells need more time to spark and connect, slowing the process of bringing memories and events to mind. Another theory is that, as we age, we accumulate more knowledge and memories. The mind then has to sort through much more data to reference a memory. Almost everyone middle-aged and older notices this slowdown. Memory decline and problems with mental focus are a normal part of aging.
While it’s true that the older we get, our chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease increase, this illness is not a normal part of aging. Alzheimer’s is an irreversible, progressive dementia that slowly kills nerve cells in areas of the brain where memory, learning, though, and language take place. Often first appearing as people begin retirement, Alzheimer’s disease makes the “golden years” a time of loss and devastation. Memories vanish, relationships are erased, and independence is gradually lost.
After Alzheimer’s disease, the second most common cause of dementia in older people is multi-infarct dementia. Caused by a series of mini-strokes that damage or destroy brain tissue over time, multi-infarct dementia usually affects people between the ages of 60 and 75. Men are slightly more at risk. High blood pressure is the most significant risk factor for multi-infarct dementia.
Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, strokes, Huntington’s disease, Creutzfelt-Jakob disease, and alcoholism can also cause progressive and irreversible dementia.
While normal age-related memory and focus loss may mean we can’t remember where we put our car keys, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia may mean we can’t remember what our car keys are used for.
Q. Are any types of memory and focus loss reversible?
A. Yes. As women enter menopause, they frequently experience trouble remembering. This memory interference is caused by hormone fluctuations and can affect speech, thinking, and attention. Symptoms of menopause-related memory loss and poor focus include recognizing faces less well than in the past, missing scheduled appointments, and misplacing articles. Once a woman passes through menopause, her ability to remember and focus most often improves.
Certain medications, such as the heavily prescribed cholesterol lowering drugs called stains, can temporarily interfere with memory. Low vitamin B levels, artherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and thyroid disease can cause disruption of mental focus and memory loss. These problems usually resolve with treatment of the underlying disorder.
A certain type of stoke, called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) can cause memory loss that may be reversible. A TIA is a brief episode of stroke symptoms that come on quickly. Sometimes referred to as a “mini-stroke” or “warning stroke,” a TIA is caused by a temporary interruption in the blood supply to the brain. But, unlike a stroke, a TIA does not lead to permanent brain damage. While a TIA is usually short-lived, it is likely to occur again if not properly managed and can be a warning of future stroke.
Q. I seem to forget a lot of things. How can I be sure I don’t have Alzheimer’s disease or some other dementia?
A. If you, or other around you, are concerned about your memory, you should be examined by your health care practitioner. Once the cause of your memory and focus problem is diagnosed, treatment can begin. All causes of memory loss and mental focus disruption can be treated, even Alzheimer’s disease. While presently irreversible dementias cannot be cured, the progression of the disease may be slowed, and in some cases, stopped..
Research on memory loss and mental focus disruption has increased dramatically in the past few years. Discoveries regarding Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as well as age-related loss of memory and focus have recently been made. Most importantly, many new treatment options, including the use of nutritional supplements, have been developed.
Q. How can nutritional supplements improve memory and focus?
A. Several herbs and vitamins have been demonstrated to improve memory and mental focus. While some nutritional supplements work now to improve memory and focus, others work to prevent problems we might develop later.
One of the most researched herbs, Ginkgo biloba, has been found to be effective in improving currently experienced memory and focus loss; in other words, problems we are having now. Ginkgo has been studied in individuals who have age-related memory loss, as well as in those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. It seems that ginkgo can improve many brain functions, such as speeding up memory recall, protecting brain cells from chemical changes and free radical damage, improving blood flow to the brain, and helping nerve cells communicate with each other better.
Several studies examined ginkgo’s effect in healthy people who were experiencing normal age-related memory and focus problems. They determined that ginkgo improved memory, attention, and clarity of thinking. Ginkgo can also help restore memories that may be lost in TIAs, those mini-strokes that were discussed earlier.
In studies of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, the results showed that ginkgo slowed down the disease in those severely afflicted and actually improved those with very mild or moderate disease. In one of these studies, ginkgo was compared to four prescription cholinesterase inhibitors, medications commonly used to treat individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Using written mental tests, the researchers found that ginkgo worked just as effectively as the prescription drugs. While those taking one of the cholinesterase inhibitors dropped out of the study because of disturbing side effects, ginkgo had no side effects and improved symptoms equally as well.
Q. Hoe does Bacopa monnieri help memory and focus?
A. Like ginkgo, bacopa works on the memory and focus problems we are experiencing now. Bacopa grows in
Q. How does alpha lipoic acid help memory and focus?
A. Alpha lipoic acid (
Researchers have discovered unmistakable free radical damage in Alzheimer’s disease. Accordingly,
In a recent study, people with Alzheimer’s disease were given tests that measured through and memory. They were then given
Q. How do vitamins B12 and B6 help memory and focus?
A. Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient in the regulation of nerve transmissions. It is required by the nervous system for normal brain function, and it may also help with mood.
