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Prevent the number one cause of premature death by simply takingvitamin C
November 16, 2018 09:51 AM
According to the data, it's been estimated that as many as half of all premature deaths are preventable, moreover that poor nutritional intake is at the core of the problem. One such nutritional deficit that could lower the number of premature deaths is the deficit of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a well-known immune system booster. However, it also has an important role to fulfill when it comes to cardiovascular health. The journal of the American College of Nutrition recently attests to this fact. The journal reported findings that agreed that the use of vitamin C reduced the incidence of cardiac disease. The findings were based on a study of over 100 men, many of whom were smokers. Those given the highest dosage of vitamin C slashed their risk for cardiac complications by more than half. Danish research further augments this aspect of vitamin C. Data pools acquired from 100,000+ Danes showed high vitamin C concentrations among those who regularly consumed a large array of fruits and vegetables. This higher level was auspiciously linked with a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death.
"The reality is that an inexpensive vitamin supplement could reduce the rate of coronary heart disease but mainstream medicine is so deeply entrenched in pharmaceutical dogma, the idea that nutrients can prevent disease is downright blasphemous."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-11-12-prevent-number-one-cause-of-premature-death-vitamin-c.html
CBD may help smokers quit cigarettes, finds new study
June 20, 2018 04:44 PM
Humans have what is called a electrochemical system that can be directly impacted by substances referred to as endocannabinoids. One of these is cannabidiol (CBD). CBD oil was given to 30 participants in a 2013 study, and it showed that it helped them successfully reduce the amount of cigarettes that they smoked by 40%. More studies have to be done to determine a direct correlation, but this is good news for those who are continuously struggling to find natural ways to quit.
"In 2013, a study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors found that smokers who were given a CBD inhaler reduced their cigarette consumption by around 40% compared to those given a placebo."
Read more: https://www.healthnutnews.com/cbd-may-help-smokers-quit-cigarettes-finds-new-study/
How 4/20 became 'Weed Day'
April 22, 2017 10:44 AM
Smoke one, toke one! April 20th is the annual day for weed smokers to unite, just like Easter or Christmas for other people, by tradition. If you are a toker wondering how 420 became the national weed day, this is the information that you want to read. You can learn all about the history of 420 so the next time you take a toke, you will do so with this important information in your mind.
Read more: How 4/20 became 'Weed Day'
Can an Apple a Day Keep COPD Away?
February 27, 2017 02:59 PM
Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is good for everyone and may even help current and former smokers avoid chronic lung disease, a new investigation reveals. Apples, pears, green leafy vegetables and peppers appear to offer protection against COPD, said researchers led by Joanna Kaluza, of the Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Poland.
"Smoking is the main risk factor for COPD."
4 Types of Headaches You Should Never Ignore
February 16, 2017 10:19 AM
We all get headaches from time to time. Sometimes they are self-induced through stress, diet or lack of movement and other times they signal that something else is might be going on inside our bodies. Do not ignore your beaches if they are sharp pains or take place in certain parts of the headhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVpCCFbT5XY
"We all get headaches from time to time. Sometimes they are self-induced through stress, diet or lack of movement and other times they signal that something else is might be going on inside our bodies."
Vitamin C intake drastically reduces the risk of COPD
February 15, 2017 05:59 AM
Vitamin C is good for us. Most of us know this and have since childhood. If we're sick it can help us heal faster. It also apparently lowers the risk of COPD which is something many smokers are afflicted with, though it's not only smokers who get it. Definitely check this out if you think you may be at risk.
7 Reasons You Need CBD Oil in Your Kitchen (and Medicine Cabinet)
January 23, 2017 10:59 AM
As Marijuana becomes more and more legal across the states, its plant leaves are becoming more popular tool. Oil from the leaves ,CBD oil, also has many great properties. It an affect the way you sleep helping you get a better nights rest. It also been known to change our mood and relieve your pain without any psychoactive properties. One of the most noteworthy reason to incoroporate this oil into daily life because it can help with cancer. It inhibits cell growth and manage seizures. The oil can be found all over as it is legal.
"First off, don’t confuse CBD oil with hemp oil — a nutritional oil more properly known as hempseed oil. Made from crushing hempseed or hemp hearts, hemp oil is very rich in linoleic and alpha-linoleic acids and antioxidants, and it has an optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids."
Always Stick with name brand CBD like Leaf Therapeutics
Secondhand smoke linked to higher risk of stroke
November 03, 2016 03:59 PM
A new study from the John Hopkins School of Medicine has linked inhalation of secondhand smoke to an increase risk of stroke. The study concluded that people who had suffered a stroke but never smoked cigarettes were almost 50% more likely to have been exposed to secondhand smoke at home. In America nearly 25% of nonsmokers are still exposed regularly to secondhand smoke.
"Researchers found that those who had a stroke were nearly 50 percent more likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke at home than people who had never had a stroke."
Difference between Vitamin B-12 Cobalamine
January 06, 2014 01:58 PM
Vitamin B-12 occurs in many formations.
The different formations of vitamin B-12, based on the functional group,is called cobalamine. The naturally occuring form in the human body is the dibencozide while the most common supplemented forms being the cyanocobalamine and methylcobalamine.
Differences between cyanocobalamine and methylcobalamine:
1. Cyanocobalamine has the presence cyanide ligand on the cobalamine and it is very stable and has a longer shelf live.Methylcobalamine, on the other hand, is an active cobalamine and has methyl ligand present in it.
2. Cyanocobalamine is converted into methylcobalamine in the body. The glutathione present in the human body removes the cyanide ligand and replaces it with methyl group. Cyanocobalamine is not recommended for persons who smoke as cyano group fails to detach in persons who intake tobacco. And hence the intake of cyanocobalamine can be fatal for smokers. It is also not recommended for those having liver failure since the glutathioneis formed in liver and hence if there is no glutathione the cyanide ligand cannot be detached and can pose threat to the body.4. At 1mcg dose cyanocobalamine is absorbed at 49.2% while methylcobalamine at 44.4%5. At 5 mcg dose cyanocobalamine is absorbed at 20.4% while methylcobalamine at 18.8%6. At 25 mcg cyanocobalamine is absorbed at 5.6% and methylcobalamine at 6.1% This indicates that cyanocobalamine is absorbed in the body better than methylcobalamine.The difference in the absorption can be attributed to the mass and the molecular structure of cyanocobalamine.Cyanocobalamine is cheaper than methylcobalamine and it has prolonged shelf life compared to other cobalamine forms. It appears as crystals synthesis and is red in color. Although the food rich in vitamin B-12 is enough for the body to meet the daily requirements, deficiency of this vitamin leads to disturbance in the sleep pattern, feeling of tingling in the body parts, numbness, etc
How calcium can Help Prevent Bone Loss
November 08, 2013 09:59 AM
What is bone loss?
Intake a lot of calcium too, as there are two sources of calcium in your body: via your diet and from your bones. It is the latter that is dangerous. Your body will absorb calcium from the bones if there isn't enough in the body. This calcium is really difficult to replace.Intake a diet with magnesium too. It helps in absorption of calcium. If there is excess calcium in the body, one could suffer from arthritis as it will collect in the soft tissues.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Quercetin?
April 18, 2013 07:37 AM
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in grains, leafy greens, vegetables and fruits, and has proven beneficial in the recent years. Plants often generate this flavonol to preserve vitamins and guard themselves against cell injury, bacteria and parasites. Onions, red wine, tea and apple skins are particularly rich in quercetin, which can render several health benefits. Most of these benefits can be attributed to the antioxidant properties of quercetin.
Here are the health benefits of quercetin.
Heart Disease: The antioxidant properties of quercetin can reduce the risks of plaque development in the arteries, which is also referred to as atherosclerosis. Moreover, its anti-inflammatory properties can also prevent damage associated with LDL cholesterol; one of the major causes of heart disease. Since this antioxidant is naturally found in fruits and vegetables, regular intake of quercetin will help in enhancing heart strength. Hypertension or blood pressure can also be controlled with adequate consumption of quercetin.
Protection against Allergies: The anti-inflammatory properties of quercetin have proven quite effective against many allergic reactions like allergic cough, hay fever, hives and asthma among others. It achieves this by inhibiting the production of histamine and other related inflammatory mediators. Therefore, it can reduce the risks of getting infected with various allergic conditions and help in speeding up recovery from these allergies.
Possible Cancer Protection: Just like most antioxidants, quercetin has cancer inhibiting properties. The antioxidant properties of quercetin shield the cells against free radicals by reducing their growth and neutralizing their negative effects in the body. Some in-vitro studies have proven that it can control cancer cells development and may reduce the chances of contracting prostate, colon, ovarian and breast cancer. It can also help people suffering from chronic interstitial and prostatitis cystitis because it acts as an effective mast cell inhibitor.
Cataracts: Quercetin can block the type of sugar which triggers the development of cataracts on your eye. smokers or those who expose their eyes to excessive UV rays without wearing protective glasses may consider quercetin intake to reduce the risks of cataract formation. Improve Arthritis: Just like most anti-inflammatory drugs, quercetin can help people suffering from arthritis. It is believed that quercetin can reduce the pain and swelling that affects joints due to arthritis. According to some studies, change of diet from the normal western diet to a diet that focuses on vegetables and fruits with high quercetin can alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.
Athletic Ability: Some studies show that consumption of quercetin twice every day enhances oxygen capacity and endurance in active women and men. The athletic ability improvement is attributed to the positive effect of quercetin on the cell energy processors, mitochondria. This effect coupled with the antioxidant properties of quercetin can boost the immune system and might lead to general health improvement.
Other Heath Benefits: Some studies show that quercetin acts as a neutrotoxin hence can help in getting rid of neurological diseases. Since quercetin can help in free radicals control, it can also offer skin care benefits. It can also boost your immune system.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Vitamin B-12?
November 06, 2012 04:46 PM
This water-soluble vitamin has a lot of use for the heath of the body. First of all, it helps in the maintenance of healthy nerves and blood cells.
Some people require Vitamin B-12 supplements more than others do. Some of these include pregnant women, smokers, drinkers, elderly, and even those who have strict vegetarian diet and tendencies.
In other cases, our own bodies hinder the absorption of the vitamin. The most common reasons for this include when you have celiac disease, anemia, bacteria growth, crohn's disease, etc. Those that find themselves in this situation need not fret for there is way to handle the Vitamin B-12 deficiency.
B-12 vitamin deficiency
These include weight loss, memory reduction, fatigue, weakness, appetite loss, asthma, eyesight issues, sore mouth, etc. This lack of adequate Vitamin B-12 in your body is of course not a very common occurrence. Why? Well your liver acts as a store of the vitamin for your body. Health benefits of vitamin B 12:
Assists in the conversion of carbohydrates to glucose needed for energy
Aids in regeneration of nervous system
Has effects on the reduction of stress, fatigue, depression and even brain shrinkage
Used in maintaining healthy skin/hair and nails.
Protection against cancer cells (breast, colon, prostate, lung) The best foods for you to get the Vitamin B-12 from are in variety of fish, milk, cheese, liver. These foods should be incorporated into your diet to keep your vitamin levels up.
May 08, 2009 10:00 AM
L-Cysteine is what is known as a non-essential amino acid, meaning that it can be biosynthesized by the body and hence not an essential part of your diet. Due to its possessing a thiol side chain, it is termed a hydrophilic amino acid with an affinity for aqueous systems. Because of this it is relatively highly reactive, and is therefore an important component of a large number of enzymes and proteins.
Although, after all, it is not an essential amino acid, deficiencies can occur in the young and in the old, and also in those suffering certain metabolic diseases. Dietary sources include high-protein foods such as chicken, turkey, pork, dairy products and vegetables such as cereals, broccoli, garlic and onions.
The biochemistry of this amino acid begins with another amino acid known as serine, and also methionine. The latter is fist converted to homocysteine, which is then combined with serine to form cystathionine. This is then converted into cysteine and alpha- ketobutyrate. The thiol group is highly reactive and gives cysteine its biological properties.
L-Cysteine possesses strong antioxidant properties due to the thiol group which easily undergoes redox reactions. However, it is for its detoxification effect on the body that the amino acid is mainly taken as a supplement. It is, therefore, these properties that we shall discuss first.
Cysteine can reduce the toxic effects of alcohol, such as a hangover or the more serious liver damage. The by-product of alcohol metabolism that does most damage and is responsible for the majority of the negative after-effects of excessive alcohol consumption is acetaldehyde. L-Cysteine converts acetaldehyde into the more acceptable acetic acid, and so prevents the aldehyde from having too much of a negative effect on your health and well-being. However, the results obtained from such studies have been from animals only, and the therapeutic effects of cysteine have not yet been tested on humans.
What has been tested and is known is that L-cysteine is effective in the detoxification of heavy metals in the body. A common source of heavy metal toxicity is mercury from amalgam fillings in the teeth. Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared in 1989 that dental amalgams are a hazardous substance under the Superfund law, many people still have them in their mouths.
The thiol group and L-cysteine has a high affinity for mercury and other heavy metals, as previously stated, and a supplement can be used to remove from the body any mercury leached from mercury-based tooth fillings. It can also be used to bind to copper, lead and cadmium. Lead and cadmium are particularly toxic to the human body, and even though lead is no longer used in plumbing or paints, and cadmium in toys or paints, there are still many sources of these two heavy metals available that can lead to human toxification.
An L-cysteine supplement can be used to remove these heavy metals from the body. Any proteins containing cysteine will tightly bind heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, molybdenum, cobalt and mercury, and allow them to be excreted by the body in the usual fashion. This direct involvement in heavy metal detoxification is a very useful property of this amino acid.
Another detoxification application of L-cysteine is in direct involvement in protecting cellular glutathione levels, and also the prevention of the death of liver cells by acetaminophen poisoning. The latter is of particular interest to many people since acetaminophen is better known as paracetamol, and since this is a freely available over-the-counter drug, overdoses are not unknown. The result of an overdose is the necrosis of liver cells, with eventual liver failure and death.
The treatment of choice is N-acetylcysteine. If used within 10 hours of the overdose it is extremely effective, and even from 16 to 24 hours it is better than other controls. It is believed that the acetylcysteine liberates cysteine which, when available to the liver, enables the biosynthesis of glutathione. Glutathione can then maintain the production of the fifth metabolite required for the specific detoxification of the paracetamol/acetaminophen.
L-Cysteine is also an essential component in the biosynthesis of coenzyme A, an enzyme essential for the production of energy from fats and carbohydrates. It is also a very important component of hair, from which it is commercially produced. Without an adequate intake of L-cysteine the growth of healthy hair would not be possible.
There are several supplemental uses of L-cysteine including the treatment of bronchial conditions for which the amino acid can help to liquefy and clear mucus from the airways and lungs. It is also used to protect against side effects of chemotherapy treatment of cancers and for medical treatments for excessive exposure to radiation.
However, there are certain situations in which L-cysteine should be avoided when at all possible. Diabetics should not use it, and neither should those suffering from cystinuria, whereby large quantities of amino acids, including cystine, are excreted in their urine. L-cystine, incidentally, is formed by oxidation of L-cysteine.
Paradoxically the amino acid is one of the several hundred additives made to tobacco by the cigarette companies. Although, as with the majority of tobacco additives, its purpose is unknown there are two possible reasons for its inclusion. L-Cysteine is a known expectorant, so it could be added to promote the expectoration of mucus in the lungs which is promoted by smoking, and it also increases the production off the antioxidant glutathione that is depleted in smokers.
