Join John as he learns about Saberation, a new and unique gym offering a fun way to get in great shape. Saberation founder, Edward Armstrong, takes us inside his gym to explain why people are having so much fun getting in shape. Saberation offers online training for personal trainers who would like to bring this fitness program to their local gym or complete franchises. May the force be with you.
John and Dr. Sellman delve into the roots and risks of high blood pressure and how you can bring it down yourself with diet, lifestyle, supplement, and fitness changes. There is also a new formula on the market that is helping people reduce their high blood pressure by as much as 90 points. Now you have a way to help reduce your blood pressure in order to reduce or even eliminate medications.
Ross Pelton, R.Ph., CCN author of The Pill Problem delves into the history of hormone based birth control, spermicides, and much more as we explore the long list of debilitating side effects which even include death. Of course we do offer information on a new, exciting, safe, and effective contraceptive that has been on the market now for over 3 and a half years with no reported pregnancies. If you would like to try Smart Women's Choice yourself you can get free shipping and handling and a 10% discount if you use the coupon code NOPILL when checking out at Smart Women's Choice.
Today John talks with Ira Antelis, founder of 120 LifeTM. 120 LifeTM is the first functional drink created from a mixture of six natural ingredients, each shown in clinical studies to promote normal blood pressure. With 120 Life you can normalize your blood pressure naturally. 120 LifeTM can help lower your blood pressure so you can reduce, or even eliminate, high blood pressure medications.
This year alone there have been two FDA and Health Canada recalls of high blood pressure medication. Why take the chance of sometimes dangerous side effects from medications when you now have a natural product that can not only reduce your blood pressure but offer other beneficial side effects.
Ira Antelis tells us how he came to develop the formula in response to his own need to reduce his high blood pressure. The ingredients have all been clinically studied and proven to help lower blood pressure.
Lastly, as Ira points out in the interview, 120 LifeTM may not work for everyone. If you find your body does not benefit from 120 LifeTM you can get a 100% refund.
For more information and the science behind 120 LifeTM visit:
120 LifeTM is highly recommended by the staff at TotalHealth for the treatment of high blood pressure.
Dr. Hyla Cass talks with John about breaking free of addictions from food, alcohol, drugs, prescriptions, and more using natural supplements to balance your brain.
The Addicted Brain is a must have it you would prefer to treat addiction with proper supplementation, diet, and lifestyle choices.
More info at: cassmd.com
PYLO-X IS A REVOLUTIONARY SUPPLEMENT THAT CONTAINS PYLOPASS™ WHICH HAS BEEN SCIENTIFICALLY TESTED TO HELP MANAGE THE PRESENCE OF Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) IN THE STOMACH.
PYLO-X works by binding to H. pylori and inactivating it without disturbing the normal microbial balance in the human organism. The addition of alpha-tocopherol, an antioxidant that is isolated and produced by biotechnological processes, helps heal the gastric lesions, which were demonstrated in the studies and will be described later. The dual-action of this supplement makes it unique, biotechnologically innovative, and important. In addition to its dual-action, the research showed there to be an absence of side effects. According to the 2019 antibiotic resistance threats report, “more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the U.S. each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result.” (“Biggest Threats and Data.”)
Antibiotic-resistance is a growing concern for not only human lives, but also for the environment. By decreasing the amount of antibiotic usage, these numbers will decrease significantly. The H. pylori therapy failed in many cases due to non-compliance and growing antibiotic resistance. It has been proven that the eradication of H. pylori has a large impact on reducing the incidences of gastric cancer and can rapidly decrease active inflammation in the gastric mucosa; as well as prevent progression towards pre-cancerogenic lesions. It can also reverse gastric atrophy before the development of intestinal metaplasia. As a result, one can see that the earliest possible eradication of this infection will have a large, positive impact on human health. Unfortunately, due to the growing resistance to antimicrobial regimens, the effect of the treatment has dramatically declined, leading to a decrease in H. pylori eradication rate. Since H. pylori resistance to antibiotics remains high in most areas, the usage of an efficient regimen to eliminate H. pylori is required (Hu). By discovering a regimen that removes H. pylori from the human body without contributing to the antibiotic resistance epidemic, human health will increase due to the increased effectiveness.
Selecting appropriate treatments for H. pylori is difficult within each varying country. There is a growing request from the public for natural health supplements and treatments that lack side effects. Scientists have been inspired to search for a new treatment option. These factors have supported researchers in discovering, finding, and developing a unique supplement called PYLO-X.
Why is this supplement crucial and important when there are numerous other treatment options on the market? How does it differ from other products? How and why is it unique? Before these questions are answered, let us discuss Helicobacter pylori, and why it is a global problem that must be treated.
What is Helicobacter Pylori?
H. pylori is a microaerophilic, spiral-shaped, gram-negative bacteria. It has two to seven unipolar flagella, which will aid in mobility through viscous liquids. H. pylori was discovered in 1982 (Khatri). It was first discovered as Campylobacter pyloridis and then renamed as Helicobacter pylori. The infection is mostly acquired during childhood and the route of transmission is fecal-oral. This organism is known to cause severe illnesses like acute/chronic gastritis, gastric atrophy, gastric and duodenal peptic ulcers, gastric adenocarcinoma, and lymphoma. H. pylori has infected around 50 percent of the global population; however, there is a great inconsistency in the presence of this infection between developed and developing nations. The average occurrence in developed countries in those less than 40 years old is 20 percent, whereas developing countries have a prevalence rate of 80–90 percent (Mehling).
H. pylori can withstand the acidic environment of the stomach, by attachment to the gastric mucosa and colonizing inside the stomach. Infection by H. pylori in some cases may lead to an inflammatory response, as well as to an increase of secretion of gastric acid and formation of type-B gastritis. A dependent relationship between the load of H. pylori in the stomach and the severity of symptoms as well as the rate of onset of the disease is apparent. In the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III, a strong and positive correlation was depicted between H. pylori and gastric cancer mortality (Mehling). As H. pylori incidence and prevalence increased within the population, gastric cancer mortality rates increased, and vice versa. H. pylori can survive in the stomach by urease production, which is converted to ammonia that impairs the gastric mucosa and neutralizes acidic pH.
Symptoms and Diagnosis Tests
The most common symptoms of H. pylori include abdominal pain with burning sensations, increased pain on an empty stomach, and pain in the nighttime. Furthermore, unintentional weight loss is caused by poor appetite, bad taste in mouth, nausea, vomiting, bloating, and a feeling of fullness in the stomach, all caused by this organism. Often, patients complain about having bad breath, frequent burping, heartburn (gastric reflux), indigestion (dyspepsia), and belching. As a result of H. pylori infections, patients also have symptoms of anemia, dark stool (blood in the stool), irritable bowel syndrome, and hypochlorhydria.
The diagnosis of H. pylori infections includes a blood antibody test, Carbon-13 (13C) urea breath test, stool antigen test, scope test, and a CT scan.
