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Use warm water and turmeric to cleanse your body, support digestion
May 10, 2019 02:25 PM
It is estimated that a lot of Americans are affected by digestive problems. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) alone affects about 20 percent of Americans according to a 2010 estimate and that number should have increased by now. Pharmaceutical products being used to treat these symptoms can do more harm than good. Some of the drugs used for proton pump inhibitors of which 113 million are prescribed every year have been identified as the cause of bone fractures in older women and clostridium infections that result in diarrhea and life threatening conditions in older people. Some natural products though can do the work of cleansing your digestive system without the side effects and also help detox the body. One of them is turmeric. Just add some turmeric in warm water and one is ready to have these benefits. Warm water on its own is very important to the body but when mixed with turmeric it will help create bile that breaks down and absorbs fat in the body. Bile eliminates wastes in the body thereby detoxing your body the natural way.
"Turmeric mixed in a warm glass of water will not only help cleanse your body, but they will also lend support to your digestive system."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-03-warm-water-turmeric-to-cleanse-your-body-support-digestion.html
Barley grass is one of the best green super foods for improving gut health
May 08, 2019 03:57 PM
Barley grass — the leaf of young stalks of barley — has lots of health benefits, especially for digestion. Its anti-inflammatory properties may explain why it seems to help prevent the development of ulcerative colitis. Barley grass is an excellent source of multiple B vitamins, as well as vitamins C and K, calcium, potassium and other important minerals. It’s also great for detoxification of the body, thanks to its bountiful supply of a antioxidants and chlorophyll. Barley grass makes a great ingredient to juice mixes or smoothies, and can also be bought as a supplement.
"In addition, barley grass is rich in digestive enzymes, which are substances that can help eliminate toxic and indigestible materials in food."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-31-barley-grass-green-superfood-for-improving-gut-health.html
Nutritional benefits that prove moringa really is a "miracle tree"
January 09, 2019 09:15 AM
Known as the miracle tree, the moringa plant has many health benefits derived from its pods, leaves, and seeds. Moringa is grown in northern India and is commonly used by natives in cooking. The seeds of the moringa are rich in both antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, making it very beneficial for those with ulcerative colitis and other GI conditions. Moringa seeds have also been shown to decrease blood sugar levels, making it the perfect superfood for diabetics or those at-risk. Furthermore, moringa seeds can help decrease one’s risk of developing breast, colon, and liver cancers by suppressing the spread of cancer cells.
"Moringa is a good source of healthy monounsaturated fats that lower bad cholesterol and consequently reduce the risk of heart disease. Previous studies have also shown that moringa seeds protect heart cells from damage induced by oxidative stress and excessive inflammation."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-03-nutritional-benefits-that-prove-moringa-really-is-a-miracle-tree.html
10 herbs to cure inflammation (and how to grow them yourself)
January 06, 2019 04:20 PM
Dealing with chronic inflammation can lead to many troublesome symptoms such as joint stiffness and joint pain. Many natural herbs such as green tea and chili pepper have the ability to reduce inflammation, helping patients avoid these life-impacting symptoms. Green tea has been shown to not only help those suffering from arthritic pain, but it can also reduce the inflammation in the digestive tracts in those suffering from ulcerative colitis or Crohn's Disease. Chili peppers actually contain something called capsaicin which has been shown to reduce inflammation on its own.
"Recent studies have shown that green tea can effectively treat inflammation, especially in the treatment of arthritis."
Read more: https://rekordnorth.co.za/136842/10-herbs-cure-inflammation-grow/
Sunflower Lecithin: Brain-Boosting Supplement or UnhealthyAdditive?
December 18, 2018 04:04 PM
Sunflower Lecithin might be part of the reason some may view it as a super food: it is a fatty natural additive that improves many foods, boosts many parts of physical health(such as digestive health and brain health) and has many vitamins and minerals in it. It has been used in traditional medicine for a long time and can even be used in a vegan diet(unlike other forms of lecithin). Be careful though: overloading on it can cause digestive distress.
"Commonly used as an emulsifier and emollient in both processed foods and cosmetics alike, sunflower lecithin has also begun gaining traction in the supplement world thanks to its powerful health-promoting properties."
Read more: https://draxe.com/sunflower-lecithin/
Ulcerative colitis can be treated naturally with licorice
November 04, 2018 05:51 PM
There are many innovative cures for diseases out there. Some people struggle more than others when it comes to dealing with certain diseases. There are scientists out there who believe in some home remedies while others think that it is a complete sham. Many people believe that natural home remedies come down to the mind and thinking that something is working for you. For people with ulcerative colitis, they are now being told that they can be treated with licorice.
"Doctors used to believe that the condition was caused by either diet- or stress-related factors. It is now accepted that these do not lead to the disease; they can, however, aggravate UC."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-10-10-ulcerative-colitis-can-be-treated-naturally-with-licorice.html
Here's Why Probiotics For Women Are So Important
October 10, 2018 03:27 PM
Probiotics are extremely important for health, especially the health of women. They promote gut health by increasing the bacteria in your digestive tract. Chronic stress can hurt your microbiota, so probiotics are a way to combat this problem. Probiotic supplements may also help with mental health issues including depression and anxiety. They can also help with urogenital infections including UTIs and yeast infections. If you are considering probiotic supplements, it is recommended to eat a diet including things such as kimchi or kefir instead of taking pills.
"And for women in particular, keeping this balance of bacteria happy is also important in vaginal health, managing digestion issues that tend to affect women more often than men, and more."
Read more: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/probiotics-for-women?mbg_p=home&mbg_ref=featured
Ask the Expert: What are the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease?
January 31, 2018 07:59 AM
A question about the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease is asked. The person asking the question is unknown, the expert answering is Dr. Brian Behm a gastroenterologist. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is defined as chronic inflammation of the intestines.
The difference between Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis is discussed.
No cure is available. Lifestyle changes and diet modification can control the inflammation. These are not completely successful.
Treatment options are steroids, immunomodulators biologic medicines and aminosalicylates.
"The two main types of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease."
Read more: http://www.dailyprogress.com/lifestyles/ask-the-expert-what-are-the-symptoms-of-inflammatory-bowel/article_316678e6-0218-11e8-96d9-579ea5f1643b.html
Chronic Inflammatory Disorders Increase Cardiometabolic and Mortality Risks
July 14, 2017 07:14 AM
Chronic inflammatory disorders actually increase cardio metabolic risks and mortality risks too. The degree of these risks appeared to be a lot higher in people that took non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs. SLE has the strongest association and that is followed up by ulcerative colitis. A type of investigation such as this one is very rare. An investigation of this matter examines both the cumulative and multiple cardio metabolic risks within inflammatory diseases that are pathological.
Read more: Chronic Inflammatory Disorders Increase Cardiometabolic and Mortality Risks
CBD Could Treat These Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
June 24, 2017 09:14 AM
Bowel problems affect many of us. They are unpleasant at best and painful and embarrassing at worst. There are many medications for them but not everyone can handle them. Many medications have side effects which some people can't handle. Another option is this chemical which can be found in medical marijuana products. It helps with some bowel issues. It is not the same as THC which is what people get with recreational marijuana. It does not affect the body the same way.
"CBD oil, as well as cannabis, do not have a high risk. Furthermore, the benefits of weed surpass any negative consequences."
Read more: https://www.greenrushdaily.com/cbd-treat-inflammatory-bowel-diseases/
Seven warning signs your stomach pain is really this HIDDEN disease
June 07, 2017 07:14 AM
Many minor stomach concerns are nothing to to be concerned about. However, there are some symptoms you should never ignore as they can be signs of a serious illness that needs to be address. If you have any of the following symptoms: Mouth ulcers, anemia, loss of weight without trying, cramping, persistent diarrhea, a general feeling of unwellness or fatigue, you should make an appointment with your physician to assess you stomach pain. It is most likely nothing to worry about, but even IBD or Crohn's disease should be taken seriously and be managed by a physician.
Read more: Seven warning signs your stomach pain is really this HIDDEN disease
Pairing curcumin with turmeric essential oils offers better protection from ulcerative colitis, study finds
May 10, 2017 06:44 PM
There have been many studies on the effectiveness of essential oils since they're so popular now. People swear by them to help with all sorts of things. Turmeric is a popular one. It is sort of a go to oil. People say it helps with a whole list of things. One of these is apparently ulcertive colitis. There is a study supporting this. The Turmeric oil should be combined with curcumin for the best results.
Read more: Pairing curcumin with turmeric essential oils offers better protection from ulcerative colitis, study finds
Medical News Today: Inflammatory bowel disease: Causes, symptoms, and treatments
March 20, 2017 06:44 PM
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a blanket term for a number of diseases including Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis. Symptoms of IBD vary, but may include diarrhea, fever, fatigue and stools containing blood, pus or mucus. Diagnosis of IBD is usually made before the age of 30, with those of Caucasian or Ashkenazi Jewish heritage most commonly afflicted. Tests to confirm an IBD diagnosis may include stool sample analysis, blood tests and endoscopic procedures. While it cannot be cured, IBD treatment focuses on symptoms and reduction of disease flare-ups. Such treatment can include medication, dietary changes, increasing intake of water and stress management. In rare instances, surgery may be needed.
Read more: Medical News Today: Inflammatory bowel disease: Causes, symptoms, and treatments
'Good' bacteria is potential solution to unchecked inflammation seen in bowel diseases
March 16, 2017 01:44 PM
Valuable microscopic organisms might be the way to turning around a cycle of gut irritation found in certain fiery inside ailments, College of North Carolina Lineberger Far reaching Tumor Center scientists have found. Scientists found that including back a sort of advantageous microscopic organisms that ordinarily develops in the gut can help end this cycle, recommending another treatment for incendiary inside ailment. The two most basic fiery entrail infections, Crohn's illness, and ulcerative colitis influence an expected 1.6 million individuals in the Unified States, as indicated by the Crohns and Colitis Establishment of America. They trust their discoveries could conceivably prompt to medications for individuals with fiery gut illnesses with diminished NLRP12 expression. You can focus on the irritation that downstream of NLRP12 with mitigating medications, or you could simply nourish the creatures particular microscopic organisms that advantage, and it causes a move that made them less defenseless to the ailment.
"NLRP12 has been known to suppress inflammatory signals to prevent an overactive immune response. But an analysis uncovered low levels of NLRP12 in twins with ulcerative colitis, but not in paired twins without the disease. And in mouse models that lacked this protein, they found higher levels of inflammation in the colon."
Read more: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170313135055.htm
Why processed food may cause bowel cancer
November 22, 2016 12:59 PM
Researchers at Georgia State University has found a link between emulsifiers used to keep food fresh and bowel cancer. By feeding mice two common emulsifiers found in preserved food, they found that their instances of bowel inflammation increased and created an environment in which cancer is more likely to occur. It is believed that the chemicals alter the bacteria of the gut and allow bad bacteria to grow, which causes inflammation.
"Common additives used in everyday foods including bread, margarine and sweets may be behind the huge rise in bowel cancer, scientists claim."
The Health Benefits of Boswellia
Boswellia, also known as the Indian frankincense, is a popular native tree in traditional medicine. The tree has numerous health benefits due to its anti-inflammatory properties. The following are some of them:
Chronic inflammation is at an epic high in America, largely due to poor diets. Taking boswellia daily can help reduce inflammation helping the body fight off diseases that may arise.
How Cascara sagrada stimulates bowel movement
Cascara sagrada is a herbal medicine that is obtained from the bark of California buckthorn tree. It is commonly used as an ingredient in many over the counter (OTC) laxatives. It is also taken in its fresh form but not recommended, this herb needs to be aged for a while before using.