There are several other non-medical uses for the amino acid, but it is for is its detoxification properties that it is most used as a supplement. However, because it is largely derived from human hair or duck feathers, it may not be classed as kosher or halal in spite of many claims made to that effect, though the more expensive source of microbial fermentation from corn sugar can be.
The substance is recognized as safe by the FDA, and must be labeled as L-cysteine when it is present in a preparation intended for its therapeutic effects. Keep in mind however, that it should be avoided by diabetics.
Glaucoma (loose your eye sight)
February 16, 2009 01:18 PM
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that affect the optic nerve and can lead to irreversible vision loss. It is usually associated with elevated fluid pressure within the eye. All forms of glaucoma can cause damage to the optic nerve and lead to vision loss, even blindness, if left untreated. About 2.2 million Americans have been diagnosed with glaucoma and as many as 2 million more could have it and not yet know. It is one of the lading causes of blindness and is expected to become more prevalent in years to come due to the growing population of older adults.
Those people who are at greatest risk for developing glaucoma are people over the age of sixty, people of African ancestry, and people with diabetes, high blood pressure, severe myopia, or a family history of glaucoma. smokers also have an elevated risk, as do those who have sustained eye injuries or who have used steroids for an extended period of time.
About 3 percent of Americans are believed to have open-angle glaucoma, which is the most common form of this disease. Because this disorder causes no symptoms until it is quite advanced, only about half of those who have it are actually aware of it. In open-angle glaucoma, there is no physical blockage and the structure of the eye appear to be normal. However, the drainage of fluid is inadequate to keep the intraocular pressure at a normal level.
The most pronounced symptoms of open-angle glaucoma are the gradual loss or darkening of peripheral vision and a marked decrease in night vision or the ability of the eye to adjust to darkness. Other possible symptoms include chronic low-grade headaches, the need for frequent changes in eyeglass prescription, and/or seeing halos around electric lights.
A far less common, yet more serious, form of glaucoma is closed-angle glaucoma. Closed-angle glaucoma is much more dangerous than open-angle forms because it almost never manifests any symptoms until very late in the condition. By that time, vision may be irreversibly damaged.
Glaucoma probably has many causes, with many scientists believing it may be closely linked to stress and nutritional problems or disorders like diabetes and high blood pressure. Some think that excessive amounts of glutamic acid, which is a nonessential amino acid, may be involved. Glaucoma has also been linked to deficiency in nitric oxide, which is a molecule that is critical for healthy blood vessels. Problems with collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body, have been linked to glaucoma as well. Collagen increases the strength and elasticity of tissues in the body, especially those of the eye. Collagen and tissue abnormalities at the back of the eye contribute to the clogging of the tissues through which the intraocular fluid normally drains. This results in elevated inner eye pressure, leading to glaucoma and related vision loss.
The following nutrients are considered to be very important when dealing with and preventing glaucoma: choline, essential fatty acids, glutathione, rutin, vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, vitamin E, alpha-lipoic acid, magnesium, a multivitamin and mineral complex, and zinc. Additionally, the following herbs are helpful: bilberry, chickweed, eyebright, coleus forskohli, fennel tea, chamomile, ginkgo biloba, zinc sulfate, jaborandi, and rose hips.
To resolve issues with the eyes, one must change their diet, exercise, and take supplements and herbs like what are listed above. Medical doctors are at a loss as to how glaucoma happens but they can help stop the progression of this disease if detected early on. Always consult your doctor before adding vitamins and herbs to your diet, vitamins and herbs are available at your local or internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
October 30, 2008 01:39 PM
National press has recently taken an interest in the benefits of folic acid, with coverage increasing throughout the media. Folic acid, a B vitamin and other folates helps the body to form red blood cells and aids in the formation of genetic material within every body cell. Folic acid also helps to prevent birth defects. Proponents of dietary supplements have encouraged the use of folic acid by women who are of the child-bearing age for a long time.
The public is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of this nutrient to prenatal development. In a survey done by U.S. Health and Human Services in 2007, about 40% of all women surveyed reported the daily consumption of a supplement that contained folic acid, while about 42% of women surveyed reported that folic acid is the most important vitamin for women of child-bearing age. This study also found that awareness of the benefits differed by age group. Younger women were the least likely to know about the benefits of folic acid, and therefore, were the least likely to consume folic acid. These younger women were also more likely to hear about folic acid from a magazine or newspaper or school or college, rather than their health-care provider.
On the contrary, the women who aged 25-34 and 35-47 were much more likely to hear about folic acid and its benefits from their health-care provider. Because of these results, the U.S. Health and Human Services considers it vital to increase young person education and awareness. Folic acid has long been known to help prevent birth defects. Recent research on folic acid shows that it may also help in preventing premature births, boost baby weights, prevent preeclampsia, reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and even cut male smokers’ stroke risk.
Folate is determined from the term “foliage,” and is a member of the B vitamin family where it can be primarily found in dark leafy green vegetables, legumes, citrus fruits, beets, meat, and wheat germ. Folic acid does not occur in nature and cannot be found in unfortified foods. It is not an active form of the B-vitamin. However, it is the most common form of folate used is supplements and in fortified food products due to the fact that it is highly bioavailable and chemically stable. It is also readily reduced to tetrahydrofolate, which is the active coenzyme form of folate. One study, comparing folic acid from orange juice and folic acid from a supplement showed that the supplement had a better absorption rate than the fortified orange juice.
Although folic acid is not generally associated with side effects, there have been some clinical reports that high level of folic acid can mask a deficiency of vitamin B-12. However, a deficiency of B-12 is very uncommon and it has been determined that only amounts about 3000 – 4000 micrograms per day of folic acid for extended periods of time may have this masking effect, which can in turn be eliminated by supplementing with a few micrograms of B-12. For more information about folic acid and its benefits to your body, contact your local health food retailer.
October 15, 2008 09:46 AM
To fight off aging you have to understand what causes it, and the take steps to avoid these causes. It is fairly obvious that all causes of aging cannot be circumvented, but there are things that can be done to keep some of them at bay. Here, we are specifically concerned with the aging of your skin, which is the most visible form of aging. The first aspect of aging to understand is that there are two types: intrinsic and extrinsic.
Intrinsic aging is natural aging, and is largely genetic. Starting when you are fairly young, normally in the early to mid 20s, intrinsic aging is typified by wrinkling, hair loss or graying of the hair, hollowing of cheeks and other areas where the fat underneath the skin that normally contributes to your physical appearance is lost, and also bone loss that causes your skin to sag due a gradual loss of the structure that sculpts your physical appearance.
The age at which this occurs, and its speed is determined by your genes; although the process generally begins around the mid 20s, the speed with which it progresses is genetically controlled.
This is where grape seed extract can help. Extrinsic aging is not genetic, but environmental. Ten majority of this type of aging is due to exposure to the damaging UV light of the sun, which cause the typical 'leathery' look of the skin of people raised in areas such locations as the hotter parts of Australia and the USA, without the benefit of the native skin pigmentation that filters out these harmful ultra-violet rays.
Other factors that can cause the same degradation of your skin cells are smoking, the way you sleep and gravity. The sun generates free radicals (more on these later) that can destroy skin cells, cause freckles, leathery skin and a blotched complexion and also skin cancer. smokers are more likely to develop leathery and wrinkled skin than non-smokers, and as the elasticity of your skin reduces, gravity cause jowls to develop and also a more pronounced lower lip.
Even your sleeping position can make you appear to age quicker, particularly using the same sleeping position on your pillow each night that cause what are known as sleep lines, that are really wrinkles that are difficult, if not impossible to remove. However, one of the most relevant factors is pollution, and the effects of car emissions, pesticides and other agricultural chemicals, paint fumes and 1001 other forms of chemical pollution that produce free radicals.
Where grape seed extract is involved in fighting off aging is in extrinsic aging is by destroying the free radicals. All substances, from the air to the oceans, are formed of atoms that contain electrons. Stable molecules contain an even number of electrons, or what are known as 'electron pairs'. When a molecule loses one electron it is known as a free radical, whose prime purpose in its very short life is to steal an electron from the nearest molecule. This 'short' lifetime can as long as a day or as short as thousandth of a second: it depends on is size and the degree of steric hindrance to the reaction with the spare electron.
Now that the reasons for aging and the nature of free radicals are better understood it is easier for you understand why grape seed extract can help to fight aging caused by the effects of free radicals on your skin.
Grape seed is a waste product of the wine industry. You cannot make wine from grape seeds, so they are removed from the final product by filtration or sedimentation. It contains a large number of phytonutrients, the most important being polyphenols in the form of flavanoids, lipids and carbohydrates. It also contains proteins that don't have much of an effect on aging. Flavonoids (also spelled flavanoids) are powerful antioxidants that destroy free radicals; they are twenty times as powerful as Vitamin E and over fifty times more powerful an antioxidant than Vitamin C.
Both of these vitamins are regarded as strong antioxidants in their own right, which is an indication of how good grape seed extract is at killing free radicals. It's like a combination of Harry Callahan, Paul Kersey, John McClane and the whole of the Magnificent Seven after the scavengers in your body cells. They succeed, and do it in spades!
Not only do the ingredients of grape seed extract kill off free radicals with the efficiency of a Delta Task Force, but are also anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti just about anything else you can think of. However, let's have an even closer look and find out exactly what polyphenols are present in this so-called wonder juice.
Procyanadin was originally named Vitamin P in 1936 by its discoverer, Prof. Jacques Masquelier, and is believed to bond with collagen to protect you from premature aging by retaining and even improving the elasticity of your skin. An added benefit is that it also improves the elasticity of your blood vessels, and so helps to fight off the effects of high blood pressure and places less strain on your heart. The overall effect on your face is to practically give you a chemical face lift and also provide protection from the damaging effect of the UV component of sunlight through its lethal attitude towards the free radicals that UV radiation generates.
Another component of grape seed extract particularly that of muscadine grapes is resveratrol; a phytoalexin that has strong anti-inflammatory properties and can also fight off the effects of aging. Phytoalexins are antibiotics produced by plants that are under attack, and, in addition to helping you age slower, confers other benefits to your body including helping your brain to carry out its work more efficiently.
All in all, grape seed extract confers many benefits to your health and is also believed to possess powerful anti-cancer properties. However, it is for its ability to fight off aging that most people use it as a supplement, and in this respect it has been found to be extremely effective. Any antioxidant is of benefit to your body, but grape seed extract is of particular benefit due its high antioxidant potency.
August 12, 2008 01:37 PM
Vitamin C is the most widely taken nutritional supplement on the market and is available in a variety of forms, including tablets, drink mixes, crystals in capsules or bulk powdered crystals. Vitamin C is present in mother's milk and, in lower amounts, in raw cow's milk, with pasteurized milk containing only trace amounts. This vitamin is most present in the liver and least present in the muscle but needed through out the body.
Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of collagen, an important structural component of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, skin, and bone. Vitamin C can regenerate other antioxidants such as vitamin E; in the body vitamin E can regenerate C as well. This vitamin is required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. Relatively large doses of vitamin C may cause indigestion, particularly when taken on an empty stomach.
It has been shown that smokers who have diets poor in vitamin C are at a higher risk of lung-borne diseases than those smokers who have higher concentrations of Vitamin C in the blood. Biological tissues that accumulate over 100 times the level in blood plasma of vitamin C are the adrenal glands, pituitary, thymus, corpus luteum, and retina.
Studies suggest the presence of large quantities of sugar either in the intestines or in the blood can slow absorption of this vitamin. Several studies have demonstrated a blood pressure lowering effect of vitamin C supplementation. Also, when consumed in high doses it appears to interfere with the blood thinning effects of warfarin by lowering prothrombin time, as noted in case reports in the 1970s so consult your doctor if on medications..
In one Study, researchers instructed patients with documented coronary artery disease to take a single oral dose of either 2 g vitamin C or a placebo. Results, the researchers discovered that high doses of vitamin C can help prevent blood platelet sticking and fight cholesterol oxidation. Also, researchers discovered this vitamin can reduce the formation of potentially carcinogenic nitrogen-containing compounds in the stomach, offering protection from stomach cancer, researchers have reported.
French and German researchers found that vitamin C appeared to keep cells in the blood vessel wall from dying. The researchers, who studied immune indicators, such as serum immunoglobulin and neutrophil phagocytosis (how well your white blood cells can engulf and digest foreign bodies), concluded that vitamin C exerts a remarkable immuno-modulating action, in other words, improved immune function in all those who consumed vitamin C on a regular basis.
What are deficiency symptoms for vitamin C?
Scurvy is a disease resulting from lack of vitamin C, since without this vitamin, the synthesized collagen is too unstable to perform its function. Scurvy was common among those with poor access to fresh fruit and vegetables, such as remote, isolated sailors and soldiers. The amount of vitamin C required to prevent “chronic disease” appears to be more than that required for prevention of scurvy which is 30 – 60 milligrams per day. Based on scientific research, vitamin C also appears to improve oral absorption of iron, which is good news for those that are anemic.
Half of us in the United States will die from heart disease. The foundation of heart disease is atherosclerosis, the narrowing of our arteries with plaque. Treatment with vitamin C has consistently resulted in improved dilation of blood vessels in individuals with atherosclerosis as well as those with angina pectoris, congestive heart failure, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Researchers believe this protection from cell death could explain previous study findings which suggest that vitamin C benefits blood vessel function in people with congestive heart failure.
Vitamin C supplements are also generally regarded as safe in most individuals in recommended amounts, although there are rarely reported side effects including nausea, vomiting, heartburn, abdominal cramps, and headache. In addition, this vitamin is required for the synthesis of l-Carnitine, a small amino acid that is essential for the transport of fat to cellular organelles called mitochondria, for conversion to energy. If you have chronic fatigue syndrome, vitamin C may help by boosting energy production through the mitochondria.
Therefore, as in many studies of vitamin C intake and cardiovascular disease risk, it is difficult to separate the effects of vitamin C on stroke risk from the effects of other components such as diet and the consumption of fruits and vegetables. As with all dietitians an emphasis on the benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is important to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. If one can not consume fruits and vegetables on a daily basis then supplementation of vitamin C is need in either capsule of tablet to fight the risk of disease.
Turmeric and Alzheimer’s Disease
May 10, 2007 12:38 PM
Turmeric and Alzheimer’s Disease
Compare these findings to people over the age of 65 living in the
So what are people who are living in
Q. How can curry prevent these changes in the brain? Isn’t that a lot to expect from a spice?
A. Evidently, it’s not too much to expect from this spice. Curry comes from the turmeric plant – Curcuma longa is the plant’s official name. Curcumin, a plant compound in turmeric, is the source of curry’s instantly recognizable bright yellow pigment. When it comes to the scientific research of Curcuma longa, the terms curcumin and turmeric are both used. Both refer to the same thing- tumeric extract.
There have been more than 1300 studies on tumeric and its health benefits for humans. Research has shown tumeric is able to help the body get rid of cancer-causing toxins. Turmeric also blocks estrogen receptors and enzymes that promote cancer. And it’s been found to stop the growth of new blood vessels in cancerous tumors – an important factor in keeping cancer from getting larger and spreading throughout the body.
But one of turmeric’s most exciting health benefits is its ability to reduce, prevent, and stop inflammation. While inflammation is a normal and needed response to injury or disease, chronic inflammation can cause damage to tissues. And researchers are now finding inflammation plays a huge role in Alzheimer’s disease.