Treatment of H. pylori and How it is a Global Issue
Due to its high resistance and survival rate, the H. pylori infection is difficult to treat. Therapeutic regimens work to completely eradicate H. pylori and include various combinations of:
- Proton pump inhibitors (known as PPI’s)
- Histamine (H2) blockers
- Bismuth subsalicylate
- Antibiotics (two to three antibiotics)
This combinational treatment has high risks of side effects and non-compliance.
Common side effects of this therapy include:
- Diarrhea and bloating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain and dry mouth
- Unusual or unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Fungal infection
- Changes in stool color
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Osteoporosis (with chronic use of anti-acid medications)
The goal of complete eradication has been challenged by increasing the resistance and prevalence of infection; as well as a diversity of strains, usage of improper regimens, patient non-compliance, massive gastric bacterial loads, gene polymorphisms (IL-1B and CYP2C19) (Hu), and high risk of recurring infections causing the treatment to be more harmful than beneficial. In around 25–30 percent of H. pylori cases, antibiotic therapy fails, particularly because of the increasing resistance to antibiotics (Buckley). Antibiotic resistance is a large global problem and threat. It impacts all ages and can lead to prolonged hospital stays, higher medical costs, and increased mortality rates. The resistance of H. pylori is increasing worldwide, with primary and secondary resistance to clarithromycin, metronidazole, and levofloxacin reaching levels higher than 15 percent according to the new metaanalysis, published in Gastroenterology. This systematic review and meta-analysis had included 178 studies comparing 66,142 isolates from 65 countries. The most prevalent was resistance to metronidazole with the levels between 44 percent and 65 percent. The only exception to this total increase in prevalence was the resistance to primary clarithromycin in the Americas and South-East Asia regions, where it was 10 percent, and resistance to primary levofloxacin in the European region (11 percent) (Nelson).
Primary and secondary resistance to these medications is increasing, decreasing their effectivity. Multi-drugs are also at risk for an increase in resistance. “Resistance to both clarithromycin and metronidazole increased markedly in all WHO [World Health Organization] areas with available data, reaching 14 percent in the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Pacific regions, and 23 percent in the European region” (Karon). Antibiotic resistance is increasing for all types of medications, which will eventually hinder their functionality.
Investigators that researched the prevalence of antibiotic resistance of H. pylori in the World Health Organization regions noted that “...the implementation of local and national surveillance system networks and the development of new noninvasive techniques in clinical practice are urgently needed to improve treatment effectiveness and consequently limit the malignant and nonmalignant burden of HP [H. pylori] chronic infections” (Savoldi). New regimens that are non-invasive are sought out to improve the effectiveness and limit the virulent and non-virulent nature of H. pylori. Management of Helicobacter pylori through only eradication is a questionable option and is not always a reliable solution. PYLO-X is a biotechnologically innovative solution for H. pylori.
What is PYLO-X and how it differs from other current treatment options?
PYLO-X is a biotechnology innovative solution based on its unique ingredients and has no side effects. It contains Pylopass™ combined with alpha-tocopherol for faster gastric lesion healing.
Pylopass™ is a strain of Lactobacillus reuteri (DSM 17648) the new approach to control infection and possible clearing of H. pylori from the stomach. It can act as an H. pylori antagonist and has been selected from 700 types of lactobacillus species. Pylopass™ co-aggregates with H. pylori and reduces its bacterial load in the stomach.
Lactobacillus reuteri non-sporulating, gram-positive, facultative anaerobic bacteria. “L. reuteri was first isolated in 1962” (Mu). It is found that this organism can inhibit pathogenic bacteria and survive a wide variety of pH environments. L. reuteri, through competition with H. pylori, can inhibit the binding of H. pylori to glycolipid receptors in the stomach. As a result, L. reuteri reduces symptoms and the bacterial load of H. pylori. The usage of L. reuteri in the eradication of H. pylori as a supplementation causes the elimination of the pathogen without the common side effects found within antibiotic therapies (Mu). L. reuteri, contained in PYLO-X, serves to eliminate H. pylori efficiently and reduce side effects associated with typical treatment options. Pylopass™ contained in PYLO-X is acquired through two processes, both of which require the cells of L. reuteri to be inactivated so that the supplement is made stable enough for gastric conditions. These two processes consist of fermentation and spray drying from the cells of L. reuteri. The mechanism of action does not disturb the intestinal microbial balance through the fact that L. reuteri is no longer living (“Pylopass™ A New Approach”). Thus, Pylopass™ is a useful solution against H. pylori with its unique mode of action and positive effects. When L. reuteri DSMZ17648 (Pylopass™) co-aggregates with H. pylori a reduction in the 13C urea breath test can be observed. This was demonstrated in an independent study described later in the article. H. pylori levels were calculated by a 13C urea breath test method after 14 days of supplementation with a 6, 12, and 24 weeks follow-up afterward. In the test group, compared to the placebo group, a significant reduction of H. pylori was noted. These results confirm that Pylopass™ can effectively reduce the load of H. pylori (Mehling).
The reason for using L. reuteri is to decrease the therapeutic gap in asymptomatic infection. It gives patients a new option for lowering the risk of gastric ulcer or gastric carcinoma. L. reuteri prevents severe side effects and decreases the expenses of treatment. A study found that Pylopass™ has a preventive effect of secondary diseases and related symptoms due to H. pylori infection for at least six months (Mehling).
How Pylopass works on H. pylori
Through binding to and co-aggregation of H. pylori, Pylopass can mask the surface structures of the pathogen and cause its motility to become severely impeded. The aggregated pathogens can no longer adhere to the gastric mucosa and the Lactobacillus-Helicobacter complexes are cleared from the stomach (Buckley). An additional mode of action might be the competition for specific binding properties (Mehling).
Another independent study aimed to find whether the strain L. reuteri DSM17648, which has shown to decrease H. pylori load, can furthermore improve gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with H. pylori-positive when it is used within 28 days of supplementation. The study concluded that “After 28 days of Pylopass supplementation the change in H. pylori load was measured by 13C urea breath test (13C-UBT) and the change in symptoms was determined by the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS). Blood assessments were conducted to measure the physiological changes relevant in terms of safety” (Buckley).
Additionally, in the study conducted by Martin Buckley and his associates it was found that after 28 days of taking the supplement, the H. pylori load decreased in 62.5 percent of subjects and GSRS scores decreased in 66.7 percent of subjects. There were no side effects observed. The results show that L. reuteri DSM17648 can suppress H. pylori infection, and can improve the H. pylori-associated gastrointestinal symptoms. The decrease in H. pylori and symptoms, depicted by the data, indicate the supplements are functioning as intended.
The use of Pylopass has shown to be an alternative way of controlling H. pylori infection and avoiding side effects of current antibiotic treatment. The main goal of Buckley’s study was to investigate the potential effects of Pylopass supplementation over a longer period (four weeks instead of two weeks); as well as to look for the effects of L. reuteri DSM 17648 on gastric symptoms caused by H. pylori infection. The use of Pylopass shows promising results in achieving a reduction of bacterial levels, controlling inflammation, modulating an immune response, or inhibiting adherence of H. pylori to the gastric epithelium by reducing its motility. This could be promising as adjunctive therapy for the current H. pylori infection treatment to achieve higher eradication rates and improvement of H. pylori-associated gastrointestinal symptoms (Buckley).