Researchers have learned that people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias (including Parkinson’s disease) have elevated homocysteine levels. IN fact, t he amount of homocysteine in the blood corresponds to the severity of the disease. Most people with a high homocysteine level don’t have enough folate, vitamin B5 or vitamin B12 in their diet. replacing these vitamins helps return the homocysteine level to normal.
Reducing homocysteine levels may prevent the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease, or other brain diseases, and improve the symptoms of those already afflicted.
Q. What about folic acid?
A. Folic acid has long been recognized as a vital nutrient for the brain and spinal cord. Recent research has demonstrated that folic acid has significant importance in Alzheimer’s disease.
An ongoing study of Alzheimer’s disease that began in 1986 has been studying 678 members of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in the hopes of learning how the disease develops, how it might be prevented, and how to treat it. Data collected in the study includes biographies the sisters wrote upon entrance to the order, blood samples from the sisters while they are living, and information gained from the voluntary donation of their brains after death.
Aptly named the “Nun Study,” ground breaking discoveries have already been made. It seems that diet and nutrition have a dramatic influence in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Sisters who had high levels of folic acid showed little evidence of Alzheimer’s-type damage in their brains after death. And, those nuns who had Alzheimer’s disease in spite of high folic acid levels had profoundly less brain damage from the disease. In fact, some sisters who had no outward evidence of Alzheimer’s disease while they were living had surprisingly extensive damage in their brains after death.
Q. Besides taking ginkgo, bacopa, B vitamins, folic acid, and ALA, is there other things I can do to prevent Alzheimer’s disease?
A. You may not know if you have a serious B-vitamin deficiency. Routine lab work does not measure the amount of B vitamins in your blood. You might want to ask your health care practitioner to have your B vitamin level in your blood measured, especially if you are having memory and focus problems. Keep in mind that this type of lab work is fairly expensive, however.
Supplements do not replace the need for a healthy diet, especially a diet with high levels of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and omega-3 fatty acids. Keeping your body healthy helps keep your brain healthy as well.
It also seems that the use-it-or-lose-it theory applies to our brain as well as our body. Research has shown that people who seek opportunities to keep mentally active, such as reading books, newspapers, and magazines, solving crossword puzzles, playing card games, and visiting museums, lower their risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dealing with age-related memory loss may be both frustrating and frightening. As the population of
In fact, more and more research shows prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is a reality. And age-related memory loss can successfully be improved as well. Taking the scientifically validated nutritional supplements ginkgo, bacopa, vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, and
Trace Minerals and Migraines
November 16, 2005 12:02 PM
Trace Minerals and Migraines
An increasingly large amount of disease today may be attributable to deficiencies in the supply of trace minerals in our diets.1 How can this be the case when the availability of food in our country is unprecedented, with a supermarket on every corner? These deficiencies do not stem from a lack of quantity of food, rather they stem from the quality of food. Trace minerals can be found mainly in whole, unprocessed foods such as vegetables and fruits. Unfortunately, the large majority of fruits and vegetables found in supermarkets today are nutritionally devoid of these minerals, largely in part to the high-yield farming practices in this and other countries.
The mineral content of food is mainly dependent on the amount of minerals found in the soil in which it is grown. Current farming practices leave soils with less than optimal amounts of these minerals, especially the less common trace minerals. As a result of this, our food supplies leave us at risk for deficiencies of these very important substances. Because of this situation, it is essential that every person now supplement their diet with trace minerals in order to avoid the many diseases that are attributable to this scarcity. A lack of vital nutrients leaves the body unable to function fully, leaving it vulnerable to disease.
Trace minerals have numerous roles. Oftentimes, because these minerals are found in such small quantities in the body, scientists and physicians have paid little attention to their importance in health and disease prevention. However, with the advent of improved science and the recognition of the efficacy of natural medicine, we are beginning to understand how vital these elements are to our health. Trace minerals, in a sense, are akin to the numerous tiny nails, nuts, and bolts that hold a house together. At first glance, a home is made of much more than these items. However, if they are slowly removed and never replaced, the house will continue to sag and finally fall apart. So it is the same with the smallest building blocks of our bodies. Trace minerals are important in the proper functioning of enzyme systems, nerve conduction and muscle function, assisting with transfer of nourishment into cells, providing the framework for tissues, and regulation of organ functions. These ‘behind the scenes’ functions are not possible without a constant, adequate supply of minerals. Even with the many multivitamin and mineral supplements available, most of these products fall short because they do not contain large enough amounts of the trace minerals that are so important to health.
Physicians that specialize in natural medicine are some of the biggest proponents of trace mineral supplementation. This type of physician is attuned to the many subtleties of the functions of the human body, and oftentimes addresses health issues with nutritional therapeutics in an attempt to bring the body’s health back into balance. This process of balance, also known as homeostasis, occurs quite wonderfully all by itself, as long as the body has the proper fuel and building materials. Unfortunately, physicians are seeing more and more diseases, which can be attributed to the body’s inability to achieve this balance. This trend towards ill health is directly related to the dearth of nutritional value in our diets today.