Q. I’ve always heard that Alzheimer’s disease was caused by complex growths in the brain called plaques and tangles. How can simple inflammation cause such a devastating disease?
A. You are right. Plaques and tangles are indeed the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. But researchers looking at the brain damage caused by Alzheimer’s have always noted the presence of inflammation wherever plaques and tangles form. In the past, this inflammation was thought to be simply a consequence of Alzheimer’s disease. Now scientists believe the inflammation itself starts a chain reaction ultimately contributing to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
` When cells in the brain are disrupted by inflammation, amyloid, and a protein normally found in the brain, beings to act chaotically. This chaos results in the creation of beta-amyloid, protein that is toxic to cells in the brain. Sticky deposits of beta0amyloid build up and collect around the cells, making dense clumps or plaques. Because the brain can’t break the plaques down and get rid of them, they stay right where they are and slowly accumulate.
Tangles result when long protein fibers that act like scaffolding for brain cells begin to twist and tangle. The cell is damaged and eventually dies. But the tangled proteins remain in the brain even after the dead neuron has been cleared away. And inflammation might be the culprit causing the long protein fibers to start tangling.
The consequence of these abnormalities of protein in the brain is more than the cell death they cause. They also act as roadblocks interfering with electrochemical messengers being shot from cell to cell. Therefore, the remaining healthy cells’ activity is diminished as well.
Research of identical twins has repeatedly shown that if one twin has Alzheimer’s disease, the other has a 60% chance of developing the disease, too. Scientists from the Karolinska Institute in
In fact, the inflammatory process might occur years before the onset of Alzheimer’s, and be the result of any number of infections people can contract. That’s why current research is searching for ways to protect brain cells from inflammation. And why some countries have low rates of Alzheimer’s disease, like
Q. Why curry? Couldn’t other lifestyle difference account for the low rates of Alzheimer’s disease in
A. That’s a good question. When researchers begin studying a disease, like Alzheimer’s, they look for trends to help them determine how and why the disease occurs. For example, we all now know the connection between cigarettes smoking and long cancer. But, it wasn’t until the 1930’s that doctors noticed the trend fro cigarette smokers to have more lung cancer than people who didn’t smoke.
So it has been with researchers studying Alzheimer’s disease. They know Alzheimer’s disease has an important connection to inflammation. They also know turmeric reduces inflammation. And when researchers noticed these trends – that people in India eat high amounts of curry from turmeric and have very little Alzheimer’s disease – they began to theorize that turmeric might be able to prevent or even treat the illness. And the research they designed around these trends has unequivocally found turmeric to be on common denominator.
Q. What have the turmeric studies shown so far?
A. Simply amazing findings are coming from curry research. Not only does turmeric slow down cancer growth, it’s also been found to correct the cystic fibrosis defect in mice, help prevent the onset of alcoholic liver disease, and may slow down other serious brain diseases like multiple sclerosis.
Researchers from the
And now the UCLA Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) is using turmeric in clinical trials and studying the effect of this powerful spice in patients diagnosed with this devastating disease. Clinical trials are the gold standard of medical research. But it’s rare in Alzheimer’s disease. And it’s even more rare when all-natural herbs and spices like turmeric are used in hopes the positive benefits will be discovered. The head of the UCLA’s research team was recently interviewed and stated that setting out to hopefully prove turmeric’s ability to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease was “tremendously exciting.”
Q. I recently read that one of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) was found to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Is this true?
A. Scientists recently studied ibuprofen, one of the NSAIDs investigated for Alzheimer’s disease Prevention. Ibuprofen belongs to a family of drugs that includes naproxen, indomethacin, nabumetone, and several others. These drugs are used most often to get rid of headaches, mild arthritis, and other kinds of pain and inflammation.
In the studies, the average dose of ibuprofen was 800mg a day. Patients took the product for two years. While the results suggested that ibuprofen might reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, ibuprofen’s side effects are too harmful to be a valid lifelong prevent aid treatment. Ibuprofen, like other NSAIDs, can cause gastrointestinal bleeding when used at high dosages over a long period of time. Long term use of ibuprofen can also lead to analgesic nephropathy, a kind of kidney damage caused by NSAIDs.
As we discussed earlier, turmeric appears to block and break up brain plaques that cause the disease and helps reverse some of the damage already present. Ibuprofen does not provide any protection against free radical damage. No anti-inflammatory medicine can do this.
Q. If I eat curry will I be protected against Alzheimer’s disease? There aren’t many foods or recipes I make that require curry, do I need to eat it every day? And how much do I need?
A. If you enjoy Indian cuisine, by all means, enjoy these delicious foods. You’ll benefit your brain and your appetite. But you make a good point, American meals rarely contain curry. That’s why supplements that contain extracts are suddenly quite popular. In fact, there are numerous turmeric/curcumin supplements on the market today.
But like all nutritional supplements, some turmeric supplements are superior to others. You need to read their labels to make sure the turmeric extract you are buying will provide the protection you need. Look for high-potency turmeric extract from turmeric (Curcuma longa) rhizome. And make sure the extract is standardized to contain 90% curcuminoids, the active ingredient in turmeric responsible for the positive research findings.
Researchers once thought that preventing for Alzheimer’s disease would elude them for decades. In fact, several scientists privately speculated the disease might never be ameliorated. They thought the origin of the disease was too complex and the symptoms of the disease were too profound.
That’s why ongoing research on turmeric is so exciting. A safe, natural, and effective way to protect against Alzheimer’s disease almost seems too good to be true. But, the nation of
For Better Heart Health ...
February 06, 2007 12:57 PM
Nutrients Every Heart Needs
High blood pressure. High cholesterol levels. Ever increasing stress. All are factors related to the development of heart disease – the leading cause of death for both men and women. In fact, 1 in 2 women in the
Fortunately, heart disease is a problem you can do something about. Proven ways to prevent or mitigate the effects of heart disease include taking targeted nutritional supplements, making changes in the foods we eat, exercising most days of the week, drinking in moderation, eliminating tobacco use and adapting a positive attitude. Research shows that those of us who are often angry and depressed have more heart disease than people that live their lives with a more positive outlook.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’ll talk about specific nutritional supplements that are heart healthy, whether your goal is to prevent heart disease or reduce the effects of heart disease if you currently have it.
Q. I am trying hard to live a healthier life. But it all seems so overwhelming. How do I start?
A. It may help to know that you’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed. Lots of people feel this way. This is why the Centers for Disease Control and the American Heart Association are both urging people to prevent heart disease by identifying their individual health risk factors.
A risk factor is an indicator of whether or not you may develop a certain health condition. In heart disease prevention, there are two kinds of risk factors. There are risk factor you can control – such as diet, exercise, and the supplements you take. There are also risk factors you can’t change or control –your age, race, and gender, as well as your family’s history of heart disease.
Examples can be really helpful. Let’s follow three adults – Fred, Jane, and Earl – and determine their risk factors.
Fred is 32, single, has a job he loves, has an optimistic attitude about his life, and works out 5 days a week. Most days Fred’s diet is fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat. Occasionally Fred will eat a cheeseburger and fries when he watches the game with his buddies. Fred’s risk factors are his male gender and the occasional high fat content in his diet.
Jane is 55, a lawyer, married, and has a very stressful job. Jane eats lots of salads, fruits, and whole grains. However, her job requires her to work long hours which leaves little time to exercise. Jane is for the most part happy with her life, but her work stress had led to times of negativity. Her father had a heart attack when he was 56. Jane’s risk factors include her age (greater than 50), negativity from job stress, lack of regular exercise, and a family history of heart disease.
Earl is 65, married, and has just retired from a job he hated. He spends most of his day watching TV and eating potato chips and other high fat, salty snacks. Earl has told his friends and family since he worked so hard for so long, he is sure to drop dead soon after retiring. He has high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Earl’s father had a heart attack and died when he was 73. Earl’s risk is his male gender, age (greater than 50), sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, negative outlook on life, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and a family history of heart disease.
Q. OK, it’s pretty easy to see that Fred needs to watch his diet, Jane needs to exercise more, and Earl needs lots of help. But, which supplements should they take?
A. The Whole Heart Nutrition chart is an easy way to determine the supplements each risk level needs. As you can see, everyone wanting to prevent heart disease – Fred, Jane, Earl, you, and I – need to take quality heart formula multivitamin, garlic, and a fish oil supplement providing Omega-3 fatty acids. CoQ10 is also a smart choice for complete heart heath support.
Q. Why do we all need to take a “heart multivitamin”? Why can’t we take a regular multivitamin to prevent heart disease?
A. Since the human heart simply cannot function without adequate amounts of certain vitamins and minerals, it seems logical that a multivitamin would be the foundation of good nutrition for your heart. Heart-health formulated multivitamins provide the exact nutrients needed to prevent heart disease.
That’s why we need to take a specially formulated heart-focused multi-vitamin. The cells and the tissues that make up the heart must have vitamins C, A, and E, as well as B1, B6, and B12 to function. Folic acid, the little B vitamin that is so crucial in preventing spina bifida (a birth defect), breast cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease is also needed to keep heart muscles strong. The B vitamins and folic acid are very important to heart health because they help lower homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a potential and emerging cardiac risk factor,
Magnesium is a mighty mineral and healthy hearts need it every day. Aloha lipoic acid, a fatty acid, provides protection against heart cholesterol and high blood pressure. Lutein and lycopene are all-natural nutrients and keep our arteries free from the buildup of plaque, a condition linked to heart attacks and strokes.
Multivitamins formulated with these exact vitamins, minerals, and nutrients will work with medications often prescribed to treat heart disease and provide the nutrition our hearts need.
Q. Don’t all multivitamins work with medications prescribed to treat heart disease?
A. Many multivitamin formulas contain herbs and other nutrients that can interfere with prescription medications, especially mediations prescribed to treat heart disease. One multivitamin does not fit all.
The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing heart disease.
Q. What can garlic supplements do for Fred, Jane and Earl or other people with low to high risk factors?
A. Garlic supplements have a very long and very successful history of preventing premature death from heart attacks. Lately, however, there have been some conflicting news stories about supplemental garlic’s ability to lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure – the causes of heart disease and death. That’s because many different garlic supplements have been used in these studies – garlic oil, garlic powder, aged garlic extract, and supplements made from fresh garlic. They have all been studied clinically for their effects in heart disease.
The best garlic supplements (and the ones that showed the best effects in garlic studies) contain alliin, which is then converted to allicin. Allicin is the compound that lowers harmfully high cholesterol levels and dangerous blood pressure readings. Allicin is also responsible for garlic’s characteristic odor. Because alliin is very stable when dry, properly prepared and enteric coated fresh garlic preparations preserve the allicin-producing action until the garlic mixes with the fluids of the intestinal tract. Fresh garlic extract’s enteric coating also prevents garlic breath. In contrast, aged garlic contains absolutely no allicin or allicin potential. This fact is probably responsible for the poor results noted in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure from aged garlic preparations.
The most effective garlic supplements are made from fresh garlic, enteric coated, and provide a daily dose of at least 10 milligrams (mg) alliin or a total allicin potential of 4,000 micrograms (mcg). Taking a once-daily garlic supplement that delivers 4,000 mcg of allicin will lower Jane’s and Earl’s high blood pressure and Earl’s high cholesterol, naturally and effectively.
Whole Heart Nutrition
Each additional risk factor requires additional supplements or increased doses for protection from heart disease.
Q. What about fish oil supplements? I know they can prevent heart disease but I’ve also heard they contain harmful substances, too.
A. You’re right on both counts. But, there are excellent fish oil supplements naturally loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, powerful nutrients that prevent heart disease, that are also certified free of harmful contaminants.
In the 1980s, researchers first began noticing the native Inuit (Eskimo) populations of Greenland and
Research has shown that the Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements can:
-Reduce the risk of arrhythmias, lethal heartbeat rhythms that cause sudden death.
-Lower the levels of triglycerides, fats in the blood that can increase a person’s
risk of dying from a heart attack, even if a person’s cholesterol levels are normal.
-Slow atherosclerosis – the growth of harmful plaque on artery walls.
Atherosclerosis develops over many years. If the plaque growth is slow and
stable, chances are low that a heart attack will result. However, rapidly growing
or unstable plaques can rupture. The body responds with inflammation, which
causes blood clots to form. These blood clots block the artery and cause a heart
-Keep blood pressure levels low. Many people have high blood pressure for years
without knowing it. That’s because it has no symptoms. Uncontrolled high
blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney failure.
While 25% of Americans have high blood pressure, nearly one-third of these
people don’t know they have it. This is why high blood pressure is often called
the “silent killer.”
You can get all of this heart disease preventive protection from just 600-1800 mg of fish oil. It’s pretty simple to see why Fred, Jane, Earl, and you and I need to take fish oil supplements every day.
However, it is absolutely critical that the fish oil supplement you take is free of contaminants and guaranteed fresh! Make sure that the manufacturer of the fish oil supplement you buy is able to provide documentation of purity in their product. Supplements should contain no detectable dioxin (a widely used toxic preservative), DDT (a toxic insecticide), PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) or heavy metals such as mercury and lead.
Before you buy any fish oil supplement, ask the clerk if you can open the bottle or jar and smell the contents. A fishy smelling fish oil supplementation means it is rancid. Rancid fish oil is not going to help your heart at all and may actually hurt it.
Q. That leaves CoQ10. Why is it important for Jane and Earl?
A. CoQ10, also known as ubiquinone, is the premier heart supplement! CoQ10 is part of our energy producing system. It works directly in the mitochondria of each cell. Mitochondria are highly specialized structures within each cell and are often referred to as powerhouses. These tiny energy producers generate 95% of the energy the body requires. The number of mitochondria in a cell depends on its function and energy needs. The heart has very important functions and requires a vast amount of energy. Thus, the heart has a lot of mitochondria or little powerhouses.
CoQ10 is incredibly crucial to the health of our hearts. Especially to hearts that are pumping blood with too much cholesterol. But, in a dangerous paradox, CoQ10 levels can become dangerously depleted when physicians treat high cholesterol in their patients with certain medications. The so-called “statin” drugs (Mevacor/lovastatin and Crestor/rosubastatin are two examples) are powerful and medications prescribed to lower harmful cholesterol levels. However, one very harmful side effect they share is that they deprive cells of CoQ10. While some physicians are aware of this serious side effect and tell their patients to take at least 400 mg of CoQ10 each day, most are not. The result? Any good the statin drugs may be doing is actually negated by their depletion of CoQ10.
Q. How does CoQ10 actually work? Has it been studied in heart disease?
A. Yes, it has! CoQ10 has been extensively studied in heart disease. This natural nutrient is present in every nucleated cell in our body (the only cells that don’t contain CoQ10 are red blood cells). Heart cells, however, are absolutely loaded with CoQ10. Its job is fairly simply – CoQ10 is vital to the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the compound our body uses for 95% of its energy needs.
In 1998, 144 patients who had been admitted to the hospital after a heart attack, participated in a CoQ10 study. Half of the patients received 120 mg of CoQ10 a day in addition to the usual treatments given to heart attack patients. The other half, the control group, received the usual treatments and a placebo, but no CoQ10.
