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Five Ways to Get CBD Oil and Concentrates
June 03, 2018 09:16 AM
Recently, Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has become very popular on the alternative medicine markets. Fuego (2018) discusses its' increasing popularity in the article titled, "Five Ways to Get CBD Oil and Concentrates". According to the article, CBD oil is used for the following conditions: anxiety, pain, seizures, pain, and sleep disorders. The product comes from marijuana and hemp. It is predicted that CBD oil sales will reach about $ 1.153 billion in sales by the year 2020.
"The legality of CBD oil made from hemp depends on whom you ask, but it can still be purchased in fifty states."
Read more: http://www.westword.com/marijuana/cbd-oil-how-and-where-to-get-it-10329926
Cannabis bills making headway in the Statehouse
January 27, 2018 03:59 PM
Indiana lawmakers are advancing a bill which would allow study of the use of medical cannabis in that state. Last Thursday, they voted 94-0 to advance the bill towards passage. Additionally, they passed a second bill which would allow for the possession and sale of hemp in the state. Simultaneously, a number of other bills are under consideration regarding the use of different types of oils derived from cannabis. Given the different positions and number of bills under review, it seems that it will be some time before there is complete legal clarity on this topic in Indiana.
"Thursday morning, a House committee, passed a bill legalizing the sale and possession of hemp by a vote of 12 to 0. State Rep. Jim Lucas, a Republican from Seymour, said his House Bill 1137 includes CBD oil."
Read more: http://wane.com/2018/01/25/cannabis-bills-making-headway-in-the-statehouse/
Indiana senator files bill to legalize sale, possession of CBD oil
January 03, 2018 03:59 PM
Indiana is hoping to be one of the first states with legal access to CBD oil. Senator Jim Tomes from Wadesville out forth this legislation in hopes that it will open up this promising drug to all. The drug, derived from hemp, instead of the marijuana, is seen to be promising in many of its tests in a wide range of symptoms for its anti-inflammatory properties. The major change would just get rid of CBD from the controlled substance ban list for ease of use throughout the state.
"Republican Sen. Jim Tomes from Wadesville hopes to make the product readily available throughout the state."
Read more: http://www.wndu.com/content/news/Indiana-senator-files-bill-to-legalize-sale-possession-of-CBD-oil-467210573.html
The Science Of CBD Oil [Infographic]
August 17, 2017 04:14 PM
Cannabis is a booming business right now. Colorado was a state that legalized marijuana back in 2012 and the revenue generated from legal marijuana sales has grown so much that it is now a rival of the GDP of a few island nations. The medical cannabis industry is is one of the major sectors being developed right now. People have known about the benefits for decades and only now are these claims being researched and understood better.
"So far CBD oil has been found to treat addiction, inflammation, Multiple Sclerosis, epilepsy, mad cow disease, acne, diabetes, fibromyalgia, insomnia, PTSD, schizophrenia, Crohn’s disease, and many others."
Read more: http://www.valuewalk.com/2017/08/cbd-oil/
CBD Products Play Major Role in the Legal Cannabis Industry
August 16, 2017 07:14 PM
Hemp Business Journal and Vote Hemp released a report indicating the United States based hemp industry sold $688 million worth of products in 2016. The industry is expected to continue with this successful trend, with estimates of $1.8 billion in sales by 2020. Various companies are capitalizing on this success and trying to expand their markets - for example, a Hemp Education Center is being established by ChineseHempOil.com, Inc., to provide information about the health benefits of hemp. Other organizations, like United Cannabis Corp, are leading the way in developing medical uses and therapies that utilize cannabinoids.
Read more: CBD Products Play Major Role in the Legal Cannabis Industry
CBD Products Market Becoming Hottest Segment of Cannabis Industry as Demand Continues to ...
June 23, 2017 11:14 AM
CBD product sales have become the fastest growing segment of the cannabis industry. Cannabis manufacturers are scrambling to come up with new products for this increasing national and global market. New products such as a Kanna-infused CBD are being produced to enhance the health benefits of CBD. With these type of innovations in mind, investors are paying attention. Large cannabis manufacturers with public shares in the company have all been experiencing an increase in their stock prices. The trend is expected to continue.
Read more: CBD Products Market Becoming Hottest Segment of Cannabis Industry as Demand Continues to ...
The Benefits of CBD Oil as a Dietary Supplement
May 20, 2017 11:44 AM
An entertainment website has a feature on the good uses that Cannabidiol, or CBD, has. The feature states that CBD is legal although it is derived from cannabis. The writer alleges the federal government has not acknowledged CBD as a supplement for diet because of the association with an illegal substance The writer states that CBD is good as an aid for sleeping and digestion, can reduce anxiety, and is a pain reliever. The story concludes that this substance should receive FDA approval.
"Any type of cannabis is still illegal on a federal level and although CBD is not the psychoactive compound in the plant and is legal for sale, there is that tension that needs to be resolved prior to accepting the validity of CBD research."
Read more: http://ppcorn.com/us/2017/05/15/benefits-cbd-oil-dietary-supplement/
Are the MCT Oil Nutrition and Health Claims Backed Up?
May 13, 2017 08:44 AM
Coconut oil has experienced a huge increase in sales and taken the media bystorm in recent years. coconut oil can be found not only in specialty health food stores, but at most local grocers as well. Diets high in MCTs (65% of coconut oil's makeup) have been shown to improve glucose tolerance and reduce body fat accumulation when compared to diets high in LCTs. MCFAs have also been shown to preserve insulin action in, and insulin resistance in rat studies. When compared with other fats, coconut oil contains 2.6% fewer calories. Keep in mind however that all high-fat foods and oils are calorically dense and simply adding in more calorically dense food to a diet already ample in calories is not likely to result in weight loss.According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, virgin coconut oil has potential antioxidant properties due to certain plant nutrients it contains called phenolic compounds.
"MCT oil is associated with a whole host of health claims including weight loss, decreased risk of metabolic syndrome, lowered abdominal fat, lowered inflammatory markers, decreased triglyceride levels, and the ability to raise HDL (good) cholesterol."
Read more: http://www.organicauthority.com/are-the-mct-oil-nutrition-and-health-claims-backed-up/
Developments in the Legal Cannabis Industry
March 03, 2017 10:59 AM
The legal marijuana industry is currently the fastest-growing business in the United States. If it continues to expand and reaches all 50 states, it could become even bigger than the organic foods market. According to The ArcView Group, a research company focused on cannabis industry investment, the U.S. market grew 74% in 2014, up from the prior year of $1.5 billion.
"A report published by The Hemp Business Journal estimates that the Cannabidiol (CBD) market will grow to a $2.1 billion market in consumer sales by 2020 with $450 million of those sales coming from hemp-based sources. In 2015, the market for consumer sales of hemp-derived CBD products was $90 million, plus another $112 million in marijuana-derived CBD products which were sold through dispensaries - bringing a total CBD market to $202 million last year"
Hemp is a Wonder Plant
February 10, 2017 10:59 AM
Hemp is a really amazing plant. Energy drinks are a huge industry, but most of them are very unhealthy and even illegal to be sold to minors. The government of the United States has outlawed a crop that was cultivated for 10000 years. However, there has been an easing on the restrictions from both the state and federal levels recently.
"As cannabis continues to legalize, hemp is a wonder plant with never ever benefits, and it will continue to integrate in consumer products like RMHB."
The empire strikes back: DEA quietly announces "Schedule I" status for CBD extracts to comply with United Nations demands... CBD Prohibition begins on January 13, 2017
December 23, 2016 10:59 AM
There is concern over a rumor that the DEA seeks to create a brand new schedule I class of drugs just for marijuana extracts, known as CBD. They must go through a scheduling action to get approval, but many are outraged over the possibility of losing access to any medicinal product made from Cannabis. This can include non-psychoactive drugs. Some are trying to soothe the panic by stating that it doesn’t include hemp products. As long as it is not a drug, it is not restricted. We will have to wait and see how this plays out.
"Big Media, Big Pharma, Big Government, Big Banks and Big Agriculture are assaulting our bodies and minds by the hour, it seems."
Replace Steel With Copper Utensils At Home To Aid Weight Loss
December 19, 2016 10:59 AM
All your utensils in your kitchen may be steel, but new research shows it may be time to replace them with cooper. Cooper utensils provides a whole host of healthy benefits while maybe aiding in weight loss. New research shows that the more cooper present the easier it is for a body to break down fat.
"Copper also helps cleanse and detox your stomach."
STEVIA – BETTER THAN SUGAR
Stevia is a natural sweetener that originates in South America – Paraguay and Brazil, mostly – with no calories and is remarkably much sweeter than sugar. The stevia plant Stevia Rebaudiana derives its sweetness from steviol glycocides. The extract is then processed for sale in the form of Truvia and PureVia around North America. It is not yet approved as an additive due to possible side effects of male infertility and genetic mutations.
Benefits of Stevia over Sugar
The yeast we hear about being in our bodies is called Candida albicans and it can ferment sugar in the body, causing the candidiasis infection with treatment involving cutting sugar out of your diet. Stevia does not react with the yeast and can also keep your food sweet.
Stevia is a safer and healthier option to sugar. It is natural and sweeter than sugar making it a great option to combat obesity and sugar level problems the world is constantly facing.
GLUCOSAMINE: Origin and Action of Mechanism
February 06, 2012 01:08 PM
Glucosamine is an amino sugar made from glucose and amino acid glutamine. It is a monosaccharide that is found naturally in healthy joints, cartilages, ligaments, muscles and tendons. It helps in the formation and repair of cartilage and other body tissues. Glucosamine is available in the form of dietary supplements, cosmetics and sports drinks. Let us find out about the history of glucosamine and its role in repair and treatment of joint disorders.
HISTORY of GLUCOSAMINE:
Glucosamine was first discovered in 1876 by Dr. Georg Ledderhose. It was prepared by hydrolysis of chitin with Hydrochloric acid. Later on it was developed in sulphate blend. Since then, it has been studied multiple times and in multiple ways to find out its potent health benefits. It has been used clinically in Europe since 1960s. In 1971, researcher K. Karzel glucosamine HCl stimulated the production of glycosaminoglycan layer, which helps in protecting cartilages, ligaments and tendons from normal wear and tear. It became popular in United States in the mid 1990s with the publication of popular bestsellers such as 'The Arthritis Cure' by Jason Theodosakis. Now it has become the most popular selling dietary supplement with sales of $200 million per year.
Glucosamine is naturally found in the body and can be synthetically made from the natural sources of chitin that is found in sea creatures such as shells of shell fish, bones and bone marrow.
How does Glucosamine Works in reducing Joint pain?
Our body's ability to produce glucosamine decreases as we age. Hence after any kind of injury cartilage, spinal discs and joints, the body may not be able to heal optimally. Aging and glucosamine depletion in the body leads to joint degradation. However, glucosamine supplementation can support cartilage and CT-integrity limiting degeneration.
Glucosamine supplements do not work like NSAIDS, which are known to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects on the body. The exact mechanism of significant analgesic effect of glucosamine supplements is unknown but according to various studies, glucosamine has no effect on cyclooxygenase system. Studies have shown that glucosamine stimulates synthesis of proteoglycan in a dose dependent manner. It helps in stimulating the production of cartilaginous matrix, hence counteracting the degrading loss of cartilage in case of arthritis or injury.
Several important studies demonstrate the role of glucosamine in stabilizing cell membranes, inhibit lysosomal enzymes and reduce the generation of oxygen free radicals by macrophages. It may inhibit interleukin 1 induced nitric oxide activity that leads to chondriotic cell death. Hence it increases aggrecanase activity that helps in preservation of proteoglycan.
Glucosamine along with Chondroitin sulphate stimulates synthesis of cartilage precursors as well as synovial fluid. They also limit the degradation of existing cartilage in any loss of joint integrity.
This non rapid acting drug has many beneficial effects in reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis. It is a powerful joint repairing supplement that rebuilds joint cartilage. Glucosamine supplements have been thoroughly evaluated to find out any potential side-effects. However, it has been proved that it does not have any of the side-effects of NSAIDS, surgery or opiods.
Can Dietary Collagen Help the Skin and Joint Tissue?
June 30, 2011 10:45 AM
Collagen and Your Health
Collagen is the most common form of protein in humans and other mammals. It is a major constituent of the extracellular matrix that provides structural support to animal cells from the outside. It displays great tensile properties, which is responsible for the strength and elasticity of the skin. Since it is a component of fibrous tissue, it is also found in ligaments and cartilages that make up joint tissue.
Dietary collagen has long been postulated to contribute to the biochemical composition of cells present in the skin and joints. Proponents of collagen supplements believe that dietary collagen is assimilated into the extracellular matrix and fibrous tissue. The scientific community has been doubtful about the efficacy of topical applications of collagen, but oral supplements have been promising in clinical trials.
Molecular collagen is composed of polymers of amino acids linked by peptide bands, which are too big at the cellular level to get absorbed through skin. On the other hand, intestinal absorption of dietary collagen remains a matter of controversy. That being said, nutraceutical companies have developed formulations of supplements that facilitate the best possible absorption rates and better bioavailability.
Tough bundles of collagen fibers comprise several polypeptide chains of fibrous structural proteins. All fibrous tissues have cells and extracellular matrix in between. High concentrations of collagen found in cartilages, ligaments, tendons, fascia, and even bones give these fibrous tissues tensile strength, the reason why the joints are capable of bearing a certain level of longitudinal stress without tearing apart.
Structural proteins make up the outer layer of the human skin and its appendages, such as the scalp, hair, and nails. The most important of these proteins are collagen, keratin, and elastin. Collagen fibers are responsible for the tensile properties of the skin. Keratin provides strength whereas elastin exerts an elastic effect. Collagen fibers affect the process of healing and its degradation leads to wrinkles.
Oral route of administration is believed to produce the health benefits linked to dietary collagen. While researchers have ruled out the health claims tied to collagen creams and lotions, they have reported encouraging results about dietary collagen. In fact, collagen supplements utilized in the management of rheumatoid arthritis and treatment of skin disorders have produced significantly positive outcomes.
One clinical trial that involved more than 200 participants diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis point to the medicinal potential of collagen as an adjunct treatment for rheumatism and osteoarthritis. There was a noticeable decrease in joint pain, morning stiffness, and restrained mobility, which were noted as statistically significant. For this reason, supplementation of collagen has attracted more research.
Dietary collagen is now becoming increasingly visible in the nutraceutical industry in that sales have increased in the past few years. It has become the subject of numerous studies well underway, and as such developments in collagen supplementation are expected to produce formulations specialized for higher bioavailability. The good news is dietary collagen has not been linked to any adverse effects.
Get some collagen today and feel the difference it can make in your diet!
October 15, 2009 10:44 AM
The cinnamon plant is a small evergreen tree that grows between thirty two and forty nine feet tall. This plant belongs to the Lauraceae family and is native to Sri Lanka. The leaves of the plant are ovate oblong in shape and approximately two to seven inches in length, while the flowers, which have a distinct odor, are greenish in color. The fruit is a purple berry about one-centimeter and contain a single seed. The flavor of cinnamon is the result of an essential oil which makes up about 1/2% to 1% of its composition. This oil can be prepared by roughly pounding the bark, macerating it in seawater, and quickly distilling the whole. The oil is of a golden-yellow color, with the characteristic odor of cinnamon and a very hot aromatic taste.
Cinnamon has been known from ancient times, with the first mention of particular spice in the Old Testament being of cinnamon. In this, Moses commanded the use of sweet cinnamon and cassia in the holy anointing oil. Additionally, cinnamon is also mentioned elsewhere in the bible. This herb was so highly prized among ancient nations that it was often looked upon as a gift fit for even God. Cinnamon was imported to Egypt as early as 2000 B.C. The herb is also alluded to by Herodotus and other classical writers. Cinnamon was too expensive to be commonly used in funerals of ancient Rome. However, the Emperor Nero is said to have burned a year’s worth of the city’s supply at the funeral for his wife in 65 A.D.
Cinnamon can be harvested by growing the tree for two years and then coppicing it. About a dozen shoots will form from the roots in the next year. These shoots are then stripped of their bark and left to dry. Only the thin inner bark is used, while the outer woody portion is removed. Each dried strip of cinnamon are then cut into lengths of about five to ten centimeters for sale.
Cinnamon has been around for thousands of years. It is revered as a spice and also as a healing agent. Cinnamon was included in embalming oils by the Egyptians. This herb was used in China to treat fever, diarrhea, and menstrual problems dating as far back as 2000 BC. Cinnamon was a major trade commodity during the ancient times. Cinnamon grew in the southern regions of Asia originally. This herb is used to help relieve upset stomachs, reduce milk flow, stop excessive menstrual flow, and alleviate back pain. Research has also determined that cinnamon contains components that possess antifungal and antibacterial capabilities. This herb is found in some toothpaste, which allows it to help some decay-causing bacteria. Cinnamon is also helpful for promoting healthy blood sugar levels.