However, practitioners of natural medicine are very excited with the many dramatic turn-arounds toward health that many of their patients have experienced with the use of mineral supplementation. A common example of this is the treatment of migraine headaches with magnesium. Recent statistics suggest that 18 percent of women and six percent of men suffer from migraine and those numbers are increasing.2 The Centers for Disease Control reported a 60-percent increase in the disease from 1980 to 1989.3 Migraine headaches occur when the blood vessels in the brain spasm and constrict. Soon after this constriction occurs, the blood vessels then reflexively open, or dilate. When the vessels become dilated, they occupy more space in the brain, activating nearby pain receptors. It is speculated that an imbalance of mineral stores in the body can lead to this spasm of the blood vessels. Many researchers have suggested magnesium plays an important role in migraine attacks. The activities of magnesium in the body include preventing blood vessel spasm, inhibiting blood clotting, and stabilizing cell membranes, all of which are involved in migraine develoment4. Magnesium concentration exerts an effect on neurotransmitter production and receptors, pro-inflammatory molecules, and other migraine-related chemicals in the brain.5 Recent evidence suggests up to 50 percent of migraine patients have lowered levels of tissue magnesium during an acute migraine attack.6 Another study discovered brain magnesium concentrations were 19 percent lower in patients during migraine attack compared to healthy controls.7 Because recent research strongly indicates a magnesium deficiency in migraine headaches, natural medicine practitioners prescribe magnesium along with other trace minerals as a primary treatment for this condition with great success.
Because of their widespread distribution throughout the metabolic workings of the human body, trace minerals are integral to the functioning of one of the body’s largest organ systems, the muscles. Mainly, magnesium plays a large role in the relaxation of muscles following their contraction. Without this vital nutrient, it would be impossible for the muscles of the human body to function. Muscle cramps are prevalent in western society due to lack of intake of an appropriate amount of minerals. One easy, straightforward cure for muscle cramping is supplementation with magnesium and other trace minerals, as they allow the muscles to function smoothly and correctly. The role of magnesium in relieving cramped muscles also makes it a highly appropriate therapy for the muscle pain associated with fibromyalgia, a condition that is often treated successfully by practitioners of natural medicine. These practitioners often use high doses of magnesium and other trace mineral combinations to reduce the painful and tender muscles that are so common in fibromyalgia patients.
Another condition that is successfully treated with magnesium and trace minerals is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. People with this condition often experience profound muscle aches and weakness. It has been shown that in order for proper muscle contraction and relaxation to occur, magnesium and calcium need to be present in proper amounts in the body, which can be difficult to achieve even on a standard healthy diet. Additionally, magnesium and mineral supplementation may decrease the pain involved with sports-related injuries and excessive physical activity. As we use our muscular system, it is slowly depleted of these minerals, making replacement a top priority. Others signs of magnesium deficiency include disorientation, depression, tingling, numbness, seizures, abnormal heart rhythms in addition to muscle spasms and cramps.8,9
A minimum of at least 60 trace minerals has been demonstrated to be vital to health and well-being.10 This article has covered only a small fraction of the multitudes of health benefits of trace minerals. As science and natural medicine continues to uncover the many roles for all of these trace minerals, doctors are finding exciting solutions to several maladies that may be successfully treated by replacing these nutrients in the body. Unless we begin replacing these minerals early on in life, we put ourselves at risk for the many diseases of mineral deficiency that are becoming more and more prevalent in society today.
1 Medical Nutrition from Marz, 2nd Edition. Omni-Press, 1997. Pps. 103-107
2 Stewart WF, Lipton RB, Celentano DD, et al. Prevalence of migraine headache in the United States: relation to age, income, race, and other sociodemographic factors. JAMA 1992;267:64-69.
3 Rappaport AM, Scheftell FD. Headache Disorders: A Management Guide for Practitioners. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Co.;1996:4.
4 McCarty MF. Magnesium taurate and fish oil for prevention of migraine. Med Hypotheses 1996;47:461-466.
5Sinclair, S. Migraine Headaches: Nutritional, Botanical And Other Alternative Approaches. Alternative Medicine Review - Volume 4, Number 2, April 1999.
6 Mauskop A, Altura BM. Role of magnesium in the pathogenesis and treatment of migraine. Clin Neurosci 1998;5:24-27.
7 Ramadan NM, Halvorson H, Vande-Linde A, et al. Low brain magnesium in migraine. Headache 1989;29:590-593. 8 Rude RK. Magnesium deficiency: A cause of heterogeneous disease in humans. J Bone Miner Res 1998;13:749-58.
9 Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Fluoride. National Academy Press. Washington, DC, 1999.
