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What Happens to Your Brain When You Go on a Diet
September 27, 2017 12:14 PM
People often go on diets because they want to lose weight. A good way to diet is by just substituting what you eat with healthier things. It's not good to eat much less, though, because your body needs certain nutrients and a certain amount of calories. This tells you what can happen to your brain if you do choose to diet. It might make you think a bit before doing so or at least before choosing an extreme one.
"In fact, though the risks of yo-yo dieting have been contested, one 2016 study found that repeatedly going through these starvation cycles prompts your body to gain more weight."
Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/what-happens-your-brain-when-you-go-diet-ncna802626?cid=public-rss_20170920
Tree nuts literally fight cancer in the human body
February 21, 2017 02:59 PM
People who eat nuts in their adolescence may have a better chance of fighting off breast cancer later in life, according to data from the Harvard Nurse’s Study. A follow-up study involving the daughters of the nurses corroborated the findings. Those eating more peanut butter, nuts, beans, lentils, soybeans, or corn were found to have just a fraction of the risk for fibrocystic breast disease, which places one at higher risk of cancer. The protective effects were found to be strongest for those most at risk, such as those with a family history of breast cancer.
"Eating nuts consistently (and consciously) is perfect for pumping up heart protection, warding off obesity, and keeping clear of diabetes."
St. John's Wort
June 22, 2008 08:52 AM
St. John's Wort is a plant with yellow flowers that researchers continue to look at for its health and well-being benefits. A perennial herb, it is from Europe and found its way to America with settlers. It is commonplace in meadows and fields. The first recorded use of St. John's Wort was in ancient Greece. It also goes by the following names: hypericum, Klamath weed and goat weed.
For centuries, this plant has found use as a medicine for depression and anxiety. People often used it to treat mental conditions and nerve pain. Today, people use the herb to treat sleep disorders and anxiety as well as a treatment for mild to moderate depression. In Europe, St. John's Wort is available as a prescription medicine and finds wide use there.
In the United States, it is an herbal supplement and does not have classification by the government as a prescription medicine. However, there is great interest in the U.S. in this herb's capabilities as treatment for depression. Studies show St. John's Wort has a minimal effect on major depression. There is evidence though that it is a useful herb for treating milder depression. Some studies show it acts similar to synthetic antidepressants by affecting the neurotransmitters in the brain. There is also evidence that it produces fewer side effects than these synthetics.
In North America, St. John's Wort comes in capsule, tablet, liquid extract, oil-based skin lotions and tea form. The flower tops of the plant find use in tea formulations. The major active elements in the herb, considered by some researchers as antidepressants, are hyperforin and hypericin. Studies suggest that the hyperforin in the herb plays a part in helping people decrease alcohol consumption. In addition, hyperforin has beneficial antibacterial properties. The plant also contains essential oils and flavonoids. Native Americans have a history of use of St. John's Wort as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and astringent agent.
If you decide to try St. John's Wort, you must consult with a health care professional first, as this herb interacts with other medications. Evidence shows that it can affect anticoagulant drugs and contraceptive pills. It can also affect medication needed to treat high blood pressure.
One study of St. John's Wort showed it was beneficial to a group who consumed 300 mg. three times daily compared to a group who took a placebo only. This study occurred over a four-week period. Sixty-seven percent of the St. John's Wort group experienced improvement of their depression compared to 28 percent of the placebo group. This study included only those suffering from mild depression. What was important in this study was that there were no adverse side effects from the St. John's Wort as compared to synthetic antidepressants. This was significant because many patients often refuse standard antidepressants because of the harmful and bothersome side effects they produce.
There is no denying that St. John's Wort has a long tradition as a medicine to treat anxiety and depression. This is why studies continue into its effectiveness. Researchers do not want to ignore repeated testimonials about the herb's antidepressant capabilities; they seek to make sure these claims are legitimate by having facts to back them up.
Thirty-seven trials that met criteria for being credible received recognition concerning St. John's Wort. They received summarization in a study. (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 1998, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD000448. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000448.pub2.)
The conclusion reached upon analysis of the studies showed St. John's Wort could benefit those with milder types of depression. No conclusive evidence exists that more severe types receive anything more than minimum benefits from the St. John's Wort products that were part of the studies. The researchers stress that their analysis applies only to certain products they tested, not every St. Johns Wort formulation on the market. Many are of different pharmaceutical quality and of different strengths and purities.
Research will continue into this natural product that the earth provides us. At the very least, St. John's Wort does help some forms of depression. The jury is out on whether its benefits will extend to those who suffer harsher forms of the debilitating mental condition that affects millions.
NOW Foods Turmeric Scored
March 25, 2008 02:27 PM
NOW® Foods High Potency Curcumin 665 mg (total curcuminoids, from turmeric root extract) successfully passed all three quality categories, earning an official consumerlab.com approval. Each serving contained 665 mg of curcuminoids as stated on the nutrition fact panel, and disintegrated within the amount of time set by Consumerlab.com. With regard to product purity and safety, NOW® Curcumin formula was found to be free of both lead and cadmium.
And while NOW scored high all-around high marks, some of the other brands tested did not fare quite as well. Lead was found in two of the formulas tested, and two others did not contain the potencies that were claimed on their labels. One contained just 49% of the amount claimed, while another contained only 11.5% of the 500 mg they were claiming.
Active Coenzyme Q10
July 07, 2007 01:30 PM
The benefits of Coenzyme Q10 have become increasingly well-known. This important nutrient has been shown in clinical trials to improve heart function, reduce the side effects of certain drugs used to treat cancer, and slow the progression of serious brain diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. Now research has opened a new chapter in the CoQ10 story, highlighting the benefits of ubiquinol, the active form of CoQ10, to increase energy and stamina, and reduce some of he physical signs of aging.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor we will review the benefits of Coenzyme Q10, and discuss the differences between CoQ10 and its active form –ubiquinol.
