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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
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."
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
HERBAL EXTRACTS FOR IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPORT
December 23, 2005 12:27 PM
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.
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.