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The Power of Zeolite
November 03, 2022 03:08 PM
Zeolites are incredible minerals with a range of benefits. Zeolite was originally coined in the 18th century by Swedish mineralogist Axel Fredrik Cronstedt. He observed that upon rapidly heating a natural mineral, the stones began to dance about as the water evaporated. He called this material Zeolite, using the Greek words which mean “stone that boils.”
Since then, we have discovered that zeolites have a molecular trap and the ability to selectively sort molecules based primarily on a size exclusion process. This means that zeolites can trap toxins and chemicals and carry them out of the body. Moreover, zeolites cross the blood-brain barrier—meaning they can enter the brain and remove toxins from this sensitive area.
Lets explore the different benefits of zeolite and how this mineral can be used to improve our health. Keep reading to learn more!
The Different Benefits of Zeolite
Zeolitehas a range of benefits for our health, including detoxification, improved digestion, and relief from inflammation. Let’s take a closer look at each of these benefits in turn:
Detoxification: As we mentioned, one of the primary benefits of zeolite is its ability to remove toxins from the body. Zeolite works by binding to toxins and carrying them out of the body through the digestive system. In this way, it can help to detoxify the liver, kidneys, and other organs.
Improved Digestion: Zeolite can also improve digestion by helping to break down food more effectively. When food is not properly digested, it can lead to a range of gastrointestinal issues like abdominal pain, gas, bloating, and diarrhea. However, by taking zeolite supplements before meals, you can help your body to better absorb nutrients and reduce digestive discomfort.
Relief from Inflammation: Finally, research suggests that zeolite may also be effective in reducing inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation is a natural response to injury or infection but can sometimes become chronic and lead to conditions like arthritis or Crohn’s disease. By reducing inflammation, zeolite may help to relieve pain and improve overall health.
As you can see, there are many reasons why you should consider adding zeolite supplements to your diet. From improved digestion and toxin removal to reduced inflammation, this incredible mineral offers a host of benefits for our health. So why not give it a try? You may be surprised at just how much it can improve your well-being!
The Many Benefits of Graviola(Diabetes, Liver, Parasites)
October 11, 2022 11:18 AM
Graviola, also known as soursop, is a small, green fruit that grows in tropical climates. The fruit, leaves, and seeds of graviola have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of conditions. Today, we know that graviola can help control diabetes and blood sugar problems, cleanse the liver, and remove parasites. These functions help in cases where underlying blood sugar imbalances and immune system weakness are persistent problems. Also, numerous studies of Graviola have shown selective cytotoxicities against several lines of cancer cells. Let's take a closer look at some of the ways graviola can benefit your health.
Graviola and Diabetes
Graviola can be helpful in managing diabetes and blood sugar levels for two reasons. First, graviola helps to increase insulin sensitivity. Second, graviola leaf extract has hypoglycemic properties, which means it can help to lower blood sugar levels. A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that rats with diabetes who were given graviola leaf extract had significantly lower blood sugar levels than rats who were not given the extract.
Graviola and the Liver
Graviola can also help to cleanse the liver and protect it from damage. The liver is responsible for filtering toxins out of the body, so it is important to keep it healthy. Graviola helps to keep the liver healthy by reducing inflammation and protecting it from oxidative damage. A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences found that graviola was able to protect the liver from oxidative damage in rats with liver disease.
Graviola and Parasites
In addition to its other benefits, graviola can also help to eliminate parasites from the body. Parasites can cause a wide range of problems including fatigue, gastrointestinal issues, and weight loss. A study published in Phytotherapy Research found that graviola was effective at eliminating parasites in rats infected with the parasite Ascaris suum.
Graviola is a small fruit with a big impact on health. It can help to control diabetes, cleanse the liver, and remove parasites from the body. Additionally, studies have shown that graviola has anti-cancer properties. If you are looking for a natural way to improve your health, Graviola may be worth trying!
Study: Curcumin, a polyphenol in turmeric, can selectively targetcancer stem cells
May 02, 2019 11:57 AM
According to a study published in the journal Anticancer Research, curcumin can destroy stem cells that cause cancer. Turmeric is a plant that has been used in traditional Asian medicine to treat a variety of conditions. Curcumin, a polyphenol found in turmeric, is the source of turmeric's health benefits. Recent research suggests that curcumin can selectively target and destroy cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells, which are resistant to chemotherapy and radiation, and can actually be spread by surgery, are the most lethal type of cancer cell.
"One of the most well-known of these amazing foods is curcumin, the polyphenol that gives turmeric its beautiful, bright yellow color."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-14-curcumin-polyphenol-in-turmeric-can-selectively-target-cancer-stem-cells.html
Natural remedy for OCD may lie in ashwagandha
February 11, 2019 11:11 AM
Physicians typically prescribe patients mainstream pharmaceutical drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as a way to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but new research is showing that another effective route may be available. Ashwagandha roots can be put into a powdered extract that can be combined with lactose in order to treat symptoms of OCD. A six week trial proved that after 30mg of ashwagandha each day, patients who suffered from anxiety noticed that their symptoms improved at the end of the trial.
"Patients may finally get their obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) under proper control thanks to an ancient Indian herbal remedy."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-09-natural-remedy-for-ocd-may-lie-in-ashwagandha.html
One of the most precious spices in the world, saffron can be usedas an alternative cancer treatment
September 04, 2018 09:53 AM
Saffron is not only a tasty spice highly valued to culinary chefs, but it also has anti-cancer properties, according to a recently published article. Not only does saffron kill cancerous cells, but it is also selective in which cells it kills, meaning it doesn't harm non-cancerous cells. Saffron, although expensive, also has many other benefits. It can fight depression, improve skin, balance hormones, combat stomach pain, and even give sexual activity a boost. Saffron is a highly valued spice for good reason due to it's contributions to overall health.
"What’s more, these compounds display selective toxicity against cells; that is, they ultimately kill cancer varieties without harming normal ones."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-07-31-saffron-can-be-used-as-an-alternative-cancer-treatment.html
Study: Cannabinoids May Treat Persistent Inflammatory Pain
February 04, 2017 02:59 PM
It has been discovered that Cannabinoids can treat persistent inflammatory pain. This is according to new research that has been published in the journal of neuroscience and it was also published online. The researchers say their data shows how it can help. There are also other studies done that have shown the same thing.
"This study joins a list of dozens that have shown that cannabinoids can treat and prevent inflammation, including one released just last month in the FASEB Journal which found that cannabis may treat chronic inflammation."
Lutein and brain health: Enriched formula leads to selective increases in multiple brain regions
January 31, 2017 12:59 PM
Lutein has been tested in more primates than humans and its link to brain and ocular health is fairly significant. Scientists have noted an increased need in lutein among babies- in utero and also after they are born. Lutein can be added to and consumed in infant formula. Lutein is a strong antioxidant and can be very useful for developing babies.
"All of the brain regions examined – the prefrontal cortex, the occipital cortex, the superior temporal cortex, the striatum, the cerebellum, and the hippocampus – all displayed selective increases in lutein deposition, with the highest amounts in the occipital cortex."
Who Shouldn’t Eat Soy?
January 27, 2017 10:19 AM
As you get more and more soy compounds in the body, they have pro estrogen effects. There is health potential to soy and it will help protect women and their bodies. Foods with soy tend to have a lot of benefits. It protects bones and helps tame hot flash symptoms. One experts says that rather than relying on individual soy components we should look at consumption patters instead, which is more logical. That is how we will get the health benefits from it.
"How can soy foods have it both ways—pro-estrogenic effects in some organs (protecting bones and reducing hot flash symptoms), but anti-estrogenic effects in others (protecting against breast and endometrial cancer)?"
Why high-dose vitamin C kills cancer cells
January 22, 2017 02:59 PM
High doses of vitamin c can kill cancer cells. In the past cancer therapy through vitamin c has not always proven that effective. However, that is because they were trying to get people to ingest it through the mouth. the key is to let hit the bloodstream immediately. The Vitamin C selectively kills the cancerous cells and not the normal cells. This is because normal cells are smarter and handle the hydrogen peroxide better.
"Normal cells have several ways to remove hydrogen peroxide, keeping it at very low levels so it does not cause damage. The new study shows that an enzyme called catalase is the central route for removing hydrogen peroxide generated by decomposing vitamin C."
Researchers develop tiny, shining crystals that detect and clean heavy metals in water
December 16, 2016 12:59 PM
Researchers from Rutgers University crystals, aka luminescent metal-organic frameworks (LMOF), that detect and are able to bond with heavy metal contaminants in water. The LMOF are highly effective and it is hopeful that they will be a great tool to clean up contaminated drinking water. Researchers continue to try to develop the crystals so that they may be created less expensively and can be used several times.
"A team of researchers led by academics at Rutgers University has developed tiny, glowing crystals that are able to detect and then bind heavy-metal toxins in drinking water such as lead and mercury."
Depression: does it originate in the immune system?
December 04, 2016 12:59 PM
While it is true that 1 out of 10 people are affected by depression, the cause of it is controversial. For years we have believed that low serotonin levels were the cause of mood disorders. New research now suggests that mood disorders could be caused by the body's immune system. Those antidepressants that some have been taking, may not have worked if serotonin levels weren't to blame.
"For decades, we've been told that serotonin is the key culprit for mood disorders, but now a growing number of doctors are subscribing to a radical new theory of depression - that the problem, at least for some people, is in fact the result of inflammation in the body, caused by the body's immune system reacting to an infection or stress."
Why the Blood-Brain Barrier Is So Critical (and How to Maintain It)
November 25, 2016 10:59 AM
It’s imperative to maintain a health blood-brain barrier. This serves as a guard for our brains letting in important things like glucose, amino acids, nutrients, and ketones while warding off toxins and pathogens. Ways to promote BBB health include taking vitamin B, drinking tea/coffee for caffeine, eating prebiotic fiber, upping magnesium intake, and sleep, just to name a few.
"The job of the gut lining is to be selectively permeable, allowing helpful things passage into the body and preventing harmful things from getting in."
Through Epigenetics, Curcumin Can Stop Cancer
August 20, 2016 10:28 AM
Epigenetics: In a nutshell, the way we eat turns on and turns off various genes in the body. Depending on your diet, you can turn on cancer preventative genes and turn on genes that promote cancer.
Curcumin is able to tell those apoptosis inducing genes to wake up and end the lives of cancer cells that are defying death. Curcumin can selectively kill cells that have out lived their lifespan with out hurting other normal cells in the body. It reprograms genetically damaged cells to have a normal lifespan.
All of the healing properties of curcumin happen with zero side effects, unlike prescription drugs that your doctor prescribe, that no only have side effects, some of these side effects can be life threatening. Who wants that? Not Me!
If you have cancer, or any disease for that matter, try curcumin as a complementary supplement to what ever you are currently doing to fight it, or take curcumin as a preventative!
How Do Carbohydrate Blockers Like White Kidney Bean Extract Work?
February 19, 2012 08:14 AM
Weight Loss And Carb Blockers
With so many weight loss products available in the market, it becomes difficult to find the right one that actually works. Many dieters are turning to starch blockers such as White Kidney beans that help in reducing the absorption of carbs in the body, hence getting rid of extra flab. Let us look at the science behind starch or cabohydrate blockers.
How does Carbohydrate Blocker work?
Starch is the non-nutritious and empty calorie form of carbohydrate that is found in bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. These evil foods have become the staple diet of many people. During the process of digestion, all the forms of carbohydrates are converted in to simple sugars. Sugar is further metabolised for energy, and excess sugar is stored either in the muscle tissue and liver or in the form of fat deposits. This breaking down of carbs is done with the help of an enzyme, alpha amylase. Recent studies have found that some substances contain specific ingredients that help in blocking the enzyme amylase. This ingredient is known as Phase 2 Carb Controller and it blocks tha action or function of alpha amylase. This results in slowing down of absorption and digestion processes. This reduces conversion of extra sugar in to fat and hence reduces calorie impact. So actually it is not starch blocker, as they do not block everything; rather it is starch enzymen blocker.
White Kidney Beans as Carbohydrate blocker:
White kidney beans are large beans that can be used to prepare soup and pasta dishes and other italian dishes. They are also called cannellini beans and have a mild delicious flavor. It has been studies that white kidney beans contain a specific ingredient called Phase 2 Carb Controller that helps in blocking the action of enzyme alpha amylase. According to the latest studies, white kidney beans may help the body stop carbs from breaking down in to sugars, hence there is no excess sugar to get converted in to fat. Experts say that Phase 2 Carb Controller selectively targets only the starchy white component of carbohydrates and do not affect the digestion of healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains and fruits. It inhibits body's digestion of specific complex carbs, which are then eliminated from the body. This helps you get rid of unhealthy stored fat, giving you healthy, fat free body.
What are the other benefits of White kidney beans that may assist in weight loss:
According to studies, white kidney beans also help in regulating the blood sugar levels. Normal blood sugar levels do not require breakdown of complex carbs and this also helps in losing weight.
White kidney beans also contain high amounts of fibre, which aids in digestion and keeps you satisfied, thereby avoiding untimely bingeing of high calorie snacks.
Other health benefits of White kidney beans:
White kidney beans are useful in lowering triglycerides, coronary artery disease and degenerative arthritis.
Clinical studies on white kidney beans or starch blockers have shown that carbohydrate blocker do allow complex carbs to pass through the small intestine undigested. Research is still going on to find the further action of Phase 2 Carb Controller present in white kideny beans in losing weight.
When Should Probiotics Be Taken?
October 04, 2011 02:00 PM
Probiotics are digestive bacteria which are naturally present in the gastric environment. This type of bacteria is necessary for the proper digestion of food as well as absorption of nutrients. Clinical studies have shown that the digestive tract must contain at least 10 to 15 % good bacteria to have a healthy digestion. In addition, trace amount of bad bacteria is also present inside the digestive tract. This is also important for digestion because these bacteria produce essential enzymes that aid digestion and absorption.
The most popular probiotics is called Lactobacillus acidophilus. This kind of bacteria produces lactic acid inside the stomach when they reproduce. Lactic acid increases the acidity of the gastric environment thus enhancing digestion. The acidity of the digestive tract also helps protect the stomach and intestines from overgrowth of harmful microorganisms such as yeasts, spores, molds and bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella.
The population of good bacteria in the digestive tract is depleted when the individual is on antibiotic therapy or under prolonged stress. Antibiotics are non – selective. This means that they do not only kill the harmful microorganisms but also the good ones. Good thing probiotics can be obtained from the diet such as yogurt, buttermilk, kefir and other fermented products. In addition, probiotics can also be provided by supplements. Therefore, when the person is to have an antibiotic therapy, the physician usually prescribes probiotic supplement to replenish the digestive tract with the killed good bacteria.
Moreover, if probiotics are prescribed, another form of supplement may also be recommended to aid the activity of probiotic supplements. These are called prebiotics which are considered to be fibers, either soluble or insoluble. These prebiotics does not increase the number of good bacteria in the digestive tract. Prebiotics serve as food for good bacteria thus making them healthy and strong against bad bacteria. Sources of prebiotics include fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains.
Other health benefits of probiotics are that it can enhance the health of the immune system and boost the intestinal barrier function. Probiotics also lessen the development of allergies to food and drugs. For lactose – intolerant individuals, yogurts with live and active cultures of lactobacillus acidophilus are recommended to relieve its disturbing symptoms. In addition, probiotics also has an anti – diarrheal property and at the same time helps in the regulation of normal bowel movement.
A good probiotic supplement must have at least ten million live bacteria. Experts also stressed that the good bacteria contained in a supplement must be that of the Lactobacillus strains. This family of bacteria is the only considered group of good bacteria which is strong enough to reach the intestines, bypassing the acidic environment of the stomach. Another helpful tip on what a good probiotic supplement must be is that the product must be guaranteed organic. Organic probiotics ensure that the bacteria are in its natural and live state and have not been destroyed with heat and strong chemicals during processes. Experts also suggest that you must choose those probiotic supplements in which the source is from organic vegetables.
How Does Serrapeptidase Support A Healthy Immune System, Regulate Inflammation, And More?
September 01, 2011 02:25 PM
What Does Serrapeptidase Do In The Body?
Serrapeptidase is an enzyme which is protein - digesting by nature. It is considered to be one of the types of proteolytic enzymes which consist of the chemical substance protease. This chemical is derived from a non - genetically engineered fungus of the family of Aspergillus. Serrapeptidase is a dietary supplement which may be isolated from Serrapeptidase oryzae and Serrapeptidase melleus. Studies have claimed that this dietary supplement is effective as an anti - inflammatory, respiratory aid, cardiovascular or immune support. Other names of Serrapeptidase include serration - peptidase and serrapeptase.
During the early 1990’s, Serrapeptidase was isolated from the microorganism Serratia marcescens which is a known human pathogen found in the digestive tract of the Japanese silkworm. Many studies have been conducted to uncover the medicinal purposes of this bacterial enzyme. In fact, it has been widely used clinically in specific areas of Asia and Europe primarily as an inflammation relief agent.
These are some of the uses of the enzyme Serrapeptidase:
1. ANTI – THROMBIC AND FIBRINOLYTIC. Serrapeptidase can significantly prevent the build – up of blood clots. These clots must not be accumulated to prevent thromboembolism which can cause life threatening health conditions such as heart attack and stroke. Aside from its ability to prevent clot formation, Serrapeptidase also has a good fibrinolytic ability. It can lyse or dissolve already – formed blood clots.
