Search Term: " suppressive "
May 01, 2008 02:45 PM
Bromelain consists of two enzymes that digest proteins, otherwise known as proteases or proteolytic enzymes. These enzymes are obtained from different parts of the plant, one from the stem and the other from the fruit. It also includes protease inhibitors, acid phosphatase, peroxidase and calcium.
First used as a supplement in 1959, bromelain is particularly popular in Germany, where a lot of the recent research has been carried out. Because the stem enzyme is in the greatest amount, eating pineapple will not give a great deal of bromelain, and you will have to take the supplement which is extracted from the stem in order to get the greatest benefits.
Bromelain has several therapeutic effects on the body, and is a good aid to digestion. The enzyme can boost the digestive processes and so reduce the incidence of problems such as heartburn, acid reflux and any other condition caused by the incomplete digestion of foods. It does this by breaking down proteins so they are more easily digested.
In fact its potency is sometimes measured in GDUs (Gelatin Digesting Units), gelatin being a common protein that is easily used for the measurement of bromelain activity. It is also measured in MCU (Milk Clotting Units), since bromelain can also be used to clot milk, and a standardized dose should contain 2 MCU per milligram. The dosage to use depends a great deal on the condition being treated, but a good general average for digestive problems is 500 mg three times daily.
Bromelain works best at an optimum pH of 4.5 – 5.5 and can therefore help to balance the pH in its environment. It is extremely important to the immune system that the pH of the body is balanced and controlled to within certain limits, and bromelain can help to achieve that. In helping to reduce the excessive acidity caused by poor digestion, a balanced pH of the stomach is also maintained, helping to reduce the feeling of nausea, common with some digestive defects. The overall result of bromelain supplement is to help to maintain a better digestive system and ease the discomfort of many people for whom a meal is frequently not the pleasure it should be.
Bromelain is also an anti-inflammatory, and used for temporary relief of the inflammation caused by surgical procedures, arthritis and various injuries and forms of disease It is commonly used for the treatment of sports injuries and also immediately after surgery to reduce the risk of inflammation. It appears to have an inhibiting effect of the production of pro-inflammatory metabolites in the body, although the mechanism by which it works is not yet fully understood.
In fact many of the therapeutic benefits of bromelain have been show to be only partially due to its proteolytic activity, and it is now believed that there are also as yet unidentified non-protein factors present in bromelain that contribute to these forms of health benefit. The biochemistry of bromelain has yet to be fully characterized.
Notwithstanding that, the substance has been recommended for the treatment of a wide range of connected conditions, such as gout, arthritis, hemorrhoids, ulcerative colitis, autoimmune disorders, hay fever and sinusitis. It is particularly useful where there is pain, where tissues have become swollen and when tissue repair is needed. It appears to inhibit pain-inducing prostaglandins and is also believed in some way to induce the biochemical production of other prostaglandins that have an anti-inflammatory effect.
All of this knowledge has come as a result of studies carried out on the biochemical activity of bromelain, but have not yet been proved and is indicative of the lack of biochemical knowledge on this substance and the chemicals it contains. What have been demonstrated, however, are its effects on platelets and blood clots in arteries.
It appears to do this by the inhibition of the formation of high levels of fibrinogen from which clots are made, and also inhibits the aggregation of blood platelets and their ability to stick to the endothelial cells of blood vessels, particularly the arteries. The fibrin that is produced from fibrinogen not only promotes blood clotting but is also associated wit the retention of fluid. It is a protein, and the proteolytic effect of bromelain also breaks this down.
Bromelain therefore works in a number ways to reduce fluid retention, prevent blood clotting and inhibit the aggregation of blood platelets on artery walls. The measurable effect of this is the thinning of the blood that such activity promotes. It is logical that if fibrin contributes to the viscosity of blood, then its destruction will result in thinner blood, and hence lower blood pressure.
It is also used in the treatment of burns, where it helps to remove the dead skin that can delay recovery after third degree burns. It also appears to promote the absorption of many antibiotics, which again helps in recovery.
Bromelain is relatively safe to use with few side effects, although, curiously, among the side effects are some conditions it is also used to treat. Among these are nausea and allergic reactions, along with diarrhea and excessive menstrual flow. One of its successes has been in the control of menstrual pain.
Bromelain has been proposed for cancer therapy, its potential use being recommended due to its effect of the adhesion of cells, its regulation of the immune function and its effect on the immunosuppressive cytokine TGF-beta that is involved in several types of cancer and their metastasis (spread to other parts of the body). However, a lot more work is needed on this for definite conclusions to be drawn.
On a more practical note, the effect of bromelain on proteins is put to use as a steak tenderizer. If the product is sprinkled in powdered form onto meat, and then forked into the tissue, the enzymes will break down the protein of the meat and make it tender when cooked. However, don’t overdo it or you will end up eating a meaty mush more akin to a soft meatloaf than a good steak!