From the study, we can conclude that Pylopass is a solution against H. pylori. Pylopass can reduce the load of the H. pylori in the stomach, improves symptoms associated with the H. pylori infection, and lacks side effects. In regards to safety, this supplement is an important innovation in the medical industry. Pylopass, an ingredient of PYLO-X, is more advantageous than probiotics. Due to the extreme physiological environment in the stomach, caused by bile acids, mechanical stress, acidic pH and gastric enzymes, the survival and metabolic activity of probiotics severely impaired. Compared to probiotics which require special conditions for storage and shipment, Pylopass is easy to ship and store due to its insensitivity to extreme temperatures and condition changes. Its shelf life is prolonged, which leads to a reduction in production costs (Mehling). Pylopass’s ability to remain active as a prepared, non-viable cell is indicative of its stability under the gastric environment. Its mechanism of action does not depend on its survival and does not disturb the intestinal microbial balance (“Pylopass A New Approach”).
PYLO-X is a unique supplement and not just because it contains Pylopass. Pylopass supplements have been on the market for quite some time already. PYLO-X is a unique mixture of Pylopass and alpha-tocopherol, an antioxidant, together.
By using different models, scientists show the relationship between oxidative stress and inflammation as well as diminished gastroprotective substances in the pathogenesis of gastric lesions. It was described that treatments with antioxidants like alpha-tocopherol can show advantageous effects in the development of gastric lesions. The effects of alpha-tocopherol may include a decrease in oxidative stress and inflammation as well as rehabilitating endogenous gastroprotective substances. This vitamin has shown the possibility of use as a therapy for gastric mucosal injuries. Alpha-tocopherol was shown to be protective against many pathological conditions like liver, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, as well as diabetes and cancer. The main role in gastric lesion formation play factors such as inflammation, endogenous gastroprotective substance, and oxidative stress. Some scientific models were used to discover the preventative effects of alpha-tocopherol on the gastric lesion formation. In gastric lesions induced by H. pylori, the use of alpha-tocopherol shows a decrease in oxidative stress. By improving gastric mucosal circulation alpha-tocopherol delays enzyme conversion and the formation of a gastric lesion. After alpha-tocopherol administration was found the reduction in the increase of myeloperoxidase activity, which was shown to be increased in H. pylori-induced gastric lesions and also attenuates gastric lesions and the formation of leucocyte-generated oxygen radicals. This all suggests that alpha-tocopherol reduces the severity of gastric lesions via the suppression of neutrophil infiltration. This vitamin is shown to minimize gastric acidity, comparable with that of proton pump inhibitors (PPI), drugs used to treat gastric ulcers, which decreases gastric acid secretion.
Yusof Kamisah and his associates concluded that vitamin E can be used as a protection against ulcerogenic agents due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. It is suggested to take this vitamin as a supplement to prevent the formation of the gastric lesions, which are caused by stress and aggressive factors, such as H. pylori. It can also be used as an adjunct to therapy in critically ill patients. An increase in the production of prostaglandins and high levels of glutathione in tissues bears an anti-ulcer activity of alpha-tocopherol.
The article written by Yusof Kamisah demonstrates the value of alpha-tocopherol as an antioxidant, as well as its contribution to healing damaged tissues. For example, within the gastric mucosa, alpha-tocopherol decreases inflammatory processes and increases the gastric barrier properties. Alpha-tocopherol’s protective effect can be used as a valuable asset in medical preparations. It can also be used as a prophylactic for gastric mucosal damage and as a treatment for gastritis and ulcers.
Another research was used to observe the consequence of palm vitamin E on the gastric lesion. It was also compared with ranitidine and showed that ranitidine’s impact on a gastric injury was not visible at one week, nor three weeks of treatment. In other words, four to six weeks are needed for ranitidine to minimize the ulcer index in humans. The rate of healing is depicted to be more effective in the presence of vitamin E. The magnitude of decrease in the mean ulcer index was visible in one week (78 percent) of treatment (Jaarin).
Based on the study, it was concluded that the addition of palm vitamin E can aid in the reduction and treatment of damage in the gastric mucosa. It has been revealed to be more potent in decreasing stress and inflammation when compared to PPI medications, which are currently being used as a treatment option for gastric mucosal injuries. This vitamin would be beneficial in the treatment of H. pylori.
Alpha-tocopherol boosts antioxidant defense, protects cell membranes, and enhances immune function. These valuable properties were utilized in creating PYLO-X. This supplement, a combination of Pylopass and alpha-tocopherol, can revolutionize and eventually, become a drug of choice in the treatment of H. pylori infection.
Through using PYLO-X as a clinically proven solution for H. pylori, treatment without the negative side effects of antibiotic therapy and chronic antacid therapy can be achieved. It has been scientifically proven that side effects are absent and it does not contribute to bacterial resistance. It is not impacted by antibiotics. It is affordable, quick, and long-lasting. It can treat and prevent the formation of stomach lesions. These results are apparent within two weeks of treatment as well. It is recommended to take it one capsule by mouth twice a day, morning and evening after the consumption of food. Depending on the severity of symptoms, one should take it for two to four weeks. PYLO-X is a unique and new innovation in the treatment of H. pylori infection.
Berry, Jennifer. "H. Pylori: Causes, Symptoms, and Stomach Ulcers." Edited by Daniel Murrell, Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 1 Oct. 2017
"Biggest Threats and Data." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 Nov. 2019
"Common Side Effects of Prevpac (Lansoprazole, Amoxicillin and Clarithromycin) Drug Center." Edited by John P. Cunha, RxList, RxList, 25 June 2018
Hu, Yi, et al. "Novel and Effective Therapeutic Regimens for Helicobacter pylori in an Era of Increasing Antibiotic Resistance." Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, Frontiers Media S.A., 5 May 2017
Karon, Amy. "H. pylori Antibiotic Resistance Reaches 'Alarming Levels'." GI and Hepatology News, 18 Jan. 2019
Khatri, Minesh. "H. pylori Bacteria Infection: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention." WebMD, WebMD, 21 Dec. 2018
Mu, Qinghui, et al. "Role of Lactobacillus reuteri in Human Health and Diseases." Frontiers in Microbiology, Frontiers Media S.A., 19 Apr. 2018
Mehling, Heidrun, and Andreas Busjahn. "Non-Viable Lactobacillus reuteri DSMZ 17648 (Pylopass™) as a New Approach to Helicobacter pylori Control in Humans." Nutrients, MDPI, 2 Aug. 2013
Nelson, Roxanne. "Resistance to Antibiotic Treatments for H Pylori Infection." Infectious Disease Advisor, 19 Aug. 2018
"Pylopass™ A New Approach in H Pylori Control." Elementa Ingredients.
