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Polysaccharide extract from reishi mushrooms found to have hypolipidemic, antioxidant, and antiapoptotic properties
May 08, 2019 01:29 PM
A recent study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that some properties of the Reishi Mushroom can fight obesity. The study was conducted by a Chinese research team at Hunan Agricultural University. It involved feeding mice high fat diets and then studying how the compounds of the mushrooms combated the weight gain over the course of a 12 week research project. The mushrooms exhibited helpful properties at both dosage levels that were tested.
"In mice, treatment with reishi mushroom polysaccharides, in both doses, significantly reduced the body weight increases caused by the feeding with a high-fat diet."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-27-reishi-mushroom-hypolipidemic-antioxidant-antiapoptotic.html
Exploring the fatty acids that REDUCE your risk of premature death
April 27, 2019 09:55 AM
According to six separate studies published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the regular consumption of fatty acids substantially decreases the risk of premature death in adults. When the fatty acids are derived specifically from fish oil, the risk of death from any cause is reduced by 14 percent, compared to low or no consumption. Specifically, the risk of dying from a cardiac event is reduced by a whopping 47 percent. Unfortunately, because these studies don't appear in medical journals, most doctors do not advise their patients to take fish oil. There is also evidence that suggests fish oil decreases the risk of stroke and has potent anti-inflammatory properties. A word of caution, if you are on blood-thinners, consult with an integrative physician before taking fish oils regularly.
"In one study, fish oil was associated with better survival rates in heart attack victims, with researchers finding improved heart function and lower levels of inflammatory markers in people who took high-dose fish oil for six months after suffering a heart attack."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/fatty-acids-nutrition-news-2790.html
Why magnesium may be the single most important nutrient you need totake for heart health
April 26, 2019 10:20 AM
Magnesium deficiency, which afflicts close to 50 percent of the U.S. population, can have a profoundly negative impact on your health. Failure to consume enough magnesium can increase insulin resistance and create a higher risk of cardiac disease. A Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) study found that magnesium-deficient people had substantially higher levels of harmful C-Reactive Proteins — associated with inflammation and heightened risk of heart disease— present in their blood. A second MUSC study confirmed this association while also noting that magnesium supplements could help reduce the health impacts of not getting enough magnesium from dietary sources.
"If you do not have enough magnesium in your body, you can become more prone to various diseases and disorders."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-11-magnesium-may-be-the-single-most-important-nutrient-for-heart-health.html
Happier and healthier: Curcumin-rich turmeric can help easedepression and anxiety, researchers find
April 25, 2019 05:11 PM
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, can have benefits for mental health on top of its many benefits for cardiac and joint health and inflammation. Curcumin is believed to help reduce neuroinflammation — and the cytokines that help cause it — and moderate cortisol levels within the brain, while achieving more balanced levels of dopamine and serotonin. These actions may explain why a 2015 study indicates that turmeric supplementation can substantially improve the effectiveness of antidepressants in many people.
"Curcumin regulates levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, and it also decreases the markers of neuroinflammation, which is significant when you consider that inflammation contributes to mood disorders."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-11-curcumin-rich-turmeric-can-help-ease-depression-and-anxiety.html
Plant proteins found to help prevent Type 2 diabetes
April 22, 2019 04:18 PM
A recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition analyzed the diets of more than 2,000 men. It specifically sought to find a correlation between protein sources and diabetes. It found that, in general, men with a higher intake of protein from plants were less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. Conversely, men who got most of their protein from processed or unprocessed meats were more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. Several other studies from Harvard have reached parallel conclusions.
"According to the study, men who had the highest intake of plant proteins were 35 percent less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes compared with those who had the lowest consumption."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-17-plant-proteins-found-to-help-prevent-type-2-diabetes.html
Omega-3 intake found to substantially slow brain "aging" byboosting nutrient circulation to memory-related brain regions
April 11, 2019 01:16 PM
Our brains are the most important thing we could ever possess, so why not take something that helps naturally assist it’s function. Omega-3 is the main focus of this article and centers on new evidence found that an aging brain can be somewhat suppressed by consuming some good ole omega-3. It quickly touches on two specific studies and their findings concerning the size of one part of the brain. Additionally, it outlines a few extra benefits of the vitamin and the importance of striking a good bodily balance.
"The researchers found that people who had higher blood levels of certain omega-3 fatty acids – namely ecosatrienoic acid, stearidonic acid, and ALA – had a bigger frontoparietal cortex and therefore performed better on fluid intelligence tests."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-13-omega-3-intake-found-to-substantially-slow-brain-aging.html
Broccoli is one of the best detoxifying foods you'll ever find
February 20, 2019 01:17 PM
Broccoli can really help your body’s ability to expel harmful toxins that you ingest or breathe in According to recent research, post-menopausal women who ate lots of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli showed a substantially lower risk of breast cancer, perhaps because broccoli improved their livers’ ability to detoxify their bodies. Likewise, a 12-week Johns Hopkins University study of almost 300 people in a heavily polluted part of rural China found that broccoli made their bodies much more efficient at excreting dangerous compounds like benzene and acrolein.
"These detoxifying benefits of broccoli can be attributed to the presence of phytonutrients called glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-12-broccoli-is-one-of-the-best-detoxifying-foods.html
7 Proven uses of lavender essential oil
February 18, 2019 01:38 PM
If you aren't aware of the healing powers of lavender essential oil, prepare for some exciting surprises. Many people know how amazing the lavender essential oil smells and that it promote relaxation. But , they don't know its many other great uses. Did you know that the oil can help treat ulcers and yeast infections or that it can help improve your sleep? These are a few of the many benefits that you get when using lavender essential oil!
"Its medicinal use can be traced back to more than 2,500 years ago where it was widely used in traditional Chinese medicine."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-13-7-proven-uses-of-lavender-essential-oil.html
Top 10 Anti Aging Superfoods
February 14, 2017 07:59 AM
Diet and health are closely connected. Changing your diet can do a lot. It can help with aging for example. This gives you ten foods that can reduce the signs of aging and its affects on the body. These foods would be easy to add into anyone's diet. The'yre common enough foods to make that simple.
"Avocados are full of anti-aging components."
Why Is Turbinado A Better Sugar?
May 04, 2014 09:33 PM
What is a turbinado sugar
Turbinado sugar is a sugar stick based, insignificantly refined sugar. It is medium tan in color and has substantial precious stones. It's frequently mixed up for customary tan sugar due to its light tan shade, however it’s made in an alternative manner. Numerous individuals think as of it to be healthier than both white and tan sugars, since it is for the most part less transformed and refined.
Utilization and storage
Formulas that call for turbinado sugar have a tendency to utilize it as a trade for conventional tan sugar. It holds more dampness than customary white or tan sugars, which might be gainful in things like treats or biscuits. Interestingly, one ought not to supplant table sugar with turbinado in formulas that as of recently have a few parts giving dampness, to abstain from making the finished item saturated. It is now and again conceivable to utilize turbinado sugar within formulas like these by lessening the measure of an alternate saturating fixing or utilizing less sugar than is called for, yet it may take some experimentation to get the last item to turn out accurately.
Turbinado sugar is a famous fixing for cinnamon treats and toast, and is normally utilized as a part of graham saltine pie-crusts. Gourmet experts might additionally utilize it on creme caramel, since it melts and caramelizes well. Provided for its higher dampness content, it can solidify if presented to a lot of air. Makers suggest putting away it in a hermetically sealed holder in a cool, dull spot.
Producing turbinado sugar
Turbinado sugar is made by taking the first pressing of juice from sugar stick and gradually warming it to vanish the water out of it. This makes it solidify. To finish the drying process, the precious stones are then spun in turbines or rotators. Conversely, white sugar is regularly substantially all the more vigorously transformed, and is for the most part made white by utilizing a decolorizing channel like bone burn to uproot its characteristic shade. Similarly, much tan sugar is really white sugar with molasses added goes into it to shade it.
Benefits of turbinado sugar
Some accept that turbinado sugar is a healthier elective to different sweeteners on the grounds that it experiences less transforming, along these lines holds a greater amount of the supplements found in sugar stick juice. What's more, its system for handling makes it suitable for vegetarians, since no creature repercussions are utilized. A teaspoon (about 4 grams) holds around a considerable measure of calcium and potassium not with standing an insignificant measure of iron. A measure (250 g) of this sweetener likewise holds magnesium, phosphorus, and sodium.
Different items like turbinado sugar incorporate demerara and muscovado sugar. Both are foul and daintily transformed, yet demerara is much lighter in color than muscovado, and marginally less sodden. Every one of the three can by and large be substituted for one another in formulas, in spite of the fact that muscovado has a ton of dampness and an exceptionally solid flavor, along these lines can some of the time be utilized as a part of more diminutive adds up to attain the wanted impact. In the event that going the other route, from turbinado/ demerara to muscovado, then cooks need to include a tad bit of molasses to the sugar to make it wet enough.
Can Xylitol Help Prevent Tooth Decay As a Mouth Wash?
March 11, 2014 05:25 PM
Xylitol on tooth decay
One of the mouthwashes that has been proven to prevent tooth decay are those containing Xylitol. This is an ingredient that can be proven to promote dental hygiene and also prevent tooth decay. According to dental experts. Xylitol can help with the prevention of tooth decay. Tooth decay is caused by the sugars we eat, and in turn cause plaque and bacteria in the mouth.
Xylitol is a natural sweetener that is found in the fibrous part of plants. Products containing this substance such as tooth pastes, mouthwashes and sprays have been found to substantially reduce the amount of decay that is experienced by many people. Those who are looking for dental products such as mouthwashes may wish to make sure that the product they buy contains this Xylitol.
The reason that this substance is so helpful is that it keeps sugars from breaking down in the mouth and sticking to the gums. Sugar is something which leads to bacteria and decay and needs to be prevented. This is the reason is still people that are going to find xylitol helpful in the prevention of cavities and decay.
Benefits of xylitol
The benefits of xylitol go beyond decay prevention however, the product can also help repair the enamel of the teeth. This is one of its other many uses. Those who choose to use this product in mouthwash will find that is has outstanding benefits for the individual and their overall dental health. Use products such as mouth wash that contain Xylitol and help stop tooth decay in its tracks. This is one premium product that can be used for oral hygiene. It is a great additive and one that can make a difference in oral health. Look for mouthwash containing Zylitol to help prevent tooth decay and preserve oral health for the long term.
Why Is Agave Nectar A Better Sweetener Than Sugar?
February 06, 2014 08:49 PM
What is agave nectar
Agave nectar, also called agave syrup, is sweet liquid that tastes similar to honey, but has unique properties that make it a better sweetener than regular sugar. Agave plant is native to the Mexico region, and the locals have been using it for centuries to produce fermented alcoholic beverages, and incorporate it into various recipes. Agave nectar is less viscous when compared to honey, although it has the same level of sweetness. If compared to sugar, the benefits of Agave nectar are obvious since it has a lower glycemic index.
How Does Tart Cherry Fight Gout?
November 01, 2013 07:44 PM
Tart cherry studies
The problem whether tart cherry is helpful for gout sufferers or not has been intensely discussed during the past few years and after several studies and clinical trials, the researchers discovered that taking tart cherry extract or juice represents an effective solution to treat this health issue and ease its symptoms.
What can tart cherry doHow can tart cherry be helpful in case of gout sufferers? In the first place, cherries have always been used in traditional medicine for promoting normal levels of uric acid within the blood – given that high blood concentrations of this heterocyclic compound lead to gout, modulating them using cherries will automatically prevent this affection from occurring and reduce the pain and swelling it causes.
As mentioned above, there have been various studies targeting the effect of tart cherry on gout and according to the most recent one, consuming approximately 280 grams of cherries will decrease the uric acid levels with approximately 14% and increase the excretion of uric acid at the same time. Whether it is about regular tart cherry juice or medication, the effect will be mostly the same, reducing the pain caused by gout substantially.
What tart cherry contains
It should be noted that tart cherries contain approximately 10 milligrams of vitamin C in their composition, an organic (carbon-based) compound that can successfully ameliorate the inflammation and swelling produced by the gout and promote the uric acid excretion. Vitamin C acts primarily as an antioxidant, determining the human organism to eliminate not only the toxins from the tissues, but also the uric acid crystals that deposit in joints, tissues or tendons.
Whether we talk about tart cherry juice or supplements, this natural solution does not involve any potential health risk for gout sufferers, lowering the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (which is an indicator of chronic inflammation) significantly and helping the blood stabilize the normal uric acid levels.
What Is The Liquid Liver Benefits?
January 09, 2013 12:15 PM
Enemia And Iron
Anemia is a condition that many people suffer from. In some cases, the anemia may be treated easily, since the person can have a mild case. Providing the body with the extra iron can often help those that have been diagnosed with anemia to avoid some of the common problems that appear. Some of these problems may consist of headaches, low energy levels, problems with their nervous system and consuming a variety of different weird substances like dirt and chalk.
In fact, there is a long list of issues and concerns associated with this condition, since low iron can affect people in many different ways. This is one of the main reasons why some health and medical professional recommend and advocate taking liquid liver on a daily basis. With liquid liver, each individual can benefit substantially when they take this supplement to support their body's needs and requirements. For instance, when the iron in their body is low, they may experience low levels of energy throughout their day. They may also become tired and weak in their body when they are trying to work or play.
However, when they take liquid liver on a regular basis, they can benefit in many different ways. Energy Level Increases. When an individual takes this supplement, they can experience an increase in their energy. Which means, they can get more of their daily tasks done without becoming tired and drained. No uncomfortable gas problems. Another benefit to taking liquid liver is avoiding the uncomfortable side effects that come from most non-home iron products.
Easier on digestive system then iron
This is because the liquid liver is easier on the person's digestive system. Lower cholesterol. One of the side effects of various iron supplements is elevated levels of cholesterol. However, when an individual takes liquid liver, they can easily benefit with lower cholesterol levels. Hence, the person can get the b12 and iron that their body's need without having to experience other unnecessary problems and conditions.
Atherosclerosis and Policosanol
July 31, 2010 02:18 PM
Policosanol has been proposed as a treatment for a condition known as atherosclerosis, and prior to discussing the supplement and how it works, we shall first discuss the condition and what causes it. Cholesterol has a bad name, yet without it you could not live. Among its uses are the formation and maintenance of cell membranes, the production of hormones such as testosterone, its use by the liver as a raw material for bile and the metabolism of the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E & K. It also helps protect the arteries from damage.
So cholesterol is necessary. However, it is only sparingly water soluble, and has to be transported by large fatty molecules that are also water soluble: low density and high density lipids (LDL and HDL cholesterol). LDL lipids generally carry cholesterol in the blood to the areas of the body where it is needed, while the HDL lipids carry it back to the liver for metabolizing. Free radical oxidation of LDL lipids causes them to deposit on arterial walls, and progressively block them leading to atherosclerosis. Even small blood clots can block the arteries leading to stoppage of the heart or strokes if the artery is in the brain.
Policosanol is a supplement, obtained in the USA from fatty alcohols extracted from beeswax and wheat germ, and in Cuba from other plant waxes, that is believed to reduce this problem and possibly even help to reduce the extent of atherosclerosis. HDL lipids can also reduce the extent of LDL arterial plaques. Studies are still under way, although the known side effects are only slight and many claim that Policosanol has improved their condition substantially.
The Good and Bad of an iron supplement
April 25, 2010 06:04 PM
Iron holds a crucial role in the physiology of the body. It is a central part of the haemoglobin and myoglobin molecules. Iron is indispensable to the body’s ability to transport gases into and out of the cell. It is necessary in many important enzymes that are involved in energy production, metabolism, and DNA synthesis. Some iron is lost when red blood cells are broken down and excreted in the bile. However, because of iron’s importance, the body is able to conserve iron at all costs, as the kidneys do not eliminate the metal.
The dark side of iron supplementation comes when iron is consumed in amounts that are excessive to the body’s needs. Although unbound iron is more likely to cause oxidative challenges through the generation of free radicals, excessive iron supplementation in any form can cause huge problems for the cell. The overload of iron can cause deterioration of the gut lining, vomiting and diarrhea, abdominal and joint pain, liver damage, loss of weight, and intense fatigue. In children, acute doses as low as 3 grams can cause death.
About one out of every 250 North Americans suffer from haemochromatosis, which is a genetic defect that is common in a lot of those people of northern European descent. This disorder causes the body to accumulate and abnormally store high levels of iron. Those people with haemochromatosis store twice as much iron as others, which places them at increased risk for iron-related diseases. Symptoms of these diseases generally occur after fifty years of age and often include things ranging from fatigue, abdominal pain, achy joints, impotence, and symptoms that mimic diabetes.
Several studies have produced evidence which suggests that high levels of iron contribute to noticeable increases in the risk for cardiovascular disease. This is likely due to non-haeme iron’s aggressive pro-oxidant nature. Iron levels are one of the strongest biochemical markers for the progression of atherosclerosis, which results from increased oxidation of LDL cholesterol. A study in 1995 conducted on Finnish men found that those who had high body stores of iron also had a substantially increased risk of heart attack. Those men who posses the highest levels of stored iron often showed a levels of risk that was up to three times that of men who possessed the lowest levels of stored iron.
Disorders in iron accumulation contribute to a whole host of other disease states, all of which are degenerative in nature. Studies have shown that chronic iron overload contributes to increased infections, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, and various congenitive dysfunctions. The only way to remove excess iron is through blood letting, unless you are a woman with regular menses. That is why, for men, iron overload can provide quite a problematic issue. Recent research has found that long-term supplementation with iron at doses less than 5 mg/day can lead to iron-overload toxicity. Because of this, it is recommended that the upper limit of iron intake be at 5 mg/day when considering a product’s rating. Any product that contains iron at a daily dose greater than this limit is penalized with this rating criterion.
But for those who need iron, it can easily be obtained through a vitamin supplement at your local or internet health food store. Men should avoid iron supplements and products containing iron, but women on the other hand due to monthly blood loss should supplement with iron regularly.
June 18, 2009 10:54 AM
After going through puberty, our bodies gradually decrease in the production of immune and growth factors that generally combat disease. After losing these vital components, we are much more susceptible to the aging process, which shortens our life expectancy. Colostrum and its other components have the ability to fight off bacterial and viral invaders as well as stimulate tissue repair, which is something that becomes increasingly vulnerable as we age by boosting the immune system. For all of these reasons, it is important for an adult to supplement with colostrum.
Colostrum should be collected during the first 24 hours after birth. Also, a colostrum supplement should be processed in a USDA licensed facility. This insures the consumer that USDA guidelines are being followed. Additionally, consumers should make sure that products labeled Colostrum are actually 100% colostrum, not colostrum or concentrates of milk whey. Lastly, colostrum that is mixed with other supplements or herbs and additives may have a diluted colostrum concentration, which means the benefits you could obtain from this supplement may be compromised.
Even though colostrum has no interactions with drugs, side effects may be experienced from a cleansing or healing crisis, which is a necessary but somewhat inconvenient and adverse result. Fortunately, once the healing crisis is complete, you will feel substantially better and in good terms of health. Mediations may need to be re-evaluated by your medical profession for dose and need.
Although colostrum is generally believed to be very safe for those mothers who are pregnant and nursing, one should probably ask their medical professional prior to taking colostrum or its specific agents while they are pregnant. Just like any other supplement or drug, it is better to be overly safe and check with a healthcare provider before jeopardizing a pregnancy.
Colostrum is recommended specifically for children who have not already received the mother’s breast milk, as breast milk would have already provided the benefits that would be obtained through colostrum supplementation. Those children with flu, colds, bacterial or viral infections, or children who have been on long or short-term antibiotics or other drugs are good candidates for colostrum supplementation. Therefore, colostrum supplementation is safe and may be recommended for these types of children.
Many people wonder if colostrum products can pass on mad cow disease. At this time, no case of mad cow disease has been reported in the United States. With awareness of the disease being so high, it is extremely unlikely that one would contract mad cow disease from a colostrum product.
The overall supplementation of colostrum and other products that contain derivatives of colostrum has been shown to extremely safe. Additionally, it has been shown that colostrum is equally effective, whether it be taken by injection or by mouth. It has also been shown that the long-term administration of colostrum preparation is very safe to the human body. Because infants and the elderly are the two main groups that are especially at risk for infections, many people may wonder just how safe colostrum products are for these two groups of people. Not only is oral administration safe, it is also very effective and easily accepted by both of these groups.
Colostrum is available in capsule of tablet forms at your local or internet health food store. Look for name brands like Kal and Source Naturals to ensure quality and purity of the product you purchase.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Colostrum is 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.