All in all, bromelain is a useful supplement for many medical conditions, and does to food in your stomach what it does to steak on the plate. It is generally used in supplement form because the active enzyme is not in a high enough concentration in the fruit itself, but in the stem from which it is extracted after the fruit has been harvested. It is also easier to standardize a supplement than a fruit.
Best Sugar Balance Svetol (green coffee extract)
May 05, 2006 06:30 PM
Best Sugar Balance featuring Svetol® Svetol® is an extract of green coffee obtained by the use of a traditional patented extraction process from the beans of the species Coffea canephora robusta Pierre. This species is particularly rich in the constituent known as chlorogenic acid. Svetol® green coffee extract contains less than 2% caffeine. The extract is standardized to contain between 45-50% chlorogenic acids.
In vitro (test tube) and in vivo research suggests that chlorogenic acids present in coffee may have the ability to regulate blood sugar concentrations after meals by acting on the intestinal absorption of glucose and improving the body's glucose tolerance. Clinical evidence also suggests that Svetol® green coffee extract may help to maintain a healthy blood sugar level when used as a part of the diet.*
Maintains healthy blood sugar levels when used as a part of the diet*
Chlorogenic acid is the major polyphenol compound found in Svetol® green coffee bean extract. In vitro and animal studies have been conducted to determine the potential actions of this polyphenol. Studies report that chlorogenic acid and related compounds have significant antioxidant potential and are responsible for the high reported antioxidant benefit of green coffee. Several studies suggest that consumption of coffee in the diet is one factor that is correlated to the maintenance of healthy neural function and healthy aging. Coffee has also been shown in vitro to suppress the production of various free radicals. The chlorogenic acid content of coffee has been determined to be a major factor in the free radical quenching properties of coffee. A study was conducted to assess the activity of coffee extracts against the production of hydroxyl radicals in an in vitro system. It was found that coffee extracts possessed significant suppressive activity against hydroxyl radicals. Of the compounds assumed to be responsible for this effect, the researchers concluded that the chlorogenic acids played a major role with some contributions from other compounds found in the extract. This compound may also strongly contribute to any potential neuroprotective effects seen with coffee consumption.1
Two further studies highlight a possible mechanism by which chlorogenic acid mediates its antioxidant activity. In one study, the FRAP (Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power) assay was used to measure and compare the iron-reducing capacity of chlorogenic acid and caffeine. It was shown that the chlorogenic acid content of the samples tested was highly correlated with iron-reducing activity in this assay. Moreover, lighter roasted coffee samples (closer in nature to green coffee) had the highest iron-reducing activity. Caffeine did not influence the iron-reducing activity of the coffee samples.2 Iron compounds are known to mediate the production of radicals and often serve as catalysts for their production in the body. A second study shows that chlorogenic acid can bind to and Chelate certain iron compounds, preventing them from catalyzing radical-producing reactions. In this way, chlorogenic acid acts as a powerful antioxidant.3
Chlorogenic acid and related compounds have a dual effect on the production and suppression of free radicals. In the case of the hydroxyl radical, studies outlined previously suggest that chlorogenic acid suppresses the production of the radical due to its ability to chelate iron compounds, while other studies suggest that chlorogenic acid has direct scavenging effects on the hydroxyl radical.4 Dietary intake of this potent polyphenol may confer multiple benefits to human health.
Several studies further suggest that chlorogenic acid in coffee can have a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels when consumed as a part of the diet. A recent study assessed the effects of coffee and tea consumption on glucose tolerance in middle-aged Japanese men. In this study, the relationship between daily intakes of green tea or coffee and glucose tolerance status was measured by the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). More than 3,400 men participated in the study in which fasting glucose was measured before and 2 hours after administration of an oral glucose load. A self-administered questionnaire was used to establish daily levels of dietary coffee and green tea consumption over the past year. The results showed that those individuals who consumed the highest levels of coffee per day had lower fasting glucose levels (by 1.5%) and lower post-test glucose concentrations (4.3% lower) than those who did not consume coffee Chlorogenic acid and related compounds have a dual effect on the production and suppression of free radicals. In the case of the hydroxyl radical, studies outlined previously suggest that chlorogenic acid suppresses the production of the radical due to its ability to chelate iron compounds, while other studies suggest that chlorogenic acid has direct scavenging effects on the hydroxyl radical.4 Dietary intake of this potent polyphenol may confer multiple benefits to human health.
Several studies further suggest that chlorogenic acid in coffee can have a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels when consumed as a part of the diet. A recent study assessed the effects of coffee and tea consumption on glucose tolerance in middle-aged Japanese men. In this study, the relationship between daily intakes of green tea or coffee and glucose tolerance status was measured by the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
More than 3,400 men participated in the study in which fasting glucose was measured before and 2 hours after administration of an oral glucose load. A self-administered questionnaire was used to establish daily levels of dietary coffee and green tea consumption over the past year.