Savoldi, Alessia, et al. "Prevalence of Antibiotic Resistance in Helicobacter pylori: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis in World Health Organization Regions." Gastroenterology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2018
"Helicobacter pylori: Epidemiology." Epidemiology, The Helicobacter Foundation
Buckley, Martin, et al. "The Effect of Lactobacillus reuteri Supplementation in Helicobacter pylori Infection: a Placebo-Controlled, Single-Blind Study." BMC Nutrition, BioMed Central, 7 Dec. 2018
Yusof Kamisah, Haji Mohd Saad Qodriyah, Kien Hui Chua & Mohd Fahami Nur Azlina (2014) Vitamin E: A potential therapy for gastric mucosal injury, Pharmaceutical Biology, 52:12, 1591-1597, DOI: 10.3109/13880209.2014.902082
Jaarin, Kamsiah, et al. "Comparative Effect of Palm Vitamin E and Ranitidine on the Healing of Ethanol-Induced Gastric Lesions in Rats." Edited by Masbah Omar, International Journal of Experimental Pathology, Blackwell Science Inc, Oct. 1999
Uva Ursi is a berry-producing, evergreen bush. Only its leaves are used for medicinal purposes.
Uva ursi contains tannins and hydroquinones that are astringent and antibacterial. Until the development of sulfa antibiotics, its principal active component, arbutin, was frequently prescribed as a urinary antiseptic. It appears that the arbutin contained in uva ursi leaves is broken down in the intestine to another chemical, hydroquinone. This chemical is altered by the liver and then sent to the kidneys for excretion. In the bladder, it acts as an antiseptic.
Uva ursi is therefore recommended for pets with urinary infections. Note: the urine must be alkaline for the antibacterial activity to occur; if the urine is acid, uva won¡¦t act as an antibacterial and should be combined with another antibacterial herb using uva ursi for its astringent activity. Since uva ursi is most effective in an alkaline urine, taking vitamin C or cranberry extract with it, which would acidify the urine, is not advised.
Since the tannins in the herb can irritate the kidneys, it should only be used for no more than five to seven days at a time.
Safety issues show hydroquinone is a liver toxin, carcinogen, and irritant. Uva ursi is not recommended for young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease. Similar precautions are probably warranted in pets. Significant problems are rare among individuals using prepared uva ursi products in appropriate doses for short periods of time. Gastrointestinal distress (ranging from mild nausea, diarrhea, to vomiting) can occur, especially with prolonged use.
If your pet is taking medications or supplements that acidify the urine, as listed above, uva ursi may not work well.
Plantain is an herb used for its ability to lubricate and soothe internal mucous membranes. As such, it is often recommended for pets with disorders of the digestive system and genitourinary tracts.
It is used for pets with urinary tract inflammation and infection. Plantain can be used as a substitute for slippery elm, being useful to reduce inflammation and as an antibacterial. Irritations of the digestive and respiratory tracts can be treated with plantain. And it can be used as a mild laxative.
Plantain is safe for pets, unless the pet shows signs of being allergic to it.
There are a number of species of goldenrod, and all seem to possess similar medicinal properties. The various species are used interchangeably.
It is used as a supportive treatment for bladder infections, irritation of the urinary tract, and bladder/kidney stones. Goldenrod increases the flow of urine, helping to wash out bacteria and kidney stones, and may also directly soothe inflamed tissues and calm muscle spasms in the urinary tract. It isn¡¦t used as a cure in itself, but rather as a support to other more definitive treatments such as antibiotics.
In pets, goldenrod has also been suggested for pets with respiratory disorders as it seems to decrease the amount of mucus and inflammation in the bronchial passages.
The safety of goldenrod hasn¡¦t been fully evaluated. However, no significant reactions or side effects have been reported. Safety in young children, pregnant and nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established. Similar precautions are probably warranted in your pets.
In October, we observe National Mental Health Awareness Month. Although it's important to raise awareness about issues like anxiety, depression and suicide, it's equally critical to understand that no one wants to be labeled as defective or abnormal. By labeling these issues as "mental health" or "psychiatric," people suffer in silence because of the shame they feel.
If we do not erase-or at least lower-the stigma for these issues, many more people will unnecessarily suffer, and some will die, without getting the help they need. We must do better because according to a large epidemiological study in Archives of General Psychiatry, 51 percent of the U.S. population will struggle with a mental health issue at some point in their lives.1 Let that soak in for a moment-more than half of Americans will experience a psychiatric problem, meaning it's more common to have one than not.
Anxiety disorders and depression are the most common conditions, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness,2 and they are increasingly affecting young people. An estimated 36 percent of girls will experience clinical depression during their teenage years and so will 13 percent of teenage boys.3 Both numbers are unacceptable.
Even more disheartening is the fact that suicide rates are on the rise. Since 1999, suicide has increased 33 percent, decreasing overall life expectancy, while during the same period of time cancer has decreased 27 percent.4
We're heading in the wrong direction.
Discarding an Outdated Paradigm
Reimagining mental health as brain health changes everything. People begin to see their problems as medical, not moral. It decreases shame and guilt and increases forgiveness and compassion from their families. Reframing the discussion to brain health is also more accurate and elevates hope, increases the desire to get help, and increases compliance to make the necessary lifestyle changes. Once people understand that the brain controls everything they do and everything they are, they want a better brain so they can have a better life.
But psychiatry remains the only medical field that rarely looks at the organ it treats. If you have crushing chest pain, a cardiologist will do an imaging study of your heart. But if you have crushing depression, chances are no one will ever look at your brain.
This needs to change as a growing body of neuroimaging studies-including our own brain imaging work that includes over 160,000 brain SPECT scans related to behavior-clearly show that mental health is related to the physical functioning of the brain. We see it in people with depression, anxiety, and suicidal behavior.
Depression is associated with excessive activity in the brain's emotional center, which is known as the limbic system. When this brain network is less active, there is generally a positive, hopeful state of mind. When it is overactive, negativity and sadness can take hold.
Anxiety is linked to too much activity in the basal ganglia, a part of the brain that sets your emotional tone. When there is overactivity in this area, people are more likely to experience anxious thoughts, tension, heightened fear and increased awareness.
Suicidal thoughts and behaviors are complex and often tied to untreated conditions, such as depression or anxiety. We have scanned more than 300 people who have attempted suicide and many more who have contemplated taking their own life. We have found that a number of brain issues are often at work in people who are suicidal, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries. Head injuries, including so-called mild concussions where you don't even pass out, are commonly seen.
- Temporal lobe abnormalities. In an Amen Clinics study, we saw left temporal lobe problems in 62 percent of our patients who had serious suicidal thoughts or behaviors.5
- Low activity in the prefrontal cortex. When this area, which is involved in planning and judgment, is underactive, it increases impulsivity.
- Overactivity in the anterior cingulate gyrus. Too much activity in this area causes people to get stuck on negative thoughts.