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. CoQ10 is a natural, fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all cells. CoQ10 also is known as ubiquinone. That’s because CoQ10 is ubiquitious and exists everywhere there is life. CoQ10 is vital to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. ATP is the energy-rich compound used for all processes requiring energy in the body. Although CoQ10 is produced by the body and exists in some limited dietary sources, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirements. CoQ10 levels diminish with age and as a result of dietary inadequacies and various disease states. Also, some drugs, especially a group of cholesterol lowering prescription drugs known as “statins,” (Pravachol, Zocor, Lipitor, etc.) significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body.
Q. What is ubiquinol? Is it the same or different from CoQ10?
A. Ubiquinol and CoQ10 are very closely related. Ubiquinone, or CoQ10, is the oxidized form of the molecule. This means it has to be converted to a non-oxidized form before it can perform its work. Ubiquinol is the active form of this nutrient. Our bodies convert CoQ10 to ubiquinol – which is the form needed to produce cellular energy. Until recently, it was not possible to use ubiquinol as a supplement because it is very unstable outside the human body. But research has now found a way to keep this molecule stable so it can be successfully taken in supplement form.
Q. If CoQ10 gets converted to ubiquinol anyway, can’t I just take CoQ10?
A. While it is true that our bodies can convert CoQ10 to ubiquinol, it isn’t true that we all do this equally well. In fact, as we age, our ability to convert CoQ10 to ubiquinol declines. And some people even have a gene that makes them less effective at this conversion than the majority of the population. IN fact, several common health issues have been associated with less than optimal ratios of CoQ10 to QH. For healthy people the ideal ratio is approximately 97% Ubiquinol to 3% CoQ10. But in people with diabetes, for example, the ratios have been found to range from 43% ubiquinol to 47% CoQ10 in mild diabetes, to only 24% ubiquinol to 76% CoQ10 in severe diabetes. These numbers are for men; the numbers for women vary by 2 to 5 percentage points.
So for older folks, the 30-50% of people who have the gene that impairs CoQ10 conversion, or for people who have serious health concerns, supplementing with ubiquinol instead of CoQ10 might be the smart choice.
Q. What are the health benefits of CoQ10 and Ubiquinol?
A. There have been many studies showing that CoQ10 is beneficial in treating and preventing heart disease and conditions such as high blood pressure atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), angina, and congestive heart failure (CHF). It’s been shown that heart attacks tend to occur when CoQ10 levels are low in the body. Exciting new research has found that CoQ10 in a unique delivery system supplementation may slow the progression of symptoms associated with neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, ALS, Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition, CoQ10 is beneficial for diabetes, immune dysfunction, cancer, periodontal disease, prostate cancer, and neurological disease. While the research on ubiquinol is still very new, it is reasonable to expect that its benefits will be equal to or perhaps even better than CoQ10, because it is the more active form.
Q. Why is CoQ10 especially important for preventing and treating heart disease, and for neurological diseases like Parkinson’s disease?
A. The heart and brain are some of the most metabolically active tissues in the body. Both require large amounts of uninterrupted energy, which means these tissues also need increased amounts of ubiquinol. Research has shown that many people with heart of brain diseases have serum CoQ10 levels that are lower than those of healthy people. Correcting such deficiencies often can produce significant results. However, these diseases become more common as we age – right at the time our ability to convert CoQ10 to its active form, ubiquinol, declines.
Q. How might ubiquinol be important for the heart?
A. Heart Health: A study on patients admitted to the hospital with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) found that CoQ10 can provide rapid protective effects in patients with a heart attack if administered within three days of the onset of symptoms. Seventy-three patients received CoQ10 (120 mg/d). The study’s control group consisted of 71 similarly matched patients with acute AMI. After treatment, angina pectoris (severe chest pain signifying interrupted blood flow to the heart), total arrhythmias (dangerously irregular heartbeats), and poor function in the left ventricle (the essential chamber of the heart) were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden cardiac failure and nonfatal heart attacks also were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared with the placebo group.
In another study, CoQ10 was studied in 109 patients with high blood pressure (hypertension). The patients were given varying doses of supplemental CoQ10 with the goal of attaining a certain blood level (greater than 2.0 mcg/l). Most patients were on medications to treat hypertension. Half the patients were able to stop taking some or all of their prescription drugs at an average of 4.4 months after starting CoQ10. The 9.4% of patients who had echocardiograms, performed both before and during treatment, experienced a highly significant improvement in heart wall thickness and function. This improvement was directly attributed to CoQ10 supplementation.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a debilitating disease that affects 5 million people in the
And Neurological Health?: A study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health showed that supplementing with CoQ10 in a unique delivery system was associated with a slowing of the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Participants were divided into 4 groups and their physical skills (coordination, walking, etc) and mental skills were evaluated. Each group then received 300 mg, 600 mg, or 1200 mg of a special form of chewable CoQ10, or a placebo. The researchers evaluated the participants after 1, 4,8, 12, and 16 months of treatment. Each participant was again scored on motor, mental, and activities of daily living skills.
The results of the study showed that the people who took the highest dosage of CoQ10-1200 mg-experienced the least decline in their physical abilities. The results were so encouraging that the researchers will be continuing with new studies, suing higher dosages to see if the results can get even better.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a devastating and degenerative inherited disease that is always fatal. In fact, no other medication, drug, or nutritional supplement has ever been shown to cause a decline in the progression of this terrible disease. A study compared CoQ10 against remacemide (an investigational HD drug made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals), in 347 HD patients who were in the early stages of the disease. Remacemide blocks glutamate, the neurotransmitter scientists think may cause the death of brain cells that occurs in Huntington’s disease. While remacemide had no effect on the progression of HD, CoQ10 showed a trend toward slowing the disease by an average of 15%. This meant the HD group taking CoQ10 was able to handle every day activities of life a little longer than the patients taking remacemide or a placebo. They also were able to focus their attention better, were less depressed, and less irritable.