Raw Material Costs
September 27, 2008 01:20 PM
NOW has faced more tight supplies and substantial cost increases in 2008 than at any other time in memory. Currently, the entire Psyllium crop from India is in short supply and unusually high demand. As a result, raw material costs are substantially higher. We expect them to remain this way until the middle of 2009. The cost of organic, pure Maple Syrup has already increased about 30%, and this has forced us to increase our own prices in July of this year. Despite drastic cost increases on many individual nut products (from 10-40%), NOW is doing its best to lock current prices until our next wholesale catalog, in December. Both Vitamin C and Vitamin E, due to corn and soy costs, have skyrocketed. And as much as we dislike doing so, we will likely have to raise our Vitamin C prices soon.
These and many other ingredients are up substantially in cost, though we’re doing our best to maintain our excellent everyday values. The weak US dollar is a major contributing factor, as it has lost about 50% of its value vs. the Euro in recent years. Combined with many worldwide factors, our industry is facing price pressures that will lead to unavoidable higher prices. NOW is constantly working on innovative ways to keep our prices low without sacrificing our famous quality.
Can the Fatty Acid CLA Help me Lose Weight ?
July 14, 2008 03:28 PM
CLA is conjugated linoleic acid, a compound known as a trans fatty acid due to its stereochemistry, and while trans fatty acids are generally regarded as harmful, CLA is not because it is conjugated. This means that it has alternate single and double bonds in the backbone carbon chain, and the overall energy of the molecule is therefore reduced.
Linoleic acid itself is one of the omega-6 fatty acids, the 6 referring to the double bond at the sixth carbon from the omega and of the carbon backbone chain. It is believed to be the cause of heart disease and obesity due to its increasing use in the diet at the expense of omega-3 fatty acids. When the molecule is conjugated, however, the fatty acid has different chemical properties to the standard isomer, and natural CLA is mainly found in cattle products, such as beef and dairy products.
Conjugated linoleic acid is present in cattle because it is formed when linoleic acid is converted to oleic acid by rumen bacteria, that are responsible for the microbial fermentation of the feed of ruminant animals such as sheep and cattle. When oleic acid is formed, so too is CLA. However, the form used in supplements is manufactured from vegetable oils, and therefore suitable for use by vegetarians. The usual vegetable oils used are safflower oil and sunflower oil.
It is believed to possess several beneficial properties, including antioxidant and anti-cancer properties, but it is for its ability to reduce body fat that it is best known to most people. A growing amount of information is being collected on the use of CLA as a supplement in the weight loss industry, although there are as yet no definitive mechanisms that explain its action. However, recent studies have indicated it possess properties that can help to reduce the levels of low density lipoproteins in the blood, and reduce the possibility of atherosclerosis due to LDL oxidation by free radicals.
It is also theorized that CLA in some way regulates the prostaglandin biosynthesis that controls the level of hormones in the body that can regulate growth. An increase in growth hormones is one way in which athletes promote an increase in muscle bulk, while reducing their fatty tissue mass. CLA is also purported to increase thermogenesis, and so promote the loss of body fat and overall weight.
Although most studies on the effect of conjugated linoleic acid in reducing body weight have been carried out on animals, recent animal studies have indicated that might not so much reduce weight, as to increase muscle bulk while reducing that of body fat. The end result, therefore, is not a loss of weight, but a leaner body that has more muscle and less fat. All it needs is the results on animals to be transferred to humans, and this, of course, is frequently the case. However, initial studies on the use of CLA in the human diet have been very positive, so the signs are good.
Most scientific progress in human biochemistry has been obtained by virtue of prior studies on animals. These studies, of course, have been beneficial to the animals, making them leaner and much fitter than they otherwise would have been. It is believed that the same will be true of humans taking CLA as a supplement. In fact, recent studies are split about 50/50 with regard to the effects on humans.
While some studies have shown no benefit, about an equal number have shown a positive benefit in the reduction in the mass of fat in the body. Some of the negative studies may have been flawed in measuring total body weight, and not the relative amounts of muscle and fat, and also basing their results on people already with a low level of fat in their body. In that respect, then, the results look very favorable, and taking CLA as a supplement is likely to help you to reduce fat and increase muscle, if not altogether lose total body weight. However, is that not the end result that most people want? They might not want to be lighter in weight, just to have more muscle mass and less fat tissue.
In a study shown at a 2002 Experimental Biology meeting, it was shown that is was possible to substantially reduce body fat mass by taking CLA alone, and when it was taken in association with guarana, both the size and the number of fats cells in the body were reduced by 50%. However it has also been shown that CLA can be oxidized by free radicals shortly after ingestion, and that sesame lignans help to prevent this. Since sesame lignans can also be used in conjunction with CLA to reduce fat by increasing the level of fatty acid oxidation in the liver, than the benefit of CLA seems obvious.
The antioxidant effect of CLA is one possible explanation for its anti-cancer properties, though there are others. Its antioxidant properties also have an anti-catabolic effect, in that it can help to prevent the wastage of muscle tissue. The FDA has published studies that attest to these anti-cancer properties. Diabetics, however, should consult with their physician before taking CLA as a supplement, since there is a body of thought that it reduces sensitivity to insulin. Others believe the opposite, so more studies might be needed in this aspect of the substance before it can be said to be safe for use by diabetics.
Over recent years, the American diet has increased significantly in its content of the undesirable linoleic acid, due to its ubiquitous presence in margarines, and has reduced in CLA due to modern farming methods. Cattle feeding techniques have resulting in a reduction of CLA in meat products and milk, although eggs are still a rich source, and the CLA in eggs can resist temperatures used in normal cooking methods such as frying, boiling, etc.
It is this CLA deficiency in the diet that has been proposed as one of the reasons for the current obesity problem in the USA. The European diet contains more beneficial fatty acids in general than the American diet.
However, there is an increasing body of evidence being accumulated that collectively that suggests almost unequivocally that CLA can help you lose body fat. Unless you are diabetic, there are few if any contra-indications and an increasing number of people are finding it effective not only to lose body fat, but to replace it with hard lean muscle.
DIM For Estrogen Balance
July 10, 2008 03:26 PM
Diindolylmethane from broccoli can help with estrogen balance: There is plenty of evidence to suggest that, but before discussing the whys and wherefores, let's first have a look at the substance, where it comes from and why it should have any effect on estrogen or its balance.
Diindolylmethane is an indole contained in brassicas such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts and cauliflower. It is a dimer of indole-3-carbinol, which is itself formed by the autolytic degradation of glucosinolate glucobrassicin which is found in brassicas. Both this and the dimeric diindolylmethane are currently being tested for their antioxidant, anticancer and antiatherogenic properties, although this type of research has been mainly made on animals. When the cell walls of brassicas are ruptured, the enzyme myrosinase is released, that breaks down the glucobrassicin.
Because diindolylmethane is oil soluble it is more bioavailable to the body in the presence of vitamin E and other lipophilic substances, and these are normally included in oral supplements. However, back to estrogen and its effects upon human estrogen balance. Estrogen is the name for a group of steroids that function substantially as the female sex hormone. They have many effects on the body, including regulation of the menstrual cycle, breast development and promote the formation of secondary female characteristics such as reduced height and muscle mass.
Estrogen is also present in the male, where it regulates several factors pertaining to the reproductive system. It does not, however, take part in the process that determines sexual desire. If all of these properties are considered it would seem logical to believe that estrogen levels could be used to control weight increase, although claims that it can be use to enhance sexual performance seem ill founded: based more on hope than on science!
What science appears to have found, however, is that estrogen dominance, due to an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone levels in the body, can give rise to increased weight, and even obesity, in women. It can also lead to uterine, ovarian and breast cancers, and cervical dysplasia which, while not cancer, can give rise to cervical cancer if not treated. Estrogen imbalance, therefore, is not good news and something to be avoided if it possibly can. So what can be done to avoid it?
The answer is to find a hormonal balance, and this is where diindolylmethane (DIM) comes in. The substance has been found to have a positive effect on the balance between estrogen and progesterone, although eating broccoli will not be sufficient to do the job properly. Insufficient DIM is released by breaking the cell walls of broccoli through chewing to have much effect on the balance, about a kilo of broccoli a day being needed to have any noticeable effect. It is the diindolylmethane supplements that are able to have the desired effect in restoring the hormone balance and eliminating the undesirable effects of estrogen imbalance.
But why should estrogen imbalance occur? What are the factors that cause this dangerous condition, and if it is so common how did our ancestors manage without today's science? The answer to the second question lies in that to the first, but before we discuss that don't go thinking that your ancestors managed through thick and thin. Perhaps yours did, but your life expectancy is significantly greater than that of your parents when they were born. In fact, you don't have to go too far up your family tree to when you would be doing well if you hit forty! So the argument about your ancestors doesn't wash.
In fact, an estrogen imbalance can be caused by several factors: a slow estrogen metabolism that leads to an excess of estrogen because it is not broken down quickly enough is common, but far more common is the effect of pollutants such as pesticides, car exhaust fumes, emulsifiers, household cleaners and even some soaps. They contain chemicals known as xenoestrogens that our body believes to be real estrogens. They can stick to estrogen receptors on healthy cells, and can also prevent true estrogen from binding to the cell it should bind to. This results in an increase in free estrogen that cannot bind to the estrogen receptors that it should. Your ancestors did not have these problems with such 'estrogen mimics' and so managed just fine.
There is also the fact that estrogen can be broken down in the liver by means of two different routes: one leads to a form of estrogen that metabolizes to provide many benefits, such as strong bones and a reduction in heart disease, while the other has the opposite effect of causing cancers, depression, osteoporosis and problems with your immune system. That is by no means the full list: you don't want to see that, believe me!
You might think that if estrogen is dominant over progesterone, then taking progesterone would resolve the problem. It would seem to be a good cure. In fact, it is not a good idea since progesterone can be metabolized into yet more estrogen, making the problem even worse. The real answer is to take a supplement containing the substance that solves the problem by changing the estrogen metabolism pathways in the liver: diindolylmethane. More of the so-called "good" estrogen metabolites are formed, and less of the bad. The actual estrogen levels are not changed, but the way in which the excess estrogen causes harm is changed. That way, it doesn't matter what the imbalance is, the estrogen cannot do ham to your body.
DIM possesses many potential positive benefits when used as a supplement. It can reduce your chances of getting breast, cervical and ovarian cancers, and also acts as a strong antioxidant, and helps to strengthen your immune system. It might help you to lose weight, but more studies are needed before this can be claimed conclusively. However, there is evidence at the moment that it has a weight reducing effect.
Its effect on sexual health is largely unfounded, but the effect of a placebo in this area can be astounding: that indicates how much psychology has to do with sexual performance. Nevertheless, the known and projected benefits of diindolylmethane are so significant that taking a supplement would seem a reasonable thing to do, and although your mom was right about you eating your broccoli, brassicas alone are not a rich enough source for a significant effect.
Neurological Health and CoQ10
February 25, 2007 12:06 PM
Between 1946 and 1965, 78 million Americans were born, creating the largest number of children in U.S. history. This Baby Boom generation has greatly influenced the makeup of American society and undoubtedly w ill continue to do so. Thanks to good nutrition and health care, Baby Boomers are aging well and have an excellent life expectancy. For the first time in history, we have more people turning 60 every day, and record numbers of adults reaching their seventh decade. As a result, neurological diseases associated with aging, such as Parkinson’s disease, are becoming major health care concerns. The good news is CoQ10 has applications for neurological diseases, in addition to its better known use for cardiovascular diseases.
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. CoQ10 is a natural, fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all cells. CoQ10 also is known as ubiquinone (existing everywhere there is human life). CoQ10 is vital to the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the energy-rich compound used for all energy-requiring processes in the body.
Q. Isn’t CoQ10 a supplement for heart health?
A. Yes, it is. Because the heart requires lots of ATP to meet its high energy needs, CoQ10’s function in heart health is well understood. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that when individuals with heart disease take CoQ10, their symptoms improve, sometimes quite dramatically. Supplemental CoQ10 improves the heart’s pumping ability, improves blood circulation, increases tolerance to exercise, and improves the heart’s muscle tone. CoQ10 also is a powerful antioxidant and protects heart tissue from free-radical damage.
Q. How does CoQ10 affect brain health?
A. CoQ10 works in the brain the same way it works elsewhere in the body: it’s essential to ATP production. Nearly all human cells contain tiny structures called mitochondria. Mitochondria are referred to as cell powerhouses because they produce cellular energy. Depending on what each cell’s job is. There can be several thousand mitochondria in one cell. If a cell needs a lot of energy, it will have more mitochondria. This explains why heart cells contain so many mitochondria; the continual pumping of blood requires continual ATP production.
The brain also requires huge amounts of uninterrupted energy to regulate, integrate, and coordinate ongoing nervous system transmissions. To meet this need, ATP production within the mitochondria of brain cells is vital. Since CoQ10 exerts such a powerful influence on heart cells in ATP production, it was a natural progression for scientists to wonder how it affects brain cells. Brain and nervous system research led to the conclusion that the same intracellular principles apply. CoQ10 is produced in the body to assist in ATP production. Without it, ATP cannot be produced.
The most important discovery regarding CoQ10 and the brain is that CoQ10, when formulated with certain ingredients, can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain’s mitochondria. If large amounts of CoQ10 can get into the brain cell’s mitochondria, its ability to make ATP is greatly enhanced.
Q. What is the blood-brain barrier and why is it important?
A. The blood-brain barrier is a unique anatomical structure. The cells that make up the blood vessels that provide blood to the brain are extremely close together. This greatly restricts what can leave the bloodstream and enter the brain. While the blood-brain barrier protects the brain and spinal cord from potentially toxic substances, it also can be a significant obstacle to therapy of central nervous system disorders. Only substances with certain solubilities or those that have a transport system can cross the blood-brain barrier to a significant degree.
Obtaining optimal absorption of CoQ10 is difficult. The CoQ10 molecule is large and inflexible. The easiest and least expensive way to increase absorption levels is with the use of harsh solvents such as propylene glycol. However, at higher doses, these types of chemicals are considered dangerous (neurotoxic) to the person with a serious neurodegenerative disease. It is more difficult, as well as more expensive (considering raw materials, research, and proper manufacturing methods) to promote absorption with less harmful alternatives. However, reputable companies ensure that their products are safe for all their customers. Look for CoQ10 products formulated with vitamin E and other safe ingredients such as Micosolle.
Nearly all CoQ10 supplements enter the bloodstream. But, only CoQ10 supplements with special formulations have been scientifically shown to enter the mitochondria and cross the blood-brain barrier.
Q. If CoQ10 is made in the body, why take supplements?
A. While CoQ10 is synthesized in the body, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirements. Researchers have discovered CoQ10 levels diminish with age and as a result of dietary inadequacies and various disease states. They also have determined some medications significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body.
Although CoQ10 exists in some dietary sources, it may not be realistic to obtain CoQ10 through food alone. For example, it would take approximately 3 pounds of sardines, 7 pounds of beef, or 8 pounds of peanuts to equal 100 mg of supplemental CoQ10.
Q. How does CoQ10 help people with Parkinson’s disease?
A. CoQ10 seems to have several beneficial actions in the illness. Researchers have looked at mitochondria in brain cells and determined people with Parkinson’s disease have reduced activity of Complex I in the electron transport chain. Recent research has proposed the reduced activity of Complex I interferes with the brain-signaling chemical dopamine. Stored and newly synthesized dopamine is depleted. The dopamine depletion causes nerve cell degeneration.
A recent clinical study involved 80 patients with Parkinson’s disease (both men and women). The researchers first evaluated all the participants to establish scores for basic motor skills (measuring the ability to control physical movements such as walking), mental status (whether the person was depressed or experiencing memory loss) and the activities of daily living (whether the person was experiencing difficulty with handwriting, dressing themselves, using utensils such as knives and forks, and so on). This scale is known as the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). This process is known as establishing “baseline values,” that is, the condition of the patient before receiving any treatment.
Participants were divided into 4 groups. Each group received either 300 mg, 600 mg, or 1200 mg of the special form of CoQ10, or a placebo. The researchers observed the participants for 16 months.
The results of the study showed that all the participants who received CoQ10 had smaller declines in function compared to the placebo group, but the smallest decline was experienced by the group taking the highest amount of the special form of CoQ10.
The most significant results were noted specifically in the activities of daily living scores by the people taking 1200 mg of CoQ10 daily. These people retained better ability to feed and dress themselves, speak, walk, and bathe or shower by themselves. They maintained greater independence for a longer time. Parkinson’s disease, as with other neurodegenerative diseases, robs the sufferer of their ability to control the movements of their own body and care for themselves. Supplementation with CoQ10, while not a cure, is the first intervention that showed a slowing in the progressive deterioration of the function associated with this disease.
Q. What were the results of clinical research on Huntington’s Disease?
A. A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study respected type of study, was conducted at the University of Rochester. All of the 347 Huntington’s disease (HD) patients were experiencing some HD symptoms, but were still in the early stages of the disease. The patients (who did not know which drug they were receiving) were randomly assigned to four different treatment groups: 25 percent received Remacemide, 25 percent received CoQ10, 25 percent received both, and 25 percent received a placebo, or sugar pill. The researchers, who also did not know which patients got which drug, watched and recorded their progress for two and one-half years. Remacemide is a new drug made by Astra Seneca that blocks the neurotransmitter glutamate in the brain, that has long been suspected of contributing to the death of brain cells in Huntington’s disease.
Unfortunately, in the CARE-HD study, Remacemide had no effect on the progression of the disease in patients in the early stages. However, the individuals who received 600 mg of CoQ10 per day experienced some slowing of the disease progression. They were able to manage daily activities, such as meal preparation, housekeeping tasks, and personal care longer than those not on CoQ10. They were also able to focus their attention better and were less depressed and irritable. The portion of the studied patients receiving 600 mg of CoQ10 per day experienced a 15 percent decline in the progression of HD. According to the researchers conducting the study, a 15 percent decline in the progression of HD would roughly translate into approximately one more year of independence for patients. This is the very first study from more than a dozen Huntington’s disease patient trails that showed any modification of the course of the illness.
Of note, the effects of the CoQ10 had not abated at the end of the research study. That is, the benefit of using CoQ10, 600 mg per day, was still increasing; this suggests that the longer a patient supplements with CoQ10, the greater the decline in the progression of HD. The next phase of the CARE-HD research will test a higher dose of CoQ10 (1200 mg or more per day), with more patients (over 1000), for a longer period of time (approximately 5 years). This study should improve our understanding of the optimal dose and the total achievable decline in the progression of HD. The CoQ10 product used in the CARE-HD study was designated an Orphan Drug by the FDA. The product utilizes a proprietary, patent-pending delivery mechanism, which is proven to be safe and tolerable at high doses for people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, substantially improving brain tissue levels of CoQ10.
Q. What other diseases could benefit from CoQ10 supplementation?
A. Studies show CoQ10 levels are greatly reduced in Alzheimer’s patients. Mitochondrial abnormalities also are noted; however, research has yet to determine how or why this occurs. Some scientists believe damage to mitochondria is an early feature of the disease. Free-radical damage also is a feature of Alzheimer’s.
In a study of 27 Alzheimer’s patients, subjects were given 60 mg of CoQ10, 150 mg of iron, and 180 mg of vitamin B6 daily. Each patient’s mitochondria activity was effectively activated. All patients continued to experience gradual decline. However, researchers believed that with this combination, the progression was much slower and allowed the patients to experience 1 to 2 years of extended good health.
ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a progressive, fatal, neurological disease. It occurs when the nerve cells in the brain that control voluntary movement gradually degenerate. Investigation of CoQ10 in individuals with ALS is just beginning. Researchers at the Eleanor and Lou Gehrig ALS Center at Columbia University recently conducted a small clinical pilot trial of CoQ10 in ALS. The study was an open label study, which meant that everyone enrolled received CoQ10, 400 mg three times per day. Of the 16 patients originally enrolled, nine patients completed the study. Six of these nine patients experienced some benefits. The patients declined from 0 – 25 percent in functional scores, 6 percent in strength, and 10 percent in breathing ability. These scores reflect a positive trend compared to the 50 percent decline that is seen in the natural history of ALS over the same period of time (5 to 9 months). Citing the need to conduct more studies of the effectiveness of CoQ10 for people with ALS is rapidly and efficiently as possible to get answers to patients and clinicians, another clinical trial is currently underway at the Gehrig ALS Center. This is a pilot study to determine if CoQ10 has short-term effects on motor nerves in the brain using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). The researchers are going to try to “see” if CoQ10 can change the chemical sin the brain’s upper motor nerves of people with ALS, an important next step of the investigation.