Ending Mental Illness Through Optimized Brain Health
The most exciting thing about reframing the discussion about mental health as brain health is that an increasing number of studies have found that improving the physical functioning of the brain improves the mind.6 You are not stuck with the brain you have. You can make it better.
This doesn't necessarily mean medication. Be aware that some psychiatric medications intended to improve your mental state are actually harmful to your physical brain. For example, anti-anxiety drugs, such as benzodiazepines, are associated with unhealthy, toxic-looking scans. In addition, most people are never informed that it can be hard to stop taking certain psychiatric medications, such as anti-anxiety pills or antidepressants. Be careful about starting something that may be hard to stop.
Lifestyle changes can have a powerful influence on the moment-by-moment functioning of your brain. Adopting brain healthy habits can be one of the keys to minimizing symptoms of anxiety and depression and can improve the functioning of the troubled brain areas seen in people with suicidal tendencies.
For example, research has shown that physical exercise has been found to improve mood, anxiety, and even cognitive health in patients with depression.7 Increasing evidence suggests that nutritional treatment may help prevent, treat, or improve depression, anxiety and many other disorders.8 This means that fueling the brain with high-quality food can minimize symptoms.
Other impactful strategies to retrain the brain include learning how to kill the ANTs, the automatic negative thoughts that infest your mind and steal your happiness. Negative thoughts cause the brain to release chemicals that instantly make you feel bad, but by simply challenging or talking back to these thoughts, you can shut down or slow the production of these nasty chemicals so you can feel better fast.
A growing body of evidence also supports the use of natural supplements for mental health, or rather brain health, issues. A number of websites are dedicated to the extensive science of nutraceuticals for health, including brain health, such as MedlinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and Natural Medicines. They often grade nutraceuticals from the clinical science evidence similarly to how they rate pharmaceuticals, with A-level status reserved for those that have robust research conducted with more than two placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trials.
Several nutraceuticals have A-level evidence for symptoms seen in common mental health, or brain health, conditions. For anxiety and stress, these include ashwagandha,9 theanine,10 and omega-3 fatty acids (EPA+DHA).11 Nutraceuticals that support mood include EPA omega-3 fatty acids,12 St. John's wort,13 saffron,14 and SAMe.15 I often recommend these, along with a core nutraceutical program that includes a broad-spectrum multiple vitamin-supplement and vitamin D, for our anxious and depressed patients.
Ultimately, to enhance brain health and manage or overcome symptoms, it's important to seek out solutions that are the least toxic and most effective.
- Kessler RC, et al. "Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of 12-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication." Archives of General Psychiatry. 2005;62(6):617-627.
- Breslau, J et al. "Sex differences in recent first-onset depression in an epidemiological sample of adolescents." Translational Psychiatry. 2017;7(5):e1139. doi:10.1038/tp.2017.105
- Hedegaard H, Curtin S, and Warner M. "Suicide Mortality in the United States, 1999-2017." National Center for Health Statistics. NCHS Data Brief No. 330. Nov. 2018.
- Amen DG, Prunella JR, Fallon JH, et al. "A comparative analysis of completed suicide using high resolution brain SPECT imaging." The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. 2009;21(4):430-9. doi: 10.1176/appi.neuropsych.21.4.430
- Velten J, Lavallee KL, Scholten S, et al. "Lifestyle choices and mental health: A representative population survey." BMC Psychology. 2014;2(1):58. 10.1186/s40359-014-0055-y
- Oertel-Knöchel V, et al. "Effects of aerobic exercise on cognitive performance and individual psychopathology in depressive and schizophrenia patients." Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2014 Oct;264(7):589-604.
- Rao TS, Asha MR, Ramesh BN, Rao KS. Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses. Indian J Psychiatry. 2008;50(2):77-82. doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.42391
- Choudhary D, Bhattacharyya S, Joshi K. Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment With AshwagandhaRoot Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2017 Jan;22(1):96-106; Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul;34(3):255-62; Pratte MA, Nanavati KB, Young V, Morley CP. An alternative treatment for anxiety: a systematic review of human trial results reported for the Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Dec;20(12):901-8; Andrade C, Aswath A, Chaturvedi SK, et al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of the anxiolytic efficacy ff an ethanolic extract of withania somnifera. Indian J Psychiatry. 2000 Jul;42(3):295-301.
- Hidese S, Ota M, Wakabayashi C, et al. Effects of chronic l-theanine administration in patients with major depressive disorder: an open-label study. Acta Neuropsychiatr. 2017 Apr;29(2):72-79; Hidese S, Ota M, Wakabayashi C, et al. Effects of chronic l-theanine administration in patients with major depressive disorder: an open-label study. Acta Neuropsychiatr. 2017 Apr;29(2):72-79; White DJ, de Klerk S, Woods W, et al. Anti-Stress, Behavioural and Magnetoencephalography Effects of an L-Theanine-Based Nutrient Drink: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial. Nutrients. 2016 Jan 19;8(1; Unno K, Tanida N, Ishii N, et al. Anti-stress effect of theanine on students during pharmacy practice: positive correlation among salivary ?-amylase activity, trait anxiety and subjective stress. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2013 Oct;111:128-35; Yoto A, Motoki M, Murao S, et al. Effects of L-theanine or caffeine intake on changes in blood pressure under physical and psychological stresses. J Physiol Anthropol. 2012 Oct 29;31:28; Ritsner MS, Miodownik C, Ratner Y, et al. L-theanine relieves positive, activation, and anxiety symptoms in patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder: an 8-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 2-center study. J Clin Psychiatry. 2011 Jan;72(1):34-42; Lu K, Gray MA, Oliver C, et al. The acute effects of L-theanine in comparison with alprazolam on anticipatory anxiety in humans. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2004 Oct;19(7):457-65; Kimura K, Ozeki M, Juneja LR, et al. L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. Biol Psychol. 2007 Jan;74(1):39-45.