2. PH REGULATOR. This proteolytic enzyme is considered to be an alkaline metalloprotease enzyme. It can selectively act on specific biological systems and prevent the activation of immunoglobulin G and immunoglobulin A. These body chemicals are immune system factors which helps the body prevent from infections and illnesses.
3. GOOD PROTEIN DIGESTER. Clinical studies have revealed that Serrapeptidase has a very good ability to digest protein molecules and its substrates. This is the reason behind why Serrapeptidase can effectively dissolve protein – based tissues such as fibrins, blood clots, cysts and certain inflammations. The advantage of this enzyme is that it can dissolve unnecessary tissues without harming the normal living tissues.
4. PROFOUND ANTI – INFLAMMATIORY AGENT. Serrapeptidase can effectively prevent and reduce inflammation, thus reducing swelling and pain sensation. The mechanism of action is said to be that Serrapeptidase blocks the synthesis of pain – inducing amines. Another mechanism is that it can effectively inactivate pro – inflammatory chemicals known as cytokines. In fact, this chemical is one of the components of analgesic drugs in Europe. The positive effect of this enzyme is that it does not have any digestive side effects.
5. RESPIRATORY AID. This enzyme is also helpful in improving the health of the respiratory system. It effectively alters the elasticity and viscosity of the dense mucus in people with respiratory problem such as sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma, and pulmonary diseases. People who are taking this enzyme supplement have shown improved liquefaction and expectoration of the mucus, thus Serrapeptidase is considered to be an effective mucolytic agent widely used all over the world.
Serrapeptidase is generally safe. Clinical studies have revealed that the sources of this enzyme are non – pathogenic except of one strain known as Serratia marcesens. This strain is pathogenic to human body. It may cause hypersensitivity or any untoward signs and symptoms. Therefore, it is best to consult a doctor before starting such supplementation.
How Does Pancreatin Help With Digestion?
August 23, 2011 12:33 PM
Pancreas and Pancreatin
The pancreas is an organ in the abdomen that lies just below the stomach and is a vital part of the endocrine system. Its main responsibility is to produce enzymes needed for the digestion and absorption of food. It is both an endocrine gland making several important hormones, including insulin, glucagon, somatostatin, as well as an exocrine gland. Most relative to our topic though is the function of secreting pancreatic juice containing digestive enzymes. These enzymes aid to further break down carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. Enzymes(Pancreatin) secreted include amylases which digest starch molecules, for fat its lipases, and proteases for digesting proteins.
Having a nice healthy digestive tract is more than just being free of discomforts, heartburn, gas, or constipation. We have to look at it at different perspective, like from “what happens to the food?” kind of perspective. When foods are not digested properly, its nutrients cannot and will not get to our body’s cells. Nutrients are captured within the food processing stages in our digestive system. The body requires a constant flow of nutrients to essentially for what it is suppose to do which is to grow, generate energy, and to repair tissue. A lack of digestive enzymes like pancreatin in the stomach and intestines may cause heartburn, bloating, indigestion and constipation. Sometimes without giving much thought to digestion, we think it’s as simple as food is placed in the mouth, chew, swallow, and digest. However nutrients are vital to every cell in the body, and even digestion requires the right balance of nutrients to signal the nerves to start gathering nutrients again.
Digestion processes all occurs in the gastrointestinal tracts. Whatever you eat flows through this system, but until absorption through the intestinal tract, the nutrients from your food are still physically outside of your body. Because the gastrointestinal tract functions like an internal skin and provides a barrier between whatever you ingest from the outside (external) and your internal bloodstream. Part of this process of digesting food is the selective transport of nutrients through the cell wall linings in your intestinal tract.
Once transported across the intestinal barrier to the inside of your body, that’s when the nutrients becomes part of our bloodstream and is rationed to all of your tissues via blood circulation to maintain organ function, aid in the need for energy, and mobilize growth and repair of new cells and tissues. Now for any mobilization of the nutrients to take place, food must first be broken down and this is where Pancreatin comes in along with other enzymes. On the other hand if pancreatin is insufficient it can lead to symptoms of malabsorption(abnormality in absorption of food nutrients), malnutrition(a state of lack of nutrition, vitamin deficiencies, and weight loss (or an inability to gain weight in children) and is often associated with steatorrhea (loose, fatty, foul-smelling stools), and is some select cases the lack of these enzymes can lead to type one diabetes.
Boost Brain Chemistry, Lower Bad Cholesterol, And More
May 12, 2011 01:27 PM
What is Inositol Good for?
Inositol is an organic compound present in many plant-based foods. Popular nutritional sources of inositol include brown rice, wheat bran, whole grains, beans, nuts, and other foods rich in fiber. It is a polyphosphorylated carbohydrate that was once classified as an essential nutrient together with B-complex group of vitamins. It is an important component of signal transduction of cells, amplifying the strength of signals from the receptors on the cell surface to target molecules within the cytoplasm.
Cancer research on inositol is one of the most publicized. Fruits and vegetables that are known for their high fiber content also contain large amounts of inositol, which is believed to prevent the inactivation of DNA repair gene and protect the cells from mutation that lead to carcinogenesis. In laboratory studies it has shown great medicinal potential as a therapeutic remedy for various cancers. In addition, it has been extensively utilized in the treatment of psychiatric disorders.
Rebalances Brain Chemicals
Supplementation of high dose inositol has been observed to be beneficial to sufferers of mental illnesses. There have been numerous clinical trials focused on its effects on the chemical compounds found in the central nervous system, and early studies recorded that its mechanisms of action are similar to a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.
A growing body of scientific literature is devoted to its purported role in the amelioration of anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, clinical depression, and bipolar disorder. It has been favored over some SSRIs because of its desirable results and absence of side effects. It has particularly benefited individuals diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, with testimonies being largely positive. Also, it has been reported to also reduce frequency of panic attacks.
Lowers Bad Cholesterol
High-fiber diet has always been recommended to manage high cholesterol levels. It emphasizes the intake of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. The same group of foods is rich in the carbohydrate inositol. In the latter half of the 20th century, it was discovered that inositol in fact contributes to the breakdown of fatty molecules, such as triglycerides, in the gastrointestinal tract and interferes with their absorption. More importantly, regular consumptions of inositol appear to reduce overall lipid levels in the blood. It is postulated that it blocks the metabolic pathway that integrates triglycerides in very-low-density lipoproteins, the immediate precursors of low-density lipoproteins, also known as bad cholesterol. By so doing, it not only lowers cholesterol and free fatty acids found in systemic circulation but also prevents cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis.
Many nutraceutical products that contain inositol are commercially touted to aid weight loss. Inositol has also been associated with the alleviation of digestive problems, most notably constipation. It is believed to soften the stool by attracting water as it works its way into the alimentary canal, and regular intake promotes regularity. Furthermore, it has been linked to hair growth as low levels of inositol have often been tied to hair loss.
Taking a inositol supplement can help you obtain all the inositol you need for your daily needs!
Herbs For Depression
December 13, 2010 12:34 PM
Fight Depression with Natural Herbs
Before discussing treating depression with natural herbs we should first consider depression itself: what is it and what causes people to become depressed? Psychiatrists and psychologists will suggest a number of definitions although most experts agree that there are two forms of depression.
Causes of Depression
Exogenous depression comes about as a result of external factors such as bereavement, heavy debt, job loss, etc, while endogenous depression comes from within and is believed to be due to biochemical problems, including food allergies, hormonal changes, thyroid problems, nutritional deficiencies, particularly Vitamin B deficiency, and addictions. There are many other reasons for people becoming depressed, some of which can be established by the particular symptoms of the individual.
In many cases of depression the external factors are often easier to treat than those due to internal factors. Many exogenous causes of depression such as bereavement are alleviated through time, while causes such as job loss and debt can be resolved once the cause has been rectified: thus, if the patient is no longer in debt or is re-employed, the depression tends to disappear with the cause.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression is not diagnosed from a single symptom, but from a number of symptoms that can point to a person being clinically depressed and requiring treatment. Among the symptoms of depression are:
Prolonged periods of sadness or despair
Forms of Depression
Many normal people can suffer one or two of the above systems, and would not be diagnosed as depressed because of it. We can all get mood swings, feel a bit worthless now and again or be unable to concentrate or focus at times, but that does not mean we are clinically depressed.
Depression would not be diagnosed in a patient with just one of these symptoms but five or more likely would be. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders deem the patient suffering clinical depression if displaying 5 or more of the bottom 8 symptoms above for a month or more. This is believed to be the case with around 17 million Americans so it is a significant problem.
Manic depression is otherwise known as bipolar disorder, where patients have large mood swings from high and extreme hyperactivity and excitability to very low deeply depressive moods and is a clinical condition generally treated using drugs.
Treatment of Depression With Natural Herbs
The usual treatments are drugs that often have undesirable side effects; so many people are trying natural remedies instead. There are a number of herbs that can be used to treat depression, one of the most familiar being St. John's Wort. However, there are others, and here is a synopsis of each.
St. John's Wort
St. John's wort (hypericum perforatum) is likely the best known herbal treatment for depression. In fact, in Germany it is prescribed by doctors to children and adolescents for the treatment of mild depression and is available over the counter in many countries.
However, it can also be used in cases of severe depression, and a report in the Cochrane Database Review[8(4)] by K. Linde, M.M. Berner and L. Kriston in 2008 stated that of 29 separate tests carried out on a total of over 5,000 patients, the conclusion was that St. John's wort extracts were at least as good in treating severe depression with 5 times lower side-effects as tricyclic antidepressants and twice lower than the new selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).
It should be stated, however, that one trial on 340 subjects indicated no improvement over a placebo. However, the anti-depressive drug sertraline (Zoloft) was also shown to be no better than the placebo in this test, so some doubts must lie regarding its accuracy. Of all the herbal treatments, St. John's wort has had most testing carried out and it seems to be effective in treating mild to severe depression although not all experts are yet agreed.
Kava Kava Root
Kava kava can be used to treat depression and anxiety, largely due its content of kavalactones that are believed to increase the amount of a number of neurotransmitters in the blood, including the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. Kava kava root is mildly intoxicating, having much the same effect as alcohol, and can also reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
However, it is doubtful if its effects are permanent and so it may be less of a depression cure as a short-medium term treatment. Its effects are also variable on different people, some describing it as making them feel relaxed and 'dreamy', while others find it therapeutic and making them feel better in themselves.
Kava kava should not be taken without your doctor knowing about because there have been concerns about its effect on the liver if taken in excess. A European-wide ban was lifted about two years ago after testing found the risks of taking it to be very low. It has been used for centuries as an intoxicating drink on islands such as Fiji.
Passion flower has been used for centuries to treat anxiety, stress and depression, its active ingredients believed to be maltol and ethylmaltol that help to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is one of the brain's key neurotransmitters and has been described by some as the brain's own 'Valium' supply.
Through the intervention of GABA, passion flower extract helps in reducing anxiety levels and makes you feel a lot calmer. If you suffer forms of depression that make you hyper or excitable, passion flower will help to reduce this and also helps to cure insomnia. It is a component of many natural sleeping pills.
These are just three natural substances that can be used to treat depression. However, you must inform your doctor or physician if you decide to take them since they may interfere with or change the effect of any antidepressant drug you are currently taking.
Call today for natural remedies for depression
April 08, 2010 04:31 PM
Comments by Craig Gerbore, CEO of Madhava:
Reading through the attack articles and blogs that have surfaced recently one could think that using agave is bad for one's health. These claims are utterly false and misleading. They are extreme views drawn from extreme examples and applied way out of context. They are propagandizing and clearly designed to frighten, not educate. All of the fears and concerns associated with the overconsumption of sugars and calories in general have been unfairly cast on agave.
What is a "healthy" sweetener? One that you use moderately and sensibly.
Health concerns related to fructose and caloric sweeteners are all dependant on the overconsumption of them. All foods have calories and it is the overall consumption of calories that lead to obesity and related issues, not any one food source.
Agave's caloric value is comparable to the other sweeteners in the category. Due to its greater sweetness though, less agave is used compared to the others, so agave actually can reduce caloric consumption per serving. This is due to a higher fructose content. The higher content does not mean higher consumption though, due to the smaller portion used. But, it is not the single serving that matters, it is the number of servings which lead to the overconsumption issues which may result in health concerns.
As a reference point, 9-10 teaspoon servings of agave would be the approximate caloric equivalent of one 16 oz soft drink. With this perspective, is agave really being overconsumed as a choice of sweetener for home use?
Every single health issue which the attackers have tried to associate with agave is really the result of a caloric overconsumption issue. There are no documented issues with normal, moderate consumption of agave or sweeteners in general as part of our everyday diet. For reasons unknown, some have attempted to isolate agave from the real world and real world conditions with the goal of inhibiting agave's use. They play on people's fears, reference false information and fail to address health issues in any meaningful way.
The purpose of this article is to debunk the controversial misinformation surrounding agave. All information debunking the myths and misinformation is based on current science and facts. It is our goal to provide you with useful information so that you can make your personal nutritional choices in a well-informed, science-based manner.
The Agave Controversy: Exposing the fraudulent article by Rami Nagel
By Dr. Susan Kleiner, PhD, RD, FACN, CNS, FISSN
And Craig Gerbore, CEO Madhava
The controversy about agave syrup was manufactured by the publication of a single article on the internet, which has been reproduced and adapted for virtually every other article produced on the internet and other media venues. That article, written by Rami Nagel and published on Naturalnews.com, was highly biased and full of inaccuracies, half-truths and misinformation about agave. Since the Naturalnews.com article has been the sole source of nearly all other popular articles in public media, we want to set the record straight with science-based, reliable information to offer a more balanced resource to those interested in learning more about agave syrup. Who is the author, Rami Nagel?
According to the description on the Naturalnews.com website, Rami Nagel is a "citizen journalist". This means that Mr. Nagel is self-employed, and not employed as an in-house journalist by the website. He wrote and published the article without any editorial or content oversight, and the editor of the website, Mike Adams, makes it clear that the article was not checked for incorrect or inaccurate information or facts. The introduction to the article, written by Mr. Adams, states that readers had written to comment that Mr. Nagel's resources were biased with conflicts of interest due to their financial interests in competing sweeteners, such as brown rice syrup. So even the website editor himself states that the article is not fact-checked, and it is biased and unbalanced.
Who is Russ Bianchi?
The sole resource interviewed for the article is Russ Bianchi, identified by the author as Managing Director and CEO of Adept Solutions, Inc. Mr. Bianchi has clear conflict of interest ties to the sweetener industry. We have documentation of the fact that Mr Bianchi had plans to market a product named Replace. It was to be touted as a low calorie alternative sweetener composed of natural and artificial ingredients! Mr Bianchi was prevented from marketing this sweetener as the result of a lawsuit against him by the owner of the formula.
Mr Bianchi is quoted by Nagel extensively and exclusively. Many, if not all, of his statements are blatantly false or misrepresentations of fact. He is clearly propagandizing against agave nectar.
Was anyone else interviewed for this article?
Yes. Craig Gerbore, president and owner of Madhava Agave Syrup, was extensively interviewed by the author but no parts of that interview were included in the article.
It is important to note that neither Mr Nagel or Mr Bianchi have not made themselves available for questions on their statements since the articles appearance. They remain out of sight and have entirely avoided the controversy their statements created.
What is agave nectar?
The opening line of this paragraph in the article by Mr. Nagel states:
"The principal constituent of the agave is starch, such as what is found in corn or rice."
This is absolutely false. There is no starch in agave. The source of carbohydrate in agave syrup is inulin, a polysaccharide made up primarily of strings of fructose units. Starch is a polysaccharide made up of strings of glucose molecules. They are significantly different, and this difference is why agave syrup is naturally sweet.
The very basis of the argument presented by Mr. Nagel is false.
The agave plant is a succulent, similar to a cactus. The agave sweetener comes from both the Salmiana agave plant and the agave Tequilana (Blue Agave) which are both organically farmed in Mexico and certified organic by USDA approved certifiers. As the salmiana plant grows it produces a stalk called the "quiote" and when this is removed, a natural liquid called "aquamiel". The liquid is collected from the plant, while Blue agave pinons are harvested and shredded to remove the similar juice. Either can be naturally processed thermally or by enzymes into agave nectar.
The juice of the plant is not naturally sweet. The string of connected fructose units that makes up the major proportion of inulin does not have a sweet taste, but when the fructose units are separated (the process is called hydrolysis) by the addition of an enzyme, similar to digestion, or thermally for most blue agave, the syrup becomes quite sweet. That is the entire processing chain for agave nectar. There are no additives, other ingredients or chemicals in Madhava agave nectar. It is absolutely pure and organic and GMO free.
? Mr. Nagel claims that agave syrup is a "refined corn fructose" similar to high fructose corn syrup. This is absolutely false. There is no relationship between agave syrup and high fructose corn syrup in any way, including the source of the product, or the manufacturing process.
? Mr. Nagel refers to a "confidential FDA letter" from Mr. Martin Stutsman, claiming that agave is fraudulently labeled. We contacted Mr. Stutsman at the United States Food and Drug Administration, and his response made it clear that there was never a "confidential FDA letter". He did publish a public letter referenced in an FDA document as "FDA letter from Martin Stutsman to Dr. Eric
Wilhelmsen (Wilhelmsen Consulting), May 8, 2000", regarding evaporated cane juice, a topic wholly unrelated to agave syrup.
? He continued in his response to us that the paragraph in Mr. Nagel's article inaccurately reflected the substance of his comments in the document.