The results showed that those individuals who consumed the highest levels of coffee per day had lower fasting glucose levels (by 1.5%) and lower post-test glucose concentrations (4.3% lower) than those who did not consume coffee on a daily basis. In this study, green tea consumption was not associated with any benefits on glucose concentrations.5
It is likely that the chlorogenic acid found in coffee plays a role in supporting healthy glucose metabolism, whereas the role of caffeine is not clear, with some reports suggesting an adverse effect on sugar metabolism.
A second study further confirms an effect of chlorogenic acid at inhibiting the absorption of glucose from the diet. This effect occurs in the small intestine. In this study, nine healthy fasted volunteers consumed 25 grams of glucose in 400 ml of water (the control group), caffeinated coffee, or decaffeinated coffee. Frequent blood samples were taken over the next 3 hours. It was found that glucose and insulin concentrations were higher 30 minutes after the consumption of caffeinated coffee than with either decaffeinated coffee or control (water).While caffeine has specific biological effects on raising glucose levels and impacting insulin profiles, chlorogenic acid was shown to have an antagonistic effect on glucose transport. Previous studies have also shown that chlorogenic acid significantly delays glucose uptake from the small intestine.6
RESEARCH ON SVETOL®
Svetol® is a unique extract of Coffea canephora robusta green coffee beans containing between 45 and 50% chlorogenic acids with less than 2% total caffeine concentration. As outlined above, many studies highlight the potential benefits of coffee compounds, including chlorogenic acid, for providing protection against free radicals and promoting healthy glucose metabolism. A number of other potential benefits have been discovered for these compounds. Svetol® has also been the subject of preliminary clinical studies that have shown exciting results.
In a pilot study, the effect of Svetol® on sugar concentrations after meals was evaluated in 15 individuals. In the same trial, the longer-term effects of Svetol® on weight management were also evaluated. Blood sugar concentrations were measured on two separate occasions. Patients were administered an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) in which they consumed a standard amount of sugar and had their blood sugar levels measured 1 hour after sugar intake. The first measurement was made on day 1 prior to taking Svetol® and the second OGTT was performed on day 2, after beginning the Svetol® regimen in which one tablet (200 mg per tablet) was administered 3 times during the day. Patients were fasted for at least 8 hours prior to the testing. The results showed that Svetol® was able to reduce blood sugar concentrations in 60% of the subjects. The mean reduction of blood sugar concentration in these individuals was 50%. The treatment was continued following the same regimen for 6 weeks to assess the impact of Svetol® on weight. The average weight loss of the participants was 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) over the treatment period. 7
Based on the studies mentioned above and other related research on the ingredients in Svetol®, scientists have proposed two mechanisms of action whereby Svetol® may influence the metabolism and processing of glucose. The first mechanism seems to be an inhibitory action on glucose absorption from the diet. Svetol® may affect the uptake of glucose in the small intestine by modulating factors needed for sugar absorption.
The second mechanism relates to possible effects of Svetol® in the liver's ability to produce glucose. Chlorogenic acids have been shown in vitro and in animal studies to modulate the effects of certain enzymes in the liver that catalyze the production of glucose. By having this dual effect on sugar absorption and sugar production, Svetol® is an effective product for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels when used as a part of the diet.*
Svetol® is a natural food extract from green coffee beans containing a standardized amount of chlorogenic acid. Studies have shown that chlorogenic acid (up to 500 mg/kg/day) given to pregnant rats from the 5th through 12th day of gestation caused no maternal or fetal mortality and no adverse effects on the nervous system. Chlorogenic acids have also been shown to be non-mutagenic in tests on bacteria such as the Ames test. The LD50 of chlorogenic acids has been determined to be higher than 2500 mg/kg body weight. Svetol® is also extremely low in caffeine, with less than 2% caffeine contained in the extract, and is not expected to have any of caffeine's stimulant effects. Svetol® is extremely safe with no adverse effects having been reported while taking Svetol® at the recommended dosage.7
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1) Daglia M, Racchi M, Papetti A, Lanni C, Govoni S,Gazzani G. In vitro and ex vivo antihydroxyl radical activity of green and roasted coffee. J Agric Food Chem.2004 Mar 24;52(6):1700-4.
2) Moreira DP, Monteiro MC, Ribeiro-Alves M, Donangelo CM, Trugo LC. Contribution of chlorogenic acids to the iron-reducing activity of coffee beverages. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Mar 9;53(5):1399-402.
3) Kono Y, Kashine S,Yoneyama T, Sakamoto Y, Matsui Y, Shibata H. Iron chelation by chlorogenic acid as a natural antioxidant. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 1998 Jan;62(1):22-7.
4) Zang LY, Cosma G, Gardner H, Castranova V, Vallyathan V. Effect of chlorogenic acid on hydroxyl radical. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003 May;247(1-2):205-10.