The 15% slowing of decline can result in about one more year of independence of HD patients. Needless to say, the gift of an additional year of health in the lives of HD patients is incredibly significant.
Because of these impressive results, researchers are hopeful that supplemental CoQ10 will have beneficial effects for people with other neurological diseases such as ALS and Alzheimer’s disease, too. Studies are under way to confirm these effects.
Using the active form of CoQ10 helps to assure that, regardless of age or illness, the CoQ10 can have the greatest impact.
Q. What have been the results of research studies with Ubiquinol?
A. One of the most interesting effects of Ubiquinol that has been reported so far is its ability to slow the physical signs of aging. In laboratory studies, administration of stable ubiquinol to mice forestalled the changes associated with aging – rounded spine, patchy fur and irritated eyes. While the mice who received ubiquinol did not necessarily live longer than the mice that didn’t, they lived better. But it is important to note that these mice were bred to die at a young age. Human studies are needed to determined true impact on longevity.
Additionally, supplemental, stable ubiquinol has been shown to increase physical energy and stamina. In an animal study, the length of time rats were able to run on a treadmill before getting tired was measured. The same rats were then given ubiquinol and the treadmill test was repeated. The length of time the rats were able to run before tiring increased 150 times.
Q. How can one supplement have applications for neurological diseases, heart health, and even the immune system?
A. Supplements often have more than one function, especially when it’s a substance like CoQ10, which is present in all parts of the body. All nucleated cells (most cells other than red blood cells) have mitochondria and all cells require energy to function. CoQ10 is vital to ATP production. Thus, CoQ10 has applications not only in neurological (neurons or nervous system cells) and cardiac health (myocardium or heart tissue), but also for the immune system.
Q. Should I take CoQ10 or ubiquinol? How much should I take?
A. While everyone can benefit from CoQ10 or ubiquinol supplementation, it appears that ubiquinol should be the first choice for older adults, people with known genetic inefficiencies in converting CoQ10 to ubiquinol, and for people with serious heart disease or neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, who are otherwise supplementing with high levels of CoQ10. For people in overall good health, a high quality CoQ10 supplement with proven absorption is a good choice.
Take 200 to 300 mg of CoQ10 or 100 mg ubiquinol daily, depending on your health history. The safety of both forms has been tested, and no significant side effects reported. Occasional mild stomach upset may occur. Taking your CoQ10 or ubiquinol with meals usually alleviates this rare effect.
Supplements for Children
June 26, 2007 09:51 PM
Supplements for Children
While most parents try hard to make nutritious meals for their family, most children find the appeal of refined, fast, and junk food simply overwhelming. And, sadly, increasingly easy to buy and consume, as well. From kindergarten through 12th grade, in both grade schools and high schools, vending machines offer calorie laden candy bars, sugar-filled soft drinks, and snack foods loaded with fat and salt. Many school cafeterias actually sell fast-food to children for lunch every day. In fact, it seems almost everywhere children go and gather, visually enticing but nutritionally lacking snacks and soft drinks are sure to be available.
Determined to counteract this disturbing trend, parents everywhere are urgently seeking solutions to help their children get the nutrition they need. One answer is supplemental multivitamins. There are certainly plenty of multivitamins formulated for children currently on the market. However, these products vary considerably in quality and content. Some lack certain vital nutrients. Some taste terrible. Still others are loaded with sugar and artificial flavorings. The good news is that there are superior multivitamins and exceptional immune boosting products formulated specifically for children that actually taste great. In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will discuss childhood nutrition and how to help ensure your children’s health with high quality, 100% natural flavored nutritional supplements.
Q. Do children really benefit from vitamin supplements? Can’t I make sure they get the vitamins and minerals they need from meals?
A. Even the most nutritionally vigilant parent cannot be 100% certain what nutrients are in the food they serve their children. That’s because there’s so much variability in the food we prepare. For instance, fat-soluble vitamins can withstand normal cooking, but vitamins A and E are gradually destroyed by exposure to air. Water-soluble vitamins such as B1, B6, folic acid, and pantothenic acid are destroyed by heat. Vitamin B2 is destroyed by light and heat, while light and air destroy vitamin C. Certain food preservatives and preparation methods also destroy the vitamins in food. To further complicate matters, some fruit and vegetables are grown and harvested in such a way that does not promote nutrient content – so even raw foods may be lacking.
Then there are those crazy food phases all children seemingly go through. While these phases are generally harmless in the long run, a recent alarming exception was in the news. A five-year old boy ate nothing but cheese pizza, Pop-tarts, biscuits, and water, refusing fruits, vegetables, juices and vitamins. He slowly developed limp, swollen gums, and small purple spots appeared on his skin. After five months of this extremely deficient diet, he was unable to walk or get out of bed because the pain was so severe. Doctors diagnosed the boy as having a severe vitamin C deficiency after ruling out other ailments such as leukemia. Within a week of getting vitamin C supplements, the boy’s pain and other symptoms were completely resolved. Obviously, this little boy’s story is unusual. However, even mild food phases (such as “If It’s Green It Must Be Yucky” or “The Only Good Crust Is A Cut-Off Crust”) can result in awfully lop-sided nutrition.
Q. Can multivitamins help my child’s performance in school?
A. Most teachers firmly believe that nutrition and learning go hand in hand. They are convinced that children who are well nourished possess the mental stamina that’s needed to learn and retain even difficult concepts. But can multivitamins help children become better students?
Two independent research teams recently conducted randomized trials to find the answer. The researchers followed 245 school-children aged 6 to 12 years for three months. They gave half of the children multivitamin tablets every day, and half of the children placebos. When the children were tested, the children in the multivitamins group showed an increase in their nonverbal intelligence scores. Nonverbal intelligence is closely associated with academic performance.