The results showed that the group taking CoQ10 had less irregular heartbeat, experienced less angina (a type of heart pain), and had much better function in the left ventricle (the most essential chamber of the heart), compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden heart failure or another heart attack were also reduced in the CoQ10 group.
Q. What if I have already been diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure? Will CoQ10 still help me?
A. CoQ10 has been proven in study after study to help slow down the destruction that occurs in congestive heart failure (CHF), a serious heart disease, and heal the heart muscles damaged by heart attacks. In fact, heart attacks often occur when the body’s CoQ10 levels are low.
In a CHF study, patients received 100 mg of CoQ10 or a placebo twice daily for 12 weeks. Before and after the treatment period, the researchers introduced a catheter into the right ventricle of the patients’ hearts to determine the degree of muscle damage CHF had caused. In the group who took CoQ10, the pumping ability of the heart improved significantly. The placebo group’s hearts did not. The researchers conducting the study recommended that people with CHF add CoQ10 to the other medications they need to take to stay alive and well.
Q. Are some types of CoQ10 better than others?
A. Indeed they are. CoQ10 products are not created equally. The key to this natural medicine is the quality of the manufacturing. Take a CoQ10 supplement that’s been used in research conducted by prestigious universities (it will tell you this right on the label). Researchers want the best CoQ10 for their studies. You want the best CoQ10 for yourself and your loved ones.
The best CoQ10 has to meet the following criteria:
1. Must be easily absorbed during the digestion process so that it can get into the
2. Must reach the mitochondria in the cell.
3. Must be proven effective in studies.
4. Must be safe and free of impurities.
Q. It sounds as if CoQ10 is only for people with moderate or high risk factors. Can others benefit from this supplement?
A. Many people, including those like Fred with low risk factors or no risk of heart disease take CoQ10 every day. CoQ10 supplements may reduce your risk of cancer, prevent gum disease, and help certain nerve cells work more effectively.
Understanding your personal risk factors, making it better lifestyle choices, taking a multivitamin formulated for your heart, an enteric-coated fresh garlic supplement, fish oil supplement with Omega-3 fatty acids, and CoQ10 – the heart’s super-nutrient – can help keep your heart healthy and strong.
Helen Keller, the famous lecturer and author, who was both blind and deaf wrote, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot e seen or even touched. They must be felt with the human heart.”
Healthy hearts have the most opportunities to “feel” the best and are the most beautiful thing our world has to offer.
Pycnogenol: Heart, Blood Sugar and Cellular Health
November 03, 2006 12:16 PM
Pycnogenol (pronounced pic-nojen-all) is a natural plant extract originating from the bark of the maritime pine that grows along the coast of southwest France. Pycnogenol® consists of particularly bioactive flavonoid species and its purity is in strict accordance with the United States Pharmacopoeia. Pycnogenol® was initially developed 35 years ago in Europe. During the past years it evolved as one of the most thoroughly researched nutritional supplements, with over 200 studies published in peer-reviewed journals. Seventy of these studies were clinical with in total more than 4,000 patients. Pycnogenol® taken in dosages from 25mg to 300mg is well tolerated and Pycnogenol® was attributed “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the FDA.
Pycnogenol® supports healthy capillaries
The “Career” of Pycnogenol® began in Europe, where it was first used to maintain vein and capillary health. Pycnogenol® has been shown to strengthen blood vessel walls, with 15 clinical trials showing fast relief from ankle and foot discomfort. A recent study with 200 passengers on long-haul flights showed that Pycnogenol® taken before departure and again during the flight supports foot comfort and healthy circulation. Travelers typically comment that with Pycnogenol® it is much easier to put shoes on again upon arrival. Clinicians in Germany discovered that Pycnogenol® also supports healthy capillaries in the eyes. Retinal capillaries may be affected by imbalanced blood sugar levels. In a multi-center field study with 1169 subjects Pycnogenol® supported healthy capillaries in the retina and improved visual acuity to some extent.
Pycnogenol® benefits the cardiovascular system
More detailed investigation of the interaction of Pycnogenol® with blood vessel walls at the University of Florida, Tampa led to an amazing discovery. Pycnogenol® stimulates an enzyme in blood vessel walls that is responsible for generating the most important vascular mediator, known as “nitric oxide” (NO). NO triggers relaxation of the arteries and supports clear blood flow. Hence, NO is the body’s mediator for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and circulation. NO plays such an important function for cardiovascular health that Dr. Louis Ignarro (UCLA) and his co-workers received the Nobel Prize for this discovery in 1987.
A number of factors, including aging, can interfere with the body’s efficient production of NO. Supplementation with Pycnogenol® for four weeks was shown to restore NO production and improve blood supply to the fingertips of elderly people in a Japanese study. Microscopic evaluation of blood vessel diameter at the root of fingernails showed an increased diameter of capillaries allowing better blood perfusion. Specific sensors applied to the legs showed increased oxygen and decreased carbon dioxide presence. Better blood, nutrient and oxygen supply with Pycnogenol® benefits everybody. Italian researchers were able to show that regular intake of Pycnogenol® helps defy muscle cramps and minor pain in athletes.
The relaxation of arteries has a favorable effect on blood pressure. In two clinical studies Pycnogenol® taken for at least eight weeks was found to significantly support normal blood pressure.
Pycnogenol® stimulated NO generation directly translates into clear blood flow. This was first demonstrated at the University of Arizona, Tucson in smokers. Pycnogenol® dose-dependently, starting at a single dose of 25mg, countered the typical effects of cigarette smoking on the blood. Also, Italian vascular specialists found that Pycnogenol® supported the circulation of individuals on flights between New York and London.
Pycnogenol® supports healthy blood sugar levels
Pycnogenol® can support normal glucose levels when taken as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle plan. A clinical investigation has confirmed the significant glucose-lowering effect of Pycnogenol®. It was noted that Pycnogenol® did not affect insulin levels. Pycnogenol® appears to facilitate previously insulin-resistant cells to uptake sugar from the blood stream by yet unknown mechanisms.
Pycnogenol® limits cellular irritation
Two clinical studies carried out in Germany this year with student volunteers demonstrated that Pycnogenol® has a potent effect in preventing cellular irritation. Pycnogenol® inhibits a molecular “main-switch” in immune cells that triggers the onset of cellular irritation in any part of the body. Moreover, Pycnogenol® was found to inhibit so-called COX enzymes, which are involved with minor pain-sensation related to cellular irritation.
Pycnogenol® sooths menstrual pain
Japanese gynecologists discovered in 1999 that regular supplementation with Pycnogenol® soothes the normal discomfort of menstrual pain, particularly during cramping. Another clinical investigation of 47 women in year 2004 confirmed the effect of Pycnogenol® in addressing menstrual pain. This year a double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center field study with 116 women again confirmed these results. Pycnogenol® is not suitable for on-demand relief during menstruation. The studies show that Pycnogenol® reached highest efficacy when taken regularly for months.
Pycnogenol® helps to support respiratory health
Challenges to normal respiratory function may result from incidents the immune system perceives as harmful. Pycnogenol® offers valuable help in supporting respiration due to its immune-modulating effect and its ability to limit cellular irritation. A study at the University of Arizona found that Pycnogenol® supports clear breathing and lowers mediators of cellular irritation in the blood stream. More recently, a placebo-controlled clinical study at the University of California, Loma Linda described how Pycnogenol® supported healthy respiration in 60 children aged 6-18 years. Pycnogenol® needs to be taken continuously for prolonged periods of time for maximum benefit to the respiratory system.
Pycnogenol® is investigated in clinical trials all over the world. New findings are posted on the website www.pycnogenol.com.
Frank Schonlau Ph.D. is a biochemist who has spent nine years in medical research at the University Clinic of Munster Germany. His area of expertise covers vascular disorders, inflammation and dermatology. He has published more than 20 studies and review articles in the medical literature. Since entering the dietary field in 1999 he was involved in numerous studies on Pycnogenol® and communication of new health discoveries.
Pomeratrol™ Fact Sheet
December 19, 2005 09:09 AM
Pomeratrol™ Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 9/28/04
USER: Those needing antioxidant protection; People with a family history of cell growth abnormalities; Anyone concerned with aging
KEY INGREDIENT(S): Pomegranate fruit standardized extract 200 mg. (Punica granatum) containing 80% total polyphenols, including 40% Ellagic acid, Resveratrol (100% trans-resveratrol) 20 mg. from a blend of Japanese knotweed root extract (Polygonum cuspidatum) and grape skin extract (Vitis vinifera)
POTENTIAL BENEFITS: Ellagic acid is a polyphenol compound found in raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and other fruit. It has been shown to normalize cell death of abnormal cells, a process called apoptosis. This enhances the body’s cell growth control system by providing an important plant substance. It may bind to DNA to prevent damage to this all-important genetic material. This is a key step in preventing cell damage that leads to signs of aging.
The American Cancer Society says that research in animal and laboratory models has found that ellagic acid inhibits the abnormal growth of certain cells. Research at Ohio State University indicates that berries typically contain a few milligrams per ounce of ellagic acid, the actual level varying quite a bit from variables such as species, variety and growing conditions.
Resveratrol is an antioxidant compound that is a phytoestrogen, or plant estrogen, which is protective of hormone-mediated cells in the body. Resveratrol is a potent antioxidant if stabilized. If not stable, it may quickly metabolize out of the body. This compound is believed responsible for some of the beneficial effects of moderate red wine drinking on the cardiovascular system. Resveratrol is also considered to be beneficial to smokers’ lung tissue if it is stabilized to last long enough in the system to be transported there. Resveratrol is also an inhibitor of the COX-2 inflammatory enzyme and encourages cell death (apoptosis) of abnormally growing cells. In insect experiments resveratrol even repaired DNA, leading to a longer life for healthy cells even as it helped get rid of unhealthy cells. Again, this ability to protect cells and help the body rid itself of abnormal cells is a key factor in preventing signs of aging. One liter of red wine contains between 1.5 and 3 mg. of resveratrol.
OTHER IMPORTANT ISSUES: Resveratrol is a difficult substance to stabilize. Because of the difference between resveratrol produced in the oxygen-poor environment in red wine and the form of resveratrol in unstabilized supplements, it has long been thought that resveratrol supplements were not very effective in comparison with wine. Knowing the importance of how a resveratrol supplement is metabolized, Now’s scientific staff has recently developed a special technique of stabilizing this compound in order to have an antioxidant effect closer to drinking a good glass of wine. While both trans and cis forms of resveratrol are naturally occurring, most of the recorded health benefits are attributed to the trans form. Now’s Pomeratrol provides trans-resveratrol.
DOSE: One capsule per day. Resveratrol has been used safely in studies at doses equivalent to 500 mg./day.
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: Other antioxidants and plant compounds: Vitamin C, pycnogenol, grape seed extract, and alpha lipoic acid.
CAUTIONS: Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. There are some indications that resveratrol is a mild anticoagulant ("blood thinner"), and it also may help keep blood vessels to remain open and flexible. Caution should be used by those on blood-thinning drugs. Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Vitaberry Plus + Super Fruit Antioxidant
December 07, 2005 05:43 PM
Vitaberry Plus +™ Super Fruit AntioxidantBy Nilesh Patel, NOW Quality Assurance, April 20, 2005 Why are FRUITS AND VEGETABLES important? “Diets rich in FRUITS AND VEGETABLES may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases.”- National Cancer Institute. OXYGEN AND ANTIOXIDANTS As we all know, “Oxygen is critical to life,” but is itself a double-edged sword. While oxygen is necessary to sustain life and for natural defense against microbes, too much oxygen in our cells can lead to the production of “free radicals” (mitochondrial respiratory chain) or ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species). Free radicals come in many forms - singlet oxygen, hydrogen peroxide, superoxideperoxynitrite, to name a few - but all have one commonality. Each has an unpaired (unbalanced) electron, a situation it remedies by stealing an electron from a stable molecule. This sets off a domino effect of oxidation, a chain reaction that usually ends up damaging cellular integrity and compromising overall health. Nature has a defense system in place to protect these processes in the form of antioxidants. Whether endogenous (produced by the body, such as liver enzymes, SOD, coenzymes and sulfur-containing compounds) or exogenous (obtained through the diet, such as vitamins C & E, bioflavonoids, carotenes, etc.), antioxidants “quench” free radicals by donating an electron to stabilize a molecule, thus controling the chain reaction and stopping the oxidation “domino effect”. ANTIOXIDANT-RICH FOODS Research suggests that eating plenty of foods high in antioxidants helps to slow the processes associated with aging and protect against many chronic diseases. Maximizing one’s antioxidant power will enhance overall health. Fruit and vegetables contain both nutritive and non-nutritive factors that can affect oxidative damage and enzymatic defense and might contribute to redox (antioxidant and prooxidant) actions. A new “6-a-day” study looked into the effects of fruits and vegetables on markers of oxidative stress and antioxidative defense in healthy nonsmokers by The Danish Institute for Food and Veterinary Research in Denmark. The study found that fruits and vegetables increase erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase activity and resistance of plasma lipoproteins to oxidation more efficiently than do the nutritive factors (vitamins and minerals) that the fruits and vegetables are also known to contain. Certain berries, such as blackberries, also contain salicylates, which are also linked to heart health and prevention of atherosclerosis. The protective effects of fruits and vegetables intake on both heart disease death and deaths in general have previously been demonstrated but researchers at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston. Quercetin is an anti-oxidizing flavonoid found in many berries (such as cranberries, bilberries, blueberries, strawberries, etc.) and can prevent CVDs (coronary vascular diseases), according to a recent Finnish study. All these natural plant polyphenols are responsible for the colors of many red and purple berries, fruits, vegetables and flowers. GOVERNMENT GUIDELINES The new federal guidelines released earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommend eating more fruits and vegetables, combined, than any other food group -- five cups or about 10 servings a day for most adults. The amount of fruits and vegetables recommended has increased for men and women of every age. “Fruits and vegetables are the "good news" story of the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans for food-loving consumers, the industry and America's public health”, stated the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH). Eating a variety of colorful phytochemical-rich fruits and vegetables has been associated with lower risk of some chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Many authoritative organizations such as the National Cancer Institute and The American Heart Association recommend getting phytochemicals from whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than from individual component supplements. The Scottish government is promoting healthy eating through a scheme designed to increase purchasing of fruit and nutritional foods. Scottish health minister Andy Kerr said, "This initiative shows that healthy eating can be good for customers and good for business." Scottish women are said to have the highest rates of death from lung cancer in the world as well as the highest rates in Europe for coronary heart disease. They also have low consumption of fruits and vegetables, shown in studies to help protect against some cancers and benefit heart health. ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) Free radicals and oxygen free radicals play an important role in the development and progression of many brain disorders such as brain injury, neurodegenerative disease, and Down syndrome. Oxidative stress is an important factor in the etiology and pathogenesis of diabetes & is also linked to other host of degenerative health conditions. Fortunately, antioxidants are available to support the body’s defense and fight disease and aging. Examples of “Fast acting antioxidants” in the body (serum) are: uric acid (polyphenols), ascorbate, bilirubin, vitamin E (the later two are lipid soluble). Examples of “Slow acting antioxidants” are glucose, urea nitrogen etc. In short, free radicals, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) are generated as by-products of normal cellular metabolism. Their deleterious effects are minimized in vivo (in the body) by the presence of antioxidant systems. How do Antioxidants work? Antioxidants are substances in plants that help maintain health. Antioxidants protect against damage to cells caused by too many “free oxygen radicals,” which form because of the effects of oxidation. Smoking, sunlight, heavy exercise, and pollution all increase oxidation in the body. Most people would benefit by eating more (five to nine or more servings) fruits and vegetables & colorful plant foods, such as purple, dark green, yellow, orange, blue, and red ones, each day. These have healthful pigments along with antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin C, carotenoids, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E, selenium, flavonoids, and other beneficial substances. There are numerous ways in which these antioxidants affect, but can be explained in two groups: Alpha (a) Effects: This refers to the scavenging or neutralizing of free radicals. These effects do not change the way humans (or animals) feel. There are also no noticeable health, psychological or emotional benefits. While there are no obvious changes, increased total antioxidant intakes are associated with decreased tumor rates, prevention of heart attacks and increased longevity. Beta (ß) Effects: These are the changes on health, psychological or emotional state that you or others will notice. In this case, the antioxidant is affecting metabolic processes (enzymes) with consequent changes in the physical (improvement in joint movements, improved skin condition, tissue damage recovery), emotional (better ability to cope with stress) or psychological state (increased alertness). The ORAC value Because most of the active nutritional components in fruits and vegetables are antioxidants, accurate measurement of antioxidant activity serves as a good indicator of potential health benefit. Scientific opinion runs high that ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) will eventually become a government standard of reference for overall daily fruits and vegetables intake. ORAC units are a measurement of the ability of food to stop oxidation. It is most generally expressed in terms of Trolox equivalent per gram (µmole Trolox equivalents (TE)/g). POPULATION DATA A survey done by the National Research Council indicates that only 10% of the US population consumes the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. The equivalent to eating 5 mixed servings of fruits and vegetables per day is about 1,670 ORAC units. Based on scientific evidence it is suggested that daily antioxidant intake should be increased to between 3,000 and 5,000 ORAC units per day, per human subject, in order to reach a significant antioxidant capacity in blood plasma and other tissues. WHAT IS NOW DOING TO HELP? In accord with our mission, “To provide value in products and services that empower people to lead healthier lives,” NOW® Foods is introducing an ALL-FRUIT-DERIVED antioxidant product called VitaBerry Plus +™ Super Fruit Antioxidant Vcaps (vegetarian capsules) (product number #3336). At time of manufacture this product provides an ORAC value of at least 2,500 units per serving from a full-spectrum antioxidant blend of fruits containing phytochemicals and phenolic compounds such as anthocyanins, proanthocyanins, chlorogenic acid, ellagic acid, quinic acid, resveratrol , many organic acids, resveratrol and vitamin C. VitaBerry Plus +™ is formulated with VitaBerry™ Hi-ORAC Fruit Blend [a proprietary blend of fruit extracts & concentrated powders containing Wild Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) extract, Grape (Vitis vinifera) & Grape seed extract, Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) & Raspberry seed extract, Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), Prune (Prunus domestica), Tart Cherry (Prunus cerasus), Wild Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) extract & Strawberry (Fragaria virginia)], Hi-Active™ Orange (Citrus sinensis) and Pomegranate (Punica granatum) min. 40% ellagic acid fruit extract. One gram of VitaBerry™ Hi-ORAC Fruit Blend provides at least 6,000 ORAC units (i.e., µmole Trolox equivalents (TE)/g). (Also watch for an upcoming antioxidant product from NOW called Enzogenol® (Pinus radiata bark extract from New Zealand) with Rutin (a flavonoid from South American fruit of Dimorphandra mollis) and Grapeseed extract. IS IT EFFECTIVE? Total ORAC value includes both lipophilic and hydrophilic components. VitaBerry Plus +™ contains only water/hydroethanol based extracts and concentrated (100:1 to 125:1) freeze-dried fresh fruit blends, so the lipophilic ORAC value is mere 2-4% of the total ORAC value. Glutathione peroxidase is a selenium-containing enzyme that decreases cell death from brain injuries. It also acts as a critical first-line antioxidant defense on the airway (respiratory) epithelial surface against ROS and RNS (reactive nitrogen species. Genetics research has found that the glutathione S-transferase gene controls the onset of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease etc. Taking glutathione (GSH) itself as a supplement does not boost cellular glutathione levels, since it breaks down in the digestive tract before it reaches the cells. So glutathione precursor dietary supplements (such as NAC and GliSODin), along with fruits and vegetables, are effective in boosting intracellular levels of GSH. The lungs have a defense system against the ROS oxidants consisting of low molecular weight antioxidants such as GSH and intracellular enzymes such as SOD, catalase and glutathione peroxidase to protect against the toxic effects of oxidants generated within the cells. Some of the primary effects of VitaBerry Plus +™ against the common reactive free-radical species or ROS are as follows: - Superoxide dismutase-SOD (destroys Superoxide radicals),
- Catalase (neutralizes peroxides),
- Functions similar to reduced Glutathione (GSH),
- Glutathione peroxidase enzyme (detoxifies peroxides, using GSH as a reducing agent),
- Functions similar to Glutathione S-transferase (GST),
- Nullifies Superoxide-generating NADH/NADPH oxidase system In conclusion More concentrated than fresh berries, with over 6000 ORAC units per gram, VitaBerry Plus +™ provides consumers with the antioxidant power of almost 15 servings per day of FRUITS AND VEGETABLES ina convenient vegetarian capsule form! VitaBerry™ PLUS +™ (# 3336) provides a powerful, convenient way to supplement diets that do not include sufficient fruit and vegetable antioxidants Selected References: USDA/HHS guidelines report at: etaryguidelines/dga2005/document/
ls.com/proprietary/pdf/VitaberryBrochure.pdf g Kaplan M., Hayek T. , Raz A., Coleman R. and Aviram M. Pomegranate juice supplementation to apolipoprotein E deficient mice with extensive atherosclerosis reduces macrophages lipid peroxidation, cellular cholesterol accumulation and development of atherosclerosis. J. Nutr. 131: 2082-2089 (2001) Lars O Dragsted et. al., The 6-a-day study:effects if fruit and vegetables on markers of oxidative stress and antioxidative defense in healthy nonsmokers. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 79, No. 6, 1060-1072, June 2004 Fuhrman B. and Aviram M. Polyphenols and flavaonoids protects LDL against atherogenic modifications.In: Handbook of Antioxidants Biochemical, Nutritional and Clinical Aspects, 2nd Edition. Cadenas E & Packer L (Eds.) Marcel Dekker, NY(Pub.). 16:303-336 (2001) Wood, Jacqueline, et al. Antioxidant activity of procyanidin-containing plant extracts at different pHs. Food Chemistry 77 (2002) 155-161 Aviram M. Pomegranate juice as a major source for polyphenolic flavonoids and it is most potent antioxidant against LDL oxidation and atherosclerosis. Free Radical Research 36 (Supplement 1): 71-72 (2002) Jennifer Schraag, Antioxidants: Nature’s Way of Balancing Life. HSR Health Supplement Retailer, Vol. 11, No. 2, 24-27, February 2005 com/news/printNewsBis.asp?id=58665 com/news/printNewsBis.asp?id=58697
Vitamin E for Prostate Health
October 15, 2005 01:22 PM
Vitamin E for Prostate Health
Vitamin E - is a major antioxidant nutrient that helps maintain healthy membranes and retards cellular aging due to oxidation. It is especially important to sexual and reproductive health. One study that followed more than 29,000 male Finnish smokers, ages 50 to 69, for five to eight years, showed that Vitamin E reduces the risk of prostate cancer.
Our diets contain mostly the gamma tocopherol form of Vitamin E. Most dietary supplements contain only alpha tocopherol, not gamma tocopherol. Unfortunately, high intakes of alpha tocopherol actually pushes the preferred gamma form of Vitamin E out of the body. And since the most current research shows it is gamma tocopherol that is associated with a reduction of prostate cancer—especially when combined with selenium and alpha tocopherol—make sure you take a supplement that contains gamma and alpha, not just alpha tocopherol!
Nature's Cancer fighters ...
July 07, 2005 12:36 PM
Cancer has always been a word no one wants to hear from a doctor's lips. But as a fatal disease, cancer has gone from dread to worse, passing heart disease as the number-one killer of Americans under the age of 85 (a category that includes the overwhelming majority of us). While death rates for both illnesses has dropped over the past few years, the improvement has been much more pronounced for cardiovascular disorders.
According to the American Cancer Society, 476,009 people died of cancer in 2002 (the last year for which statistics are available). Behind every one of those numbers is a web of lives tangled by cancer's relentless onslaught: A child who misses a mother's comforting arms, a bride without a father to walk her down the aisle, a spouse coming home to a dark, cold house every night. And for those fortunate enough to survive a cancer encounter, there's always the dark worry of recurrence that surfaces with every ache or twinge.
Many people think of cancer as either a random calamity of a genetically driven inevitability, but it ain't necessarily so. Diet is coming up big as a major cancer-risk player: For example, eating a lot of red meat, especially highly processed meats such as bacon, has been linked to high colorectal cancer risk in an investigation published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. On the positive side, a number of nutrients have shown cancer-fighting power, such as the recently discovered link between the B vitamin folate and reduced risk of colon and other cancers (see page 57). Other useful nutrients appear on the chart that follows.
Of course, risk always varies from person to person, and there are some lifestyle issues, like not smoking, that are no-brainers when it comes to cancer deterrence. But isn't it nice to know that protection from such a terrible disease might be as close as the end of your fork?
Nature's Cancer fighters
Vitamin E, Natural
June 29, 2005 05:27 PM
Antioxidants By Ellen J. Kamhi, Ph. D. with Dorie Greenblatt Antioxidants. A term we hear often, but do we really pay attention to the enormous role these substances play in our systems? And what are they exactly anyhow? Where do they come from and how do they work?
Antioxidants are a group of naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and enzymes found in plant foods. These vital substances help to protect our cells from free radicals, the culprits responsible for causing damage to our bodies very quickly.
Free radicals are groups of unstable atoms looking to obtain electrons in order to become stable themselves. They can pull electrons off cell membranes, causing the cell membranes to have free radical activity as well. This unleashes a vicious cycle of cell destruction, known as a “free radical cascade.” Free radical damage is linked to a plethora of diseases. Luckily there are literally thousands of antioxidants to help us win the “free radical battle”.
Antioxidants can be differentiated by their colors. Those of a red, orange or yellowish color fall into the group known as carotenoids, while those with a blue, purple, black color are from the phenolic family. Of course, there are also some yellow green phenolics too, like the polyphenols from Green Tea.
The carotenoid group of antioxidants are fat-soluble and therefore offer protection for the fat containing parts of the body. This is especially useful in protecting our lipid containing cell membranes. These carotenoids hang out in our membranes, thereby protecting them from free radical damage. What’s even more important is the ability of carotenoids to enhance the activity of other fat-soluble antioxidants such as vitamins A, E and Co Q-10. Some of the best carotenoid sources are lycopene, curcumin and lutein.
Lycopene, a red carotenoid derived from tomatoes, has been shown to contain strong protection capabilities against free radical damage. Curcumin, a yellow carotenoid from turmeric, displays a more protective antioxidant activity than that of Vitamin E or Vitamin A in protecting DNA breakdown (by free oxygen). It also serves as a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Lutein, another carotenoid antioxidant, is a primary component of the retina and macula areas of the eye. Lutein’s antioxidant properties may help protect the macula from light induced free radicals. Evidence shows it may help reduce the risk of age related macular degeneration as well.
The phenolic groups are the water-soluble antioxidants. This group protects the blood, lymph and other bodily fluids, as well as the organs containing those fluids. Some of the best phenolic antioxidants are those found in Green Tea, particularly a group known as catechins. Catechins have proven to have immune- enhancing benefits. Another family of important phenolic antioxidants are those called anthocyanins. These too have proven to act to protect the immune system. Finally, we can’t forget one of the best-known water-soluble antioxidants: Vitamin C !
The need for antioxidants is widespread. We normally think of smokers as the primary group who would most benefit from antioxidants, but the truth is that anyone under stress is a prime candidate for taking antioxidants. In addition, anyone who carries a strenuous physical or mental work load or who exercises often needs the protection of antioxidants, since free radical levels are increased by an active metabolism. And, of course, those individuals who don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables in their diet should also consider using a well-rounded antioxidant formula.
Nature’s Answer offers an outstanding selection of antioxidant formulas available in liquid and/or capsule form. These include Lycopene and Green Tea Extracts (liquid, softgel and vegetarian capsule), Bio-Flavonoids & Rose Hips (low organic alcohol liquid herbal extract) and Grape Seed Extract (vegetarian capsule). For a well-balanced potent antioxidant blend, try Antioxidant Supreme™, a standardized herbal extract formula containing the best of the carotenoid and phenolic antioxidants in one convenient vegetarian capsule. This formula, in particular, provides concentrated natural sources of antioxidants for “supreme” overall protection.
Catch Your Breath
June 14, 2005 05:56 PM
Catch Your Breath
by Carl Lowe Energy Times, October 10, 2004
Asthma is on the rise. This serious breathing problem already afflicts 300 million people around the world and is expected to hinder the lung function of 400 million people in 20 years (Annual World Asthma Meeting, 2/17/04).
In the US, asthma continues to strike our kids. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (2/24/03), the rate at which kids developed asthma doubled between 1980 and 1995. By 2001, 6.3 million American kids had asthma. The cost of treating all these kids: more than $3 billion a year.
Few researchers are prepared to state definitively why asthma rates have continued to climb during the past two decades. However, many investigators point to factors that seem inextricably linked to this disorder, which is marked by wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing spells.
A report from the American Public Health Association and researchers at Harvard puts a lot of the blame for the high rate of asthma on global warming, smog and the atmosphere's growing burden of carbon dioxide. These are linked to industries and car exhaust that release pollution.
In this increasing burden of toxins released into the atmosphere, the rate of asthma among toddlers has grown to be particularly worrisome. Their rate of asthma has climbed more than twice the national average: by 160% between 1980 and 1994. According to these researchers (Inside the Greenhouse: The Impacts of CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and Climate Change on Public Health in the Inner City), global warming-which involves large increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide released by internal combustion engines and and industrial processes-has fomented the asthma epidemic in several ways:
• Extra heat in the atmosphere has stimulated rapid plant growth that results in more fungus, pollen and spores; this causes allergies that often lead to asthma. Weeds like ragweed, which release allergenic particles, have greatly increased during the past few years. • Extreme weather has caused more floods and damp houses, leading to more indoor air pollution from molds. • Diesel pollutants are now combining with pollen and mold to irritate lungs, causing troublesome allergic reactions.
Bus Fume Hazards
The report notes that in neighborhoods like Harlem, in New York City, 25% of all children suffer asthma. Rates are particularly high in children who live in apartments that are located along bus routes.
A finding that surprised the scientists is the fact that carbon dioxide released by city traffic and the burning of coal and natural gas persists over urban areas, causing a dome of CO2 pollution.
Research on air quality in New York City, Phoenix and Baltimore shows that these lingering CO2 domes contain from 400 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide to 600 ppm. Those levels are significantly above the global average of 379 ppm. Over the course of the earth's history, going back more than 400,000 years before the Industrial Age, research shows the atmosphere has averaged only 180 to 280 ppm.
Breathing difficulties that increase at night can point to asthma, according to Robert Fink, MD: "Asthma can be a nocturnal disease, at its worst between 10 pm and 4 am, when cortisol [a hormone that regulates many bodily functions] levels are lowest" (Pediatric Asthma: Diagnosis and Treatment Goals, Medscape).