Boswellia - The Anti-Inflammatory Herb
Boswellia is some times referred to as Indian frankincense or boswellin. It comes from a tree known as boswellia serrata that is found to grow in the dry areas of India. Boswellia is said to have 55% of Boswellic acid. For centuries, many Indian healers have always taken the advantage of the anti-inflammation property of this tree. The bark's gummy resin contains anti-inflammation content in higher percentages - its known as salai guggal.
In the modern world, preparations are done from a purified extract of the resin and normally packed in cream or pills which are then used mainly to reduce inflammation; rheumatoid or osteoarthritis arthritis. Unlike nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, which is one of the accepted treatments for joint inflammation, - boswellia according to research does not show signs of stomach irritation. It's also sometimes effective when it comes to back pains and other chronic related intestinal disorders.
Its health benefits, according to research by scientists, has been outlined that this herb has specific and very active anti-inflammation ingredients. These ingredients are commonly known as boswellic acids. In the field of animal studies, boswellic acids have been proven to reduce inflammation. They improve rapidly the blood flow to the joints. They also do block those chemical reactions that always sets the stage for inflammation that cause chronic intestinal disorders. Boswellia maybe taken internally or even applied topically to the affected joints to help relieve inflammation that is associated with joint disorders. These always increase joint mobility and lessen the morning stiffness.
In a study that was conducted involving 175 patients suffering rheumatic disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, exactly 122 participants were found to experience reduced inflammation and stiffness after using boswellia for two to four weeks. Boswellia's inflammatory component helps reduce stiffness and aching, especially when associated with the low back pains. Though a lot of researches done shows that boswellia is effective when taken orally, creams also appear to be soothing all together.
Boswellia also seems to reduce the inflammation related with Crohn's and ulcerative colitis disease, of which both are painful intestinal disorders. It's said to be able to accomplish this without actually the risk of gut irritation which is mainly associated with lots of convectional pain relievers.
In theyear 1997, a study was conducted involving ulcerative colitis victims, 82% those who took this boswellia extract like 3 times in a day, they experienced total and complete remission of this disease.
What are the Health Benefits of Beta-Glucans
December 22, 2014 04:54 PM
What are Beta-glucans?
Benefits of beta-glucan
Beta-glucans are use for cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and high cholesterol. Beta-glucans are also use for boosting the immune system in people whose body defenses have been weakens by emotional or physical stress, chronic fatigue syndrome or by treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation. Beta-glucans are also used for ulcerative colitis, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, aging, H1N1 flu, Lyme disease, allergies, fibromyalgia, ear infections, rheumatoid, asthma and crohn's disease.
What Are The Benefits Of Turmeric Extract?
June 04, 2013 01:53 PM
Turmeric extract, also known as Curcuma longa has been used for over 4000 years to treat a variety of conditions. Reputable studies show that it may help control infections, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems and some cancers. Historically, it has been widely used in cooking Indian dishes and is much loved due to its curry flavor and yellow color.
Further, it's used to color butter and cheese and has been intensively applied in both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to treat wounds and skin diseases.
According to research done at the University of Maryland Medical Center, turmeric extract contains powerful ingredients that stimulate the production of bile and thus can be used to control indigestion.
Let us take a more straight forward look at its main benefits to human health.
Benefits of Turmeric Extract
* Fighting inflammation
Turmeric contains a special substance called curcumin which aside from destroying free radicals lowers the levels of some enzymes in the body that fuel inflammation. Clinical studies have suggested that turmeric's duo benefits (antioxidant and anti-inflammatory) are an essential part of recovering from joint stiffness - useful in relieving rheumatoid arthritis.
As we mentioned earlier, turmeric can boost the production of bile. One double-blind study (done by The German Commission E) concluded that turmeric may help in improving the functioning of the digestive system by reducing bloating.
* Turmeric and ulcerative colitis
Although turmeric does not seem to help control stomach ulcers, researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center confirm that can play a central role in people with ulcerative colitis by helping them stay in remission. Recent studies done on people with this disease (who consumed turmeric) showed a lower relapse rate than who took other treatment substances.
* Turmeric extract and cancer
Though most results are still early, there has been a great deal of findings that have painted turmeric in good light as far as treatment of various cancers is concerned. At the moment, scientists are keenly studying its effects on colon, skin, breast and prostate cancers. All the same, turmeric is known for its preventive effects which have something to do with its strong antioxidant properties.
* Turmeric=Good Heart Health
Some substances found in turmeric extract may help reduce incidences of atherosclerosis - a condition closely associated with the occurrence of stroke and/or heart attack. It, in a great way lowers cholesterol levels in blood vessels. Aside from that, it stops platelets from clumping together thus preventing blood clots from accumulating along blood vessels.
* Containing Viral and Bacterial Infections
Turmeric may to some extent kill viruses and bacteria. Some of its active ingredients are as well known to expel intestinal worms.
Turmeric has been for a long time been associated with good eye health. Well, researchers have recently made breakthrough findings that curcumin (turmeric's main active ingredient) may help treat chronic anterior uveitis. Its efficiency is believed to be at par with corticosteroids.
There are many other health benefits associated with turmeric extract. However, the few mentioned herein are the most important ones that you need to take note of.
L-glutamine as we age!
June 01, 2013 10:51 AM
Glutamine is one of the most abundant amino acids in the body. The body is capable of making enough of glutamine for its own regular needs although at times of extreme stress and age, the body may need more. Glutamine has some great importance (aka. body detox) as it is used by the body to remove excess ammonia which is a waste product the body produces everyday. It also acts as an immune system function booster as well as helping the brain to function and aiding in digestion.
Some medical conditions can lower the levels of glutamine like infections, surgery, injuries and prolonged stress, it is advisable that you take a glutamine supplements in order to boost its level in the body.
L-glutamine also helps in the following health conditions;
L-glutamine reduces as we age
This amino acid is mostly stored in muscles and the lungs. As muscle mass decrease with age so does the production of L-glutamine throughout the body. L-glutamine is primarily produced in the muscles, this accounts for 90% of the L-glutamine that is synthesized in the body, so aka less muscle means less glutamine. It is also produced in small amounts in the brain plus the liver but the liver more or less regulates the levels in the blood and is a large consumer of this amino acid.
When glutamine levels drop, a supplement or foods high in L-glutamine should be consumed. Some studies have shown this amino acid to greatly reduce the healing time of healing for the patients who undergo surgery in the hospitals. In case one has an abdominal surgery, the hospital stay time can be reduced by providing parental nutrition of this supplement.
Some of the dietary sources of L-glutamine
Small amounts of L-glutamine are also found in vegetable juices. Diets that are enriched with L-glutamine have been known to maintain cellular function as well as maintain a strong gut barrier. This suggests that this amino acid helps to protect the walls and the lining of the mucosa and gastrointestinal tract. Some of those people who may be having inflammatory bowel disease or crohn's disease might not be having enough of the it in the body.
This amino acid is a strong carbon downer, this helps in refilling the cycle of citric acid and regulation of the acid balance in the bodies kidneys by way of producing and eliminating ammonia.
The List Goes On And On, have you had enough glutamine today?
October 09, 2012 04:39 PM
Over the years, researchers and scientists found out the larch tree extract proved to the answer to all problems that people is facing. People's bodies are prone to illnesses and sickness and no matter they do it is not enough. The main reason why people get ill easily is that their immune system is not stable and always decreases from time to time. As a result, people's immune system will increase over the years, and it is always depending on the person.
What is a larch tree extract?
A larch tree extract is a natural polysaccharide extracted from larch tree. This sugar contains active ingredients that enhance the functions of all immune systems, tissues, and cells. This extract also called as arabinogalactan a biopolymer that consists of sugars, which attached to any protein food that helps your body to withstand and eliminates free radicals in your body.
These active ingredients are the main responsible for increasing your metabolism that eliminate, and reduce free radicals. Even, your body does not yet increase its immune system, but this extract will surely do extensive favor that protects your body's vulnerability. Having an illness or an ailment due to a low immune system is difficult to handle because it always affects everything like your work performances, relationships, and even, your focus. Therefore, it is indispensable to prevent this from happening at all cost!
Why use a larch tree extract?
There are many benefits you can get using larch tree extract and these are as follows:
1) Boosts and increase your immune systems - this extract can help fights free radicals in your body that giving you diseases and sickness such as influenza, flu, and the common cold. It is also the best treatment for inflammation, rheumatism, asthma, bronchitis, and diarrhea. This extract also fights recurrent immune problems such as viral infection, and chronic fatigue.
2) Treatment for cancer - this extract can help fight cancer cells that normally triggered by decreasing the activities of NK cells. This extract will suppress and reduces these cancerous cells to nothing. In addition, it prevents these NK cells from spreading to any other organs. Larch extract also serves as an excellent foundation of fiber that potentially improves colon health by increasing the growth of its healthy bacteria located in the gastrointestinal tract.
3) Supports digestion - this extract acts as a food supply to your intestinal bacteria, so they are eating it instead of food nutrients and considering as a prebiotic that is stimulating the activity or growth of bacteria in your digestive systems considered as health beneficial. Prebiotics helps to treat and prevent intestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, LBM, constipation, leaky - gut, and diverticulosis. In addition, prebiotics are the best treatment for ulcerative colitis and Crohn enteritis.
Is there any need to take larch tree extract? If you want to stay as healthy as a cow, taking this extract is the best solution! Increasing your immune systems is your main goal to remain healthy over the years and it is easy. Remember that prevention will always better than cure!
What is Vitamin K Good For?
February 15, 2012 10:05 PM
Understanding Vitamin K
Vitamin K can be found in different forms, Phylloquinone is vitamin k1 and it is found in plants. Vitamin k2 is referred to as Mena Quinone and is produced by the intestinal bacteria. It can also be obtained from purified fish. The synthetic version of this mineral is called Menadione.
The role of the mineral is to aid in the blood clotting functions. When there is a deficiency, the production of prothrombin and various clotting factors is reduced. With time a person begins showing signs of hemorrhage.
The human body is incapable of synthesizing the mineral so you need to get it from dietary sources. The intestinal bacteria produce it as a metabolic by product. It is hard for someone to suffer from a deficiency since the vitamin is available from so many sources.
Vitamin K Stability
Since it is water soluble and heat stable there is no risk of leeching or inactivation during cooking. However, strong acids and alkalis have a destructive effect on the substance. Even though gamma irradiation is used to prolong the shelf life of food it inactivates the mineral.
Bile has to be present in order for the vitamin to be absorbed by the body. Lipoproteins in the bloodstream are responsible for transporting it to the liver. When it gets to the liver it is in is inactive form. A reductase is needed in order to revert it into its active state.
How Vitamin K Is Made
Normal intestinal bacteria are usually destroyed by prolonged use of antibiotics. This means that the body is unable to synthesize the mineral. The patient is put on supplements so as to prevent hemorrhagic tendencies. When a person is taking the supplements they are administered via intravenous or intramuscular injections. In some cases people are asked to take the supplements orally.
During the first weeks of their lives babies can suffer from hemorrhagic conditions due to a deficiency in vitamin k. in order to prevent this from happening, the infants are routinely injected with natural minerals at the time of birth depending on their weight. Medical practitioners do not use the synthetic version because it is toxic to babies.
A person suffering from a deficiency of vitamin k has certain symptoms such as excessive bleeding, less active prothrombin in their blood, their blood takes long to clot and if they are newborns they suffer from hemorrhagic episodes. There are a number of medical conditions and treatments that can cause a deficiency.