This link will take you to the original document in which the letter was referenced (reference #2):
In fact, Mr. Nagel fabricated the entire story of the letter. Mr. Stutsman is a lawyer, not a doctor. The quotes were completely taken out of context from the document, and the quotes never referred to agave syrup at any time. Nagel goes on to further misrepresent Mr. Stutsman's intent in the published document by weaving in other inaccurate information that is thoroughly unrelated to the original document. Mr Bianchi's subsequent statements on labeling issues are false and without merit.
Mr. Nagel is clearly caught red-handed. He has misrepresented the words of a government official, lied about the facts, and twisted the information to achieve his own agenda. This strategy is repeated throughout the article.
? Mr. Nagel continues his deceptive writing by referring to a quote by the late Dr. Varro Tyler in his book, The Honest Herbal. The first line of the paragraph is a direct quote from the book. Nothing else in that paragraph remotely resembles anything else found in Dr. Tyler's book. Mr. Nagel is trying to claim that agave syrup contains large quantities of saponins, and that they can be harmful to health. Here is the debunking of that paragraph:
1. Dr. Tyler does not include the variety of agave plant used for agave syrup.
2. The entire discussion is about the use of the sword-shaped leaves and the stem. Agave syrup is produced from the natural liquid in the plant. The saponins are isolated from the leaves of the plant.
3. There is no documented evidence to suggest agave syrup contains worrisome levels of saponins and the entire rest of the discussion about health dangers is fabricated and false.
People are going to continue to consume sweet food and drink. There are only three categories of choice to sweeten food. Those are artificial sweeteners, stevia, or caloric sweeteners from natural sources, sugars.
Most people will not choose artificial. Many will not choose stevia. That only leaves the category of sugars. In this group, agave is a good choice due to its organic quality, ease of
use, neutral flavor, low glycemic index and the fact that less is used to equal the sweetness of the others in the category.
The sweeteners in this category are composed of three primary sugars used to sweeten foods: glucose, fructose and sucrose. These sugars belong to a class of compounds known as carbohydrates. "Saccharide" is a term that denotes sugar, or substances derived from sugar. Monosaccharides are simple or single sugars; disaccharides are derived from two joined monosaccharides and when they are hydrolyzed, or separated, they yield two molecules of simple sugar. Strings of more than two sugar molecules are called polysaccharides. This category includes compounds such as starches, cellulose and inulin.
Glucose and fructose are monosaccharides. Glucose and fructose are found abundantly in nature in fruits and plants. Sucrose is the disaccharide formed by the joining of glucose and fructose, also known as table sugar. When comparing their relative sweetness, glucose is the least sweet tasting, sucrose is next, and fructose is the sweetest of the three sugars, measured as 1.4 times sweeter than table sugar. Because it is so sweet, people typically use less fructose when sweetening foods compared to sucrose.
? In the article by Mr. Nagel he states , "fructose is not what is found in fruit. Commonly, fructose is compared with its opposite and truly naturally occurring sweetener, known as ‘levulose' (made by nature)..."
Another fabrication. In fact, levulose is just another name for fructose. There are various nomenclatures used in the scientific naming of compounds. Fructose and levulose are exactly the same thing; the names are interchangeable. It is no different than if you called your father, "dad", and your sibling called your father, "father". He would still be the exact same person. Fructose and levulose are different names for the exact same thing: a sugar found in nature.
Mr. Bianchi also is quoted to say that the body does not recognize the fructose in agave. This is another false piece of propaganda which demonstrates just how far he is reaching. If this were true, it would have no impact on us. He immediately contradicts himself with the claims of detrimental effects caused by the overconsumption of fructose.
Sugars can be compared to each other in their ability to raise blood sugar levels by using the Glycemic Index. The scale is set from zero to 100, where low numbers do not have much impact on blood sugar levels, and high numbers raise blood sugar levels quickly. Fructose is very low on the scale. Because agave syrup is high in fructose, it has a rating of 32 or lower. Honey, which has a higher proportion of glucose to fructose, has a Glycemic Index of 58. Sucrose has a Glycemic Index of 68, and glucose, serving as the index standard, is 100.
All sugars, whether fructose, glucose, sucrose or others, contribute 4 calories per gram to our total diet. 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams = 16 calories
In addition to calories, sugars sweeten our foods offering a desirable taste and adding enjoyment and pleasure to our dining. During cooking and baking, sugars allow for browning and the unique consistencies of syrups, candies, frostings and frozen desserts. The varieties of sugars, such as crystallized table sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, molasses, honey and agave nectar, among others, contribute different properties and flavors to foods.
When you add your own sugar to foods you are in control of how much sugar you use. Most people would never add as much sugar as do the food manufacturers. Moderate amounts of sugar can certainly be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet for an active individual. Natural sugars are easily metabolized and utilized by the body, offering a very efficient source of fuel for physical and mental activity.
Of course, sugars should be used in moderation in the diet. This can control calories and help create a diet that is dense in nutrients.
Impact of sugar on health and disease
? The remainder of Mr. Nagel's article works to link agave syrup with the increased incidence of obesity, diabetes, metabolic disease, and the general rise of morbidity and mortality in the population. This is an overconsumption issue involving far more than the occasional use of agave. Here are the facts:
• Rats that are fed a high fructose diet become obese and will develop the chronic diseases associated with obesity: insulin resistance, diabetes and metabolic disease.
• No one should eat a diet that reflects this type of experimental diet.
• Too much sugar in the diet, whether from fructose, glucose or sucrose, can be unhealthy. Diets high in sugar promote tooth decay and periodontal disease; create an overabundance of calories and a deficit of nutrients. This scenario typically leads to weight gain and the development of chronic disease.
• Active individuals can include a moderate amount of added sugar in their diet without negative health consequences. When calorie intake is balanced with physical activity, sugar serves as an efficient source of fuel for muscles, the brain and the central nervous system.
• According to the World Health Organization (2003), individuals can healthfully include 10% of their daily calories from added sugars. This translates into 200 calories for a 2000 calorie diet, or 12½ teaspoons of added sugar daily. Clearly, one can safely add a couple of teaspoons of sweetener to a cup of tea or coffee, or have a little sweetened food without worrying about their risk of developing disease.
• Agave syrup, which is sweeter than other sugars and low on the Glycemic Index scale, is a good choice to include as one of the added sugars in your diet because you will use less sugar (and therefore fewer calories) and minimally raise blood sugar levels.
Just a teaspoon of agave: the healthy use of sweeteners in your diet
We all want to live healthier and longer lives. Diet and nutrition plays a key role, impacting our health and our ability to perform physically and mentally now and into the future. Food offers us not only sustenance, but also pleasure and enjoyment. Food is present in so many parts of our lives: at celebrations, business events, family events, religious and spiritual occasions, sports outings, the focus of our family meals, intimate dinners, and sometimes just the excuse to socialize.
Sweet foods make us feel good. Sugar allows for the elevation of serotonin in our brains, the "feel good" neurotransmitter that elevates mood, helps us focus, and in the evening, helps us relax and sleep.
Sugar is a source of energy for our muscles, brain and central nervous system. Without sugar our bodies will not function at peak capacity.
Too much sugar, however, is not good. In small amounts sugar energizes us, but in large doses, repeated throughout the day, day in and day out, sugar puts stress on the body. The extra calories can lead to weight gain and obesity, which in time can lead to chronic disease. In the short term, high sugar intakes can lead to a nutritionally deficient diet and a sense of being on an emotional roller coaster.
So be selective about your use of sugars and use them in moderation in your diet. Just like all foods, a variety will enhance the nutritional content of your diet and the flavor and tastes that you can enjoy. Since sugars come in different forms and have different flavors, they can be used most effectively in specific foods and beverages. For instance, agave syrup is liquid and less viscous than honey, making it easy to mix into cold liquids like iced tea and coffee, and is great to add to cold unsweetened cereals for a little sweet taste. Agave's mild flavor allows chefs and bakers to sweeten foods lightly, without overpowering the taste of the dish.
Pay attention to how much sugar is added to your diet every day. Read labels so that you know when sugar is added to manufactured foods. Keep the consumption of added sugars in your diet to no more than 10% of your total daily calorie intake so that you have plenty of room for nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, protein-rich foods, nuts, seeds and healthy oils.
Remember that nutrition is a science based on facts. We are making great advances in our understanding of the science of foods and nutrition. Beware of people with hidden agendas using fear tactics to influence your choices. Don't take their opinion at face value. What are their credentials? What conflicts of interest do they have? If they do not disclose conflicts, then assume that they are manipulating the truth.
Most of all enjoy food. Think about what you need to eat to promote whole health. Don't overindulge, but don't deprive yourself of the bounty of wonderful tastes, either. Use celebrations as occasions to enjoy your favorite foods and try new ones. A teaspoon or two of sugar easily fits into the diet of an active, healthy person. Agave syrup offers an organic low-glycemic choice for those looking for that option.
Resources for this article:
Charley H. Food Science, 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY, 1982.
Figlewicz DP et al. Effect of moderate intake of sweeteners on metabolic health in the rat. Physiology and Behavior 98:618-624, 2009
Johnson RK et al. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, 2009
Tyler VE. The Honest Herbal, Third Edition. Pharmaceutical Products Press, New York, NY, 1993.
Myth: Agave Nectar may have adverse side effects such as mineral depletion, liver inflamma
April 08, 2010 04:09 PM
Myth: Agave Nectar may have adverse side effects such as mineral depletion, liver inflammation, hardening of the arteries, insulin resistance leading to diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity and more.
This is an unfounded scare tactic. Moderate use of Agave Nectar will not directly lead to the above mentioned consequences. The issue is overconsumption and poor dietary choices.
“Inaccurate information from ostensibly reliable sources and selective presentation of research under extreme experimental conditions, representing neither the human diet nor HFCS have misled the uninformed and created an atmosphere of distrust and avoidance for what, by all rights, should be considered a safe and innocuous sweetener.” – White, John S. The Journal of Nutrition. We believe this applies to agave as well.
Supporting data has been misused. The studies that have been conducted have measured metabolic upsets under extreme conditions. They have used pure 100% fructose versus pure glucose at very high concentrations. These conditions do not reflect the American diet or the composition of fructose containing sweeteners. The methods have been inappropriate for assessing the safety of these dietary macronutrients. Even pure water triggers adverse health effects at these high repeat doses. The Journal of Nutrition (2009). Supplement: The State of Science on Dietary Sweeteners Containing Fructose.
NK Immune Boost
September 25, 2008 03:59 PM
The immune system is the ultimate bodyguard that can prevent illnesses before it even takes hold in the body when it is properly taken care of. Immune impairment has become a major concern within recent decades among health professionals. The strength of the immune system directly influences the quality of health. However, it is often something that we take for granted. There are a lot of things that can interfere with proper immune function, including diet, stress, and level of activity. It is within our ability to create a health immune system for ourselves.
If we do something that makes us a little bit healthier, we will experience less disease and suffering. Each of us individually must do what is necessary to protect ourselves from common health threats that can occur if the immune system is compromised like heart disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal problems, AIDS, cancer, and many other illnesses. We will be able to avoid disease and the suffering it causes if we do what is necessary to keep our immune system healthy and balanced.
In order to understand how to fight against health problems in the best way, it is necessary to first understand the basics of how the immune system functions. The smallest components of the immune system are biomolecules, which are also called immune factors or immuno-regulatory molecules. The immune system fights against the potential health dangers by identifying and then eliminating dangerous and unfamiliar particles, which include bacteria and viruses. The immune system can very selectively discriminate between self and non-self, a trait that is extremely unique. It then destroys the foreign antigens and leaves itself alone.
Biomolecules called cytokines work to regulate and simulate the body’s defense system. Cytokines help to fight against foreign molecules, also called pathogens, by inducing the production of antibodies. These antibodies work to neutralize antigens and create immunity to them. Additionally, a functioning immune system remembers the foreign antigens that it has encountered before so that it can prevent or quickly defeat secondary attacks by the same pathogen.
There are many immunity agents that are found in the body. An antibody is a molecule of the immune system that is secreted into the blood and helps to fight against antigens like bacteria and parasites to help create immunity, Antigen are substances that stimulate the production of an antibody when it is introduced into the body. Antigens include toxins, bacteria, foreign blood cells, and the cells that are found in transplanted organs. Colostrum, antibody-rich milk, is produced by a mother during the first week of her child’s life. Cytokines consist of any of several regulatory molecules that are released by cells of the immune system and acts as a mediator in the generation of an immune response. Cytokines assist in the regulating and controlling of the immune system.
Interleukin is a type of cytokine which encourages the growth of immune cells. There are many types of interleukins, with three of the most common stimulating the inflammatory response, the growth of blood stem cells, and the production of helper T cells. Pathogens are agents that cause disease, while tumor necrosis factor is a type of cytokine that has anti-tumor properties. It affects blood vessels, therefore, regulating both inflammation and killing tumors. Lastly, white blood cells help to protect the body from infection and disease.
Keeping the immune system in tip top shape is very important. There are a variety of natural substances such as colostrum that can help the immune system function at optimal levels. Natural supplements are available at your local or internet health food store.
August 07, 2008 06:03 PM
Probiotics are dietary supplements containing potentially beneficial bacteria for the small and large intestines. Probiotics, which means "for life", have been used for centuries as natural components in health-promoting foods. This beneficial bacterium is important in recolonizing the intestinal tract with good bacteria during and after antibiotic use as well as supporting overall health and wellness.
Probiotics are not the same thing as prebiotics which are non-digestible food ingredients that selectively stimulate the growth and/or activity of beneficial microorganisms already in the human colon. Probiotics are live microorganisms (in most cases, bacteria) that are similar to beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut. The use of good probiotics is important in healing many chronic gastrointestinal problems that are so often associated in those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and IBS.
One study performed in a 4-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 60 individuals with IBS, probiotics treatment with lactobacilli showed markedly beneficial to slowing down the bowels and reversing IBS. Two Scientific studies over the last 50 years show that probiotic organisms can improve the nutritional quality of foods, produce antibiotics, anti-carcinogens, and substances that break down and recycle toxins for their human host.
Historically, people used fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut both as food preservatives to limit spoilage, and to support their intestinal and overall health. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut also contain probiotics. Today probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are added by food manufacturers to fermented foodstuffs to improve their nutritional value.
There are, however, other foods that may contain added probiotics, such as sour cream, fruit juices and buttermilk. Food ingredient suppliers are now making it easier to add probiotics and prebiotics to foods and beverages by offering blends of synbiotics with the right proportion of pro- and prebiotics to obtain the desired beneficial health effects, as well as improved survival of the live bacterium strains.
Beneficial bacteria thrive and work with your digestive tract and immune system, along with Essential Fatty Acids, to protect you against illness and disease. It is also important to have a healthy balance of beneficial microbes to avoid sickness and disease and to keep your body stay nutritionally sound. Probiotic beneficial bacteria are involved in every aspect of your health. Along with beneficial bacteria, we show how supplements such as Essential Fatty Acids and Green foods provide the foundation for good health and provide a nutritional base for probiotics to grow and flourish in the body.
The most common form for probiotics are dairy products and fortified foods. Probiotics are products aimed at delivering living bacterial cells to the gut ecosystem of humans and other animals, whereas prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates delivered in food to the large bowel to provide fermentable substrates for the friendly bacteria to grow and thrive.
Probiotics are available to consumers mainly in the form of dietary supplements and foods. Because candida infection is very common due to overuse of antibiotics, several studies suggest that probiotics may be effective at preventing candida overgrowth as well as reversing it; candida is a good target pathogen for future probiotic research.
Although they are thought to be essential for health, because they can sustain themselves in the body under normal circumstances, there is no recommended daily intake of probiotics. By consuming foods with probiotics, you can increase the number of healthy bacteria, boost your immunity, and promote a healthy digestive system.
If you can not eat the foods that contain friendly bacteria, there are always probiotic supplements available from your local health food store. As always, it is best to check with your doctor or health care provider before starting any new supplements with medications. Probiotic formulas are a safe and effective means to deliver friendly bacteria to where it is needed, the colon.
DHA - Fish Oil
July 31, 2008 03:03 PM
A lot of research has been preformed over the past twenty years which has concluded that fats and cholesterol play a huge role in the development of heart disease, which happens to be the number one killer in the United States. It has been found that certain types of cholesterol in our blood can eventually lead to a buildup of plaque in the arteries, which restricts the blood supply to the heart and sets us up for a potential heart attack.
These researchers found it ironic when looking at the Greenland Eskimo, whose diet is rich in animal fat, but who is almost entirely free from coronary artery disease. Studies have proved that high levels of DHA and EPA that are found in the fish, seal, and whale diet of the Eskimo is what protects them from the heart disease that many people in the United States battle.
In order to improve cardiovascular health, DHA must performs many tasks. Increased DHA and EPA levels have been shown to lower total serum cholesterol. It has also been shown to selectively lower LDL cholesterol while elevating protective HDL cholesterol. Additionally, DHA and EPA supplementation lowers triglycerides. In terms of heart health, these omega-3s also reduce the tendency of platelets to clump and adhere to blood vessels and the blood vessels themselves to constrict.
Although diets that are high in fat content are believed to be potential risk factors for the development of certain types of cancer, especially breast cancer, the rates for some common cancers are relatively low among the Eskimos of Greenland and Alaska even though they have a high fat intake. Studies preformed to look into this fact concluded that the type of fat consumed may be important in determining cancer incidence, rather than just the overall fat intake.