The dried bark of the cinnamon plant is used to provide alterative, analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, sedative, stimulant, and stomachic properties. Primarily, cinnamon is beneficial in treating abdominal pain, candida, diarrhea, gas, gastric disorders, and indigestion.
Additionally, this herb is also extremely helpful in dealing with arthritis, asthma, backaches, bloating, bronchitis, cholera, coronary problems, fevers, excessive menstruation, nausea, nephritis, parasites, psoriasis, rheumatism, upset stomach, vomiting, and warts. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by cinnamon, please contact a representative from your local health food store with questions.
October 01, 2009 11:57 AM
In the past decade, ginkgo has received much attention. It has been revered throughout China and other areas of Asia for thousands of years. However, its popularity increased in Western countries. An increase in sales can be attributed to interest in the benefits of ginkgo on conditions that are associated with aging like Alzheimer’s, memory loss, dementia, and circulatory disorders. Often, gingko is used to increase the blood flow to the brain, which improves memory problems like Alzheimer’s, to prevent strokes, and to increase blood circulation through vasodialation. The improved circulation is also thought to improve ear conditions, help blood flow to the retina, aid in preventing muscular degeneration, reduce frequency of asthma attacks, and help transplant recipients avoid rejection.
The ability of ginkgo to boost brain function has been studied extensively. Most importantly, ginkgo increases oxygen supply to brain cells, as the brain is the body’s most sensitive organ to oxygen deprivation. Additionally, ginkgo has been used to improve electrical transmission in nerves and supply more oxygen and nutrients to brain cells. The effect that ginkgo has on the brain and circulatory system disorders seems to be extremely promising for a variety of conditions. Ginkgo has also been found to be effective in treating migraine headaches. In one study that took place in 1975, ginkgo extract was given to individuals who were suffering from migraines. Results concluded that eighty percent of the patients showed improvement or were cured of the condition.
Ginkgo extract has also helped dementia that results from poor blood flow to the brain. Senile dementia is often recognized by depression, unusual fatigue, and memory problems. Ginkgo has the ability to help improve circulation to the brain tissue, which in turn improves brain function.
Blood platelet aggregation, or clotting, can cause serious problems in the body. Among these are strokes, heart attacks, and coronary thrombosis. It has been found that ginkgo can reduce the tendency for platelets to stick together and prevent them from forming clots in the arteries and veins.
The brain and nervous system are extremely sensitive to free-radical damage because of the high percentage of unsaturated fatty acids. It has been found that ginkgo’s antioxidant activity is particularly powerful in these areas, along with the eye and retina. This is extremely helpful in conditions like retinopathy, cataracts and macular degeneration. The central nervous system possesses fat lipids in the cell membranes that are typically attracted by free radicals. Ginkgo can help protect these cell membranes and prevent condition which can occur in the brain and nervous system that are often associated with aging, like memory loss.
The leaves of the ginkgo plant are used to provide adaptogen, alterative, antioxidant, antiseptic, and stimulant properties. Primarily, ginkgo is extremely helpful in treating ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, lack of attention span, blood clots, cardiovascular disorders, poor circulation, dementia, dizziness, edema, impotence, inflammation, ischemia, memory loss, lack of mental clarity, multiple sclerosis, muscular degeneration, PMS, Raynaud’s disease, senility, stress, stroke, and tinnitus.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with allergies, angina, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, cancer, carpal tunnel syndrome, coughs, depression, lack of equilibrium, eye problems, hearing problems, hemorrhoids, lung disorders, migraines, mood swings, toxic shock syndrome, transplant rejection, varicose veins, vascular problems, and vertigo.
Horny Goat Weed
October 31, 2008 01:04 PM
Item: #4758, 90 Tabs
Product Categories: Hormonal and Vitality Support
Positioning Purpose: The vitality and hormonal support industry is one of the most lucrative in today’s health sector, as evidenced by record sales and an influx of new brands and product offerings. Amazingly, there are still people out there who do not realize that natural alternatives exist. Horny Goat Weed has been a staple in Eastern medicine for centuries, and continues to stand the test of time. Science advancement has helped us better understand its method of action, and we now know that it contains a number of compounds that help support energy, stamina and vitality.*
Product Details: NOW® Horny Goat Weed Extract contains 750 mg of horny goat weed extract (Epimedium grandiflorum, E. brevicorum), standardized to 10% Icariin. For increased support, we’ve added 150 mg of pure Maca Root per serving, another historically used herb that has been shown to support healthy hormones and vitality. Both compounds have a well-documented history of safety and effectiveness. Unlike other products within the hormonal vitality category, this formula can be used by both mean and women.
Nutrient Profile, per serving: Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium grandiflorum), 750 mg Maca Root (Lepidium meyenii), 150 mg
Ideal Users: NOW® Horny Goat Weed is ideal for healthy adults seeking additional hormonal and vitality support. It can be used safely by both men and women.
Recommended Use: As a dietary supplement, suggested use is 1 tablet taken daily, preferably with a meal. Complementary Products: Consider taking NOW® Horny Goat Weed with other NOW products, such as, TestoJack 100™, Tribulus, or ENERGY™
Other Ingredients: Cellulose, Croscarmellose sodium, Stearic acid, silica (vegetable source), magnesium stearate (vegetable source), and vegetable coating.
Supporting Science: Ning H, Xin ZC, Lin G et al. Effects of Icariin on phosphodiesterase-5 activity in vitro and cyclic guanosine monophosphate level in cavernous smooth muscle cells. Urology 2006;68:1350-4
Warning: Please consult a healthcare provider prior to use if you have any medical conditions, are taking medications, are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any disease.
Raw Material Costs
September 27, 2008 01:20 PM
NOW has faced more tight supplies and substantial cost increases in 2008 than at any other time in memory. Currently, the entire Psyllium crop from India is in short supply and unusually high demand. As a result, raw material costs are substantially higher. We expect them to remain this way until the middle of 2009. The cost of organic, pure Maple Syrup has already increased about 30%, and this has forced us to increase our own prices in July of this year. Despite drastic cost increases on many individual nut products (from 10-40%), NOW is doing its best to lock current prices until our next wholesale catalog, in December. Both Vitamin C and Vitamin E, due to corn and soy costs, have skyrocketed. And as much as we dislike doing so, we will likely have to raise our Vitamin C prices soon.
These and many other ingredients are up substantially in cost, though we’re doing our best to maintain our excellent everyday values. The weak US dollar is a major contributing factor, as it has lost about 50% of its value vs. the Euro in recent years. Combined with many worldwide factors, our industry is facing price pressures that will lead to unavoidable higher prices. NOW is constantly working on innovative ways to keep our prices low without sacrificing our famous quality.
August 22, 2008 05:50 PM
Fructooligosaccharides, which shall henceforth be referred to as FOS for obvious reasons, are sugars with chemical linkages known as osidic covalent bonds that resist enzymic hydrolysisis, and so are broken down by neither the salivary nor the digestive enzymes. In other words, they are indigestible.
However, before discussing the biochemistry further, let's have a look at what they can be used for. Your body depends upon certain bacteria for its health. These are essential to help break down and digest certain foods, and also to provide a resistance to disease and infection. FOS is what is known as a prebiotic, which used to feed these friendly bacteria. Just like any other living organism, bacteria require nourishment and while they get plenty of food from our own diet, especially from the fiber content, they find FOS particularly appetizing.
Because fructooligosaccharides cannot be digested, it passes unchanged into the colon, where these bacteria live. As they break down the FOS and live on it, they multiply, and create an environment in your lower intestine that is hostile to many harmful bacteria such as Clostridia and E. coli. However, it is not only these harmful bacteria that cause problems with your digestion since there many other agents that can interfere with the smooth functioning of your gastrointestinal tract.
People all over the world are continually suffering from both minor and very serious digestive problems, ranging from heartburn and upset stomachs to severe diarrhea, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome and even bowel cancers. There is a multitude of reasons for that such as the effects of aging, poor diet and bacteria from contaminated food. Organic foodstuffs do not last long in many warm countries, and while spices can be used to hide the taste, they are not always successful in killing off the bacteria.
Your health depends on a healthy digestive system, and when that is wrong then you will feel ill. If your digestive system is running below par, then you will not feel good, and could suffer from a wide range of symptoms, including tiredness, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, fevers and depression. The health of your intestinal tract in particular is often neglected, and most people need to do something to give it a boost and improve its, and their, overall health.
That is what FOS can do. And it can do more than just feed friendly bacteria: it can help you maintain regular bowel movements, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy immune system, break down hormones and rebuild them again (it is useful for the relief of the symptoms of PMS) and to keep down the cholesterol and fatty acid levels in your blood. It is used to feed beneficial bacteria, not to replace them, and if you are on a probiotic supplement, you can take FOS along with it.
Fructooligosaccharides are also used as artificial sweeteners, and alternative names for them oligofructan and oligofructose. There are two classes of FOS, the first of which is produced commercially by the chemical or enzymic degradation of inulin, a polymer of D-fructose linkages terminated with D-glucose. This is produced commercially predominantly in Belgium and Holland, and it also occurs naturally in chicory and Jerusalem artichoke, and in lesser amounts in bananas, garlic, tomatoes and onions. The second class of FOS is produced mainly in Japan. This is produced by a process known as the transfructosylation of a B-fructosidase from saccharose or aspergillus niger, a black mould found on onions and grapes. This is basically the same as the first class, although the chemical bonds are in different places.
While they resist breakdown by enzymes, they are fermented in the colon by anaerobic bacteria, bacteria that work in the absence of oxygen. Because they are fairly soluble, they can be added to dairy products such as yoghurt and used to feed the bacteria contained in the yoghurt. In fact many supplements containing acidophilus bacteria are fortified with FOS: you drink the bacteria along with its food.
Although FOS is only now assuming increasingly popularity in the West, it has been used as a dietary supplement in Japan for many years. Some of the specific health benefits that FOS coveys by promoting the health of essential bacteria, are:
Calcium and Magnesium Absorption
There have been several studies that have concluded that FOS and inulin improve the absorption of calcium in the intestine of both animals and humans. The fermentation of the FOS by bacteria reduces the pH of the gut, which increases the solubility of these minerals and hence extracts more of them from food. The increased solubility also helps them to be more easily absorbed through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. FOS can therefore help to maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
Strengthened Immune System
By taking a supplement of FOS, you can increase the density of friendly bacteria in your gut fivefold in a matter of weeks. This crowds out harmful bacteria, and so the level of toxins in your body is reduced. Your immune system is allowed to work properly to fight of infection and disease without having to work hard on keeping down the harmful bacteria in your gut.
Apart from being a food for bacteria, since it is not digestible FOS is also a soluble fiber that draws water into your colon, and so promotes easy transport of feces by the peristaltic pumping action of the intestinal muscles. It also absorbs excess water in the chyme and feces and so helps to prevent diarrhea. Furthermore, improving the health of the friendly bacteria also improves your digestive health that also promotes regularity.
The fermentation of FOS by bacteria produces gases and acids. These acids help the body to produce energy, and although not a massive energy boost, when allied to the improved digestion it is significant.
All of these benefits and more suggest that FOS is highly recommended in the event of sporadic and chronic gastrointestinal problems. It is a natural substance that does not have a direct influence on your body's biochemistry, but promotes the health and reproduction of those bacteria that do have a significant influence on intestinal health. Add that to the added benefits discussed above, and FOS is one of these supplements that could almost be called essential.
June 19, 2008 04:06 PM
Many natural health practitioners are looking at chitin as a possible weight-loss tool in a diet program. While still under study, proponents of it have helped this natural product and formulations made from it popular. Those seeking to lose weight efficiently are buying this product in droves. Manufacturers and marketers of chitin have seen great sales growth in Japan and the United States in recent years.
Chitin is a positively charged polysaccharide that comes from an animal source. This source is shellfish in the form of shrimp, crab and lobster. A polysaccharide is a string of sugar molecules found in the outer shell of these crustaceans. Chitin is also found in marine coral and the outer shells of certain insects, such as beetles and ants. Chitin shares chemical similarities with cellulose and starch, which are plant fibers.
The weight-loss benefits of chitin are in its binding properties. Some researchers believe that the positively charged polysaccharides attract negatively charged bile acids and free fatty acids. These acids are now bound by the positively charged chitin and therefore are not absorbed into a person's system. The result is the prevention of an increase in dietary fat, which puts the pounds on a person's frame.
Some evidence from studies does suggest that chitin breaks down in the stomach and changes to a gel. Some researchers believe this is where the binding takes place as this gel traps fats and cholesterols. This process is believed to occur in the intestine, where chitin prevents the fat from becoming absorbed and digested.
All types of fiber are beneficial for preventing the absorption of fat into the body, at least to some degree. Studies show that chitin, as an amino polysaccharide fiber may do this to a greater degree. Some proponents believe chitin has the capacity to expel up to four times its weight in fat. Some claim it binds 10 times its weight in fat and does this better than any other kind of fiber.
Some believe chitin works best when used in conjunction with a high-fat meal. If it's going to be one of those high-fat intake days, they say taking chitin can help you counter the fat. Taking chitin may help bind the fat molecules and take them through your system until they're eliminated. However, chitin does not bind carbohydrates, protein, or alcohol. Over-indulgence in them, even with chitin added to your diet, may mean you will still put on weight.
Because chitin is a non-digestible, non-absorbable fiber, it acts as a carrier. It doesn't absorb into your body as other foods can. It helps carry harmful fats away through its binding capabilities before they have a chance to settle in. Studies suggest chitin may do this and help improve blood cholesterol levels as it goes about its work.
Chitin is a calorie-free fiber supplement. A product that is abundantly available, it is even used in food manufacturing as an edible film to protect foods from spoiling. It is often found at a reasonable cost and is a product known for having few side effects. One caveat with chitin is that those allergic to shellfish should not consume chitin. In addition, pregnant women should not take chitin products because of a possible reduction in calcium and vitamin D absorption. Of course, any weight-loss program needs to rely on healthy foods and exercise in addition to any weight-loss supplements. It's all part of an overall healthy approach to losing weight.
Along with its possible benefits as a weight-loss tool chitin has other benefits. It is used in the manufacture of surgical thread. Being biodegradable, it dissolves over time as a wound heals. It also has properties that allow for its use as a wound-healing agent.
Studies continue in the uses of chitin as a weight-loss product. As a natural product, readily available, diet supplement manufacturers strive to make innovative products from it. Their focus is to further research chitin so they can use it to help those striving to take control of their weight.
Artichoke Promotes Healthy Fat Digestion and Metabolism
January 30, 2008 10:37 PM
In discussing the health benefits of the artichoke, and the way it promotes healthy fat digestion and metabolism, we are talking here about the true artichoke: the globe artichoke. The alternative Jerusalem artichoke is not an artichoke at all, but a member of the sunflower family. The globe artichoke is a type of thistle.
It is in fact a perennial thistle that originated in the Mediterranean area and is now cultivated world wide. The edible portions are the lower parts of the bracts and the base of the buds, known as the heart while the inedible portion in the center of the bud is known as the ‘choke’. Globe artichokes were introduced to the USA in the 19th century by French and Spanish immigrants who settled in Louisiana and California respectively. Contrary to popular opinion its name did not come from the ‘heart’ and the ‘choke’, but from the Arabic for ground thorn: ‘ardi shauki’.
In today’s world of fast foods, a high consumption of fats and red meat and excessive alcohol consumption, your liver is put under a great strain. Its main function is as a chemical factory, to produce the chemicals, such as enzymes and other proteins, needed to maintain life and also to metabolise the nutrients we need from the food we eat. If you overtax your liver it will not work as it should, which results in poor digestion and assimilation of the nutrients in your food and an increase in the toxins in your blood.
You will feel tired and run down, with digestion problems and many other health complaints. Liver abuse can result in malnutrition, which also results in cirrhosis which is not curable. You should seriously appraise your diet, and identify the eating and drinking habits that are causing the problem, and give your liver a rest. Artichoke extract is a great liver tonic, and your liver will respond well to a break from alcohol and fatty foods, and a course of artichoke leaves and extract.
The main active ingredient of the artichoke is cynarine (1,5-dicaffeylquinic acid), a substance that stimulates the production of bile, and hence renders the artichoke an excellent starter for any meal. This is yet another example of science finding a logical reason for people eating artichokes for centuries in order to promote the health of their liver and digestive system. It is not only for its cynarine content that the globe artichoke is useful, however, but also the luteolin and chlorogenic acids that it contains.
The stimulation of bile production by the cynarine is one the more important of the effects of artichoke on your well being. Bile emulsifies fats and renders them into an easily digested form. Most of the digestive chemicals are water soluble, and without this emulsification of the fat with water then most of the fats we consume would pass through the body unchanged. We would the vats majority of the fat soluble nutrients in our food, including vitamins A, D, E and K.