- Barbadoro P, Annino I, Ponzio E, et al. Fish oil supplementation reduces cortisol basal levels and perceived stress: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial in abstinent alcoholics. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013 Jun;57(6):1110-4; Buydens-Branchey L, Branchey M, Hibbeln JR. Associations between increases in plasma n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids following supplementation and decreases in anger and anxiety in substance abusers. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Feb 15;32(2):568-75; Robinson DG, Gallego JA, John M, et al. A potential role for adjunctive omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for depression and anxietysymptoms in recent onset psychosis: Results from a 16?week randomized placebo-controlled trial for participants concurrently treated with risperidone. Schizophr Res. 2018 Sep 18. pii: S0920-9964(18)30556-5; Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Belury MA, Andridge R, et al. Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation and anxiety in medical students: a randomized controlled trial. Brain Behav Immun. 2011 Nov;25(8:1725-34; Jacka FN, Pasco JA, Williams LJ, et al. Dietary intake of fish and PUFA, and clinical depressive and anxiety disorders in women. Br J Nutr. 2013 Jun;109(11):2059-66; Matsumura K, Noguchi H, Nishi D, et al. Effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on psychophysiological symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in accident survivors: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Affect Disord. 2017 Dec 15;224:27-31; Su K-P, Tseng P-T, Lin P-Y, et al. Association of use of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids with changes in severity of anxiety symptoms. A syatematic review and meta-analysis. MA Network Open 2015;1(5):e182327
- Mischoulon D, Papakostas GI, Dording CM, et al. A double-blind, randomized controlled trial of ethyl-eicosapentaenoate for major depressive disorder. J Clin Psychiatry. 2009 Dec;70(12):1636-44; Martins JG. EPA but not DHA appears to be responsible for the efficacy of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation in depression: evidence from a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Am Coll Nutr 2009;28:525-42; ; Lespérance F, Frasure-Smith N, St-André E, et al. The efficacy of omega-3 supplementation for major depression: a randomized controlled trial. J Clin Psychiatry. 2011 Aug;72(8):1054-62; Rondanelli M, Giacosa A, Opizzi A, et al. Long chain omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids supplementation in the treatment of elderlydepression: effects on depressive symptoms, on phospholipids fatty acids profile and on health-related quality of life. J Nutr Health Aging. 2011 Jan;15(1):37-44; Jamilian M, Shojaei A, Samimi M, et al. The effects of omega-3 and vitamin E co-supplementation on parameters of mental health and gene expression related to insulin and inflammation in subjects with polycystic ovarysyndrome. J Affect Disord. 2018 Mar 15;229:41-47; Sublette ME , et al. Meta-analysis of the effects of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in clinical trials in depression. J Clin Psychiatry. 2011 Dec;72(12):1577-84. doi: 10.4088/JCP.10m06634. Epub 2011 Sep 6; Haberka M, Mizia-Stec K, Mizia M, et al. Effects of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on depressive symptoms, anxiety and emotional state in patients with acute myocardial infarction. Pharmacol Rep. 2013;65(1):59-68.
- Linde K, Berner MM, Kriston L. St John's wort for major depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2008:CD000448; Fava M, Alpert J, Nierenberg AA, et al. A Double-blind, randomized trial of St John's wort, fluoxetine, and placebo in major depressive disorder. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2005 Oct;25(5):441-7; Sarris J, Nierenberg AA, Schweitzer I, Alpert JE, Rosenbaum JF, Iovieno N, et al. Conditional probability of response or nonresponse of placebo compared to antidepressants or St John's wort in major depressive disorder. J Clin Psychopharmacol 2013;33:827-30.
- Yang X, Chen X, Fu Y, et al. Comparative efficacy and safety of Crocus sativus L. for treating mild to moderate major depressive disorder in adults: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2018 May 21;14:1297-1305; Kell G, Rao A, Beccaria G, et al. affron® a novel saffron extract (Crocus sativus L.) improves mood in healthy adults over 4 weeks in a double-blind, parallel, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Complement Ther Med. 2017 Aug;33:58-64; Lopresti AL, Drummond PD, Inarejos-García AM, et al. affron®, a standardised extract from saffron (Crocus sativus L.) for the treatment of youth anxiety and depressive symptoms: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Affect Disord. 2018 Feb 26;232:349-357; Jelodar G, Javid Z, Sahraian A, et al. Saffron improved depression and reduced homocysteine level in patients with major depression: A Randomized, double-blind study. Avicenna J Phytomed. 2018 Jan-Feb;8(1):43-50.
- Williams AL, Girard C, Jui D, Sabina A, Katz DL. S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) as treatment for depression: a systematic review. Clin Invest Med 2005;28:132-9; Sarris J, Papakostas GI, Vitolo O, et al. S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe) versus escitalopram and placebo in major depression RCT: efficacy and effects of histamine and carnitine as moderators of response. J Affect Disord. 2014 Aug;164:76-81; Papakostas GI, Mischoulon D, Shyu I, et al. S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe) augmentation of serotonin reuptake inhibitors for antidepressant nonresponders with major depressive disorder: a double-blind, randomized clinical trial. Am J Psychiatry. 2010 Aug;167(8):942-8; Shippy RA, Mendez D, Jones K, et al. S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e) for the treatment of depression in people living with HIV/AIDS. BMC Psychiatry. 2004 Nov 11;4:38; Bell KM, Plon L, Bunney WE Jr, et al. S-adenosylmethionine treatment of depression: a controlled clinical trial. Am J Psychiatry. 1988 Sep;145(9):1110-4; Salmaggi P, Bressa GM, Nicchia G, et al. Double-blind, placebo-controlled study of S-adenosyl-L-methionine in depressed postmenopausal women. Psychother Psychosom. 1993;59(1):34-40; Bell KM, Potkin SG, Carreon D, et al. S-adenosylmethionine blood levels in major depression: changes with drug treatment. Acta Neurol Scand Suppl. 1994;154:15-8; Delle Chiaie R, Pancheri P, Scapicchio P. Efficacy and tolerability of oral and intramuscular S-adenosyl-L-methionine 1,4-butanedisulfonate (SAMe) in the treatment of major depression: comparison with imipramine in 2 multicenter studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Nov;76(5):1172S-6S; Sharma A, Gerbarg P, Bottiglieri T, et al. S-adenosylmethionine for neuropsychiatric disorders: a clinician-oriented review of research. J Clin Psychiatry 2017 June;78(6):e656-e667.
"Should I call the doctor?" It's a question many parents, grandparents and caretakers wrestle with when children get sick. On the one hand, you don't want to overreact and lug a sick child to the doctor's office where they can be exposed to germs lingering in the waiting room. But on the other hand, you don't want to miss something and have your child's fever, cough or dehydration turn into a bigger problem.
Pharmacists field a lot of questions from parents who are worried about calling their pediatrician too frequently, or concerned about making unnecessary doctor appointments where they could expose their children to even more viruses and bacteria in waiting rooms. Parents should always feel comfortable calling their child's pediatrician, but paying attention to key symptoms and knowing some basic guidelines can really empower their decisions on when to contact their physician.
Consider these tips for managing common childhood ailments and deciding when you should "make the call" to the doctor.
Many parents have fever phobia and race their children to the doctor anytime temperatures spike above normal, but not all fevers require treatment. Keep in mind that fever is the body's way of fighting infection.1 While it can be scary when your child has a fever, most viral infections that cause fever, such as cold and flu, typically go away in a few days. If your child's fever persists beyond 2-3 days, it could indicate a more serious issue and you should bring them in to see the doctor.
When dealing with a fever at home, apply cool compresses to your child's forehead. Never put them in a cold bath because that can actually cause your child to shiver, which can lead to an increase in body temperature. Instead, give your child a lukewarm bath. And be sure to give plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration - water, fruit or vegetable juice, and broths are all good options to help keep your little one hydrated.
Never give aspirin to children as it may increase the risk of Reye's syndrome, a rare disorder that can cause brain and liver damage.2 If your child is uncomfortable and it's necessary for comfort, you can consider giving acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist about the right dose for your child's age and weight.