DHA and EPA consumption suppresses the formation of a lot of leukotrienes, which are compounds that affect many different body systems. These leukotrienes stimulate bronchial contraction and are strongly associated with asthma, as they stimulate the production of mucus, affect cerebral circulation, and are powerful pro-inflammatory agents. To sum it up, leukotrienes can contribute too several severe health conditions, so consuming DHA and other fatty acids, have shown to reduce the production of leukotrienes by as much as seventy-five percent. Also, supplementation causes immune and inflammatory responses to be greatly diminished, which is especially important for immune response disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disorder.
Unless people are eating a good amount of fatty fish and other sea foods daily, it is likely that both adults and children are deficient in DHA. To ensure the proper amount of DHA in the most effective way, one should take DHA in supplement form. Research has shown that consuming DHA exclusively from fish oil may have some drawbacks, specifically the taste of fish.
Fish oils that contain both DHA and EPA are now available in capsule form, which allows one to avoid the issue of taste. For those who prefer to have their supplements from a plant source, microalgae, the food source of fish, is a great source of DHA. This source can be used by both vegetarians and individuals on low-fat diets, both of whom are extremely vulnerable to having a lower dietary DHA level.
Also, if you are having trouble with fish oil softgels give vectomega dry fish oil a try. vectomega is a tablet form of fish oil you can take once daily to get your needed DHA and EPA to enhance your health.
Butcher's Broom Extract
May 02, 2008 11:04 AM
Butcher’s broom (Ruscus aculeatus) is a member of the lily family, and looks a bit like a holly bush with barbed evergreen leaves and bright red berries in the fall. At one time they were collected, tied together and sold to butchers as brooms to sweep out their shops.
The stiff leaves were particularly suitable for cleaning out offal and other waste products from butchered animals and also for scrubbing butcher’s blocks. It was also used as a deterrent to rodents with their eyes on the meat! Alternative names are sweet broom, kneeholy and Jew’s myrtle, so named because it was used during the Feast of the Tabernacles as one of the ‘four species’ used in the lulav.
The herb was commonly used in Ancient Greece and Rome, the Greeks using it to reduce swellings of various kinds and the Romans using it to treat varicose veins. It has the same uses today, only the mechanisms are understood better. It has been used for centuries in the Mediterranean area for the treatment of inflammations and problems with the circulation, and the Romans used to mash up the leaves and berries to add to wine, and they also used the roots and rhizome as a medicine by soaking them in wine. Today, it is illegal to use holly as a decoration in Italy, so butcher’s broom is used instead.
All parts of the plant are used, including the rhizome, and although it is used as a diuretic, and to control a loss of blood pressure experience by some people on standing up, it is its effect on blood vessels where its main medical benefits lie. Butcher’s Broom can strengthen certain portions of blood vessels, and change the flexibility properties of the cell walls.
The result of this is that the vessels are tightened up, which helps to maintain the flow of blood throughout the body, but also renders the cell walls less likely to leak or crack under stress. The result is a reduction in blood leakage from stretched and weakened blood vessels such as those that result in hemorrhoids, and also of conditions caused by weakened valves in the veins such as varicose veins and spider veins.
The blood pressure in the veins is very weak since they are so far away from the heart, the blood having passed through the arteries, through the capillaries and into the veins on its way back to the heart before being pumped to the lungs. When the valves become weakened, particularly in the large veins in the leg, there is little to prevent the blood from coming under the influence of gravity and pooling back down the vein, causing distention and occasional ruptures.
A ruptured varicose vein can be very serious and cause significant blood loss. Weakened valves can also lead to the formation of blood clots, which is itself a very serious condition that eventually blocks the heart or causes a stroke. Not only can butcher’s broom strengthen the vein walls and prevent leakage, and also enable them to more easily resist the pressure that can cause them to rupture, but it can also be used to break down blood clots. In fact the herb is used in many European hospitals to prevent the formation of blood clots after surgery.
The active ingredients in the rhizome are saponins that contain the aglycones ruscogenin and neuroscogenin and the associated spirostanol and furostanol glycosides. The receptors that cause vasocontraction are known as adrenoreceptors, these receptors can be selectively stimulated by butcher’s broom extract to tighten the veins and improve the return of blood. When introduced intravenously, butcher’s broom was noted to constrict venules (small veins that feed the main veins but not arterioles (the small arteries than feed the capillaries). Hence blood vessels can be selectively treated, and the effect on isolated blood vessels was enhanced by heating. Many supplements include calcium that helps to strengthen the blood vessel walls.
It is possible, therefore, to target the blood vessels that require constrictive treatment in order that they are strong enough to return blood to the heart rather than leak or distend. However, that is not the only health benefit that butcher’s broom provides. It can also be used as a diuretic. It is not a strong diuretic, but is used to relief the swelling of bruises and PMS, the reason given being that since leakage from the blood vessels is lessened, then more fluid is available to pass through the kidneys. There might be other reasons.
It is also use for the treatment of ortho static hypotension, the reduction in blood pressure that some people experience. It is believed that butcher’s broom can control this condition without increasing blood pressure, as most other remedies do, and which is almost as undesirable as the condition they are treating.
There are few problems associated with the herb, although few studies have been carried out its use by pregnant women. Although the one test that was carried indicated no effect, it would be wise for pregnant or nursing women not to use it until further studies have been carried out. Due to its effect in tightening blood vessels, its use is not recommended by anybody suffering from high blood pressure (hypertension). Many hypertension treatments are designed to render the blood vessels more elastic rather than constrict them.
In one very small study of pregnant women who used a topical cream containing butcher's broom, no side effects were seen for either the mother or the baby. However, very little information is available on how oral butcher's broom might affect a developing fetus, an infant, or a small child. Therefore, its use is not recommended during pregnancy, while breast-feeding, or during early childhood.
Because it tightens blood vessels, butcher's broom may worsen high blood pressure or benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). Individuals with either of these conditions should not use any form of butcher's broom without first consulting a doctor. The known side effects have already been stated, and they are fairly mild, but few studies have been made on the herb other than in Europe, and the side effects have not been fully explored. It is unlikely; however, that there are any as yet unknown serious side effects since butcher’s broom has been used now for a long time, particularly in Europe.
The term ‘ruscogenin’ is used for the collective mixture of active saponins in butcher’s broom, and many of the supplements are formulated to include from 5 to 15 mg of these. However, check the label, since standardization is not yet required in the USA, and in theory a preparation can include much more or much less ruscogenin. It is frequently supplied with other active ingredients, such as vitamin C or calcium, and perhaps even horse chestnut that affect blood vessels in a similar way. Always follow the instructions on the package, since these are designed for the specific strength of supplement you are using.
Activated Charcoal - Highly absorbent material to combat poisoning
April 24, 2008 02:44 PM
Activated charcoal has been treated by heat to open up millions of small spaces between the carbon atoms and turn it literally into an atomic sponge that adsorbs both organic and organic impurities.
This heat treatment is carried out in the absence of oxygen, so the charcoal cannot burn. Instead, what oxygen it did contain is driven off leaving behind all of these interstitial gaps that multiply the effective surface area by factors of ten. Since it is the surface area of the charcoal that determines its potency, then the greater this is the better.
Activated charcoal has a massive surface area, and just ten grams has the same surface area as nine American football pitches or 77 tennis courts. Ten grams is just marginally more than a third of an ounce. The term adsorb has a different meaning to absorb, and while a real sponge absorbs water by mopping it up through capillary action and suction, activation carbon adsorbs substances through a form of chemical attraction. You get rid of water from the sponge by squeezing it, but that doesn’t work with activated charcoal, since the substances are bound to it, not just physically constrained.
This huge surface area provides activated charcoal with innumerable bonding sites, and when chemicals that are attracted to carbon pass by they are attached to the surface. They cannot get free again, as water in a sponge can, but are bound to the surface of the carbon. Because the digestive system has no effect on charcoal then whatever is bound to it passes naturally through the body.
It is most effective at binding other carbon-based materials, and other substances with the right electronic arrangement, but others will just pass straight through. Because it is a chemical process, once all of the empty bonding sites have been taken up, the charcoal loses its effectiveness and has to be replaced. It is possible to regenerate it, but hardly worthwhile for you to do so because of the small quantities you use.
Because of the way it works, activated charcoal can help people to recover from some forms of food poisoning. It can adsorb gases in the intestine and help to relieve the pain of excessive gas in the gut. It has many additional uses that will be touched on later, but for now we will look at its effect on poisons because that is where activated charcoal is of greatest benefit to us.
It does not adsorb and neutralize all poisons, but is very effective with those that it can be sued for. Professor Touery proved a point when he drank a lethal dose of strychnine in front of colleagues at the French Academy of Medicine in 1831 and came through unscathed. He had mixed the strychnine with activated charcoal, and the fact that he lived after drinking a dose that would certainly have led to a very painful death within minutes testifies to the powerful effect of activated charcoal as an potential antidote for poisoning.
Ever medicine cabinet should have an emergency supply of activated carbon, especially those with young children in the household. However, this is not good news for the pharmaceutical companies who have reacted by refuting some of the claims made in its favor: they have claimed that it is not effective against arsenic. If that is so, then how did Michel Bertrand survive after swallowing 5 grams of arsenic trioxide – 150 times what is regarded as the lethal dose? He did this is 1813 after mixing it with activated charcoal, just as Professor Touery was to do 18 years later with ten times the lethal dose of strychnine.
It is true, however, that it does not have this degree of activity with all poisons, and it has no effect on cyanide, alcohols, antifreeze (glycols) and lithium. It also has no effect on corrosive poisons such as the strong alkalis used in oven clearers, or hydrocarbons such as kerosene. The way it works is adsorb the poison and prevent it being released into the body. For that to happen, the poison must have an affinity for carbon, and its adsorption site, and not all substances possess that property. Those that do however are permanently bound and therefore safe.
For charcoal to be effective in neutralizing a poison, it must be swallowed within an hour of taking the poison, or the poison will be too far advanced ion the digestive process for the charcoal to do any good. Keep in mind, though, that it is not selective, and activated charcoal can adsorb nutrients and other beneficial constituents of your body’s chemistry. It is important therefore that you take in only when necessary: you might need several doses if the poison was severe, but once it has done its job it is not meant to be used as a maintenance material to take ‘just in case’. Used like that, it can do harm.
If charcoal can adsorb poisons then it makes sense to believe that it can also adsorb some of the harmful agents that cause food poisoning. Not all food poisoning of course, but certainly those organisms that emit toxins that are attracted to carbon. And this is, in fact, the case. Food poisoning is caused by bacteria rather than viruses, and is not the presence of the bacteria that make you vomit and feel very ill.
As bacteria grow in your body they release toxins, or poisons, into your digestive system. These poisons are what make you ill. They can seriously affect the complete gastro-intestinal tract, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and inflammation and swelling of the small and large intestine. The latter can cause abdominal cramps and severe colic, and the severity of the symptoms depends very much upon the type of bacteria and the number of them in your body.
Many of these toxins are attracted to carbon since they are frequently organic based, and activated charcoal can be used to adsorb them. Once adsorbed they lose their potency, and since carbon is not digested by the body, they are passed harmlessly through the colon and eliminated in the faeces. It can also be used to eliminate many other foreign bodies from your gut, including viruses and fungi and might possibly reduce the concentration of uric acid, which can bring relief to gout sufferers.
Activated charcoal has many uses, and is normally available in capsule form. It can be dangerous to take too much, particularly if you suffer from intestinal problems that cause constipation, because the charcoal itself can have that effect. However, there is no better emergency treatment for accidental poisoning in the home, although, since it is not suitable for all poisons, you must still regard poisoning as an emergency and contact the emergency services.
Activated charcoal, or activated carbon as it is sometimes called, is also a good emergency treatment for vomiting and the other unpleasant effects of food poisoning. It deals with bacterial toxins in the same way as any other, though once again you must refer to your physician before or after using it – preferably the former.
Boost digestion with Bifidus Longum and Acidophilus Probiotics
March 21, 2008 12:19 PM
Prior to discussing how you can boost digestion with bifidus longum probiotics, let's first have a look at probiotics in general and why they are so beneficial to us.
Probiotics are also known as microflora, and are beneficial organisms that live in your digestive tract. Not all microorganisms are bad news, and many are essential for good health. Included in these organisms are various types of bacteria and yeasts, each of which has a specific part to play in the proper functioning of your body. Because of this they are found in foods all over the world, including yoghurt and fermented vegetables such as German sauerkraut and Korean kimchi.
Among their major benefits to health are that they help to support your immune system, they aid the digestion and absorption of food, they provide increased energy by improving the metabolic conversion of blood glucose to energy, and they can also help to delay aging. However, you should be aware that not all probiotics are the same, and when used properly some can have the same effect as antibiotics.
They are used to cure many digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea, and can also help to relieve heartburn and acid reflux. In fact your lower intestine should contain a minimum of 85% friendly bacteria, and 15% at most of unfriendly bacteria that can cause disease if they over-colonize your colon. It might surprise you to learn that you have around twenty times more bacteria in your body than body cells.
One of the best known of the probiotics are members of the lactobacillus family that are contained in yoghurt and curds and whey, so Little Miss Muffet had the right idea. However, you might not have the right idea in eating commercial yoghurt because, while raw yoghurt does contain these helpful bacteria, the type that you buy in pots in the supermarkets has likely been pasteurized - a process that kills off the bacteria. Unless the product has been seeded with live bacteria after pasteurization, then there will likely be none in your yoghurt! Make your own!
So what are the probiotics that do you most good, and in what form should you consume them? The common friendly bacteria are the already mentioned lactobaccilus, and then lactococcus, streptococcus thermophilus, enterococcus, bifidobacterium and others. Bacteria are easily killed off by the acidic conditions in your stomach, and since they must be taken live they should be consumed in a form that can resist the stomach acid.
There are many ways in which they benefit you, the main ones that are currently understood being:
Lactic acid production: the presence of lactic acid in the gut prevents stops or slows the growth of harmful bacteria by increasing the acidity. Some probiotics, known as lactic acid bacteria (LAB) can do this. Most bacteria do not like acidic conditions.
Supporting the immune system: LAB bacteria have been shown to increase the production of cytokines that stimulate the activity of the macrophages that attack foreign viruses and pathogenic bacteria. The LAB also promotes the formation of NK-cells (natural killer cells) that destroy cells that have been infected by viruses.
Adhesion site blockage: bacteria attach themselves to your intestinal walls at specific adhesion sites. Friendly bacteria can colonize these sites and so prevent the pathogens from adhering.
Effect on the Intestinal wall: the intestinal wall has a natural mucous barrier that helps to prevent the passage of allergens and pathogens into the bloodstream through the intestine. Probiotics can strengthen this barrier, and also alter the nature of the mucous to render it less liable to penetration by these unwelcome visitors.
So where does bifidobacteria come into this? There is a number of strains of this bacterium living in the human body, but Bifidus longum is the most common or most abundant of these. Although it is the most common bacterium found in commercially available probiotic products, high numbers have to be consumed for the proper health benefits. However, commercial yoghurts contain very little of this bacterium, or even none at all. This is largely due to the pasteurization previously discussed, that kills the bacteria at high temperatures. Unfortunately this process is not selective, and in ridding the products of bacteria that could make you seriously ill, the beneficial bacteria are also destroyed.
This is a shame because Bifidus longum has been shown to inhibit E.Coli that can cause serious conditions of the digestive system. Among these are severe diarrhea and an inflammatory condition in the colon as the immune system tries to expel these nasty bacteria. This bacterium is particularly dangerous to the weak, such as the aged, children and people already weakened by illness.
It also helps to counteract yeast and other vaginal infections and when taken with other probiotics is believed to help in colon cancer cases. Among its other benefits are its part in the biosynthesis of thiamine, riboflavin and other vitamin B forms in your intestine, and also the absorption and assimilation of these vitamins by your body. It is also believed that it might help to reduce the cholesterol level in your body through its uptake of bile salts from the colon.
The major destructive elements of Bifidus longus are antibiotics of any kind, whether they be penicillin variants or tetracycline, and although the latter is used mainly for infections of the respiratory tract, it is ingested by the gut and effectively reduces the population of the bacteria that are needed for optimum health. That is one of the reasons why antibiotic use should be restricted to only what is necessary, and not use indiscriminately for all infections. Unless administered intravenously or site targeted, antibiotics kill off the good with the bad!
The other activities of Bifidus longus, such as removing the by-products of our metabolism that could be toxic if left to roam our bodies, render this bacterium as useful to your body as any vitamin or mineral supplement you could take. It is a supplement that many either overlook or are not even aware of, yet one that can make a significant difference, not only to your digestive and intestinal health, but also to you general overall wellbeing.
Loose Weight By Cutting Dietary Fat Absorption
December 08, 2007 06:24 PM
You can lose weight by cutting dietary fat absorption, although in order to understand the need for this you have to appreciate the effect that fat has on your weight. Not only fat, but any form of calories.
The word ‘calorie’ appears to have a bad press, and there have been a lot of ill informed comments made about calories and whether calorie controlled diets are effective or not. Quite frankly, it is all said in ignorance. Whether you agree or not, the calorie is a measurement of energy and the calorie content of foods is what is calculated to be the energy value of these foods.