Bile enables us to digest fats and to absorb vitamins from our food, and also promotes the general health of our digestive system. It is biosynthesized in the liver from various enzymes and triglycerides and then stored in the gall bladder until needed. Its use is prompted by the presence of fats in the system, and this is stimulated by the cynarine in the artichoke leaves.
Its ability to improve bile flow has been recognized by scientist’s world wide, and artichoke juice has been used by the French for many years as a liver tonic. However, it is not just for the liver and the digestive system that artichokes are useful in maintaining good health. They also have an effect on the cholesterol levels in your blood. This is believed to be due to the inhibition of the activity of enzyme HMG CoA Reductase that helps the liver to generate cholesterol. Inhibiting the activity of this enzyme reduces the amount of cholesterol produced.
This can have the effect of reduced the possibility of you developing atherosclerosis, a condition caused by deposition of low density lipid (LDL) cholesterol through the effect of free radical oxidation of the lipid. The less cholesterol to be transported by your blood, then the lower levels of the low density lipid needed to do this. This effect is also possibly due to the fact that bile is formed from cholesterol and triglycerides, and so stimulated bile production would possibly leave less cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Artichoke also possesses antioxidant properties that would contribute even further to this effect by preventing the oxidation of the LDL by free radicals. These free radicals, formed in the body both naturally and by the effects of pollutants such as pesticides, cigarette smoke and traffic fumes, are destroyed by antioxidants. In atherosclerosis the LDL lipids are oxidised and deposited under the surface cells of the blood vessels, and are then digested by certain blood cells forming a hard fatty deposit that can eventually block the arteries affected.
The result can be a heart attack or a stroke, depending on where in the body the blood vessels are affected, and if the cholesterol levels in the body are decreased through it being used to produce bile, then the concentration of LDL lipids used to transport it will also be reduced and the condition will be less likely to occur..
Apart from the liver, the gall bladder is also given a boost by artichoke because that is where bile is stored, and a regular flow to and from the gall bladder maintains its health. The only thing you should be aware of if is that if you are prone to gallstones then the increase in bile flow could cause the stones to be stuck in the bile duct. You should therefore refer to your physician before embarking on a course of artichoke extract if you have a propensity to develop gallstones.
Apart from the phytonutrients already discussed, the globe artichoke also contains a good supply of fiber and minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium and phosphorus, and also some trace elements that your body needs. It is therefore more than just a bile stimulant, but provides a wide range off essential nutrition to your body. It is know to aid conditions such as gout, high blood sugar, and digestive complaints such as flatulence, bloating and abdominal cramps.
Apart from cooking and eating the tender parts of the leaves, or bracts, you can make an infusion of the parts that you don’t eat. Chop up the tougher leaves and pour boiling water over them as if making tea. Leave it to infuse for a few minutes and then drink. Honey can be used to take away the bitter taste; honey rather than sugar due to its greater nutritional content.
Big Pharma Plays God, Stealing and Altering Pant Compounds making Synthetic Drugs
January 02, 2008 02:24 PM
It has been claimed by the Nutritional Health Alliance (NHA) that the pharmaceutical companies are formulating their pharma drugs using natural plant-derived substances. This is not totally groundbreaking news, of course, since the whole pharmaceutical industry was based on natural products such as aspirin, derived from willow bark, and antibiotics derived from the penicillin mold.
While there is nothing wrong with them doing this, there are signs of their increasing lobbying to limit the supply of supplements so that Big Pharma can monopolize the production and supply of all supplements and remedies, natural or synthetic. What is disturbing is that bills such as the Adverse Event Reporting Bill, passed by Congress in February 2007 as the Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act, could conceivably place greater powers into the hands of the large pharmaceutical companies to restrict the sales of natural products that are not part of their ‘approved’ prescription range.
This Act requires users and distributors of over the counter and non-prescriptive natural remedies to report any adverse effects that they believe have been caused by the remedy they are using. What this does is to require untrained people to make medical decisions as to what is causing their adverse reaction.
A patient taking several prescription drugs and a vitamin supplement might naturally assume that it is the vitamin that is causing their reaction, since they will believe the drugs to be safe. Hence they will report the vitamin supplement as being the cause. Since the act does not oblige them to report reactions from prescription drugs, then this opens the door for Big Pharma to hijack plant compounds, and then alter them to make synthetic drugs.
The position of the FDA in all of this is dubious since that body has already made many decisions that favor the large pharma companies rather than the consumer, or producers of herbal remedies.
However, there is also the opposite view that the supplement industry is unregulated, and some degree of control is long overdue. While it is difficult to argue against this, it is the form of control that is in question and also the reasons behind it.
The pharmaceutical companies have long gained through America’s ill health, and it is to their advantage for Americans to become ill or suffer from the chronic diseases that come with a sedentary lifestyle and a diet of fast foods. The industry’s short-sighted approach has been to wait until people become ill and then treated them with expensive drug, rather than prevention that would ultimate lose them customers for their products.
A happy and healthy community, regularly taking supplements that keep them fit and well, is not to the advantage of pharmaceutical companies that prefer a depressed, unfit and sick American population to which they can sell their products. Hence the smear campaigns in the press regarding ‘uncontrolled’ natural remedies, untold bills in Congress, and what could end up as the ultimate revocation of our freedom to consume the natural products of our choice.
If we are taking two or three prescription drugs for a heart condition or to reduce the cholesterol levels in our body, and also an Omega-3 fatty acids capsule, we are urged to report the capsule if we have any side effects from the cocktail. Presumably on the basis that the drugs have been approved by the FDA, and so cannot possibly cause any side effects in us. A fish oil capsule is hardly likely to cause a heart attack, but many prescription drugs can if badly prescribed. However, it is the capsule that is likely to be fingered, banned and then included in a pharmaceutical product that is cleared by the FDA.
Those that take over the counter supplements, vitamins and herbal remedies are a threat and it is difficult not to become cynical about the intentions of such Acts of Congress and the people behind them. True, the supplement and herbal industry probably does require some form of regulation, but to phrase this in such a way as to require medically untrained people to report what they perceive as being the adverse effects of supplements rings of an intention to regulate by restriction or even banning.
When that occurs, Big Pharma will take these products and fashion them into expensive prescriptive drugs that are then approved for use by the FDA. What we were at one time able to purchase from our local health store we would now have to purchase at several times the price through prescription.
The health benefits of natural nutritional supplements are well documented, and the industry are now using methods to ensure standardization of the active ingredients where possible. However, this is not always possible with foodstuffs that do not always grow in standardized ways.
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) was passed by Congress in 1994 to protect and preserve our rights to healthy supplementation of our diets with natural products of our choice. The FDA has systematically failed to enforce this and prosecute synthetic manufacturers who have not kept to the law. The FDA does not need new powers, but the funding to implement those already in existence.
Lobbying in Congress by interested parties should not be allowed to undermine the rights of all Americans of the freedom to consume the products that will provide them with a healthier lifestyle. The DHSEA is all that is needed to preserve this and to protect consumers from Big Pharma and their need to create conditions conducive to an increasing need for their products.
Yes, the health supplements industry likely needs some form of regulation to ensure standardization of products as far as is possible, but the way to do this is not to place medical decisions into the hands of the untrained. Do not forget that these are natural products, available freely from nature in fruit, vegetable and animal products, and are not synthesized in a laboratory as many of today’s drugs are.
However, give them a free rein, and Big Pharma will hijack these natural products, change them and then sell them to us at highly inflated prices to do the job that already do for us: keep us healthy.
Healthy Nuts: Pistachios can help lower cholesterol
November 17, 2007 10:49 AM
Pistachios has been consumed for over 9000 years, the pistachio tree can bear nuts for centuries. Originating in Western Asia and Asia Minor, pistachios were introduced to the United States in the 1854 by Charles Mason. Pistachios are used in a number of food applications from bakery goods to ice cream and dressings. Pistachios are a great source of potassium, copper, magnesium, fiber, calcium and Iron.
The FDA has approved a health claim with pistachios, when eating 1.5 ounces per day, pistachios can lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Pistachios are a rich source of protein and an excellent antioxidant in the form of polyphenols. Eating 1 ounce of pistachios gives you more polyphenols than one cup of green tea.
A recent study by Penn State University suggested that pistachios can lower cholesterol when eaten on a regular basis.
7-Keto, The Next Dhea With No Side Effects
November 10, 2007 12:24 PM
7-Keto is a natural derivative of DHEA that is claimed to be free from many of the side-effects of regular DHEA supplements. DHEA is dehydroepiandosterone, which is the most abundantly produced of the adrenal hormones. After production in and release into the bloodstream by the adrenal glands that are situated just over the kidneys, DHEA undergoes metabolism to the male androgen hormones, and the female estrogens.
As you age, the production DHEA declines, starting at about 30, with a 50% decline by time you reach 40 and almost 85% at 70. This is true of the levels of many hormones in the body, though some, like the steroidal aldosterone, remain constant throughout life. The general rate of metabolism also reduces with age resulting in an even lower conversion rate of DHEA to the male and female hormones.
At the same time as this occurs, there also occurs a significant reduction in the biosynthesis of protein in the body, which results in a loss of muscle mass as you age, and also in the regeneration of bone tissue that results in what is commonly termed age-related osteoporosis. Brain cells die at an increasing rate leading to many neurological conditions and the immune system is also affected negatively.
Due to the concurrence of these aging effects, many scientists have related the general hormonal decline with the other effects of aging. The have asserted that if these hormones were restored, than many of the effects of aging could be delayed. Osteoporosis would be delayed due to the body’ s increased ability to restore lost bone mass, the metabolic rate would improve and fat would be burned at a faster rate and continue to build muscle, the brain would lose its functionality at a significantly lower rate and the immune system would continue to protect the body against disease.
In other words we might be able to live longer, but if not that then at least the quality of life would be maintained longer as we aged. This is a very welcome and desirable situation, but the taking of hormones as supplements has long been regarded as fraught with danger due to the possibility of undesirable side effects, some of them potentially very serious. DHEA was considered as one of these hormones that could be used as a supplement to achieve positive results in reducing these age-related changes because it exhibited these effects in tests on animals.
However, in order that a specific substance can be declared responsible for any metabolic improvement that involves liver biochemistry, some form of receptor has to be identified, and this failed to materialize in DHEA. There appears to be no such DHEA receptor, although that does not necessarily imply that DHEA is not responsible in some way. It might very well be a DHEA metabolite that is responsible, and that has still to be identified. It is certainly true that DHEA administered to both animal and human subjects has resulted in an increase in the testosterone and estrogen levels of the subjects. Such an increase is not desirable due to a number of potential side effects as previously inferred.
These are particularly liable to occur with people who already have an adequate level of natural DHEA production within their body. The side effects include acne, irregularity in the menstrual cycle, itchy scalp, increased body odor and an excess of androgenic hormones can lead to hair loss, or male pattern baldness. Interruptions in the heart rhythm, or palpitations, are another very serious side effect of DHEA supplementation, and high doses over a long period introduce a theoretical risk of certain cancers.
However, the discovery of 7-Keto, a natural derivative of DHEA claimed to be free from many of these side effects, has altered the situation. 7-Keto is a powerful antioxidant that speeds up the metabolism of fat and helps to reduce body weight. It also helps to replace lost fat with muscle mass, though it must be stated that this effect is only valid after the natural production of DHEA has slowed down. It is not a body-building supplement.
It was Professor Henry Lardy, of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin, who tested over 150 DHEA metabolites over 10 years and identified 7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone as having the greatest biochemical effect without having any detectable side effects. This material was trademarked 7-KETO by the Humanetics Corporation, and one of its known effects is to burn fat quicker by stimulating thermogenesis. It had also been shown to strengthen the immune system and to improve the memory. All of this without any measurable increase in any of the sex hormones. It was released after a careful and intensive series of safety tests on both humans and animals found it safe for human consumption.
It should be stressed that 7-Keto is not a hormone, and is not chemically the same as DHEA: it is a different chemical altogether that is produce when DHEA degrades in the body. Because of this it can be promoted as a non-androgenic or estrogenic form of DHEA. It is thought that all of the conditions that decline as we age that can benefit from a supplement of DHEA, will also benefit from a supplement of 7-Keto. However supplementation is only required from the ages of 25 – 30, when the natural amount of DHEA and 7-Keto in the body start to decline.
It causes neither high blood pressure nor any form of cancer, and was submitted to the FDA prior to being made publicly available. It is important to stress that the substance is neither a steroid nor does it metabolize to steroidal hormones, and is also not a sex hormone. It also has no effect on the body’s sex hormones. The whole point of 7-Keto is that it has the effect of DHEA without having any connection whatsoever with steroidal hormones or any hormonal substances. It is totally innocuous and safe to use, without the risk of heart palpitations, lost hair or any of the other side effects of DHEA.
Without a doubt, 7-Keto is a DHEA substitute that has none of the side effects of its precursor. So if you are over the age of 30 and feel the need for an energy boost, give 7-keto a try.
Omega-3 Relieves Depression in Some Individuals
November 02, 2007 03:27 PM
Omega-3 oils contain fatty acids that are known as essential fatty acids because they cannot be manufactured in your body but have to be taken in your diet. They provide many benefits to your body, and are also believed to relieve depression in some individuals. First, however, an overview of the more conventional benefits of omega-3 oils.
Obtainable in your diet from oily fish such as mackerel, herring, salmon and the like, omega-3 fatty acids play an important part in your normal growth and development, and are also crucial to normal brain function. They can reduce inflammation and protect you from heart disease and some cancers. Studies have shown the fatty acids to be particularly concentrated in the brain and to be important for cognitive processes and memory.
The effects of omega 3 fish oils on the brain are well documented, and they are known to be effective treatments in some cases of bipolar and schizophrenia. It is believed that they could also be used as a treatment in other disorders such as attention deficit disorder and dyslexia, but there is as yet no evidence that this is the case.
Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the so-called ‘bad’ low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels and increase the high density lipoproteins (HDL) that take the cholesterol back to the liver for destruction. The end result is a reduction in the cholesterol content of the blood that can be deposited on the artery walls and promote atherosclerosis. Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids appear to lower blood pressure in those suffering from hypertension, and so reduce their chances of heart attacks and strokes.
Omega 3 oils are also natural inflammatories, and help prevent conditions involving inflammation such as arthritis, asthma and menstrual cramps. They appear to help the immune system to fight these conditions and reduce the inflammation and its causes.
They are also important in the formation of prostaglandins that are responsible for the regulation of important functions such as blood pressure, blood clotting and immune response. They are hormone-like substances and also control the synthesis in the body of other hormones. If the balance of fatty acids in the diet is not right, then the subsequent imbalance in prostaglandin and hormone production can lead to disease.
It is in its effect on depression and mood, however, that has surprised many in the medical, profession. Ethyl-eicosapentaenoate, known as ethyl EPA, is a constituent of omega-3 fish oil and many studies have demonstrated that this substance helps cases of depression and related disorders. However, are people justified in turning to ethyl EPA to help them be cured of this condition?
In one study involving 20 people, six out of ten people given the supplement displayed significantly reduced symptoms of depression after four weeks. The effects were noticed as early as two weeks and many of the depression symptoms, such as worthlessness and insomnia, had improved after three weeks. This conformed with the results of many other studies that have been carried out world wide. In Scotland, a number of patients were studied who had failed to respond to traditional antidepressant drugs. Of the seventy patients involved in the trial, all of the patients who were treated with EPA displayed significant improvements in all the symptoms of their depression after four weeks whereas those with the placebo showed no improvement.
Of the two main components of omega-3 fish oil, EPA and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), only the EPA has this property, and the EPA works best alone when the DHA has been extracted. Studies and tests have indicated that the DHA appears to be important for the brain’s structure, but the EPA for its function, hence the reason for the ineffectiveness of the former in relieving depression which is a function of the brain rather connected to its structure. In fact, depressed people have been found to be deficient in EPA in comparison to those not suffering from the condition. The original idea for this originated with the late Dr. Horribin who was pioneer in researching the effects of lipids on the biochemistry of the brain as far back as the 1970s. Since then the world-wide research has confirmed his theory. However, the reason why this theory works in practice is not yet understood. It has been established that a diet rich in trans fats can unfavorably affect the hormones in the brain that stabilize mood, possibly due to the fats slowing down the system of messaging within the brain. This kind of effect can cause depression.
This is likely due to the slowing down of the messages passing between the synapses. Brain cells communicate by means of chemicals that cross the synapses, or small gaps between the individual cells. They are not directly connected like normal electrical circuits. It has been theorized that the EPA speeds up the passage of these messages between neurotransmitters and neuroreceptors. Other theories have also been promoted, such as that the EPA has properties of its own that cure depression by another route altogether.
A possible clue could be in the findings of one study on a man aged 21 years old whose brain was scanned before and after EPA treatment. The result showed in increase in the mass of brain cells after the treatment. This was contrary to the belief that brain cells could neither be generated nor grown once a person reaches maturity.
An individual suffering depression who would like to treat themselves with EPA would have to buy a lot of oily fish since high doses are needed for this level of therapy. However, it is found in high concentrations in a few supplements available on the market, and when choosing you must use the highest grade of EPA you can get, with as low a DHA content as you can find.