While a fever is not cause for immediate concern, you should call your doctor right away if your child's temperature rises above 103 degrees, and any child under the age of three months with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher should see a doctor.3 You should also monitor the duration of a fever and keep track of other symptoms your child is experiencing. If your child's fever lasts longer than 2-3 days or is accompanied by neck or ear pain, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, or if your child is unusually drowsy, it's time to see the doctor.
Vomiting and diarrhea
Much like fever, diarrhea and vomiting are often signs that your child's body is fighting a bug.4 During a bout of vomiting or diarrhea, the child's body is trying to flush out and eliminate the foreign invader. While it can be unpleasant for both the child and the parents, in most cases, symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting will resolve with some simple, at-home treatments.
With both vomiting and diarrhea, preventing dehydration is key.5 Avoid sugary drinks like juice and soft drinks. For children who are vomiting, encourage them to drink fluids once the vomiting has stopped and eat a bland diet: crackers, toast, white rice, and bananas.
Diarrhea, especially, can be frustrating for parents. There aren't many diarrhea relief products that are safe for young children, but there is a nutritional, solution-oriented option that is effective called DiaResQ, which is safe for children as young as one. It is not a drug or antibiotic, but a Food for Special Dietary Use that contains naturally derived ingredients, bovine colostrum and egg solids, providing a high-quality source of important nutrients and immune factors that work with the body to help rapidly restore normal intestinal function and relieve diarrhea. Clinical trials have shown DiaResQ resolves most cases of diarrhea in children on the first day of use.
Call your doctor if your child's symptoms are severe, if there is blood in the vomit or stool, if they are experiencing a high fever or if the symptoms persist longer than 24 hours.6
Coughs, Colds and Respiratory Problems:
Children typically experience multiple cold episodes each year and one of the most annoying symptoms that accompanies a cold is a cough. Again, coughing is the body's natural way of dealing with a bug - the body is trying to expel the unwanted invader.
For children with minor cough and cold symptoms, there are some remedies in the pharmacy that can provide relief. Echinacea and elderberry can help lessen symptoms and speed healing. Honey is helpful in providing relief for cough and sore throat but should not be given to children less than one year of age.7 You can also run a vaporizer in your child's room and offer saline nasal drops to help with congestion. Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids: warm broth and herbal teas are good options.
Call your doctor if your child has ear or neck pain, trouble breathing, or symptoms that last longer than 7-10 days. If your child is three months or younger seek medical attention right away for cold symptoms, since colds can quickly turn into something more serious, like bronchiolitis, croup or pneumonia. When visiting the doctor and discussing potential treatments, keep in mind that antibiotics cannot help a virus. When antibiotics are used unnecessarily this can contribute to bacterial resistance, which can cause the antibiotics not to work when your child actually needs them.8
Over-the-counter cold and cough medications can also cause serious side effects in children. Talk with your child's doctor before giving any medications.
Children tend to experience frequent rashes as they are constantly exploring. A rash can arise from contact with a new food, detergent, soap, or any other irritant in their environment.
Most rashes are harmless and clear up on their own. Wash the rash with mild soap, but don't scrub it, then rinse with warm water. Do not cover the rash, but you can put a wet cloth on it to ease the pain and itching. Use a cream that contains zinc, vitamin E, almond or coconut oil, which work to soothe, protect and recondition the child's skin. Avoid products that contain phthalates, parabens, and sodium laurel sulfate.
Call the doctor if your child is younger than six months with a rash, has a fever along with the rash, or has a rash that oozes or appears red, swollen, or wet, which could be signs of an infection.9
While having a sick child can be stressful, these tips can help your little one feel better faster and help you determine whether you should head to the doctor or handle it at home.
- "How a fever helps the immune system to battle infection". Nature Immunology. January 2019.
- Schor, K. Aspirin and Reye syndrome: a review of the evidence. Pediatric Drugs. 2007;9(3):195-204.
- "Fever: When to call the doctor". Cleveland Clinic. January 2019.
- Vomiting and diarrhea in children. Am Fam Physician. 2001 Feb 15;63(4):775-776.
- DeWitt, TG. Acute diarrhea in children. Pediatric Review. 1989 Jul;11(1):6-13.
- "Diarrhea - When to see a doctor". Mayo Clinic. April 2019.
- "Honey: An effective Cough Strategy?" Mayo Clinic. May 2018.
- "Be Antibiotics Aware: Smart Use, Best Care". CDC. November 2018.
- "How to spot and take care of your baby's rash". Healthline. January 2019.
Although it may seem like a small point when the illnesses that cause it can be so severe, the hair loss and thinning commonly seen from the physical and emotional stresses of modern life, or even severe illness, routinely add even more insult to the injury.
Until now, all we could do was optimize nutritional support with the Energy Revitalization System Vitamin Powder, optimize thyroid function, and make sure that the ferritin blood test for iron was at least 100. Although these frequently help considerably, all too often it is not enough.
Most often, hair loss is caused by a condition called Telogen Effluvium. This is where a severe stress or infection (such as fibromyalgia, any of a number of infections, or adverse changes in thyroid hormone levels) cause many of your hair follicles to all go into the resting (telogen) phase. Then two to three months into this resting phase, the hair falls out, making you want to cry when you look at your hairbrush!
Most often, if one is healthy, the hair can then grow back. But all too often, the hair stays thin. The good news? Now there is something you can take to help, and people are loving it! It is called "Hair Renew," (by Terry Naturally) and contains a number of unique and key nutrients. But what makes it especially powerful is Millet Seed oil and the herb horsetail, combined with 5000 µg biotin and key amino acids.
Horsetail Is a unique plant which has Immune supporting, remineralizing and regenerating effects. It is a rich source of flavonoids, potassium, and silicon. Put simply, large amounts of these three are needed for rapidly growing tissue such as healthy hair and skin.1 The level of silicon in the body decreases with age, which also results in nail and hair brittleness, along with decreased resistance to fungal and bacterial infections.
But especially powerful for hair growth are the components found in Millet Seed Oil. In two studies, this was found to be very effective after three months of use. Not just in getting hair out of the telogen phase, but even in people with the most severe health problems!2,3
People have also clinically found Biotin to be very helpful. All of these together not only seem to markedly decrease hair loss over three months, but improves hair thickness and shine. These, and more, are all combined in the Hair Renew.
Iron also has presumed to be critical for hair growth, and dermatologists at the Cleveland Clinic will keep ferritin (the key test for iron levels) over 100, even though normal is anything over 12. But I generally will not give iron supplementation unless the person has had a blood test to make sure that iron levels are not too high.
Got hair thinning? Combine the Energy Revitalization System and Hair Renew for three months. And watch your hair start coming back!
- Horsetail- Szponar L, Sto? K, O?tarzewski M. Suplementy diety - mo?liwo?ci ich wykorzystania w prewencji wybranych niedoborów ?ywieniowych [Polish] ?yw Cz?ow Metab. 2004;31(Suppl. I):441-6.