If you have a medical condition that interferes with the absorption of fats in the intestines then you could suffer from a deficiency of vitamin k. some of the conditions that lead to the problem include obstructive jaundice, ulcerative colitis, gallbladder disorders and diarrhea. When you have any one of these conditions your body is unable to absorb the vitamin.
You can also suffer from a deficiency if you use mineral oil as laxatives. The vitamin usually attaches itself to the oil droplets in your intestines instead. The body is unable to absorb it so it is excreted in the feces. People are usually discouraged from using mineral oil to cure constipation because of this reason.
What is Wild Yam Root And How Does It Help PMS And More?
July 25, 2011 02:44 PM
Wild Yam And Your Health
Wild yam root refers to a group of tubers related to the common yam. While the common yam is consumed as a vegetable, wild yam root is known for its medicinal properties. It has been linked to many studies in the past few decades. It is a source of the plant steroid diosgenin, which is converted to progesterone in the laboratory. It has also shown to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Dioscorea villosa is the plant species often referred to as wild yam root, inasmuch as most products and supplements that are marketed as wild yam obtain extracts from this plant. Its positive effects on health are attributed to steroid-like organic compounds called saponins. Nevertheless, these saponins and other active ingredients of the root can also be derived in other closely related wild yam species.
Rebalances Female Hormones
Wild yam root is one of the most recognized plant species in the nutraceutical industry, especially in niches concerning the alleviation of hot flashes, night sweats, and other vasomotor symptoms. It is rich in compounds that precursors to human sex hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone.
Whether modified or not, the compounds extracted from wild yam root display estrogenic activities inside the female body, and they can be administered through the mouth or skin. They work normalize fluctuating levels of hormones, as is the case during menopause.
Counteracts Pain Chemicals
The phytochemical content of wild yam room is anti-inflammatory in nature. Not surprisingly, it has been used in the treatment of inflammation-induced disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, renal colic, ulcerative colitis, muscle cramps, abdominal pain, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Wild yam root suppresses the releases of endogenous compounds responsible for the perception of pain in certain body parts. In addition, it also inhibits the excessive productions of immune cells that trigger hypersensitivity and immune disorders, such as bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis.
Boosts Bone Mineral Density
Extracts of wild yam root are commercially touted to prevent bone loss characteristic of osteoporosis. Since the human bones are the primary reserves of calcium and other minerals, they undergo a continuous cycle of demineralization to meet the mineral demands of other parts of the body.
The process of demineralization that alters bone density throughout life is called bone resorption. It is influenced by other factors, such as sedentary lifestyle and mineral deficiencies. With a balanced diet, regular consumption of wild yam root has been reported to easily reverse bone loss.
Reduces Overall Lipid Levels
There is a growing body of literature devoted to the effects of wild yam root on overall lipid levels in the blood. Wild yam root supplements are believed to lower utilization of triglycerides in the liver, limiting the releases of cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins, and free fatty acids into the bloodstream.
In addition, regular intake of wild yam root extracts appears to interfere with the breakdown of fats into easily digestible fatty acids and their subsequent absorption in the small intestines. This results in lower fat intake and healthier levels of cholesterol.
What is stopping you from trying it?
What Is Slippery Elm Bark and How Does It Help Improve Colon And Digestive Health
April 08, 2011 11:27 AM
Slippery Elm History.
Slippery elm bark is an herbal remedy derived entirely from a tree species of the same name. Its use in maintaining colon health has been associated with Native Americans, who continue to use the inner bark of the tree as a treatment for skin conditions, gum problems, and sore throats in addition to digestive problems. In recent years, there have been numerous citations of its ability to significantly alleviate illnesses of the gastrointestinal tract, and its use has even been suggested by medical professionals in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcers, and abdominal pains.
Ulmus rubra is a tree species native to North America, but its range and distribution is limited to Southern Quebec down to Northern Florida and west to eastern Texas. It prefers soils that are rich in moisture, with large populations present in uplands, but it also thrives well in dry regions. This deciduous tree is commonly known by the names Slippery elm, Red elm, Moose elm, and Indian elm. The name Red elm refers to its heartwood that is reddish-brown in color. The leaves and the inner bark are dried and powdered beforehand, and then made into a tea or packed as supplements.
Increases Mucus Secretions
Recent studies have observed that slippery elm bark stimulates the nerve endings of the intestinal walls. Excess acidity is thought to result from both the diet and the stomach’s secretions of hydrochloric acid. While peptic ulcers are often caused by invasive pathogens, cases in which the acidic environment in the stomach brings on lesions in the gastrointestinal tract are not uncommon. Slippery elm bark works on the principle of inducing the secretions of gastrointestinal mucosa, which rebalances the pH inside the digestive tract.
Slippery Elm Bark Properties
Exhibits Antioxidant Properties
Researchers ascribe the effects of slippery elm bark on inhibiting inflammation of the digestive tract to its antioxidant properties. Free radicals have been tied to many diseases, and inflammatory bowel disease is believed to be influenced by an imbalance between free radicals and the antioxidant defense of the body. Indeed free radicals can cause tissue damage as each cell’s ability to neutralize them is compromised. Unfortunately they are a natural by-product of oxygen metabolism and other chemical reactions, which means the only way to dispose of them is to strengthen cellular antioxidant defense.
Heals Lesions and Ulcerations
Native Americans have long used slippery elm bark as an ingredient in salves used for wounds and sores. It is widely accepted that medicinal products containing powdered slippery elm bark reduce inflammation and speed up the process of healing. For the same reasons, oral administrations appear to produce similar effects on ulcerations of the alimentary canal, allaying abdominal pains.
Slippery elm bark is a known cleanser for the gastrointestinal tract. People who felt benefited from it believe it eases stomach cramps and improve colon disturbances. While more studies are needed for its efficacy, slippery elm bark products are generally considered to be safe.
Slippery Elm bark is excellent therapy for the digestive tract. Don’t be with out it!
Lactase Enzymes and Acidophilus
February 10, 2010 11:16 AM
Lactose intolerance is what is known as the inability to digest lactose. It is cause by a lack or deficiency of lactase. Lactase is an enzyme that is manufactured in the small intestine. It is responsible for splitting lactose into glucose and galactose. When a person who has lactose intolerance consumes milk or other dairy products, some or all of the lactose they contain remains undigested, retains fluid, and ferments in the colon. This results in abdominal cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and gas. Symptoms of lactose intolerance usually result between thirty minutes and two hours after consumption of dairy foods.
The degree of lactose intolerance varies from person to person. For most adults, lactose intolerance is actually a normal condition. Only Caucasians of northern European origin generally retain the ability to digest lactose after childhood. In the United States, somewhere between 30 and 50 million people are lactose intolerance. Lactase deficiency can also occur due to gastrointestinal disorders, which damage the digestive tract like celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, regional enteritis, or ulcerative colitis. Lactase deficiency can even develop on its own, with no known way to prevent it.
Lactose intolerance can occur in children as well as adults, even though it is far less common. In infants, lactose intolerance can occur after a severe case of gastroenteritis, which damages the intestinal lining. Symptoms of lactose intolerance in an infant can include foamy diarrhea with diaper rash, slow weight gain and development, and vomiting. Lactose intolerance can cause discomfort and digestive disruption, although it is not a serious threat to health and it can be easily managed through dietary adjustments. The following nutrients are recommended for dealing with lactose intolerance. The dosages specified are for adults unless otherwise specified. For a child between the ages of twelve and seventeen, the dose should be reduced to three-quarters of the recommended amount. A child between the ages of six and twelve should use half the recommended dosage.
One teaspoon of acidophilus in distilled water, taken twice daily on an empty stomach, can help to replace lost friendly bacteria and promote healthy digestion. It is recommended that a nondairy formula is used. Charcoal tablets are helpful in absorbing toxins and relieving diarrhea. Four tablets taken every hour with water until symptoms subside can help combat an acute attack. 1,000 mg of magnesium should be taken daily, as it is need for calcium uptake and promotes pH balance.
A multivitamin and mineral complex should be taken as directed on the label because all nutrients are needed for optimal health. 400 IU of vitamin D3 is also needed for calcium uptake, while 200 IU of vitamin E daily protects the cell membranes that line the colon wall. It should be noted that the d-alpha-tocopherol form of vitamin E should be taken. 30 mg of zinc should be taken three times daily. A total of 100 mg daily from all supplements should not be exceeded. This nutrient is needed to maintain immune system and proper mineral balance. For best absorption, zinc gluconate lozenges should be used. Additionally, 3 mg of copper is needed to balance with zinc.
Most of all, a good lactase enzyme supplement can help ease painful gas and bloating when taken before dairy products are consumed.
Buckthorn Of The Sea
August 05, 2009 04:05 PM
Sea buckthorn is also known as sea berry or Siberian pineapple. It is a small shrub that can be found growing natively in a wild swath across Europe and Asia. This plant has been used by southeast Asians to treat various diseases for hundreds of years. The ancient Greeks are believed to have used the berries of the sea buckthorn plant in order to promote weight gain and shiny fur in horses.
After analyzing the orange berries of sea buckthorn, an abundance of vitamins C and E, carotenoids, flavonoids, glucose, fructose, several amino acids, and fatty acids have been found. The berries of this herb are used in order to produce juices, jams, liquors, and lotions. The oil that comes from the berries of sea buckthorn has been used to treat ailments that are related to inflammation. Included in these ailments are canker sores, esophagitis, cervicitis, peptic ulcers, and ulcerative colitis. Horticulturalists from the Soviet Union and East Germany came up with new varieties of sea buckthorn during the Cold War years that produce bigger berries and better nutrition.
Traditional Chinese medicine uses sea buckthorn to boost energy. Olympic athletes in the country have recently used sea-buckthorn-based sports drinks as part of their training. This herb is used in Russia in ointments to help shield cosmonauts from radiation damage while in orbit. The oil found in sea buckthorn contains high amounts of palmitoleic acid, which is a rare fatty acid that is found in skin fat. This fatty acid aids cell tissue and wound healing. Some U.S. cosmetic firms put this herb into their skin creams in order to provide protectant and anti-aging properties.
Sea buckthorn is recommended by herbalists in order to boost energy levels, promote wound healing, and shield the skin from the damage caused by ultraviolet rays. Some research on the wound-healing and tissue-protecting properties of this herb has provided positive results. The extract was shown to strengthen cardiac pump function and myocardial contractility in animal studies where dogs with heart failure were tested. The herb also seems to improve oxygen use in the hearts of dogs and animal heart cells in test tubes.
Generally, sea buckthorn oils are used externally for burns and other skin damage. They are also used internally for stomach and duodenal ulcers. Anecdotal reports of sea buckthorn extract have shown it being used to fight tumor growth, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
The berries of the sea buckthorn plant are used to provide anti-inflammatory properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are amino acids, carotenoids, fatty acids, flavonoids, fructose, glucose, and vitamins C and E. Primarily, sea buckthorn is extremely beneficial in treating burns, canker sores, cervicitis, colitis, lack of energy, esophagitis, skin protection, ulcers, and wounds. In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen while on medications. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by sea buckthorn, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
March 29, 2009 10:08 AM
Constipation occurs when one has difficulty passing stools, or infrequently passes hard, dry stools. This is the result of food moving extremely slowly through the large intestine. From time to time, most people experience constipation. However, lifestyle changes and better eating habits can help to relieve the symptoms and prevent recurrences. Constipation usually results from insufficient amounts of fiber and fluids in the diet. Fiber can be found in plant foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Fiber that is water-soluble takes on a soft texture and is helpful in softening the stools. Insoluble fiber goes through the large intestine unchanged and is helpful in adding bulk to the stools to stimulate bowel contractions.