Q. I can’t get my children to take 100% natural flavored multivitamins because they don’t taste very appealing. Isn’t there some way to make a 100% natural multivitamin taste good enough for my children to willingly take?
A. Yes, there is! Because most children need chewable multivitamins, manufacturers need to contend with the truly terrible taste of certain minerals. Magnesium, iodine, copper, and iron are probably the worst tasting. Some solve this dilemma by skimping on the amounts of these minerals in their children’s formulas. Others cover up the bad taste with either massive amounts of sugar or artificial flavors, or both.
However, a select few multivitamin makers have discovered how to offer a natural flavored, great tasting children’s multivitamin that contains these vital minerals. The best children’s vitamins are prepared in a base of natural fruit that provides both antioxidants and other healthy phytonutrients. Children’s multivitamins made in such a fruit base have very low sugar content, as well, providing as little as four calories a day. Fructose – fruit sugar – is the preferred sweetening agent, in addition to the fruit content.
Q. What vitamins should be in a multivitamin for children?
A. There are several vitamins and minerals that children need to take each and every day. They include biotin, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamins B12, B1, A, B6, C, D, E, and K. Let’s review a few. We’ll start with folate, one of the B vitamins. This vital vitamin helps the body use protein, helps make DNA, helps cells grow and divide, and keeps the nervous system healthy. In fact, folate is so important to children that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated that folate must be added to many foods most children eat daily. Since 1998, cereal, enriched bread, flour corn meal, rice, and pasta have been folate-fortified with this B vitamin.
One of folate’s vital actions is the reduction of homocysteine levels in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid (the building block of protein) that is normally produced in the human body. Research has shown that high levels of homocysteine can irritate blood vessels, make blood clot more easily than it should, and cause blockages in arteries increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes .
However, study after study has proven that taking folate reduces harmful homocysteine levels. While most of this research has been in adults, a recent study looked at children’s homocysteine levels. Researchers examined over 3500 children and discovered that high homocysteine levels increased the risk for heart disease in these children, especially as they grow. The researchers leading this study reinforced how critical folate is for all children.
Other critical vitamins for children are the vitamins C and E. The rates of childhood asthma have increased significantly here in the
Q. Which minerals do children need?
A. It is absolutely crucial that children get calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, and phosphorus every day. Sadly, however, the majority of our children are not getting the recommended amounts of many of these vital minerals. Children in
According to statistics from the National Institutes of Health, only 13.5 percent of girls and 36.3 percent of boys age 12 to 19 in the
Lack of adequate calcium has immediate consequences for children, as well. The number of fractures among children and young adults has increased as a direct result of poor calcium intake. Pediatricians are also seeing children with rickets, a bone disease caused by low levels of vitamin D. Rickets became almost nonexistent after vitamin D was added to milk in the 1950s, but, due to lower milk consumption, is now appearing at greater rates around the country. And milk itself can be problematic for some children. Aside from alarming reports of hormones and herbicides in commercial dairy factory milk, even organic milk is not tolerated by all because of lactose intolerance and allergies.
Zinc is another mineral that’s vital for children. Because zinc is critical for normal growth and development, children need to take it every day. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, however, found more than half of US children ages two to 10 years fail to get the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for zinc. What’s even more troubling is that zinc is vitally connected to children’s ability to process information, pay attention, as well as remember and retain new information
Zinc does a lot to keep children healthy. More than 200 enzymes in our bodies rely on zinc. However, it’s zinc’s ability to connect with our immune systems to help fight infections that is crucial for children. While researchers are not certain how zinc precisely boosts a child’s immunity, they think that zinc might fight pneumonia and other infections by either enhancing the body’s immune status, preventing the infection from establishing itself, or improving the immune system’s ability to rid itself of the infecting organism. It’s possible that zinc does all three.
Q. No matter what I do, my children seem to come down with bad colds each year. Besides giving them a multivitamin, are there other nutritional supplements that can keep my children healthy?
A. Absolutely! In fact, there are 100% natural flavored children’s immune formula nutritional supplements that contain their good buddy zinc, vitamins B6, C, and A (as beta carotene), plus elderberry extract. Elderberry extract has been used as a traditional medicine for hundreds of years to treat colds and flu. And as it so often happens, scientific research has validated this use. In fact, scientists have discovered that elderberry keeps viruses from invading other cells and replicating. It also spurs important immune cells into action to fight invading germs.
While we previously discussed vitamin C’s ability to help children with asthma breathe easier, it also provides powerful immune protection. It speeds up the healing of wounds, such as those knee and elbow scrapes so common in childhood. However, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and can’t be stored in the body. It must be replenished every day. When children are under increased stress (like when they get sick with a cold or flu), their vitamin C levels are more rapidly depleted.
Vitamin B6 is also water-soluble and can only work in children’s bodies for eight hours. Then more B6 must be obtained. Vitamin B6 strengthens the immune system by helping white blood cells make antibodies. Vitamin A helps make lysozymes, important anti-infectious agents found in tears, saliva, and sweat. It also stimulates the thymus gland, an important immune organ, especially in children, to work better.
Q. Should children take an immune formula every day or only when they are sick?
A. It can be taken several ways. Some parents may want to give the formula when school first starts or other times that their children are exposed to lots of germs. For a child who suffers from asthma or seasonal allergies or just seems to get sick frequently, parents could provide the immune formula every day, increasing the dose when needed. And still others might feel it’s best to give their children the immune formula only whey they do catch a cold or have the flu.
No matter how it is given, the 100% all natural flavored, immune boosting nutritional supplement can provide powerful protection against all those disease-causing germs your children are exposed to every day.
The nutritional choices we make for our children today will have a profound effect on their health tomorrow. Recent research has revealed that diabetes, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, and cancer in adults often result form nutritional deficiencies that occurred in childhood.