Q. Can taking CoQ10 prevent neurodegenerative disease?
A. To date, there have been no studies or research examining whether CoQ10 can prevent these diseases.
Alzheimer’s disease prevention is being clinically investigated. Researchers have determined that people who take certain anti-inflammatory medications seem less likely to develop the illness. A large, multi-centered trial is studying this connection.
Q. How much CoQ10 should I take?
A. Depending on your family history of neurological disease and your disease experience, studies show benefits at doses of 100 to 200 mg of CoQ10 daily. Some studies used doses of up to 1,200 mg per day.
CoQ10’s safety has been evaluated. To date, no toxicities have been reported. Mild stomach upset may occur. Taking CoQ10 with meals usually alleviates this rare effect.
Q. What should I look for in a CoQ10 supplement?
A. Use products which have a strong clinical research track record, supported by product-specific research from reputable institutions, and have been proven to be safe, tolerable and effective in treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. The CoQ10 product you choose should be proven to: be absorbed, enter the blood stream, cross the blood brain barrier and increase mitochondrial levels of CoQ10. If the product you are considering does not have evidence to support these points, keep looking. Once you have found a candidate, examine the product’s safety and efficacy record for neurodegenerative diseases- if the product has not been proven to be safe and effective, keep looking. Good products exist; however, caveat emptor.
CoQ10 supplementation for people with neurodegenerative diseases is supported by contemporary clinical research. CoQ10 is certainly not the only answer to the complex issues of management and treatment of these types of diseases. However, research indicates that it is a bigger piece of the puzzle than physicians and scientists ever imagined. As we continue to study this naturally occurring compound, we are finding more and more benefits to the body.
All CoQ10 is not created equal. For safety and overall effectiveness, use a CoQ10 product that is supported by product-specific research from reputable institution, which is proven to be safe, tolerable and effective at high doses; deviating from this set of criteria may do more harm than good for people with these serious illnesses. Choose clinically tested products from a well-respected company and increase the potential to achieve and maintain brain and neurological health.
Calcium Protects against pregnancy complications…
April 15, 2006 01:34 PM
Calcium Protects against pregnancy complications… Pregnant women may want to take a calcium supplement to help reduce the risk of developing symptoms related to Preeclampsia, report researchers. Preeclampsia is defined as a combination of elevated blood pressure and excess protein in the urine. Untreated, it can yield serious complications, including eclampsia, a combination of Preeclampsia and seizures, which can cause permanent brain, kidney, and liver damage in the mother, and is potentially fatal for the mother and baby. In the study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (2006, vol.194: 639-49), more than 8,300 women pregnant with their first child received 1.5 grams of supplemental calcium per day, starting prior to 20 weeks of gestation, for the duration of the pregnancy. While taking calcium did not substantially lower Preeclampsia risk, it did significantly lower risks of complications related to Preeclampsia, including eclampsia and fatalities, among others.
Benefits of L-Carnitine
February 12, 2006 03:24 PM
Omega-3’s Fight Postpartum depression
January 23, 2006 02:42 PM
Omega-3’s Fight Postpartum depression
Tucson, AZ—Marine-sourced omega-3 essential fatty acids (N-3 EFAs) combat postpartum depression (PPD), according to a study published online in acta Psychiatrica Scandinavia (www.blackwell-synergy.com).
In the eight-week trial, test subjects were randomized to receive 0.5 g/d (n-6), 1.4 g/d (N-3) or 2.8 g/d (n-7) n-3 EFAs (as EPAX omega-3 oil provided by Epax AS, Previously a division of Pronova Biocare AS [www.provona.com]). All groups had reductions in mean scores on Edinburgh Postnatal and Hamilton Rating depression scales (51.5 percent and 48.8 percent, respectively); changes from baseline were significant within each group and when combining groups. The researchers concluded results of the study support further study of n-3 fatty acids as a treatment for PPD.
“Omega-3 fatty acids were assessed in a double-blind dose-ranging trial,” said Marlene Freeman, M.D., director of the Women’s Mental Health Program and assistant professor of Psychiatry, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. “A combination of omega-3 EPA and DHA fatty acids provided by EPAX AS was utilized. Among all three doses, patients with postpartum depression improved substantially during the trial. Scores on depression measures decreased by approximately 50 percent and differences were statistically significant.”
Peaceful Planet Vegan Protein Line... Veglife
December 24, 2005 01:24 PM
Zeaxanthin with Lutein - The clearly-seen benefits of advanced eye protection
August 03, 2005 06:27 PM
Zeaxanthin with Lutein
The clearly-seen benefits of advanced eye protection
In the U.S. and other developed nations, the worst enemy of eyesight is not disease, it is the natural aging process. But even if the advance of years is unstoppable, new research shows that eyesight can be protected as we age. Two little-known carotenoids have been found to protect eyesight and combat the effects of aging upon the retina. Zeaxanthin and lutein, naturally found in many fruits and vegetables, form a natural filter on the retina, protecting the delicate photoreceptor cells from the damaging effects of blue-wave light and the UV radiation of sunlight. The two nutrients have also been found to be a natural antioxidant, further protecting the retina from the oxidation that arises from normal body functions as well as exposure to cigarette smoke, air pollutants, radiation, and environmental toxins.
Source Naturals unites the benefits of both of these nutrients in ZEAXANTHIN WITH LUTEIN, offering one of the most advanced approaches to eye protection available.
Key to Healthy Vision
A Harvard-led study found that eating lutein-rich foods five days per week meant subjects were eight times more likely to have healthy macular pigment density than those who consumed the same foods just once a month. Another study at the University of Florida found that diets rich in lutein and zeaxanthin could substantially (82%) protect the macula. A number of companies offer either lutein or zeaxanthin, Source Naturals combines the benefits of both, just as both are used in the eye.
Part of Your Wellness Program
Bone, RA, et al. (2003). Journal of Nutrition. 133:992-998. Gail, C, et al. (2003).Investigative Opthalmology & Vis. Sci. 44:2461-246. Krinsky N, et al (2003). Annual Review of Nutrition. 23:171-201.
Source Naturals Strategies for Wellness sm
The above information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Lowering cholesterol safely
July 27, 2005 04:10 PM
Lowering cholesterol safely.
By Kim Vanderlinden, N.D., D.T.C.M.
Atherosclerosis and its complications are major causes of death in the United States and have reached epidemic proportions throughout all of the Western world. Heart disease accounts for 36% of all deaths among Americans and ranks as the number-one killer; stroke; another complication of atherosclerosis; is the third most common cause of death.
Foremost in the prevention and treatment of heart disease is the reduction of blood cholesterol levels. The evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that elevated cholesterol levels greatly increase the risk of death due to heart disease. The first step in reducing risk for heart disease is keeping your total blood cholesterol level below 200 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter).
Not all cholesterol is bad; it serves many functions in the body, including the manufacture of sex hormones and bile acids. Without cholesterol, many body processed would not function properly.
Cholesterol is transported in the blood by molecules known as lipoproteins. Cholesterol bound to low density lipoprotein, or LDL, is often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol, while cholesterol bound to high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is referred to as the “good” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure, while HDL cholesterol actually protects against heart disease.
LDL transports cholesterol to the tissues. HDL, on the other hand, transports cholesterol to the liver for metabolism and excretion from the body. Therefore, the HDL-to-LDL ratio largely determines whether cholesterol is being deposited into tissues or broken down and excreted. The risk for heart disease can be reduced dramatically by lowering LDL cholesterol while simultaneously raising HDL cholesterol levels. Research has shown that for every one percent increase in HDL levels, the risk for a heart attack drops three to four percent.
Dietary cholesterol is a major risk factor in developing atherosclerosis. The evidence is substantial. However, several studies have shown that a lower dietary cholesterol intake was associated with up to a 37% lower risk of death from any cause, or an increased life expectancy of roughly 3.4 years.
Although dietary cholesterol intake is an important contributor to atherosclerosis, most of the cholesterol in the body is actually manufactured in the liver. Reducing dietary cholesterol alone is not always sufficient to lower blood cholesterol levels.
In an attempt to reduce blood cholesterol levels, many physicians are ignoring the need to give dietary recommendations and are instead utilizing drugs as the primary treatment. Using drugs before diet is clearly not the best approach, in terms of both effectiveness and cost. In fact, the Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Cholesterol in Adults clearly states: “Dietary therapy is the primary cholesterol-lowering treatment.”
The drugs lovastatin (Mevacor), prevastin (Pravachol), and simvastatin (Zocor) are commonly used to lower blood cholesterol levels. The main side effect of these drugs is liver damage. In fact, due to the seriousness of the possible adverse effects on the liver, it is necessary to have periodic blood tests to determine if the drug is harming the liver. Other side effects include: muscle breakdown, muscle pain, nausea, diarrhea, flatus, abdominal pain, headache, and skin rash.
The most important first approach to lowering a high cholesterol level is to follow a healthful diet and lifestyle. The dietary changes are simple: Eat less saturated fat and cholesterol by reducing or eliminating the amounts of animal products in the diet; increase consumption of fiber-rich plant foods (fruits, grains, and legumes); and lose weight, if necessary. Lifestyle changes include; Regular aerobic exercise; stop smoking; and reduce or eliminate consumption of coffee (both caffeinated and decaffeinated).
Here are the six key recommendations of U.S. Surgeon General, American Heart Association, and the National Research Council’s Committee on Diet and Health:
When there is a need for additional support to the dietary and lifestyle practices that can lower cholesterol levels, it simply makes more sense to use safer and more effective natural alternatives. When evaluating overall effectiveness, both LDL and HDL cholesterol levels must be taken into consideration. When you look at the cost, safety, and effectiveness, it is clear that natural alternatives are substantially superior to standard drug therapy.
Keep in mind that the natural alternatives discussed are, just like the dugs, still best utilized in a comprehensive program that stresses a healthful diet and lifestyle.
Niacin, or vitamin B3, has long been used to lower cholesterol levels. In fact, niacin is recommended by the National CholesterolEducation Program as the first “drug” to use to lower blood cholesterol levels.
The safest form of niacin at present is known as inositol hexaniacinate. This form of niacin has long been used in Europe to lower cholesterol levels and also to improve blood flow. It yields slightly better results than standard niacin, but is much better tolerated, both in terms of flushing and, more importantm long term side effects.
Gugulipid is the standardized extract of the mukul myrrh tree that is native to India. Several clinical studies have confirmed that gugulipid has an ability to lower both cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Typically, cholesterol levels will drop 14% to 27% in a four- to twelve-week period, while triglyceride levels will drop from 22% to 30%.
The dosage of gugulipid is based on its guggulsterone content. Clinical studies have demonstrated that gugulipid extracts standardized to contain 25 mg of guggulsterone per tablet given three times per day is an effective treatment for elevated cholesterol levels, elevated triglyceride levels, or both.
Garlic and onions exert numerous beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, including lowering blood lipids and blood pressure. Numerous studies have demonstrated that both garlic and onions are effective in lowering LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides while simultaneously raising HDL-cholesterol levels.
Without question, the best approach to lowering cholesterol levels is through diet and lifestyle modifications. When additional support is require, there are safer and more effective natural alternatives to commonly prescribed drugs.
The goal of therapy, whether natural or synthetic, is to get blood lipid levels down into target ranges as quickly as possible. Once the target range has been achieved, begin reducing the amount of medicine by half, or take it every other day. Recheck your cholesterol levels in one month. If they have stabilized or continued to improve, you may no longer need the medication. If the levels begin to rise again, return to previous dosage.
If you are currently on a cholesterol-lowering drug, you must consult your doctor before discontinuing the medication.
Cancer fighter found in broccoli
July 27, 2005 10:05 AM
Remember when your mother told you to eat your broccoli? Research shows that mother just might know best. In a recently published paper, Dr. Paul Talalay of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine indicates that studies in his lab show broccoli is rich in sulforaphane, a chemical that works as a powerful anti-cancer compound in laboratory mice.
Other studies have shown that a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables—which include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and others— can significantly reduce the risk of cancer of the bowel, stomach and breast. Until now, the exact reasons why these vegetables had this effect we re not very clear. Until now, that is. According to Dr. Talalay, it appears that at least one anticancer ingredient in the vegetables is sulforaphane, which essentially causes cells to expel cancer-causing toxins. In addition, Dr. Talahay said that this study was the first to show that a high-potency compound isolated from vegetables could accelerate the detoxification process in cells.
The published report outlines how the research team isolated sulforaphane from broccoli, then fed it to a group of mice. When cells in the mice we re examined after five days, the scientists found that the chemical had triggered enzymes known to neutralize carcinogens within cells. Be yond this study, Dr. Talalay indicates that research will shift to the long-term effects of the chemical. “Our prediction is that sulforaphane will block tumor formation in animals and presumably in man.” In earlier studies, Dr. Talalay and others have shown that certain proteins in cells, called phase I enzymes, can take innocent chemicals and turn them into cancer-causing agents.
Other proteins, called phase 2 enzymes, tend to block formation of carcinogens. According to the study, sulforaphane is a potent activator of phase 2 enzymes. The Hopkins researchers will conduct tests to determine how much broccoli must be consumed to establish an effective anti-cancer level of sulforaphane in cells.
Over a decade of research has been done on cruciferous vegetables and there are large databases that confirm that cruciferous vegetables substantially reduce the risk of disease, specifically cancer. Studies show substances in these vegetables that have anti-cancer properties which cause the body to speed up production of enzymes, therefore being capable of neutralizing cancer agents. The studies also show these pre vent damage to our DNA and slow the aging process. In women, metabolic processes are regulated which eliminate the bad (and maintain the good) estrogen, therefore substantially reduce the risk of breast cancer. Shortly after the NCI study was released, John Hopkins School of Medicine revealed similar studies.
ANTIVIRAL PROPERTIES OF ST. JOHN'S WORT
July 15, 2005 09:25 AM
ANTIVIRAL PROPERTIES OF ST. JOHN'S WORT
As stated previously, hypericin has recently gained much of the medical world’s respect as an antiviral agent, with activity against a broad range of enveloped viruses and retroviruses. The effective virucidal activity emanates from a com-bination of photodynamic and lipophilic properties. A recent article in the journal Transfusion details exactly how hypericin works in inhibiting viral activity among cells:
Hypericin binds cell membranes (and, by inference, virus membranes) and crosslinks virus capsid proteins. This action results in a loss of infectivity and an inability to retrieve the reverse transcriptase enzymatic activity from the virion.14 Another recent study, carried out in 1991, focused on hypericin’s ability to inhibit virus activity, more specifically, in the murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV), Sindbis virus, and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). The Sindbis virus was significantly more sensitive than the MCMV virus. The inactivated MCMV, when used to infect cells, was incapable of synthesizing early or late viral antigens. In addition to the direct virucidal effect, when hypericin was added to cells infected with viable MCMV, inhibition was also observed, particularly when the compound was added in the first two hours of infection. The researchers also indicated that the effect was aided significantly by visible light, pointing again to the plant’s photodynamic property.
The study states that hypericin appears to have two modes of antiviral activity: “. . . one directed at the virions, possibly on membrane components, and the other directed at virusinfected cells. Both activities are substantially enhanced by light.”15 And there are other viruses that fall under St. John’s wort’s antiviral blanket. Contemporary research points to the equine infectious anemia virus, the lentivirus, the Sindbid virus, the radiation leukemia virus, and most importantly, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
PYCNOGENOL - MIRACLE ANTIOXIDANT
July 13, 2005 09:36 AM
Virtually each and every day, most of us are exposed to a number of toxic substances. Au to Exhaust, tobacco smoke , pollution, preservatives, and additives continually assault our bio-cellular systems. As a result, our risk of getting a degenerative disease is significantly increased. In addition, the aging process itself is accelerated by the p resence of free radicals. Consequently, premature tissue breakdown can occur. Inevitably, despite our best efforts, our environment will continue to surround us with potentially harmful pollutants. Certainly, there are several things we can do to minimize our health risks, including exercising, eating nutritiously and not smoking. Unfortunately, these measures are rarely enough to substantially decrease our risk of contracting certain degenerative diseases or of getting old before our time. While supplementing our diets with vitamins and minerals is st rongly recommended, certain remarkable, natural substances exist which have recently come to the forefront of scientific research. The most promising of these may be a compound called Pycnogenol, and everyone seems to be talking about it.
Pycnogenol has been associated with:
INFECTIONS AND GARLIC
June 25, 2005 10:12 AM
INFECTIONS AND GARLIC
With the advent of modern antibiotic drugs, garlic lost its status as an effective infection fighter. Unfortunately, Garlic’s past track record was diminished by the arrival of new and potent antibiotics like penicillin. Ironically, several years ago, garlic was reported to be more valuable than penicillin when treating throat infections.26
One reason for this may be that the allicin component of garlic is effective against the streptococci bacteria. Traditional Oriental medicine utilized garlic in a variety of forms to treat all kinds of infections: garlic juice for typhoid, and meningitis, garlic vapors for whooping cough, garlic suppositories for yeast infections and garlic soup for pneumonia.27 According to studies in the Journal of the National Medical Association, Garlic has proved its ability to act as a potent antibiotic against various gram-negative, gram-positive and acid fast bacteria.
In view of the fact that garlic has even been shown to be effective against some antibiotic-resistent organisms, it should be utilized more in standard medical treatments. Several medical practitioners have discovered that like throat infections, ear infections also respond nicely to garlic. The great advantage of using garlic over antibiotics is that Garlic will not kill friendly intestinal bacteria or make one more susceptible to future infections. Antibiotics will. In cases where antibiotics are deemed necessary, they should at the very least be supplemented with garlic.
Current research supports the fact that garlic does indeed inhibit bacterial growth.28 Several strains of Mycobacterium are suppressed by the presence of garlic. For anyone who fights chronic bladder infections, garlic may prove invaluable. It has been shown to inhibit the growth of several organisms associated with urinary tract infections.29
Evidence suggests that garlic can effectively treat bacterial ear infections, sore throats, and infected wounds. Several reports have shown that aged garlic extract is particularly effective for the kind of ear infections that children are prone to develop. (Note: Ingesting raw garlic is not a practical way to utilize its allicin compounds as an effective antibiotic. Too much raw garlic would be required to be effective.)
It is common knowledge that as of now, viruses do not respond to antibiotics and are extremely resistent to other forms of treatment. A virus usually has to run its course, as those of us who suffer periodically from colds and flu know all too well. Because viruses are so hardy, it is important to know that garlic possesses antiviral as well as antibacterial properties. Dr. Andrew Weil M.D. states that the best home remedy he has found for the treatment of colds is to eat several cloves of raw garlic at the first indication that a cold is developing.30 Several laboratory tests have shown that garlic is an effectual treatment for both the influenza B virus and herpes simplex virus.31
Two independent researchers in Japan and Romania have found that garlic is able to protect living organisms form the influenza virus.32 Chinese scientists have studies the effect of garlic on viral encephalitis for almost 30 years.
Clarissa McCord of Cloverdale, British Columbia used garlic extract to treat a stubborn virus that attacks horses. She relates:
“A bottle of liquid garlic administered on two successive days to each animal does the job of curing. One of my race hors es developed the virus symptoms and was to be scratched from the racing program scheduled for the following day. I gave one bottle of liquid garlic to the animal and he improved sufficiently to enter the race. He hit the board first, second and third.”33
In relation to human beings, it would seem that Garlic is especially effective in cases of influenza as both a treatment to shorten the duration of the disease and as a preventative. Again, garlic’s ability to stimulate the immune system seems intrinsically linked to its anti-viral action. Whether the infection is bacterial or viral, garlic mobilizes immune function, thereby potentiating the body’s ability to defend itself against infectious organisms.
Garlic in certain forms is considered a potent antibiotic and can be particularly effective against certain fungal infections. Like viruses, fungal infections are particularly difficult to treat . Traditional medical treatments for fungal infections are usually toxic and can be ineffectual over the long term. To the contrary, garlic has proven itself as an effective anti-fungal agent against candida, aspergillus and cryptococci.
A report from a Chinese medical journal delineates the use of intravenous garlic to treat a potentially fatal and rare fungal infection of the brain called cryptococcal meningitis. In the report, the Chinese compared the effectiveness of the garlic with standard medical treatment which involved a very toxic antibiotic called Amphotericin-B. The study revealed that intravenous garlic was more effective than the drug and was not toxic regardless of its dosage.34
One study using liquid garlic extract found that candida colonies were substantially reduced in mice that had been treated with the garlic. This same study also revealed that garlic stimulated phagocytic activity. This implies that infections such as candida may be controlled because garlic stimulates the body’s own defenses. Applied externally, garlic oil can be used to treat ringworm, skin parasites and warts. Lesions that were caused by skin fungi in rabbits and guinea pigs were treated with external applications of garlic extract and began to heal after seven days.35
Allicin is primarily a fungistatic substance which can slow or completely stop the proliferation of the microorganisms. As an external treatment, garlic has also been found to effectively treat acne and thrush.