5) Yamaji T, Mizoue T, Tabata S, Ogawa S, Yamaguchi K, Shimizu E, Mineshita M, Kono S. Coffee consumption and glucose tolerance status in middle-aged Japanese men.Diabetologia. 2004 Dec;47(12):2145-51. Epub 2004 Dec 15.
6) Johnston KL, Clifford MN, Morgan LM. Coffee acutely modifies gastrointestinal hormone secretion and glucose tolerance in humans: glycemic effects of chlorogenic acid and caffeine. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Oct;78(4):728-33.
7) Berkem.Text on Svetol®.Gardonne, France: November 2005.
AHCC® Fact Sheet - from Now Foods.
December 08, 2005 10:20 AM
AHCC® Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 6/30/05
LIKELY USERS: People needing increased activity of their Natural Killer cells; People seeking improved immune system response; People with a need for tissue repair; People with oxidative challenges; People seeking to increase liver function People defying aging or with a need to improve cellular integrity.
KEY INGREDIENTS: AHCC® (Active Hexose Correlated Compound)
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: AHCC® is a proprietary extract produced from specially cultivated and hybridized mushrooms. According to extensive research in humans, as well as numerous non-clinical studies, AHCC®supports immune system function through its effects on macrophages and NK (Natural Killer) Cells. NK cells and the intercellular mediators they produce are critical for the maintenance of healthy cell cycle function. AHCCR® has also been shown possess antioxidant properties, and supports healthy liver function.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT USE INFORMATION & QUALITY ISSUES: AHCC® (Active Hexose Correlated Compound) is a patented ingredient that has been the subject of research studies. It is supported by the scientific staff in the laboratories of both NOW Foods and the raw material supplier, both of which have a mutual interest in protecting the integrity and efficacy of this product.
AHCC® is a rich source of polysaccharides such as beta glucan 1,3 and activated hemicellulose produced by enzymatic modification of organic medicinal mushrooms, including shiitake. It also has been shown to support normal levels of macrophages and cytokines, further strengthening the immune system.
This formula is suitable for vegetarians and is offered in Vcaps.
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: As a dietary supplement, take 2 Vcaps® 3 times daily, preferably on an empty stomach.
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: Antioxidants, Astragalus, Colostrum, Dr. Verghese Liver Formula, Immune Renew, Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C), Inositol Hexaphosphate (IP-6),
PRODUCT SPECIFIC: None
GENERAL: Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. When taking any new supplement, use common sense and cautiously increase to the full dose over time to avoid any potential problems. Packages may contain moisture or oxygen controlling packets or canisters that are not intended for consumption. In order to maintain maximum freshness, please do not remove these from your bottle (until the bottle is empty). Please recycle your container.
DISCLAIMER: Information given here may vary from what is shown on the product label because this represents my own professional knowledge and understanding of the science underlying the formula and ingredients. The information in this review should not be used as diagnosis, prescription or as a specific product claim.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Aviles H, Belay T, Fountain K, Vance M, Sun B, Sonnenfeld G. (2003) Active hexose correlated compound enhances resistance to Klebsiella pneumoniae infectin in mice in the hindlimb-unloading model of spaceflight conditions. J Appl Physiol 95:491-496.
Burikhanov RB, Wakame K, Igarashi Y, Wang S, Matsuzaki S (2000) suppressive Effect of Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC®) on Thymic Apoptosis Induced by Dexamethasone in the Rat. Endocrine Regulations 34:181-188. Matsui Y, et al. (2002) Improved prognosis of postoperative hepatocellular carcinoma patients when treated with functional foods: a prospective cohort study. J Hepatol. 2002 Jul;37(1):78-86. PMID: 12076865 Matsushita K, et al. (1998) Combination therapy of active hexose correlated compound plus UFT significantly reduces the metastasis of rat mammary adenocarcinoma. Anti-Cancer Drugs 9:343-350. Sun B, Wakame K, Mukoda T, Toyoshima A. Kanazawa T, Kosuna K (1997) Preventive Effects of AHCC® on Carbon Tetrachloride Induced Liver Injury in Mice. Nat Med 51(4):310-315.
Ye SF, Ichimura K, Wakame K, Ohe M. suppressive effects of Active Hexose Correlated Compound on the increased activity of hepatic and renal ornithine decarboxylase induced by oxidative stress. Life Sci. 2003 Dec 19;74(5):593-602. PMID: 14623030 Ye SF, Wakame K, Ichura K, Matsuzaki S (2004) Amelioration by active hexose correlated compound of endocrine disturbances induced by oxidative stress in the rat. Endocr Regul 38(1):7-13.