There is little doubt now; however, that the EPA content of omega-3 relieves depression in some individuals, although more work is needed to prove without doubt that it is effective with all forms of depression.
Coconut Oil May Help Promote Healthy Thyroid and Digestive Function
November 01, 2007 09:49 AM
Coconut is extracted from coconuts, the coconut palm often being called the tree of life and for good reason. However, its benefits were lost to America for many years due to the politics of the vegetable oil industry claiming that all saturated fats are bad. This is not based on scientific or medical fact, and coconut oil was recently rediscovered in the USA, and the health benefits enjoyed by the rest of the world are once again available to Americans.
Coconut palms grow in most tropical climates such as Southern California and Florida, the Philippines and the Caribbean. Refined coconuts oils are mass produced and much of the beneficial nutrients are lost by the refining process. Virgin coconut oil is by far the better form, though is a slower process. It is generally obtained by shredding and dry milling the meat, and then cold pressing to produce the milk. The milk is fermented for a day or so and the separated oil collected.
Such oils are analyzed to contain over 50% lauric acid and high levels of phenolic antioxidants. Much higher than from refined oils. It is said to be the healthiest oil on earth. So why did the American authorities legislate against its use? It is because of the bad press received by saturated fats and oils.
You can have saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The majority of the fats and oils in our diet are composed of long chain fats and oils. The chain length refers to the length of the hydrocarbon chain, whether saturated or unsaturated. It is long chain saturated acids that are bad for your cardiovascular system, and that should be avoided. However, there are also short chain and medium chain fatty acids that are more easily metabolized by the body. Coconut oil consists predominantly of medium chain fatty acids that help to protect against heart disease and cholesterol rather than promote it.
The highest levels of medium chain fatty acids are found in coconut oils and palm kernel oils, and these are far more nutritious than the saturated long chain fatty acids found in animal fats and just about all vegetable fats. The main MCFA in coconut oil is lauric acid.
Lauric acid is generally regarded as being responsible for the vast majority of the health benefits of coconut oil. The only other source of this fatty acid other than coconut oil is in human breast milk. After absorption, lauric acid is metabolized into monolaurin that is the monoglyceride used by the human body to destroy viruses and microbes, and attack the fat coated viruses that cause such diseases as HIV. It destroys flu viruses, a number of dangerous bacteria and protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
However, let’s have a look at some of the lesser known effects of coconut oil, such as its effects on the thyroid. Anything that blocks the efficient operation of the thyroid and secretion of the thyroid hormones can lead to excess estrogen in the body that can contribute to excessive blood cholesterol. There is a body of evidence that polyunsaturated fats and oils, such as soy, can have this effect is many people. When coconut oil is used instead, the medium chain fatty acids do not have the same effect, and those that are affected frequently find that their thyroid problem is cured and their blood cholesterol reduces.
This is not to infer that all hypothyroidism can be cured through the use of coconut oil, only those cases caused by consumption of excessive amounts of polyunsaturated fats. Although this is refuted by some medical practitioners that are against the use of supplements in general, it has been supported by medical evidence.
Coconut oil is also good for the digestion, and helps the cure of many digestive problems including Crohn’s Disease. It helps to build lipoproteins, fats and bile in the liver, the latter being essential for digestion. It helps to create a much healthier digestive tract that makes for generally better digestion and more efficient use of the foods you eat. Absorption of the nutrients is maximized and you feel altogether better in yourself when you take a small amount of coconut oil daily.
You can have sugar cravings for a number of reasons, and taking coconut oil can reduce these quickly and effectively, irrespective of their cause. The medium chain fatty acid breaks down and is rapidly metabolized to glucose thus providing a source of the energy your craving is telling you that you lack. It is very useful in reducing sugar cravings without you having to eat excess sugar that can create yeast problems.
If you replace the fats you are currently eating with coconut oil, it will not only act as an appetite suppressant but can also help you to lose weight. The fatty acids in coconut are absorbed immediately and converted to energy thus reducing your immediate need for food and hence your appetite. If you eat the saturated fat in coconut oil rather than the polyunsaturated fats in vegetable oils, then you can lose weight.
Many of the benefits of coconut oil are due to the speed with which the lauric acid is absorbed and metabolized in comparison to the long chain polyunsaturated fats. It is the chain length of the hydrocarbon tail that is important here rather than the number of double bonds in that chain that determines the degree of unsaturation.
Make sure that it is virgin coconut that you use since that is the most nutritious form. Do not be misled by labels claiming the contents to be extra virgin oil, since that is a term borrowed from the olive oil industry, and there is no such thing as extra virgin in relation to coconut oil. Never use refined coconut oil since that will just as bad for you as other saturated oils. Not even ‘Extra Virgin Refined Coconut Oil’ in the mistaken belief that such a label must indicate that the oil is extra good. It does not – it simply indicates that the supplier is a charlatan deliberately trying to mislead you into paying a premium price for a useless product.
Coconut oil may promote a healthy thyroid and digestive function, and all the medical tests indicate that it does. People that use it regularly swear by it and if you have a problem that virgin coconut oil might help, then one thing is sure: it will certainly do you no harm, and all indications are that it will do you a lot of good.
Peppermint Oil for IBS
March 24, 2007 11:01 AM
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a painful and frequently frustrating disorder of the intestines that’s often difficult to treat. Fortunately, there are scientifically studied natural products that effectively reduce the distressing symptoms of IBS.
Q. What is IBS?
A. IBS causes crampy pain, gassiness, bloating, and alterations in bowel habits. IBS is termed a functional disorder, because when the colon is examined, there is no visible sign of disease. While IBS causes significant pain and distress, no actual damage is occurring in the intestines.
There is a wide variability in IBS. Symptoms may be mild and fairly well tolerated. Or, the pain, discomfort, and bowel dysfunction may be disabling, limiting social interactions, employment, or travel.
While some individuals with IBS have diarrhea (frequent, loose stools with an urgent need to move the bowels), others have constipation (hard, infrequent stools that are difficult to pass). And, still others may experience both. Individuals with IBS also may have painful abdominal cramps and feel an urgent need to move the bowels, but are unable to do so.
A. The small intestine receives digestive material from the stomach and delivers it to the large intestine (colon). About two quarts (2,000 ml) of digestive material enter the colon from the small intestine every day. The colon absorbs water and salts from the material, which is progressively moved through the colon. This progressive movement continues until most of the fluid and salts are absorbed into the body and stool is formed. The stool passes to the left side of the colon, where it is stored until a bowel movement occurs.
Because researchers haven’t been able to find actual damage in the colon, it once was suggested that individuals with IBS have emotional problems or are overly susceptible to stress. While stress may cause symptoms of IBS to intensify, it doesn’t cause the condition.
Recent study has determined the colon muscle of an individual with IBS spasms after only mild stimulation. It’s thought the symptoms of IBS are produced by hyperactivity of the intestines. In other words, the intestines of individuals with IBS are more reactive to stressors and diet than usual. Almost everyone has experienced abdominal queasiness in response to everyday stress or certain foods. This may result in a brief bout of diarrhea or an upset stomach. However, this response is exaggerated in individuals with IBS.
Q. How prevalent is IBS?
A. IBS is very common. In fact, it’s one of the most frequent problems seen by family physicians. It’s the most common disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists (physicians specializing in the treatment of digestive disorders). The overall prevalence rates range from 10% to 20% of the general population in most industrialized countries. As a result, the pain and disabling symptoms associated with IBS result in significant socioeconomic costs, as wall as reduction in quality of life for many individuals.
A. Normal bowel function varies from person to person. Some people move their bowels daily, while others may only have two to three stools a week. A normal bowel movement is soft, formed, and is easily passed without cramping or pain.
IBS, however, causes abdominal cramps and pain, which are often severe and disabling. Bowel movements may be irregular and alternate between diarrhea and constipation. The diarrhea may be quite loose and watery. Mucous may be passed. There is often much straining, urgency, and feeling of incomplete evacuation (emptying). Abdominal bloating and passing of gas is common. Nausea, lack of appetite, heartburn, and belching may also be present. Sleep may be disrupted resulting in fatigue and lack of energy. Understandably, persons with IBS often feel anxious and depressed.
Diagnosis of IBS is usually based on the continuous presence or recurrence of these symptoms for at least three months. Other intestinal conditions must be ruled out. These include Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, inflammatory conditions of the stomach or pancreas, ulcers, infectious disease, or gastroesphageal reflux disease.
Q. Are there clinically demonstrated natural alternatives to the over-the-counter drugs prescribed by my doctor?
A. Yes, both enteric-coated peppermint oil and clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs) have significant scientific research behind them. Both have been demonstrated to benefit individuals with IBS.
Q. What is clown’s mustard and what does it do?
A. The scientific name for clown’s mustard is Iberis amara. Other names for this herb are wild candytuft and bitter candytuft. Clown’s mustard is a white-flowering plant from Spain, where it grows in dry soil on hillsides and in cornfields. It is also grown in Britain, France, and the United States. Iberis amara is a member of the Brassicaceae family. Iberis refers to its place of origin, the Iberian Peninsula. Amara means bitter. The key components of clown’s mustard are glycosides and flavonoids that have specific actions on gastrointestinal tract tone.
Q. Is there scientific evidence that clown’s mustard benefits people with IBS?
A. There has been very impressive research on clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs). And, it has been used with great success in Germany for many years to treat IBS and other gastrointestinal diseases.
In a study of an herbal combination containing clown’s mustard, 20 patients were given the herbal combination for three to 32 days. They all had been diagnosed with chronic functional disorders for at least one to 20 years. The symptoms the patients experienced included pressure and pain in the abdomen, belching, heartburn, vomiting, nausea, fullness, lack of appetite, constipation, and diarrhea. The patients have been treated for their problems with a variety of antacids, anti-spasmodic agents, and motility-inducing substances. For the purposes of the study, the patients stopped taking these medications and received treatment only with the herbal combination.
Abdominal pressure and pain in the abdomen was the most common of all the experienced symptoms, with 11 of the patients rating it as severe. After six days of treatment, only sic of the patients continued to rate their abdominal pain and pressure as severe. After two weeks, this symptom had completely resolved for 16 of the patients. Diarrhea had been rated as severe in five of the patients. By day 14, only one patient continued to have moderate diarrhea.
Medications prescribed and taken for cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases often cause gastrointestinal problems. Because these conditions are chronic, these medications must be taken for a long time, often for life. With long-term use, these medications can cause erosion of the stomach lining and actual ulcers. Many of these medication-caused symptoms are similar to IBS symptoms: pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Most, if not all, of the individuals who have gastrointestinal problems caused from medications experience two or more of these IBS symptoms.
Forty patients who were taking medications for various types of cardiovascular disease and arthritis, and who are experiencing gastrointestinal problems related to their medications, were enrolled in a study. These symptoms included pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Twenty patients received clown’s mustard combined with other herbs that support gastrointestinal motility. Three days after the trial started, a significant improvement of all s symptoms was noted in those taking this combination. By day 14, abdominal pressure and pain, nausea, and heartburn were completely eliminated in the herbal combination group. Several other clinical trials that were conducted in Germany report similar results.
Q. How does this herb compare to prescription drugs?
A. A study compared clown’s mustard (combined with other herbs) to Reglan (metoclopramide), which is frequently prescribed to reduce the symptoms of IBS. While metoclopramide is a very effective medication, it also has numerous side effects. Metoclopramide can cause fatigue, anxiety, agitation, jitteriness, insomnia, yellowing of the skin or eyes, changes in vision, hallucinations, and seizures. Because of these serious side effects, metoclopramide must not be taken longer than 12 weeks.
In comparison study, 77 subjects were randomized to receive treatment of either clown’s mustard in a combination with other herbs, or metoclopramide. All subjects had pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. The subjects took 20 drops of their assigned treatment after meals three times daily. The duration of treatment was one to two weeks.
In both groups, a parallel improvement of all symptoms was observed. At no point in the study was a statistically significant difference in symptoms found. Both treatments significantly reduced pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. In short, both metoclopramide and the clown’s mustard herbal combination worked well at reducing the symptoms of IBS.
However, side effects occurred more frequently and severely in the metoclopramide group. Given the lack of differences noted between the products at reducing symptoms of IBS, it would seem sensible to choose the treatment with the fewest reported side effects and no limits on duration of use.
A. Peppermint oil has been shown to relax intestinal smooth muscle. In Great Britain, peppermint oil is currently being prescribed for IBS by physicians and it has been used as a digestive aid and to soothe upset stomachs for generations.
Peppermint oil has also been studied for use in an important examination of the colon. A colonoscopy is a procedure of viewing the interior lining of the large intestine (colon) using a colonoscope, a slender, flexible, hollow, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine supports the idea that even people who are not at risk for colon cancer should have this test. The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women at average risk of colon cancer should have a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50.
During a colonoscopy, individuals are sedated and almost no discomfort is experienced. The insertion of the colonoscope into the rectum and up through the colon causes some spasming. This is a natural and expected event and the physician performing the exam administers medications that effectively reduce the spasms.
A recent study compared the use of peppermint oil and commonly used medications to reduce the colonic spasming in colonoscopy. The peppermint oil was introduced directly into the colon. Effective reduction of colon spasming was observed in 88% of the patients.
In a critical review and meta-analysis of peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, eight randomized controlled trials were identified. The studies collectively showed peppermint oil is superior to placebo in improvement of the symptoms of IBS. Because of the good results of these trials, the authors of the review urged additional study of peppermint oil in IBS.
However, straight peppermint oil is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream from the stomach. In recent studies comparing enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules and non-enteric coated oil, both preparations provided effective symptom relief. However, the studies concluded the enteric-coated capsules delivered the benefit of the peppermint oil directly to the intestines. In the treatment of IBS, enteric-coated supplemental peppermint is most definitely preferred.
In fact, an enteric-coated peppermint oil capsule containing rosemary and thyme is extremely effective in the treatment of IBS. All three of these oils are classified as volatile oils, derivatives found in plants that impart taste and aroma. The combination of peppermint, thyme, and rosemary oils in enteric-coated capsules provides significant relief in IBS-related pain.
Q. Can clown’s mustard and other herbs be taken with enteric-coated peppermint oil?
A. Yes, peppermint oil capsules and clown’s mustard can be used together. However, depending on the symptoms, individuals with IBS may want to start with one supplement and then add the other if needed.
Q. How do consumers find these formulas?
A. Fortunately, herbal combinations containing clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are both available at health food stores, natural product supermarkets, pharmacies, and from health professionals. Most knowledgeable sales personnel and health professionals can direct consumers to the most effective products.
Q. What should customers look for when purchasing peppermint oil?
A. As mentioned before, enteric coating of the peppermint oil is extremely important. The coating prevents the oil from being absorbed in the stomach. The enteric coated-capsule moves through the stomach to the small intestine and eventually to the colon, where it is released for maximum benefit.
Q. What is the dosage for peppermint oil?
A. The German Commission E approved peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable colon. In enteric-coated form, the Commission E recommends 0.6 ml per day. Enteric-coated peppermint capsules are available.
Q. Are there side effects or other contraindications?
A. Sometimes, the enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules may cause a transient burning sensation in the rectum when moving bowls. Reducing the dose will correct this.
Individuals who must refrain from alcohol should not take clown’s mustard in an herbal tincture, which may contain alcohol.
Q. What else can IBS patients do to feel better?
A. Food allergies or food intolerance may be associated with IBS. Dairy products and certain grains may trigger a painful episode of IBS. Determining those foods that initiate the problems and eliminating them from your diet can be very helpful.
Many people report their symptoms occur after a meal. Hyperactivity of the intestine of IBS is the response. Often, the strength of this response after a meal is in direct relation to the number of calories and he amount of fat in the meal. Reducing saturated fat, limiting calories, and increasing fiber intake may be helpful.
Stress also stimulates the intestinal hyperactivity. Relaxation training may reduce some IBS symptoms. Listening to therapeutic audiotapes, hypnosis, counseling, and biofeedback all have been shown to improve the healing response in persons with IBS.
IBS can be painful and frustrating, capable of causing much distress. While currently there is no cure for IBS, the symptoms can be managed. The pain, abdominal discomfort, and bowel problems of IBS all respond well to treatment with the use of key herbs, including clown’s mustard, and enteric-coated peppermint oil. These herbal combinations can be both effective and safe in treating IBS. Clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil are both effective front-line natural alternatives for IBS treatment.
The Power Plant of the Amazon
March 02, 2007 11:34 AM
It may surprise most Americans to know that rainforest plants are the original source for one-fourth of the chemotherapy medications used today. Plants offer a plethora of beneficial compounds, and rainforests contain a superabundance of beneficial plants.