GARLIC AS A NATURAL BLOOD THINNER
June 25, 2005 10:03 AM
GARLIC AS A NATURAL BLOOD THINNER
Blood clots pose a significant threat to one’s health and longevity and substantially raise the risk of heart attack or stroke. Blood clots consist of platelets and fibrin. The amount of fibrin in the body is believed to be significantly related to heart attack or stroke risk. In fact, new medical tests are currently being developed to test more carefully for fibrinogen levels in the blood as a predictor for heart attacks and stroke.
The chemical constituents of garlic can actually reduce fibrin formation and help to decrease fibrin that already exists in the blood. Some researchers have even gone as far as to state that Garlic is more effective at preventing blood clots than aspirin therapy.17
Ajoene, a sulfur compound contained in garlic seems to be responsible for its anti-clotting effect. Because ajoene is only viable at room temperature or above, it is not present in raw or freeze-dried garlic. It is believed that adding garlic to the diet can help to increase the breakdown of fibrin from 24 to 130 percent in people who have cardiovascular disease.18
Researchers reported at the First World Congress on garlic that ajoene is such a powerful anti-clotting agent that may prove valuable in cardiac surgeries, including balloon angioplasty, in which blood vessels are artificially dilated to facilitate better blood flow.19
Europeans routinely used garlic as a natural blood thinner which has none of the side-effects associated with synthetic drugs. It should be noted, however, that anyone who suffers form a hemorrhagic disorder (bleeding) should not take commercial garlic products which contain significant amounts of ajoene.
GARLIC AND CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
June 25, 2005 09:59 AM
GARLIC AND CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
Recent research has supported the fact that garlic shows excellent potential in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Disorders of the heart and the circulatory system claim more lives than any other disease. It is the obstruction or clogging of the coronary arteries which causes more deaths that any other factor. The arteries, which supply the heart with blood and oxygen, become increasingly narrower as plaque builds up over time. When blood supply becomes so restricted that a certain portion of the heart is deprived of oxygen, a heart attack occurs.
The two greatest predictors of heart disease are high blood pressure and high blood serum cholesterol levels. Both of these determinants are directly impacted by the therapeutic action of Garlic. What is particularly relevant about the role of Garlic in coronary heart disease is that several studies done on rabbits found that even pre-existing atherosclerotic deposits and lesions could actually be reversed if garlic was consistently consumed.4
Granted, the above study has not been performed on humans, however, its implications are extremely significant. It is important to remember that it is not always what we are eating that causes heart disease, but what we are not eating. Studies like the one just described suggest that even if our diets were high in cholesterol, adding chemical compounds like the ones found in garlic may keep us from developing cardiovascular disease. This might explain why some cultural groups which consume high fat diets do not suffer the coronary consequences so typical of our population.
What is particularly exciting about the potential of garlic for anyone suffering from heart disease is that it can help reverse the disease and substantially reduce the risk of a second heart attack. The longer garlic is used, the better its results are. For example; people who have heart disease showed more improvement after the third year of garlic therapy than before. A possible explanation for this is that using garlic consistently over time progressively reverses hardening of the arteries, therefore the longer the garlic usage, the less the risk of heart attack.5 The New York Times ran an article on garlic in their September 4, 1990 edition. Concerning heart disease and garlic, it stated:
“...most exciting to those attending the conference, which was co-sponsored by Pennsylvania State and the Federal Department of Agriculture, were the results of a three year study in India among 432 coronary patients who had already suffered one heart attack. The patients were randomly divid ed into two groups, with one group receiving daily supple ments of garlic juice in milk. Those who took the garlic sup plements suffered fewer additional heart attacks, had lower blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels and were less likely to die during the study. After three years, nearly twice as many patients had died in the group not taking garlic . . . Patients who drank the garlic supplement were more likely to report such subjective benefits as an increase in vigor, energy and sexual desire, improvements in exercise tolerance, and a decrease in joint pains and asthmatic tendencies.”
CLINICAL APPLICATIONS OF CAPSICUM
June 23, 2005 11:20 AM
CLINICAL APPLICATIONS OF CAPSICUM
Capsicum is a remarkable whole body stimulant that can boost blood flow, tone the nervous system, relieve indigestion, promote sweating, help to cauterize and heal ulcers, ease persistent pain and fight off infection. One very authoritative work on African plants suggests that Capsicum’s “regular ingestion is highly beneficial in hemorrhoids, varicose veins, anorexia, liver congestion and vascular conditions . . .the indigenous inhabitants of Africa and of the Antilles are remarkably free form all of these conditions as they use Capsicum fruit in their diet.”10 Most of the therapeutic actions of Capsicum are attributed to the alkaloid or glucoside content of the herb.11 The latest scientific studies conducted with Capsicum will be discussed in subsequent sections.
Because Capsicum boosts peripheral circulation and stimulates organ secretion, it expedites the therapeutic delivery and action of other herbs. In other words, the medicinal benefits of these herbs reach infected or inflamed tissue more rapidly due to enhanced blood flow.12 Consider the following statement: “Cayenne will insure the rapid and even distribution of the active principles of the rest of the herbs to critical function - al centers of the body, including those involved in cellular respiration, metabolism, data transmission, and neural-hormonal activation. Cayenne is included in several other blends for this reason. In extremely small quantities it can dramatically increase the efficiency of most other herbs.”13 Many health practitioners believe that the key to healing is CAPSICUM stimulation. Capsicum stimulates eve rything from blood flow to peristaltic action in the stomach, to intestinal transit time. The re m a rkable ability of Capsicum to stimulate organ secretion and even heart action makes it one of the strongest natural stimulants known. Se veral different kinds of herbal blends targeting various body systems will utilize Capsicum to boost the formula’s efficacy.
Capsicum is said to be unequaled for its ability to boost circulation and increase heart action. Interestingly, cultures who consume significant amounts of cayenne pepper in their diet have much lower rates of cardiovascular disease.14 Capsicum exerts a variety of desirable actions on the entire card i ovascular system. It has the extraordinary ability to enhance cardiovascular performance while actually lowering blood pressure.15 A quote taken from a card i ovascular publication re a d s , “Capsaicin has also been shown to prolong cardiac action potential in atrial muscle . . .”16 Michael T. Murray, N.D., has stated, “ Cayenne pepper [Capsicum] should be recommended as a food for its beneficial antioxidant and cardiovascular effects.”17 Herbalists have considered Capsicum as a superior “f o o d” for the heart. In fact, in cases where a heart attack is suspected administering capsicum in hot water has been thought to help lessen the severity of the attack. Capsicum can also be placed on or under the tongue in emergencies involving heart attack, stroke or hemorrhaging. 18 Note: Using Capsicum for any heart-related problem, especially a suspected heart attack should never take the place of medical attention or a physician’s care.
CAPSICUM Blood Cholesterol Reducer
Various studies have conclusively demonstrated that Capsicum reduces the risk of developing atherosclerosis (hardening of the a rteries) by reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels .19 Additional clinical studies conducted in India found that when cayenne was ingested along with dietary cholesterol, the typical rise in liver and blood serum cholesterol levels was significantly inhibited. In addition, bile acids and free cholesterol were subsequently eliminated from the body through the stool.20 Interestingly, these tests revealed that using Capsicum was actually more effective in reducing cholesterol that capsaicin alone.2 1 Daniel Mowrey, Ph.D., emphatically points out that this is just one of many examples of the superiority of whole botanicals as opposed to their isolated components.22 Note: Using Capsicum in combination with Hawthorn is a particularly good cardiovascular tonic.
Blood Pressure Equalizer
While an added bonus of Capsicum’s capability to lower blood serum cholesterol is a decrease in blood pressure, additional evidence strongly suggests that the herb initiates other mechanisms that fight hypertension .23 “Cayenne, according to another study, also reduces the blood pressure in an even more direct manner: a number of years ago, a team of researchers discove red that capsaicin acts in a reflexive manner to reduce systemic blood pressure, a kind of coronary chemoreflex.”24 Adding Garlic to Capsicum creates an even better therapeutic blend for treating hypertension.
Blood Detoxification CAPSICUM
“Cayenne is a kind of catalyst in the blood purification process . . . it acts as a diaphoretic, stimulating the excretion of wastes in the swe a t . ”25 Because Capsicum stimulates organ secretion and boosts peripheral blood flow, it would only stand to reason that it would also facilitate the faster removal of toxins from the bloodstream and lymphatic system. You may have already noticed that Capsicum is frequently added to blood-purifying herbal combinations. Circulatory Booster Researchers have found that the simulating action of Capsicum on surface capillaries can help to pre vent cold hands and feet.2 6 For this reason, it may be helpful for Reynaud’s Syndrome. Old remedies using Capsicum have even recommended placing it in socks to warm the feet and to help prevent frostbite. An old folk cure for a chilled body was a steaming hot cup of Capsicum tea. Free Radical Scavenger The rich flavonoid content of Capsicum gives it significant antioxidant capabilities. A recent study conducted in 1995 showed that Capsicum has a higher ascorbic acid content than chiles from the jalapeno or serrano varieties .27 Vitamin C and bioflavonoids can scavenge for dangerous free radicals which cause tissue damage and can predispose organs to degenerative diseases. Free radicals are found everywhere and are created as by-products of metabolic p rocesses including the act of breathing itself. Pollutants can expose the body to free radicals. An interesting study done in Mexico City and published in 1993 found that Capsicum extract was able to modulate the mutagenic activity of urban air samples.28 In other words, these potentially dangerous nitro - a romatic compounds found in polluted air were kept from mutating by red chile extract.29 Chemical breakdowns of Capsicum have also found that CAPSICUM the pepper is high in Provitamin A, which significantly contributes to its healing ability and immune fortification.30 Anti-Carcinogenic Compound Anti-cancer research recently tested Capsicum on laboratory rats and found that it does indeed demonstrate anti-cancer properties by inhibiting certain enzymes which can initiate the mutation of cells.31 What this implies is that taking Capsicum can afford the body some protection against the cellular mutation which occurs in malignant growths. Capsicum actually inhibited the formation of dangerous metabolites under laboratory conditions where they should have normally been activa t e d .3 2 This study implies that Capsicum may have many more sophisticated bio-chemical actions than previously thought.
An Impressive Pain Killer
Capsaicin has recently emerged as a remarkably effective pain reliever and has become the subject of recent clinical research . Applying capsaicin in cream or ointment form to painful joints, scar tissue or other painful conditions involving peripheral nerves confuses pain transmitters. In other worlds, capsaicin temporarily disrupts sensory nerve cell biochemistry there by impeding the relay of pain sensations from the skin surface. It does this by inhibiting a neurotransmitter called substance P. This specific compound is thought to be the main mediator of pain impulses from peripheral nerve endings.33 Substance P has also demonstrated its ability to inhibit inflammatory pain generated in arthritic joints in much the same way.34 Today, several over-the-counter topical preparations utilize capsaicin for the pain of arthritic joints. The ability of Capsicum to control severe and unresponsive pain is significant, to say the least. Modern clinical utilization of topical capsaicin may offer signifi-cant relief for a number of painful conditions including: diabetic neuropathy, cluster headaches, post-amputation pain, post-mastectomy pain, shingles and painful scar tissue.35
In the early spring of 1996, prime time national news show s reported that scientists had found that individuals who had suffered from chronic pain in post-surgical scars (heart bypass, arterial grafts, etc.) were successfully treated with topical preparations containing capsaicin. While this may have been news to many of us, clinical studies had been already published for several years that capsaicin held profound value for various kinds of pain which did not respond to established medical treatments. Typically surgical scars and regions around them can produce persistent pain or can be very sensitive to the touch even when completely healed. This type of pain phenomenon seems to respond well to capsaicin ointments and creams.
When capsaicin preparations were applied following mastectomy or breast reconstruction, pain was significantly relieved. Se veral double blind studies found that using capsaicin creams four times daily for 4 to 6 weeks resulted in much less frequent occurrence of sharp, jabbing pain.3 6 All thirteen patients studied had a 50 percent or greater improve m e n t .3 7 Various unpleasant sensations other than pain also improved with topical applications of capsaicin creams.38
MOUTH SORES FROM RADIATION OR CHEMOTHERAPY
A fascinating study conducted at the Yale Pain Management Center discove red that capsaicin could ve ry significantly lessen pain caused by mouth sores which frequently develop after chemotherapy or radiation.39 Apparently delivering the capsaicin in the form of soft candy (taffy) enabled the substance to be retained in the mouth long enough to desensitize the nerve endings causing the pain. Each one of the eleven case studies re p o rted that their pain had decreased and in two patients, it stopped entirely.40
Diabetic neuropathy is a painful nerve condition which can develop in cases of prolonged diabetes. Several double-blind studies have supported the considerable value of capsaicin creams for relieving the pain associated with this disorder.41 The results of a controlled study using Capsicum for seve re cases of diabetic neuropathy which did not respond to conventional therapy were published in 1992. A cream containing Capsicum was applied to painful areas four time a day and pain was carefully e valuated for 8 weeks at two-week intervals. The results we re impressive, to say the least. In the 22 patients who used the Capsicum the following results we re re c o rded: “Capsaicin tre a tment was more beneficial than vehicle treatment in the overall clinical improvement of pain status, as measured by physician’s global evaluation and by a categorical pain severity scale . . . In a follow-up study, approximately 50 percent of the subjects reported improved pain control or were cured . . .”42 No t e : While there was a burning sensation when the Capsicum c ream was first applied, some subjects found that its magnitude and duration lessened with continued application.43
The FDA has approved capsaicin-based ointments for the treatment of pain that results from diseases like shingles. Again, numerous studies have documented the value of capsaicin for decreasing the miserable nerve-related pain associated with shingles. The general consensus derived from these tests were that approximately 50 p e rcent of people suffering from shingles responded well to capsaicin creams, some even after 10 to 12 months.44
Note: If blisters accompany a shingles outbreak, it is better to wait until they have healed before using any capsaicin-based ointments or creams.
RELIEF FOR BURNING FEET
Frequently an uncomfortable “burning” sensation in the feet will occur in many people, particularly in diabetics. As ironic as it may seem, using capsaicin creams may actually alleviate this burning. “In various studies, diabetics who treated their burning feet with capsaicin got greater improvement and we re able to walk more easily than those not using the cream.”45 In addition, using topical applications of capsaicin as opposed to strong, oral drugs is much more preferable.
Clinical tests have confirmed that topical capsaicin ointments substantially alleviate the miserable pain that characterizes osteoand rheumatoid arthritis.46 These studies revealed that using 0.075 capsaicin cream reduced tenderness and pain.47 Dr. Michael T. Murray writes: “ . . . seventy patients with osteoarthritis and thirty - one with rheumatoid arthritis received capsaicin or placebo for 4 weeks. The patients were instructed to apply 0.025 percent capsaicin cream or its placebo to painful knees four times daily. Significantly more relief of pain was reported by the capsaicin-treated patients than by the placebo patients throughout the study . . .”48 Anyone suffering from osteo or rheumatoid arthritis should evaluate the effectiveness of capsaicin ointments for joint pain. Ester Lipstein-Kresch, M.D., has studied the effectiveness of capsaicin creams for arthritis and has stated: “You need to apply it three or four times a day on the affected area for at least two weeks before you’ll see any improvement. An initial burning sensation at the site is not unusual for the first few days, but this goes away with continued application.”49 Note: Capsaicin is also useful for tennis elbow due to its ability to block the transmission of pain.
MIGRAINE HEADACHES (CLUSTER TYPE)
Topical applications of capsaicin ointments intranasally may also help to relieve the pain of a specific kind of migraine headache called cluster headaches. Cluster headaches are characterized by s e ve re pain which typically radiates around one eye. The term “cluster” refers to the fact that these headaches tend to occur in clusters of one to three per day and can recur at intervals. Headache pain and severity we re reducing in groups using intranasal capsaicin.5 0 This type of capsaicin treatment should be done under a physician’s care. There is some speculation that capsaicin may be more effective in pre venting migraines before they develop into a full blown attack.51
CLA and Cows
June 22, 2005 09:52 PM
CLA and Cows
Nutritional developments like that of CLA couldn’t come at a better time. America is a nation obsessed with weight, but successes in battling weight seem harder and harder to come by. Is there a nutritional reason for this? Have we been barking up the wrong tree in recent years, starving ourselves for fear of gluttony rather than looking at broader nutritional reasons for fat accumulation? For example, Dr. Cook says that modern nutritional dogma is that fat is bad. “I’m not sure the dogma’s right. We need to get down to very specific fatty acids.”51 One of the most exciting developments coming from CLA research is that modern animal-raising techniques may be partially responsible for those of us who eat meat getting fat around the middle, even though our consumption of meat may have declined or, at least, stayed about the same in recent years.
CLA has been declining in our diet. This one nutrient’s lack may mean many of us are gaining fat, despite eating less overall fat.52
This desire to simply eliminate fats without looking at the broader nutritional picture has its roots deep in our culture. The desire to starve ourselves to lose weight goes back centuries. We have often thought weight gain came solely from lacking self-control when, often, nothing could be further from the truth.
Take for example the experiences of conscientious objectors during World War II. These men who chose, for religious reasons, not to fight in the war, contributed in other ways. One group at the University of Minnesota underwent forced starvation to help scientists learn ways to help concentration camp victims recover after liberation.
Science learned many useful things, but one thing stands out. The objectors grew more hungry as they recovered and ended up weighing five percent more after they recovered than before the experiment began. (The same can be said for refugees and concentration camp victims, who also weighed more, on average after their ordeals than before.)53 This idea of dieting being the full answer to weight loss still persists, often tragically. Many have died of anorexia, obsessed with self-image. Others have died directly from ill-conceived meal replacement programs.54 In the 1980s, Americans spent $15 billion on diet soft drinks alone,55 but consumers weighed more on average when the decade was over than when it began. You’d think all of this energy and dieting spent on the effort would have helped people lose weight. (Thankfully, many people have succeeded in losing weight and keeping it off. According to Dr. Pariza, this may well be the most significant part of CLA, not so much in losing the weight, but in helping people keep it off.56)
To drive the point home further, consider your parents. They ate a diet that was likely higher in fat than yours. They never saw “lite” versions of snacks in the store. Yet they, in general, weighed less than we do. Why? Surely exercise may have had something to do with it, but, no one has the complete answer. It seems likely that nutrition too played a role. CLA itself may hold part of the reason. As we have seen, CLA nutrition means less fat and more protein in our bodies. Recent research is showing that the amount of CLA in cows has dropped substantially since the times of our parents. In 1963, scientists found that CLA was as much as 2.81 percent of milkfat. The amount of CLA in the milk products varied with the seasons. At some times during the year, cows ate grass. At other times, they ate feed. However, in 1992, Pariza and his colleagues did a large food survey and found that this variation in CLA is no longer occurring. Furthermore, the amount of CLA in dairy products rarely gets above 1 percent of the milkfat. 57
In another research paper in 1994, scientists noticed that Australian cows have as much as three or four time the amount of CLA in the meat from similar American animals. Why? These differences probably “reflect different feeding conditions.” 58
Today, farmers use more efficient feeding methods that rely less heavily on natural grasses. This means less CLA in the meat we eat, and less CLA can mean a higher percentage of fat on our bodies. Consider too that skim milk contains virtually no CLA with its no fat content. This lack of CLA may actually hinder some people’s efforts to lose weight.
The lesson here seems to be that gluttony guilt would be better focused on balanced living. Healthy lifestyles coupled with the right supplementation can make a difference. CLA, though no magic bullet, adds to this lifestyle and could be the key that finally opens many weight (and fat) management doors. It could help many people keep the weight off.
An Essential Fatty Acid
June 22, 2005 09:42 PM
An Essential Fatty Acid
When most people think of fat, they think of the white gooey stuff that deposits around the waist or around the thighs. In many ways, it can be tempting to spell it “fatt”—making it an unspeakable, four-letter word. But at the level of the cell, at the level of molecules, fat means something more complicated. First of all, fat is one method the body uses to store energy for long periods. When we eat, we must either immediately burn the fuel as energy, or store it as fat or as protein for muscle. Fat, therefore, is one way our body tries to make something useful from food. Furthermore, fat serves a vital function in each cell. The membranes of our cells are all made of fat—a collection of fatty acids really. Every cellular function must pass through this barrier.