Cancer and Echinacea
June 24, 2005 03:45 PM
Cancer and Echinacea
Some experts believe that over the last 40 years, science has lost its battle with cancer. Progress has been slow and cancer mortality rates continue to rise despite the enormous amount of money spent on research. While most of us are aware of potential carcinogens which surround us at every turn, most of us do not take a preventative approach.
In other words, even if we eat nutritiously and try to protect ourselves from toxin exposure, cancers still develop. The role of the immune system in cancer pre vention is significant to say the least. Why some people develop cancerous tumors and others do not may be linked to immune function.
We’re all aware of the new emphasis on antioxidants today. Likewise, stimulating and strengthening the immune system may also provide significant protection against certain types of malignancy. It’s time to concentrate on why some of us don’t get cancer instead of focusing all our attention on why some of us do.
In addition to boosting the immune system, echinacea has been shown to increase pro p e rdin levels in the body which may be responsible for its anti-cancer activity. By increasing the production and secretion of interferon, echinacea may help enable the body to neutralize carcinogens.15
USDA researchers have found that echinacea contains a tumor inhibiting compound. This compound is an oncolytic lipid-soluble hydrocarbon. This particular substance which is found in the essential oil of echinacea, has shown its ability to inhibit lymphocytic leukemia and other types of cancers.
One theory concerning this activity is that it probably does not involve creating a cytotoxic effect directly on cancer cells, but rather stimulates the action of anti-cancer cells such as natrual killer cells already present in the body.
The fact that echinacea inhibits the enzyme, hyaluronidase may also be a factor. The same type of mechanism that breaks down the protective barrier around cells so that disease microbes can enter is thought to occur in the initial stages of tumor formation. Because echinacea prevents the formation of hyaluronidase, it may play a role in preventing the development of certain types of cancer.16
Allergies and Echinacea
German research has demonstrated echinacea’s ability to treat certain allergic reactions.17 It may be the cortisone-like activity of echinacea which accounts for its anti-inflammatory action. In the case of allergic reactions, the immuno-suppressive action of echinacea kicks in.
An allergy occurs when the immune system becomes overly stimulated by the presence of an allergen. Each time that the allergen enters the body an allergic response is initiated. Echinacea can temper this cascade of symptoms by stabilizing mast cells, which are responsible for the histamine release which creates havoc with our bodies. This action results in a substantial reduction of allergy symptoms.
The fact that echinacea actually suppresses the immune system is nothing less than remarkable. This herb might be referred to as “the botanical with a brain.” In other words, it can either stimulate or inhibit immune response as determined by the status of the body. Synthetic drugs do not have this ability.
Healing Stimulation by Echinacea
Because echinacea has antiseptic pro p e rties, it can be used both internally and externally to heal conditions such as bed sores, boils, burns, ulcers and wounds of any kind. The inulin Echinacin B content of echinacea extracted from the rhizome gives echinacea its wound healing pro p e rties. It also accelerates the production of granulomatous tissue which is necessary for tissue healing in the body. 18
Russian studies have shown that echinacea also helps to stimulate healing in wounds and prevents blood clotting.19
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Echinacea
Because echinacea contains the polysaccharides inulin and echinacin it may be helpful in fighting stubborn viral infections such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Anytime the immune system becomes c o m p romised due to exhaustion, allergies, or depression, viral and bacterial invasion can occur. The chemical compounds contained in echinacea promote improved resistance to all septic or infectious conditions.20
Prostate Disorders and Echinacea
Echinacea is believed to be one of the best herbs in the treatment of enlarged prostate glands or other prostate disorders .21 Its anti-inflammatory properties are believed to help decrease swelling and irritation. Tests on mice have shown that using echinacea to control inflammatory responses has resulted in a decrease in edema or swelling.
Weight Loss and Echinacea
When combined with chickweed, echinacea has been used to promote weight loss.22 Scientifically, there is a lack of data to explain this particular effect.
Echinacea and Skin Damage
Any type of skin damage, whether caused by injury or infection can be treated with echinacea. One of the major actions of this herb is its ability to inhibit a specific enzyme that weakens connective tissue cells when they are exposed to certain microorganisms. This enzyme is called hyaluronidase .23 Whenever skin cells have been compromised by infectious organisms, echinacea can help prevent the spread of infection and speed the healing of the skin by preventing the break down of skin tissue at the cellular level. The anti-hyaluronidase action of echinacea, especially when applied as a poultice, can significantly prevent infection and enhance healing in burns, cuts, and abrasions.