In fact, plant medicines are the most widely used medicines of all types in the world. Over eighty-five percent of the world’s population uses plant and herbal medicines as their primary medicines. That’s 5.1 billion (5,100,000,000) people worldwide! While Americans overwhelmingly use synthetically manufactured pharmaceuticals to cure their ills, the vast majority of Earth’s inhabitants use healing plant medicines instead.
One of the most powerful healing rainforest plant medicines is cat’s claw, or Uncaria tomentosa. This high climbing woody vine grows at the base of tall trees in the Peruvian rainforest. The plant’s claw-shaped thorns latch onto the trees and spiral further upward, nourished by the lush rainforest environment. For over 2,000 years, the Ashaninka, a tribal people of the Peruvian rainforest, have used the root of U. tomentosa to treat illnesses in the tribe, including asthma, bladder infections, infected wounds, arthritis, bone pain, bowel inflammation, and cancer.
Q. I’ve heard about cat’s claw, but what does it do and how do I know which one is right for me?
Cat’s claw might be one of the most confusing (and most effective!) nutritional supplements available in health food stores today. One reason that it’s so confusing is there are so many kinds of cat’s claw supplements-there are cat’s claw leaves, cat’s claw bark, and even cat’s claw twigs. While each of these supplements claim to help the immune system, it is the root of Uncaria tomentosa that is proven to impart the true cat’s claw health benefits.
Scientists, who have extensively studied every part of the plant, discovered that extracts made from selected cat’s claw roots possess the healing power to treat and prevent diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers and degenerative diseases. In addition, it demonstrates anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-microbial benefits.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that not all Uncaria tomentosa roots actually contain healing properties.
Healers in the Ashaninka tribe attribute the healing properties in cat’s claw to the “good spirits” that live in the plant’s roots. The Ashaninka healers, or sancoshi, are able to actually “see” the good spirits hidden inside the root of the plant before they harvest them.
Some cat’s claw plant roots have the good spirits. Some don’t. If the good spirits are mixed with any cat’s claw root without good spirits, the healing power is lost. While there are no apparent differences in the plants or the roots to the untrained eye, only certain cat’s claw roots possess the power to heal. And, for a very long time, only the Ashaninka tribal healer seemed to be able to identify them. They call the good spirit cat’s claw Saventaro, or “powerful plant”.
However, scientists who were given cat’s claw roots by the Ashaninka to study in the laboratory discovered that they could “see” the good spirits, too! Using high performance liquid chromatography, or HPLC, a laboratory process that identifies various chemical compounds, the good spirits of cat’s claw roots were revealed to be important medicinal compounds called pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids (POAs). Research has learned that POAs provide powerful benefits for the human immune response.
Q. Why are good spirits, or POA’s, good for the immune system?
Cat’s claw POAs work to keep us healthy by directly interacting with white blood cells, the backbone of our immune system. Our white blood cells are the disease fighting cells of the human body. These highly specialized cells fight diseases we catch, such as colds and flu, as well as diseases that start within our own cells, such as cancer and autoimmune diseases. There are many kinds of white blood cells; each has a specific job to do in fighting diseases.
Certain POAs help white blood cells called macrophages work faster. The macrophages’ job is to engulf and digest foreign material. This means that macrophages can ingest m ore bacteria and disease causing microbes when they are exposed to POAs. The scientists also discovered that POA cat’s claw extract increases the production of a chemical protein called interleukin that is secreted by macrophages. This macrophage-secreted interleukin (IL-1) has important immune enhancing properties. IL-1 alerts resting white blood cells and spurs them into action. It also helps make other biochemicals that are essential to an activated immune system.
POAs also help B cells. B cells are white blood cells that make antibodies that kill germs. Each B cell is programmed to make one specific antibody that is effective against one specific germ (such as a bacteria, virus, or fungus). When scientists looked at the number of B cells after they were exposed to POA cat’s claw root extract, they found that the B cells had increased significantly, resulting in an increased supply of antibodies. And perhaps most importantly as they relate to cancer, the POAs in cat’s claw root extract help increase the number of T cells, the true soldiers of the immune system. There are many different kinds of these white blood cells, including Helper T cells, Suppressor T cells, and Killer T cells. Increased Helper, Suppressor, and Killer T-cells can more effectively destroy cancer cells. Increasing the number of circulating T-cells is very important in a disease like AIDS as well.
Q. Can cat’s claw and other plants in the rainforest really cure diseases? Isn’t that just folklore?
It’s folk use and modern science combined-plants have long been known for their ability to kill cancer cells. In fact, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has identified over 3000 plant extracts that can kill cancer cells. More than 70 percent of these plants are found only in the rainforest.
Q. What is it about the rainforest that gives plants like cat’s claw these cancer killing compounds?
Most of the time when we talk about rainforests, we’re talking about the tropical rainforests. While other forests, like the old-growth temperate forests of the Pacific Northwest, also have high rainfalls and tall trees, the tropical rainforests located near the equator are where most plant medicines come from.
The Amazon rainforest in South America is the world’s largest, covering an area about two-thirds the size of the continental United States. Depending on the elevation and distance to the equator the Amazon rainforest receives between 160 and 400 inches of rain per year. The rain is spread pretty evenly from January to December-it’s always the rainy season-and the temperatures remain between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit all year.
This fertile environment continually recycles itself. When leaves fall from the trees, flowers wilt, and animals die in the rainforest-all of the nutrients are recycled back into the roots of the trees and plants. Because the rainforest reuses almost everything that falls to the ground, the plant growth is amazingly rich in alkaloids and other medicinal compounds. Researchers think these compounds and alkaloids, like POAs, protect the plants from illness and insect attacks. These are the very same compounds that protect us from disease.
Q. When the Ashaninka harvest the cat’s claw roots, does it impact the rest of the plant?
No. The Ashaninka work intelligently to keep rainforest cat’s claw plants perpetually healthy. The Ashaninka employ responsible and innovative harvesting techniques to keep the plants alive and tribal members healthy. Individual cat’s claw plants are never completely harvested. Only one third of the lateral roots are collected at any one time to allow re-growth by the remaining root. Once a plant’s lateral roots have been partially harvested, that plant is left to regenerate, and no more root is harvested from it for 10 years.
Q. Why are the Ashaninka willing to share their cat’s claw?
They are generous people. The Ashaninka see no benefit in hoarding cat’s claw for themselves alone. They also want to make sure that the plant’s healing properties continue on. As their homelands continue to be destroyed by deforestation, rainforest peoples are also disappearing. There were an estimated ten million tribal and indigenous peoples living in the Amazonian Rainforest in 1510. Today there are less than 200,000.
Since the 1900’s more than 90 indigenous tribes have died out and disappeared. Each time a rainforest medicine man or woman dies without passing their arts on to the next generation, the tribe and the world loses thousands of years of irreplaceable knowledge about medicinal plants. With them, centuries of accumulated knowledge of the medicinal value of rainforest species have been lost.
A good example of the impact of this loss can be seen in cat’s claw. When European explorers began venturing into the Amazon River basin, t hey were skeptical of the stories the Ashaninka people told them of U. tomentosa’s amazing healing powers. But when the explorers became sick with colds, flu, or other illnesses, they harvested cat’s claw root for themselves and gave the plant a try. Sometimes the explorers got better when they used the cat’s claw root, sometimes they stayed the same.
Q. Why didn’t the cat’s claw root help all the explorers?
Because some cat’s claw plant roots have good spirits-POAs-and some cat’s claw plant roots have tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids, or TOAs. While the POAs have very powerful effects in the immune system, the TOAs have different effects in the body, none of which help the immune system cells at all. All U. tomentosa plants look virtually identical, so it’s hard to tell if they have the healing POAs or non-helpful TOAs.
What makes cat’s claw identification even more challenging is the fact that plants with POAs one year will have TOAs the next. Cat’s claw plants seem to change their alkaloid chemotypes at will, an incredibly powerful accomplishment for a plant to possess. Harvesting of cat’s claw roots that contain POAs is very tricky. Unless the person gathering the root extract is an Ashaninka sancoshi. These medicine men know which cat’s claw to use; they can actually “see” the good spirits hidden inside the root. When scientists studying cat’s claw discovered they could “see” presence of TOAs using HPLC technology, they were able to harvest cat’s claw root extracts with POAs that consistently helps people get and stay healthy.
Q. Do some cat’s claw root extract supplements contain TOAs?
Yes they do. And buying those products will only benefit the cat’s claw distributor; they won’t help you stay healthy. When cat’s claw root is harvested from the rainforest, responsible supplement maker examine the root with HPLC to make sure that only POA roots are collected. But, this identification of the chemotypes takes significant time and costs money. For these reasons, many cat’s claw distributors don’t include this important process in their harvesting. The POAs and TOAs are simply just mixed together and sold as a cat’s claw product with no mention of any alkaloid content on the label.
Q. Why should I avoid TOAs?
While the POAs in cat’s claw root extracts have numerous benefits to the immune system, the TOAs have different effects in the body, none helping the immune system cells. Most importantly, however, when POAs and TOAs are mixed together, the TOAs actually work against the POAs. TOAs reduce the capacity of POAs to beneficially modulate the immune system.
Q. How can I be sure the cat’s claw I buy is POA cat’s claw?
Read the label of the cat’s claw root extract product you are considering buying. If it does not clearly state that it is the high POA cat’s claw, then chances are that it’s not.
Q. What do the Ashaninka receive in return for the cat’s claw harvesting?
The Ashaninka and reputable distributors of cat’s claw root extract have established a mutual and ethical relationship. Both groups benefit from the sale of the plant material. Maintaining this relationship is important for both the tribe and the distributors.
The distributors are paying a fair price for the raw material directly to the tribe. No intermediary is involved. This payment covers the raw material itself, a license-fee for the k knowledge of the plant, and a guarantee (from both sides) of a lasting relationship. Payment is also made for the protection of the rainforest. No deforestation is allowed. The area where the cat’s claw materials are processed is also leased and payment is made for this, as well.
This arrangement allows the Ashaninka to make independent decisions in how to spend this income from sale of their cat’s claw plants. They have been able to make improvements in the tribe’s water supply and in their living areas. They are also able to obtain outside medical aid as needed and provide for education of their children.
The partnership with cat’s claw distributors has created a sustainable resource for the Ashaninka. The tribe has been able to not only preserve their rainforest, but also compete financially with unsustainable income sources offered by timber and agricultural firms.
Q. Why is it important to preserve the rainforest?
The most amazing fact about these impressive medicinal plants is the vast number that5 has yet to be discovered. In fact, the rainforest’s abundance is one reason it is home to so many healing plants. Within a four square mile patch of rainforest, you could see 1500 species of flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 125 mammal species, 400 species of birds, 100 reptile species, 60 amphibian species, and 150 different species of butterflies.
Unfortunately, not everyone looks to the rainforest for the same reasons. Many consider its real value in board feet and cultivated acreage. The forces pushing industrial development move quickly; experts estimate that we’re losing over 130 plant, animal, and insect species every day/ That amount to almost 50,000 species a year.
A combination of logging, petroleum interests, cattle grazing operations, and, of course, our own consumer appetites are putting pressure on rainforest resources. The consequences are sobering:
By leaving the rainforest intact, however, and harvesting its many nuts, fruits, oil-producing, and medicinal plants, the rainforest has more economic value than if it was cut down for timber or to make grazing land for cattle. If managed properly, the rainforest can provide the world’s need for sustainably harvested natural resources on a perpetual basis. That’s what the Ashaninka are doing with their cat’s claw harvesting.
The discovery of medicinal plants is dependent upon healthy rainforests. When an acre of tropical rainforest is lost due to deforestation, the impact on the number of plant and animal species lost and their possible uses is staggering.
We can all help the development of sustainable rainforest industries. By purchasing renewable and sustainable rainforest products, like POA type cat’s claw root extract, we are keeping rainforests alive and well. By benefiting from the innate wisdom of the Ashaninka people we are keeping ourselves just as alive and well. By honoring the science and the sacred of the world’s rainforests, like my friend the oncology nurse, the massive wealth and diversity will be there for generations to come.
Are Sytrinol and Plant Sterols a good Combination?
February 27, 2007 09:28 AM
Yes, the research on plant sterols for the maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels is quite compelling and provides a sound basis for a Sytrinol and sterol formulation.
The Benefits of Colon Cleanse
December 01, 2006 04:29 PM
There are many substances that can wreak havoc on your body. A healthy body has the natural ability to eliminate toxins that we are exposed to everyday—and the colon is one of the primary organs involved in the body’s detoxification process.
But when this internal detoxification process breaks down, toxins circulate into your bloodstream instead of being eliminated through the colon. This can lead to a range of health challenges. Colon cleansing then becomes one of the most important steps you can take.
The Benefits of Colon Cleanse
Health Plus Colon Cleanse is an excellent source of soluble fiber from psyllium husk. Fiber is essential for intestinal health and keeping the body functioning properly. It takes the digestive tract from being clogged up with waste and toxins and keeps the colon clean. It also helps to support healthy flora in the intestine.
The soluble fiber in Colon Cleanse can also help to support cholesterol levels already in the normal range. Cholesterol attaches itself to fiber and is carried out of the body with solid waste matter. A serving of colon cleanse supplies 5 grams of the 7 grams of soluble fiber necessary per day to have this effect.
Health Plus Colon Cleans is on sale today. Stock up now!
Ban against ephedra supplements at any does upheld.
August 22, 2006 11:48 AM
A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver late last week overturned a 2005 ruling by a Utah district court that had allowed the sale of low-dosage ephedra dietary supplements containing 10 milligrams or less of ephedrine alkaloids.
The appellate decision, which is effective immediately, supports FDA’s original determination that no dosage of ephedra is safe for consumption and means that it is unlawful to manufacture and sell any supplements containing ephedra, even products containing low doses of the herb.
The original ban was challenged in a May 2004 lawsuit by Nutraceutical Corp, and its subsidiary Solaray Inc., which said dried whole-herb ephedra sinica - the type of supplement in their products – had been safely used for thousands of years.
The U.S. district judge in Utah blocked any enforcement action against Nutraceutical for selling supplements containing 10 milligrams or less of ephedra per daily dose. The Utah District Judge said FDA’s process in banning ephedra improperly shifted the burden of proving product safety from the government to supplement manufacturers.
While noting that the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) categorized dietary supplements as foods and are not, therefore, subject to premarket approval by FDA, the appellate panel found that the Utah district court had interpreted this basic provision to narrowly.
The panel said that the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), of which DSHEA is a part, should not be interpreted “too restrictively” but should instead be read in a manner “consistent with the statute’s overwhelming purpose to protect public health.”
Nutraceutical’s attorney has indicated that the company would appeal the ruling to the full appeals court.
Soft Drinks Contaminated by Benzene
May 27, 2006 09:24 AM
A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) testing program has found cancer-causing benzene in soft drinks at levels averaging four times the standard for tap water. The brand names have not been released.
The test data were uncovered by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which posted the test results on the group’s website, www.ewg.org
Highly elevated Benzene Levels
Between 1995-2001 the RDA tested 24 samples of diet soda for benzene. The result: 79% tested at levels above the federal limit for benzene in tap water, which is 5 parts per billion (ppb). The maximum benzene level detected was 55 ppb. In addition to the diet sodas, the FDA tested a number of other non-diet soft drinks. One cola was contaminated at 27 times the tap water limit, and fruit drink had a 95 ppb level.
“These results confirm our suspicions there are highly elevated benzene levels in some very popular drinks,” Richard Wiles, EWG’s senior vice president said in a press release.
Reaction Triggered by Preservatives
According to an article in beveragedaily.com, sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid in soft drinks can react together to form benzene. Sodium benzoate is a common preservative in soft drinks, and ascorbic acid is often added as an antioxidant to extend shelf life.
Negotiations between the FDA and the beverage industry in 1990 resulted in an agreement that the industry would voluntarily reformulate its soft drinks to prevent this combination. The recurrence of benzene contamination may be due to new soft drink manufacturers in the market who were not a part of, or aware of, the original negotiations.
Britain Pulls Soft Drinks from Shelves
In contrast to the U.S. situation, food safety campaigners in England were successful in having benzene –containing soft drinks removed from the supermarket shelves. The British Food Standards Agency pulled four soft drink brands which contained more than 1 ppb of benzene, and rushed out the results of tests on 149 drinks, including a range of fruit juice, iced tea, squash, fizzy and low-sugar drinks, according to The Times of London.
The Wellness Revolution and Contaminated Soft Drinks
The controversy over benzene in soft drinks is an example of how toxic exposure exists in our food and immediate environment. The constant exposure to toxics were-and especially our children—experience is a major cause of chronic illness.
In this situation, the organic products available for purchase in health food stores are especially vital. And since some exposure to toxics is unavoidable we must take advantage of the herbs and nutrients that support detoxification and the liver, the main organ of detoxification, as well as immunity for example, silymarin, N-acetyl cysteine, calcium D-glucarate, folic acid, Reishi and shiitake mushrooms, and turmeric.