Hormones act on fat, energy passes through fat, life proceeds because of fat. Fat, then, is not a dirty word. It is vital. Scientists have identified more than 100 fatty acids, and many more fatty acids could theoretically exist. 4 The body produces all the fatty acids it needs except three—linoleic acid, arachadonic acid and linolinic acid. Much the way certain vitamins like vitamin C are essential to good health and are not produced naturally, these acids are essential, hence their name—essential fatty acids. The body can produce linolinic acid and arachadonic acid from linoleic acid, so in some senses, the only vital fatty acid is linoleic acid.
Linoleic acid sits like a highway of some 58 atoms of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen.5 The carbon is the center line with the hydrogen and oxygen being the cars traveling along the way. (Thousands of chemicals contain these three elements in nature. It is the order of these cars, and the varied shapes of the highway, that lead to many different kinds of chemicals.) The highway of linoleic acid sits curved like a mountain switchback. Conjugated linoleic acid is basically a straighter version of linoleic acid. Scientists have studied CLA at least since the 1930s.6 These studies show that bacteria in the stomach convert linoleic acid into CLA.7
CLA occurs naturally in many foods including some vegetable oils, which are the best sources for linoleic acid, but the best source of CLA is in beef, veal and certain dairy products.8 Dr. Mark Cook, who began working with Pariza around1990, said the reason that sheep and cows and other similar animals provide higher sources of CLA is because these animals are ruminants—they have multiple stomachs for bacteria to convert linoleic acid in, instead of one, as in humans.9 The chemistry of CLA really isn’t that significant to any but a researcher, but, in essence, a double bond of two of the carbon atoms switches position from its position in linoleic acid.10 Instead of having two atoms between a pair of double chemical bonds, as in linoleic acid, there is only one atom in between. This is why chemists named it conjugated linoleic acid. This chemical chain can exist in several forms with the double bonds at positions 9 and 11, positions 11 and 13 or at positions 10 and 12.11 Hence, there are several forms of CLA. Which ones are most effective in providing nutrition, or if they are equally effective, is still a question somewhat unresolved, although it is unlikely that it is the 11,13 version.12 What has been resolved is that CLA is one of the most important, and most exciting nutrients isolated in recent years. And there’s good reason to look at supplementing it into your diet. Why? Because we may not be getting as much of it as we once did, particularly in the United States.13 Cows and other animals have traditionally eaten fresh grasses as a way of getting nutrition, but agricultural development makes it more efficient and cost-effective to provide cattle feed grains and other means of nutrition, instead of natural grasses. That seems to mean that the cows today provide much less CLA in their beef than those of only a generation ago. One study out of Australia showed that cattle in that South Pacific nation had more than twice the amount of CLA than American cows. The reason may well be differences in feeding patterns. As evidence for this, have you ever wondered why it is that Americans, despite eating less fat and meat than a generation ago, end up being more fat than their predecessors? Indeed, America’s obesity rate is up substantially over the last 15 years.14
Declining amounts of CLA may explain this disturbing trend. But more on that later.
The important role the liver plays in maintaining health
June 21, 2005 04:56 PM
Most practitioners who practice various forms of natural medicine know the important role the liver plays in maintaining health in general. The liver is involved in thousands of biochemical mechanisms making it second only to the brain in importance and complexity. Natural health practitioners are also acutely aware of the detrimental effects on the liver of modern living, with its chemicals, excessive fat intake, pesticides, hormones, and stress. This suggests that we as a culture are in need of liver support. History suggests, and modern research is supporting, that botanicals have an important role to play in supporting a healthy liver.
The liver has an almost miraculous ability to biochemically transform, break down, store, eliminate, and build up the plethora of chemicals to which it is exposed. Many botanicals have a very specific effect of modifying these biochemical processes. Some botanicals can enhance the liver?s phase I (cytochrome P450) and phase II (glutathione conjugation) detoxification processes, promote the flow and production of bile (one means of eliminating toxins), inhibit the attachment of viruses or chemical antagonists to hepatocytes, strongly enhance the liver?s powerful antioxidant systems, or promote the regeneration of liver tissue-the liver being the only organ in the body except the skin able to regenerate itself. Many botanicals have been used historically for promoting liver health. Today, modern research is confirming these benefits while shedding light on their mechanisms of action. Following is an overview of a number of these botanicals.
Milk Thistle Silybum marianum
The extract of the seeds of milk thistle is perhaps the most well researched of all the liver supportive botanicals. Part of its benefit has been in its ability to scavenge free radicals and to stimulate the regeneration of hepatocytes. In Germany, it is the botanical extract of choice for use in supporting a healthy liver. Typically, an extract yielding a minimum of 70% silymarin (a specific class of flavonoids) is used clinically at a dose of approximately 420 mg of the extract daily (Morazzoni and Bombardelli 1995).
Schizandra Schisandra chinensis
Schizandra, known as bei wu wei zi in China, is one of the most widely used tonics of Chinese herbalism. Its original use was to support the health of the heart, kidneys and lungs and as a longevity tonic. Modern research has focused attention on its role as an adaptogen and for supporting a healthy liver. Adaptogens are substances that positively affect overall health by reducing stress mechanisms which can contribute to a number of biochemical reactions that can be detrimental to health. While the mechanism of action of adaptogens has not been definitively determined, the existing literature suggests they work endocrinologically through the pituitary and adrenals and substantially reduce the negative effects that stress has on the system (Wagner et al. 1994). In China and Japan, the modern use of schizandra has focused on its benefit in those in need of liver support. In one review of its pharmacological activity, stabilization of liver enzymes was reported in more than 5,000 people. The benefits were experienced within 20 days of administration of schizandra with 75% of patients returning to normal values (Chang and But 1986). A limited number of controlled studies similarly reported on the beneficial effects of the equivalent of 1.5 grams of schizandra for reducing elevated liver enzymes (Liu 1991). There are three primary mechanisms of action of schizandra reported with regards to its ability to support a healthy liver: 1) its ability to reduce lipid peroxidation induced by a number of different antagonists (antioxidant activity); 2) induction of hepatomicrosomal cytochrome P-450; 3) stimulation of protein biosynthesis and liver glycogen (Liu 1991). Such mechanisms make schizandra ideal as a liver-supportive botanical that is underutilized in the West.
Bupleurum Bupleurum chinense, B. falcatum
Bupleurum, also known as chai hu in China, is perhaps the most important of liver-supportive botanicals in China and Japan, and, like schizandra, is far underutilized in the United States, except by traditional Chinese herbalists. Traditionally, it has been regarded as an herb that helps to normalize the function of the liver from a traditional Chinese perspective. Modern research has identified a group of compounds known as saikosaponins that strongly support liver health (in humans and rats). Mechanisms of action specifically regarding liver health identified for bupleurum include anti-inflammatory activity, as well as its ability to stimulate the production and release of bile, thus facilitating the detoxification process (Wagner et al. 1996).
Sho-Saiko-To Minor Bupleurum
In Chinese herbalism, herbs are seldom prescribed singularly. Rather they are combined according to very sophisticated principles of formulation based on the differential diagnosis of the patient. One of the most widely used and researched botanical formulas for the health of the liver used in China and Japan is Sho-Saiko-To, known in China as Xiao Chai Hu Tang (Minor Bupleurum). This classic formula consists of the following botanicals: ginger, scutellaria, jujube, ginseng, licorice, pinellia and bupleurum. It is widely used throughout Asia for supporting liver health and currently is the subject of phase II clinical trials at Sloan Kettering. The formula with its main ingredient, bupleurum, was first introduced in Japan by Chinese Buddhist priests between the 6th and 8th centuries. Modern research suggests that Sho-Saiko-To modulates the immune response, specifically in addition to other mechanisms, by increasing levels of interleukin and interferon (Huang et al. 2001).
To the same extent that herbs are seldom used singularly in Chinese herbalism, they are similarly used within a broader context that incorporates dietary and other lifestyle changes to support the botanicals. In my clinic, I routinely recommend that patients eliminate alcohol, coffee, sugar, and refined foods from their diet and eat whole grain foods, fish, and several servings of green vegetables daily along with their herbal program. For these individuals this is a simple program to follow, and many are able to live a normal productive life with a greater level of liver health. Such a liver-supportive program must be maintained as a way of life to lessen the burden that modern society and exogenous factors put on our livers.
The herbal world offers a potential natural health care approach that focuses on protecting and restoring the health and functioning of the liver. Both traditional experience and modern investigation suggest that botanicals can play a role in world health, specifically in promoting liver health.
The use of botanicals should be used under the guidance of a qualified health care professional. The combined use of conventional and natural therapies may not be appropriate. Before attempting to combine such therapies, discuss your therapeutic options with your primary health care provider.
Chang HM, But PH. 1986. Pharmacology and applications of Chinese materia medica. World Science. Singapore. Huang et al. Semi-quantitative analysis of cytokine mRNA expression induced by the herbal medicine sho-saiko-to (TJ-9) using a gel doc system. J Clin Lab Anal 15: 199-209. Liu GT. 1991. Pharmacological actions and clinical uses of Fructus schizandrae in recent advances in Chinese herbal drugs-actions and uses. Scientific Press Beijing. Morazzoni P, Bombardelli E. 1995. Silybum marianum (Carduus marianus). Fitoterapia LXVI (1):3-42. Wagner H, Noerr N. Winterhoff K. 1994. Plant adaptogens. Phytomedicine 1: 63-76. Wagner H, Bauer R, Peigen X, Jianming C, Offermann F. 1996. Chinese Drug monographs and analysis: Radix Bupleuri (chaihu). Verlag fuer Ganzheitliche Medizin Koetzting/Bayer. Wald, Germany.
Michael Tierra, L. Ac., O.M.D., is a clinician and world-renowned author of the best-selling Way of Herbs and Planetary Herbology. As product formulator for Planetary Formulas, he draws on 30 years of clinical experience to create formulas renowned for their dependability and effectiveness.
Cancer fighter is found in broccoli
June 14, 2005 06:09 PM
Cancer fighter is found in broccoli
WASHINGTON (AP) - Remember when your mother told you to eat broccoli? Scientists say they've proved mother knows best.
Dr. Paul Talalay of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said in a paper published today that studies in his lab show broccoli is rich in sulforaphane, a chemical that works as a powerful anti-cancer compound in laboratory mice. Studies have shown that a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower, can lower the risk of cancer of the bowel, stomach and breast. How those vegetables caused the effect wasn't clear.
Now, Dr. Talalay said, it appears that at least one anti-cancer ingredient in the vegetables is sulforaphane. It works by causing cells to expel cancer-causing toxins. He said this is the first time a high-potency compound has been isolated from vegetables and has been shown to accelerate the detoxification process in cells. Dr. Talalay said his team isolated sulforaphane from broccoli, then fed it to a group of mice. When cells in the mice were examined after five days, the scientists found that the chemical had triggered enzymes known to neutralize carcinogens within cells. Research, Dr. Talalay said, will shift to the long-term cancer-fighting effects of the chemical. "Our prediction is that sulforaphane will block tumor formation in animals and presumably in man," he said. Nutrition and medical scientists are trying to find ways to prevent cancer through a diet rich in foods that have anti-tumor properties.
In earlier studies, Dr.Talalay said, he and others have shown that certain proteins in cells, called Phase I enzymes, can take innocent chemicals and turn them into carcinogens, or compounds that can give rise to cancer by disrupting the genetic pattern in cells. Other proteins, called Phase 2 enzymes, he said, tend to block formation of carcinogens. Sulforaphane, he said, is a potent activator of Phase 2 enzymes. "There is mounting evidence that if you are able to raise the Phase 2 enzymes, this will divert the carcinogenic compounds from damaging the [genes]," Dr. Talalay said. "By tilting this balance toward Phase 2 enzymes, we can achieve protection from cancer." The Hopkins researchers will conduct tests to determine how much broccoli must be consumed to establish an effective anti-cancer level of sulforaphane in cells. Over a decade of research has been done on cruciferous vegetables and there are large databases that confirm that cruciferous vegetables substantially reduce the risk of disease, specifically cancer. Studies show substances in these vegetables that have anti-cancer properties which cause the body to speed up production of enzymes, therefore being capable of neutralizing cancer agents. The studies also show these prevent damage to our DNA and slow the aging process. In women, metabolic processes are regulated which eliminate the bad (and maintain the good) estrogen, therefore substantially reduce the risk of breast cancer. Shortly after the NCI study was released, John Hopkins School of Medicine revealed similar studies.
Due to these study results, the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, John Hopkins School of Medicine and the FDA have all reached out to inform the public of the anti-cancer compounds found in cruciferous vegetables, and are advocating the daily consumption of these vegetables. The average American has been eating only 4 and one half pounds of these vegetables per year!
America's Most Wanted
June 14, 2005 05:23 PM
America's Most Wanted
by Brian Amherst Energy Times, January 6, 2000
The United States eats well, a little too well, according to experts. Amply supplied with a large supply of high-calorie food, our diets might seem to be chock full of every conceivable nutrient. Well, to the question "Getting all the right vitamins, minerals and other nutrients?" the most appropriate answer seems to be "Not exactly." Eating a lot doesn't equal eating a lot of the most important vitamins and minerals. So, which vitamins and minerals are likely to show up in short supply in the typical American diet? Calcium certainly sits at the top of list. According to the most recent Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals, which is conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), women and girls age 12 and up are not consuming adequate calcium from their diet. Research reveals that about 1200 mg. day suffices for those over age 50 and 1000 mg a day should be adequate if you're between the ages of 19 and 50. Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Stanford University, ". . .osteoporosis is a pediatric disease." For long-range protection against that bone-weakening disease, kids should eat calcium-rich, low-fat dairy products and plenty of leafy greens (broccoli, cabbage, kale) as well as salmon (with bones), seafood and soy. But the calcium campaign does not end in early adulthood. Bone mass begins to deteriorate at about age 30. Menopausal hormonal changes can exacerbate bone brittleness. Medical conditions, including cancer, liver disease and intestinal disorders; prescription drugs; tobacco and alcohol indulgence; or a decline in activity, especially the weight-bearing kind, also jeopardize bone strength. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about one in every two American women will break a bone after age 50 due to osteoporosis. That translates into about half a million fractured vertebrae and more than 300,000 shattered hips. Frequently, those breaks are life-threatening.
The critical role of calcium in many body functions is perhaps the most extensively clinically documented among nutrients. Researchers in the Department of Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, reviewed epidemiological and clinical studies conducted over the past two years on the relationship between dietary calcium and blood pressure (J Am Coll Nutr October 1999: 398S-405S). "Nearly 20 years of investigation in this area has culminated in remarkable and compelling agreement in the data," the researchers report, "confirming the need for and benefit of regular consumption of the recommended daily levels of dietary calcium." Investigators at the State University of New York, Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, presented results of their studies of calcium and vitamin C and gum disease at the June 26, 1998 meeting of the International Association for Dental Research. Two separate inquiries revealed that people who consumed too little calcium as young adults, and those with low levels of vitamin C in their diets, appear to have nearly twice the risk of developing periodontal disease later in life than folks with higher dietary levels of either nutrient.
Calcium: Much Documented Researchers offer extensive evidence of calcium's benefits on many fronts: n Osteoporosis poses a threat to older men as well as women, according to Randi L. Wolf, PhD, research associate at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Wolf presented her award-winning study to an October 3, 1999 meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Dr. Wolf suggests that men increase their consumption of calcium, particularly after age 80, to avoid age-related declines in the amount of calcium absorbed. According to Dr. Wolf, "It appears that the hormonal form of vitamin D, which is the main regulator of intestinal calcium absorption, may have an important role. We are conducting more research to better understand the reasons for why calcium absorption declines with age in men." n Scientists at Tufts University in Boston did some earlier work on the calcium-vitamin D connection and reported it in the September 4, 1997 New England Journal of Medicine. Using the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) increased recommended daily intake of 1200 milligrams of calcium and 400 to 600 international units of vitamin D for people over 50, the Tufts researchers found that with supplementation of the nutrients, men and women 65 and older lost significantly less body bone and, in some cases, gained bone mineral density. n Two studies published in American Heart Association journals show that atherosclerosis and osteoporosis may be linked by a common problem in the way the body uses calcium. The September 1997 Stroke revealed that, in a group of 30 postmenopausal women 67 to 85 years old, bone mineral density declined as atherosclerotic plaque increased. Researchers reporting in Circulation (September 15, 1997) advanced the theory that the osteoporosis-atherosclerosis connection may be related to a problem in handling calcium. n For people who had colon polyps removed, taking calcium supplements decreased the number of new polyps by 24% and cut the risk of recurrence by 19%, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, School of Medicine. The study, published in the January 14, 1999 New England Journal of Medicine, was a first in crediting calcium with anti-cancer properties.
The D Factor
Without adequate vitamin D, your absorption of calcium slips and bone loss can accelerate, increasing the risk for fractures. Fifty percent of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fractures at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston had a previously undetected vitamin D deficiency (Journal of the American Medical Association, April 28, 1999). University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers told participants at the April 14, 1997 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research that vitamin D "significantly inhibits highly metastatic, or widespread, prostate cancer in animals," suggesting its potential for treating men with similar conditions. Few foods that Americans eat, except dairy, contain much vitamin D, but we can usually synthesize sufficient amounts from as few as five minutes' exposure to the sun. But as skin ages, its ability to act as a vitamin D factory decreases. According to Michael F. Holick, the director of the Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center, upwards of 40% of the adult population over age 50 that he sees in his clinic are deficient in vitamin D. Recently, the National Academy of Sciences (the official body that decrees the required amounts of necessary nutrients) increased the daily recommendations of vitamin D to 600 IU for people over 71, 400 IU for those aged 51 to 70 and 200 IU for people under 50. The best dietary sources, apart from dependable supplements, are dairy and fatty fish like salmon. Four ounces of salmon provide about 300 IU.
The Facts About Fats
The American lust for low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets filled with sugary foods has exploded into nothing short of "obsession," according to experts at the General Research Center at Stanford University Medical Center (Am J Clin Nutr 70, 1999: 512S-5S). That mania oftens robs us of the crucial balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids typical of the Mediterranean diet that protect us from heart disease by controlling cholesterol and making blood less likely to form clots. These fatty acids cannot be made by the body but are critical for health: n Omega-3 fatty acid (linolenic acid) comes from fresh, deepwater fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) and vegetable oils such as canola, flaxseed and walnut. n Omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid) found primarily in raw nuts, seeds and legumes and in saturated vegetable oils such as borage, grape seed, primrose, sesame and soybean. The American Heart Association recommends limiting total fat consumption to 30% of daily calories. Saturated fats like those in dairy and meat products as well as vegetable oil should comprise 10% of total calories; total unsaturated fat (fish oils, soybean, safflower nuts and nut oils) should be restricted to 20 to 22% of daily calories.
Be Sure About B12
Vitamin B12 presents a particular problem for the elderly because older digestive systems often don't secrete enough stomach acid to liberate this nutrient from food. (The elderly have no problem absorbing B12 from supplements, because it's not bound to food.) Vitamins generally moderate the aging process but, ironically, that process and the diseases that frequently accompany it affect vitamin metabolism (Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax 83, 1994: 262-6). And because of those changes, we need more of certain vitamins. This is the case for vitamins D, B6, riboflavin and B12. Crucial for health, B12 is necessary to prevent anemia, and, according to recent studies, needed (along with folate and B6) to help stave off heart disease. B12, with thiamine and niacin, boosts cognition (Adv Nutr Res 7, 1985: 71-100). Screening for vitamin B12 deficiency and thyroid disease is cheap and easy and can prevent conditions such as dementia, depression or irreversible tissue damage (Lakartidningen 94, 1997: 4329-32). In the January 5-12, 1999 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the AHA urged doctors to screen levels of homocysteine (the amino acid byproduct of protein digestion that damages arteries, causes heart disease and, possibly, strokes) in patients at high risk for heart disease. They also recommended all Americans to up their daily levels of vitamins B6 and B12, as well as folic acid. Since fruits, vegetables or grains lack B12, vegetarians need B12 supplements. And they're a good idea for the rest of us, too.
Folic Acid Benefits
Folic acid made headlines in the early 1990s when the U.S. Public Health Service declared that "to reduce the frequency of neural tube defects [spina bifida, or open spine, and anencephaly, a lethal defect of the brain and skull] and their resulting disability, all women of childbearing age in the United States who are capable of becoming pregnant should consume .4 milligrams (400 micrograms) of folic acid per day." This recommendation followed voluminous research that showed taking folic acid was associated with a significantly reduced risk of birth defects. (The advisory is based on the fact that nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned. If you think you are pregnant, consult your health practitioner for supplementary advice.)