10 Kelly, GS. Sports Nutrition: A Review of Selected Nutritional Supplements For Bodybuilders and Strength Athletes-Alternative Medicine Review - Volume 2, Number 3, May 1997
June 29, 2005 05:38 PM
Bio-Chelation* By Ellen J. Kamhi, Ph. D. with Dorie Greenblatt In The Beginning The Bio-Chelated¨ process describes a proprietary cold extraction technique developed by Mr. Frank D'Amelio Sr., founder and owner of Nature's Answer¨, and well- respected author*. Long before Nature's Answer¨ was formed (early 1970's), Mr. D'Amelio was immersed in the study of botanical medicine, researching the various herbal texts including the national USP/N.F. (United States Pharmacopeia/National Formularies) dating back to the mid -1800's. (The USP/N.F. is a reference source that provides manufacturing standards and extraction techniques used to make herbal formulas; these standards were considered official prior to 1938.) This authoritative formulary discussed the use of plant parts such as leaf, stem, bark, flowers and roots. It recommended certain solvents known as "menstruums", in which plant parts were soaked in order to extract their active constituents. High heat was also often utilized to concentrate the extract. Mr. D'Amelio noticed that high amounts of solvents, usually alcohol, were often recommended, and that sediment would fall to the bottom (precipitate) in certain solutions. He began to investigate how he could offer the consumer potent herbal products made with very low heat, with minimum precipitation, and without a lot of alcohol!
A Clue From Nature In working towards the goal of attaining a final botanical extract product with little alcohol, Mr. D'Amelio turned to Nature for the apparent answer. He realized that plants were composed of 80-85% water as well as some alcohols, fats, etc. If plants were able to keep the active constituents in solution and use them as needed mainly through water, not alcohol or other solvents, why couldn't he? Thus, he began a long, in-depth series of experiments with many different plants. Through rigorous research protocols and scientific testing, he discovered that the active constituents of some plants could be extracted using lower alcohol amounts with water and other natural solvents such as organic apple cider vinegar or vegetable glycerine. At other times, however, higher alcohol was necessary, such as when he was extracting volatile oils like menthol from peppermint. The experimentation process continued, with Mr. D'Amelio documenting the optimum menstruum combinations required for each plant to yield the maximum beneficial components. (Note that there are differences in alcohol. The alcohol consumed in wine and beer is derived through a natural fermentation process with no processing other than filtration. When distilled alcohol is added to an extraction, which some herbal manufacturers use, it effects the body in a more detrimental way; thus the development of the Bio-Chelation¨ process, which uses only organic alcohol).
The Bio-Chelated¨ Method Is Developed As Mr. D'Amelio continued his experimentation with various plants and menstruums, his extraction processes became more refined, and eventually led to the development of the Bio-Chelated¨ method. The Bio-Chelated¨ method incorporates soaking for a period of time, using different menstruum ratios for different plants to optimize their therapeutic values. Furthermore, this procedure offers additional significant advantages when compared with other types of extraction processes commonly employed by competitors in the herbal industry.
Bio-Chelation includes the use of "cold extraction", where the plant parts are extracted without being exposed to excessive amounts of heat. Cold extraction helps the herb maintain vital minerals and other trace elements in solution, thus enabling the herb to keep its Holistic Balanceª intact. (Holistic Balanceª means that extracts retain as many of the natural constituents of the original plant as possible.) In addition, the Bio-Chelated¨ process incorporates the use of an exclusive technique that removes much of the alcohol used during the menstruum soaking (maceration) phase, replacing it with vegetable glycerin instead. The resulting yield is an herbal extract that is either alcohol-free, or has a low alcohol content. (Both alcohol-free and low alcohol products from Nature's Answer feature vegetable glycerin only. Glycerin is used because it helps bind certain plant constituents, is natural to the body, is easily absorbed by the cells and has little insulin response. Only vegetable glycerin has been used since 1972. In addition, all alcohol used in Nature's Answer's low alcohol formulas is certified organic.)
The Bio-Chelated¨ method was the first extraction process to yield a 12-14% alcohol extract in the herbal industry!