Once inside your body, that energy is either used up or converted to body mass. It is not necessarily converted to fat, since that extra weight could be in the form of muscle tissue. However, it is converted to body mass and so you can put on weight. The basic equation is that if you take in more energy than you use, then you add weight, and if you use more energy than you take in, then you lose weight. It is slightly more complex than that, but it is basically true.
That does not mean that if you eat a pound of dripping (the fat that drips off cooking meat) you will add a pound of weight. It is the calorific value of the dripping in terms of energy, whether measured in calories or in joules, that is the relevant factor, and if that is 4000 calories, which is about average for various types of dripping, then if you use up 4001 calories in exercise, you can safely spread your pound of lard on toast and eat it without putting on weight (you will have also to use up the calories in the toast).
It is the calorie equation that is important, and if this is negative then you will lose weight. You have to: it is a law of science! Whether your calories are in the form of cookies, candies, avocados (loads of them) or dripping, it is all the same. A meat calorie is the same as a vegetarian or vegan calorie. If you eat more than you use you put on weight.
Different foods contain different quantities of energy, or calories. If you buy a Big Mac you eat 570 calories, and 5 from your Super Pepsi. If the guy next to you has an English Muffin, he will have 140 calories. However, if he then goes home and slouches on the sofa watching TV and you go to the gym for a serious workout, he is liable to put on weight and you lose it. It’s all in the equation!
However, you don’t just use calories in exercise. Your metabolism is also important. In fact 65% - 75% of the calories you use in a day are used up by the body at rest: the metabolism that takes place 24/7 to keep you alive. The heartbeat, breathing and brain activity for example, all use up energy. So not all is doom and gloom, and you can burn up these calories even while you are sleeping.
However, there is another way to prevent the fat you eat from turning into weight. (Incidentally, if you exercise a lot, that weight will likely be in muscle mass, but if not then it will certainly be fat). You have a clue to the way that can be done in the first sentence of this article: ‘dietary fat absorption’.
If the fat is not absorbed into the body, then it is not available to be metabolized into body fat. It will pass through the body unchanged. It is not the fat you consume that makes you gain weight, but the amount of that fat absorbed through your intestines. But how is it possible to selectively prevent the fat in your diet from being emulsified by the bile and absorbed through the intestinal wall?
By means of chitosan. This is a fiber that absorbs part of the fat from the food you have eaten and hides it away from your digestive system. It cannot be broken down into sugars and then into fat to add to your unwanted weight. However, because it works after your meal, you get to eat what you want – that ‘finger lickin’ good’ stuff you love, but don’t suffer the consequences of failing to exercise to work it off. It’s like you just ate lettuce without the fried chicken with the crispy fatty skin.
So what is this miracle substance, chitosan? Biologists would recognize the name as being associated with chitin, the acetyl-glucosamine polymer that forms the carapaces, or shells, of crabs, lobsters and other marine shellfish. Chitosan is formed by deacetylating the chitin and is mainly used to enhance the growth of plants, and also as a filtration aid. So what does it do to help to remove some of the fat from your diet after you have eaten it?
The mechanism by which it does this is not fully understood, and in fact is still disputed in some quarters. However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and it appears to act according to the claims. There are two possible mechanisms, one of which is connected with the deacetylation of the chitin molecule. Because of this, the resultant chitosan molecule has cationic groups on the polymer chain. Cations are positively charged, and can react with acids, not the least of which are the bile acids that break down lipids (fats) to render them into a form suitable for absorption.
It is possible for the chitosan to react with the bile acids and prevent them from breaking down the fats into a condition that enables them to be passed through the intestinal wall. However, it has also been proposed that dietary fibers work by increasing the thickness of the boundary layer of the intestine through which the fats would have to pass. This would have the effect of reducing the lipid uptake.
It is also possible that since chitosan is a fibrous substance, it attracts the fats through its charge and absorbs them into a swelling ball of fats and fiber that is not only impermeable by the bile acids, but also passes through the intestinal tract unchanged and eventually excreted. In fact, there is not proof for any of these projected mechanisms, and all are theoretically possible. The fact is that it appears to work, but must be taken for several weeks for the effects to be noticeable.
It is possible to lose weight by dietary fat absorption, and whatever mechanism is used by chitosan, it is well worth trying if you like your fatty foods but also want to lose weight. Combine chitosan with a good exercise regime and you might find that you can control your weight whatever you eat. Chitosan is available over the counter at any health food store.
Artemisinin For Better Health And Wellness
October 25, 2007 02:09 PM
Artemisinin, also called Ching-hao-su is a herbal medicine extracted from the sweet wormwood herb, also known as the Artemisia annua. Asians have been using the leaf for centuries to cure simple ailments such as colds and parasitic infections, but it has recently become big business for its effect on malaria.
Sweet wormwood is predominantly a Chinese herb, used for over a thousand years for treatment of a large variety of conditions including malaria. It has also been used to treat wound and skin diseases, and has been recorded as far back as 200 BC as a component of Chinese prescriptions for specific illnesses.
Although the origins of sweet wormwood are in Asia however, it is now grown throughout the temperate regions of the world, and reaches its best in midsummer. Although best known today for its use in treating malaria, its medical uses include treating bronchitis, fevers and general feelings of malaise. It is primarily grown now for the supplement industry and as a non-prescriptive natural cure for malaria. It is a common and favorite herb for Chinese herbalists and sold both in the herbal form and as the extracted artemisinin.
Although there is a wide variation in the artemisinin content of sweet wormwood according to where it is grown, and under different agricultural conditions, it is the main active ingredient. Chemically, it is a sesquiterpene lactone containing an endoperoxide bridge that will be discussed later.
In order to attain the optimum yield of active artemisinin, the plant has to be grown in the right site for cultivation and fed with the correct fertilizers, the proper strain of the herb must be selected and the method of extracting the active chemicals is also critical. These are secrets that have been used for centuries by the Chinese herbalists who are masters of their craft and are now known to the west and being applied to scientific production of the extract.
There are benefits of artemisinin other than its effect on malaria, but that is the best known of its uses, so let’s have a look at that first. The herb has been used for a long time to treat parasitic infections, mainly flukes and worms that place great strains on the body having not only to feed these unwanted creatures, but also to excrete their waste and by-products. Malaria is caused by such a parasite, any one of four types in fact, and artemisinin appears to be just as effective on them.
The chemical contains what is known as an endoperoxide bridge that reacts with iron. The product of this reaction is a free radical, normally unwelcome in the body. However, malaria parasites contain high levels of iron, and the artemisinin reacts with that iron, forming free radicals that then go on to kill off the parasite. The free radicals that we take supplements to destroy, actually work for us in the destruction of the parasite that cause malaria. There is a silver lining in every cloud!
The reason that the medical world is so excited with this material is that malaria is second only to tuberculosis in its impact on world health. The problem is that the parasites that cause it have become largely resistant to the normal cures. They are not, however, resistant to the endoperoxide chemistry contained by artemisinin. It is now the major hope of world leaders in the fight to stop the inexorable increase in deaths due to malaria.
Now for the other applications. Another major use of the chemical is in the fight against cancer. Those cancers that involve iron rich cells can be disrupted by artemisinin by the same mechanism that kills off malaria bacteria. It is not only parasites that are susceptible to free radical action, but also human cells, and if these can be selectively destroyed, then it is a step forward towards a cure for cancer. Such a cure does not yet exist, but mechanisms such as the endoperoxide bridge provide a means of controlling at least some cancers, the best results being obtained with leukemia and colon cancer. That is not to say, however, that cures for these cancers are currently available since tests are still under way. However, it would do no harm to use sweet wormwood or the artemisinin extract as a supplement.
Cancer cells tend to accumulate iron because it is needed in the cell division process that cancer takes advantage of. However, if cancer cells could be persuaded to accumulate more surface iron, or were artificially exposed to it, then perhaps the endoperoxide mechanism would be more effective. Studies on this mechanism of controlling cancer are currently under way.
At a more mundane level, if you suffer from intestinal parasites, then one or two milligrams each day should see them off. It has also been effectively used to deal with colds, coughs and other general conditions, but most effectively against those that cause fever of one kind or another. It has been used in Chinese medicine as a form of ‘cure-all’ to be used when specific remedies failed. Its greatest current uses are, however, in cancer and especially malarial treatments.
You have to be careful with artemisinin since it can be toxic if taken in the wrong form. The least toxic, and most active, is the water soluble form known as artesunate. However, it lasts the least time in the body and has to get to work quickly. The oil soluble form, artemether, is the most toxic, but can cross from the blood to the brain. However, the parent form, artemisinin is the very safe itself, and can also cross the blood-brain barrier and while some tend to use a combination of the three, others prefer just the parent form.
If you take too high a dose you can suffer neurotoxicity which makes you wobble when you walk, and makes you impervious to certain levels of pain. However, such doses are next to impossible accidentally, and there have been very few reports of adverse effects in humans. It should not be used for at least a month after you have had radiation therapy because that tends to release iron that can be attacked to form free radicals. The recommended dose is 200 – 100 mg daily though the doses should be spread throughout the day. It should also never be taken within 2 hours of any other antioxidant such as vitamins A, C and E. Otherwise artemisinin can be safely used for better health and wellness in the way that the Chinese have been using it for centuries. Artemisinin is available at your local or internet vitamin store.
Degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)
August 24, 2006 03:55 PM
Degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) damages or destroys cartilage and its supportive collagen structure. As many as 40 million Americans, including the majority of people over age fifty, are thought to suffer from some form of this disease. Primary osteoarthritis, the “wear and tear” form, is due to normal use and age-related causes. Secondary osteoarthritis results from repeated joint trauma, inherited predisposition, or previous inflammatory conditions. While non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) treat symptoms only, a natural, holistic approach strives to improve the environment of the cartilage and joint as a whole by providing protective and restorative nourishment, increased circulation, decreased inflammation and reduced free radical damage.
High levels of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate
Widely regarded as the first defense in protecting joints, glucosamine and Chondroitin sulfate have been shown to effectively control joint pain and slow down or reverse the progression of cartilage deterioration. The integrity of joint gliding surfaces as well as the health of tendons, ligaments, joint fluids, skin, bones, heart valves and virtually all structural elements in the body is dependent upon the proper synthesis and availability of proteoglycans, integral components of joint cartilage.
Glucosamine provides two components critical to the synthesis of proteoglycans: hyaluronic acid and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs).
Chondroitin sulfate represents an important group of GAGs. It is not a single compound, but rather a class of compounds with different molecular weights that each have specialized functions within the body.
Numerous studies have shown that long-term safety, reduction in pain and protection of cartilage with body chondroitin and glucosamine are comparable or superior to results obtained with NSAIDs.
MSM. (Methylsulfonylmethane) MSM is a rich source of sulfur, a mineral required for GAG synthesis. A preliminary study suggests that MSM may help reduce pain in persons with degenerative arthritis.
Gota Kola. (Centella asiatica) known to support collagen synthesis and stimulate GAG’s, Gota Kola has been used for many years in Europe to promote wound healing and blood vessel integrity. It also has been shown to improve circulation in small vessels.
Turmeric. (Curcuma longa) this saffron-colored root offers a wide range of benefits. It naturally inhibits the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme, reduces pain and is a potent antioxidant that protects the liver and other cells. High antioxidant diets may inhibit joint deterioration.
Bromelain. Derived from pineapple cores, Bromelain is most commonly used for healing soft tissue injuries and inflammation. It contains potent selective proteases (protein-digesting enzymes) and other substances which serve to block destruction of GAGs.
Trace Minerals. Micronutrients play many distinct roles in support of healthy joint connective tissue and joint cartilage matrix.
Black Pepper Extract. Bioperine is a highly concentrated extract (95% - 98% piperine) of black pepper. Used as a bioavailability enhancer, it has been shown to increase the absorption of vitamins, minerals and herbs.
Wasabi Rhizome Cleanse - Supports Phase II Liver Detoxification - Wasabi Health Benefits
August 01, 2006 10:41 AM
Most people know of it as a pale-green lump on the side of their plates in Japanese restaurants—a hot, spicy accompaniment to sushi or sashimi. The fiery yet sweet taste perfectly compliments the saltiness of soy sauce and the cool delicacy of raw fish. But wasabi is much more than a burst of culinary flavor, it has been used by traditional herbalists of Japan since the 10th century and is now being rediscovered by modern health practitioners for its stunning health benefits.
Wasabi has powerful detoxification properties, in particular, it supports the immune system and cleanses the liver. Wasabi contains precursors to phytochemicals called isothiocyanates that help remove toxic substances that are stored in the liver’s fatty tissues.
The rare wasabi plant is a natural, potent support to a healthy, cleansed liver that in turn affects the detoxification and cleansing of the entire body. Source Naturals is pleased to bring you this convenient, effective addition to your wellness program.
Wasabia Japonica - Rooted In Health
The wasabi plant (Wasabia japonica) grows naturally in the mountains of Japan in the gravel and sandbars of coldwater streams and rivers. Rare and difficult to grow, it takes three years for a wasabi root or rhizome to reach maturity. Because of its popularity, wasabi is now cultivated hydroponically and in cold, wet environments outside of Japan, such as in New Zealand and Oregon. Traditionally, the rhizome was freshly grated at the table with a sharkskin grater, popular with dishes such as seafood or udon noodles. Now wasabi is usually dried into powder form and made into the pale green paste familiar to most westerners. Often, however, restaurants do not serve real wasabi; since it is so rare and expensive, a dyed horseradish paste is served in most American restaurants.
What makes wasabi so special? It comes from a good family; the brassica vegetables in the cruciferae family include such health giants as broccoli, horseradish, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale. All of these are well-known detoxifying plants, and wasabi appears to be the most amazing of them all, with detox capacities far beyond the others in the family because it is loaded with isothiocyanate precursors. This chemical not only gives wasabi its famous “fire,” it is likewise a fireball of detoxification properties.
Phase II Detox
The liver detoxifies the by-products of digestion and other harmful substances through a complex series of chemical reactions often referred to as Phase I and Phase II Detoxification. Phase I enzymes begin the process by taking the toxic molecule and changing it into a bioactive form. This process breaks down toxins. A second set of enzymes, Phase II, then neutralizes the toxin and makes it water soluble for elimination. Wasabi, with its long-chain isothiocyanate precursors, induces the Phase II enzymes. Simply stated, it is the sparkplug that starts Phase II enzymes on their work. This process, all done in the liver, supports the body’s ability to clean itself of impurities.
Part of a Complete Wellness Program
In the modern world, with so many pollutants, it is critical to your health and longevity that you cleanse these toxic compounds from your body. Wasabi, along with a whole food, high-fiber diet and reduction of alcohol consumption, supports the liver— the largest of the vital organs and the key to the digestion and elimination systems and most particularly, the body’s ability to cleanse itself. Source Naturals is pleased to bring you this exceptional product as part of your wellness program.
Depree, JA (1999) Flavour and pharmaceutical properties of the volatile sulphur compounds of Wasabia japonica. Food Research International: 31(5):329-337.
Morimitsu Y, et al. (2002) A sulforaphane analogue that potently activates the Nrf2-dependent detoxification pathway. J Biol Chem: 277:3456-3463.
Munday, R (2002) Selective induction of phase II enzymes in the urinary bladder of rats by allyl isothiocyanate, a compound derived from Brassica vegetables.
Nutrition and Cancer: 44(1):52-59.
Watanabe, M (2003) Identification of 6-methylsulfinylhexyl isothiocyanate as an apoptosis-inducing component in wasabi. Phytochemistry: 62(5):733-739.
Rose, P (2000) 7-methylsulfinylheptyl and 8- methylsulfinyloctyl isothiocyanates from watercress are potent inducers of phase II enzymes. Carcinogenesis: 21(11):1983-1988.
Lutein to fight age-related macular degeneration!
February 27, 2006 05:53 PM
Lutein: The Antiordinary Antioxidant
Lutein belongs to a class of compounds known as carotenoids. Carotenoids in general are yellow, orange, or red pigments responsible for many of the colors of the foods we consume each day. To date, over 600 carotenoids have been identified in nature, but are only produced by plants, algae and bacteria leaving humans and animals to consume carotenoids in the diet. Forty to fifty carotenoids are consumed in the typical US diet, but only 14 have been detected in the blood, indicating a selective use of specific carotenoids by the body. Lutein is one of these carotenoids found in the blood and has been increasingly associated with eye health over the last decade.
Lutein’s role in eye health
In the human eye, lutein is concentrated in the center of the retina in an area known as the macula. Lutein is deposited in the macula through the lutein we consume in out diet or through supplements. This area is responsible for human central vision and is colored intensely yellow due to high concentrations of lutein. Lutein is thought to be beneficial for eye health by reducing damage in the eye in two ways: 1) by absorbing blue light (blue light is thought to increase free radical formation in the eye) and 2) by acting as an antioxidant, reducing damage in the eye caused by free radicals. Leading carotenoid researchers believe these functions may lead to a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
Age-related macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the USA in those over 65. twenty-five and thirty million people are afflicted worldwide and currently there are no effective treatments for the disease. The disease has two forms known as dry and wet AMD.
Ninety percent of AMD cases diagnosed are the dry form. In dry AMD, also referred to as early AMD, debris deposits under the center of the retina (known as the macula) interfering with its normal function. Parts of the macula atrophy, causing the central vision to slowly become dimmer or more blurry. Wet age-related macular degeneration, also known as late AMD, often develops in areas where dry AMD exists. Abnormal blood vessels grow and leak blood and fluid under the macula, causing scarring, which leads to rapid loss of central vision.