Sources: www.ewg.org www.beveragedaily.com 02/25/06. Associated Press 04/11/06. www.fda.org.
Public Pressure Forces Corporations to Curtail Most Soda Pop sales to schools
The Nation’s largest beverage distributors have agreed to halt nearly all soda sales to public schools, according to a deal announced may 3rd by the William J. Clinton Foundation.
The companies have agreed to sell only water, unsweetened juice and low fat milks to elementary and middle schools, according to a spokesman for former President Bill Clinton. Diet sodas would be sold only to high schools.
The deal follows a wave of criticism by school districts and state legislatures amid reports of rising childhood obesity. Soda has been a particular target because of its caloric content and popularity among children.
This Amino Acid may help your heart… and your heart’s desire.
May 24, 2006 05:45 PM
Give all to love, obey thy heart,” cries the poet, and most of us have felt the link between our hearts and our passionate feelings. In the more reasoned language of science, what connects the heart with the heat of amore is blood flowing freely through relaxed, wide-open arteries.
That’s where Arginine comes in. This amino acid (protein building block) has stirred excitement because of its ability to improve blood flow. Scientists now think that one reason nuts promote heart health, in addition to their high omega-3 content, is because they provide plenty of Arginine (as do other high-protein foods such as meat, cheese and eggs), and supplemental Arginine has been linked to improvements in cardiovascular function. This nutrient is also under the microscope as a way to promote healthy sexual functioning in both men and women.
As often as we’ve heart the heart described as a pump and the blood vessels as pipes, the plumbing analogy doesn’t entirely hold. For one thing, arteries—those vessels that carry oxygen and nutrient rich blood from the heart to the body are dynamic creations, with muscular walls that can narrow or widen as needed. One of the chemicals that control this process is called nitric oxide, and Arginine plays a crucial role in nitric oxide production.
Because the body can create its own stores, Arginine is classified as a non-essential amino-acid. However, scientists now think that getting a supplemental supply (in the form of L-Arginine) may be best for optimal well-being. In a well-designed multinational study, for example, men with high cholesterol who took l-Arginine experienced drops in both blood pressure and homocysteine, a substance associated with heart attack and stroke (Journal of nutrition 2/05). And a research team at UCLA believes that combining l-Arginine with such antioxidants as vitamin C and E may reduce inflammation that can lead to blocked coronary blood vessels.
Arginine’s ability to stimulate bountiful blood flow supports enhanced intimacy, which is both genders depends on a fully activated circulatory system. In fact, Arginine’s effects on nitric oxide are similar to those of Viagra and comparable drugs except that Arginine “is much less dangerous,” according to nationally noted herbalist Ellen Kamhi.
Men and women experiencing sexual dysfunction enjoyed greater levels of satisfaction after taking an Arginine based supplement, and the ladies reported having better relationships with their partners. What’s more, Arginine has helped infertile men by making sperm stronger and healthier.
Arginine may also help keep things pumping smoothly as the gym. It promotes the release of human growth hormone, which helps muscles grow bigger, and boosts the production of creatine, which serves as a power pack for high-intensity sports. What’s more, Arginine helps the body rid itself of ammonia, a toxic byproduct of physical activity. The amino acid’s ability to enable protein creation aids not only athletes but also people recovering from wounds, including those associated with surgery and burns. (note: the herpes virus that causes cold sores thrives on Arginine; avoid supplements if your having an outbreak.)
When the mind is willing but the body falls short, let Arginine unleash your potential. –Lisa James, Energy Times.
May 20, 2006 12:15 PM
Today’s scientists might be less poetic that tea’s ancient admirers. But they are no less impressed by the fragrant beverage’s lengthy list of health-boosting compounds, including a powerful antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that may interfere with potentially harmful genetic changes. Researchers at the University of Rochester (New York) Medical Center have found that EGCG binds to a protein called HSP90, jamming an important gene-damaging mechanism (biochemistry 4/5/05). Tea may also help stymie cancer development by interacting with toxin-neutralizing enzymes in the liver and by encouraging apoptosis, a process that causes cells to die when their useful life is over.
Studies of actual tea-drinking humans have had mixed results; some show a cancer-preventive effect, others don’t. The most promising research comes from China, where green tea is the beverage of choice. Among more than 18,000 men, those who drank tea were half as likely to develop cancer of the stomach or esophagus (which leads from the mouth to the stomach) as non-imbibers (Carcinogenesis 9/02).
Americans have traditionally favored black tea, which has different chemical properties. A 2005 American Institute for Cancer Research survey showed that only 15% of the US population drinks green tea on any given day and less than 1% matches the per-person consumption seen in Asia (although green tea sales have climbed considerably in recent years).
Meanwhile, the good news continues to pour in. in February, an investigation published in the Journal Carcinogenesis found a 22% drop in breast cancer risk among women who quaffed five cups a day. And in two preliminary studies, green tea extract, which provides tea compounds in an easy-to-take, form, has been linked to reduced risk of cancer in men with precancerous prostate changes and has benefited people with leukemia.
Night Health: A new approach to improving sleep.
May 12, 2006 05:41 PM
Our night health, including the quality of our sleep and dreams, may be the most critical overlooked factor contributing to both emotional and physical illness in modern times. For millions, night is a time of growing frustration and deepening struggle with insomnia as well as compromised and insufficient sleep. Mounting data has confirmed that sleep problems are strongly associated with virtually all major illnesses ranging from cardiovascular disease to diabetes, infections and cancer, and obesity to depression.
Night health refers to a new approach to sleep and dreams that integrates complementary and alternative medicine with effective conventional perspectives. It is essentially a comprehensive body-mind approach to sleep. The first in a series of articles introducing the concept of night health, this article begins with a closer look at the limitations of the simulated sleep offered by sleeping pills. It then examines the basic alternative of supplemented sleep: the place of natural sleep-supporting supplements. Finally, it offers suggestions for increasing the utilization of such alternatives by supplementing supplements with essential information, education and guidance offered by a new and unique software program and the first book about integrative sleep health.
As the public becomes increasingly aware of the health ramifications of sleep disturbances, more and more people are turning to sleeping pills. In fact, according to the IMS Health research, about 42 million prescriptions for sleeping pills were filled last year in the U.S. This represents a nearly 60 percent increase over the past five years alone. Some projections anticipate that the current $2.7 billion in annual sleeping pill sales will more than triple by 2010.
But instead of solving the problem, sleeping pills often make sleep problems worse. Sleeping pills commonly result in dependence. They can alter normal sleep architecture, cause amnesia and residual daytime “hangovers,” and they often result in rebound insomnias when discontinued. Some sleep specialists argue that sleeping pill use is further associated with significant increases in mortality. Given the sense of desperation that can accompany insomnia, even such very serious concerns have not prevented sales of sleeping pills from skyrocketing in recent years.
We are currently witnessing an unprecedented advertising campaign on the part of the pharmaceutical industry designed to convince the public that sleep medications are indeed a safe and effective strategy for addressing sleep problems. Despite clever and seductive advertising, however, it remains highly questionable whether sleeping pills can truly offer us sleep. I believe it is more accurate to say that they result in a kind of artificial or simulated sleep. Compared to natural slumber, sleeping pills cause a chemical knockout. Unfortunately, so many people have slept poorly for so long, they have forgotten what it is like to experience truly restorative, deep and refreshing natural slumber. Instead, many people now hold a naïve, limited sense of healthful sleep, confusing it with being knocked out. And sleeping pills satisfy that very naïve notion of sleep.
Rather than artificially simulating sleep with chemical knockouts, sleep-promoting supplements such as melatonin, valerian, and other botanicals support that body’s own sleep-facilitating mechanisms more naturally. Such products work in greater harmony with nature and, unlike conventional drugs, they do not stimulate sleep, they supplement sleep. I think of natural supplements inviting us to sleep. The very potency of many natural products lies in their very gentleness, which works cooperatively with both body and mind to induce healthful sleep.
I believe that the potential benefits and markets for such supplements remain largely untapped. Consumers’ expectations that sleep aids should knock them out rather than gently assist them in letting go into sleep must be addressed through targeted education and information campaigns. Consumers also need to learn how to use alternative sleep supplements in the context of a healthy sleep lifestyle or positive night health.
As helpful as they can be in promoting night health, sleep supplements alone will not do the trick. In fact, I believe many people get discouraged and discount the potentially positive benefits of sleep supplements after using them without proper guidance and understanding. Sleep supplements work best when they are geared to work synergistically as a part of a larger night health promotion program.
The availability of a wide range of over-the-counter health supplements offers an important freedom in healthcare choices. But with increased freedom comes increased responsibility. Consumers need to become significantly more informed. Particularly with regard to night health, such supplements need to be personalized and prescriptive. When it comes to sleep health, one size does not fit all. Whether we choose melatonin or valerian or a specific blend depends upon who we are and exactly what we need. By prescriptive I do not mean ordered by a physician, but specifically tailored to the needs of the individual.
Because of a significant shortage of health care professionals knowledgeable about sleep and the alarming trend towards increased use of sleeping pills, I have assisted in the development of a unique software program that provides sleep solutions that are both personalized and prescriptive. After more than a decade in development, the sleep advisor—an expert software system that thoroughly evaluates and provides personalized comprehensive recommendations for improving sleep—is now available.
More recently, I completed the first truly integrative book on night health. Healing night: the science and spirit of sleeping, dreaming, and awakening offers a new, comprehensive perspective on night health that complements the sleep advisors high pragmatic approach. Together, healing night and the sleep advisor offers essential supplements to sleep supplements.
Rubin R Naiman is a psychologist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at the university of Arizona’s health sciences center. He is also the sleep and dream specialist for dr. Andrew weil;s world renowned program in integrative medicine. Currently he serves as the sleep specialist at Miraval Resort, and is in private practice in Tuscon, AZ.
The above article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat a particular illness. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of a holistically competent licensed professional health care provider. The information in this article has not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Rubin R. Naiman, PhD
Perplexed about Protein? immunoglobulins to boost the immune system.
April 29, 2006 01:58 PM
The Wellness Revolution
Perplexed about Protein?
As protein and whey powders have advanced in popularity, the confusion about them has grown. In particular, protein processing technology has advanced by leaps and bounds; consumers are being presented with protein claims and counter-claims that are highly contradictory.
The confusion is part of a rapid growth. Little Miss Muffet’s quiet dish of curds and whey has expanded from a minor sideline aid for weight lifters, with sales increases around to percent a year, into an explosive $1 billion a year industry, with some companies announcing sales growth of 110 percent in just the last year.
The increase in market is from whey’s expanding appeal. As new technology has made whey’s nutritive value beneficial to a wide range of consumers, more people are using whey, and whey is being added to more products. The problem is, those advanced nutritive qualities are not included in all whey products. The fantastic immune benefits, for example, apply to only the top tier of whey products.
The standard of protein quality—the ability to provide indispensable amino acids—is judged on the basis of digestibility, nutrients, and amino acid composition. Whey has historically been acknowledged as on of the best sources of high quality protein.
With the increasing popularity of whey, attention on new processing methods has raised the bar on quality, and new products have greatly expanded nutritional values. What may have been an acceptable high-quality whey protein a few years ago, no longer makes the grade. Tony Lucchesi, Natural sales Trainer at Source Naturals says, “The different processing methods have changed the entire protein market.”
He explains, “In separating casein from whey, (a process used to make cheese), most processing methods use heat, chemical modification, or pH adjustments. These all damage the native protein structure. The result is little or no biological activity in the whey product. All the low temperature drying and micro-filtration won’t help if the raw material is denatured before a protein is dried and brought to market.”
Damaged protein may have been acceptable a few years ago, but it isn’t now. Lucchesi continues, “Animal experiments have shown that polypeptides—whole, non-denatured proteins—have greater nutritional value than protein isolates.”
Protein isolates are what is left after the pasteurization process. The protein has traditionally been “Cross cooked” out of its normal balance. “What you have left are incomplete bits and pieces of whole protein,” he says. These protein bits have only partial nutrients.
The latest introduction to the protein category are concentrates, which are intact, biologically-active whole proteins. The entire difference is in the processing; high heat, acids, and traditional methods of separating the caseins from the whey are no longer used. The new processing preserves the nutrients of the protein. This is the method that is the basis for a new Source Naturals whey product, True Whey.
Lucchesi says, “TRUE WHEY is different in that it was designed to provide nutritional support for enhanced immune function. The entire process was designed for nutritive value. The preservation of these nutrients—lactoferrin, glutamine, immunoglobulins—give TRUE WHEY a huge benefit to athletes, children, and anyone interested in boosting their immune system.”
Per serving, TRUE WHEY offers 8 grams of un-denatured protein that includes 900 mg immunoglobulins and 190mg of lactoferrin. Its vanilla flavoring has gotten very high reviews, and it has a two-year shelf life. It appears that the bar has truly been raised in the whey protein category!
Better Late Than Never! Arizona Natural
April 27, 2006 05:47 PM
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The centuries old herb contains the powerful antioxidant, NDGA, a proven free radical scavenger and antiviral agent.
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Americans, on the whole, are fatter than just about any other group...
March 18, 2006 02:38 PM
Americans, on the whole, are fatter than just about any other group of people in the world. They also have some of the highest rates of Type-II Diabetes and heart problems in the world. Why are we so fat? Weight gain is usually a combination of two things: an unhealthy diet and a lack of exercise. Most people, when they decide to try and lose weight, only tackle part of the problem. They try dieting or taking pills or living off of lemon juice and cayenne pepper for awhile, but usually it doesn’t work. Though a healthy diet is important to losing weight, it’s still only part of the equation. If you cut down your calories but still sit on a couch or in an office every day, you’re not going to lose much weight. Interestingly enough, though many people are happy to try dieting, there aren’t many who only work at the other side of the equation: exercising.
So why don’t people exercise? Part of it is attached to our mentality about exercising. “Exercising” brings up images of sweaty, unhappy people lifting weights in a smelly gym, and it sounds like a lot of work. However, exercising doesn’t mean you’re going to have to pump iron for a few hours every day. In fact, lots of things are considered exercising, from playing a pick-up game of basketball to gardening to just taking a walk around the block. Most studies have found that a half hour of exercise every day is enough to keep you healthy, and that half hour doesn’t even have to be all at once. You can skip rope for ten minutes in the morning, take a walk for ten minutes after lunch, and take a walk around the block for ten minutes when you get home and night and take care of all of your exercise for the day.
“But wait a minute,” you say, “How can walking be good for you? I walk every day!” The average American walks for only about 1/3 of a mile every day. However, fitness walking is a great way to lose weight, especially because it’s so available. If you want to go swimming you have to go to a pool, change clothes, swim, change again, and go home or to work, but if you’re taking part in fitness walking all you have to do is walk out the door of your office. Fitness walking is also an attractive exercise choice because it’s low-impact and virtually injury-free, and serves as a nice warm up for running or jogging. Fitness walking is also easy to incorporate into any schedule, since if you walk fifteen minutes to work every morning and fifteen minutes back every evening you’ve already taken care of your exercise for the day, which will help you lose weight and stay healthy.
Echinacea: why does it work in real life but not in trials?
February 04, 2006 09:54 AM
The Wellness Revolution
Why clinical trials must take into account real dosage amounts!
You took it, and it worked. You’re one of legions of people all over the world who have found the little purple coneflower called Echinacea to be wonderfully effective in fighting colds. Echinacea is among the most popular herbal supplements in North America, accounting for 10% of herbal sales in the U.S.
So why are some in the scientific community saying it doesn’t work?
How Controversy Over a Little Flower
It was a July 2005 study done at the University of Edmonton in Canada, published in the pages of the New England Journal of Medicine, that fueled the fire of controversy. On one side, there’s the community of people who take Echinacea to ward off colds and other respiratory tract infections (staying well or getting better quickly tends to make enthusiastic and loyal followers). On the other side is a spate of studies, culminating in the July 2005, giving the thumbs down to the flower’s healing powers.
The much-touted study was a placebo-controlled trial and was double-blinded (neither test group knew what they were taking). Healthy college students were given a dose of a rhinovirus infection, and were then sent to individual dorm rooms to take either an extract of Echinacea or a placebo. The results were disappointing to those of us expecting the scientific community’s “proof” to match ours—based on what our bodies and senses tell us. The study found no statistically significant difference between severity of symptoms or duration of the rhinovirus between the Echinacea and the control group. Why didn’t the study results match those of so many individuals?
What went wrong?
Noted herbalist and author Roy Upton states, [“The studies which found] positive results had dosages which were consistent with herbalist recommendations.”]
The University of Edmonton study didn’t.
Two oft-cited clinical trials in which positive results were found in the use of Echinacea for the common cold, both in vivo and in human volunteers, have been conducted by researchers Vinti Goel.