Nature's Answer Stands The Test of Time Over the last quarter of a century (since 1972), the Bio-Chelated¨ cold extraction process has been painstakingly tested and proven to stand the test of time. Incorporating Mr. D'Amelio's proprietary cold extraction process in today's manufacturing procedures continues to yield a measurably superior product. One such example is Saw Palmetto from Nature's Answer¨, a product that is produced utilizing our Bio-Chelated¨ method versus the more expensive CO2 method. Our Bio-Chelated¨, cold extraction process yields a product that not only contains the same amounts of active constituents as the more expensive CO2 extracted product, but features a higher percentage of polyphenols, the compounds responsible for the herb's antioxidant properties. The end result is a Saw Palmetto extract that maintains its holistic balance! (Note that most prior successful studies done on Saw Palmetto utilized grain alcohol extracts which contained naturally occurring polyphenols; the CO2 extracted products do not contain polyphenols!) Although larger quantities of herbal products are now being produced as compared to the earlier experimental batches made by Frank D'Amelio, his founding corporate philosophy remains intact - combine the greatest care with the highest quality of raw material to create the ultimate herbal extract that works. After all, that's what it's all about, isn't it? Bio-Chelated¨..Another reason to count on Nature's Answer Without Question! Manufacturing Highlights:
State-of-The-Art Laboratory Manufacturing Equipment HPLC, UV, IR, GC/MS, LC/MS, TOC and Densitometer 316 Pharmaceutical Grade Stainless Steel or Glass Lined Extraction Vessels (instead of the inexpensive, more commonly used plastic or polyethylene extraction vessels; these vessels are porous and may contain microorganisms, residual plasticizers that are difficult to clean and could cross contaminate different batches of herbs) FDA Registered & Pharmaceutically Licensed cGMP and SOP Compliant Manufactured in the U.S.A. *Botanicals - A Phytocosmetic Desk Reference (1999), Botanical & Herbal Folklore (1974), The Botanical Practitioner (1978) Bio-Chelated¨ is a registered trademark of Bio-Botanica Inc.¨ Holistic Balanceª is a trademark of Bio-Botanica Inc.¨
7-Keto - The Key to Healthy Aging
June 21, 2005 05:05 PM
The global population is aging at an alarming rate and causing an explosion in health care costs, insurance premiums, cosmetic surgery and more. In the U.S. alone, more than one million baby boomers are expected to live to 100 years of age or older. This increased life expectancy presents a whole new set of health concerns that the medical community has not had time to address, since there is a greater need to care for age-related health problems in this ever-growing elderly population.1
Aging and the Decline in Vital Nutrients
We all grow old at the same rate but people age at different rates. Aging is a process of gradual changes that occur to varying degrees in each of us. Interestingly, the aging process is composed of different components and interactions, some of which can be impacted. One such component is the declining level of essential biological compounds, which causes our bodily functions to slow and become dysfunctional. Our organs don?t work efficiently, our immune system becomes lazy, we lack energy, our metabolism drops and we gain weight easily.1 7-oxo DHEA (7-Keto™) is a naturally occurring compound that declines with age.2 replacing this key metabolite helps promote a healthy immune system and maintains resting metabolic rate at levels that accelerate weight loss during standard weight reduction programs.
Aging and a Healthy Immune System
Numerous changes occur in the immune system with advancing age, probably contributing to decreased immune responsiveness. Although all segments of the immune system are affected, investigators have most consistently identified declines in cellular or T-cell mediated immune function in the elderly. The decline in T-cell immune function is generally associated with an increased susceptibility to foreign organisms. For example, individuals with age-related declines in cellular immunity have an impaired response to vaccinations, making them more susceptible to health imbalances even though they have had their shots. In a clinical study presented at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology meeting in April 2004, the effect of 7-Keto on elderly immune function was evaluated. Healthy elderly adults were given 7-Keto orally twice daily over a period of one month. The study revealed that 7-Keto augmented several key T-cell mediated immune function parameters compared to placebo administration.4
Age-Related Weight Gain
Age-related weight gain and obesity are approaching epidemic proportions in our country.5 Weight gain is a disorder of energy balance involving energy intake and/or expenditure. Low energy expenditure, a drop in resting metabolic rate (RMR), is a challenge during most weight loss attempts due to age, calorie restriction, lack of physical activity or a combination of factors. RMR represents 60% of total daily energy expenditure. Maintaining a higher RMR as we age and during weight reduction programs helps us achieve and maintain a normal weight. Furthermore, compounds with the thermogenic potential to achieve even minimal increases in daily energy expenditure of 2-3% may have clinical relevance in preventing the decline in RMR with calorie restricted diets or weight loss, and in decreasing the risk of regaining weight. 7-Keto, a non-stimulant thermogenic compound, has been shown to significantly increase energy expenditure in humans.6 A recently completed clinical study, also presented at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 2004 meeting, revealed that administration of 7-Keto to overweight adults in conjunction with a calorie restricted diet effectively reversed the decline in RMR normally associated with dieting. Obese participants following a calorie-restricted diet demonstrated a 5.4% increase in daily RMR with 7-Keto.7 The magnitude of the increase in RMR by 7-Keto is clinically relevant, and represents a promising agent for enhancing thermogenesis and weight loss in obese individuals on calorie-restricted diets. Additionally, 7-Keto has been shown in two confirmatory published clinical studies to result in three times more weight loss compared to diet and exercise alone. It has a favorable side effect profile and is easy and convenient to take.8,9 Our life expectancies will likely be longer than those of our parents, and our quality of life during those years will depend on how well we take care of our bodies now. Undoubtedly, the science of aging will give rise to new and exciting technologies to help us age more gracefully and healthfully. Maintenance of healthy immune function is keenly needed for improved quality of life in the elderly. Dietary manipulation and supplementation has been identified as a method of immune system renewal, and supplements such as 7-Keto may play an important future role as immune system modulators. Moreover, the addition of 7-Keto to any weight loss program will offer vital support of energy expenditure and help with the attainment of a manageable and healthy weight into our older years.