Dr. Fink says that if problems with breathing are bad enough to interfere with sleep, a health practitioner should be consulted to analyze the difficulty.
Diet and Asthma
Although nobody can guarantee protection against asthma, research suggests that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce your risk. For instance, a study in Australia found that people who ate the most apples and pears reduced their chances of suffering from this breath-robbing disorder.
In research involving about 1,600 people, aged 20 to 44, they found that those who consumed the largest quantity of these fruits enjoyed the lowest rate of asthma (AJCN 2003; 78:414).
This is the latest study to confirm the fact that apples and other fruits help to keep lungs healthy. " There is extensive evidence from studies over the last 10 to 15 years that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is beneficial to lung health," observes Carol Trenga, PhD, a research scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle. "The most compelling evidence is linked to fruits high in vitamin C, which are associated with improved lung function in the general population of adults and children."
Produce for smokers
Quitting smoking represents one of the best ways to reduce lung disease. But even if you smoke, research on smokers has found that those who ate a moderate amount of fruits and vegetables have fewer lung problems (American Thoracic Society 97th International Conference 5/2001).
And you don't have to change your diet very much to make a difference: In that research, merely eating one and half pieces of fruit a day or eating about a tablespoon of vegetables daily significantly dropped smokers' chances of serious lung disease.
Fruits and Veggies to the Rescue
In a study at the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom, scientists looking at the diets of more than 2,500 people found that eating five or more apples or three tomatoes a week increased lung function. Eating apples and tomatoes also reduced the risk of wheezing.
" The likelihood is that any effect is due to the concerted action of all the nutrients in apples and tomatoes, especially the antioxidants that are particularly rich in the peel of apples and contribute to the coloring of tomatoes," says researcher Sarah Lewis, PhD.
" Antioxidants may work by protecting the airways against the insult of tobacco smoke and other atmospheric pollutants," she adds. Dr. Trenga recommends that everyone eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. She also notes, "[I]t is reasonable to suggest modest supplementation with for example, vitamin C (250-500 mg twice/day) and vitamin E (up to 400 IU per day), in at-risk populations as a complementary therapy after considering the specific needs of the individual...These levels are very safe and have other health benefits (such as vitamin E and heart disease) in addition to potentially improving lung health."
Since asthma is linked to allergies, herbs that help to quell respiratory allergies can possibly lower your risk of asthma. A blend of standardized herbal extracts that contains Phyllanthus emblica (Indian gooseberry or amla), Terminalia chebula (Harda or Haritaki), Terminalia bellerica (bedda nut tree), Albizia lebbeck (Indian walnut), Zingiber officinale (ginger root), Piper longum (Indian long pepper), and Piper nigrum (black pepper) has been found to improve breathing and reduce the effect of allergies (FASEB J 2004; Vol II:A912, Abs. 600.8). Other studies have shown that these herbs can relieve nasal congestion, ease sneezing and clear bothersome mucus (J Am Coll Nutr 22(5): Abs 46, 2003).
Avoiding antibiotics may also lower the risk of asthma. " Over the past four decades there has been an explosive increase in allergy and asthma in westernized countries, says Mairi Noverr, PhD, a researcher who has looked at the lin between antibiotic use with asthma and allergies. " We propose that the link between antibiotic use and dysregulated pulmonary immunity is through antibiotic-induced long term alterations in the bacterial and fungal GI microflora."
In other words, Dr. Noverr's research shows that beneficial bacteria in people's intestines, which take part in strengthening immunity and regulating the immune response to pollen, may have been harmed by the overprescription of antibiotics by physicians. Dr. Noverr and his fellow researchers gave lab animals antibiotics before exposing them to candida albicans (a yeast infection). They then exposed the animals to mold spores. The result: a greater sensitivity to inhaling the spores and breathing problems similar to what people experience during hay fever season (104th General Meeting American Society of Microbiology).
" The studies presented here are the first direct demonstration that antibiotic therapy can promote the development of an allergic airway response," says Dr. Noverr. On a global scale, the outlook for asthma is worrisome. As other countries continue their industrial growth, the burden on the earth's atmosphere will grow. Meanwhile, few serious measures are being taken to reduce global warming, and the national diet frequently neglects lung-friendly vegetables and fruits. But within that uncertain scenario, you can boost your chances of healthy lungs: Eat more apples. Stay away from smoky buses. Hope for clear skies.
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.
June 13, 2005 01:18 PM
by Cal Orey Energy Times, August 2, 1999
Depression plagues the creative and the mundane. The disparate desperate driven to distress by depression include painters, poets, actors and musicians as well as truck drivers, clerks, electricians and physicists. The victim list encompasses Vincent van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Audrey Hepburn, Virginia Woolf and Ludwig von Beethoven, as well as millions of other sharers of melancholy misery.
More than 17 million American men and women experience depression in one form or another every year, according to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) in Alexandria, Virginia. This includes the deeply destructive major, or clinical, depression, the wide mood swings of bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), and dysthymia, a milder, long-lasting form of emotional suffering.
Twice as Many Women In the depression scenario, women suffer twice as much: Two times as many women as men endure clinical depression, reports the NMHA. The mood-deteriorating effects of the hormonal disruptions women are heir to may be partly to blame.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about one of 10 Americans wades through at least one depressive swamp sometime during his or her life.
The good news: Research shows that diet and lifestyle can lower your risk of depression.
Birth of the Blues
Nowadays, mounting evidence suggests that depression may result more from physiological factors than psychological woes.
Some of the hidden reasons why you may be depressed include: nutritional deficiencies, exacerbated by overdosing on too much caffeine, sugar, alcohol and high fat foods; allergies; anxiety and chronic stress; and a chemical imbalance in the brain's gray matter. According to the NMHA, people with depression often possess too little or too large a quantity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. Changes in levels of these brain chemicals may cause, or contribute to, clinical depression.
The NMHA also reports that an imbalance of melatonin, a chemical made by the body's pineal gland (located at the base of the brain), contributes to a form of wintertime depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This hormone is made at increased levels in the dark. Therefore, the body may oversupply this hormone during winter's shortened daylight hours.
Since the B vitamins are often involved in the production of energy, and a large component of depression may encompass the inability to get out of bed and deal with the world, experts believe that at least some of the signs of depression are linked to B deficiencies. For instance, studies cited in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima) by Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, demonstrate that folate deficiency and lack of vitamin B12 can compromise mental health (Drugs 45, 1993: 623-36; Lancet 336, 1990: 392-5).
Inositol: This vitamin is also part of the B vitamin complex, and it, too, has shown its ability to lift spirits. Research work in Israel shows that daily inositol given to 28 depressed patients for four weeks produced an overall positive effect. (Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 7:2, May 1997: 147-55). Inositol is found in whole, unprocessed grains, citrus fruits (except lemons) and brewer's yeast.
NADH: Allan Magaziner, DO, in his book The Idiot's Complete Guide To Living Longer & Healthier (Alpha), reports that brain energizing NADH, a metabolite of vitamin B3, enhances the production of the key neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin. "In a recent clinical trial," he claims, "nearly all patients given NADH for depression reported improvement in their symptoms and the absence of side effects or adverse reactions."
Another substance winning the spotlight for its effect on mood is SAM-e: S-adenosylmethionine. In New York on February 24, a symposium coordinated by the American Health Foundation met to hear researchers present information from studies of SAM-e's ability to possibly ease depression.
"SAM-e is a natural product. You and I have it but as people age it declines in production in the body. And that's why we believe supplementation in older people is a beneficial means of bringing that back up and helping people that have depression," said the lead symposium researcher, John H. Weisburger, PhD, MD, Director Emeritus, American Health Foundation in Valhalla, New York.
Another researcher, Teodoro Bottiglieri, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Studies and Neurology, Director of Neuropharmacology at Baylor University reported: "SAM-e has been shown to enhance brain dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitter metabolism and receptor function. It may also aid in the repair of myelin that surrounds nerve cells. These mechanisms are likely to be responsible for the antidepressant effect of SAM-e."
(Bottiglieri is co-author with Richard Brown, MD, and Carol Colman of Stop Depression Now, a report on the powers of SAM-e just published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.)
SAM-e was first touted as an antidepressant in Italy in 1973. It's been reported that nearly 40 clinical trials demonstrate its beneficial effects as a natural antidepressant.
For instance, an analysis of more than 1000 people suffering depression showed that the effect of antidepressants in patients taking SAM-e was 17% to 38% better than dummy preparations. Conventional antidepressants show a 20% effectiveness rate (Bressa G. Acta Neurol Scand S154, 1994: 7-14).
5-HTP: Another popular supplement to boost mood and relieve depression is hydroxytryptophan. "This medication is actually a brain chemical that is metabolized from tryptophan into serotonin," says Magaziner. And since low serotonin levels have been linked with depression, and certain prescribed medications may up serotonin levels, 5-HTP is in demand.
"One of the more impressive studies supporting the efficacy of 5-HTP for depression evaluated 100 people who had previously found conventional antidepressant therapy to be inadequate. Forty-three of these folks reported a complete recovery, and eight showed significant improvement," reports Magaziner. Not only has 5-HTP been shown to work slightly better than drugs known as SSRIs (these include Prozac), he adds, it has fewer side effects than standard antidepressants, too. DHEA: Medical experts also believe that levels of the hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) may influence mood. Ray Sahelian, MD, in his book All About DHEA (Avery) reports an interesting study conducted by Dr. Owen Wolkowitz of the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco. A group of six depressed middle-aged and elderly individuals who took DHEA found that within a month they had better memory and mood. (Biological Psychiatry 41, 1997: 311-18.) "In addition," adds Sahelian, "other studies have also found that DHEA increases energy levels and a sense of well being." But follow package directions: Some people complain of greater irritability and overstimulation with DHEA, when they take large amounts.
St. John's wort: still the most touted natural therapy for defeating depression. In Europe, 23 clinical studies, reviewed in the August 3, 1996 British Medical Journal, found that this herb, also known as Hypericum perforatum, can be helpful in alleviating cases of mild to moderate depression. The work, which included 757 patients, has shown that hypericum produced fewer side effects than conventional anti-depressants.
Although experts have never satisfactorily explained exactly how St. John's wort benefits the brain, some theorize that it boosts serotonin levels. And it can help SAD sufferers.
"In a recent study of 20 people with SAD, four weeks' worth of St. John's wort significantly alleviated feelings of depression. Those people who added full-spectrum lights to the treatment program gained an even greater benefit," notes Dr. Magaziner.
Valerian: Anxiety and stress, which can cause depression and insomnia, may be helped by this herb, says the prolific Dr. Sahelian in his book Kava: The Miracle Antianxiety Herb (St. Martin's). In 101 Medicinal Herbs (Interweave), Steven Foster reports that "Ten controlled clinical studies have been published on valerian...one of which suggests that valerian should be used for two to four weeks before daily mood and sleep patterns improve."
Amino Acid Help
Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, may also help improve mood. (For more on protein, see page 65.) These chemicals are used by the body to construct neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that facilitate mental activity.
For instance, the amino acid L-tyrosine is necessary for the formation of transmitters adrenaline and dopamine. This substance, therefore, is given to alleviate depression and anxiety.
The substance L-dopa which is given to victims of Parkinson's disease is concocted from tyrosine. And several antidepressants alleviate bad moods by boosting the interaction of brain chemicals related to tyrosine.
In addition, since tyrosine is used to make adrenaline, this amino acid may be helpful for folks trying to cope with the mood problems related to stress.
Another amino acid that experts believe useful for better moods, L-methionine, is used by the body to make choline, a crucial substance for brain function. (Choline goes into the formation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.)
Methionine has been given to people suffering from schizophrenia and depression as well as to those with Parkinson's. Methionine plays a number of crucial roles in the brain and body since it helps form other vital proteins.
For those concerned about preserving a positive mood, researchers are positive that smoking worsens depression. A study at the Department of Behavioral Services at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan found that daily smokers run twice the risk for major depression compared to those who only smoked occasionally.
Unfortunately, the investigators found that not only did smoking seem to lead to depression, depression, in turn, led to more smoking (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2/99).
"smokers who have depression tend to see their smoking become a daily habit and it may be because they use nicotine to medicate their depressed mood," reported Naomi Breslau, PhD, who headed the research. Over a five year period, the researchers looked at about a thousand young people aged 21 to 30. They found that daily smokers generally start smoking in adolescence, and those who report early depression are three times as likely to eventually become daily smokers.
If you're feeling down, don't give up hope. Although depression can prove to be a depressingly complicated malady, daily, healthy habits can offset its effects. Getting consistent exercise, dousing your cigarettes and turning to herbal and nutritional help to treat mild depression may defeat those blues.
Botanical Arsenal - Plants can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly ...
June 13, 2005 10:31 AM
Botanical Arsenal by Fred Thomas Energy Times, May 3, 1999
The complexities surrounding the various types of cancer stem from the variety of ways in which these diseases can wreak their havoc. Luckily, the equally complex world of plants contains novel compounds that can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly progress.
Research into these botanical compounds is mushrooming. An example: The mighty maitake, a fungus with flair, alternately known as the king (it can grow as large as a basketball, worth its weight in silver to the ancient Japanese); the prince; the Hen of the Woods (it sticks out of from trees when it grows in the wild); and the dancing mushroom to those who leaped for joy when they found one growing in its native northeastern Japan.
Researchers today dub it with a new moniker: Herbal Heavyweight.
Mushroom with Potential
The maitake, with such other medicinal mushrooms as shiitake and reishi, historically has been eaten to promote general well-being and vitality. In the modern lab, however, scientists focus on the potent immune enhancing powers of maitake, which spotlight its cancer fighting potential.
Twenty years ago, maitake, Grifola frondosa, was an obscure, largely unavailable mushroom. A series of significant Japanese studies then catapulted it into prominence-and popularity.
Hiroaki Nanba, PhD, of the department of immunology at Kobe Women's College of Pharmacy on Kobe, Japan, and a leading international researcher on maitake, conducted the preliminary tests on the mushroom, demonstrating that it stimulates immune function and inhibits tumor growth.
In 1986, Dr. Nanba fed powdered maitake to mice injected with tumor cells; 86.3% displayed inhibited tumor growth.
Dr. Nanba and his colleagues went on to run additional mouse tests, finally reporting that this potent mushroom "directly activates various effector cells (macrophages, natural killer cells, killer T-cells, etc.) to attack tumor cells."
From then, maitake mushrooms were headed to fame as cancer ninjas.
Stoking The Immune Engine
Like other mushrooms, maitake is rich in complex polysaccharides, immunomodulators that successive tests after Dr. Nanba's have shown to be effective in cancer and AIDS treatment.
The polysaccharides in maitake have a unique structure, rendering them some of the most powerful to be studied (Chem Pharm Bull 1987:35:1162-8).
What makes maitake a particularly hot property is beta-D-glucan, its primary polysaccharide. Studies show that the body absorbs it readily, at which point it effectively stimulates interleukin-1, natural killer cells and macrophages, anti-tumor warriors that battle solid cancers (Chemotherapy 1990;38:790-6; also International Conference on AIDS, Amsterdam, 1992).
Effective And Safe
In addition to lab tests, trials on people have shown that maitake may offer powerful therapy against liver and stomach cancer (studies in China), breast and colon cancer (US research) and Kaposi's Sarcoma, the virulent cancer attacking AIDS sufferers.