In addition, topical applications of echinacea are valuable in treating snake and insect bites. German research suggests that echinacea extracts and salves can benefit a variety of inflammatory skin conditions including: psoriasis, eczema, and herpes.24
Yeast Inf ect ions and Echinacea
Yeast infections are caused by an fungus called Candida albicans. This particular organism has been the subject of intense interest, research and controversy over the last several years. Standard medical therapies for yeast infections usually involve the use of antibiotics and antifungal drugs which can, in themselves, compromise the immune system. In laboratory tests using control groups, subjects who received echinacea we re compared to those who took standard antifungal treatments. In these cases, better results we re obtained with the echinacea.25 It is the polysaccharides contained in echinacea which seem to enhance the resistance of the immune system against the Candida fungus. This finding again stresses that echinacea may have important therapeutic applications for anyone who is in a weakened state and susceptible to opportunistic infections.26 Echinacea in both external and internal forms can be used to treat yeast infections. It has been suggested that anyone who has recurring yeast infections should consider adding echinacea extract to their repertoire of health supplements.
Inflammation, Arthrit is and Echinacea
Some laboratory tests have demonstrated that echinacea has certain anti-inflammatory pro p e rties which can help prevent or decrease the inflammation and swelling typically found in arthritis sufferers. Unlike the inflammatory response of the body to infections, the chronic inflammation of joint diseases such as arthritis is not desireable. In these cases, echinacea can help to inhibit chronic inflammation. Its effect is considered equal to approximately half of that resulting from steroid drugs like cortisone in arthritic patients.27
Apparently, echinacea contains a specific factor which prevents inflammation and swelling when observed in certain laboratory tests. This particular tonic action may be quite helpful for people who suffer from chronic arthritis. Arthritis symptoms result from an immune response which creates inflammation in the joints. As is the case with allergies, when arthritis is present, echinacea inhibits the inflammatory action of the immune system.
It is interesting to note that another component of echinacea actually boosts the inflammatory response when it is appropriate. For this reason, wounds respond well to echinacea.
Steroids are commonly prescribed for inflammatory diseases such as arthritis. Because steroid drugs have so many negative side-effects, echinacea may prove to be an invaluable treatment for improper immune system reactions that cause conditions like arthritis.
HIV and Echinacea
At this writing, the possible role of echinacea on HIV has not been established. While some preliminary studies look promising, much more research is needed to determine whether or not echinacea’s stimulation of immune function will benefit AIDS patients.
Basics of the Immune System
June 10, 2005 03:01 PM
Basics of the Immune System
by Leonid G. Ber, MD Energy Times, September 1, 1998
In a world filled with pathogens and microbes, good health and resistance to disease is no accident. It requires a vigorous and vigilant immune system. The immune system should be viewed as an internal security force that is constantly checking the identity of everything entering and already existing in the body. A cell or substance may be recognized as "non-self" and a potential enemy if it does not have the right molecular make-up. A cell displaying molecules produced according to a different blueprint than the body's own code may be recognized as foreign. To eliminate alien material that may harm the body, the immune system must take swift action.
Recognizing entities that originate outside the self forms the key to overall immune system response. This key is carried in the body by cells called macrophages (ma-kro-fajs), a name derived from a Greek term meaning "big eater." Macrophages eat or engulf foreign cells and molecules. When a macrophage encounters something that it distinguishes as being "non-self" or abnormal, it can attack the enemy with a series of assault weapons, including free-radicals (reactive substances) and enzymes, that dissolve and weaken the intruder. In fact, an enzyme produced by macrophages called lysozyme is recognized as one of nature's most powerful anti-infective agents. These chemical defenses, along with engulfment and complete digestion by macrophages, can effectively stymie invasion by disease-causing pathogens.
Harmful invasion can originate in the body's own cells as well as begin from outside sources. While we are constantly exposed to bacteria, viruses, fungal cells and parasites, destructive cancerous growths often start within the body.
Every day, thousands of the body's cells mutate into possible cancers. Under most circumstances, the immune system keeps these cells under control. But when the immune "security" system slips up, these harmful growths multiply unrecognized.
The initial immune response that recognizes invaders is called a "non-specific defense mechanism" since this immune response is generally the same toward all invaders. This counter-attack entails battling every invader pretty much identically: a macrophage can engage, dissolve, weaken, engulf, digest, eliminate. However, if, despite the initial immune efforts, the problem persists, a macrophage can tag an invader and "introduce" it to the rest of the immune system, thus recruiting more specialized types of immune cells to enter the battle. This tagging function endows macrophages with the name "antigen-presenting cells." (Antigens are substances that can provoke specific responses by the immune system.)
Most antigens are proteins. Proteins are relatively large molecules made of smaller units called amino acids. The specific geometric organization of amino acids is what conveys uniqueness to each protein. (Your genetic code forms a blueprint for the production of your own, individual proteins.) Protein molecules produced by one human being can act as an antigen for another human being. That's why organs transplanted from one person to another can be rejected by the immune system. Unless organs are transplanted from one identical twin to another (who share the genetic blueprint for protein creation), doctors must use immune-suppressing drugs to curtail organ rejection. At the same time as these medicines prevent transplant rejection, they also make people more susceptible to infectious diseases and cancer.