Other factors that can cause constipation include inadequate exercise, advanced age, muscle disorders, structural abnormalities, bowel diseases, neurogenic disorders, and a poor diet, especially a heavy consumption of junk food. Constipation can also be a side effect of iron supplements and some drugs, like painkillers and antidepressants. It is also common during pregnancy. High levels of calcium and low levels of thyroid hormone can also lead to constipation. Those with kidney failure are also prone to having problems with constipation. Constipation is often caused by dehydration in older individuals, with depression being a factor in people of any age. Some medications, like cough syrups, pain medications that contain codeine, antidepressants, iron supplements, blood pressure and heart medicines, calcium supplements, and some antihistamines can also cause constipation.
A small percentage of people with spinal injuries and other similar problems have constipation because the nerves that usually regulate bowel movement have been damaged or destroyed. A condition referred to as Hirshsprung’s disease makes the normal excretion of feces impossible because the nerves inside the bowel are missing. The nerve cells in the colon can also be damaged by long-term use of laxatives, which makes constipation inevitable. A thrombosed hemorrhoid, anal fissure, or a pocket of infection at the anus can create a spasm of pain that is strong enough to contract the muscles and prevent the evacuation of stools.
Constipation can cause a variety of other ailments such as appendicitis, bad breath, body odor, coated tongue, depression, diverticulitis, fatigue, gas, headaches, hemorrhoids, hernia, indigestion, insomnia, mal-absorption syndrome, obesity, and varicose veins. It may even be involved in the development of other serious diseases like bowel cancer. It is important to have regular bowel movements in order to remove toxins from the body. Toxins from bowel bacteria and undigested food particles play a part in the development of diabetes mellitus, meningitis, myasthenia gravis, thyroid disease, candidiasis, chronic gas and bloating, migraines, fatigue, and ulcerative colitis. People can have bowel movements as infrequently as three times a week and still not be constipated, but there are some health practitioners that believe that it is important to have a bowel movement every day.
The following nutrients are very helpful in dealing with and preventing constipation: garlic, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, apple pectin, chlorophyll liquid, essential fatty acids, a multi-enzyme complex, a multivitamin and mineral complex, vitamin B complex, vitamin D3, vitamin E. Additionally, the following herbs are also beneficial: alfalfa extract, fennel seed, aloe vera, ginger, milk thistle, triphala, cascara sagrada, goldenseal, rhubarb root, senna leaves, and yerba mate.
Adding a good fiber supplement as well as the above mentioned supplements can help one stop constipation and start normal bowel movements again. Natural fiber, vitamins, and herbs are available at your local or internet health food store. Look for name brands such as Source Naturals, Solaray, Kal, Planetary Formulas, and Natures Plus to ensure quality and safely of all your natural supplement needs.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins, herbs, and fibers are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Turmeric Extract (Curcumin)
February 10, 2009 01:18 PM
Curcumin is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that has the potential to provide far-reaching health benefits. It has been shown to be helpful in rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, diabetic retinopathy, and cancer. All of these diseases share underlying inflammation that curcumin may help to diminish.
If you have ever eaten curry or cooked with the spice turmeric, you’ve consumed curcumin. It is obtained from the roots of Curcuma longa and consists of several curcuminoids. Turmeric is biologically related to ginger. Curcumin works as an antioxidant, boosting levels of glutathione S-transferase, which is one of the body’s principal antioxidants. This antioxidant blocks the formation of prostaglandin E2, which is a compound that promotes inflammation within the body. Curcumin also inhibits two inflammation-promoting enzymes: COX-2 and 5-LOX. Additionally, curcumin is able to prevent mutations to DNA, which is an effect that helps to maintain younger, healthier cells.
A study conducted at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson had researchers using a curcumin rich turmeric extract to treat rheumatoid arthritis in laboratory animals. The extract blocked joint inflammation as well as the breakdown of joint cartilage and bone. It did this by inhibiting the genes that are involved in inflammation. Curcumin also holds tremendous promise in preventing cancer, as well as an adjunct treatment. Studies on animals have found that curcumin can protect against colon, intestinal, oral, and skin cancers. Its benefits come from several mechanisms. First of all, it blocks the cell-growth cycle in cancer cells, which eventually leads to destruction. It also reduces free radicals and inflammation, both of which can lead to cancer-causing cell mutations.
Many studies have found that curcumin can protect the liver against a variety of toxic compounds, which is important news for those people who are suffering from liver diseases like hepatitis or cirrhosis. In a recent study, researchers reported that curcumin increased the clearance of creatinine and urea, which are signs of improved kidney function. Additionally, curcumin reduced liver damage from toxic chemicals and excess iron.
Another study found that curcumin has the ability to inhibit the activation and spread of the liver cells that play a role in the development of cirrhosis. Japanese doctors have recently used curcumin, drugs, or placebos to treat 89 patients that have ulcerative colitis. These doctors found that a combination of curcumin and conventional medications resulted in the greatest benefits over six months of treatment. Patients in this study took 1,000 mg of curcumin after breakfast and again after dinner.
Inflammation is the underpinning of all chronic degenerative diseases, making curcumin likely to be beneficial for many different conditions. So far, research has identified curcumin’s benefits for diabetic retinopathy, lung disorders, and skin problems such as psoriasis. A dose of 3.6 g of curcumin reduced PGE2 levels by two-thirds in only one hour. After consuming curcumin daily for one month, PGE2 levels were 57 percent lower than before supplementation began.
Turmeric has been used as a culinary spice for at least 2,000 years. It was listed in an Assyrian herbal in 600 BC, used by ancient Greeks, and widely recommended in Ayurvedic medicine. Native to India and other regions of South Asia, it may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and help maintain mental function. Curcumin is safe in amounts of 500 to 8,000 mg daily, with most supplements providing 500 mg of curcumin.
Turmeric has been proven safe in larger amounts, but is usually limited by taste as a spice. One should look for a standardized supplement that contains at least 90 percent curcumin. Standardized Turmeric can be found at your local or internet health food store.
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.
Curcumin, Curcuminoids, and Curamin
April 30, 2008 10:40 AM
Curcumin, a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, possesses many potentially far-reaching health benefits. After many studies preformed on humans, animals, and in-vitro, it has been found that curcumin may be helpful in rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, diabetic retinopathy, and cancer. All of these previously listed diseases share an underlying inflammation, which can be diminished by curcumin.
If you have ever eaten curry or cooked with the spice turmeric, you’ve consumed curcumin. Curcumin, which consists of several curcuminoids, is the active constituent of turmeric, which is used in curry. Turmeric is biologically related to ginger. Curcumin works as an antioxidant by boosting levels of glutathione S-transferase, which is one of the body’s main antioxidants. It also blocks the formation of the prostaglandin E2, which is compound that promotes inflammation within the body. Curcumin also inhibits the activity of nuclear factor kappa beta, which is another substance that is involved in inflammation. Additionally, it reduces the activity of COX-2 and 5-LOX, which are two more inflammation-promoting enzymes. Lastly, curcumin prevents mutations that can result in DNA, which helps to maintain healthier, younger cells.
Curcumin taken as a supplement can help with any conditions and diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, liver and kidney protection, ulcerative colitis, and other inflammatory diseases. A study using a curcumin-rich turmeric extract done at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson, treated rheumatoid arthritis in laboratory animals. The results showed that this extract blocked joint inflammation as well as the breakdown of joint cartilage and bone by inhibiting the genes that are involved in inflammation. Curcumin also holds a great amount of promise in preventing cancer and also as an adjunct treatment.
Animal studies have shown that curcumin can protect against colon, intestinal, oral, and skin cancers as its benefits come from several mechanisms. First of all, it blocks the cell-growth cycle in cancer cells, which leads to cell destruction. Additionally, it reduces free radicals by its antioxidant properties, which can lead to cancer-causing cell mutations. Studies have also found that curcumin can protect the liver from a variety of toxic compounds. One recent study left researchers reporting that curcumin increased the clearance of creatinine and urea, which are signs of improved kidney function. It also reduced liver damage from toxic chemicals and excess iron.
Japanese doctors have recently used curcumin to treat patients with ulcerative colitis. A combination of curcumin and conventional medications has led to the best benefits over six months of treatment. Since inflammation is the root of all chronic degenerative diseases, curcumin is likely to be beneficial for many different conditions. So far, research has identified curcumin’s benefits for diabetic retinopathy, lung disorders, and skin problems including psoriasis.
Turmeric, which is the source of curcumin, has been used as a culinary spice for the past 2,000 years, was used by ancient Greeks, and is now a widely recommended Ayurvedic medicine. It is native to India and other regions of South Asia. By eating a lot of curry, which is rich in curcumin, you may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and help to maintain mental function. One study proved that people who often ate curry had half the risk of becoming mentally impaired. By eating curry on occasion, the risk of mental decline can be reduced by a little more than a third. Curcumin can be safely taken in amounts from 500 to 8,000 mg daily. Look for a standardized supplement containing at least 90 percent curcumin.
Are Inflammation, Immunity, And Allergic Reactions A Role For Supplements?
November 10, 2007 11:29 AM
Inflammation, immunity diseases and allergic reactions are all connected with your immune system, and the way the body reacts to what it considers to be foreign invaders that are a risk to your health. Although you may not understand that all three have the basic underlying cause, in fact they do, and here is why.
Inflammation manifests as pain and swelling in the inflamed area, and not only can the area also get hot, but it can also raise your temperature in general, commonly called a fever. Fever is the body’s way of raising temperature above that at which foreign organisms such as bacteria and viruses can live, so any inflammatory condition that results in fever by definition must be an immune response through the body trying to eliminate foreign invaders.
If your body gets injured in any way, your immune system responds, and usually calms down again if decides that the injury is not serious. Your immune system is actually initiated by what are known as pro-inflammatory hormones, such as prostaglandins that stimulate the nerves to signal pain and swell the blood vessels close to the injury to make room for the large white blood cells when they arrive. That also allows blood and plasma to rush out and cause swelling at the site of the injury. Other prostaglandins act to quell the immune response, and get your body back to normal.
Another such hormone is a cytokine, which informs the brain of the intrusion. Some cytokines called leukocytes stop the immune system when necessary to prevent the destruction of healthy tissue, and also halt the inflammatory response. If the leukocytes are not working properly, the body can be severely damaged as the immune system becomes uncontrolled and starts to attack healthy tissue.
Then there are the histamines that allow you to expel the agents causing the problem by sneezing, watery eyes, runny noses and scratching. They lead lymphatic fluid and blood to the site of the problem in order that the invasion can be attacked and destroyed.
It is the histamines that provide what is commonly referred to as an allergic reaction, which is really the immune system coming into action to remove invaders such as pollen, dust mites and any other agent that can cause an allergy. Immunity is caused by introducing small amounts of the agent into the blood, so that the immune system can develop a memory of them. Then, when the same invader returns at a later date, the system can immediately attack them with the antibodies that have been produced.
All of these: inflammation, immunity and allergies, are caused by the reaction of the immune system to what it perceives as an invader. Normally these are bacteria and viruses, but sometimes they react to other foreign bodies such as pollen. In some people this provokes no response at all, while in others it provokes the immune system to create antibodies against the pollen, and emit histamine to expel it.
Substances that cause allergies are referred to as allergens. Many allergens are environmental, such as dust, pollen and peanuts. Some people are allergic to certain animals, such as cats or dogs, and others to chemicals in the air such as hydrocarbon emissions, particularly when in particulate form.
The symptoms can be simple, such as a runny nose, a cough and hay fever or more complex such as hives, eczema and asthma. All of these are caused by the immune system reacting to an invader. There are also foods that cause internal inflammation, such as shellfish and whitefish, eggs and tomatoes. Many of these can be extreme, leading to serious illness and can even be fatal. So what can be done to treat people who are particularly prone to inflammation and allergic reactions?
Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to reduce inflammation, unlike their Omega-6 cousins that appear to increase it. Omega-3 oils contain chemicals known as eicosanoids, of which the prostaglandins are an example. While this might seem paradoxical, since prostaglandins are what set off the whole process, there are many types of these. Prostaglandin E2 is the type that leads to allergic immune reactions, and omega-3 fatty acids reduce the concentration of these in the blood.
Those who eat little fish tend to suffer more from inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and other conditions indicating a lack of control of the immune system. On the other hand, processed foods contain more omega-6 fatty acids that can promote these conditions. The major components of omega-3 oils are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and also DHA, docosahexaenoic acid. These are all anti-inflammatories and have been shown to have very positive effects on inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and eczema. Each of these is a different type of inflammatory condition caused by inappropriate immune response.
However, it not just fish oils that can help resolve problems with our immune system. Quercetin is what is known as a flavonoid. It is a strong anti-oxidant and natural anti-histamine that combats histamine release and the swelling associated with the immune response to allergens. It also counters the inflammatory agents of arthritis and so helps to reduce the pain associated with many of these conditions. It appears to work better in conjunction with bromelain, a very powerful anti-inflammatory that also possesses anti-allergen response properties. Bromelain is extracted from pineapple stems.
Another natural product is a resin extract that is obtained from the Boswellia serrata tree. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and has been recommended for the treatment of arthritis (rheumatoid and osteo), Crohn’s disease and has been suggested as a treatment for asthma, though studies are still under way. However, world wide experience is that Boswellia is effective against gout, psoriasis and ulcerative colitis, to name another three totally different inflammatory conditions.
What all of this indicates are two things. First that inflammation, immunity and allergic reactions are connected conditions, and due to either poor control over or an over stimulated immune response to what the body perceives as being abnormal, in the way that hormones and other chemicals that are used to control our immunity detect it to be.
Secondly, there are many natural products that can be used as supplements to treat these effects caused by the immune system, and that their effectiveness has been proven, if not by scientific study, then by generations of traditional application as treatments of the symptoms of the conditions concerned.
However, although many have been proved by scientific study, others have not, and you should always refer to your physician before undergoing any treatment other than that prescribed. Also, there is incontrovertible evidence that the role for supplements in the treatment of inflammation, immunity and allergic reactions are beneficial. Many use nothing else.
Triphala: A Traditional Ayurvedic Herb to Help Cleanse the Body
November 01, 2007 01:44 PM
Triphala is a traditional Indian ayurvedic remedy, that, as the name suggests, is actually composed of three different herbs or fruits. However, before describing the constituents, first an explanation of what ayurveda is and what it does.
Ayurveda is a science that is centuries old, and has been in use for at least five thousand years. Originating in prehistoric India, it is based upon the approach it takes in that all ills are caused by anomalies of the digestive system. All that exists on earth is believed to be composed of five elements (the pancha mahabhooota): earth (prithyi), fire (agni), water (jal), air (yayu) and ether (akash). The latter can be approximately described as space
Ayurveda combines these into three main doshas: Vata, a combination of the ether are air elements, Pitta, which is the same as the fire element, and Kapha that is a combination of the earth and water elements). Each of these has specific effects on the body, and when in equilibrium then the body is also in equilibrium.
Vata governs what is loosely described as movement in both the mind and body. An excess of vata leads to worries, anxiety, constipation and cramps of the stomach. It is responsible for waste elimination, flow of the blood, breathing and even movement of thought. Everything connected with movement in the body. It is believed to be expressed visibly and audibly as creativity and art and is believed also to be the initial cause of all disease and illness.
Pitta, the fire dosha, governs the metabolism and body heat. It is responsible for the way we digest our food and how we know right from wrong. An excess of pitta causes anger, ulcers, dyspepsia and criticism. If your pitta is balanced you are a good friend and warm personality.
Kapha provides and maintains the physical elements of the body, such as good joints, healing of wounds and strength. It maintains a strong heart and lungs, and everything physical. It promotes love and forgiveness, but also envy and greed. Too much in an individual causes lethargy, allergies, congestion and weight gain. It is also called the mucus humor.
The three fruits of triphala are amalaki, bhibitaki and haritaki, and together maintain these three doshas in balance. Amalaki, or amla, is used to treat an imbalance in the pitta, or fire humor. It is sour and is exceptionally rich in vitamin C and is therefore a strong anti-oxidant. It is the highest natural source of this vitamin. It is used as a tonic, for boosting the immune system and for its anti-aging properties. It is also a good adaptogen and has strong stomach acid neutralizing effects. It is therefore effective in reducing dyspepsia and in the treatment of gastric ulcers, and also possesses cholesterol-reducing properties. Amalaki provides the body with strength and is used in the treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract and any illness that creates burning sensations.
Bhibitaki, or bihara, is also useful in the treatment of respiratory disorders, and has a number of effects that are useful in treating digestive disorder. It deals with problems associated with the kapha or mucus humor. Thus, it possesses anti-mucal, laxative, astringent, digestive and anti-spasmodic properties, and is also a tonic and an expectorant and helps deal with allergies.
Haritaki, or haradaha, deals with diseases of the vata humor. It is very bitter with a strong antimicrobial and laxative effect on the digestive system, and is a rejuvenator that promotes long life and boosts the immune system of the body (though the scientific effect was unknown to the ancient exponents of ayurveda). It also possesses an astringent and lubricant effect and used to treat constipation, anxiety and stress.
When combined into triphala, the products are a popular treatment for all digestive disorders and is popularly used to cleanse the colon. It aids digestion, improves the metabolic processes involved and also aids abdominal pains, flatulence and eases conditions of the liver. It is useful in the treatment of what today are termed ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. The ancient Indians were able to treat these conditions of the digestive systems without understanding what they were and what caused them.
Triphala is also widely used in the treatment of conjunctivitis and prevention of atherosclerosis. This is likely due to its antioxidant effect and the high level of ascorbic acid it contains. Its anti-inflammatory properties are also likely derived from the same source. These properties, and its effects as a tonic and cleanser, render it a popular treatment for many skin conditions. It is a multi-purpose treatment for a multitude of illnesses and conditions and has been used effectively for thousands of years.
Modern science has provided an explanation for most of these effects. Many of the conditions that triphala is effective in treating have been shown to be caused by excessive blood cholesterol and lipid levels. Many can be attributed to circulatory disorders caused by cholesterol build up in the arteries, or atherosclerosis. Some of the benefits of the three fruits are associated with the lowering of cholesterol and of blood pressure that benefits circulation.
Cholesterol build up and internal stress is associated with the consumption of hot spicy foods, the use of excessive stimulants and repression of the natural emotions. The way the body handles these is to produce corticosteroids that can contribute to cholesterol build up in the blood. Triphala can be used to reduce blood LDL cholesterol and increase the HDL lipoprotein that eliminates cholesterol from the body. Amla fruit has been shown to reduce serum and aortic cholesterol, and also increase cardiac glycogen that provides an energy source for the heart that can help prevent cardiac disease.
Bihara contains 35% oil of which 31% is linoleic that increases the good HDL cholesterol and reduces the bad LDL cholesterol. Harada has been found to reduce blood pressure and intestinal spasms, thus backing up its use for treating heart and intestinal conditions.
Triphala is a traditional ayurvedic herb that has many uses in cleansing the body that have been investigated and backed up by modern medical science. The mixture of the three fruits have strong anti-oxidant, anti-spasmodic and cholesterol reducing effects, and also possess laxative properties that can ease a large number of different physical and psychological health problems.
Selecting the Right Probiotic is the Key to proper digestion
May 05, 2007 01:16 PM
Selecting the Right Probiotic is the Key
Do you ever think about what goes into your body each day? You should. One of the key to feeling good and being healthy s eating nutritious food and making sure our gastrointestinal (GI) tract has the tools it needs to optimally digest and absorb nutrients. The GI tract includes the stomach and intestines, which work to digest foods and eliminate waste.
A variety of “good” intestinal bacteria helps to keep the digestive system running. These “good” bacteria are called probiotic bacteria, or probiotics. Probiotics digest food, process waste, and keep the “bad” bacteria – which have the potential to cause disease and illness – in check.
This issue of Ask the Doctor will look at the probiotic bacteria that play an important role in maintaining our health and wellness: we need them, what they can do for us, and how to make sure we are getting enough. Also, we will talk about an exciting process that truly delivers probiotic bacteria taken in nutritional supplements. Encapsulated in a pearl-like sphere, they survive transport to the intestines, set up house, and exert their beneficial effects. As we will see, probiotic supplementation can help prevent and treat many different illnesses, unless the beneficial bacteria reach the intestines alive and active, the supplement is worthless.
Q. I thought bacteria were bad. How can bacteria be good for us?
A. Some kinds of bacteria do cause illnesses and disease in humans. “Strep” throat is an example of an illness caused by bacteria.
However, the majority of bacteria do not cause disease. In fact, there are types of bacteria that are actually beneficial. “Good” bacteria, known as probiotic bacteria, are used in the manufacturing of food and beverages. Some examples of foods that have probiotic food ingredients are buttermilk, yogurt, cheese, sausage, and acidophilus milk.
These same kinds of probiotic bacteria are present in our intestines and help to keep the digestive system running by digesting food and processing waste.
Q. What are probiotics?
A. Probiotics are live bacteria that are non-toxic and do not cause disease (non-pathogenic).
Some of the best-understood probiotic bacteria include members of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium groups. Because of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium’s ability to break down lactose, these probiotic bacteria are also known as lactic acid bacteria. Both of these types of probiotic bacteria are well studied and are available in both food and dietary supplements.
Q. Is there a difference between the probiotic bacteria that is found in yogurt, and in nutritional supplements?
A. Actually, the bacteria that are in yogurt, our intestine, and most natural supplements are the same types of probiotic bacteria, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria longum. Because of this, these bacteria are referred in a generic sense as probiotics. So, the term probiotics may refer to the “good” bacteria that are present in food or that live in our intestine, or that are part of a natural supplement.
Q. Where do these probiotic bacteria come from?
A. As recently as the middle of the last century, bacteria found naturally in food ingredients were used to make a fermented food product. For example, the example, the lactic acid bacteria found naturally in milk were used to make cheese. This was known as wild fermentation.
Wild fermentations are no longer used. Today, the probiotic bacteria used in food and natural supplements are harvested via a highly controlled fermentation process. This process results in high numbers of bacteria and ensures quality and purity of the bacteria.
A. Normal microflora (the term commonly used for intestinal bacteria) is associated with good health. An imbalance in this natural microflora (when the beneficial probiotics are outnumbered by the harmful bacteria) is frequently associated with various disease states such as yeast infections and colon cancer.
Eating foods or taking a nutritional supplement containing probiotic bacteria can help support and modify the composition of the large intestine microflora. Microflora of the large intestine assist digestion through fermentation (by making the intestines more inhospitable to invading bacteria species), protection against disease-causing bacteria, and stimulation of the immune system.
The probiotics, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, occupy a central role in the intestinal and provide health benefits.
Q. How do probiotic bacteria help with digestion?
A. Lactose is an important sugar that is converted to lactic acid by lactic acid bacteria. Lactose intolerance results from an inability to digest lactose, due to the failure of small intestine mucosal cells to produce lactase, an enzyme needed to digest lactose. This often results because of genetics, gastrointestinal disease, or because of the decline in the amount of intestinal lactase levels associated with aging. Lactase deficient people accumulate non-absorbed lactose in the gastrointestinal tract, which draws water and electrolytes into the gut and speeds waste through the intestines, leading to bloating, cramping, and diarrhea.