Thankfully, the reverse is just as true. This means that children who are well nourished with an optimal intake of minerals, vitamins, and helpful herbs can grow into healthy and happy adults. Providing high quality multivitamins and immune boosting nutritional supplements for our children can be an important part of that process.
Exotic Herbs From The Amazon Basin
June 22, 2007 05:07 PM
Although many traditional herbal medicines have yet to find complete scientific corroboration in the West, it follows logically that people wouldn't use an herbal product for centuries if it didn't work.
Many of the popular herbs we all recognize as having great health benefits were only recently considered pretty exotic. Even green tea - a staple in China for centuries -has only lately gone main stream.
So it will likely be with herbs from the Amazon basin and its environs. The Amazon basin is one of the most bountiful environments on the planet. Explorers and botanists from the West have looked to this region for generations for the "next big thing." Of course, in many cases, the "next big thing" has already been in use for centuries.
In this issue of Ask the Medicine Hunter, we're going to look at some energizing and life- stimulating herbs that also happen to have great antioxidant properties, too. Best yet, many of them are available to us here from companies that practice fair trade policies.
Let's take a look at some of the herbal powerhouses coming out of the Amazon (and its nearby neighborhoods):
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) has been cultivated for a long time at least 2000 years. Related to brassica family plants like radishes, mustard and cabbage, its foliage does actually look somewhat radish-like, but grows close to the ground.
Maca is cultivated by the Andean people in Peru's central highlands, and contains a plethora of beneficial compounds that enhance overall health and vitality. The tradition of cultivating maca is an old one some strains have been found in Incan sites that date from 1600 B.C. During early European colonization, maca was used by the local native culture as a form of currency, much of the way cocoa was used by the Aztecs, further north in pre-Columbian Mexico.
Maca thrives in high altitudes - between 10,000 and 16,000 feet. The harsher the conditions, the better it grows, or so it seems. In fact, efforts to grow the plant in Central Europe haven't been as successful - maca seems to enjoy its home turf the best. In Peru, maca is a popular and beloved nutrient-packed superfood, and is commonly powdered and mixed into drinks at roadside stands throughout the Andes.
Q. I've heard of maca being used for healthy libido - are there any other benefits?
A. Maca is a natural energizer, and although it is recognized for it's libido enhancing abilities, it has other uses, too, acting as an adaptogen - similar to rhodiola or ginseng. In fact, in South America, maca is known as "Peruvian Ginseng." Though maca is not ginseng at all, some of the benefits of both plants are similar.
In any event, maca is recommended for boosting the immune system, menopause support, and hormonal balance in general. For daily use, maca is most recognized as a great source of energy and all-day endurance. Alkaloids from maca root may be partially responsible for both maca's energizing and libido boost. Research shows that maca affects the hypothalamic-pituitary (HPA) axis - boosting energy and overall aphrodisiac prowess in men and women. Maca contains novel compounds called macamides and macaenes, which have been proven in animal studies to significantly enhance energy, stamina and sexual function reasons people have been so consuming maca for 2000 years.
There are other serious reasons why maca is such an excellent plant. One group of compounds in maca is the isothiocyanates-aromatics constituents that are responsible for the "hotness" of mustards and radishes - fellow members of the brassica family. Isothiocyanates from other members of the brassica family may reduce the risk of breast and stomach cancer. Although the same constituents specifically from maca haven't beentested, it's plausible that they could have the same effects.
Q. I've heard a little about guarana extracts - is it just caffeine?
A. Guarana is widely loved for its mild stimulating effect, which is due to caffeine. But this is by no means this Amazonian herb's sole beneficial compound. Guarana (Paullinia cupana) is so logically ingrained in the culture of Brazil that it's practically a rival (actually out-sells) Coca-Cola in its soft-drink form. Like many other indigenous herbs, guarana was in use locally well before European settlement. Its Latin name comes fromthe German botanist C.F. Paullini, who first encountered the herb in the 1700s. This evergreen vine typically climbs fairly far up the Brazilian forest trees. The seed is the part that gets used. In one clinical study, guarana boosted the memory alertness of participants, even when the caffeine level per dose was a low 9 mg., as compared with approximately 100 mg for a cup of coffee. This effect suggests that other agents than caffeine contribute to a feeling of well being.
Guarana also contains powerful antioxidants including catechin, epicatechin and proanthocyanidins, which protect cells against destruction from free radicals, and impart benefits to the body's tissues and blood. The small seed of this plant is powerful in its health benefits.
Catuaba (Erythroxylum catuaba) is a common tree found in South America from Brazil to Peru, in the same genus as the coca plant. Catuaba contains components known as alkaloids. These alkaloids (called catuabine A, B, and C) are probably responsible for themental boost most people get when they take catuabe-based supplements or mixes.
There may be little confusion regarding catuaba, because various species and genus typesuse the common name. As a result, "catuaba" gets bandied around a lot, and one person'scatuaba may not be the next. Read labels carefully. The catuaba I've had the best luck with is Erythroxylum catuaba.
One of my favorite drinks in the world is coffee, and I'm sure at many people reading thisconsider it the essential part of their morning, too.
The part of coffee that we use the most is the seed of the coffee fruit - which appears as a bright, red berry. Most of the time, this fruit is sloughed off and left behind in the process of making coffee - it's really too delicate to last long in hot conditions.
But advances in technology have tapped a previously discarded resource. Though the fruit of coffee is available in any coffee-growing economy, a high antioxidant commercial extract of "coffee cherry" is now available from the fruits of coffee plants in Mexico.
Coffee fruit has many of the attributes of other dark-colored, anthcyanin-rich fruits. Coffee fruit (also referred to as "coffee cherry") appears not to be just another antioxidant, however. Current research on this once-forgotten, former castoff shows impressive abilities to decrease tumor size, and possibly even prevent their formation in the first place. It seems that the elements in coffee berry activate T-lymphocytes in such a way that mammary tumors are shrunk or simply put on hold. It will be fascinating to see how this science plays out.