After one set of immune cells chemically tags antigens (invaders) for recognition, other highly specialized parts of the immune system go into action: Cells called T cells or T lymphocytes acknowledge the invaders and can take the further action (second line of defense) that is necessary to render them harmless.
T cells get their name from the thymus (an organ located behind the sternum) where they originate. The thymus, most active when we're young, usually shrinks and apparently slows or shuts down its activity about the age of forty.
A wide variety of T cells inhabit lymph nodes (soft, usually round, pea- or nut-sized organs) and other body areas. For instance, natural killer cells, as their name implies, are a particularly aggressive type of T cell. Another type of T cell is called T helper (a cell that supports development of immune response). T suppressors halt immune response when infection ends.
In order to make all these different cells work in concert, cytokines or messenger molecules are produced that facilitate constant communications between all the parts of the immune system.
The B Team
Other organs of the immune system include:
*bone marrow: a powerful cell producing organ where the majority of immune cells are born;
*spleen: an abdominal organ that forms a reservoir for the production of immune cells.
Lymph nodes oversee particular segments of the body where they collect and recycle tissue fluids. Like an early warning system, lymph nodes react when an invader is detected in the part of the body that it controls.
Yet another step in the so-called immune cascade entails action by lymphocytes, called B cells, which originate in the bone marrow. These cells produce antibodies which are immune proteins (immunglobulins) that attack specific antigens.
While traveling in the blood, an antibody can bind to an antigen, curtailing its harmful action. This bound up molecule forms a complex easily recognized by scavenging macrophages which make a quick meal out of the unlucky invader.
After enemy cells are removed from the body, knowledge of this victory resides in the immunological memory prolonging your resistance toward specific disease pathogens indefinitely. That's why someone who has recovered from a disease like the measles may be impervious to reinfection.
Rules for Optimum Immunity
Even though the immune system consists of a complex team of hard-working cells, enhancing your immunity is relatively easy:
Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Avoid continuous stress and negative emotions or cope with them through exercise or meditation. Consistent, moderate exercise can boost the immune system. Massage can also help although extreme care must be taken when inflammation or disease is already present.
Sleep 7-8 hours a day. Sleep allows the body to recover and rebuild. Protein synthesis, vital for a healthy immune system, increases during the night.
Stick to a healthy diet. Your immune system consists of trillions of cells. Consequently, nutrients important for cell health boost the immune system. A balanced low-calorie diet rich in complex carbohydrates, "good" fats (including fish oils, olive oil and flaxseed oil) along with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrient antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables can fortify immune cells. Plus, drinking plenty of water helps improve circulation of lymph fluid.
These recommendations are not hard to meet once they become a part of your daily routine. However, extra immune security may be necessary during flu season, while traveling long distances (airplanes are notorious sources of pathogens) or when working extensive hours in front of a computer screen. In addition, exposure to x-rays, immunosuppressive chemicals, ultraviolet radiation (the sun) or simply aging may give your immune cells extra burdens.
Your "specific" immune system does not respond immediately to the challenge of invasion by an infectious organism. Instead, it may require about 2 weeks for an effective reaction after antigen recognition and alerting T cells. During this period, the macrophages' non-specific defense assumes a crucial role in keeping infection in check.
Enhanced activity by macrophages is especially important for recognizing and destroying cancer cells. The most dangerous cancers are those that can mimic normal cells and avoid the immune system's wrath. Few substances can activate macrophage function in the body (aloe vera contains substances that contribute to this process). The most powerful macrophage activator recognized by the scientific community is a sugar-like substance called beta-1,3-D-glucan. Beta-glucan, extracted from the cell walls of common Baker's yeast, when taken in certain small amounts, can prevent infection by making macrophages more active in recognizing and attacking infectious bacteria, fungi and certain viruses.
This kind of activation can encourage macrophages to attack previously unrecognized tumor cells. As a result, tumors may be eradicated as the immune system mobilizes and produces what may be known as "spontaneous healing."
When a macrophage works overtime fighting disease, its demand for nutrients and energy increases dramatically. Vitamin C, known for its immune supporting function, seems to be especially important for maintaining fully active macrophages. Vitamin C collects in macrophages, often reaching forty times the concentration found in surrounding blood. What are conventionally considered normal amounts of vitamin C in the body may be insufficient to keep macrophages well supplied with this antioxidant. Therefore, extra amounts of vitamin C can keep the immune system in fighting trim.
Scientists are only now beginning to uncover the secrets of the highly organized immune system. One thing's certain: The immunity security team depends on proper lifestyle, nutrition and supplements to maintain the critical defenses necessary for good health.
Dr. Ber received his doctorate in internal medicine from the Yaroslavle, State Medical Institute in Yaroslavle, Russia.