Approximately 50 million people in the
Lactic acid bacteria have been shown to help the breakdown of lactose, specifically by enhancing the activity of lactase (beta galactosidase), which improves lactose digestion and tolerance. Furthermore, in a randomized, controlled clinical trial, Bifidobacteria longum was shown to assist in the breakdown of lactose and relieve the symptoms of lactose intolerance (flatulence) in people with lactose intolerance.
Q. What is the difference between digestive enzymes and probiotics? Can they be taken together?
A. Digestive enzymes, such as protease, amalyse, and lipase, act upon food, breaking it down into simpler components that can be used by the body for energy. Without enzymes, digestion could not take place. Therefore, the food that we eat could not be absorbed and utilized by our bodies.
Probiotics help the enzymes to digest food and process waste. In essence, probiotic bacteria and enzymes work together to ensure that the digestive tract is running smoothly. When taken together, enzymes assure greater levels of digestion absorption of your food, and probiotic bacteria aid the enzymes in digestion and keep problems in check.
Q. Is helping to ensure a healthy digestive system the only use for probiotics?
A. Absolutely not! Probiotic bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, have been found to help prevent vaginal yeast infections in women that suffer from these reoccurring infections.
Approximately 35% of vaginal infections are caused by the yeast. Candida albicans, Candida, is a fungus that is a component of the normal gastrointestinal microflora. However, Candida must not be allowed to increase in numbers. An overgrowth is associated with adverse health effects like vaginal infections, oral thrush, or even serious systematic yeast infections. Probiotics have been shown to keep levels of Candida in check.
Probiotic bacteria have also been demonstrated to have anti-cancer properties. In baa clinical study, colon cancer patients given Lactobacillus acidophilus fermented milk showed a significant increase in numbers of intestinal Lactobacilli and a decrease in risk factors associated with colon cancer.
Patients suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can benefit from probiotic bacteria supplementation. Studies have shown that probiotic bacteria assist in maintaining remission in ulcerative colitis and preventing reoccurrence of Crohn’s disease. Manipulating the intestinal flora may prove to be more effective and better tolerated than the drugs that are conventionally given to treat these diseases. I one study, Lactobacillus acidophilus was found to improve the intestinal barrier and clinical status in children suffering from Crohn’s disease.
Probiotics supplementation can also improve and prevent skin disease, such as eczema. Studies have shown that probiotic bacteria can actually control inflammation associated with skin conditions. In one study, infants with eczema who were given probiotic-supplemented formulas showed a significant improvement in skin condition.
The chart below summarizes some of the diseases and conditions that probiotic bacteria can help prevent and/or improve.
Q. How often should probiotics be taken to ensure optimal support of the digestion system?
A. Probiotic bacteria do not permanently colonize in the body. They need to be replenished by the consumption of foods containing probiotic bacteria or by taking a probiotic natural supplement. Whatever form you choose to replenish the intestinal probiotics, they need to be ingested daily for their health-promoting effects to continue.
Q. If I take a probiotic nutritional supplement, how many bacteria should a good quality supplement contain?
A. The critical factor is not how many bacteria that a supplement contains, but rather how many bacteria reach the intestines healthy, vigorous, and ready to work.
A good quality supplement will deliver at least 3 billion living, healthy probiotic bacteria per dose to your intestines. The bacteria in the probiotic natural supplement should be a mixture of both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.
Again, the critical key to a good quality probiotic supplement is that the bacteria must be alive to work. Only living probiotic bacteria can colonize in the intestines. A good quality probiotic nutritional supplement will have GUARANTEED levels of live bacteria at the point of consumption. Inferior brands will merely state levels of live bacteria at the point of manufacture.
Recently, a private laboratory tested various probiotic nutritional supplements in the marketplace, including one utilizing a new process that encapsulates the bacteria in a spherical, pearl-like coating. Each of these supplements were best-selling brands, two of them were enteric coated, and all had label guarantees about potency. The lab counted the levels claimed by each manufacturer.
Q. Then how do I know I am getting what I pay for?
A. First, look for a product that has a “use by” date or an “expiration” date clearly stated on the package.
It is also important to look for a probiotic supplement that does not require refrigeration. Probiotic supplements that require refrigeration often have been subjected to warm temperatures during shipment and storage that will inevitably kill off some or all of the bacteria.
It is also important that the product label guarantees live bacteria at the time of purchase, not at the time of shipment or manufacturing. However, from the laboratory test discussed, we see that sometimes these written guarantees are not worth the paper they are written on. There is one scientifically validated process that truly delivers live and vigorous bacteria to the intestine. This process suspends the probiotic bacteria in a moist paste and immediately seals the bacteria in a perfectly seamless, spherical, gelatin ball. This bacterial paste is completely protected from air and dryness so the bacteria are alive until the specialized gelatin dissolves – in the intestines.
Q. Why is it important to dissolve only in the intestine?
A. Lactic acid bacteria are not very resistant to the acids of the stomach. The harsh environment of the stomach destroys the majority of these bacteria.
This pearly-like coating technology protects bacteria from the stomach acid. The sphere is specially developed to only dissolve in the intestines. Enteric coating is not enough as it does nothing to protect the bacteria while they wait for purchase on the shelf.
Q. What does this proprietary coating technology mean to me?
A. This specialized process is an expensive processing step, but it has many advantages to you.
The pearl-shaped spheres actually “seal” the bacteria in the capsule, which protects them from air. Probiotic bacteria are anaerobic, meaning they do not require oxygen to live. In fact, the presence of oxygen can actually injure or kill probiotic bacteria. In addition, the special coating’s ability to seal the bacteria in the capsule stimulates the need for the nutritional supplement to be refrigerated – though they can be kept in the refrigerator, if desired.
By protecting the bacteria on the shelf and in the stomach, the probiotic bacteria successfully reach the intestine. As a result, there will be a greater number of healthy, intact bacteria that can colonize in the intestine.
Many health care practitioners believe all health issues are related in some way to the process of digestion. Probiotics play a crucial role in improving our digestive health, which, in turn, is interconnected to every single function in our bodies.
Taking a probiotic supplement is an excellent way to replenish the good bacteria in your intestinal microflora. A quality probiotic product contains two different types of bacteria from Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species with at least one billion live bacteria per dose.
But how do you know the bacteria re still alive? Look at the package. If there is no fate stamp, put it down. If it says the company guarantees there was a certain number alive at the time of manufacture, put it down. Tat means that the company is not willing to claim the bacteria are alive when delivered to the target site, the intestine. If the product must be constantly refrigerated, put it down. How do you know it didn’t sit in a truck for two days, or was in a warehouse before it was shipped to the health food store?
Find a probiotic that says the bacteria are guaranteed to be alive in the numbers stated on the label until the printed on the package. Find a product using unique, cutting edge science to deliver the probiotic bacteria in a form that uses spherical, sealed, triple coating to protect the bacteria. That company has gone to extra time and expense to make sure you reap the benefits that probiotics can offer.
Safe Solutions for Chronic Pain
March 30, 2007 12:09 PM
Safe Solutions for Chronic Pain
One of the biggest challenged in healthcare today is the problem of pain. There are simply too many people living each and every day with ongoing, unremitting chronic pain. And there are far too many healthcare providers who – for a variety of reasons – are failing to adequately address this serious problem.
Recently, 368 doctors who routinely care for patients with chronic pain agreed to take part in a unique study. The doctors were surveyed about the pain medicines hey prescribe, what kind of treatment goals they hope to achieve, and how they felt about their ability to help their patients. They were also presented with four chronic pain vignettes or mock case studies and asked to select the best treatment for each scenario from multiple choice answers.
Sadly, many doctors chose the worst treatment options in the case studies. The medications they reported using in their practices did not reflect current pain treatment standards. They tended to set low treatment goals 0 instead of aiming for a least a 75% reduction of pain for their patients, they settled for 10% to 20% reductions. And many of the doctors admitted they lacked confidence in their ability to relieve their patients’ pain and suffering.
Adding to the challenge are the almost daily news announcements about dangerous side effects in certain pain medications. Synthetic prescription COX-2 inhibitors, once hailed as the safest of drugs, have been linked to heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and intestinal bleeding. The over-the counter (OTC) drugs aspirin and ibuprofen kill over 16,000 people each year. And acetaminophen, the most widely used pain reducer in the
As a doctor specializing in chronic pain disorders, I know that optimal pain management can be a real challenge. However, I also know:
-You do not have to live in chronic pain.
-Your chronic pain, no matter what the cause, can be reduced, and usually
-Chronic pain can be relived both effectively and safely with powerful all-natural
Q. What is chronic pain?
A. Sudden, or acute, pain occurs when pain signals immediately fire in your nervous system alerting you to an injury, like a broken ankle, or an illness, such as appendicitis. Once the injury heals or the illness is cured, the transmission of pain signals stop.
Ongoing – or chronic pain – is much different. Chronic pain persists. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years. There may have been an initial injury, such as sprained back muscles, or an initial illness, such as a serious infection. There might be an ongoing cause of pain, such as arthritis, cancer, or fibromyalgia. Chronic pain also occurs without any past injury or evidence of body damage.
The most common kinds of chronic pain are headache, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, and neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to nerves or to the nervous system itself). While chronic pain differs in its origin and where it occurs, it is generally your body’s way of saying that something urgently needs attention, and will not o away unless its underlying causes are addressed.
These causes can usually be determined if you remember the acronym “SHIN”. This stands for Sleep, Hormonal deficiencies, Infections/Inflammation/Impingement, and Nutritional deficiencies. When these are treated, pain often resolves.
Q. Why is it so hard to effectively reduce chronic pain?
A. Unfortunately, many physicians’ entire education in pain management consists of “giving nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (pronounced en-sayds), COX-2 inhibitors, or acetaminophen and considering narcotics if the patient has cancer.
Some NSAIDs, like aspirin and ibuprofen, are available over-the-counter, while others, like the synthetic COX-2 inhibitors are only available with a doctor’s prescription. These mediations are usually inadequate and often toxic when used for chronic pain. And they do not address the problem(s) that the pain is trying to alert you to.
Q. What exactly are COX-2 inhibitors?
A. COX-2 inhibitors do pretty much what their name implies – they inhibit a natural enzyme in our body called the clclooxygenase-2, or COX-2, enzyme. There are two COX enzymes – COX-1 and COX-2 and both complete several actions in our bodies. One very important action that both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes share is the speeding up of our body’s production of prostaglandins. These hormone-like substances are made by the cells of the body and have several important functions.
Some of the most powerful prostaglandins cause inflammation, pain, and fever when we are sick or injured. Prostaglandins also protect the lining of the stomach from the damaging effects of acid. Other prostaglandins make sure our platelets (important blood cells) make blood clots when needed. Still others help our kidneys get rid of unwanted salt and water. And researchers have just recently recognized the importance of still another prostaglandin that protects our heart and blood vessels.
The NSAIDs reduce pain by reducing prostaglandin production by blocking or inhibiting the COX enzymes. In theory – less prostaglandins, less pain and welling seems reasonable. But if you really stop and think about it, it’s pretty easy to understand why this method of pain relief might result in significant consequences.
Pain and inflammation are often needed for healing. And just as needed is the protection of our stomach lining, blood clotting ability, assisting kidney function, and keeping our blood vessels healthy. And scientists are beginning to understand if you interfere with one natural response, you may be disrupting the body’s ability to prevent extremes and imbalances.
That’s why using aspirin and ibuprofen can result in stomach ulcers, kidney problems, and internal bleeding. And that’s why using synthetic COX-2 inhibitors can result in high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes.