Dr. Joanna Seddon published one of the first studies demonstrating a link between lutein intake and AMD risk in 1994 (1). This epidemiological study compared the risk of developing AMD to nutrient intake and showed a significant reduction in risk for developing AMD as lutein intake reached 6mg per day (57% reduction in risk). Since the Seddon study, researchers have shown that increasing dietary lutein intake raises blood levels of lutein as well as levels of lutein in the eye (2). Bone et al. demonstrated that eyes with higher levels of lutein were less likely to be afflicted with AMD (3).
The latest clinical trial that investigated lutein’s role in AMD is known as the lutein antioxidant supplementation trial (L.A.S.T) (4). This study evaluated the effects of lutein supplementation for one year in 90 veterans diagnosed with dry AMD. Supplementation with lutein in these subjects significantly increased the concentration of lutein in the macula. Improvements in visual function were also detected with lutein supplementation. Glare recovery, visual acuity, and contrast sensitivity were all improved. This study continues to build on clinical evidence that the dry form of AMD may be responsive to changes in nutrition.
A cataract is a natural clouding of the lens, the area of the eye responsible for focusing light and producing clear, sharp images. For most people, cataracts are a natural result of aging. Currently in the US, cataracts are the second leading cause of blindness in the elderly behind AMD.
Lutein is the major carotenoid that has been identified in the human lens asn is thought to provide similar benefits to the leans that are seen in the retina. Two large epidemiological studies consisting of >70,000 women (age 45-71) and >30,000 men (age 45-75) compared the risk of cataract extraction to nutrient intake (5,6). Similar to AMD, a significant reduction in risk of cataract extraction was associated with lutein intakes of 6mg per day (20% reduction in risk). Besides cataract extraction, higher levels of lutein consumption have been associated with a decreased risk of cataract development and improvements in visual acuity and glare sensitivity in people with age-related cataracts.
The richest source of free lutein in the typical US diet are dark green leafy vegetables, with the highest concentration found in kale followed by spinach.
The average daily lutein intake is low, average between 1-2 mg/day. Currently there is no recommendations of the dietary guidelines for Americans 2005 (9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day) you would consume between 4 and 8 mg of lutein a day (7). Epidemiological evidence, animal models, and clinical data have indicated levels of 6-10 mg a day may be necessary to realize the health benefits associated with lutein consumption. By continuing to increase our intake of lutein, we begin to ensure the optimal health of our eyes.
Seddon et al. (1994) dietary carotenoids, vitamin a, c, and e, and advanced age-related macular degeneration. Eye disease case-control study group. JAMA. 272: 1413-20.
Bone et al. (2000) Lutein and zeaxanthin in the eyes, serum and diet of human subjects. Exp. Eye Res. 71: 239-45.
Bone et al. (2001) Macular pigment in donor eyes with and without AMD: a case-control study. Invest. Ophthalmal. Vis Sci. 42: 235-40.
Richer et al. (2004) Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-relaged macular degeneration: the veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry. 75: 216-30.
Brown et al. (1999) A prospective study of carotenoid intake and risk of cataract extraction in the US men. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 70: 517-24.
Chasen-Taber et al. (1999) A prospective study of carotenoid and vitamin A intakes and risk of cataract extraction in US women. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 70: 509-16
HHS/USDA. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. //www.healthierus.Gov/dietaryguidelines/CDC. National health and nutrition examination survey data 2001-2002. //www.cdc.gov/nchs/about/major/nhanes/nhanes01-02.html
Brandon lewis, Ph.D. is the applied research and Technical services manager at kemin health, L.C. in des moines, iowa. His responsibilities include the initiation and management of laboratory projects pertaining to the inclusion and analysis of kemin ingredients in vitamins and dietary supplements, as well as developing new applications and prototypes that include kemin ingredients. Prior to joining kemin, Brandon was enrolled at the university of Florida where he received his Ph.D. in Nutritional Science from the department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
New Frontiers in Enzyme Supplementation
February 16, 2006 04:17 PM
New Frontiers in Enzyme Supplementation
By Nick Rana, CN, NOW Quality Assurance
Serrazimes® is a proteolytic (protein digesting) enzyme system containing protease that is derived from edible non-genetically engineered fungi (Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus melleus), that is designed as an alternative for Serrapeptidase (also known as serratio-peptidase and serrapeptase) in dietary supplements used for cardiovascular, anti-inflammatory, respiratory, or immune support.
Serrapeptidase was initially isolated from Serratia marcescens, a potentially pathogenic bacteria found in the gut of the Japanese silkworm. Recognized as a pharmacological agent, Serrapeptidase has wide clinical use in Asia and Europe for the management of assorted inflammatory processes (Rothschild, 1991). In recent years, recognition of the efficacy of the Japanese product has lead to growing interest in the US dietary supplement market.
The product’s efficacy and availability over the internet has fueled its popularity in the US dietary supplement industry, where it is used for anti-inflammatory support, cardiovascular support, respiratory support, and as an adjunct to antibiotic therapy. Recognizing the potential for a "Serrapeptidase-type” enzyme in the U.S. dietary supplement market, the National Enzyme Company developed a protease system that has the same in vitro (lab test) activity as Serrapeptidase, but that is from organisms that have a long history of safe use in dietary supplements. Serrazimes® is the product resulting from this search.
Since the 1960’s, plant and microbial protease enzymes have been studied for their role in the management of inflammation and inflammatory processes. In both animal and human trials, proteolytic enzymes, from a variety of sources, have repeatedly been shown to significantly reduce inflammation resulting from sickness or injury (Ryan, 1967)(Smyth et al, 1967)(Shaw, 1969)(Kumakura et al, 1988)(Lomax, 1999). The earlier research on the anti-inflammatory actions of proteases pointed entirely to their antithrombic and fibrinolytic aspects to explain this phenomenon. However, studies by Parmely (Infect and Immun Sept 1990) and others indicate that, in addition to degrading fibrin, microbial proteases may actually inactivate pro-inflammatory cytokines and to interrupt inflammatory responses.
Persons taking blood thinning or antibiotic medications and those with serious health disorders should consult their medical practitioner prior to taking Serrazimes®. As is the case with most supplements, please consult your doctor about the use of Serrazimes® during pregnancy and lactation.
The Product Development Team at NOW Foods is constantly researching new products like Serrazimes® to provide our customers with the tools that empower them to live healthier lives. Look also for our new unique digestive enzyme formulations from plant sources - backed by laboratory studies - to be introduced in March of 2006.
Serrapeptidase is a selective alkaline metalloprotease enzyme, meaning that it works to activate specific biological systems of mammals and directly degrades or inhibits IgG and IgA immune factors as well as the regulatory proteins á-2-macroglobulin, á-2-antiplasmin, and antithrombin III (Molla et al, 1989)(Maeda and Molla, 1989).
While originally isolated from Serratia marcescens, a bacteria found in the gut of the Japanese silk worm, Serrapeptidase activity is also found in fermentation extracts of Serratia E-15, Aspergillus oryzae, and Aspergillus melleus. (Salamone and Wodzinski, 1997).
The Serrapeptidase activity of this high potency proteolytic (protein digesting) enzyme is determined using a spectrophotometric assay testing procedure that measures the enzyme’s ability to hydrolyze (digest) a standard casein protein substrate. Laboratory analyses have established that Serrazimes® has a 1:1 enzymatic equivalent of Serrapeptidase activity guaranteed to provide 600,000 specialized proteolytic Units per gram, or 20,000 units per capsule.
January 03, 2006 09:00 AM
In the mid 70’s, a team of European researchers ventured off to Greenland to study the unique lifestyle of native Inuit Eskimos. They couldn’t have possibly imagined how signifi cant their findings would be. The Inuits’ diet was simple and consisted primarily of fatty fi sh – whale, salmon, sardine, seal, and mackerel. No surprise there. What did surprise researchers was how unexplainably healthy these natives were. Strong hearts. Clear skin. Powerful joints. All this from a diet that contained towering amounts of fat. This fat-fueled lifestyle bewildered researchers. Then the connection was made. These fatty foods were loaded with substances that the body must have in order to remain healthy – omega-3 essential fatty acids. Fast forwarding 30 years, fish oil supplements aren’t just popular, they’re they’re popular nutritional threads that help weave the fabric of human wellness.
In the fall of 2004, after reviewing years of convincing studies, the FDA approved the use of a qualified claim for omega-3 EFA. It states that “supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease”. When you consider how selective the FDA is in qualifying health claims, this becomes even more impressive. The benefi ts of fi sh oils don’t stop at the cardiovascular system, however. A wealth of studies have been conducted examining their role in depression, mood, vision, skin, immune system function, pregnancy, joint health and migraines just to name a few.
EFA for a Healthy Heart
Omega-3 and Healthy Mood
Say Goodbye to Inflammation
Choosing a quality formula
HERBAL EXTRACTS FOR IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPORT
December 23, 2005 12:27 PM
"HERBAL EXTRACTS FOR IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPORT AND DETOXIFICATION"
For years, Nature’s Apothecary’s reputation for producing high quality natural products, specifically multi-herb and single herb extracts and aromatherapy products, has been unparalleled. This family-owned, environmentally-conscious herbal extract company has laid deep roots on the front range of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, and in the natural products industry as well. NOW® is proud to continue their tradition of excellence in providing only the highest quality natural herbal extracts with the purchase of this premier liquid herbal extract supplier. We’re committed to using the same processes and procedures that have made the Nature’s Apothecary line one of quality and longevity.
Nature’s Apothecary herbal extracts are created with pure herbs grown on small organic farms, or herbs that have been ethically hand-harvested with respect for the earth, just as herbalists have done for thousands of years. While the various herbs used in these formulations offer a broad range of health benefits, two of the most important are immune system enhancement and detoxification. Herbs have a long history of usefulness in these categories. There is evidence of the use of herbs by Stone Age humans, who either cultivated or gathered hundreds of herbs and plants for a variety of uses. The histories of various cultures are filled with references to the use of herbs. Ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Chinese, Europeans, and American Indians – all used herbs to heal and to nourish. Herbs that support the immune system and provide detoxification benefits were, and still are, very popular. Two of the most effective are Astragalus and Shiitake Mushroom.
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is a member of the legume family and is considered an adaptogenic herb in traditional Chinese medicine, where it has been safely used for centuries. Native to central and western Asia, specifically China, Korea and Taiwan, Astragalus offers a unique benefit found in very few herbs - it seems to selectively support immune system function by stimulating certain immune functions and depressing others. One reason is that Astragalus has a high selenium content, a trace element with documented immune system benefits. It also contains polysaccharides and flavonoids, which support healthy immune system function as well as minimizing the effects of free radicals on various membranes. The mechanisms of action through which Astragalus supports immune system function are varied. It has shown promise as a means to stimulate “resting” immune system cells, increasing their activity. Research shows that Astragalus supports the body’s production of immunoglobulins, macrophages, T cells and natural killer (NK) cells, the grunts of the immune system’s army. Astragalus has been shown to support healthy cardiovascular function by protecting membranes from oxidative stress as a result of free radical damage.
Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinula edodes) is a culinary delight with some serious health benefits. The name Shiitake is from a combination of shiia, the Japanese word for a variety of chestnut tree, and take, the Japanese name for mushrooms.
Shiitake is also referred to as the Forest Mushroom and the Black Forest Mushroom. Indigenous to Eastern Asia, primarily Japan and China, Shiitake is Japan’s leading agricultural export, accounting for about eighty percent of the world’s Shiitake production. While it’s culinary reputation is well-known, Shiitake is also a medicinal herb with a long history of use. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Shiitake is well-regarded and has been used to treat a variety of ailments. Modern research has shown that Shiitake supports healthy immune system function and cardiovascular health, primarily due to the naturally-occurring nutrients found in Shiitake. It contains an excellent B vitamin profile, as well as amino acids, protein, iron, and beta glucan, a major structural component in the cell walls of most fungi, including Shiitake. Beta glucan has been shown to support healthy immune system function by stimulating the activity of phagocytes, white blood cells and NK (natural killer) cells, vital components of the body’s immune system defenses. Astragalus and Shiitake Mushroom are just a few of the immune supporting herbal extracts to be found in the Nature’s Apothecary line. With over 250 SKU’s, Nature’s Apothecary is your best source for high-quality, effective herbal extracts.
The Immune System - with Kyolic Garlic
July 11, 2005 05:23 PM
The immune system is our body's natural defense system that keeps us healthy. Without it, invading organisms, which we come into contact with constantly, would cause illness and disease. There are many components of the immune system, including natural killer cells, T&B cells, macrophages and many others. Collectively, this network mainly functions against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.
It is possible for the immune system to be suppressed. Things like stress, unhealthy habits, lack of nutrition, genetics, and other factors damage the immune system, which leaves us vulnerable to disease.
The immune system can benefit from proper, and constant care. A healthy immune system can mean the difference between getting mildly sick versus something much worse. If you are looking for ways to boost your immune system via nutritional supplements, here are a few that might interest you:
Aged Garlic ExtractTM (AGE): Numerous scientific studies have been conducted on AGE in relation to its effect on the immune system. Studies suggest that Aged Garlic Extract may support various immune factors,1-5 such as the ability of immune cells to engulf foreign organisms, T-lymphocyte activity,3 natural killer cell activity1,2 and antibody generation.6 Anti-fungal (Candida albicans-yeast) properties have been shown, and antiviral (herpes1,7, influenza8,9) properties have also been noted. Aged Garlic Extract has also been shown to modify, directly or indirectly, the function of immune cells, which play a leading role in allergic reactions including inflammation.10 In addition, Aged Garlic Extract has been shown to improve age-related deterioration of the immune response.
For your convenience AGE is available as a liquid, and in a capsule, such as the Reserve, FORMULA 100 (tablet or capsule), or as the One Per Day (caplet).
AGE also comes in combination with other herbs and nutrients that may further enhance the immune system. We have formulated a couple of products containing Aged Garlic Extract, specifically for the immune system due to the additional ingredients added that work as an extra boost in this area. Firstly, FORMULA 103 (brown/orange label) in addition to Aged Garlic Extract contains Astragalus, a potent herb demonstrating immune stimulating properties12-17 and vitamin C as Ester-C® (a unique form of Vitamin C) which may support healthy immune function.18 Another product, FORMULA 105 (pink/purple label), contains Vitamins A, C, E, selenium and green tea extract, which are very potent antioxidants. Antioxidants attack free radicals that cause damage to our body, leading to illness and aging. Please keep in mind that the various antioxidant functions attributed to AGE may also help to boost the immune system.
Kyo-Green® is another one of our superb products. Mixing Kyo-Green in a juice or beverage may help to provide extra nutritional support since it is a source of vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, superoxide dismutase (a very potent anti-oxidant enzyme) and other nutrients. A test tube study by Dr. Lau from Loma Linda University showed that Kyo-Green may provide nutritional support for the immune system by enhancing the activity of macrophages (immune cells that engulf foreign agents).19 Two teaspoons of Kyo-Green also provide the nutrients in a serving of vegetables so this product may function as an easy way to provide extra nutrition for the whole body.
For those who may be interested in a more potent immune boosting formula, please try our Kyo-Green Harvest Blend The Harvest BlendTM contains all of the ingredients in the Kyo-Green, except for the kelp. However, in addition to these ingredients, other active ingredients are added to make forty-four ingredients in total, which may give the immune system a powerful kick. To help support your health there are many different greens, an immune-boosting herbal blend, antioxidant fruits and veggies, immune-enhancing mushrooms, an enzyme active sprout blend, a super energizing blend, special phytonutrients important to immune health, and a nutritious fiber blend. Please read the specifics on each of these constituents, available from the technical information available on this website.
Finally, Kyo-Dophilus® is a probiotic supplement made of a combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacteria bifidum, and Bifidobacteria longum, which help to maintain a healthy balance of the intestinal microflora and increase our first line of devense in the guy by enhancing macrophages and other immune factors by releasing immune boosting materials. This potent supplement of beneficial bacteria is also ideal for those taking antibiotics, those who are traveling or for those who just want to insure a plethora of beneficial bacteria in their intestinal tracts. Antibiotics are not selective in the bacteria that they kill off. When our friendly bacteria are wiped out, the bad guys have a window of opportunity to take over, as they grow much quicker than our friendly bacteria, and cause us problems. The lactic acid (friendly) bacteria have been shown to produce vitamins, enzymes and antimicrobial compounds that may improve the environment in the intestinal tract. Studies also suggest that friendly bacteria may help to increase resistance to some microbial infections.20-21 Kyo-Dophilus has demonstrated incredible stability at room temperature maintaining more than one billion live cells per capsule through its three-year shelf life. A minimum of one billion live cells per day is considered to be necessary to obtain desired effectiveness from a probiotic supplement. Kyo-Dophilus also comes in tablet form, in a nine-strain formation known as Kyo-Dophilus® 9, and in a smaller form for children, Kid's Kyo-Dophilus®.
Supplying your immune system with adequate nutrition may promote health and ward of illness. If you give the body the tools it needs to heal it-self, it is amazing what it is capable of.
MECHANISMS OF CHITOSAN FAT- BINDING
June 25, 2005 08:02 PM
MECHANISMS OF CHITOSAN FAT- BINDING
The exact way(s) that Chitosan prevents fat absorbtion is not fully understood but a number of experimental observations support two basic mechanisms. The first mechanism involves the attraction of opposite charges which can be compared to the attraction of opposite magnetic poles. The second entrapment mechanism can be compared to the effect of a net. In the first mechanism the positive charges on chitosan attract the negatively charged fatty acids and bile acids binding them to the indigestible chitosan fiber. This mechanism can explain why chitosan reduces LDL cholesterol levels.