Muira Puama Bark:
Muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides) grows between 15 to 45 feet high. Native to theAmazon basin of Brazil, the dried bark has been used for centuries as a traditional energysupport. Components include beta-sitosterol, campesterol and lupeol.
Muira puama, like other central nervous stimulants has been researched lately for its ability to boost memory retrieval and protect neural (brain) tissue. Who knows? Maybe this traditional ingredient could someday be on the cutting edge of natural medicines fighting Alzheimer's, much the way green tea and turmeric are currently. In one unpublished French study of 262 men with low libido and poor erectile function, 62% experienced significant improvement after taking an extract of Muira puama for two weeks.
Acai (Euterpe acai) berry is a traditional favorite (and readily available) food source for people in the Amazon. The tree is a tall-growing palm with berries that provide - a rich source of anthocyanins, potent purple pigments with extraordinary high antioxidant activity.
Once harvested, acai fruits decay rapidly. As with coffee fruits, special processing is the surest way to make certain the nutrients of acai berry make it to those of us outside the Amazon basin.
However, these wonderful fruits not only fight against free radical damage, but help our natural digestive enzymes and boost natural immune defenses, too. In fact, current research is investigating whether compounds in acai may have a fighting effect on leukemia, too. So far, the results have been very positive.
Look for supplements made using organically-grown, fair trade acai berry. The best companies ensure that the local people harvesting acai and the communities where they live gather more than just short-term benefits. The best companies work not just to provide jobs, but better lives for generations to come.
Q. What is sustainability and fair trade, anyway?
A. Sustainability refers to a set of naturally occurring circumstances, or intentionally designed practices and principles, which ensure that all parts or members of a situation are adequately nourished to promote their healthy continuance. In current parlance, sustainability often refers to practices and programs designed and implemented to keep natural systems healthy and flourishing. Many such programs focus on environmental protection and preservation of traditional cultures. In the world of medicinal plants, sustainable practices include organic agriculture, species management, fair trade, and benefit-sharing programs.
In other words, sustainability pays people fair wages, puts resources back into their communities, and ensures that the resources that benefit us all are going to be around for a long time. It is an earth-friendly, people-friendly concept of commerce that happily, is taking root around the world.
The traditional cultures that use - and have used - these ingredients for generations wouldn't have done so if they hadn't been effective. Fortunately we live in an era when formerly locally-used herbs are now available far beyond their previous range. We are also fortunate to have companies and individuals working hard to make sure that the people who tend and care for these precious resources are paid fairly for their efforts, andthat their families and communities benefit from this commerce as well.
The great thing about using traditional herbs and ingredients that have been gathered in this manner is that you know they'll be around for a long time.
Viterol A - Viatrozene gel 16% - reduce the signs of aging!
February 25, 2006 02:05 PM
Acai is an exotic palm fruit from the Amazonian rain forest!
February 12, 2006 01:38 PM
Allibiotic CF Fact Sheet
December 07, 2005 01:37 PM
Allibiotic CF Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 03/09/05
LIKELY USERS: People seeking support of the immune system and intestinal flora
KEY INGREDIENTS: Allicin (“AlliSure” patented, stabilized allicin from fresh garlic); Olive Leaf Extract (Olea Europaea with 18% minimum Oleuropein content); Elderberry extract, from fruit/berry, 60:1 concentrate (equivalent to 2,500 mg. of fresh berries of Sambucus nigra); Oil of Oregano (wild oregano from Origanum vulgare) ImmunEnhancer AG (trademarked Arabinogalactan from Larch Tree, Larix occidentalis)
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: AlliSure is the clinically tested, patented and stable form of allicin. Not allicin potential, but actual allicin. Allicin represents the immune supporting nutrients of raw garlic, and is chemically similar to penicillin, though with different physical properties. AlliSure shares garlic’s abilities to help maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and also has been shown to raise levels of a key T cell to enhance immune system function. Like raw garlic, AlliSure has antimicrobial properties linked to its ability to react with sulfur-containing metabolic enzymes. Allicin is also shown in studies to play a role in controlling blood sugar and abnormal cell growth.
Black Elderberries have strong antioxidant properties, containing flavonoids like anthocyanidins. They have been studied in relation to inhibition of viral replication and of minor inflammations.
Olive Leaf has been used as an antioxidant, cholesterol and blood viscosity regulator, and vasodilator. But its most important use has been as a way to help the body deal with undesirable organisms in the vital respiratory and intestinal areas.
Oil of Oregano (wild oregano, wild marjoram) contains carvacrol and thymol, which are responsible for much of its antimicrobial activities. It also has some anti-inflammatory effects.
Arabinogalactan from Larch tree bark (ImmunEnhancer AG) can help speed the immune system’s response to undesirable organisms and is often compared to Echinacea. It has also been shown to promote the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT INFORMATION: Patented and trademarked ingredients enhance quality controls and have clinical research. Rosemary Oil provides antioxidant protection for the capsule contents. Enteric coating protects the capsule from stomach acid to deliver its contents past the stomach. This helps to assure full potency and reduces the possibility of the oils repeating.
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: One softgel twice daily, preferably with meals. Try one before using the full dose.
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: Probiotics, Antioxidants, D-Flame
CAUTIONS: Pregnant & lactating women, children and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. Discontinue use if any uncomfortable side effects occur. This information is based on my own knowledge and references, and 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.