Q. Why are we just now learning about the dangers of COX-2 inhibitors and other NSAIDs?
A. That’s a good question!
Many people over the age of 65 have chronic pain conditions and are frequent users of OTC and prescription NSAIDs. This age group also experiences heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease in greater numbers. So, if a 70 year old woman who’s been using Celebrex for the past two years for arthritis in her knees suddenly has a heart attack one morning, it would not be entirely unexpected.
For the past five or six years, researchers have been studying the possibility that NSAIDs may prevent certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and other health problems. The ongoing, close scrutiny of large group of people taking these medications by scientists who were conducting these studies has resulted in the discovery of these dangers.
Q. What kind of natural compounds relieve chronic pain?
A. There are many – glucosamine, Omega-3 fatty acids, the B vitamins – the list goes on and on. Instead of disrupting normal bodily responses, these natural compounds work in harmony with our body to eliminate chronic pain. Three very powerful and very effective all natural plant compound pain and inflammation relievers are Sweet Cherry, Boswellia serrata, and White Willow Bark.
For many years there have been anecdotal or personal reports that claimed eating Sweet Cherries, specifically Prunus avium, wipes out back pain, arthritis, and gout. While anecdotal reports generally don’t account for much in the world of science, he sheer numbers of testimonials proclaiming the Sweet Cherry’s amazing ability to reduce pain made researchers sit up and take notice.
When Sweet Cherries were examined in the lab, it was easy for scientists to understand how this natural fruit is able to relieve pain. It seems Sweet Cherry’s bright red color is the key. Like many deeply colored fruits, Sweet Cherries are full of flavonoids called anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins.
These powerful plant compounds scavenge and destroy altered oxygen compounds called free radicals. Many degenerative, chronic diseases have been associated with the tissue damage caused by free radicals, including arthritis, heart disease, peripheral artery disease, and cancer. Cherry fruit extract is a natural anti-inflammatory compound, making it an excellent treatment for arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain and inflammation diseases.
A pain relieving plant compound that comes from the bark of a tree, Boswellia serrata has been used by Indian healers for hundreds of years to reduce painful inflammation. When 20th century researchers looked at extracts of Boswellia Gum Resin in the laboratory they discovered the presence of powerful plant compounds, called boswellic acids.
Researchers found Boswellic Acids reduce inflammation in several ways. They open constricted blood vessels, improving blood flow to joints. They balance levels of leukotrienes – specific chemicals in the body that cause inflammation. And Boswellic Acids block two inflammatory chemicals that increase in asthma and inflammation of the colon. In addition to being helpful in treating these 2 illnesses, Boswellia has also been clinically studied and found to be quite effective in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis without any evidence of ulcers or stomach irritation.
Another bark extract, White Willow Bark is one of the oldest and most effective pain relievers. For over 2,000 years extracts from the bark of the White Willow tree have been used to ease aches and pains and reduce fevers. It is the original source of aspirin, but when used as the entire plant medicine, White Willow Bark is much safer than aspirin and quite effective.
White Willow Bark’s active ingredient is salicin and the combination of other compounds in the bark significantly enhances its pain killing power. In two large clinical trials of patients with chronic low back pain. White Willow Bark was found to be not only safer and much more effective than standard prescription therapies, it was also 40 percent more cost effective.
Salicylic acid from White Willow Bark lowers the body’s levels of prostaglandins, easing both acute and chronic pain. White Willow Bark reduces the pain and swelling of arthritis, headache, back and neck pain, muscle aches, and menstrual cramps. But, unlike aspirin, it doesn’t cause stomach bleeding or other known adverse effects.
Q. Do Sweet Cherry, Boswellic Acids, and White
A. They do indeed. Because they reduce both pain and inflammation by a broad combination of actions, these natural extracts have been proven to be excellent against arthritis, back pain, and pain from inflammatory intestinal diseases (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), and would be expected to be helpful in most kinds of pain.
Sweet Cherry, Boswellic Acids, and White Willow Bark relieve inflammation without causing stomach irritation, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attacks, or strokes. That’s because these natural pain killers don’t disrupt the balance of enzymes or interfere with the body’s ability to prevent extremes and imbalances.
However, as with any pain therapy, Sweet Cherry, Boswellic Acids, and White Willow Bark work best when they are used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan to relieve the most common underlying causes of chronic pain or SHIN.
In addition, although these excellent natural remedies can often offer quick pain relief, natural remedies for severe chronic pains work best when they are given at maximum allowed doses and given 6 weeks to show their full effectiveness in combination with treating the pain’s underlying causes. The best chronic pain relief results when doctors and patients work together to meet the goals of treatment.
Some important last notes: Many causes of chronic pain are serious and life threatening. Everyone who is living with chronic pain must consult their doctor or other healthcare practitioner to determine the reason for their ongoing discomfort. In other words – make sure you know why you are having chronic pain and what’s causing the pain you want to relieve.
There are some types of chronic pain that only respond to opioids, or narcotic pain relievers. Morphine sulfate is an excellent pain medication and is used to relieve surgical pain, the pain of heart attacks, and pain from serious injuries. Morphine is also the very best drug for chronic cancer pain and non-malignant chronic pain. While many people fear opioids, these powerful pain killers can dramatically improve quality of life. If you are suffering with chronic cancer pain and you are hesitant to use morphine or another opioid, I urge you to discuss your concerns with your doctor other healthcare provider. No one with cancer should live with untreated or under-treated pain.
Even chronic pain can often be eliminated when SHIN is in combination with powerfully effective natural pain relievers. But, because some people may need to take pain relievers the rest of their lives, the medications they use must be safe as well as effective. The very safest come from natural plant compounds that have been studied for their ability to relieve chronic pain. You can become pain free and Sweet Cherries, Boswellic Acids, and White Willow Bark can help.
Peppermint Oil for IBS
March 24, 2007 11:01 AM
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a painful and frequently frustrating disorder of the intestines that’s often difficult to treat. Fortunately, there are scientifically studied natural products that effectively reduce the distressing symptoms of IBS.
Q. What is IBS?
A. IBS causes crampy pain, gassiness, bloating, and alterations in bowel habits. IBS is termed a functional disorder, because when the colon is examined, there is no visible sign of disease. While IBS causes significant pain and distress, no actual damage is occurring in the intestines.
There is a wide variability in IBS. Symptoms may be mild and fairly well tolerated. Or, the pain, discomfort, and bowel dysfunction may be disabling, limiting social interactions, employment, or travel.
While some individuals with IBS have diarrhea (frequent, loose stools with an urgent need to move the bowels), others have constipation (hard, infrequent stools that are difficult to pass). And, still others may experience both. Individuals with IBS also may have painful abdominal cramps and feel an urgent need to move the bowels, but are unable to do so.
A. The small intestine receives digestive material from the stomach and delivers it to the large intestine (colon). About two quarts (2,000 ml) of digestive material enter the colon from the small intestine every day. The colon absorbs water and salts from the material, which is progressively moved through the colon. This progressive movement continues until most of the fluid and salts are absorbed into the body and stool is formed. The stool passes to the left side of the colon, where it is stored until a bowel movement occurs.
Because researchers haven’t been able to find actual damage in the colon, it once was suggested that individuals with IBS have emotional problems or are overly susceptible to stress. While stress may cause symptoms of IBS to intensify, it doesn’t cause the condition.
Recent study has determined the colon muscle of an individual with IBS spasms after only mild stimulation. It’s thought the symptoms of IBS are produced by hyperactivity of the intestines. In other words, the intestines of individuals with IBS are more reactive to stressors and diet than usual. Almost everyone has experienced abdominal queasiness in response to everyday stress or certain foods. This may result in a brief bout of diarrhea or an upset stomach. However, this response is exaggerated in individuals with IBS.
Q. How prevalent is IBS?
A. IBS is very common. In fact, it’s one of the most frequent problems seen by family physicians. It’s the most common disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists (physicians specializing in the treatment of digestive disorders). The overall prevalence rates range from 10% to 20% of the general population in most industrialized countries. As a result, the pain and disabling symptoms associated with IBS result in significant socioeconomic costs, as wall as reduction in quality of life for many individuals.
A. Normal bowel function varies from person to person. Some people move their bowels daily, while others may only have two to three stools a week. A normal bowel movement is soft, formed, and is easily passed without cramping or pain.
IBS, however, causes abdominal cramps and pain, which are often severe and disabling. Bowel movements may be irregular and alternate between diarrhea and constipation. The diarrhea may be quite loose and watery. Mucous may be passed. There is often much straining, urgency, and feeling of incomplete evacuation (emptying). Abdominal bloating and passing of gas is common. Nausea, lack of appetite, heartburn, and belching may also be present. Sleep may be disrupted resulting in fatigue and lack of energy. Understandably, persons with IBS often feel anxious and depressed.
Diagnosis of IBS is usually based on the continuous presence or recurrence of these symptoms for at least three months. Other intestinal conditions must be ruled out. These include Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, inflammatory conditions of the stomach or pancreas, ulcers, infectious disease, or gastroesphageal reflux disease.
Q. Are there clinically demonstrated natural alternatives to the over-the-counter drugs prescribed by my doctor?
A. Yes, both enteric-coated peppermint oil and clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs) have significant scientific research behind them. Both have been demonstrated to benefit individuals with IBS.
Q. What is clown’s mustard and what does it do?
A. The scientific name for clown’s mustard is Iberis amara. Other names for this herb are wild candytuft and bitter candytuft. Clown’s mustard is a white-flowering plant from Spain, where it grows in dry soil on hillsides and in cornfields. It is also grown in Britain, France, and the United States. Iberis amara is a member of the Brassicaceae family. Iberis refers to its place of origin, the Iberian Peninsula. Amara means bitter. The key components of clown’s mustard are glycosides and flavonoids that have specific actions on gastrointestinal tract tone.
Q. Is there scientific evidence that clown’s mustard benefits people with IBS?
A. There has been very impressive research on clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs). And, it has been used with great success in Germany for many years to treat IBS and other gastrointestinal diseases.
In a study of an herbal combination containing clown’s mustard, 20 patients were given the herbal combination for three to 32 days. They all had been diagnosed with chronic functional disorders for at least one to 20 years. The symptoms the patients experienced included pressure and pain in the abdomen, belching, heartburn, vomiting, nausea, fullness, lack of appetite, constipation, and diarrhea. The patients have been treated for their problems with a variety of antacids, anti-spasmodic agents, and motility-inducing substances. For the purposes of the study, the patients stopped taking these medications and received treatment only with the herbal combination.
Abdominal pressure and pain in the abdomen was the most common of all the experienced symptoms, with 11 of the patients rating it as severe. After six days of treatment, only sic of the patients continued to rate their abdominal pain and pressure as severe. After two weeks, this symptom had completely resolved for 16 of the patients. Diarrhea had been rated as severe in five of the patients. By day 14, only one patient continued to have moderate diarrhea.
Medications prescribed and taken for cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases often cause gastrointestinal problems. Because these conditions are chronic, these medications must be taken for a long time, often for life. With long-term use, these medications can cause erosion of the stomach lining and actual ulcers. Many of these medication-caused symptoms are similar to IBS symptoms: pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Most, if not all, of the individuals who have gastrointestinal problems caused from medications experience two or more of these IBS symptoms.
Forty patients who were taking medications for various types of cardiovascular disease and arthritis, and who are experiencing gastrointestinal problems related to their medications, were enrolled in a study. These symptoms included pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Twenty patients received clown’s mustard combined with other herbs that support gastrointestinal motility. Three days after the trial started, a significant improvement of all s symptoms was noted in those taking this combination. By day 14, abdominal pressure and pain, nausea, and heartburn were completely eliminated in the herbal combination group. Several other clinical trials that were conducted in Germany report similar results.