Importantly, studies show that no side effects or interactions accompany maitake's efficacy.
Maitake fortunately has won the interest and enthusiasm of the scientific community. Currently, researchers at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, headed by Denis Miller, MD, are completing an exhaustive test of the anticancer and immunostimulatory actions of maitake on folks with advanced colorectal cancer. These investigators hypothesize that the polysaccharide beta-glucans derived from the fruitbody of maitake fight tumors and boost immune function. "Though it cannot be said that maitake ...[is] the cancer cure," said Dr. Nanba in his closing remarks at the Adjuvant Nutrition in Cancer Treatment Symposium in Tampa, Florida, in October 1995, "one can safely say that they do maintain the quality of life of patients and improve the immune system, resulting in the possible remission of cancer cells with no side effects."
More Bodily Benefits
Maitake maven Dr. Nanba also has tested-with strongly positive results-the effect of maitake on blood glucose, insulin and triglycerides in mice, whose levels of all three substances declined when they were fed the mushroom (H. Nanba working paper, Anti-Diabetic Activity by Maitake Mushroom, 1994).
With colleagues, Dr. Nanba showed that maitake lowered blood pressure in hypertensive rats (Chem. Phann. Bu//36:1000-1006,1988). Other studies suggest it may accelerate weight loss.
This admirable adaptogen (meaning it helps the body adapt to stress and normalize its functions) is water soluble and may be eaten in food or taken as a supplement. Vitamin C is believed to intensify maitake's beta-glucans and enhance their absorption.
It's not just what you eat that may help protect against cancer, but what you drink as well. Research from China and Japan, where tea is the everyday drink and rates of several cancers like breast and prostate are lower, may persuade you to turn over a new leaf in your own beverage choice. One of the first studies to spark interest in tea came from Shanghai (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, June 1, 1994), where people who drank two to three cups a day were found to have about a 60% reduction in the risk of cancer of the esophagus. The reason: tea leaves contain compounds called polyphenols, potent antioxidants.
In fact, in tests at the University of Kansas, three of these, known as catechins, far outshone the common antioxidant vitamins C and E. Clinical trials are just starting, but early results are encouraging. A team of Chinese scientists reported that in a third of people with precancerous mouth sores who drank three cups of a mixture of green and black tea the lesions shrank significantly.
Researchers at the Saitama Cancer Center in Japan found that green tea seems to improve the prognosis of breast cancer. They followed a group of women with early-stage tumors for seven years. Those who drank more than five cups of green tea a day were only half as likely to suffer a recurrence as patients who consumed fewer than four cups a day.
And at the University of Indiana, toxicologist James Klaunig found that the lungs of cigarette smokers who drank the equivalent of six cups of tea a day suffered 40 to 50 percent less damage from the toxins in smoke, potentially lowering their risk of lung cancer and other pulmonary problems. Simultaneously, research from Purdue University suggests tea's cancer-discouraging powers go beyond being an antioxidant. Scientists Dorothy and D. James Morre showed that a tea catechin dubbed EGCG inhibits a growth-promoting enzyme on the surface of many cancer cells-happily without affecting normal cells. And researchers at the Ohio State University College of Medicine found that EGCG counteracted another enzyme, urokinase, that helps cancer cells spread. To top it off, Mayo Clinic scientists recently showed that EGCG prompted prostate cancer cells to commit suicide (Cancer Letters, Aug. 14, 1998).
So far, most tea research has focused on green tea, and investigators agree it's more potent than the black tea most Americans favor. But because both kinds come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis (it's the processing that makes the difference as black tea is fermented, green tea isn't) both contain cancer-fighting polyphenols, just in different quantities. As long as the tea you drink (even decaffeinated) is fresh brewed, it's likely to provide some benefit; powdered and prepared teas probably don't. And adding milk may dilute the effect.
Astragalus Against Tumors
Astragalus, an herb commonly used in Asia to boost stamina, has impressed western doctors for its potential for helping people cope with chemotherapy. As John Diamon, MD, W. Lee Cowden, MD and Burton Goldberg point out in the Definitive Guide to Cancer (Future Medicine), "Astragalus appears to protect the liver against the harmful toxic effects of chemotherapy and may be effective in treating terminally ill liver cancer patients." (They cite a study in the Jrnl of Ethnopharmacology 1990, 30:145-149.) In addition, they point out, research in Japan supports using a ginseng-astragalus combination to improve the function of natural killer (NK) cells which can boost immunity (Japanese Jrnl of Allergy, 37:2, 1998, 107-114).
Other studies confirm astragalus' potential in fighting off cancer. Research at the General Hospital of PLA, Beijing, showed that flavonoids (pigments) in astragalus could help protect cell membranes from oxidative damage caused by ultraviolet exposure (Chung Kuo Chung Yao Tsa Chih, 21(12):746-8; 1996 Dec).
A study of laboratory animals at Cunma University in Maebashi, Japan, found that Astragalus could help preserve immune function against the harmful side effects of chemotherapy (Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih, 15(2):101-3, 1995 Feb).
Like a flame attracting moths, garlic bulbs have irresistibly drawn the attention of medical researchers. A study at Aarhus University, Denmark, found that skin cells in laboratory dishes treated with garlic supplements lived longer, healthier lives than untreated cells (Jrnl Ethnopharm, 1994. 43:125-133).
Meanwhile, a long list of research demonstrates that garlic's phytochemicals may fight tumors and reduce the carcinogenicity of the pollutants and chemicals that assault us daily. A study in China reported in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine showed that garlic helped slow tumors in lab animals (1983, 11:69-73). Another study in the Journal of Nutrition found that compounds in garlic could "suppress the growth of human colon tumor cells" (126, 1355-1361).
Added to those benefits, Robert A. Nagourney, MD, reports in the Journal of Medicinal Food (1:1, 1998, 13-28), garlic may "modify the carcinogenicity of foodstuffs." In other words, studies show that garlic can make chemicals in foods like pork less likely to cause your cells to become cancerous. (Ind J Physiol Pharmacol, 39:347-353).
DNA, the stuff that genes are made of, face constant threats from free radicals, caustic molecules that can alter cellular structure and possibly cause genetic mutations that lead to cancer. But research into what are called oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC), flavonoids (pigments) derived from fruits vegetables, grape seed extract and the bark of maritime pine trees shows that OPC may be able to shield DNA from injury.
In particular, studies of a grape seed extract called Activin have demonstrated this substance can help liver cell DNA escape a destructive process called peroxidation (FASEB, 11:3, 2/28/97).
In these experiments, Activin demonstrated the ability to inhibit the growth of tumor cells as well as slow the replication enzymes of HIV viruses. This protective ability proved to be more potent than that of vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin E.
What does the future promise to reveal? Scientists believe that many unexamined plants probably contain undiscovered phytochemicals that hold great potential for helping us fight the cancer epidemic.
Certainly, if the next few years produce as many results as the past decade, the next millennium will witness a long line of cancer-prevention discoveries. Before long, you should be able to take advantage of these potent substances.
As you gulp your garlic, tip your tea cup, mull your maitake, acquire Activin and await your astragalus, you may meditate on what may soon be added to our growing anti-cancer arsenal. Undoubtedly, scientists with a botanical bent will be uncovering more coveted anti-cancer secrets before too long.
Vitali-Tea - Tea fits a healthy lifestyle to a T...
June 13, 2005 09:45 AM
Vitali-Tea by Leah Brinks Energy Times, October 9, 2003
If the research is even only half right, tea fits a healthy lifestyle to a T. Whenever scientists look at a teapot's contents, they find striking health benefits: Heart protection. Reduced cancer risk. Better skin.
All of these are apparently in the bag when you choose to drink tea. Tea green, tea black: Which to choose? Actually, both types come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. Green tea is steamed and dried; black tea is fermented, which allows its darker color to develop. Some lesser-known types include white tea, which is actually green tea that undergoes the most minimal of handling. (Another rare white tea, white cantaloupe, is rich in antioxidants.) Oolong is a tea that falls between green and black in processing and flavor.
One increasingly popular tea color, red, is not tea at all, but an herbal brew called rooibos (technically, herbal teas are known as tisanes). This South African plant yields a citrus-flavored beverage high in vitamin C. Other herbs known for yielding flavorful infusions include chamomile, used to promote sound sleep; peppermint, a digestion easer; and rose hips, which, like rooibos, combines healthy vitamin C levels with a delightfully zesty taste.
The evidence for tea's health benefits has practically boiled over. For instance, researchers at the University of Rochester have found that green tea substances inhibit the action of a molecule irritated by tobacco smoke, a toxin central to tobacco's cancer-causing danger. This action, say the scientists, may be the reasons that smokers who drink tea suffer less cancer (Chem Res Tox 7/21/03).
The Rochester researchers found that tea helps protect a cellular molecule called the aryl hydrocarbon (AH) receptor. Ordinarily, AH is frequently disturbed by toxic substances that cause cancer and other illnesses. Tobacco smoke (as well as the pollutant dioxin) interacts with AH to initiate cancer and other problems.
But at least two chemicals in green tea-epigallocatechingallate (EGCG) and epigallocatechin (EGC)-interfere with AH's harmful activity. These substances, flavonoids similar to healthful chemicals found in grapes, wine and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, have been shown to lower cancer risk.
"It's likely that the compounds in green tea act through many different pathways," says Thomas Gasiewicz, professor and chair of Environmental Medicine and director of Rochester's Environmental Health Science Center.
In the Rochester study, Dr. Gasiewicz and his colleagues found that EGCG and EGC close down the AH receptor in cancerous animal cells and most likely produce the same benefit in human cells.
Still to be made clear is how tea is metabolized when the body digests tea, but the Rochester scientists are still peering through their microscopes and teapots to find out.
Scientists at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University have found that drinking green or white tea can significantly lower your risk of colon cancer as well the prescription drug sulindac, which has been shown effective for people at high tumor risk (Carcinogenesis 3/03).
"Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, and recent upswings in the sales of green tea in the United States can be attributed to reports of potential health benefits against cancer and other chronic diseases," says Gayle Orner, an OSU research associate. "Teas exert significant protective effects in experimental animal models of skin, lung, esophageal, gastric, hepatic, small intestinal, pancreatic, colon, bladder and mammary cancer."
While many people today take aspirin and similar drugs that have been shown to lower cancer risk, this study shows that drinking tea and taking low doses of these drugs, called NSAIDs, can reduce the risk even further. (High doses of NSAIDs, while protective against colon cancer, can cause internal bleeding.)
"These are pretty exciting results," Orner says. "What's especially significant is that as far as we can tell consumption of tea has none of the side effects of NSAIDs, which can be severe, including bleeding, ulcers and even death."
In this research on animals, use of tea dropped the risk of cancer by about two-thirds. According to the lab results, drinking about three large cups of tea a day should provide significant cancer protection. Based on research in Japan that looked at how green tea lowers the risk of stomach cancer, the Linus Pauling scientists urge plenty of tea drinking: "The more the better."
Studies show that nations of tea drinkers have less trouble with their hearts than residents of places where tea is hardly ever brewed. And now research is starting to zero in on the substances in tea that benefit heart health.
A study of 240 Chinese men and women who have high cholesterol has found that chemicals in tea can significantly drop harmful cholesterol (Arch Int Med 6/23/03).
"Personally, I was very surprised," says David J. Maron, MD, professor at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, lead author of the study. "I expected, if anything, a very slight cholesterol-lowering effect. But what we saw was a 16% reduction in low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol."
LDL cholesterol is known as "bad" cholesterol because it can increase your risk of heart disease.
The researchers in this study gave people extracts of green and black tea enhanced with theaflavin, an antioxidant also found in green tea.
In the future, if past results are any indication, tea's rich supply of beneficial chemicals will continue to pleasantly surprise researchers with even more benefits.
June 11, 2005 05:24 PM
Better Bones by Deborah Daniels Energy Times, March 13, 2004
As America ages, osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones, grows into an ever-expanding problem. Currently, it affects more than 44 million Americans.
Women are in special danger; of those who suffer weak bones, about 35 million are women. This problem causes a huge amount of damage-physical, emotional and financial. The national bill for hospital and nursing care for osteoporosis victims tops $17 billion a year, about $47 million a day.
Odds are, your bones need help. According to the National Institutes of Health, the bones of more than half of all Americans over age 50 are weak enough to put them at risk of osteoporosis. Weak bones linked to osteoporosis continue to present a serious risk to health. A study published in the British Medical Journal shows that fractures in older people are just as life-threatening today as they were two decades ago (2003; 327:771-5).
When researchers looked at broken legs among more than 30,000 people over the age of 65, they found that just as many people die today after these kinds of bone breaks as they did during the 1980s.
Their findings emphasize how important strong bones are to survival. This study showed that breaking your leg at age 65 or older increases your risk of death more than 12 times. And these high death rates, according to the researchers, reinforce the fact that preventing osteoporosis saves lives.
Blowing Smoke Through Bones
While many bone experts blame the high rate of osteoporosis on sedentary lifestyles and foods low in calcium, Australian research has turned up another bone-weakening villain: smoking. According to these scientists, smoking may be the most destructive lifestyle habit that destroys bone in older women. While other studies have pointed to smoking as a factor in bone loss, this most recent study purports to show that smoking may be one of the most important influences on weak bones (J Bone Min Res 9/03). " This will be an important step forward in the management of osteoporosis, since the results of this study can be used to improve current approaches to preventing bone loss," says researcher John Wark, PhD.
Dr. Wark's study found that older smokers are particularly prone to weak bones. While smoking is always bad for bone strength, after menopause tobacco smoke seems to exert an even deadlier affect on your skeletal support.
" [T]he damaging effects of cigarette smoking may well have been underestimated in the past," says Dr. Wark. When you inhale cigarette smoke, your lungs are exposed to about 500 harmful gases, including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, benzene, hydrogen cyanide and ammonia. The infusion of these gases cuts back on the available oxygen used for building bone and other tissues.
Along with these gases, small particles containing chemicals like anatabine, anabase, nicotine, monicotine and other carcinogens also filter into the lungs. Studies (Acad Ortho Surg 2001; 9:9) indicate that bathing the body in these chemicals results in:
While it's never too late to build more bone, the best time for laying down a dependable musculoskeletal foundation is before age 30. That way, as you get older, your strong bones can better resist the weakening effects of aging. Ipriflavone is a natural chemical that has been found to help protect bone. Researchers believe that this supplement can help bones strengthen by absorbing more calcium (Calc Tissue Int 2000; 67:225)
Other ways to make bones stronger include:
Weak bones can put a severe crimp in your lifestyle and put your life at risk. How can you tell what shape your bones are in? Health practitioners can help you get the appropriate bone density test. But the tone of your muscles are also a good indicator: Exercise to tone those muscles and chances are you're building your bones, too. All you have to do is get moving!
June 10, 2005 04:08 PM
Basic Detox by Harriet Epstein , February 4, 2002
Basic Detox By Harriet Epstein Trying to stay healthy and clean in a dirty world can prove a difficult task. The rise of modern industry and agriculture has meant the widespread accumulation of toxins in our environment that can cause health problems.
As Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin point out in their book The Road to Immunity (Pocket), "Fat soluble chemicals are readily absorbed by the body but are difficult to excrete. To be excreted, they must first be enzymatically converted into water-soluble substances. Some of them can't be converted at all."