A Team Player
Folic acid's efficacy intensifies when it works with other nutrients. Among many studies on the preventive powers of folic acid on birth defects, one published in The New England Journal of Medicine (327, Dec. 24, 1992: 1,832-1,835), disclosed an even greater decrease in neural tube defects when supplements of folic acid contained copper, manganese, zinc and vitamin C. As a warrior against homocysteine, folic acid joins the battalion of B12 and B6 in detoxifying this harmful protein. At the University of Washington's Northwest Prevention Effectiveness Center, researchers recently analyzed 38 published studies of the relationship between folic acid, homocysteine and cardiovascular disease and, according to associate professor Shirley A. Beresford, MD, folic acid and vitamin B12 and B6 deficiencies can lead to a buildup of homocysteine.
Canadian researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (275, 1996: 1893-1896) that men and women with low folic acid have a 69% increase in the risk of fatal coronary heart disease. This 15-year study of more than 5,000 people stressed the need for dietary supplementation of folic acid. Folic acid also has been credited with the potential to protect against cancers of the lungs, colon and cervix. It appears to help reverse cervical dysplasia, the precursor cells to cervical cancer, especially for women taking oral contraceptives, which may cause a localized deficiency of folic acid in the cells of the cervix. According to Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning, authors of The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery), folic acid derivatives work with neurotransmitters, the chemicals that permit signals to be sent from nerve fiber to nerve fiber. A lack of folic acid can cause some nervous-system disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia and dementia; it also may be related to some forms of mental retardation. Other supporting roles of folic acid, according to researchers: the formation of normal red blood cells, important for preventing the type of anemia characterized by oversized red blood cells; strengthening and improving white blood cell action against disease; limiting production of uric acid, the cause of gout.
The Best Sources
Many foods are rich in folic acid: beef, lamb, pork and chicken liver, spinach, kale and beet greens, asparagus, broccoli, whole wheat and brewer's yeast. But experts believe that only 25 to 50% of the folic acid in food is bioavailable. Processing also reduces an estimated 50 to 90% of its content. Folic acid supplementation overcomes these obstacles with little risk, as it has no known toxicity. Women taking folic acid who are current or former users of oral contraceptives may require additional zinc. And be sure to augment your folic acid supplement with its synergistic counterpart, vitamin B12.
Focus on Fiber
The American Heart Association came out squarely behind fiber in a June 16, 1997 issue of its journal Circulation: Double your daily intake to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. The American diet is consistently low in fiber, notes Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, author of the article. Twenty-five to 30 grams a day from foods (or supplements) are not only heart healthy but seem to aid weight control.
Getting enough iron? An estimated 25% of adolescent girls in the United States are iron deficient, according to an October 12, 1996 issue of the British medical journal The Lancet, which reported that girls who took iron supplements performed significantly better on verbal tests than those who took a placebo. "Teenage girls should be regularly tested for iron deficiency because rapid growth and the onset of menstruation during puberty increase the body's need for iron," says Ann Bruner, MD, of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and a lead author of the study.USDA data reveal that women up to age 50 also tend to get much less than recommended levels of iron, a lack of which leads to anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells, hemoglobin or volume of blood. For kids, deficiency is more common from six months to four years and during the rapid growth spurts of adolescence when the body is growing so quickly that the body's iron stores may sink to dangerous levels. Vegetarian women run the greatest risk for deficiency, as meat is iron-rich; foods like beans, grains and vegetables also contain some iron. Supplements, of course, supply easily absorbable iron. And to absorb iron from vegetarian sources, take vitamin C with your meals. That boosts the amount of this mineral you will take in. Bear in mind, however, that certain folks-older men and post-menopausal women-generally have adequate dietary supplies of iron. Of greater concern, in fact, is excessive iron, and for these folks iron-free multivitamin and mineral supplements are available.
Ante Up the Antioxidants
Antioxidant nutrients help protect the body from oxygen-scavenging molecules called free radicals. The products of pollution, the body's own metabolic processes and other sources, free radicals are linked to heart disease, cancer and other chronic health problems. The most important antioxidants, which include vitamin C, E, beta carotene, and selenium, are often lacking in the American diet. Plus, optimal amounts of vitamin E cannot be consumed from food. You need supplements. The bottom line: even though we live in a land of plenty, you can still miss vital nutrients. So make sure to consume these vital substances.
Source of Missing Nutrients In the search for the nutrients missing from America's diet, one big help is the sprout. The sprout is truly one of nature's heavyweights: fresh, tiny and moist, its power punch of vitamins, minerals, protein, chlorophyll and disease-busting phytochemicals land it in a weight class far beyond that of its full-grown competitors. Size does NOT matter to this nutritional giant. A championship belt currently wraps around the miniscule broccoli sprout, catapulted into the ring by Paul Talalay, MD, professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Talalay discovered that the seedlings contain substantially more of the cancer-fighting substance sulforaphane than mature plants (Proc. Natnl. Acad. Sci. USA, 94, 10367-10372). Sprouts, the quintessential health food of the Sixties, provide a wonderfully varied and versatile way to get your daily greens. Raw or cooked, strong or mild, vegetable and grass sprouts and their algae cousins add low-calorie texture to recipes and a rich, diverse complement of nutrients and fiber.
Ancient Asia to the Modern Lab
Asians stir-fried sprouts as one of the earliest fast foods as long as 5,000 years ago. The ancient Chinese relied on sprouts for year-round vegetables in colder regions of their vast country. Today, researchers studying sprouts and adult plants have identified their important chemoprotective and other health-bolstering substances. In Paul Talalay's research project at Johns Hopkins, scientists found that three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain up to 50 times more sulforaphane than mature plants, which prompts the body to produce an enzyme that prevents cancer tumors from forming. Uniform levels of the compound saturate the shoots, unlike the chemically uneven adult plants. The Brassica family of broccoli and cabbage is richly endowed with phytochemicals that also help reduce estrogen levels associated with breast cancer. Other phytochemical compounds in the Brassica family are associated with the prevention of stomach and lung cancers. Most of the initial landmark work on phytochemicals' cancer-fighting powers has taken place since 1989 under the aegis of the National Cancer Institute's "Designer Food Program," which isolated, for example, the isoflavones in beans that seem to neutralize cancer-gene enzymes.
Strong Suit: Soy and Spirulina
The isoflavones and phytosterols in soy produce an estrogenic effect that appears to relieve menopausal symptoms and help prevent breast cancer. Soy foods expert Mark Messina, PhD, has done extensive work on the subject, some of which has been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-6. Researchers also have synthesized a bone-strengthening form of soy isoflavones called ipriflavone, following impressive clinical trials in the treatment of osteoporosis (American Journal of Medicine, 95 [Suppl. 5A] (1993): 69S-74S). Spirulina and other micro-algae are fascinating organisms that inhabit a niche between the plant and animals kingdoms. Named for its tiny spirals, spirulina, a blue-green algae, grows in saline lakes but is cultured for maximum nutritional content. In her book Whole Foods Companion (Chelsea Green), Dianne Onstad notes that spirulina contains "the highest sources of protein, beta carotene and nucleic acids of any animal or plant food." Its nucleic acids, she says, benefit cellular regeneration; its fatty acids, especially GLA and omega-3 acids, make it one of the most complete foods. Sprouts, like any other produce, should be rinsed thoroughly before serving. People at high risk for bacterial illness-young children, the very elderly or folks with weakened immune systems-should limit their consumption of raw sprouts. But no matter how you eat them, you may find more spring in your step from these tiny, sprouting nutritional wonders.
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart
June 13, 2005 10:06 AM
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart by Louis McKinley Energy Times, January 2, 2004
From time immemorial, people have tuned into life's lessons that come from the heart. Sadly, times are changing: If you're like most inhabitants of today's harried world, you may be too distracted to detect important clues about your cardiovascular circumstances.
And while heart lessons may be more complicated than simply connecting the physiological dots, understanding those heart messages are imperative for improving and maintaining your heart health.
Every cell in your body relies on heart-powered blood flow to keep it supplied with nutrients, oxygen, hormones and other natural chemicals necessary for survival. Without that supply of life-giving substances, few cells in the body-including those within the heart itself-can survive very long.
And just as damage to a major roadway can cause mayhem with traffic patterns, damage to blood vessels and the heart can wreak a lumpy cardiovascular havoc that blocks the passage of blood and endangers your heart's well-being.
Your Heart Disease Chances
Within the last ten years, scientific research performed by investigators around the world has focused on the specific factors that most strongly influence your chances of developing heart disease and suffering either a heart attack or a stroke.
While much of your risk depends on your genetic inheritance and family history, several factors that determine your heart health are within your control.
The most important factors you can do something about include:
* Smoking: free radicals generated by burning tobacco causes significant damage to blood vessels and other cells
* Lack of exercise: the human body is designed for consistent, moderate physical activity; without exercise, the body slacks off in creating antioxidant protection for arteries
* Diabetes: when excess blood sugar persists, physiological processes begin that endanger the heart and arteries
* Cholesterol: when oxidized (a chemical process that has been compared to a kind of internal rusting), cholesterol can form artery-blocking plaque; antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and natural vitamin E may help the body limit this process
* High blood pressure: excessive pressure within the blood vessels raises the risk of damage to the heart and arteries; a program of weight loss and exercise can help control blood pressure
* Being overweight: the extra body fat carried around your middle is linked to a greater risk of heart problems
Heart Attack Signs
Do you think you know what a heart attack feels like? Well, if you think it feels like a dramatic pain somewhere in your chest that knocks you to the floor, you're probably wrong. "Most heart attacks do not look at all like what one of my colleagues calls the 'Hollywood' attack-the heart attack you see on television or in the movies," warns Julie Zerwic, MD, professor of surgical nursing who has studied what happens when people develop heart disease and suffer damage to their hearts.
"The symptoms [of heart problems] are not necessarily dramatic. People don't fall down on the floor. They don't always experience a knife-like, very sharp pain. In fact, many people describe the sensation as heaviness and tightness in the chest rather than pain," she says. And, if you're a woman experiencing a heart attack, you may not even feel discomfort specifically in your chest. Instead you may experience a severe shortness of breath. The apparent ambiguity of the discomforts caused by a heart attack lead many people to either ignore them or take hours to realize they need to go to the emergency room at the hospital.
Consequently, much fewer than half of all individuals undergoing a heart attack actually go to a hospital within an hour of the start of the attack. That delay can be a fatal mistake.
"Timing is absolutely critical," laments Dr. Zerwic. "If treatment starts within a hour after the onset of symptoms, drugs that reestablish blood flow through the blocked coronary artery can reduce mortality by as much as 50%. That number drops to 23% if treatment begins three hours later. The goal is to introduce therapy within two hours."
However, in Dr. Zerwic's research, only 35% of non-Hispanic whites go to the hospital within an hour of the start of a heart attack. And among African-Americans, the number of people going to the hospital right away drops to a frighteningly low 13%.
Often, people will lie down or use a heating pad to relieve the tightness they feel in the chest," says Dr. Zerwic. "They may take some medicine and wait to see if that works. All these steps postpone needed treatment."
Signs of a possible heart attack include:
* Chest discomfort: Heart attacks most frequently cause discomfort in the center of the chest that can either go away after a couple of minutes (and come back) or persist. The discomfort may feel like strong pressure, fullness or pain.
* Upper body discomfort: An attack may set off pain or discomfort in either or both arms, and/or the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
* Shortness of breath: Chest discomfort is frequently accompanied by shortness of breath. But it's important to note that shortness of breath can take place even in the absence of chest discomfort.
* Other signs: You can also break out in a cold sweat, or feel nauseated or light-headed.
A Woman's Sleep Signs
If you are a woman who suddenly experiences a marked increase in insomnia and puzzling, intense fatigue, you may be in danger of an imminent heart attack.
In an attempt to understand how women's symptoms of heart problems differ from those of men, researchers talked to more than 500 women in Arkansas, North Carolina and Ohio who had suffered heart attacks. (Technically, what they had experienced is referred to as acute myocardial infarction.)
They found that chest pain prior to a heart attack was only reported by about 30% of the women surveyed.
More common were unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances and shortness of breath (Circulation Rapid Access, 11/3/01).
"Since women reported experiencing early warning signs more than a month prior to the heart attack, this [fatigue and sleep problems] could allow time to treat these symptoms and to possibly delay or prevent the heart attack," says researcher Jean C. McSweeney, PhD, RN, nursing professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. In Dr. McSweeney's study, more than nine out of ten women who had heart attacks reported that they had had new, disturbing physical problems more than a month before they had infarctions.
Almost three in four suffered from unusual fatigue, about half had sleep disturbances, while two in five found themselves short of breath.
Other common signs included indigestion and anxiety.
"Women need to be educated that the appearance of new symptoms may be associated with heart disease and that they need to seek medical care to determine the cause of the symptoms, especially if they have known cardiovascular risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight or a family history of heart diseases," says Dr. McSweeney.
Dr. McSweeney warns that, until now, little has been known about signs that women are having heart trouble or heart attacks. The fact that most of Western medicine's past attention has been on heart problems in men has obscured the warning signs in women. As part of Dr. McSweeney's studies, she and her fellow researchers have discovered that more than 40% of all women who suffer a heart attack never feel any chest discomfort before or during the attack.
"Lack of significant chest pain may be a major reason why women have more unrecognized heart attacks than men or are mistakenly diagnosed and discharged from emergency departments," she notes. "Many clinicians still consider chest pain as the primary symptom of a heart attack."
Vitamins for Diabetes and Heart Disease
Having diabetes significantly raises your chance of heart disease, which means that keeping your blood sugar levels under control can reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack.
Today, 17 million Americans have diabetes and, as the country's population in general gains weight and fails to exercise, the number of people suffering this problem continues to grow.
The first line of defense against diabetes consists of exercise and weight control. All you have to do is take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day to drop your chances of diabetes (American Journal of Epidemiology 10/1/03).
"We have found that men and women who incorporate activity into their lifestyles are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who are sedentary. This finding holds no matter what their initial weight," said Andrea Kriska, PhD, professor of epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
To help your body fight the development of diabetes, researchers also recommend vitamin C and natural vitamin E.
Researchers working with lab animals at the University of California at Irvine have found that these antioxidant vitamins can help insulin (the hormone-like substance secreted by the pancreas) reduce harmful blood sugar. In addition, these vitamins shrink the chances of organ damage that can be caused by diabetes (Kidney International 1/03).
In this investigation, these vitamins also helped reduce blood pressure, another risk factor that raises heart disease risk.
"Blood pressure was lowered to normal, and free radicals were not in sufficient numbers to degrade the sugars, proteins and nitric oxide," notes Nick Vaziri, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California. "We think this shows that a diet rich in antioxidants may help diabetics prevent the devastating cardiovascular, kidney, neurological and other damage that are common complications of diabetes."
Free Radical Blues
Dr. Vaziri and his group of researchers found that untreated diabetes raised blood pressure and increased the production of free radicals, caustic molecules that can damage arteries and the heart. Free radicals can change blood sugar and other proteins into harmful substances, boosting tissue and heart destruction.
In Dr. Vaziri's work with lab animals, he found that treating diabetes with insulin lowered blood pressure and helped keep sugar and protein from changing into dangerous chemicals, but allowed the free radicals to subvert nitric oxide, a chemical the body uses to protect itself from free radicals.
In this investigation, adding vitamins C and E to insulin insulated the body's sugars, proteins and nitric oxide from oxidative assault. This produces a double advantage: Lowering the risk of heart disease and other damage to the body from diabetes.
Maitake, an Oriental mushroom that has been shown to have many health benefits, can also be useful for people with diabetes who are trying to avoid cardiovascular complications. Laboratory studies in Japan demonstrate that maitake may help lower blood pressure while reducing cholesterol (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1997; 20(7):781-5). In producing these effects, the mushroom may also help the body reduce blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of tissue damage.
Tobacco smoke is one of the most notorious causes of heart problems. In the same way a hard frost exerts a death grip on a highway, the smoke from cigarettes can freeze up arteries and hamper their proper function. A healthy artery must stay flexible to comfortably allow adequate circulation.
But "...when blood vessels are exposed to cigarette smoke it causes the vessels to behave like a rigid pipe rather than a flexible tube, thus the vessels can't dilate in response to increased blood flow," says David J. Bouchier-Hayes, MD, professor of surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who has studied the deleterious effects of tobacco.
This rigidity is called endothelial dysfunction. When arteries are rigid, blockages gum up vessels, clots and other impediments to blood flow appear, and your risk of heart attack and stroke increases (Circulation 2001 Nov 27; 104(22):2673).
This condition can also cause chest pain (angina) similar to that caused by a heart attack, and should be evaluated by a knowledgeable health practitioner.
Although all experts recommend you stop smoking to lower your heart disease risk, some studies have found that Pycnogenol(r), a pine bark extract that helps the body fight inflammation, may ease some of smoking's ill effects.
In a study of platelets, special cells in the blood that can form dangerous blood clots, researchers found that Pycnogenol(r) discouraged platelets from sticking together (American Society for Biochemical and Molecular Biology 5/19/98). By keeping platelets flowing freely, this supplement may alleviate some of the heart-threatening clots that tobacco smoke can cause.
In Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional therapy from India, an herb called guggul has also been used to lower the risk of blockages in arteries. This herb, derived from the resin of the mukul tree, has been shown to reduce cholesterol by about 25%. People taking this herb have also reduced their triglycerides (harmful blood fats) by the same amount (Journal Postgraduate Medicine 1991 37(3):132).
The Female Version of Heart Disease
For one thing, women often don't suffer from the crushing chest pain that for most people characterizes a heart attack; instead, many women experience back pain, sweating, extreme fatigue, lightheadedness, anxiety or indigestion, signs that can be easily misread as digestive troubles, menopausal symptoms or indicators of aging.
The genders also differ in how heart disease poses a threat. While men seem most endangered by the buildup of blockages in arteries, women apparently are more at risk from endothelial dysfunction. But more study needs to be done since, in many cases, researchers have been unable to pin down the precise mechanism that causes many women to die of heart disease.
Scientists have found that the number of women in their 30s and 40s who are dying from sudden cardiac arrest is growing much faster than the number of men of the same age who die of this cause. But research by the Oregon Health & Sciences University and Jesse E. Edwards Cardiovascular Registry in St. Paul, Minnesota, shows that while doctors can pinpoint the coronary blockages that kill men, they can't find specific blockages in half of the female fatalities they have studied (American Heart Journal 10/03).
"This was an unexpected finding. However, the study underscores the need to focus on what is causing these younger women to die unexpectedly because the number of deaths continues to increase," says Sumeet Chugh, MD, a medical professor at Oregon.
Since the failure of arteries to relax probably contributes to heart disease in many women, eating red berries, or consuming supplements from berries such as chokeberry, bilberry or elderberry, may be important in lowering women's heart disease risk. These fruits help arteries expand and allow blood to flow freely.
Red berries are rich sources of flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocynanins. The anthocyanins are strong antioxidants that give the berries their color. Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that these chemicals can interact with nitrous oxide, a chemical produced by the body, to relax blood vessels (Experimental Biology conference 5/20/02).
As researchers work to devise lifestyle roadmaps that can steer you around the perils of heart disease, they are finding that exercise is a key path to avoiding cardiovascular complications.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that those who exercised and kept their weight down (or took weight off and kept it off) experienced a significantly lower risk of heart problems (Preventive Medicine 11/03).
"The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. Burning calories in physical activity may be the secret to reducing heart disease risk and living longer, she says.
Dr. Fang's research used information collected from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1975 and then computed how much people exercised, how their body mass indices varied and which of these folks died of heart disease during the next two decades.
In the study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who worked out and consumed more calories cut their risk of heart disease death in half.
Exercise Is Essential
"Subjects with the lowest caloric intake, least physical activity, and who were overweight or obese had significantly higher cardiovascular mortality rates than those with high caloric intake, most physical activity, and normal weight," Dr. Fang notes. The individuals in the study who were overweight and didn't exercise had a bigger risk of heart disease even if they tried (and succeeded) at eating less.
"This suggests that heart disease outcome was not determined by a single factor, but rather by a compound of behavioral, socioeconomic, genetic and clinical characteristics," according to Dr. Fang.
According to researchers, if your job requires a great deal of physical activity, your health will be better if you get another job. Exercise on the job not only doesn't decrease your risk of heart disease, it may actually raise it. The reason: On-the-job activity is linked to heart-endangering increases in job stress.
Research into this subject, performed at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, found that while recreational exercise slowed hardening of the arteries, workers who had to exert themselves during the workday had arteries that were blocked at a younger age (American Journal of Medicine 7/03).
In this study, researchers examined about 500 middle-aged employees as part of what is called the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study.