1. 1995 White House Conference on Aging, ?Executive Summary: The Road to an Aging Policy for the 21st Century," February 1996: 17-18. 2. Marenich LP. Secretion of Testosterone, Epitestosterone, Androstenedione, and 7-Keto-Dehydroepiandrosterone in Healthy Men of Different Ages. Prob Endokrinol. 1979; 25(4): 28-31. 3. Ginaldi L, De Martinis M, D?Ostilio A, Marini L, Loreto MF, Quaglino D. Immunological Changes in the Elderly. Aging 1999; 11(5): 281-286. 4. Zenk JL, Kuskowski MA. The Use of 3-acetyl-7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone for Augmenting Immune Response in the Elderly, Abstract Presented at the meeting of the FASEB, April 17, 2004, Manuscript submitted for publication. 5. Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Ogden CL, Johnson CL. Prevalence and Trends in Obesity Among US Adults. 1999-2000. JAMA 2002;288:1723-1727. 6. Astrup A. Thermogenic Drugs as a Strategy for Treatment of Obesity. Endocrine 2000;13(2):207-212. 7. Zenk JL, Leikam SA, Kassen LJ, Kuskowski MA. A Prospective, Randomized, Double Blind Study to Evaluate the Effect of HUM5007 and 7-oxo DHEA on Resting Metabolic Rate in Overweight Adult Men and Women on a Calorie Restricted Diet, Abstract Presented at the meeting of the FASEB, April 17, 2004, Manuscript submitted for publication. 8. Kalman DS, Colker CM, Swain MA, Torina GC, Shi Q. A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled Study of 3-Acetyl-7-Oxo-Dehydroepiandrosterone in Healthy Overweight Adults. Current Therapeutic Research 2000;61: 435-442. 9. Zenk JL, Helmer TR, Kassen LJ, Kuslowski MA. The Effect of 7-Keto Naturalean on Weight Loss: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Current Therapeutic Research 2002; 63:263-272.
John L. Zenk, M.D., is Chief Medical and Scientific Officer for Humanetics Corporation and President and Medical Director of Minnesota Applied Research Center, both located in Eden Prairie, MN. He has spoken nationally and internationally on the subjects of integrating conventional and complementary medicine, anti-aging technologies, evaluating the effectiveness of alternative medicine, and dietary supplement research and development. He is author of the book Living Longer in the Boomer Age, and co-author of the book Age Wise and is a frequent contributor to national media. He has served as Principal Investigator for 15 controlled clinical studies, three of which were recently published in national peer-reviewed journals, and has presented abstracts at the 11th World Congress for Food Science and Technology and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
June 13, 2005 03:44 PM
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
by Mary Ann Mayo & Joseph L. Mayo, MD Energy Times, September 4, 1999
It's front-page news. It's politically correct and socially acceptable. Talking about menopause is in. Suddenly it's cool to have hot flashes. Millions of women turning 50 in the next few years have catapulted the subject of menopause into high-definition prominence.
It's about time. Rarely discussed openly by women (what did your mother ever advise you?), meno-pause until recently was dismissed as "a shutting down experience characterized by hot flashes and the end of periods." Disparaging and depressing words like shrivel, atrophy, mood swings and melancholia peppered the scant scientific menopausal literature.
What a difference a few years and a very vocal, informed and assertive group of Baby Boomers make. Staggered by the burgeoning numbers of newly confrontational women who will not accept a scribbled prescription and a pat on the head as adequate treatment, health practitioners and researchers have been challenged to unravel, explain and deal with the challenges of menopause.
Not An Overnight Sensation
Menopause, researchers have discovered, is no simple, clear cut event in a woman's life. The "change of life" does not occur overnight. A woman's body may begin the transition toward menopause in her early 40s, even though her last period typically occurs around age 51. This evolutionary time before the final egg is released is called the perimenopause. Erratic monthly hormone levels produce unexpected and sometimes annoying sensations.
Even as their bodies adjust to lower levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, some women don't experience typical signs of menopause until after the final period. A fortunate one-third have few or no discomforts.
According to What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause (Warner Books) by John R. Lee, MD, Jesse Hanley, MD, and Virginia Hopkins, "The steroid hormones are intimately related to each other, each one being made from another or turned back into another depending on the needs of the body...But the hormones themselves are just part of the picture. It takes very specific combinations of vitamins, minerals and enzymes to cause the transformation of one hormone into another and then help the cell carry out the hormone's message. If you are deficient in one of the important hormone-transforming substances such as vitamin B6 or magnesium, for example, that too can throw your hormones out of balance. Thyroid and insulin problems, toxins, bad food and environmental factors, medication and liver function affect nutrient and hormone balance."