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Ankri S, Miron T, Rabinkov A, Wilchek M, Mirelman D. Allicin from garlic strongly inhibits cysteine proteinases and cytopathic effects of Entamoeba histolytica. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1997 Oct;41(10):2286-8. PMID: 9333064
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Eilat S, Oestraicher Y, Rabinkov A, Ohad D, Mirelman D, Battler A, Eldar M, Vered Z. Alteration of lipid profile in hyperlipidemic rabbits by allicin, an active constituent of garlic. Coron Artery Dis. 1995 Dec;6(12):985-90. PMID: 8723021
Elkayam A, Mirelman D, Peleg E, Wilchek M, Miron T, Rabinkov A, Oron-Herman M, Rosenthal T. The effects of allicin on weight in fructose-induced hyperinsulinemic, hyperlipidemic, hypertensive rats. Am J Hypertens. 2003 Dec;16(12):1053-6. PMID: 14643581
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Hirsch K, Danilenko M, Giat J, Miron T, Rabinkov A, Wilchek M, Mirelman D, Levy J, Sharoni Y. Effect of purified allicin, the major ingredient of freshly crushed garlic, on cancer cell proliferation. Nutr Cancer. 2000;38(2):245-54. PMID: 11525603
Patya M, Zahalka MA, Vanichkin A, Rabinkov A, Miron T, Mirelman D, Wilchek M, Lander HM, Novogrodsky A. Allicin stimulates lymphocytes and elicits an antitumor effect: a possible role of p21ras. Int Immunol. 2004 Feb;16(2):275-81. PMID: 14734613
Rabinkov A, Miron T, Mirelman D, Wilchek M, Glozman S, Yavin E, Weiner L. S-Allylmercaptoglutathione: the reaction product of allicin with glutathione possesses SH-modifying and antioxidant properties. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2000 Dec 11;1499(1-2):144-153. PMID: 11118647
Rabinkov A, Miron T, Konstantinovski L, Wilchek M, Mirelman D, Weiner L. The mode of action of allicin: trapping of radicals and interaction with thiol containing proteins. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1998 Feb 2;1379(2):233-44. PMID: 9528659
Sela U, Ganor S, Hecht I, Brill A, Miron T, Rabinkov A, Wilchek M, Mirelman D, Lider O, Hershkoviz R. Allicin inhibits SDF-1alpha-induced T cell interactions with fibronectin and endothelial cells by down-regulating cytoskeleton rearrangement, Pyk-2 phosphorylation and VLA-4 expression. Immunology. 2004 Apr;111(4):391-9. PMID: 15056375
Shadkchan Y, Shemesh E, Mirelman D, Miron T, Rabinkov A, Wilchek M, Osherov N. Efficacy of allicin, the reactive molecule of garlic, in inhibiting Aspergillus spp. in vitro, and in a murine model of disseminated aspergillosis. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2004 May;53(5):832-6. Epub 2004 Mar 24. PMID: 15044429
Tsai Y, Cole LL, Davis LE, Lockwood SJ, Simmons V, Wild GC. Antiviral properties of garlic: in vitro effects on influenza B, herpes simplex and coxsackie viruses. Planta Med. 1985 Oct;(5):460-1. PMID: 3001801
Uchida Y, Takahashi T, Sato N. [The characteristics of the antibacterial activity of garlic (author's transl)] Jpn J Antibiot. 1975 Aug;28(4):638-42. PMID: 1099271
Yasuo Yamada and Keizô Azuma. Evaluation of the In Vitro Antifungal Activity of Allicin. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1977 April; 11(4): 743–749.
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Mascolo N, Autore G, Capasso G, et al. Biological screening of Italian medicinal plants for anti-inflammatory activity. Phytother Res 1987;1:28–31.
Murkovic M, Abuja PM, Bergmann AR, et al. Effects of elderberry juice on fasting and postprandial serum lipids and low-density lipoprotein oxidation in healthy volunteers: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Eur J Clin Nutr. Feb2004;58(2):244-9.
Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 104–5.
Yesilada E. Inhibitory Effects of Turkish Folk Remedies on Inflammatory Cytokines: Interleukin-1Alpha, Interleukin-1Beta and Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha. J Ethnopharmacol. Sept1997;58(1):59-73. Youdim KA, Martin A, Joseph JA. Incorporation of the elderberry anthocyanins by endothelial cells increases protection against oxidative stress. Free Radical Biol Med 2000;29:51–60.
Zakay-Rones Z, Varsano N, Zlotnik M, et al. Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an outbreak of influenza B Panama. J Alt Compl Med 1995;1:361–9.
OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT:
American Herbal Products Association. Use of Marker Compounds in Manufacturing and Labeling Botanically Derived Dietary Supplements. Silver Spring, MD: American Herbal Products Association; 2001.
Bennani-Kabchi N, et al. Effects of Olea europea var. oleaster leaves in hypercholesterolemic insulin-resistant sand rats. Therapie. Nov1999;54(6):717-23.
Bisignano G, et al. On the in-vitro antimicrobial activity of oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol. J Pharm Pharmacol. Aug1999;51(8):971-4. Gonzalez M, et al. Hypoglycemic activity of olive leaf. Planta Medica. 1992;58:513-515. Visoli F, et al. Oleuropein protects low density lipoprotein from oxidation. Life Sciences. 1994;55:1965-71. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd edition. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:557.
Petroni A, et al. Inhibition of platelet aggregation and eicosanoid production by phenolic components of olive oil.Thromb Res. Apr1995;78(2):151-60. Pieroni A, et al. In vitro anti-complementary activity of flavonoids from olive (Olea europaea L.) leaves. Pharmazie. Oct1996;51(10):765-8. Zarzuelo A, et al. Vasodilator effect of olive leaf. Planta Med. Oct1991;57(5):417-9. OREGANO OIL (OIL OF OREGANO, WILD OREGANO, WILD MARJORAM):
Dorman HJ, et al. Antimicrobial agents from plants: antibacterial activity of plant volatile oils. J Appl Microbiol. Feb2000;88(2):308-16. Force M, et al. Inhibition of enteric parasites by emulsified oil of oregano in vivo. Phytother Res. May2000;14(3):213-4.
Hammer KA, Carson CF, Riley TV. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils and other plant extracts. J Appl Microbiol 1999;86:985–90.