KudZu, Treatment of alcohol dependence or alcohol abuse
May 19, 2005 09:29 AM
For millennia, folk medicines have been used to treat ‘‘alcohol addiction’’ in China. A thorough literature search of the ancient Chinese pharmacopoeias revealed a long list of traditional remedies, including the 16 ‘‘stop-drinking’’ formulae of Sun Simiao (ca. 600 AD) and the ‘‘anti-alcohol addiction’’ formula of Li Dongyuan (ca. 1200 AD), 2 of the most reputed ‘‘medical doctors’’ in the history of Traditional Chinese Medicine. However, like those discovered by the ancient Romans,11 most of the ancient Chinese remedies for ‘‘alcohol addiction’’ were based on psychological aversion: to deter patients from further drinking by associating alcohol drinking with an unpleasant experience. Interestingly, as time went by, treatments based solely on psychological aversion were gradually eliminated from the ancient Chinese pharmacopoeias, presumably because of their ineffectiveness and/or undesirable side effects. The only remedies that have survived this historical trial-anderror scrutiny are those consisting the root (Radix puerariae, RP) or flower (Flos puerariae, FP) of Pueraria lobata (a medicinal plant known to the West as kudzu). It was on the basis of this historical backdrop, we initiated the search of safe and efficacious anti-dipsotropic (alcohol intake suppressive) agents from RP. This approach has led to the discovery of daidzin,12 an isoflavone that has since been shown to reduce alcohol drinking in all alcohol preferring animal models tested to date.
Alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence (i.e., alcoholism) are serious public health problems of modern society. In the United States alone, an estimated 13 million adults exhibit symptoms of alcohol dependence due to excessive alcohol intake, and an additional 7 million abuse alcohol without showing symptoms of dependence according to U.S. Government projections from studies conducted in the mid-1980s. Alcohol dependence and abuse are very expensive: in economic and medical terms, it will cost the U.S. well over $200 billion in 1991 with no prospect of falling or leveling off. The social and psychological damages inflicted on individuals as a consequence of alcohol abuse, e.g., children born with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and victims of alcohol-related accidental death, homicide, suicide, etc., are immense.
While it is generally accepted that alcoholism and alcohol abuse are afflictions with staggering international economic, social, medical, and psychological repercussions, success in preventing or otherwise ameliorating the consequences of these problems has been an elusive goal. Only very recently the public view that alcoholism and alcohol abuse are remediable solely by moral imperatives has been changed to include an awareness of alcoholism and alcohol abuse as physiological aberrations whose etiology may be understood and for which therapy may be found through scientific pursuits. Both alcohol abuse and dependence arise as a result of different, complex, and as yet incompletely understood processes. At present, alcohol research is in the mainstream of scientific efforts.
Our studies on alcohol (ethanol or ethyl alcohol) have been based on the hypothesis that its abuse can ultimately be understood and dealt with at the molecular level. Such a molecular understanding, if achieved, would provide a basis for the identification and development of appropriate therapeutic agents. Our view hypothesizes that the clinical manifestations of alcoholism and alcohol abuse are the consequence of aberrations or defects within one or more metabolic pathways, affected by the presence of ethyl alcohol. In order to test this hypothesis, our initial studies focused on physical, chemical, and enzymatic properties of human alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), the enzyme that catalyzes alcohol oxidation according to the following reaction formula:
CH.sub.3 CH.sub.2 OH+NAD.sup.+ .fwdarw.CH.sub.3 CHO+NADH
In addition, our studies more recently have focused on the aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDH) which catalyze the subsequent step in the major pathway of ethanol metabolism according to the following reaction formula:
CH.sub.3 CHO+NAD.sup.+ .fwdarw.CH.sub.3 COOH+NADH
Prior to our research (for example, see Blair and Vallee, 1966, Biochemistry 5:2026-2034), ADH in man was thought to exist in but one or two forms, primarily in the liver, where it was considered the exclusive enzyme for the metabolism of ethanol. Currently, four different classes of ADH encompassing over twenty ADH isozymes have been identified and isolated from human tissues. There is no reason to believe that all of these ADH isozymes are necessary to catalyze the metabolism of a single molecule, ethanol, even though all of them can interact with it. We have proposed that the normal function of these isozymes is to metabolize other types of alcohols that participate in critical, physiologically important processes, and that ethanol interferes with their function (Vallee, 1966, Therapeutic Notes 14:71-74). Further, we predicted that individual differences in alcohol tolerance might well be based on both qualitative and quantitative differences in isozyme endowment (Vallee, 1966, supra).
Our research has established the structures, properties, tissue distribution, and developmental changes for most of the ADH isozymes, which while structurally quite similar, and presumed to have evolved from a common precursor, are functionally remarkably varied. Of the more than 120 publications from our laboratory that relate to the above subjects, the following, arranged in six categories, are especially useful for instruction in the prior art.
Kudzu Recovery 60ct
Kudzu Recovery 120ct
Kudzu Root Extract 50caps
Kudzu Root Extract from Solaray 60ct