The most important reproductive hormones include:
Estrogen: the female hormone produced by the ovaries from puberty through menopause to regulate the menstrual cycle and prepare the uterus for pregnancy. Manufacture drops significantly during menopause. Estradiol is a chemically active and efficient form of estrogen that binds to many tissues including the uterus, breasts, ovaries, brain and heart through specific estrogen receptors that allow it to enter those cells, stimulating many chemical reactions. Estriol and estrone are additional forms of estrogen.
Progesterone: also produced by the ovaries, it causes tissues to grow and thicken, particularly during pregnancy, when it protects and nurtures the fetus. Secretion ceases during menopause.
Testosterone: Women produce about one-twentieth of what men do, but require it to support sex drive. About half of all women quit secreting testosterone during menopause.
Estrogen's Wide Reach
Since estrogen alone influences more than 400 actions on the body, chiefly stimulating cell growth, the effects of its fluctuations can be far-reaching and extremely varied: hot (and cold) flashes, erratic periods, dry skin (including the vaginal area), unpredictable moods, fuzzy thinking, forgetfulness, fatigue, low libido, insomnia and joint and muscle pain.
Young women may experience premature menopause, which can occur gradually, as a matter of course, or abruptly with hysterectomy (even when the ovaries remain) or as a result of chemotherapy. Under such conditions symptoms can be severe.
In the 1940s doctors reasoned that if most discomforts were caused by diminishing estrogen (its interactive role with progesterone and testosterone were underestimated), replacing it would provide relief. When unchecked estrogen use resulted in high rates of uterine cancer, physicians quickly began adding progesterone to their estrogen regimens and the problem appeared solved.
For the average woman, however, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) became suspect and controversial, especially when a link appeared between extended use of HRT (from five to 10 years) and an increase in breast and endometrial cancers (Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 37, 1997). The result: Women have drawn a line in the sand between themselves and their doctors.
Resolving The Impasse
Since hormone replacement reduces the risk of major maladies like heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, colon cancer and diabetes that would otherwise significantly rise as reproductive hormone levels decrease, most doctors recommend hormone replacement shortly before or as soon as periods stop. Hormone replacement also alleviates the discomforts of menopause.
But only half of all women fill their HRT prescriptions and, of those who do, half quit within a year. Some are simply indifferent to their heightened medical risks. Some are indeed aware but remain unconvinced of the safety of HRT. Others complain of side effects such as bloating, headaches or drowsiness.
Women's resistance to wholesale HRT has challenged researchers to provide more secure protection from the diseases to which they become vulnerable during menopause, as well as its discomforts. If the conventional medical practitioners do not hear exactly what modern women want, the complementary medicine community does. Turning to centuries-old botanicals, they have validated and compounded them with new technology. Their effectiveness depends on various factors including the synergistic interaction of several herbs, specific preparation, the correct plant part and dosage, harvesting and manufacturing techniques.
Research demonstrates that plant hormones (phytoestrogens) protect against stronger potentially carcinogenic forms of estrogen while safely providing a hormone effect. Other herbs act more like tonics, zipping up the body's overall function.
Help From Herbs
Clinical trials and scientific processing techniques have resulted in plant-based supplements like soy and other botanicals that replicate the form and function of a woman's own estrogen.
The complementary community also can take credit for pushing the conventional medical community to look beyond estrogen to progesterone in postmenopausal health.
Natural soy or Mexican yam derived progesterone is formulated by pharmacologists in creams or gels that prevent estrogen-induced overgrowth of the uterine lining (a factor in uterine cancer), protect against heart disease and osteoporosis and reduce hot flashes (Fertility and Sterility 69, 1998: 96-101).
A quarter of the women who take the popularly prescribed synthetic progesterone report increased tension, fatigue and anxiety; natural versions have fewer side effects.
These "quasi-medicines," as Tori Hudson, a leading naturopathic doctor and professor at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Oregon, calls them, are considered "stronger than a botanical but weaker than a medicine." (Hudson is author of Gynecology and Naturopathic Medicine: A Treatment Manual.)
According to Hudson, the amount of estrogen and progesterone in these supplements is much less than medical hormone replacement but equally efficacious in relieving menopausal problems and protecting the heart and bones.
According to a study led by Harry K. Genant, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, "low-dose" plant estrogen derived from soy and yam, supplemented with calcium, prevents bone loss without such side effects as increased vaginal bleeding and endometrial hypoplasia, abnormal uterine cell growth that could be a precursor to endometrial cancer (Archives of Internal Medicine 157, 1997: 2609-2615).
These herbal products, including natural progesterone and estrogen in the form of the weaker estriol or estrone, may block the effect of the stronger and potentially DNA-damaging estradiol.
Soy in its myriad dietary and supplemental forms provides a rich source of isoflavones and phytosterols, both known to supply a mild estrogenic effect that can stimulate repair of the vaginal walls (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-46).
To enhance vaginal moisture, try the herb cimicifuga racemosa, the extract of black cohosh that, in capsule form, builds up vaginal mucosa (Therapeuticum 1, 1987: 23-31). Traditional Chinese herbal formulas containing roots of rehmannia and dong quai have long been reputed to promote vaginal moisture.