Our bodies make bile acids in the liver using the cholesterol from LDL. When chitosan binds bile acids it increases the rate of LDL loss thus improving the LDL to HDL ratio. If enough bile acids are bound, the fats are not solublized, which prevents their digestion and absorption. The second mechanism (figure 2) describes a netting effect of chitosan fiber.
In this model the Chitosan wraps around fat droplets and prevents their being attacked and digested by lipid enzymes. Fats unprotected by Chitosan are digested and absorbed. The “netting” mechanism has been seen to operate in vivo. 108
Substances that Enhance the Action of Chitosan
Fibers can be likened to a tangled-up chain. Fibers must “unravel” in order for them to be of maximum benefit to us. “Unraveling” is especially critical for chitosan because each link has a hook on which to attach lipids. Chitosan can absorb an average of 4 to 5 times its weight in lipids. Reports of numbers above and below this range have also been reported and may well reflect the rate or extent of unraveling that had taken place. Fiber formulations can be prepared that unravel rapidly and swell quickly. These highly effective formulations are called superabsorbants. When certain substances are added to chitosan, its remarkable fat-binding ability can be significantly enhanced.
D-Ascorbic acid (erythorbic acid) and L-ascorbic acid are C-vitamins which enhance chitosan’s ability to bind lipids. Combining chitosan with ascorbic acid results in even less fat absorption and greater fecal fat losses.77,108 In one study the addition of ascorbic acid to a chitosan enriched diet increased fecal fat losses by 87 percent and decreased fat absorption by over 50 percent.77
Cholesterol oxides cause lesions in artery walls which predispose blood vessels to collect plaque. These dietary cholesterol oxides profoundly influence the initiation of heart disease.Free radicals can also contribute to the formation of cholesterol oxides which are even more likely to damage the heart. Cholesterol oxides have been found in deep-fried foods, powdered eggs, processed meats and in human blood itself. Consequently, taking antioxidants like ascorbic acid is vital to protect against the cellular damage this type of free radical causes.112
In feeding experiments with animals, adding citric acid to a chitosan enriched diet resulted in a decreased feed consumption.77 The most likely explanation for this effect is that the citric acid may be enhancing the swelling action of chitosan leading to a sense of fullness, producing satiety and appetite suppression.
Indoles are remarkable phytochemicals which have the ability to selectively activate certain Mixed Function Oxidases (MFOs).113 These MFO’s help balance estrogen metabolism and prepare dietary toxins for elimination before they are absorbed. The presence of fiber in the intestines provides a bulk agent to carry the metabolized toxins out of the body. Chelat ed Minerals The very best approach to weight loss is to nutritionally augment food choices with nutrient supplementation. Certain biochemical compounds are essential to promoting vigor during the process of thermogenesis. Chelated minerals act to bolster, support and protect the organ systems of the body.114,115
For example, when fat is burned, heat and energy are released. If a lack of certain minerals exists, energy levels will drop. Minerals help to transport needed nutrients to depleted areas of the body, thereby stemming off the fatigue we so often experience after eating a fatty meal. Even more importantly, free radicals are released whenever fat is consumed and burned and the presence of chelated minerals helps to expedite the removal of these metabolites and facilitate the availability of fuel for energy.
Essential Fatty Acids
Prostaglandins control and balance many body functions. The dietary building blocks for making prostaglandins are the essential fatty acids (EFAs). The role of prostaglandins in weight loss has been extensively discussed in a recent review.116 EFAs exert profound lipid-lowering effects.They reduce the synthesis of triglycerides and very low density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) in the liver. EFA supplementation coupled with a low-cholesterol, low-saturated fat in diet produces a complementary effect in lowering serum lipid levels.117 Garcinia Cambogia ( Hydroxy Cit ric Acid) Garcinia Cambogia contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA). This form of citric acid inhibits the liver’s ability to make fats out of carbohydrates.118
Carbohydrates are converted to glycogen stores, not fat stores, giving the body a better energy reserve and an increase in stamina.119 Ephedra And Thermogenisis Thermogenesis means “creating heat.” This is one of the ways our bodies have of burning off excess calories and maintaining a constant weight.120 This is an area of weight management research that is being intensely studied. When we repeatedly yo-yo diet or abuse ourselves by eating too much, our thermogenic ability may be reduced. Numerous animal and human studies have confirmed the benefits of ephedra and methylxanthines in inducing weight loss and restoring thermogenic responsiveness.43,44,121
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number
June 13, 2005 07:43 PM
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number by Carl Lowe Energy Times, March 10, 2004
As women age, their physical needs shift. The health challenges that face a woman in her thirties do not match those of a woman in her fifties.
At the same time, some basic health needs stay constant: At any age, every woman requires a wealth of vitamins, minerals and the other natural chemicals that fruits, vegetables and supplements supply. She also constantly needs families and friends to support her spiritual health.
As the internal workings of your body alter, your lifestyle must stay abreast of those adjustments. Peak health demands a finely tuned health program designed with your individual needs-and your stage of life-in mind.
Ages 30 to 45
When it comes to maintaining health, younger women might seem to have it easier than older women. If they exercise and stay in shape, they maintain more stamina than women 10 to 20 years their senior.
Unfortunately, many women in this age group mistakenly think they don't have to be as careful about their lifestyle habits and their eating habits as they will in later decades. But even if your health doesn't seem to suffer from poor eating choices or a sedentary lifestyle right away, your foundation for health in later life suffers if you don't care for yourself now.
By age 45 you should have established the good habits that will carry you successfully through the aging process. As an added bonus, good lifestyle habits pay immediate dividends. If you pay attention to your nutrients and get plenty of physical activity when younger, you'll feel more energetic and probably enjoy better emotional health.
Set Health Goals
According to Gayle Reichler, MS, RD, CDN, in her book Active Wellness (Avery/Penguin), good health at any age doesn't just come to you-you have to plan for it. In order to stick to good habits, she says, "living a healthy lifestyle needs to be satisfying." Reichler believes that you need to picture your health goals to achieve them: "Every successful endeavor first begins in the mind as an idea, a thought, a dream, a conviction." Good health at this age and in later years requires a concrete strategy and visualization of how your body can improve with a healthy lifestyle.
Your long-term health goals at this age should include an exercise program that will allow you to reach a physically fit old age with a lowered risk of disability. In addition, your short-term plans should encompass losing weight, staying optimistic, living life with more vim and vigor, increasing your capacity for exercise and lowering your stress.
As Reichler points out, "Your long-term goal and your ideal vision establish what you want to achieve....[You should do] something good...for yourself every day and every week that makes your life easier and more consistent with your goals."
Develop an Eating Plan
Today, the average American gains about two pounds annually. As a result, every year a greater portion of the US population is obese and overweight. By controlling your food intake earlier in life, you may be able to avoid this weight gain. In his book Prolonging Health (Hampton Roads), James Williams, OMD, recommends basic changes to your diet that can provide long-term support of your health:
Get Supplemental Help
If you're in your thirties or forties and you don't take at least a multivitamin, start taking one today! A large body of research shows that taking vitamin and mineral supplements over a long period of time significantly supports better health.
Calcium and vitamin D are two of the most important supplemental nutrients, helping to build stronger bones now that can withstand the bone-loss effects of aging.
Calcium can also help keep your weight down. One study of younger women found that for every extra 300 milligrams of calcium a day they consumed, they weighed about two pounds less (Experimental Biology 2003 meeting, San Diego).
In the same way, taking vitamin D supplements not only helps strengthen your bones, it can also lower your risk of multiple sclerosis (Neurology 1/13/04). In this study, which looked at the health records of more than 180,000 women for up to 20 years, taking D supplements dropped the chances of multiple sclerosis (although eating vitamin D-rich foods did not have the same benefit). And if you're thinking about having children at this age, a multivitamin is crucial for lowering your baby's risk of birth defects and other health problems. A study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that women who take multivitamins during pregnancy lower their children's risk of nervous system cancer by up to 40% (Epidemiology 9/02).
" Our finding, combined with previous work on reducing several birth defects with vitamin supplementation and other childhood cancers, supports the recommendation that mothers' vitamin use before and during pregnancy may benefit their babies' health," says Andrew F. Olshan, MD, professor of epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health. "We believe physicians and other health care providers should continue to educate women about these benefits and recommend appropriate dietary habits and daily dietary supplements."
In particular, Dr. Olshan feels that folic acid (one of the B vitamins), and vitamins C and A, are particularly important for lowering the risk of childhood cancers and birth defects.
Ages 45 to 55
When you reach this in-between age-the time when most women have moved past childbearing age but haven't usually fully moved into the post-menopausal stage-you enjoy a propitious opportunity to take stock of your health and plan for an even healthier future. One thing that may need adjustment is your sleep habits, as sleeplessness is a common problem for women in this age group. Even if you haven't been exercising or watching your diet until now, it's not too late to start. Making lifestyle changes at this age can still improve your chances for aging successfully.
For instance, it is at these ages that women should have their heart health checked. Research published in the journal Stroke (5/01) shows that having your cholesterol and blood pressure checked at this time more accurately shows your future chances of heart disease than having it checked at a later date after menopause, in your late fifties.
" The premenopausal risk factors may be a stronger predictor of carotid atherosclerosis [artery blockages] because they represent cumulative risk factor exposure during the premenopausal years, whereas the risk factors...during the early postmenopausal years have a shorter time for influence," says Karen A. Matthews, PhD, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In other words, Dr. Matthews' research shows that if you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol before menopause, you are at serious risk for a stroke or heart attack soon after menopause: These are important reasons that you need to start improving your health habits immediately.
Increase in Heart Disease
Before menopause, a woman's hormones and other physiological characteristics usually hold down her chance of heart disease. After menopause, when hormones and other bodily changes occur, the risk of heart attacks and stroke in women rises significantly. (Heart disease is the leading killer of women.) At least part of this increased risk is linked to the postmenopausal decrease in estrogen production.
Dr. Matthews studied about 370 women in their late forties, measuring their weight, their BMI (body mass index, an indication of body fat compared to height), blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Ten years later, after the women had entered menopause, she and her fellow scientists used ultrasound to measure blockages in these women's neck arteries (a sign of heart disease).
The researchers found that indications of potential heart problems (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight) when women were in their forties did indeed forecast future difficulties.
" Women who had elevated cholesterol, higher blood pressures and increased body weight before menopause had increased blood vessel thickening and atherosclerotic plaque formation in the neck arteries after menopause. Such changes in the carotid arteries are associated with an increased heart attack and stroke risk," says Dr. Matthews.
Heart Health Factors
The four main lifestyle factors you should adjust at this age to support better heart function are diet, stress, exercise and weight. According to Dr. James Williams, "[M]ore than any other cause, dietary factors are the most critical factor in cardiovascular disease." He recommends eliminating "dietary saturated fatty acids as found in flame-broiled and fried meats." He also urges women to eat more fish and poultry, consume organic fruits and vegetables and cut back on refined sugar.
Stress becomes an ever more important heart disease factor at this age as estrogen begins to drop.
" Our study [in the lab] indicates that stress affects estrogen levels and can lead to the development of heart disease-even before menopause," says Jay Kaplan, PhD, of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (The Green Journal 3/02).
Dr. Kaplan's research shows that stress in women ages 45 to 55 may reduce estrogen earlier in life and make women more susceptible to the arterial blockages that lead to heart disease. "We know from [lab] studies that stress can lower estrogen levels to the point that health is affected," he says.
Stress can also hurt bone health: In a study of 66 women with normal-length menstrual periods, estrogen levels were low enough in half of the women to cause bone loss, making the women susceptible to osteoporosis.
Exercise and Weight
Although exercise used to be considered to be mainly a young woman's activity, the thrust of recent research suggests that physical activity actually becomes more important to health as you get older.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that exercising and keeping your weight down is probably the most important thing you can do to lower your risk of heart disease as you enter your forties and fifties (Am J Prev Med 11/03).
Of the people who took part in this study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who performed the most exercise were thinner and had a 50% chance less of dying of heart disease than overweight nonexercisers.
" The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, a researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.
An added benefit of exercise: If you burn up calories exercising, you can eat more and not have to worry as much about being overweight.
Supplements and Diet
If you're a woman at midlife, a multivitamin and mineral is still good nutritional insurance. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables are also important for getting enough phytochemicals, the health substances in plants that convey a wealth of health benefits.
As you enter this age group, your immune system gradually slows down. To help support immune function, eating produce rich in antioxidant nutrients, and supplementing with antioxidants like vitamins C and E as well as carotenoids, can be especially important. For example, a study of people with ulcers found that people with less vitamin C in their stomachs are more likely to be infected with Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers and is linked to stomach cancer (J Amer Coll Nutr 8/1/03).
This research, which looked at the health of about 7,000 people, found that vitamin C probably helps the immune system fend off this bacterial infection.
" Current public health recommendations for Americans are to eat five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day to help prevent heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases," says Joel A. Simon, MD, MPH, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.
Calcium and Bones
At midlife, calcium continues to be a vital mineral for supporting bone health.
According to Gameil T. Fouad, PhD, "It has been routinely shown that a woman's calcium status and level of physical activity (specifically, the degree to which she participates in weight-bearing exercise) are positively associated with bone mineral density. It is less well appreciated that this is a process which takes place over the course of a lifetime."
Dr. Fouad adds that calcium works in concert with other vitamins and minerals to keep bones healthy: "Research in the United Kingdom involving nearly 1,000 premenopausal women over age 40 illustrates those women with the highest bone density tended to have the highest intake of calcium. Surprisingly, this study also demonstrated that calcium does not act alone: those women with the best bone health also had the highest intakes of zinc, magnesium and potassium."
Dr. Fouad stresses that supplements should go together with a lifestyle that includes enough sleep and exercise to help the body stay in top shape.
" As a general guideline," he says, "a woman concerned with her mineral intake should take concrete steps to make sure she is getting adequate rest, is eating a well-balanced diet focused on fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein as well as getting adequate exercise....A multi-mineral containing bio-available forms of zinc, magnesium, copper and selenium is probably a safe addition to anyone's routine. Taking these proactive steps dramatically reduces the chances that deficiencies will arise."
Ages 55 and Beyond
Entering the post-menopausal phase of life can present challenging opportunities for a new perspective on life and health. While some signs of aging are inevitable, experts who have looked at how the human body changes with age are now convinced that healthy lifestyle habits can improve how well you can think, move and enjoy life well past age 55.
As Dr. Williams notes, "In your fifties, the force of aging is undeniably present: Your body shape changes and organ function declines, both men and women have a tendency to gain weight....Heart disease becomes more common, energy and endurance are considerably reduced and your memory begins to slip."
But Dr. Williams also points out that you don't have to age as rapidly as other people do. He believes you should employ a "natural longevity program...[that starts] to reverse the course of aging as early as possible."
One key to staying vital as you age is your outlook on life, an aspect of life that's greatly enhanced by strong social ties.
Avoiding the Aging Slowdown The latest research shows that one of the most crucial ways to slow the effects of aging is to exercise and keep your weight down. It won't necessarily be easy, though. The change in hormonal balance at this age makes the body more prone to extra pounds (Society for Neuroscience Meeting, 11/12/03).
" In women, it has been demonstrated that major weight increases often occur during menopause, the time in a woman's life in which cyclic ovarian function ends and the ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone decline," says Judy Cameron, PhD, a scientist in the divisions of reproductive sciences and neuroscience at the Oregon Health & Science University.
In Dr. Cameron's lab trials, she has found that the decrease in estrogen after menopause "resulted in a 67% jump in food intake and a 5% jump in weight in a matter of weeks."
In other words, the hormonal changes you undergo as enter your late fifties causes your appetite to grow as well as your waistline: Developments that increase your chances of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and joint problems.
Vigilance against this weight gain is necessary to save your health: Start walking and exercising. Research on exercise in people aged 58 to 78 found that getting off the couch for a walk or other physical activity not only helps control weight but also helps sharpen your thinking and helps you become more decisive (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2/16-20/04, online edition). This recent study, done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, found that performing aerobic exercise improved mental functioning by 11% (on a computer test).
" We continue to find a number of cognitive benefits in the aerobic group," says Arthur F. Kramer, PhD, a professor of psychology at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois. "The brain circuits that underlie our ability to think-in this case to attend selectively to information in the environment-can change in a way that is conducive to better performance on tasks as a result of fitness." In simple terms, that means that walking at least 45 minutes a day boosts brain power as well as protecting your heart.
An Herb for Menopause
The physical changes that accompan> y menopause can be uncomfortable. But traditional herbal help is available: Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), an herb used for eons by aging women, has been shown in recent studies to be both safe and effective (Menopause 6/15/03).
" This [research] should reassure health professionals that they can safely recommend black cohosh to their menopausal patients who cannot or choose not to take HRT [hormone replacement therapy]," says researcher Tieraona Low Dog, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico Department of Family and Community Medicine.
While HRT has been used to help women cope with menopause, a flurry of studies in the past few years have shown that HRT increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. Instead, black cohosh, which alleviates such menopausal discomforts as hot flashes, has been shown to be much safer.
Keeping Track of Crucial Vitamins
While continuing to take multivitamins and minerals at this age is important, some experts believe that as we grow older, vitamin D supplementation, as well as taking antioxidant nutrients, is particularly vital. Arthritis is a common affliction of aging, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one particularly destructive form of this joint problem. But taking vitamin D can significantly lower your risk of this condition.