Tiny Doses, Minuscule Amounts of Active Herb
It is widely agreed among herbalists that the trial—also conducted by the team at the University of Alberta, Canada—published in the New England Journal of Medicine in July 2005 used radically smaller doses than those traditionally taken, doses so small they couldn’t possibly have worked. In the Turner trial, Echinacea extracts were given in doses of 1.5 ml tid, equivalent to 900mg daily, if the conductors of trial had consulted the real-life herbalist, say the natural health care community, they could have run a test that would have, well, tested something. The usual prescription dose for Echinacea taken by mouth ranges from 500 to 1,000 milligrams per day, and is taken three to five times a day, for seven days. This creates a range of 1500 to 5,000 mg per day. Most studies have shown Echinacea to have the greatest effectiveness when one starts taking it immediately upon feeling the early symptoms of coming down with a cold or virus.
Importantly, Echinacea has been proven in many tests, including those by Bauer and Wagner, Foster, and Hobbs, to have a supportive effect upon the immune system. That Echinacea stimulates macrophages and killer cells is proven.
Turner RB et al. New England Journal of Medicine, 2005 jul 28;353(4):341-8.
Upton R et al. Echinacea purpurea root: standards of analysis, Quality control, and therapeutics, American herbal pharmacopoeia, 2004
Goel v et al. Efficacy of standardized Echinacea preparation (echinilin) for the treatment of common cold: a randomized, double-blind, placebo- controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Pharmaceutical Therapy 2004: Feb,29(1):75-83.
Anise Seed (Pimpinella Anisum)
January 10, 2006 11:40 AM
Anise Seed (Pimpinella anisum)Fun fact: In 1619, it was decreed by law from the Virginia Assembly that each family plant at least six anise seeds a year.
From the sublime to the fantastic, Anise Seed has experienced a multitude of uses during the course of history. It was used to perfume the clothing of King Edward IV, as a food flavoring during the Middle Ages, and to fund repairs on the London Bridge, for which a special tax was added to the sale of anise seed. Pliny the Elder, author of the first encyclopedia, claimed its seeds had the power to prevent bad dreams if placed beneath the sleeper's pillow. Anise seed (or aniseed) is a member of the parsley family, and its flavor resembles licorice. Used medicinally since prehistoric times, anise seed remains a staple in aromatherapy. Mixes well with: Cedarwood, clary sage, lavender, orange, rosewood, sandalwood, and tangerine.
Parts used: Seeds.
Extraction method: Steam distillation.
Safety Information: Not recommended for use if pregnant. May cause stomach irritation and dizziness, so do not exceed recommended dosage. Do not use if diagnosed with endometriosis or estrogen-dependent cancers.
Anabol Naturals Metabolic Fat Burners
January 07, 2006 01:01 PM
Founded in 1983, Anabol Naturals has been the premier provider of the highest quality pharmaceutical-grade, free form amino acids for 22 years. The Anabol Naturals cutting edge line of free form, amino acid-based formulas in renowned for purity, quality and efficacy by professional and world-class athletes, fitness enthusiasts, health and natural food stores, as well as longevity and wellness specialists.
Driving sales nationally and internationally has been the recognition and recommendation of the Anabol Naturals line for product effectiveness and consumer satisfaction in such leading health bestsellers as Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis Balch and Healthy Healing by Linda Page.
The “Power” of trace Minerals…
October 08, 2005 11:56 AM
The “Power” of trace Minerals…
These articles piqued hartley’s interest with information about the amazing results people were receiving from drinking a little bit of sea water each day. This led him to research the great salt Lake, an inland sea located near his home. He found that the Great Salt Lake not only had the same minerals and balance discussed by George Crane, but that it was 6 to 10 times more concentrated than regular sea water without the pollution. Hartley knew there was a need for these minerals himself and had seen results from other people that the company was established with initial product sales.
Science was slow to provide answers as to why the minerals from this desert sea caused such a dramatic and varied results in people, but Hartley knew from his growing stack of testimonials that the company’s first product, Inland sea water, was effective. He and his wife, Gaye, founded Trace Minerals Research in 1968 and started selling pure Great Salt Lake water to the public and a short time later, they discovered how to use nature’s own processes to remove the sodium, thereby creating low-sodium, Concentrace TraceMineral Drops.
Hartley and Gaye founded their company on the principle that nutritional supplements should get results and that if a customer does not actually feel an improvement in their health, they should not have to pay for it. This same principle is still evident today in Trace Mineral Research.
Not a single bottle of product leaves our manufacturing facility unless we can confidently back it up with the guarantee of “Feel the Difference or your Money Back.” This guarantee is made possible because minerals and trace minerals needed by Americans today are found in rich abundance, a natural balance and a highly assimilable principle ionic form from the Great Salt Lake. Trace Mineral Research sent most of their products into development because of the spectacular results many people were already discovering from low sodium ConcenTrace and Trace Mineral Drops. The company then combined their formulas of vitamins, herbs, enzymes and other nutrients to enhance the specific benefits people were reporting.
Trace Minerals Research now has a complete line of highly effective nutritional supplements each backed by our guarantee of “Feel the Difference of Your Money Back”. These products are also backed by research and we are continually researching new information on our existing and new products.
Our Philosophy at Trace Mineral Research has always been that the Earth was created with the prefect balance of all the nutrients that humans need to be healthy and happy. The only problem is that over the years humans have become victims of the water cycle. Dr. U. Aswathanarayana states, “Soil erosion leads to the depletion of essential nutrients elements in crops grown in depleted soil. When people consume a diet derived from such crops, the intake of essential elements becomes inadequate. This leads to the impairment of the relevant physiological functions, and causes disease.” For millions of years, every sprouting seed and towering tree has dissolved minerals to ionic form and raised them from the depths of the soil where they could easily be washed away by water. To add to this problem, aggressive farming has further depleted the soils. Furthermore, many fertilizers and pesticides bind trace minerals in the soil so that fewer minerals are absorbed by fruits and vegetables. The importance of minerals in the soil and their effects on human health are not new concepts. Dr. Alexis Carrel, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1912, states, “Soil is the basis of all human life and our only hope for a healthy world… All of life will be either healthy or unhealthy according to the fertility of the soil. Minerals in the soil control the metabolism of cells in plants, animal and man … Diseases are created chiefly by destroying the harmony reigning among mineral substances present in infinitesimal amounts in air, water and food, but most importantly in the soil. Even the AMA recognized the importance of minerals in our diet. “Variations in the distribution of certain minerals in the environment are known to have an effect on health.
The Lack of minerals in our soil is evidenced through the need for constant fertilization. Plants need nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, chlorine, carbon, boron, sulfur, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and molybdenum, some of which are commonly replaced through fertilizers to provide maximum crops through minimum investment. However, humans are known to additionally need calcium, sodium, fluorine, bromine, chromium, iodine, silicon, selenium, beryllium, lithium, cobalt, vanadium and nickel, which would not necessarily be replaced through fertilization for plants.
This continual cycle of soil depletion and minor replacement of minerals through fertilization in conjunction with a diet of processed foods has left many Americans deficient in minerals and trace minerals. This does not need to follow the water cycle. As water goes through the constant cycle from evaporation to precipitation, minerals are transported through rivers and streams where it is then collected in the seas thereby creating a natural equilibrium.
Today, Trace Minerals Research harvests minerals and trace minerals from the Great Salt Lake, a uniquely rich and pure desert sea. These minerals are the basis for each of their unique products and help provide a strong foundation for balanced supplementation.
August 30, 2005 01:22 PM
Kiss Herbal Supplements Goodbye
Healthful herbal therapies face a new attack in Congress.
If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny. – Thomas Jefferson
Our third president recognized the devastating health and liberty implications of allowing governments to dictate what people eat. One can only imagine the disgust with which Jefferson would regard elected officials who are currently betraying core American freedoms by working to revoke our rights to choose what foods we put in our bodies.
In 1994, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) estabilished that dietary supplements are foods. Its passage was a shinning moment of democracy that resonated with Jefferson’s beliefs on health freedom, as millions of Americans raised their voices to preserve our right to safe, natural supplements.
DSHEA Under Attack
But now, as countless people use supplements to enhance their health, some officials are tampering with the DSHEA. HR 3156, the dietary supplement access & awareness act introduced by representative Susan Davis (D-CA), is designed to deny Americans access to the supplements they rely upon for good health. Should HR3156 pass, herbal supplements will be subject to risk benefits analysis, under which adverse event reporting will empower the FDA to ban herbal supplement sales.
Inexplicably, the bill pays no heed to the amount of herbal supplement associated with an adverse event. In other words, if someone ingests an unreasonably excessive amount of a herbal remedy, and as result experiences an adverse event, that would be enough for the FDA to ban that supplement—even if the overwhelming majority of consumers experienced positive benefits by using the supplement properly. This caveat, in addition to the relative ease with which an adverse event could falsely be linked to herbal supplements, has the potential to enable widespread, groundless bans of these health-enhancing, time-tested therapies.
Fight Back, Right Now!
We must act now to prevent the passage of HR 3156. For America’s sake, we must fight the forces in Congress that wish to ban our access to herbal supplements. In the name of democracy we must ensure that our elected officials are representing our interests and not furthering their own agendas. Without your immediate support, America’s health will be compromised as herbal supplements, one by one are banned under false pretenses.
To Quote Jefferson once again, “Never put off ‘till tomorrow what you can do today.” The need for your support is urgent, so please fax your representatives in congress today and urge them to oppose that passage of HR 3156. Contacting elected officials is fast and easy; visit www.NHA2005.com and use revolutionary technology that helps you compose faxes to congress. Become a good health ambassador; educate your friends on this gross impingement on our health freedom and encourage them to join the fight against health tyranny!
Fax the architects of HR 3156, Susan Davis (Fax: 202-225-2948), John Dingell (Fax: 202-226-0371) and Henry Waxman (Fax: 202-225-4099), and let them know that if they revoke your health freedom, you’ll vote for your health-care interests in the next election! It is only with your help that we can win the fight to keep safe, healthy supplements in our lives. For health, Freedom and liberty, visit www.NHA2005.com and Join the NHA Today.
Adverse Reactions to Foods and Dietary Supplements
August 27, 2005 08:27 AM
Adverse Reactions to Foods and Dietary Supplements
Answers to common Questions
The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that between 60,000 and 106,000 deaths per year in the United States are caused by prescription drugs. See JAMA, April 15, 1998 – Vol 279, No. 15. Fortunately, adverse reactions to foods and dietary supplements are far more rare than adverse reactions to drugs. However, we each consume a larger variety and quantity of foods than drugs. Because of this, and because each of us can react differently, an allergic or isolated reaction to a food or supplement is a possibility. Here’s helpful information about what to do if you or someone you care for has what appears to be an adverse reaction to a food or dietary supplement.
What types of reactions could I have?
The most common adverse reaction is an allergic reaction. In order to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction, carefully read all labels and buy products from reputable manufacturers who accurately disclose the ingredients in their products. If you need help finding these manufacturers, ask your local health food retailer for recommendations.
How do I know what caused my reaction?
Take time to carefully review what might have caused the reactions. Doctors and experts in toxicology look at several different factors in trying to determine the cause of a particular reaction.
1. Is this reaction a side effect of drugs I am taking?
Asking your self these questions can help limit the number of possible causes and may lead you to an answer more quickly.
What should I do if I have an adverse reaction?
Weather or not you know the potential cause of the reaction, follow these steps:
How can I reach the FDA or another government agency about my concerns?
Various state and federal agencies employ personnel who can help respond to concerns or questions about adverse reactions. Following is contact information for some of the agencies:
How can I report an adverse event?
FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) has an Adverse Event Reporting System (CAERS) that can be contacted in any of the following ways:
You can contact FDA’s MedWatch Program in any of the following ways:
For Non-emergencies related to products purchased via internet, fill out an online form on FDA’s website at vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/qa-top.html (see link to “form to report unlawful sales”)
You may also contact any local poison control center, local or state health agencies, the department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Trake Commision, the Consumer Products safety Commission, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and t hey will forward your report to the FDA.
THE FDA AND STEVIA
July 15, 2005 12:45 PM
THE FDA AND STEVIA
While stevia in no way qualifies as an “artificial sweetener,” it has been subject to rigorous inquiry and unprecedented restraints. In 1986, FDA officials began to investigate herb companies selling stevia and suddenly banned its sale, calling it “an unapproved food additive.” Then in 1991, the FDA unexpectedly announced that all importation of stevia leaves and products must cease, with the exception of certain liquid extracts which are designed for skin care only. They also issued formal warnings to companies and claimed that the herb was illegal. The FDA was unusually aggressive in its goal to eliminate stevia from American markets, utilizing search and seizure tactics, embargoes and import bans. Speculation as to why the FDA intervened in stevia commerce points to the politics of influential sugar marketers and the artificial-sweetener industry.
During the same year, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) began their defense of the herb with the goal of convincing the FDA that stevia is completely safe. They gathered documented literature and research on both stevia and other non-caloric sweeteners. The overwhelming consensus was that stevia is indeed safe, and the AHPA petitioned the FDA to exempt stevia from food additive regulations.
Food Additive vs. Dietary Supplement
FDA regulations of stevia were based on its designation as a food additive. The claim was that scientific study on stevia as a food additive was inadequate. Ironically, extensive Japanese testing of stevia was disregarde—regardless of the fact that this body of documented evidence more than sufficiently supported its safe use. Many experts who have studied stevia and its FDA requirements have commented that the FDA wants far more proof that stevia is safe than they would demand from chemical additives like aspartame.
Stevia advocates point out that stevia not a food additive, but rather, a food. Apparently, foods that have traditionally been consumed do not require laborious and expensive testing for safety under FDA regulations. The fact that so many toxicology studies have been conducted in Japan, coupled with the herb’s long history of safe consumption, makes a strong case for stevia being accepted by the FDA as a safe dietary substance. Still, it was denied the official GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status and designated a food additive by the FDA.
The FDA Reverses Its Position
As a result of the Health Freedom Act passed in September of 1995, stevia leaves, stevia extract, and stevioside can be imported to the United States. However, ingredient labels of products that contain stevia must qualify as dietary supplements.
Stevia had been redesignated as a dietary supplement by the FDA and consequently can be legally sold in the United States solely as a supplement. Its addition to teas or other packaged foods is still banned. Moreover, stevia cannot, under any circumstances, be marketed as a sweetener or flavor enhancer.
SUGAR, SUGAR EVERYWHERE
Ralph Nader once said, “If God meant us to eat sugar, he wouldn’t have invented dentists.” The average American eats over 125 pounds of white sugar every year. It has been estimated that sugar makes up 25 percent of our daily caloric intake, with soda pop supplying the majority of our sugar ingestion. Desserts and sugar-laden snacks continually tempt us, resulting in an escalated taste for sweets.
The amount of sugar we consume has a profound effect on both our physical and mental well-being. Sugar is a powerful substance which can have drug-like effects and is considered addictive by some nutritional experts. William Duffy, the author of Sugar Blues, states,“The difference between sugar addiction and narcotic addition is largely one of degree.” In excess, sugar can be toxic. Sufficient amounts of B-vitamins are actually required to metabolize and detoxify sugar in our bodies. When the body experiences a sugar overload, the assimilation of nutrients from other foods can be inhibited. In other words, our bodies were not designed to cope with the enormous quantity of sugar we routinely ingest. Eating too much sugar can generate a type of nutrient malnutrition, not to mention its contribution to obesity, diabetes, hyperactivity, and other disorders. Sugar can also predispose the body to yeast infections, aggravate some types of arthritis and asthma, cause tooth decay, and may even elevate our blood lipid levels. Eating excess sugar can also contribute to amino acid depletion, which has been linked with depression and other mood disorders. To make matters worse, eating too much sugar can actually compromise our immune systems by lowering white blood cells counts. This makes us more susceptible to colds and other infections. Sugar consumption has also been linked to PMS, osteoporosis and coronary heart disease.
Why Do We Crave Sweets?
Considering the sobering effects of a high sugar diet, why do we eat so much of it? One reason is that sugar gives us a quick infusion of energy. It can also help to raise the level of certain brain neurotransmitters which may temporarily elevate our mood. Sugar cravings stem from a complex mix of physiological and psychological components. Even the most brilliant scientists fail to totally comprehend this intriguing chemical dependence which, for the most part, hurts our overall health.
What we do know is that when sugary foods are consumed, the pancreas must secrete insulin, a hormone which serves to bring blood glucose levels down. This allows sugar to enter our cells where it is either burned off or stored. The constant ups and downs of blood sugar levels can become exaggerated in some individuals and cause all kinds of health problems. Have you ever been around someone who is prone to sudden mood swings characterized by violent verbal attacks or irritability? This type of volatile behavior is typical of people who crave sugar, eat it and then experience sugar highs and lows. Erratic mood swings can be linked to dramatic drops in blood sugar levels.
Hypoglycemia: Sign of Hard Times?