Bock and Sabin point out that a 1990 survey by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that looked at people's tissues found that everyone the agency examined had styrene (a chemical used to make plastic) and xylene (a paint and gasoline solvent) stored in their bodyfat.
The toxins that you encounter every day are not only present in air and water, but also may be found in food and medicines. If we eat beef that's been exposed to pesticides, those chemicals may be shunted into our bodyfat. Pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables may end up in a similar place.
To cope with chemicals, the human body has evolved methods for detoxifying. When we breathe out we often release inhaled toxins. Other toxins are purged through urine, feces and sweat.
One of the chief organs responsible for cleansing the body is the liver. This organ utilizes a pair of chemical pathways for breaking down and eliminating toxins. In our hectic, industrialized world, this flow of toxins can overwhelm the liver's ability to detoxify. In addition, the dual processes the liver uses to eliminate noxious substances may become unbalanced, allowing toxins produced by one pathway to build up to dangerous proportions.
Once liver function falters, toxic havoc ensues. Toxins may remain in the body, often stored indefinitely in bodyfat. The body's detoxifying systems may be swamped with toxins.
In protecting the liver and enhancing its detox functions, many naturopathic practitioners recommend the herb milk thistle (silybum marianum). According to Steven Bratman, MD, and David Kroll, PhD, authors of the Natural Health Bible (Prima), milk thistle helps the liver cope with its toxic load. Consequently, milk thistle is frequently used in Europe for liver problems like jaundice.
Bratman and Kroll point out that milk thistle "is one of the few herbs that have no real equivalent in the world of conventional medicine." As Lise Alschuler, ND, medical director at the Bastyr Natural Health Clinic, told Natural Digest, "Milk thistle protects the liver against toxic damage (and) helps prevent damage to the rest of the body."
The compounds in milk thistle that help zap toxins, known as silymarin, protect the liver by binding with substances that would otherwise interact with the liver and slow its function. They also help the liver repair itself and regenerate new liver cells.
As an extra bonus, silymarin acts as an antioxidant, protecting liver cell membranes from oxidative damage.
Dandelion has a place as another traditional treatment for toning the liver and boosting the body's filtration system. The leaves are a cornucopia of antioxidants and nutrients including B vitamins, vitamins A, C and D, plus boron, silicon, potassium, magnesium and zinc. They help detoxify by acting as a mild diuretic: they cause the body to eliminate excess fluid.
But herbalists worldwide have found the compounds in dandelion root most useful for helping alleviate liver and gall bladder malfunction. (If you think you suffer these difficulties, consult your health practitioner.) Two unique and helpful natural substances found in dandelion root are chemicals called germacranolide and eudesmanolide. The root, according to the Natural Health Bible, has traditionally been used to speed up a sluggish or congested liver as well as detoxing the body by eliminating constipation. Research indicates dandelion root may stimulate bile flow (Arzneimittel -forschung 9, 1959: 376-378).
Juniper berries (Juniperus communis), may also be taken with dandelion as a diuretic. This botanical, often used to combat urinary tract problems, is also an anti-inflammatory (Phyto Res 1, 1997: 28-31).
Heavy metals rank as dangerous toxins unleashed by modern industry. As Michael Murray, ND, and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, explain in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, nickel and aluminum can "accumulate within the (body) where they can severely disrupt normal function."
Public health experts estimate at least one in five Americans has been a victim of heavy metal poisoning. Lead may be the most common villain. In your everyday life, you may be ingesting metals from your cookware, from pesticides, cigarette smoke, dental fillings, polluted fish, and chipping house paint.
Signs that you may suffer from toxicity linked to heavy metals: Unusual fatigue, Persistent headaches, Unexplained muscle pains, Anemia, Ringing in the ears or dizziness and Tremors.
Of course, if you think you suffer from heavy metal poisoning, you should see a knowledgeable health practitioner as soon as possible. Murray and Pizzorno recommend an array of precautions to protect yourself against heavy metals in the environment:
Take a daily multivitamin and mineral.
Take extra amounts of vitamin C and B-complex.
Take amino acids that contain sulfur (taurine, cysteine and methionine) and high sulfur foods like onions and garlic (or supplements). (Consult your pharmacist of health practitioner before taking individual amino acids.)
In addition, Leo Galland, MD, in his book The Four Pillars of Healing (Random House) offers these tips for keeping your digestive tract functioning at top capacity:
Take supplements of lactobacil-lus acidophilus and lactobacillus plantarum, friendly bacteria that in-habit the large intestine. These microorganisms can help break down toxins and eliminate them.
Use aspirin and ibuprofen as little as possible. They increase the permeability of the digestive system, allowing allergens and other problematic substances to enter the body.
Do not use antacids. The stomach's acidic environment is designed to kill ingested bacteria and parasites.
To fight digestive problems or heartburn, cut back on saturated fat; eat smaller meals. Chewing on calcium tablets after meals may help. Foods that can exacerbate heartburn include coffee, alcoholic beverages and very spicy foods.
Dr. Galland also recommends not eating for four hours before bed.
Environmental Free Radicals
Detoxing the body may also require taking antioxidant nutrients to fight off what are called free radicals.
Free radicals are caustic molecues thought to be involved in causing many chronic problems such as cancer and heart disease. Free radicals are created within the body and its cells every time a metabolic activity takes place. While the human body has developed its own mechanisms for defending itself against these byproducts of metabolism, exposure to pollution, radiation and other toxins may overburden the body's free radical burden. Scientists believe that taking extra antioxidant nutrients like vitamins C and E and carotenoids (natural substances found in many vegetarian foods) may help prevent damage by free radicals.
Environmental oxidizing agents include ionizing radiation (from industry, sun, cosmic rays, x-rays) ozone and nitrous oxide (from auto exhaust) heavy metals (mercury, cadmium, lead) and cigarette smoke, along with other chemical and compounds from food, water and air. Free radicals are believed to play a role in more than sixty different health conditions, including the aging process, cancer and arteriosclerosis. (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1993;90:7915-7922).
The good news? Reducing exposure to free radicals and increasing intake of antioxidant nutrients can shrink the risk of these health problems.
"Antioxidants can't get rid of heavy metals and solvents," says Dr. Glidden, "but they do cut down on the damage they do while they're there. As toxins wander through your body, they generate metabolic reactions, resulting in free radicals. And anti-oxidants mop them up." The liver is the last line of defense in handling toxins; supplements help it regenerate itself.
The body itself does produce enzymes like Superoxide dismutase (SOD) catalase, and glutathione peroxidase which can defend against and defuse many types of free radicals.
Supplements of these compounds are also available to augment the body's supply.
These building block nutrients include the minerals manganese, zinc, and copper for SOD and selenium for glutathione peroxidase. Many vitamins and minerals act as antioxidants. Dr. Crinnion recommends a multivitamin with "a lot of B, especially magnesium."
Since chlorinated pesticides like DDT "rob the body" of B1 and Vitamin A, he says, it's a good idea to supplement these as well.
In addition, acidophilus, a beneficial bacteria that grows in the digestive tract (and found in yogurt) may restore immunity hurt by pollutants. A study on women with recurrent vaginal candidiasis found that acidophilus cut their infections by 300% (Annals Int Med 1992; 116:353-357.)
Another immunity enhancer, colostrum, a natural immune enhancer that promotes cellular repair (Food Res Intl. 1995, 28(1):9-16) can also help the immune system battle pollution.
Vitamin C vs Pollution
A study of vitamin's C's antioxidant properties, conducted by University of Buffalo epidemiologists, and presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Epidemiologic Research, revealed that people with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood serum have lower levels of a marker of oxidative stress.
"It is well known that oxidative stress (cell damage caused by free radicals) plays a role in arteriosclerosis, cancer, pulmonary disease and other chronic conditions," said Holger Schunemann, M.D. a research assistant professor of social and preventive medicine at the University of Buffalo and lead author on the study.
"In this population, vitamin C was negatively associated with oxidative stress, suggesting it may play a role in protecting against these diseases." Vitamin C is the "greatest antioxidant," says Dr. Crinnion. "It has even been shown to clear lead from the blood."
A powerful fat-soluble antioxidant, Vitamin E scavenges free radicals protecting cells from oxidative damage. Vitamin E, "reverses toxicity of various toxic chemicals," says Dr. Walter Crinnion, "it is also a stabilizer of membranes." A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition regarding antioxidant vitamin supplementation and lipid peroxidation in smokers even indicates that an antioxidant-supplemented drink can reduce lipid peroxidation and susceptibility of LDL to oxidation in smokers and may ameliorate the oxidative stress of cigarette smoke.
Dr. Glidden recommends E preferably in the form of mixed tocopherols )If you take blood thinners, check with your health practitioner.)
Unfortunately, completely avoiding toxins in today's world is probably impossible. Civilization and toxic chemicals accompany each other hand in rubber-glove-encased hand. Still, with proper attention to nutrition and supplements to keep our bodies detoxifying, we can probably minimize health difficulties linked to these undesirables.
Improove Memory ...
June 09, 2005 05:49 PM
Mesmerizing Memory by Cal Orey Energy Times, January 1, 1999
In the 60s, the same rock 'n' rollers who belted out "One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small," often espoused the belief that certain pills could expand the mind. While counter-culture pill purveyors were pilloried for their pill-popping claims, 90s nutritional research has uncovered a stash of supplements that may amplify mental improvement.
Like a blues singer bending a high note, researchers are now humming with dramatic assertions that certain nutritional supplements can sustain and enhance concentration and memory function. For instance, studies reveal possible benefits for cognitive powers from vitamin C, magnesium and Ginkgo biloba. A recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 278:1327-1332) said that an extract of Ginkgo biloba "can stabilize and, in some cases, improve the cognitive function and social behavior of demented patients."
A researcher in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences noted that a daily dose of vitamin E may "help protect the brain and its memories from the ravages of time." And the beat goes on: other evidence indicates that zinc, iron and boron may pump up short-term memory attention span and cut the time it takes to perform mental tasks.
Lester Packer, PhD, professor of molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley, told a joint 1996 United Nations-World Health Organization conference on Aging that "there is a growing body of evidence indicating that the free radical theory of aging and aging-related disease is valid," and that dietary and supplemental antioxidants can help fight illness and mental deterioration.
Vitamin E and other memory aids are believed to protect brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, "the ferrymen of the brain's communication system," that influence concentration and memory. Experts say that sustaining the level of these nerve chemicals in the brain can potentially improve all mental processes.
Too much alcohol, for example, commonly causes progressive mental decline, according to Secrets of the Superyoung (Villard) by David Weeks and Jamie James. The authors also point out that "the memory tends to worsen noticeably after 15 years of alcohol drinking, and much sooner in people who go on massive binges."
"The effects of cigarette smoke are subtler because the poisonous effects of carbon monoxide in each puff are temporarily offset by the alerting effects of the nicotine," they add. Can't remember the name of that singer cavorting in a music video? Tests have shown that smokers are worse at connecting peoples' names to their faces than nonsmokers.
n Learn something new: A second language, musical instrument, or unique puzzles and games keep neurons working like new.
n Turn off the TV: Read. Studies show that passively watching TV requires less concentration than eating cereal. Mental rejuvenation also requires physical activity. Exercise increases oxygen flow to the brain, which supports memory, concentration and cognition. One study has shown that exercise significantly brightened the moods of middle-aged and older women, regardless of whether they were pre- or post-menopausal, with or without hormone replacement therapy.
Supplemental Brain Help
Antioxidants, including the previously mentioned vitamin E (You haven't forgotten vitamin E already, have you?), provide crucial help for vigorous cerebral function. The free radicals created by tobacco smoke, air pollution, ultraviolet light and certain carcinogenic chemicals deconstruct cell membranes and may foster microscopic brain cell havoc. Antioxidant enzymes convert free radicals to more neutral, benign substances and nutritional antioxidants can neutralize free radicals by linking up with them.
Vitamin C, a brainy antioxidant all star, performs so well that, according to Dr. Khalsa, its levels in the brain are almost 15 times higher than in other parts of the body. This nutrient, he asserts, aids mental and physical longevity. In a UCLA study, people who ingested at least 300 mg of vitamin C daily lived more than six years longer than those who ingested less.
Added to this mix, magnesium also scavenges free-radicals, according to Dr. Khalsa. Plus, experts recommend grape seed extract (phytochemicals that protect a wide range of cellular structures) to safeguard nerve cells and mental capacity.
B Vitamins for the Mind
Boron plays a crucial part in mental function. Scientists at the USDA's Human Nutrition Research Center have linked boron deficiencies to chronic lethargy and fatigue. In brain studies, they found that the electrical activity of the gray matter in the boron deficient indicated increased drowsiness and mental sluggishness.
HupA basically protects the brain from free radical damage (due to low levels of antioxidant defenses) and maintains or enhances crucial neurotransmitter action. More specifically, HupA helps reduce the breakdown of acetylcholine, the vital neurotransmitter, and makes this substance more bioavailable. In addition, HupA helps make choline accessible to the brain for the synthesis of acetylcholine, according to a study in Neuropharmacology (30, 1991: 763-768).
Normally, the brain manufactures sufficient levels of the chemical phosphatidylserine, a lecithin-derivative that helps boost neurotransmitter release, but deficiencies of vitamin B12 and folic acid, or of essential fatty acids, may retard that production. Low levels of phosphatidylserine in the brain are related to impaired mental function and depression in the elderly. Scientists reporting in Aging (5, 1993; 123-33) describe "good results" using phosphatidylserine in the treatment of age-related cognitive ills.
Ginkgo Brain Power
Another ingredient in what seems like an alphabet-soup of brain nourishment is DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fat essential for normal brain function. Researchers met recently at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center's Nutrition Information Center to discuss "Keeping Your Brain in Shape: New Insights into DHA." Their findings revealed links between low levels of DHA and Alzheimer's, depression, memory loss, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and certain behavioral traits including aggression and hostility.
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health point out, however, that fish is an excellent dietary source of DHA. In their studies, they discovered that depression rates in Japan and Taiwan, where fish ranks a top spot on the menu, are significantly lower than in North America and Europe.
DHA also is crucial to the neurological development of children, according to findings published in Pediatrics (vol. 101, no. 1, January 1998). Researchers suggest that DHA-rich breast milk should be the model for infant formulas that enhance babies' neurological development. Scientists also have correlated some behavioral problems in children-ADHD, for example-to DHA deficiencies.
If you are a vegetarian, or have other cause for concern about a potential lack of DHA in your diet, you can rely on dietary supplementation of DHA. Bruce J. Holub, PhD, of the University of Guelph in Canada provided vegetarians in his research project with DHA supplements over a 42-day period and substantially increased their DHA blood levels.
The bottom line to enhanced mental performance is to take a balanced approach, says Robert Snider, MD, who specializes in preventive medicine in Massena, New York. "Maintaining brain power includes exercise, stress reduction and good nutrition." The message to keep in mind: Don't lose your nutritional balance or you could lose a piece of your peace of mind.
Recommended Reading: & Brain Builders (Reward Books, 1995), by Richard Leviton.
Brain Longevity (Warner Books, 1997), by Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD.
Omega 3 Oils to Improve Mental Health, Fight Degenerative Diseases and Extend Life (Avery, 1996), by Donald Rudin, MD, and Clara Felix.
Successful Aging (Pantheon, 1998), by John W. Rowe, MD, and Robert L. Kahn, PhD.