"We found that atherosclerosis progressed significantly faster in people with greater stress, and people who were under more stress also were the ones who exercised more in their jobs," says James Dwyer, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School. According to Dr. Dwyer, "This suggests that the apparent harmful effect of physical activity at work on atherosclerosis-and heart disease risk-may be due to the tendency of high-activity jobs to be more stressful in modern workplaces.
"It appears from our findings that the psychological stresses associated with physically active jobs overcomes any biological benefit of the activity itself."
On the other hand, the scientists found that heart disease drops dramatically among those who exercise the most in their spare time. In the study, people who vigorously worked out at least three times a week had the lowest risk. But even those who just took walks enjoyed better heart health than people whose most strenuous activity was working the TV remote. Dr. Dwyer says, "These results are important because they demonstrate the very substantial and almost immediate-within one or two years-cardiovascular benefit of greater physical activity."
Lowering your risk of heart disease is substantially up to you. Listen to what your heart tells you it needs; then, exercise your right to fetch some cardiovascular necessities.
June 10, 2005 03:24 PM
by Henry Wolfe Energy Times, July 11, 2003
Nutrients do you no good if you don't absorb them. Eating the right stuff and taking the right nutrients can still be wrong if they never make it out of your digestive tract and into your bloodstream.
For instance, dietary supplements usually should be taken along with food. The presence of food in the digestive tract aids the absorption of nutrients. As a general rule, if you take dietary supplements on an empty stomach, most of their contents will probably pass through you and never escape your intestinal tract before they are eventually eliminated. This is particularly true for the fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D and E. By consuming fatty foods when you take these supplements, you enable your body to absorb a large amount of these valuable substances.
But there is at least one exception to this rule: Amino acid supplements (protein building blocks) should usually be taken on an empty stomach. Otherwise the other amino acids present in your meal may interfere with your use of these nutrients and counteract the benefits of the supplements.
The Standardization of Herbs
Taking herbs presents different challenges than consuming dietary supplements. While the chemical structures of nutrients in supplements are usually precisely identified, the active ingredients in herbs is usually a mixture of chemicals. Often, too, researchers disagree on exactly which active ingredients in herbs produce the health benefits linked to these botanicals.
But in an effort to derive the most from these substances, many experts recommend what are called standardized forms.
Standardized herbal supplements are formulas that have been created to insure they contain consistent and reliable amounts of certain beneficial chemicals that scientists have identified in these plants.
In the creation of these supplements, experts determine the standardized chemicals that are most likely the basis of the herbs' effectiveness.
By standardizing certain of the supplements' ingredients, therefore, standardized herbs limit the variation among batches of the product. You can rely on the fact that every purchase will contain the same amount of ingredients taken from the original plant. According to Michael Janson, MD, author of Dr. Janson's New Vitamin Revolution (Penguin/Avery), "Although herbs have a long history of use for medicinal purposes, it is only recently that they have been analyzed to reveal their most active components. These active chemicals are commonly present in very variable amounts in herbs, depending on where and how they are grown, soil quality, when they are harvested, the amount of rain and sun, and other factors.
"Standardized herbs have guaranteed specific amounts of the known, active herbal components, as well as the other factors that might be of help but are not as well studied" (www.drjanson.com).
Herbalists who specialize in using entire plants in their practices can recommend non-standardized preparations that you can often use.
In general, that kind of herbal use is more effective when you secure expert advice. If you lack access to an experienced herbalist and you're choosing botanicals on your own, standardized preparations are easier to take.
Absorption From the Gut
Most of the nutrients you take in are absorbed through the walls of your digestive tract. This most often takes place in the small intestine.
What to watch out for: Fast food, fast living and long work hours afflicts our digestion and can disrupt proper absorption. You have to be relaxed to properly absorb the nutrients in your food and supplements.
Consequently, the occasions for meals should be relaxed and enjoyable moments. Set aside enough time to appreciate, taste and thoroughly chew your food. Adequate digestion and absorption begin in your mouth.
Another way to increase nutrient absorption is with the use of digestive enzymes. Since the digestive tract depends on the enzymatic breakdown of food that reduces nutrients to absorbable form, taking enzymes can help your intestines make better use of nutrients as they pass through the digestive tract. Normally, enzymes are present in raw food, like uncooked fruits and vegetables. Since most of our food is eaten after it is heated, a process that breaks down enzymes, not many enzymes are present in today's diet. Therefore, taking supplemental enzymes may increase absorption.
Beyond everyday stress, a variety of problems can make absorption go astray, allowing important nutrients to escape and permitting unwanted substances to enter the body. For instance, a significant digestive malfunction that many experts have focused on in recent years is a condition that has come to be called "leaky gut."
As Anil Minocha, MD, director of digestive diseases at the Mississippi Medical Center and author of Natural Stomach Care (Avery), points out, "In a healthy individual, the wall of the intestinal tract is designed to absorb food molecules and prevent harmful microorganisms and toxic materials from passing out through the bowel wall and into the bloodstream. "In today's heavily polluted environment, the gastrointestinal tract of even the healthiest individual is called on to process an overwhelmingly large flow of septic and infectious materials."
Because of these digestion destroyers, as we take in a startlingly large amount of viruses, bacteria, toxic chemicals, fungi and processed foods, our digestive systems are often overwhelmed and are rendered unable to perform their tasks correctly. This constant assault on the stomach and intestines takes a serious toll. A frequent product of this process is the digestive walls' loss of their crucial ability to keep out unwanted toxins and organisms as they become, in Dr. Minocha's words, "loosened and inflamed." As a result, instead of keeping out harmful substances and absorbing helpful nutrients, spaces open up that begin to allow in "bulky, partially digested food particles, toxic substances and infectious microbes."
According to Dr. Minocha, the first signs of this absorption problem can include complaints such as allergic reactions, skin problems, joint pain, digestive difficulties, nausea, fatigue and lack of energy.
To improve your digestive absorption, Dr. Minocha recommends a six-part program that includes these steps:
* Detoxification by means of fasting and avoiding harmful items like sugar, over-processed foods, coffee and alcohol
* Taking herbs that can help the digestive tract heal, recover and repair itself; these include garlic, ginger and milk thistle
* Replenishing the beneficial bacteria of the digestive tract by eating yogurt
* Keeping track of your daily diet and eliminating foods that cause allergies and other reactions
* Consuming more fruits and vegetables while eating a high-fiber, mostly vegetarian diet
* Developing consistent, healthy lifestyle habits; these include not smoking, cutting the size of your meals and eating in moderation, exercising several times a week and controlling stress
Young and Old Digestion
The nutrients in your diet can also beneficially influence the state of your digestive system and its ability to distinguish among substances that are supposed to gain entrance to your body and those that should be kept out. Since aging can further compromise the discriminatory ability of your gut, Dr. Minocha also recommends a steady diet of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables plus supplements to keep your digestive tract functioning at full capacity as you grow older.
Among the nutrients he recommends:
* Coenzyme Q10: By middle age, your body makes less of this powerful antioxidant that helps cells generate energy in the mitochondria (structures within cells that may decrease with age).
Dr. Minocha notes that research demonstrates CoQ10 may be able to help people with diabetes control harmful metabolic byproducts that appear in their bloodstreams.
* Natural Lycopene: This antioxidant, responsible for the red of both tomatoes and watermelon, has been shown to lower the risk of both heart disease and prostate cancer. As an antioxidant, natural lycopene also helps protect the digestive tract.
Absorption of the proper nutrients may be the key to health for many people. By paying closer attention to the well-being of your digestive tract and practicing lifestyle habits that promote maximum absorption, you may be able to substantially improve your nutrition and your health.
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.
Minerals - Why take them?
June 09, 2005 09:04 AM
Minerals, along with vitamins, amino acids and essential fatty acids, are one of the fundamental tiers of nutritional supplementation. Many essential minerals have been depleted from our soils due to modern farming practices, making mineral supplementation more critical than ever in today's world. Minerals are perhaps more susceptible to issues of bioavailability and absorption than any other class of nutrients. For this reason, Source Naturals has devoted a great deal of research to providing more bioavailable, absorbable forms of key nutritive minerals.
MINERALS: A MULTITUDE OF FUNCTIONS
Life on Earth began in the sea. Most scientists now believe that the ancient ocean was a 'primordial soup' of organic chemicals which contained all the necessary ingredients - amino acids, sugars, and nucleotide components, floating in a solution of water and minerals; for life to get started. Millions of years later, when the first creature crawled up on dry land, evolution had contrived a way for it to carry the ancient ocean along with it.
The composition of the fluid that bathes your cells and tissues is believed to be substantially the same as the ocean some 2 billion years ago. The body is extremely particular about the balance of dissolved minerals in this fluid&endash;so particular that it will sometimes sacrifice its own structure to maintain proper mineral balance in the fluids. For example, one mechanism for the homeostatic control of plasma calcium concentration is the flux of calcium into and out of the bones. If plasma calcium remains too low for extended periods the calcium reserve of the bones could be depleted. What functions do minerals serve, and why are they so important?
Aside from providing structure through the bones and teeth, one of the most important roles of minerals is that of electrolytes. The membranes of our cells are flexible and freely permeable to water. The interior of a cell contains an abundance of large and small organic molecules, most of which have an electric charge. These charged molecules will attract inorganic charged molecules called electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, crowding water out of the cell interior. If the cell did nothing to counteract this phenomenon, the difference in water concentration across the cell membrane would cause more and more water to move into the cell by osmosis, eventually causing the cell to swell up and burst.
Minerals act as cofactors in over a thousand different reactions in the human body; magnesium alone is necessary for the functioning of over 300 enzymes.
A proper balance of minerals is essential to optimal health and vitality. Not only are they a crucial component of the internal environment and structure of the body, they are crucial to the enzymatic reactions that create energy, build tissues and protect the body. Minerals, unfortunately, are also one of the first casualties of the processed food revolution. Thanks to decades of "progress" in industrial farming methods, super-fertilizers and other methods have been developed for growing vegetables and grains that travel well and look healthy and pretty, but are depleted of much of the nutrient complexity required to optimally support human life. Many of the minerals that are left are stripped out when these grains and vegetables are processed to make packaged foods. These 'foods' are often preserved with chemical additives and fillers that can make the minerals they still contain impossible to digest.
What all this adds up to is the fact that mineral supplementation is extremely important. It is also important to ensure that the supplements you take are in forms that are absorbable and bioavailable. Unfortunately, there is no simple formula to follow in this regard, for the process of mineral absorption is complex and can be enhanced or hindered by a variety of factors. There is a great deal yet to be discovered about this aspect of human digestion and nutrition.
Because of the complexity of mineral metabolism Source Naturals offers a full series of major minerals and trace minerals in a variety of high quality, bioavailable forms to meet individual needs. In some cases we have gone further, basing our formulations on a knowledge of biochemical principles. For example, the absorption of many minerals seems to be enhanced by the presence of amino acids. Therefore, we offer amino acid chelates, minerals which are specially chelated (bound) with amino acids from hydrolyzed vegetable protein. In addition, we provide Krebs cycle chelates, minerals which are organically bound to metabolites of the body's cellular energy generation cycle.
the effect of vinpocetine on cerebral blood flow (CBF) ...
May 26, 2005 10:37 AM
Abstract Objectie :To investigate the effect of vinpocetine on cerebral blood flow (CBF) in the compromised circulation of a stroke affected hemisphere using transcranial Doppler (TCD) and near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) methods. Methods : 43 patients with ischemic stroke were randomized into vinpocetine (VP) and placebo group in a double blind, placebo-controlled study of the effect of a single-dose i.v. infusion of vinpocetine on cerebral blood perfusion and oxygenation. In the VP group 20 mg VP in 500 ml saline, in the placebo group 500 ml saline alone were administered. The concentrations of oxy-, reduced- and total hemoglobin were measured by NIRS frontolaterally on the side of lesion while the mean cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFV), the pulsatility index (PI) and Doppler spectral intensity (DSI) were monitored by TCD in the middle cerebral artery on the same side. Values were averaged for the first 5 min prior to the infusion and for the last 5 min of infusion and they were compared between groups. Results : The concentration of all three chromophores increased during infusion in the VP group (mean dHbT=1.03, CI95=0.84, P=0.058; mean dHbO=0.92, CI95=0.91, P=0.071; mean dHb=0.10, CI95=0.21, P=0.297). The HbT and HbO showed a substantially smaller increase in the placebo group (mean dHbT=0.31, CI95=0.74, P=0.22; mean dHbO=0.57, CI95=0.80, P=0.094) while the Hb decreased (mean dHb=-0.26, CI95=0.29, P=0.05). Comparing to the placebo group Hb increased significantly in the VP group (P=0.027) while the increase of HbO and HbT did not reach the level of significance (P=0.29 and 0.11). DSI showed a significantly larger increase in the VP than in placebo group (dDSI=25.8 CI95=8.8 [VP]; dDSI=3.3, CI95=3.7 [Placebo], P0.005). The CBFV and PI did not differ significantly between groups. (dVm=5.02.98 cm/s [VP], dVm=4.12.57 cm/s [Placebo], P=0.28; dPI=0.08 [VP], dPI=0.09 [Placebo]; P=0.47). Conclusion :VP increases cerebral perfusion and parenchymal oxygen extraction as well. The increased perfusion was indicated by NIRS and by TCD measurement of DSI while conventional velocity and pulsatility measurements failed to detect theses effects. NIRS is a sensitive, www.elsevier.com/locate/ejultrasou Abbreiations :BP, blood pressure; CI, confidence interval; CBFV, cerebral blood flow velocity; CT, computer tomography; CytO, cytochrome-oxydase; DSI, Doppler spectral intensity; Hb, deoxyhaemoglobin; HbO, oxyhaemoglobin; HbT, total haemoglobin; HR, heart rate; MAP, mean arterial pressure; MCA, middle cerebral artery; MRI, magnetic resonance imaging; NIRS, near infrared spectroscopy; PET, positron emission tomography; PI, pulsatility index; TCD, transcranial Doppler; US, ultrasonography; VP, vinpocetine.
Important Information for Allergy Sufferers
May 13, 2005 09:52 AM
Important Information for Allergy SufferersRichard Conant, L.Ac. C.N.
Imagine you are one among millions who greet each spring with worry about the flood of pollen that fills the air this time of year. When the pollen season arrives, as it inevitably does, you find yourself with two choices. You can either take over-the-counter antihistamines and put up with unpleasant side-effects, or endure the sneezing, runny nose, itchy, watery eyes and other discomforts of hay fever.
If there was a natural ingredient, a nutritional substance found throughout nature in many foods and plants, that could offer an alternative, would you not be interested?
Quercetin, one among hundreds of flavonoids found throughout the plant kingdom, is this ingredient. Quercetin has been researched in numerous pharmacological studies. The results of this work strongly suggest that quercetin helps to stabilize the fundamental process in the body which causes an allergic reaction. Quercetin, as shown in test-tube ("in vitro") studies, prevents the release of histamine from "mast cells," immune cells that stand guard in the tissues which meet the outside environment—the nasal passages, the lungs, the digestive tract and skin. While this has yet to be confirmed by human clinical trials, in the picture that emerges from the research so far, quercetin looks like a rescue nutrient for allergy sufferers.
Reports from Quercetin Users
I have seen numerous reports from individuals who have indeed achieved significant reductions in allergic sensitivity by using quercetin. And this includes food allergies as well as environmental allergies. Anecdotal stories like these carry little weight among scientists, because they do not provide evidence that the observed result will be repeated in other cases. Only placebo-controlled, double-blind studies can produce this kind of scientific proof. Yet, when anectodal evidence (this includes physician "case reports") correlates with the results of pharmacological research such as we have on quercetin, I believe it should be taken seriously. And quercetin is a nutrient that works effectively when taken as a dietary supplement.
For example, one gentleman writes that his wife, who is allergic to pollen and dust, is now "sneeze-free" after using quercetin for three years. A Pennsylvania woman writes that her husband, also a long time allergy sufferer, "seems to be nearly allergy free" after one month of use. Another man says that "quercetin has literally changed my life." These are not isolated cases; a respected nutritionist who specializes in allergies and environmental problems has seen many similar outcomes with a quercetin. Clearly something significant is going on with respect to quercetin as a nutritional approach for overcoming allergies.
Bear in mind, though, that quercetin does not function like an antihistamine medication; it is not a quick fix. As a nutrient that helps to normalize body functions naturally, quercetin needs time to work, and should be taken for at least two or three weeks to achieve these results.
Quercetin Quiets the Allergic Response
Exerting a broad range of biological effects, quercetin is perhaps the most active and versatile flavonoid. In test-tube studies, quercetin acts directly on the mast cell in a way that quiets the allergic response.
An allergic reaction occurs when IgE antibodies, positioned on the mast cell surface, come in contact with a potential allergy-causing substance like pollen. The mast cell is then signaled to release histamine from storage granules located inside the cell, through a process called "degranulation." The histamine circulates throughout the body, causing the runny nose, itching and other discomforts associated with allergies.
Quercetin stabilizes mast cell membranes, in effect turning down the allergic response signal. Quercetin also slows other mechanisms which are involved with inflammation, such as the production of inflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes. This adds to its membrane-stabilizing effect, and its value in allergy control.
Quercetin appears to substantially raise the threshold for initiation of an allergic reaction. In allergy sufferers this threshold is low, for reasons which are not well understood. They may have more IgE antibodies than normal, making the mast cells overly "trigger happy." Histamine has its proper place in the immune response that defends us against truly harmful foreign substances in the body. But like many chemicals produced by the body, histamine is a two-edged sword. In allergy-prone individuals, the mast cells have become overreactive, releasing too much histamine, unnecessarily. With quercetin in the bloodstream, histamine release from mast cells is kept under control. Quercetin's ability to down-regulate both the inflammatory and allergic responses makes it, I believe, a highly important nutrient for humans to consume on a regular basis.
Quercetin-the Scientific Evidence
Several studies, published in respected journals such as the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and others, have demonstrated quercetin's ability to control the release of histamine from mast cells. (Quercetin has the same effect on basophils, a type of white blood cell that also contains histamine.) In these experiments, mast cells taken from both animals and humans are exposed in the test tube to various substances—called "antigens"— that stimulate histamine release. The researchers then add an inhibiting agent such as quercetin to the mixture and measure the differences in histamine output. Quercetin has shown itself to be one of the more powerful histamine inhibitors, more powerful, in fact, than disodium cromoglycate, an anti-asthma drug.
Quercetin has other beneficial properties. A strong antioxidant, Quercetin has a higher level of antioxidant activity than both vitamin C and vitamin E. (Quercetin enhances the antioxidant activity of vitamin C; quercetin and vitamin C are true synergists.) Quercetin has been shown to block the oxidation of LDL cholesterol by free radicals. Quercetin also protects cell membranes from being injured by oxidized LDL. The damage that oxidized LDL causes to the delicate membranes of blood vessel linings allows plaque deposits to form, setting the stage for atheroslcerosis. These observations point to quercetin as a key nutrient for maintaining cardiovascular health.
Like all flavonoids, quercetin is not classified as an essential nutrient, although flavonoids were once called "Vitamin P." In view of its many beneficial actions, quercetin is a nutrient that clearly has important roles to play in human nutrition, for allergy sufferers, and for everyone.
Under-Reported (and Underappreciated) Cholesterol control.
May 12, 2005 10:00 AM
Under-Reported (and Underappreciated) Solutions for Cholesterol and Triglyceride Controlby Richard Conant, L.Ac., C.N.
Fat and human existence are inseparable. Setting aside the fear and loathing over fat in the body that pervades our culture, we understand that fat is our friend. We cannot live without fat.
The human body contains many different kinds of fats and fat-like molecules. Collectively known as "lipids" these fatty substances include fatty acids, lipoproteins, phospholipids, glycolipids, triglycerides, steroid hormones and the infamous, dreaded cholesterol.
Lipids (fats) are found everywhere in the body, performing a variety of vital functions. The brain is a fat-rich organ. Brain neurons and all other nerve cells are protected by a myelin sheath, made largely out of fatty material. Cell membranes consist almost entirely of phospholipids (lipids that contain phosphorus) arranged in a sandwich-like double layer embedded with proteins. Sex hormones are lipids, belonging to the group of complex lipid molecules known as "steroids." Vitamin D is a lipid.
The body stores and transports fatty acids in the form of triglycerides. A triglyceride contains three fatty acid molecules, which have a chain-like structure, linked to glycerol. (There are also mono- and di-glycerides, which have one and two fatty acid chains, respectively, attached to glycerol.)