It is rather disturbing to learn that statisticians estimate that almost 20 million Americans suffer from some type of faulty glucose tolerance. Hypoglycemia and diabetes are the two major forms of blood sugar disorders and can deservedly be called modern day plagues. Hypoglycemia is an actual disorder that can cause of number of seemingly unrelated symptoms. More and more studies are pointing to physiological as well as psychological disorders linked to disturbed glucose utilization in brain cells. One study, in particular, showed that depressed people have overall lower glucose metabolism (Slagle, 22). Hypoglycemia occurs when too much insulin is secreted in order to compensate for high blood sugar levels resulting from eating sugary or high carbohydrate foods. To deal with the excess insulin, glucagon, cortisol and adrenalin pour into the system to help raise the blood sugar back to acceptable levels. This can inadvertently result in the secretion of more insulin and the vicious cycle repeats itself.
A hypoglycemic reaction can cause mood swings, fatigue, drowsiness, tremors, headaches, dizziness, panic attacks, indigestion, cold sweats, and fainting. When blood sugar drops too low, an overwhelming craving for carbohydrates results. To satisfy the craving and compensate for feelings of weakness and abnormal hunger, sugary foods are once again consumed in excess.
Unfortunately, great numbers of people suffer from hypoglycemic symptoms. Ironically, a simple switch from a high sugar diet to one that emphasizes protein can help. In addition, because sugar cravings are so hard to control, a product like stevia can be of enormous value in preventing roller coaster blood sugar levels. One Colorado internist states: People who are chronically stressed and are on a roller coaster of blood sugar going up and down are especially prone to dips in energy at certain times of day. Their adrenals are not functioning optimally, and when they hit a real low point, they want sugar. It usually happens in mid-afternoon when the adrenal glands are at their lowest level of functioning. (Janiger, 71) Our craving for sweets in not intrinsically a bad thing; however, what we reach for to satisfy that craving can dramatically determine how we feel. Stevia can help to satisfy the urge to eat something sweet without changing blood sugar levels in a perfectly natural way and without any of the risks associated with other non-nutritive sweeteners.
Diabetes: Pancreas Overload?
Diabetes is a disease typical of western cultures and is evidence of the influence that diet has on the human body. Perhaps more than any other disease, diabetes shuts down the mechanisms which permit proper carbohydrate/sugar metabolism. When the pancreas no longer secretes adequate amounts of insulin to metabolize sugar, that sugar continues to circulate in the bloodstream causing all kinds of health problems. The type of diabetes that comes in later years is almost always related to obesity and involves the inability of sugar to enter cells, even when insulin is present. Diabetes can cause blindness, atherosclerosis, kidney disease, the loss of nerve function, recurring infections, and the inability to heal. Heredity plays a profound role in the incidence of diabetes, but a diet high in white sugar and empty carbohydrates unquestionably contributes to the onset of the disease. It is estimated that over five million Americans are currently undergoing medical treatment for diabetes and studies suggest that there are at least four million Americans with undetected forms of adult onset diabetes. Diabetes is the third cause of death in this country and reflects the devastating results of a diet low in fiber and high in simple carbohydrates. Most of us start our children on diets filled with candy, pop, chips, cookies, doughnuts, sugary juice, etc. Studies have found that diabetes is a disease which usually plagues societies that eat highly refined foods. Because we live in a culture that worships sweets, the availability of a safe sweetener like stevia, which does not cause stress on the pancreas is extremely valuable. If sugar consumption was cut in half by using stevia to
June 25, 2005 07:23 PM
According to natives of the Amazon, when Tupan, the most powerful of all the Gods, decided to create man and woman and an environment in which they could t hrive, he assembled the other gods and goddesses and sought t heir assist ance. Jaci, the goddess of the moon, offered her help to Tupan. “I will teach the people how to grow seeds for food.
While many beneficial plants are steeped in myth and legend, few are as widely known and consumed among the natives of the Amazon river basin as catuaba, Erthyroxylum catuaba.
Revered as an enhancer of both libido and sexual potency, catuaba is a tree which grows widely across the northern Amazon.This most famous of all reputed aphrodisiac Amazonian plants is the subject of numerous indigenous songs,and the harvesting of catuaba bark (the part used for sexual enhancement) has become big business throughout Brazil.
In January of this year, I and two others went on a mission to the Brazilian Amazon to investigate catuaba as it is harvested and used by the indigenous people of that region. We possessed complementary skills.
My work involves researching and photographing indigenous native uses of plants around the world.My wife Shahannah, whose previous career as a marine mammal researcher put her on the ocean for three years, was our videographer.The third member, Bernie Peixoto, was born and raised in that region, speaks ten native languages fluently, and also holds a Ph.D in anthropology.We were a small, but capable group.
Entering Brazil through Manaus, we made contact with Antonio Matas,the most famous herbalist in that area.Antonio described to us numerous instances in which the use of catuaba had resulted in renewed sexual potency in men, and revived or enhanced libido in both men and women.Antonio also introduced us to a man named Sivao,the primary dealer of catuaba in the entire sprawling Manaus region. From Sivao we learned that catuaba was increasing in popularity every month, and had become one of the most sought after and widely used beneficial plants in northern Brazil, due to its ef fectiveness.
After our meetings in Manaus,we headed down the Amazon river where we stayed with Ipixuna and Crinicoru Indians in floating houses right on the river itself.
With the guidance of an outdoorsman named Geronimo and a fisherman named Jose’,we hiked into the forest,saw catuaba trees growing, and witnessed the harvesting and sale of the bark.In addition,we were led to two elderly women shamans,who described to us the sex-enhancing and restorative virtues of catuaba.
While space doesn’t permit an explanation of all that we saw and learned, we discovered during the course of our travels that while catuaba is used by almost all middle-aged men,it is also popular among couples of all ages for its enhancement of libido. More often than not,catuaba is used with muira puama. We asked repeatedly why this was so,and each time we were told that the combination of the two plants results in significantly greater sexual enhancement than can be obtained by using either herb by itself. Most of the people with whom we spoke use catuaba personally, and they expressed great enthusiasm for catuaba’s sex-enhancing properties. Throughout history, people have sought to enhance their libido and improve sexual potency. Catuaba,a common tree growing widely across the Amazon river basin,has centuries of safe,effective use as a sex-enhancer.As more people become aware of the botanical treasures of the rainforest,catuaba is destined to become popular and widely used in this culture as well. The views expressed in this article are those of the author only, and have not been approved or endorsed by Nutraceutical Corporation or any of its subsidaries or affiliates.
June 25, 2005 09:56 AM
Fresh Rub: A fresh clove of garlic can be used directly on warts and verrucae. When added to the diet, it works as a prophylactic against infection, helps to reduce high blood cholesterol and improves the cardiovascular system. Eating garlic regularly can also help to lower blood sugar levels.
Juice: Garlic juice can be taken for digestive disorders, infectious diseases and for atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Capsules: Powdered garlic can be taken in capsules and can be purchased in deodorized form. Garlic capsules are a convenient way to supplement the diet with garlic and are good for heart disease, high blood pressure and to fight infections of any kind. Pearls: Pearls are capsulized garlic oil which have been deodorized and are sometimes used as an alternative to the capsules.
(Note: Garlic pearls which have been deodorized are sometimes less potent in their biochemical action. Garlic’s strong, pungent odor compounds are excreted through the lungs and the skin. Eating fresh parsley and lemon juice can help to neutralize garlic odor on the breath.)
Maceration: Garlic cloves can be steeped in water overnight and taken as a treatment for intestinal parasites. Aged Oil: Considered by some to be a superior form of garlic. Storage: Fresh garlic can be stored in a cool, dry, dark place. Garlic extracts and oils should be kept in dark bottles and can be refrigerated.
Recommended Usage: Garlic pills and extracts should be taken as recommend on their labels. If using garlic in cooked form, it can be eaten abundantly. Raw garlic is stronger and should not be eaten indiscriminately as gastric upset might occur. Capsules and pills are best taken with meals.
Safety: Garlic is considered safe when taken in reasonable amounts however it is very heating and when ingested in excess can irritate the stomach. Taken in therapeutic doses during pregnancy or while nursing may cause some gastric upset. Placing fresh, raw garlic or garlic oil directly on the skin may also cause irritation or contact dermatitis. When using garlic externally, apply a layer of olive oil to the skin first.
Very high dosages of garlic tincture have been known to cause leukocytosis. Garlic does not have to be consumed raw to be effective. Moreover, the typical odor of garlic does not always have to be present in order for it to still posses health benefits. If you experience side effects such as a burning sensation when urinating, heartburn, flatulence or belching, you may want to use a processed garlic extract. To avoid garlic breath, deodorized forms of garlic are available. If taken properly, the safety and efficacy of garlic has been well established.
June 24, 2005 01:07 PM
ECHINACEA (Echinacea angustifolia)
Common Names: Black Sampson, Purple Coneflower, Rud beckia , Missouri Snakeroot, Red Sunflower
Plant Parts: roots, rhizome
Active Compounds: echinacoside, polysaccharides (echinacin), antibiotic polyacetylenes, betaine, caffeic acid glycosides, inulin, isobutyl amides, ess ential oil (humulene, caryophylene), isobutyl-alkylamines, resin, flavonoids (in leaves and stems), sesquiterpene esters (echinadiole, epoxy - echinadiole, echinax-anthole, and dihydor-xynardole). Pharmacology: Echinacea contains a variety of chemical compounds which have significant pharmacological functions. It has been the subject of hundreds of clinical and scientific studies which have primarily used an extract of the plant portion of the botanical. The rich content of polysaccharides and phytosterols in echinacea are what make it a strong immune system stimulant. The sesquiterpene esters also have immunostimulatory effects. Glycoside echinacoside is found in the roots of the plant. Echinacin has also been found to possess anti-fungal and antibiotic properties. This component of echinacea also has cortisone-like actions which can help promote the healing of wounds and helps to control the inflammatory reactions of allergies.
Vitamin and Mineral Content: vitamins A, E, C, iron, iodine, copper, sulphur and potassium
Recommended Usage: Echinacea works best if it is taken right at the onset of an infection in substantial doses and then tapere d off. It can be used in higher quantities as a preventative during winter months when colds and flu are prevalent. If using it to maintain the immune system, periodic use is believed to be more effective than continual usage. Typically, one should use echinacea for seven to eight weeks on followed by one week off. Guaranteed potency echinacea is currently available in capsule form only. Safety: High doses can occasionally cause nausea and dizziness. Echinacea has not exhibited any observed toxicity even in high dosages. Anyone who is suffering from any type of kidney disorder should restrict taking echinacea to one week maximum. Very heavy use of echinacea may temporarily cause male infertility.
Your Healthy Harvest
June 14, 2005 11:05 AM
Your Healthy Harvest by Marjorie Flakowitz Energy Times, August 15, 2004
Once frowned on by conventional farmers, organic food has won respect from everyone concerned about the health of both the earth and the people who inhabit it.
Today, organic farming is considered one of the most rapidly growing areas of American agriculture. Organic foods sales topped $9 billion in 2002 and grew about 20%, up to almost $11 billion in 2003 (Organic Trade Association).
So when you buy organic, you join an expanding market that takes advantage of great-tasting, good-for-you food. Long ago, when the practice of farming was first devised, all farming was organic farming. So today's organic movement is bringing farming back to its roots.
But, safe to say, that is not what's motivating most consumers. A main reason for the popularity of organic food derives from the reassurance that organic foods, raised without artificial chemicals and pesticides, cut your exposure to toxic residues. A growing body of research shows organic food is richer in beneficial natural substances, too.
" Organic food and organic farming represent a philosophy that goes beyond just the quality of the food," says Steve Meyerowitz in The Organic Food Guide (Globe Pequot). "It strives to maintain the integrity of the entire food chain-plants, soil, air, water, animals and people. We are all part of the same ecosystem."
By eating organic, you eliminate pollution both from your body and the earth. Because our bodies are made of the animal and plant products we consume, our internal, physiological ecosystem and the earth's environment are inexorably entwined.
Chilling Arctic Evidence
As evidence of this connection, consider what's happened in the Arctic. Researchers who have analyzed Arctic water, ice, snow, soil and plants have found that chemicals used in farming and industry in other parts of the world have traveled north and accumulated in alarming quantity. How and if these chemicals break down depends on sunlight and the amount of organic matter contained in Arctic waters (American Chemical Society, 9/11/03).
" Once pollutants enter the water column, their behavior is poorly understood-particularly the processes that govern their lifetime and concentrations," says Amanda Grannas, PhD, a researcher at Ohio State University. "Such pollutants are now being found in wildlife, from fish to seals to whales, and even in people living in the Arctic."
Dr. Grannas and others looked at the pesticides lindane and hexachlorobenzene (HCB), two chemicals that have migrated to Arctic waters. Lindane is used by American farmers to treat seeds before they are planted. HCB, banned in the US in 1984, is still used in other countries to protect wheat from fungus.
The scientists found that sunlight at the top of Arctic waterways can help break down some pesticides. At lower depths, however, cut off from the sun's rays, pesticides can remain largely intact. In this research, lindane proved to persist much more readily than HCB.
" Lindane is one of the most persistent of pollutants," warns Dr. Grannas. "This could be because it's photochemically inert, whereas pollutants like HCB degrade relatively quickly. The main message is that pollutants can behave quite differently. These pollutants already affect local ecosystems, and could have repercussions for human health."
Organics Means More Benefits
Researchers are also finding that organic produce contains larger quantities of beneficial natural chemicals. For instance, one study (Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 2/26/03) showed that berries and corn grown organically can have almost 60% more polyphenolics. Polyphenolics are antioxidants plants use for protection against disease and which are good for humans. Researchers believe that when crops are grown conventionally, protected by pesticides and herbicides, they produce fewer of these substances. " This really opens the door to more research in this area," says Alyson Mitchell, PhD, assistant professor of food science at University of California at Davis, who led the research.
These scientists compared levels of total polyphenolics and vitamin C content in marionberries (a type of blackberry) and corn grown organically, sustainably or conventionally, and also looked at chemicals in strawberries grown either sustainably or conventionally. (Sustainable farming falls between the organic and conventional methods, and concentrates on farming that's self-sufficient-for example, feeding cows hay you've grown yourself, and then using the cows' manure to fertilize another crop.) They found that organic marionberries and corn had 50% to 58% more polyphenolics. The sustainably grown strawberries had 19% more polyphenolics. And all the organic produce contained more vitamin C.
Self-Defense for Plants
According to Dr. Mitchell, the organic crops contained the high levels of polyphenolics you'd expect to find in wild plants, suggesting that, on conventional farms, pesticides reduce the necessity for plants to make these protective, natural chemicals. " If an aphid is nibbling on a leaf, the plant produces phenolics to defend itself," she says. "[P]henolics guard the plant against these pests."
Pesticides kill insects like aphids and thereby reduce the antioxidants produced by the plant. " This helps explain why the level of antioxidants is so much higher in organically grown food," Mitchell says. "By synthetically protecting the produce from these pests, we decrease their need to produce antioxidants. It suggests that maybe we are doing something to our food inadvertently.
" We know [polyphenolics] are beneficial [to human health], but we don't know what types of polyphenolics are beneficial, or in what quantities," Dr. Mitchell notes. " Originally, the question was just really intriguing to me. I found that the higher level of antioxidants is enough to have a significant impact on health and nutrition, and it's definitely changed the way I think about my food."
Vitamin C in Oranges
Meanwhile, nutritional research on the vitamin C in oranges turns up similar results: organic oranges are richer in this antioxidant nutrient than conventionally grown oranges (Great Lakes Regional Meeting, American Chemical Society, 6/2/02).
The more common supermarket oranges are significantly larger than organically grown oranges, and they have a deeper orange color. Because of their larger size, "we were expecting twice as much vitamin C in the conventional oranges," says Theo Clark, PhD, chemistry professor at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.
But when he isolated the chemicals in the oranges and further refined his search with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), spectroscopy demonstrated that organically grown oranges possess 30% more vitamin C than the conventionally grown fruits-even though they are only about half as large.
Dr. Clark isn't sure why organic oranges are richer in vitamin C, but he says, "...[W]e speculate that with conventional oranges, [farmers] use nitrogen fertilizers that cause an uptake of more water, so it sort of dilutes the orange. You get a great big orange but it is full of water and does not have as much nutritional value.
" However, we can only speculate. Other factors such as maturity, climate, processing factors, packaging and storage conditions require consideration." Along with analyzing oranges, Dr. Clark and his research team questioned about 70 people to measure their concept of the nutritional value of organic oranges. In this survey, 85% of the respondents thought that organic oranges have a higher nutritional content than conventionally grown fruit.
Dr. Clark's laboratory work shows that "they were right on." In Dr. Clark's view, these issues are important because consumers have a right to know the real nutritional content of organic produce, and the fact that analyses show that organic fruit has much more vitamin C validates the benefits of eating organic.
Both plants and animals protect themselves from disease with many of the same chemicals. The natural substances that, in a farmer's field, defend vegetables from insects and microbes before they are harvested for your dinner go to work defending your body after you eat and digest them.
When you eat organic you bolster your health with more of these natural wonders. No wonder organic is becoming so popular!