Q. How does this herb compare to prescription drugs?
A. A study compared clown’s mustard (combined with other herbs) to Reglan (metoclopramide), which is frequently prescribed to reduce the symptoms of IBS. While metoclopramide is a very effective medication, it also has numerous side effects. Metoclopramide can cause fatigue, anxiety, agitation, jitteriness, insomnia, yellowing of the skin or eyes, changes in vision, hallucinations, and seizures. Because of these serious side effects, metoclopramide must not be taken longer than 12 weeks.
In comparison study, 77 subjects were randomized to receive treatment of either clown’s mustard in a combination with other herbs, or metoclopramide. All subjects had pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. The subjects took 20 drops of their assigned treatment after meals three times daily. The duration of treatment was one to two weeks.
In both groups, a parallel improvement of all symptoms was observed. At no point in the study was a statistically significant difference in symptoms found. Both treatments significantly reduced pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. In short, both metoclopramide and the clown’s mustard herbal combination worked well at reducing the symptoms of IBS.
However, side effects occurred more frequently and severely in the metoclopramide group. Given the lack of differences noted between the products at reducing symptoms of IBS, it would seem sensible to choose the treatment with the fewest reported side effects and no limits on duration of use.
A. Peppermint oil has been shown to relax intestinal smooth muscle. In Great Britain, peppermint oil is currently being prescribed for IBS by physicians and it has been used as a digestive aid and to soothe upset stomachs for generations.
Peppermint oil has also been studied for use in an important examination of the colon. A colonoscopy is a procedure of viewing the interior lining of the large intestine (colon) using a colonoscope, a slender, flexible, hollow, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine supports the idea that even people who are not at risk for colon cancer should have this test. The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women at average risk of colon cancer should have a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50.
During a colonoscopy, individuals are sedated and almost no discomfort is experienced. The insertion of the colonoscope into the rectum and up through the colon causes some spasming. This is a natural and expected event and the physician performing the exam administers medications that effectively reduce the spasms.
A recent study compared the use of peppermint oil and commonly used medications to reduce the colonic spasming in colonoscopy. The peppermint oil was introduced directly into the colon. Effective reduction of colon spasming was observed in 88% of the patients.
In a critical review and meta-analysis of peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, eight randomized controlled trials were identified. The studies collectively showed peppermint oil is superior to placebo in improvement of the symptoms of IBS. Because of the good results of these trials, the authors of the review urged additional study of peppermint oil in IBS.
However, straight peppermint oil is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream from the stomach. In recent studies comparing enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules and non-enteric coated oil, both preparations provided effective symptom relief. However, the studies concluded the enteric-coated capsules delivered the benefit of the peppermint oil directly to the intestines. In the treatment of IBS, enteric-coated supplemental peppermint is most definitely preferred.
In fact, an enteric-coated peppermint oil capsule containing rosemary and thyme is extremely effective in the treatment of IBS. All three of these oils are classified as volatile oils, derivatives found in plants that impart taste and aroma. The combination of peppermint, thyme, and rosemary oils in enteric-coated capsules provides significant relief in IBS-related pain.
Q. Can clown’s mustard and other herbs be taken with enteric-coated peppermint oil?
A. Yes, peppermint oil capsules and clown’s mustard can be used together. However, depending on the symptoms, individuals with IBS may want to start with one supplement and then add the other if needed.
Q. How do consumers find these formulas?
A. Fortunately, herbal combinations containing clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are both available at health food stores, natural product supermarkets, pharmacies, and from health professionals. Most knowledgeable sales personnel and health professionals can direct consumers to the most effective products.
Q. What should customers look for when purchasing peppermint oil?
A. As mentioned before, enteric coating of the peppermint oil is extremely important. The coating prevents the oil from being absorbed in the stomach. The enteric coated-capsule moves through the stomach to the small intestine and eventually to the colon, where it is released for maximum benefit.
Q. What is the dosage for peppermint oil?
A. The German Commission E approved peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable colon. In enteric-coated form, the Commission E recommends 0.6 ml per day. Enteric-coated peppermint capsules are available.
Q. Are there side effects or other contraindications?
A. Sometimes, the enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules may cause a transient burning sensation in the rectum when moving bowls. Reducing the dose will correct this.
Individuals who must refrain from alcohol should not take clown’s mustard in an herbal tincture, which may contain alcohol.
Q. What else can IBS patients do to feel better?
A. Food allergies or food intolerance may be associated with IBS. Dairy products and certain grains may trigger a painful episode of IBS. Determining those foods that initiate the problems and eliminating them from your diet can be very helpful.
Many people report their symptoms occur after a meal. Hyperactivity of the intestine of IBS is the response. Often, the strength of this response after a meal is in direct relation to the number of calories and he amount of fat in the meal. Reducing saturated fat, limiting calories, and increasing fiber intake may be helpful.
Stress also stimulates the intestinal hyperactivity. Relaxation training may reduce some IBS symptoms. Listening to therapeutic audiotapes, hypnosis, counseling, and biofeedback all have been shown to improve the healing response in persons with IBS.
IBS can be painful and frustrating, capable of causing much distress. While currently there is no cure for IBS, the symptoms can be managed. The pain, abdominal discomfort, and bowel problems of IBS all respond well to treatment with the use of key herbs, including clown’s mustard, and enteric-coated peppermint oil. These herbal combinations can be both effective and safe in treating IBS. Clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil are both effective front-line natural alternatives for IBS treatment.
The unique clinical benefits of Sun Chlorella
March 25, 2006 12:34 PM
Over the years, Sun Chlorella Corporation has been sponsoring true clinical trials, carefully designed and carried out according to current conventional methodologies used in the pharmaceutical industry for drug development and testing. These “double-blind” clinical trial studies have greatly contributed to the substantiation of why Chlorella pyrenoidosa is so widely recognized within the scientific, alternative, and medical communities. With documented positive findings that have been discovered through ongoing research, you can be sure you’re getting the best top quality products with Sun Chlorella.
Unique Clinical benefits.
According to human immunology expert Randall E. merchant, PH.D. of Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond, Virginia, Sun Chlorella and Wakasa Gold (Liquid Chlorella) may be helpful to those suffering from a number of serious health problems because of the many unique clinical benefits found naturally in this supper food. Dr. Merchant states that many who suffer from chronic illnesses, “are known to have nutritional deficiencies…and when proper nutrition returns, some of the symptoms and problems dissipate. Such individuals can benefit from the superlative nutritional powers of Sun chlorella.” The four principal components of Chlorella pyrenoidosa that have been shown to have certain health benefits include chlorophyll, the fibrous cell wall, beta-carotene, and the powerful chlorella growth factor (CGF).
Some of the clinical investigations completed by Dr. Randall E. Merchant and a team of physicians at the university have included fibromyalgia, ulcerative colitis, and hypertension. Their primary focus was on the potential benefit of dietary supplementation with Chlorella Pyrenoidosa to help improve quality of life, and normalize body functions in patients with these types of chronic illnesses. All the subjects in each of the clinical studies suffering from either fibromyalgia, ulcerative colitis, or hypertension, consumed 10 grams of chlorella pyrenoidosa in tablet form and 100 ml of liquid chlorella every day for two to three months.
Chlorella – Excellent for Everyone
Dietary supplementation with Chlorella pyrenoidosa has had a beneficial effect in many of the people who participated in the individual clinical trial studies. Dr. Merchant’s research suggested that adding Chlorella pyrenoidosa (a natural whole food) to the diet, rather than relying solely on pharmaceutical drugs may be extremely beneficial to those who are dealing with serious health issues, and those who want to stay healthy.
Everyone – young and old, healthy and ill – can benefit from Sun Chlorella’s purification abilities, natural defense protection, and wholesome nutrition. Sun Chlorella does so by purifying, nourishing, and protecting your body so your own natural defenses are able to work more efficiently. This is clearly a super food that should be a part of everyone’s diet.
ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS: CAUSE FOR WORRY
July 15, 2005 12:26 PM
ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS: CAUSE FOR WORRY
Among some of the most troubling food additives that we routinely ingest are artificial sweeteners, also referred to as non-nutritive sweeteners. Having received the FDA stamp of approval, they are liberally ingested with little thought to what their actual health risks may be. Andrew Weil, M.D., in his book Natural Health Natural Medicine, writes: More worrisome than preservatives are artificial sweeteners. Saccharin, a known carcinogen, should be avoided. Cyclamates, banned some years ago for suspected carcinogenicity, are not being reconsidered for use in food. They taste better than saccharin but cause diarrhea in some people. Avoid them too. Recently, aspartame (NutraSweet) has become enormously popular. The manufacturer portrays it as a gift from nature, but, although the two component amino acids occur in nature, aspartame itself does not. Like all artificial sweeteners, aspartame has a peculiar taste. Because I have seen a number of patients, mostly women, who report headaches from this substance, I don’t regard it as free from toxicity. Women also find that aspartame aggravates PMS (premenstrual syndrome). I think you are better off using moderate amounts of sugar than consuming any artificial sweeteners on a regular basis. A natural sweetener that may cause some people problems is sorbitol, originally derived from the berries of the mountain ash tree. Sorbitol tastes sweet but is not easily absorbed form the gastrointestinal tract and is not easily metabolized. It is a common ingredient of sugarless chewing gums and candies. If you eat a lot of it, you will probably get diarrhea. People with irritable bowel syndrome or ulcerative colitis should avoid sorbitol.
Ann Louise Gittleman, in her book, Super Nutrition for Women, writes: In 1977, a Canadian study indicated that when pregnant rats were fed large doses of saccharin, their male offspring developed bladder cancer. As a result, the Canadians banned saccharin and the U.S. Congress ordered warning labels on all saccharin products like Sweet ‘N Low. The national Academy of Sciences in 1978 evaluated the evidence and concluded that saccharin was primarily a promoter of other cancer-causing agents, a cocarcinogen. In the meantime, G.D. Searle developed aspartame, a combination of two amino acids and methanol (wood alcohol) . . . Few long-term studies of the effects of aspartame have been done. However, reports to the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control indicate that, as more people consume the substitute in large quantities, health may be affected. In some circumstances, individuals may be getting high levels of methanol; for example, it is estimated that on a hot day after exercise, an individual drinking three 12-ounce cans of diet cola could easily consume as much as eight times the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limit for methanol consumption. The most common complaints are dizziness, disorientation, tunnel vision, ear buzzing, loss of equilibrium, numbing of hands and feet, inflammation of the pancreas, high blood pressure, eye hemorrhages and seizures. Artificial sweeteners can stimulate hunger or cause additive allergies, just as sugar does. In other words, we get the disadvantages of sugar, along with the proven or suspected disadvantages of artificial sweeteners. While thousands of Americans continue to consume aspartame in unprecedented amounts, controversy surrounding its safety lingers. Dr. Richard Wurtman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has reported that abnormal concentrations of neurotransmitters developed when he fed laboratory animals large doses of aspartame. He believes that the phenylalanine content of the sweetener actually manipulates and alters certain brain chemicals which could initiate behavioral changes and even seizures. He also purports that while small quantities of aspartame may be safe, the cumulative effects of the compound—particularly if consumed with high carbohydrate, low protein snacks—could be serious (Wurtman I, 799-801, Wurtman II, 429-430, Wurtman III, 1060).
In spite of serious concerns, saccharine and aspartame packets sit in restaurant sugar bowls all over our country, while in Japan, natural stevia powder enjoys popularity as one of the best and safest non-caloric sweeteners available.