Like many other things necessary to life, fat is a two-edged sword. Fat insulates us from the cold, cushions and protects our vital organs and serves as a storehouse for energy. Yet, when present in excess to the point of obesity, fat threatens health, happiness, self-esteem, social standing and longevity. The same is true of other lipids, most notably triglycerides and cholesterol. Transported throughout the body in the bloodstream, these essential lipids become a health liability when the blood contains too much of them.
Keeping fat in it its proper place, not eliminating or drastically reducing it, is the goal we should seek. In the blood, lipids must be maintained at healthy levels and ratios. When they are, an important foundation of good health is established.
How do we keep the blood lipids we need——triglycerides and the various forms of cholesterol——balanced at healthy levels? Diet and exercise are indispensable, these basics must come first. Along with the recommended dietary practices, a number of nutritional approaches offer help for maintaining healthy blood lipids. We will now give several of these a closer look.
In 1990, an herb used for centuries in the Far East was introduced to U.S. consumers. This herb, called "gum guggul," is proving to be one of the most effective natural cholesterol-lowering agents ever discovered. It also brings triglycerides down and raises HDL, the "good" cholesterol. The changes are substantial; gum guggul single-handedly normalizes the entire blood lipid profile, even in people with high starting levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
Gum guggul, also called simply "guggul," is a gummy resin tapped from the Commiphora tree. A cousin of myrrh gum, guggul has been used by Ayurvedic herbalists of India for at least 3,000 years; texts dating from around 1,000 B.C. mention the herb. Guggul was traditionally given for rheumatism and poor health caused by excess consumption of fatty foods. One ancient Sanskrit text describes in detail what happens in the body when blood fats are out of balance, due to sedentary lifestyle and overeating. The name of this condition has been translated as "coating and obstruction of channels."
Intrigued by the obvious similarity between "coating and obstruction of channels" and arteries clogged by fatty plaque, Indian researchers initiated a series of experimental and clinical studies in the 1960's to see if gum guggul would lower excess blood lipids.1 Both human and animal studies consistently showed cholesterol and triglyceride reductions.
Detailed pharmacological studies showed that guggul's lipid-lowering effects are produced by compounds in the resin called "guggulsterones."2 An Indian pharmaceutical firm then patented a standardized extract of gum guggul under the trade name "Gugulipid." The product contains a uniform 2.5 percent guggulsterones, which is higher than guggul resin in its natural state.
Because Gugulipid guarantees the necessary intake of guggulsterones needed for blood fat reduction, it has become the product used in clinical research. Phase I efficacy safety trials and Phase II efficacy trials have yielded more positive data.3,4,5 Most of the studies on gum guggul have used relatively small numbers of subjects; this tends to make mainstream medical scientists reluctant about natural remedies. A large, well-publicized double-blind Gugulipid trial on 400 to 500 people would go a long way toward giving this herb the credibility it deserves.
Another effective natural solution for blood fat control that should be better known is a relative of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). Pantethine is the active form of pantothenic acid in the body. Pantethine forms CoA, an essential co-enzyme for utilization of fat. CoA transports "active acetate," an important byproduct of fat metabolism that provides fuel for generating cellular energy. By promoting the burning of fats for energy, pantethine helps keep triglyceride levels down.6 Pantethine also helps regulate cholesterol production, by facilitating the conversion of fat into other lipid-based molecules needed in the body.6
Japanese researchers began studying the effect of pantethine on blood fats nearly twenty years ago. They reported their promising results at the Seventh International Symposium on Drugs Affecting Lipid Metabolism, held in Milan, Italy in 1980.7 Few in the medical or scientific communities took notice. Italian researchers followed up with several small clinical trials that confirmed the preliminary reports.6,8,9 An excellent cholesterol and triglyceride lowering agent that is safe and free of side-effects, pantethine remains, for the most part, ignored by mainstream science, although its usage is growing in alternative medicine circles. Pantethine it will no doubt prove to be one of the most important supplements for maintaining healthy blood fat levels.
When taken in high enough doses, niacin (vitamin B3) substantially lowers cholesterol. This has been known to medical science for many years.10 studies on niacin as a cholesterol-lowering agent go back to the 1950's. There was a fair amount of initial enthusiasm for niacin because it improves, unlike most lipid-lowering drugs, all parameters of the blood lipid profile. Niacin reduces total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. It also raises HDL cholesterol quite well. Interest in niacin has faded, in part because the necessary dose, 1200 milligrams a day or more, can cause flushing and gastrointestinal disturbances. Very high doses may be harmful to the liver if taken for too long.
There is a solution to the side-effect problem with niacin which, again, has failed to gain widespread attention. Inositol hexanicotinate is a flush-free form of niacin composed of six niacin molecules bonded to one molecule of inositol, another B-complex nutrient. Absorbed as an intact structure, inositol hexanicotinate is metabolized slowly, releasing free niacin into the bloodstream over a period of hours following ingestion.11 Inositol hexanicotinate has all the benefits of niacin for controlling blood fats. The flushing effect of ordinary niacin, which metabolizes much more rapidly, does not occur. Taking as much as four grams per day has not been reported to raise liver enzymes or cause other side-effects, but prudence dictates that people with liver problems should avoid very high doses of inositol hexanicotinate, or any form of niacin.12
We often think of vitamin E as synonymous with d-alpha tocopherol. Vitamin E is actually a whole family of compounds that includes various tocopherols and a group of lesser known but highly beneficial substances called "tocotrienols." All have vitamin E activity. Tocotrienols are similar in chemical structure to tocopherols, but they have important differences which give them unique and highly beneficial properties for human health.
Vitamin E is one of the most recognized antioxidants, nutrients that deactivate potentially toxic byproducts of oxygen metabolism known as free radicals. Vitamin E neutralizes peroxides, which result from the free radical oxidation of lipids, making it a key antioxidant in cell membranes. While d-alpha tocopherol has generally been regarded as the form of vitamin E with the strongest antioxidant activity, tocotrienols are even stronger.
The tocotrienol story is another example of a natural product slow to gain recognition. A Univeristy of California research team discovered that d-alpha tocotrienol is over six times more effective than d-alpha tocopherol at protecting cell membranes against free radical damage.13 In the presence of vitamin C, which recycles vitamin E-like compounds, its antioxidant activity is 40 to 60 times higher than d-alpha tocopherol. This study was published in 1991. Its safe to say few cardiac physicians know about tocotrienols, and we have yet to see 60 Minutes do a piece on "the powerful new form of vitamin E."
It would be a tremendous service to public health if they did, because the benefits of tocotrienols go far beyond their stellar antioxidant ability. Tocotrienols also lower total cholesterol and LDL, by impressive percentages. In one double-blind controlled study, tocotrienols reduced total cholesterol by 16 percent and LDL by 21 percent after twelve weeks. Another study recorded drops of 15 to 22 percent in total cholesterol along with 10 to 20 percent decreases in LDL levels.14 Now appearing on health food store shelves, tocotrienols are a health-protecting nutrients whose long overdue time has come. Derived from food oils such as palm oil and rice bran oil, tocotrienols have the same lack of toxicity as ordinary vitamin E.
1. Satyavati, G. Gugulipid: a promising hypolipidaemic agent from gum guggul (Commiphora wightii). Economic and Medicinal Plant Research 1991;5:47-82.
2. Dev, S. A modern look at an age-old Ayurvedic drug—guggulu. Science Age July 1987:13-18.
3. Nityanand, S., Srivastava, J.S., Asthana, O.P. Clinical trials with gugulipid. J. Ass. Physicians of India 1989;37(5):323-28.
4. Agarwal, R.C. et. al. Clinical trial of gugulipid—a new hypolipidemic agent of plant origin in primary hyperlipidemia. Indian J Med Res 1986;84:626-34.
5. 'Gugulipid' Drugs of the Future 1988;13(7):618-619.
6. Maggi, G.C., Donati, C., Criscuoli, G. Pantethine: A physiological lipomodulating agent, in the treatment of hyperlipidemias. Current Therapeutic Research 1982;32(3):380-86.
7. Kimura, S., Furukawa, Y., Wakasugi, J. Effects of pantethine on the serum lipoprotiens in rats fed a high cholesterol diet (Abstract) Seventh International Symposium on Drugs Affecting Lipid Metabolism, Milan, Italy, 1980.
8. Arsenio, L. Bodria, P. Effectiveness of long-term treatment with pantethine in patients with dyslipidemia. Clinical Therapeutics 1986;8(5):537-45.
9. Avogaro, P. Bittolo Bon, G. Fusello, M. Effect of pantethine on lipids, lipoproteins and apolipoproteins in man. Current Therapeutic Research 1983;33(3):488-93.
10. Crouse, J.R. New developments in the use of niacin for treatment of hyperlipidemia: new considerations in the use of an old drug. Coronary Artery Disease 1996;7(4):321-26.
11. Welsh, A.L. Ede, M. Inositol hexanicotinate for improved nicotinic acid therapy. International Record of Food Medicine 1961;174(1):9-15.
12. "Inositol hexaniacinate" (Monograph). Alternative Medicine Review 1998;3(3):222-3.
13. Serbinova, E., et. al. Free radical recycling and intramembrane mobility in the antioxidant properties of alpha-tocopherol and alpha tocotrienol. Free Radical Biology and Medicine 1991;10:263-275.
14. Qureshi, N. Qureshi, A.A. Tocotrienols: Novel Hypercholesterolemic Agents with Antioxidant Properties. in 'Vitamin E in Health and Disease' Lester Packer and Jürgen Fuchs, Editors. 1993; New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc.
Control Cholesterol with the following Supplements
May 12, 2005 09:33 AM
Keeping the Intestines Healthy"Friendly Bacteria" Therapy Breakthrough
by Richard Conant, L.Ac., C.N.
Ninety percent of the cells found in the human body are not of human origin.
No, this does not mean we are all products of some sinister alien experiment.
The human body is made up of about 10 trillion cells. This huge number is dwarfed by the bacteria we all carry around in our intestinal tracts. The lower bowel is a campground for roughly 100 trillion bacteria, single-celled plant organisms that can be seen only through a microscope.
When we enjoy good intestinal health, the bulk of these bacteria are beneficial. Known as "friendly flora," these tiny guests help digest our food by breaking down undigested proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The friendliest of the friendly bacteria are the "lactobacilli," so named because they produce lactic acid in the bowel, by fermenting carbohydrates. This lactic acid production is profoundly important for keep the intestines healthy. And good intestinal health is the foundation of overall health.
How do we maintain a thriving population of lactic acid-producing bacteria in the gut? First introduced into the human body through mother's milk, lactobacilli are somewhat fragile. Stress, poor diets, and antibiotics can kill them off. They should be replanted fairly regularly throughout life. One way to do this is through consumption of cultured milk products such as sour milk, kefir and yogurt, which contain live lactobacilli. They can also be consumed in dietary supplements, but this may or may not be a reliable route. Bacterial products do not keep very well on the shelf, they require refrigeration, and are largely destroyed on the trip from the mouth to the gut by our own digestive juices.
Introducing Lactobacillus sporogenes- a revolutionary new friendly bacteria supplement.
This article will focus on one particular species of lactobacilli, a relatively unknown member of the family called Lactobacillus sporogenes. This lactic-acid producing bacteria may prove to be one of the most practical forms for use in supplements, thanks to a unique property not shared by the more well-known friendly flora such as acidophillus. L. Sporogenes is a spore-forming bacteria. Safely enclosed within a spore coat that protects it from the environment, L. sporogenes is resistant to heat, oxygen and digestive acids. Once L. sporogenes reaches the intestines, its spore coat dissolves, freeing the bacteria to multiply and churn out the beneficial lactic acid. (The spore coat, made up of a calcium-protein-carbohydrate complex, is harmless).1
The difficulty of keeping friendly bacteria supplements alive is an ongoing problem for manufacturers of these products. Studies have analyzed various commerical products claiming to contain acidophilus and found they often contain few live bacteria.2,3 L. Sporogenes is naturally microencapsulated; this insulates it from the gauntlet through which friendly bacteria in dietary supplements must pass.1 Autointoxication-Poisoning by Bacterial Toxins The intestinal tract may also play host to pathogenic, or disease-causing bacteria. These "unfriendly flora" cause putrefaction and release injurious toxins into the lower bowel. This healthy picture is all too common, and has long been concern of wholistic health practitioners.
The concept of "autointoxication," poisoning of the body by intestinal toxins, was popular among doctors in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. An editorial on the dangers of autointoxication which appeared in the June 3, 1893 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) declared that "most likely a large majority of chronic diseases take their origin from this cause."4 The famous Russian physician Eli Metchnikoff pioneered the use of lactobacteria for preventing autointoxication and restoring bowel health. His landmark work 'Prolongation of Life' sparked interest in lactobacilli as a food supplement.5,6
Naturopathy, widely practiced during the early twentieth century, has always stressed the fundamental importance of bowel cleansing. With the advent of so-called "scientific medicine," naturopathy slipped into decline, and the concept of autointoxication was discredited. Over the last thirty years or so, this has changed. Naturopathic medicine has rebounded, and the importance of bowel health is once again recognized. A paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1964, while opining that autointoxication "was exploited by quacks and faddists" in the early 1900's concedes that "the concept of autointoxication must now receive serious consideration."7
Leaders in the rebirth of natural medicine such as Dr. Bernard Jensen have helped educate the public about the importance of keeping the bowels healthy through regular use of lactobacilli. Jensen is well-known for his extensive studies of regions such as the Hunza Valley in Pakistan where people commonly live well over one hundred years. Jensen and others have noted that the consumption of fermented dairy products containing lactobacilli is a common dietary practice in these areas. Their observations have contributed to the popularity of friendly bacteria supplements. At the same time, clinical research has provided ample evidence of the beneficial effects of lactobacteria supplementation.5,9<.sup>
Eubiosis-Keeping a Healthy Bacteria Population in the Intestinal Tract
In his book 'Tissue Cleansing Through Bowel Management, which contains a wealth of valuable wisdom on intestinal health, Dr. Jensen writes, "Where health and vitality are found, we invariably find the friendly and beneficial microbes ... To a large extent the flora in the bowel determines the state of health in an individual."8 In a healthy bowel the friendly flora make up the bulk of the bacteria population. The unfriendly, disease-causing organisms are in the minority. The good bacteria keep them firmly under control. This healthy microbial balance in the gut is called "eubiosis."
Life in our modern industrial society is hardly favorable to eubiosis. Residents of the Hunza Valley lead unhurried lives in a pristine, pollution-free environment. They grow their own food in fertile, nutrient-rich soil, work close to the landÐand consume lactic-acid producing bacteria on a daily basis. For the rest of us who cannot hope to enjoy this enviable lifestyle, eubiosis is something we should never take for granted. This means taking proactive steps to plant the seeds of health in our intestinal garden, by using a viable friendly bacteria supplement.
Supplements which help to populate the intestinal tract with friendly bacteria are known as "probiotics." The term "probiotic" literally means "for life.' (In contrast, "antibiotic" means "against life.") Probiotics restore the natural state of "eubiosis" that is so very important for health and longevity.
L. Sporogenes-an ideal probiotic
Not every species of lactobacilli qualifies as an effective probiotic. As noted above, many do not survive processing, storage and passage through the digestive system very well. The following attributes make L. Sporogenes an ideal probiotic supplement:1,10,11
1) Naturally microencapsulatedÐstable at room temperature and can be stored unrefrigerated for long periods without loss of viable organisms.
2) Tolerates heat, stomach acid and bile, allowing it to successfully travel into the lower bowel.
3) Non-pathogenic, has only beneficial effects on its host. Has similar characteristics as acidophilus: prefers a mild acid environment; produces lactic acid, digestive enzymes, etc.
4) Readily multiplies in the human gut. In the stomach, the spore coat absorbs moisture and begins to swell. Upon reaching the small intestine, the bacteria cells germinate and begin to multiply, doubling in number every 30 minutes.
5) Produces enzymes which help digest protein, fats and carbohydrates. These enzymes include lactose, the enzyme that digests milk sugar.12
6) Creates a favorable environment (mildly acidic) in the gut for other friendly bacteria to thrive. Prevents overgrowth of pathogenic organisms.
7) Produces lactic acid in the form of L- lactic acid only.
The last point is especially important. Lactic acid occurs in the form of three isomers (substances with identical molecular structures that have different shapes): L-lactic acid, D-lactic acid and DL-lactic acid. The D form is metabolized slowly, and can produce acidosis in the system. (Infants have a particularly difficult time metabolizing D-lactic acid.)11,13 DL-Lactic acid, the kind acidophilus makes, may be converted to either D or L.
The L form is the one we want. L. sporogenes is a "homofermenter," it makes L-lactic acid exclusively. Lactic acid keeps the gut mildly acidic. This acidity is essential for the gut to be a hospitable home for friendly bacteria, and stops the growth of the unwelcome disease-causing bacteria.
L. sporogenes has only one drawback. It is a transient visitor that does not permanently colonize in the digestive tract. A study on the retention of L. sporogenes found no bacteria in the feces six days after consumption was discontinued.14
L. Sporogenes-Results from Clinical Studies
L. Sporogenes is used extensively in Japan and approved by the Japanese equivalent of the FDA. L. sporogenes has been given to hospital patients suffering from intestinal complaints such as gas and bloating due to abnormal fermentation, constipation, diarrhea and indigestion. (These problems often occur after surgery or chemotherapy.) A total of 16 clinical reports are on record in Japanese hospitals, documenting 293 case of digestive complaints treated with L. sporogenes.15 The overall improvement rate is an impressive 86 percent. Results are typically seen within four to five days. L. sporogenes has also been used with success to clear up diarrhea in newborns.16 Like other lactobacilli, L. sporogenes lowers blood cholesterol. (Lactobacilli break down cholesterol and bile salts in the intestinal tract.) Researchers at a hospital in New Delhi, India gave L. sporogenes tablets to 20 patients with high cholesterol for twelve weeks.17 Total cholesterol levels were substantially reduced, along with LDL cholesterol, and the beneficial HDL rose slightly.
The popularity of L. sporogenes in other countries as an ideal friendly bacteria supplement will no doubt be soon matched in the U.S. This microscopic helper for intestinal health is now sold in probiotic products under the name "Lactospore®."
1. Gandhi, A.B., Nagarathnam, T. Probiotics in veterinary use. Poultry Guide 1990;27(3):43-47.
2. Brennan, M., Wanismail, B., Ray, B. Prevalence of viable Lactobacillus acidophilus in dried commercial products. Journal of Food Protection 1983;46(10):887-92.
3. Gilliland, S.E., Speck, M.L. Enumeration and identity of lactobacilli in dietary products. Journal of Food Protection 1977;40(11):760-62.
4. Dalton, R.H. The limit of human Life, and how to live long. JAMA 1893;20:599-600.
5. Shahani, K.M., Ayebo, A.D. Role of dietary lactobacilli in gastrointestinal microecology. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1980;33:2448-57.
6. Metchnikoff, E.. Prolongation of Life. New York: G.P. Putnam Sons;1908.
7. Donaldson, R.M. Normal Bacterial populations of the intestine and their relation to intestinal function. New Eng. J. Med. 1964;270(18):938-45.
8. Jensen, B. Tissue Cleansing Through Bowel Management. Escondido, CA: publ. by Bernard Jensen, D.C.;1980.
9. Schauss, A.G. Lactobacillus acidophilus: method of action, clinical application, and toxicity data. Journal of Advancement in Medicine 1990;3(3):163-78.
10. 'General InformationÐLactospore®' 1996; Sabinsa Corporation: Piscataway, NJ.
11. Gandhi, A.B. Lactobacillus sporogenes, An Advancement in Lactobacillus Therapy. The Eastern Pharmacist August 1998:41-44.
12. Kim, Y.M., Lee, J.C., Choi, Y.J., Yang, H.C. Studies on the production of beta galactosidase by lactobacillus sporogenes. Properties and application of beta galactosidase. Korean J. Appl. Microbiol. Bioeng. 1985;13(4):355-60.
13. Oh, MS. D-Lactic acidosis in a man with short bowel syndrome. New Eng J Med 1979;31(5):249-52.
14. Hashimo, K. et. al. New Drugs and Clinics 1964;13(9):53-66.
15. 'Abstracts of papers on the clinical studies of Lacbon' Unpublished data.
16. Dhongade, R.K., Anjaneyule, R. Lactobacillus sporogenes (Sporlac) in neonatal diarrhea. Unpublished data.
17. Mohan, J.C., Arora, R., Khaliullah, M. Preliminary observations on effect of Lactobacillus sporogenes on serum lipid levels in hypercholesterolemic patients. Indian J. Med. Res. 1990;92(B):431-32.
VitaNet ® Staff