Clinical research in Germany also confirms the usefulness of black cohosh in preventing hot flashes and sweating, as well as relieving nervousness, achiness and depressed moods caused by suppressed hormone levels. It works on the hypothalamus (the body's thermostat, appetite and blood pressure monitor), pituitary gland and estrogen receptors. Green tea is steeped with polyphenols, mainly flavonoids, that exert a massive antioxidant influence against allergens, viruses and carcinogens. The risks of estrogen-related cancers such as breast cancer are particularly lowered by these flavonoids, as these substances head directly to the breast's estrogen receptors. About three cups a day exert an impressive anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, antiviral and anticarcinogenic effect.
Other phytoestrogen-rich botanicals, according to Susun Weed's Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way (Ash Tree Publishing), include motherwort and lactobacillus acidophilus to combat vaginal dryness; hops and nettles for sleep disturbances; witch hazel and shepherd's purse for heavy bleeding; motherwort and chasteberry for mood swings; dandelion and red clover for hot flashes.
Our Need For Supplements
Adding micronutrients at midlife to correct and counter a lifetime of poor diet and other habits is a step toward preventing the further development of the degenerative diseases to which we become vulnerable. At the very minimum, you should take:
a multivitamin/mineral supplement vitamin E calcium
Your multivitamin/mineral should contain vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Look for a wide variety of antioxidants that safeguard you from free radical damage, believed to promote heart disease and cancer, as well as contribute to the aging process.
Also on the list: mixed carotenoids such as lycopene, alpha carotene and vitamin C; and folic acid to help regulate cell division and support the health of gums, red blood cells, the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system.
Studies indicate a deficiency of folic acid (folate) in 30% of coronary heart disease, blood vessel disease and strokes; lack of folate is thought to be a serious risk factor for heart disease (OB.GYN News, July 15, 1997, page 28).
Extra vitamin E is believed to protect against breast cancer and bolster immune strength in people 65 and older (Journal of the American Medical Association 277, 1997: 1380-86). It helps relieve vaginal dryness, breast cysts and thyroid problems and, more recently, hit the headlines as an aid in reducing the effects of Alzheimer's and heart disease. It is suspected to reduce the thickening of the carotid arterial walls and may prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which contributes to the formation of plaque in arteries.
Selenium also has been identified as an assistant in halting cancer (JAMA 276, 1996: 1957-63).
The Omegas To The Rescue
Essential fatty acids found in cold water fish, flaxseed, primrose and borage oils and many nuts and seeds are essential for the body's production of prostaglandin, biochemicals which regulate hormone synthesis, and numerous physiological responses including muscle contraction, vascular dilation and the shedding of the uterine lining. They influence hormonal balance, reduce dryness and relieve hot flashes.
In addition, the lignans in whole flaxseed behave like estrogen and act aggressively against breast cancer, according to rat and human studies at the University of Toronto (Nutr Cancer 26, 1996: 159-65).
Research has demonstrated that these omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can reverse the cancer-causing effects of radiation and other carcinogens (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 74, 1985: 1145-50). Deficiencies may cause swelling, increased blood clotting, breast pain, hot flashes, uterine and menstrual cramps and constipation. Fatigue, lack of endurance dry skin and hair and frequent colds may signal EFA shortage. Plus, fatty fish oils, along with vitamin D and lactose, help absorption of calcium, so vital for maintaining bone mass.
In addition, studies show that the natural substance Coenzyme A may help menopausal women reduce cholesterol and increase fat utilization (Med Hyp 1995; 44, 403, 405). Some researchers belive Coenzyme A plays a major role in helping women deal with stress while strengthening immunity.
Can't shake those menopausal woes? Menopause imposters may be imposing on you: The risk of thyroid disease, unrelenting stress, PMS, adrenal burnout, poor gastrointestinal health and hypoglycemia all increase at midlife. Menopause is a handy hook on which to hang every misery, ache and pain but it may only mimic the distress of other ailments. For this reason every midlife woman should have a good medical exam with appropriate tests to determine her baseline state of health. Only with proper analysis can you and your health practitioner hit on an accurate diagnosis and satisfying course of therapy.
And if menopause is truly the issue, you have plenty of company. No woman escapes it. No woman dies from it. It is not a disease but a reminder that one-third of life remains to be lived. Menopausal Baby Boomers can anticipate tapping into creative energy apart from procreation. If not new careers, new interests await. An altered internal balance empowers a menopausal woman to direct, perhaps for the first time, her experience of life. She has come of age-yet again. Gone is the confusion, uncertainty, or dictates of a hormone driven life: This time wisdom and experience direct her. There is no need to yearn for youth or cower at the conventional covenant of old age. Menopause is the clarion call to reframe, reevaluate and reclaim.
Mary Ann Mayo and Joseph L. Mayo, MD, are authors of The Menopause Manager (Revell) and executive editors of Health Opportunities for Women (HOW). Telephone number 877-547-5499 for more information.