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Tantaoui EA, Beraoud L. Inhibition of growth and aflatoxin production in Aspergillus parasiticus by essential oils of selected plant materials. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol 1994;13:67–72. ImmunEnhancer AG (Larch tree Arabinogalactan)
Corado J, et al. Impairment of Natural Killer (NK) Cytotoxic Activity in Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection. Exp Immunol. 1997;109:451-457. Currier NL, Lejtenyi D, Miller SC. Effect over time of in-vivo administration of the polysaccharide arabinogalactan on immune and hemopoietic cell lineages in murine spleen and bone marrow. Phytomedicine. 2003 Mar;10(2-3):145-53. PMID: 12725568
Egert D, et al. Studies on Antigen Specificity of Immunoreactive Arabinogalactan Proteins Extracted from Baptisia tinctoria and Echinacea purpurea. Planta Med. 1992;58:163-165. Gonda R, et al. Arabinogalactan Core Structure and Immunological Activities of Ukonan C, An Acidic Polysaccharide from the Rhizome of Curcuma longa. Biol Pharm Bull. 1993;16:235-238. Hagmar B, et al. Arabinogalactan Blockade of Experimental Metastases to Liver by Murine Hepatoma. Invasion Metastasis. 1991;11:348-355. Kelly GS. Larch arabinogalactan: clinical relevance of a novel immune-enhancing polysaccharide. Altern Med Rev. 1999 Apr;4(2):96-103. Review. PMID: 10231609
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SYMPTOMS OF AN ESTROGEN DOMINANCE
July 25, 2005 09:47 PM
SYMPTOMS OF AN ESTROGEN DOMINANCE
Aside from having your blood or saliva tested, it is relatively easy to assess whether or not you may be suffering from an estrogen dominance. The following symptoms are typical of excess estrogen and progesterone depletion: breast enlargement and tenderness, water retention, heavy menstrual flow or irregular periods, carbohydrate cravings, weight gain (fat on hips and thighs), fibrocystic breasts, uterine fibroids, loss of libido, PMS, mood swings/depression, and certain types of acne.
Alcohol-Free Herbal Extracts
June 29, 2005 05:20 PM
Alcohol-Free Herbal Extracts By Ellen J. Kamhi, Ph. D. with Dorie Greenblatt
Alcohol: The First Menstruum
Liquid extracts are a time tested, effective delivery system for medicinal herbs. When choosing liquid extracts, read the label. You will usually see that they contain quite a bit of alcohol. Alcohol is used as a menstruum, or solvent that frees all of the constituents from the fiber and cellulose of the plant, so that the specific medicinal constituents we want become more bio-available to the body. Alcohol has traditionally been used as the menstruum of choice because it is one of the most effective solvents (materials used to pull out the constituents of the herb) that is both reasonably priced and not too toxic on the body. Most of the herbal extracts on the market today have an alcohol content between 30 to 70%.
Bio-Chelation: A Revolutionary Concept
In the 1970’s Mr. Frank D’Amelio Sr., CEO and founder of Nature’s Answer®, noticed that the United States Pharmacopeia (the text that was used as a formulary for herbal processing), recommended using high amounts of alcohol to extract active constituents from the plant. He began to wonder how he could offer consumers potent herbal products without a lot of alcohol. One clue from Nature that became apparent to him was the fact that plants themselves were composed of 80-85% water. Since plants were able to keep their active constituents in solution and use them as needed through the use of water, not alcohol or other solvents, why couldn’t he? He began a long, in depth series of experiments with many different plants. Through rigorous research protocols and scientific testing, he discovered that the active constituents of some plants could be extracted using lower alcohol amounts along with water and other natural solvents, such as organic apple cider vinegar. (Conversely, higher alcohol was necessary at times when volatile oils were being extracted such as menthol from peppermint.) The experimentation continued, as Mr. D’Amelio recorded the optimum menstruum combinations required for each plant to yield the maximum medicinal components. He further refined the process, eventually developing the proprietary Bio-Chelation® cold extraction method.
The Bio-Chelation technique describes an exclusive process that removes much of the alcohol used during the menstruum, or soaking phase, and replaces it with vegetable glycerin, yielding extracts that are either alcohol-free, or have a low alcohol content. In addition, the alcohol used in any Nature’s Answer herbal extract product has the further distinction of being ‘organic’.
The Bio-Chelation method yielded the first 12-14% alcohol extract in the herbal industry!
The Alcohol-Free Advantage
There are many reasons why people may not want to use herbs with high alcohol content. Some people dislike the strong taste of alcohol. Alcohol can stress a weakened or under-functioning liver in sensitive individuals, such as those suffering from allergies, environmental sensitivities, systemic candida, and/or a host of other health concerns. Furthermore, people in recovery from alcoholism cannot use alcohol. Finally, alcohol is not appropriate for young children.
Nature’s Answer's alcohol-free extract formulas replace alcohol with natural vegetable glycerin because glycerin helps to bind certain plant constituents and is easily absorbed by the cells. Glycerin occurs naturally throughout the body. It also makes up a portion of the cellular membranes. This gives glycerin an affinity for the body, making it an excellent carrier for herbs. (Nature’s Answer only uses “vegetable glycerin” in their products.) Another advantage of using glycerin over alcohol is that glycerin serves to protect and preserve the potency of the herbal extract in the bottle over the life of the product longer than alcohol would. Since alcohol easily evaporates, it can lose its effectiveness as a preservative for the herbal constituents as the amount of the alcohol in the bottle decreases. Glycerin, due to its viscosity (thickness) aids in maintaining the freshness and potency of the herb for the life of the product. Finally, glycerin has the added advantage of acting as a sugar-free natural sweetener, thus making the taste of some bitter herbs more palatable.
Nature's Answer®, the pioneer of the alcohol-free extraction process, is proud to offer a comprehensive line of both single herb extracts and combination herbal formulas that do not contain alcohol.