When scientists analyzed the diets of 30,000 middle-aged women in Iowa over 11 years, they found that women who consumed vitamin D supplements were 34% less likely to suffer RA (Arth Rheu 1/03).
Other vitamins are equally important to an older woman's well-being. For example, vitamins C and natural E have been found to lower the risk of stroke in those over the age of 55 (Neurology 11/11/03). In this study, smokers who consumed the most vitamin C and natural vitamin E were 70% were much less likely to suffer strokes than smokers whose diets were missing out on these vitamins.
Rich sources of vitamin C in food include oranges and other citrus fruits, strawberries, red and green peppers, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils such as sunflower seed, cottonseed, safflower, palm and wheat germ oils, margarine and nuts.
Saving Your Sight
After age 55, your eyes are particularly vulnerable. Eight million Americans of this age are at risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that destroys structures in the back of the eye necessary for vision (Arch Ophthal 11/03). But you can drop your risk of AMD by taking supplements of antioxidant vitamins and zinc, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute.
Their research shows that a dietary supplement of vitamins C, natural vitamin E and beta carotene, along with zinc, lowers the chances of progressing to advanced AMD in certain at-risk people by about 25%. Daily supplements also reduced the risk of vision loss by about 19%.
The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin also help protect aging eyes. When scientists compared healthy eyes with eyes suffering from AMD, they found that AMD eyes contained lower levels of these vital nutrients (Ophthalmology 2003; 109:1780). Furthermore, they found that levels of these chemicals generally decline as you grow older.
Healthy at All Ages
When it comes to designing a healthy lifestyle, general rules like these can be followed, but you should individualize your plan to fit your needs. No matter which type of exercises you pick out or what healthy foods you choose, look for a strategy and a plan you can stick to. If you think a selection of foods are good for you but you absolutely hate their taste, chances are you won't be able to stick to a diet that includes them.
The same goes for exercise: Pick out activities that you enjoy and that you can perform consistently. That increases your chance of sticking to an exercise program.
Staying healthy is enjoyable and it helps you get more out of life every day, no matter what stage of life you're in.
VITAMIN A and CAROTENOIDS - What are they good for?
June 09, 2005 09:27 AM
In 1912, Casimir Funk coined the term 'vitamine' to refer to a 'vital factor' he proposed was an essential component present in foods. His conjecture dovetailed with other research, leading to the isolation in the 1930's and 40's of the compounds we now call vitamins.
Vitamins are chemical substances which play a variety of roles in the human body. They are core components of any nutritional supplementation program.
While many people are aware of vitamins as necessary substances for good nutrition, few have a grasp of the extraordinary complexity of the roles they play in our bodies. As you'll see below, vitamins are involved in trillions of biochemical interactions every minute to keep us alive and functioning. For example, B-vitamins are converted into coenzymes which are directly necessary for the production of ATP energy from food, a process that goes on continuously in every cell in the body and which in turn fuels myriad physiological events such as muscle contraction, brain activity or tissue repair.
Source Naturals offers a full line of vitamins in bioactive forms, allowing you to tailor a nutritional supplementation plan to your individual needs.
VITAMIN A and CAROTENOIDS
Vitamin A is a generic term for a class of fat-soluble substances called retinoids, which can either be consumed preformed or synthesized by the liver from plant pigments called carotenoids (see 'Carotenoids', below). An essential nutrient, vitamin A is perhaps best known for its role in vision.
The outer segments of the rods, a type of light-sensitive cell in the retina of the eye, contain a pigment called rhodopsin (or 'visual purple') that mediates vision in dim light. Cone cells mediate color vision via three additional pigments. Both rods and cones are surrounded by pigmented epithelial cells that store vitamin A. Rhodopsin is formed from a protein called opsin and a vitamin A-dependent compound called 11-cis retinal. As light strikes the rods and cones it is absorbed by the pigment molecules, and retinal is split off from opsin. This chemical change allows an electrical impulse to be sent to the optic nerve and thus to the brain. The pigment must then be regenerated from opsin and retinal. Repeated small losses of retinal during this process require a constant replenishment of vitamin A to the eyes.
Vitamin A also plays an extremely important role in epithelial cell differentiation. Cell differentiation is the process by which a cell undergoes a change to a specialized cell type, allowing it to perform particular functions in the body. It is not yet understood precisely how vitamin A is involved in this process. One hypothesis is that it directly affects gene expression through its interaction with chromatin, a complex of DNA, RNA and protein in the cell nucleus. These interactions affect the process of transcription of DNA to messenger RNA, leading to synthesis of a specific group of cellular proteins.
Each one of us carries in our DNA a unique genetic blueprint. This genetic material is the same in every cell of our bodies. It is only because of this mysterious and magical process of differentiation that we have specialized cell types - and therefore eyes, ears, lungs and hearts.
Vitamin A is necessary, either directly or indirectly, for the healthy growth and functioning of many of our tissues and organ systems, including the eyes, the skin, the bones, the reproductive system, and the natural defenses. It is not yet known whether this requirement is due to the role of vitamin A in cell differentiation or whether there are other physiological processes for which vitamin A is essential.
Vitamin A is related to a class of nutrients called carotenoids, including alpha and beta carotene, lycopene and lutein. Carotenoids are botanical pigments whose colors range from red to orange to yellow. Some carotenoids, particularly beta carotene, can be converted into vitamin A predominantly in the intestinal mucosa and to some extent in the liver. Carotenoids are completely non-toxic; their conversion into vitamin A is well-regulated by the body, making them extremely safe sources of this essential nutrient.
In addition to their role as safe sources of vitamin A, carotenoids are powerful nutrients in their own right. Their primary claim to fame is their powerful antioxidant action, particularly against singlet oxygen. Singlet oxygen is an 'excited' ion of oxygen which, while not technically a free radical, is nonetheless highly reactive. It causes 'oxidative' reactions which can impair or destroy membranes, enzymes and DNA. It can also lead to the formation of free radicals which can cause additional damage.
Certain carotenoids such as beta carotene, because of their chemical structure, can neutralize singlet oxygen by absorbing its extra energy and dissipating it throughout the carotenoid molecule, releasing the energy as heat and converting the singlet oxygen back to 'normal' oxygen. One molecule of beta carotene can quench up to 1000 molecules of singlet oxygen.
In addition to their role as singlet oxygen quenchers, carotenes provide antioxidant protection against free radicals as well. In nature, they protect plants from photo-oxidative reactions; in humans, certain carotenoids, notably beta carotene, may help protect the skin from such reactions. Other carotenoids may provide more localized protection to particular organs. Lutein and zeaxanthin, for example, are selectively concentrated in the retina of the eye. Along with vitamins C and E, carotenes are among the most important nutrient antioxidants in the human body.
Fiber Supplements - The benefits...
June 09, 2005 08:58 AM
Some food substances that are not usually thought of as "nutritious" nonetheless have important roles to play in human health. A good example is fiber, which by definition, cannot be digested by human beings; however, it is an essential part of a proper diet . There are two classes of fiber, both of which are essential, and both of which are lacking in most modern diets: soluble fiber, such as occurs in oat bran, and insoluble fiber, such as occurs in wheat bran.
Among the benefits of a high-fiber diet is to help control cholesterol levels. High ratio of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in the blood is considered to be a risk factor related to cardiovascular health. Certain fibers have been shown to selectively lower blood levels of LDL cholesterol, thus contributing to cholesterol management.
Source Naturals fiber supplements are all-natural and contain pure, high-quality fiber.
Cholestrex - Lower Cholesterol with Source Naturals Supplements
June 01, 2005 10:41 AM
Our lives depend on an uninterrupted flow of blood throughout the 60,000 miles of arteries, veins, and capillaries that bring vital nourishment to our cells. Our bodies have complex chemical strategies to maintain and repair blood vessel walls. Cholesterol is an important part of the process. However, too much cholesterol in the bloodstream can have serious consequences for our well-being. By understanding how nutrition affects blood cholesterol, we can gain valuable control of our health. Source Naturals CHOLESTREX has been formulated to provide the nutritional support that we need to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
SINCE DOCTORS FIRST DISCOVERED that cholesterol was the primary ingredient in the sticky deposits that clogged their patients’ arteries, scientists have gained a thorough understanding of cholesterol’s role in our health. Essential to human and animal life, cholesterol is part of every cell in the body. Because cholesterol is so important, the liver synthesizes from 1 to 2 grams of it each day. In addition, we get about another 500 mg from the foods we eat. Problems occur when too much cholesterol gets into the bloodstream. Today, it’s estimated that over 50 million adults in the United States have cholesterol levels that are too high. The body’s processes to manage excess cholesterol depend upon a lifestyle that includes exercise, stress reduction and proper nutrition. Source Naturals Cholestrex is designed to deliver a comprehensive combination of nutrients known to support a healthy blood vessel system – and keep the life stream flowing.
The nutrients in CHOLESTREX are known to support a healthy blood vessel system
Cholesterol: What It Is Cholesterol is a solid waxy substance, technically classed as a “sterol.” Cholesterol enables our cell membranes to maintain their integrity. It is the basic raw material from which the body makes steroid hormones, which include the sex hormones. Cholesterol is the primary component of bile salts that the liver creates to help us assimilate fats, fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids. The liver also uses bile to rid itself of stored toxins. Our skin contains large amounts of cholesterol, making it resistant to the absorption of water-soluble toxins. Even the brain is 7% cholesterol (dry weight).
Blood vessel walls cover a surface area of half an acre and are under constant pressure
Cholesterol in the Blood
Because it’s not water-soluble, cholesterol must be attached to a carrier molecule in order to be transported in the bloodstream. The liver manufactures two types of carrier molecules for cholesterol, LDL and HDL. LDL (low density lipoprotein) molecules carry cholesterol from the liver out to cells of the body. One of its functions is to repair damaged cells, including those of the artery walls. LDL is primarily made up of saturated fats, (meat fats, butter, etc.). HDL (high density lipoprotein) molecules transport cholesterol and fatty acids from body tissues back to the liver for disposal. HDL helps remove excess fat and cholesterol from the bloodstream. HDL is composed of liquid fats (most vegetable oils). It’s crucial to have a proper balance between LDL and HDL cholesterol. High LDL – a sign that the body has too much fat – is a threat to the health of blood vessels, because excess LDL cholesterol may accumulate in damaged areas of vessel walls. These “fatty streaks” are the beginning stage of artery blockage.
The oxidation of LDL cholestrol is at the heart of the problem
Cholesterol and Artery Damage
The walls of the blood vessels cover a surface area of half an acre and are under constant pressure. Of all the blood vessels in the body, the coronary arteries are under the greatest stress. Named for the Latin word for crown (corona), they sit directly on the heart muscle and must continually expand and contract with every heartbeat. That’s 100,000 times each day. This constant squeezing can cause small lesions in the artery wall. This triggers a repair process where LDL cholesterol comes in to patch up the damage. Recent research has found that the crux of the problem is the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Rich in fatty acids, the LDL molecule becomes permanently altered when oxidized by free radicals (overreactive molecules that steal electrons from other molecules). These rancid, oxidized LDL molecules are no longer recognized by the body, so they’re attacked by immune system cells. These immune cells become bloated with the oxidized lipids, accumulate in artery lesions and create plaque in blood vessels. Why is LDL cholesterol being oxidized? First of all, there’s too much of it in the blood, while not enough HDL. Secondly, the blood doesn’t have enough antioxidants to neutralize free radicals. The ingredients in Source Naturals Cholestrex address these specific problems in several ways. Cholestrex also provides nutrients that protect and strengthen blood vessel walls.
In the typical American diet, 95% of the cholesterol meant for removal is reabsorbed
Cholestrex Has It All
Vitamin C helps maintain the health of artery walls because it’s the key building block for collagen and elastin, the primary constituents of blood vessels. Copper is required by the enzyme that weaves together the fibers of collagen and elastin into the matrix that makes vessel walls both tough and flexible. As an antioxidant, vitamin C scavenges free radicals in the blood plasma and also regenerates vitamin E within the LDL molecule. Vitamin E has a critical role as the primary protector of LDL, preventing its oxidation. One molecule of vitamin E can protect 200 molecules of polyunsaturated fatty acids from free radical damage. GTF Chromium is involved in insulin activity and the normalization of blood sugar. Excess simple sugars are converted to triglycerides, the blood fats which can accumulate in artery walls. Lecithin is a component of HDL that emulsifies excess blood fat so it can be more readily transported in the bloodstream to the liver, where it’s metabolized. Vitamin B3 (niacin) assists in the metabolism of fats, and puts an electric charge on red blood cells so they repel each other, which prevents blood clumping. The amino acid, L-Arginine, works to lower serum cholesterol and triglycerides by inhibiting fat absorption.
Beta sitosterol neutralizes incoming dietary cholesterol
The Body’s Cholesterol Removal System
HDL molecules carry cholesterol from tissues throughout the body back to the liver, where it is incorporated into bile salts. These bile salts are sent to the intestines, where they combine with fiber for excretion. One problem with the typical American low fiber diet is that 95% of the bile-bound cholesterol is reabsorbed. Since this is the body’s primary pathway for ridding itself of excess cholesterol, another strategy incorporated into Cholestrex is to maximize the production of bile salts and minimize their reabsorption by increasing levels of fiber. Fiber is a key element of Cholestrex. Its four types of soluble fiber bind with bile salts that are laden with cholesterol to ensure their excretion from the body. Oat Bran & Fiber, Grapefruit Pectin, Psyllium Seed Husks and Alfalfa Seeds also absorb cholesterol from our food, thereby lowering total blood cholesterol. Alfalfa seeds are considered a blood purifier. Beta sitosterol, a plant equivalent of cholesterol, binds to sites in the intestines that would otherwise absorb cholesterol. Cholestrex provides a daily total of 300 mg of beta sitosterol which may, by itself, neutralize 200 to 300 mg of incoming dietary cholesterol by preventing its absorption. Vitamin C, among its many other vital roles, is the key factor in activating an enzyme that will increase the liver’s conversion of cholesterol into bile salts. CHOLESTREX uses bioactive mineral ascorbate forms of vitamin C that will not irritate the digestive system. Working in conjunction with the fiber in CHOLESTREX, Calcium increases HDL, while lowering total serum cholesterol.
Cholestrex–Intelligent Nutritional Support
Our generation is fortunate to witness the remarkable progress made by modern science in understanding the body’s complex biochemical processes. As we realize the vital connection between nutrition and cholesterol levels, we are empowered to improve our health and vitality beyond previous standards of wellness. Source Naturals CHOLESTREX. For you and the ones you love.
Niacin and Cholesterol -- abstracts states blocks cholesterol absorption ...
May 21, 2005 11:20 AM
The Era of Statins - Is There Still a Place for Other Classes of Lipid-Lowering Drugs? Wascher, Thomas C. Department of Internal Medicine, Diabetes and Metabolism Unit, and Diabetic Angiopathy Research Group, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria. HeartDrug (2005), 5(1), 34-38. CODEN: HEARCO ISSN: 1422-9528. Journal; General Review written in English. CAN 142:384798 AN 2005:64730 CAPLUS
A review. Plenty of evidence suggests statins as the first-line therapy for the treatment of lipid disorders. However, further therapeutic options available in the treatment of lipid disorders are fibrates, niacin and cholesterol absorption inhibitors. In the present study, current treatment modalities of lipid disorders are reviewed, and their use was scrutinized based on the available evidence.
Niacin and cholesterol: role in cardiovascular disease (review). Ganji, Shobha H.; Kamanna, Vaijinath S.; Kashyap, Moti L. Atherosclerosis Research Center, Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, Long Beach, CA, USA. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry (2003), 14(6), 298-305. CODEN: JNBIEL ISSN: 0955-2863. Journal; General Review written in English. CAN 139:291534 AN 2003:542279 CAPLUS
A review. Niacin has been widely used as a pharmacol. agent to regulate abnormalities in blood plasma lipid and lipoprotein metab. and in the treatment of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Although the use of niacin in the treatment of dyslipidemia has been reported as early as 1955, only recent studies have examd. the cellular and mol. mechanism of action of niacin on lipid and lipoprotein metab. The beneficial effects of niacin in decreasing triglyceride and apolipoprotein-B contg. lipoprotein (VLDL and LDL) levels are mainly due to decreased fatty acid mobilization from adipose tissue triglyceride stores and inhibition of hepatocyte diacylglycerol acyltransferase and triglyceride synthesis, leading to increased intracellular apolipoprotein-B degrdn. and subsequent decreased secretion of VLDL and LDL particles. The mechanism of action of niacin to raise HDL levels involves decreasing the fractional catabolic rate of HDL-apolipoprotein A-I without affecting its biosynthetic rates. Niacin selectively increases blood plasma levels of Lp-AI (HDL subfraction without apolipoprotein A-II), a cardioprotective subfraction of HDL in patients with low HDL levels. Using human hepatocytes (Hep G2 cells) as an in vitro model, recent studies indicate that niacin selectively inhibits the uptake/removal of HDL-apolipoprotein A-I (but not HDL-cholesterol ester) by hepatocytes, thereby increasing the capacity of retained HDL-apolipoprotein A-I to augment cholesterol efflux through reverse cholesterol transport pathway. The data provide evidence extending the role of niacin as a lipid-lowering drug beyond its dietary role as a vitamin.