- J Cosmet Dermatol. 2019 May 28. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12998. [Epub ahead of print]
- "Miliacin encapsulated by polar lipids stimulates cell proliferation in hair bulb
- and improves telogen effluvium in women".Keophiphath M(1), Courbière C(2), Manzato L(1), Lamour I(3), Gaillard E(3).
- Gardani G, et al. A case-control study of Panicum Miliaceum in the treatment of cancer chemotherapy-induced alopecia. Minerva Medi. 2007 Dec;98(6):661-664.
Below is my Master Formula to ensure optimal fat burning and overall vitality. I have taken the liberty of including select brand names for some of my favorite smart staples.
Banish all of the fake fats that inhibit metabolism, dampen thyroid function and promote inflammation. Eliminate all hydrogenated fats and partially-hydrogenated fats like margarine, shortening and soybean oil and the foods they are contained in like French fries, chips, cookies, crackers and many commercially prepared foods. Eliminate cottonseed oil, canola oil, and commercial vegetable oils, egg substitutes, butter substitutes, cream substitutes and cooking sprays. Be sure to check labels where these imposters are often hiding out like salad dressings and sauces. Your body will thank you!
- Aim for one to four tablespoons of Smart Fats per meal. Check out all the Smart Fat swaps coming up in this section.
- Take Smart Supplements like ox bile or bile salts (a must if you don't have a gallbladder), and/or beet root concentrate or choline to optimize fat digestion.
- Enjoy six to eight ounces of clean, organic protein (grass-fed beef, bison, lamb, poultry) and one to two servings of non-denatured whey from grass-fed A2 cows or non- GMO vegan pea and rice protein per day. For variety, or if you are vegan or vegetarian, eat Nasoya Non-GMO Organic Tofu several times a week. You can also feast on omega- rich wild caught salmon, Wild Planet Albacore Tuna and Skipjack Tuna, sardines as well as Vital Choice canned seafood and Oregon Choice seafood several times a week to help mobilize fat from storage and balance blood sugar.
- Include five or more vegetable servings per day for protective antioxidants and phytonutrients.
- Eat up to two low-fructose fruits daily (one cup of berries, one small peach, one small plum, 10 cherries, 12 grapefruit, one cup pineapple, one small orange, one small nectarine) per day for key vitamins and minerals.
- Fill up on one to three smart starches daily for satiety and fiber (one small sweet potato or yam, 12 cup squash, 12 cup parsnips, rutabaga or turnips, or 12 cup peas or cooked carrots) or 12 cup non-gluten grains per day (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, and teff).
- Dive into dairy with caution. Many folks are casein and lactose intolerant so cheese and milk are off limits-especially because casein sensitivities (casein is the protein in milk) typically accompany gluten intolerance. Most almond and rice-based cheeses also contain casein as an ingredient. Yogurt falls somewhere in between because the lactose sugar is predigested by the fermenting process, but casein still remains. Butter, cream and ghee, on the other hand, are digested as fats. The best dairy products are always pasture-raised and organic. If you love cheese, then choose the raw milk varieties. For the dairy tolerant, enjoy one to two full-fat dairy servings daily (eight ounces of plain Greek yogurt or four ounces full-fat cottage or ricotta cheese, or one ounce of hard cheese).
- Select Smart Sips between meals like filtered water, decaffeinated organic green tea or cran-water and/or dandelion root tea to speed weight loss results.
- Sprinkle Smart Seasonings like cayenne, mustard, turmeric, ginger, Ceylon cinnamon, dill, garlic, anise, fennel, cloves, cardamom, parsley, cilantro and cumin to jumpstart fat burning.
- Sweeten with Smart Sweeteners like Organic SweetLeaf Stevia, Lakanto Monk Fruit, The Ultimate Life Xylitol (from birch), Now Erythritol, Now D-ribose, or Now Glycine to replace sugar and aspartame.
Smart Fat Swaps
Here are some of my favorite brand names of the most popular Smart Fats. While there are many other wonderful brands on the market, I am sure, consider this as a basic guide for more exploration: Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil, Nutiva Organic Hemp Seed Oil, Spectrum Safflower Oil, Spectrum High Oleic Safflower Oil, Spectrum High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Ellyndale Macadamia Nut Oil, Siberian Tiger Naturals Sea Buckthorn Oil, La Tourangelle Roasted Walnut Oil, Siberian Tiger Naturals Camelina Oil Carlson Fish Oil, Spectrum Toasted Sesame Oil, Theros or Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Olivado Extra Virgin Avocado Oil, Omega Nutrition Hi-Lignan Flax Oil, Siberian Tiger Naturals Extra Virgin Siberian Pine Nut Oil.
Each of the following contains the equivalent of one tablespoon of the Smart Fat oils detailed above.
- one tablespoon homemade mayo
- one tablespoon nut or seed butter (peanut, almond, cashew, pumpkin, sesame)
- one teaspoon Barlean's Heart Remedy Omega-7 Swirl
- one tablespoon organic pastured butter or ghee (clarified butter)
- two tablespoons shredded coconut
- three ounces Thai Kitchen Organic Canned full-fat Coconut Milk
- two tablespoons organic sour cream
- one tablespoon organic pastured heavy cream
- one tablespoon Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream
- seeds such as one tablespoon pumpkin, chia, sesame, sunflower and hemp seeds
- one ounce Vega savi seed snack (sacha inchi seeds)
- three tablespoons ground toasted flax seeds
- nuts such as seven almonds, two medium Brazil nuts, four walnut halves, six cashews, four pecan halves, three macadamia nuts, 15 pistachios, two tablespoons pine nuts
- one quarter of a small avocado
- eight large olives
- three anchovy fillets
There may be many high-quality brands available which are not listed below. Since I have formulated and have been the spokesperson for Uni Key Health Systems for nearly 25 years, I am most familiar with the UNI KEY and Fat Flush brand name products. I am confident of their high quality and purity because they are third-party tested for heavy metals and contaminants, unlike some even larger, well-recognized name brands. You can always check the formulations and then find your favorites online or in health food stores.
- Bile Extracts or Bile Salts: A MUST if you have had your gallbladder removed for long-term gallbladder and liver support. Very helpful for short term use for those with fat metabolism issues and symptoms. I like Biotics Beta Plus. Dosage: Take two to three tablets per meal.
- Bile Digestive Aids: Look for a formula that contains a combination of beet root concentrate, lipase and powerful antioxidant enzymes. These ingredients improve digestion and promote bile production. I like Biotics Beta-TCP. Dosage: Take two to three tablets daily with meals.
- Liquid Phosphorus: Help break down gallstones to ensure proper flow with a liquid phosphorus supplement. I like Biotics Super Phosphozyme Liquid. Dosage: Take 30 drops in water once or twice daily.
- Choline: Ramp up metabolism with this liver lover by improving fat digestion and clearing away excess estrogen trapped inside fat cells. Choline can regenerate the part of your liver that makes bile and is the go-to supplement to heal a fatty liver. It is a powerful detoxifying and emulsifying agent that breaks down fat, increases nutrient absorption and balances brain hormones. I like Nature's Way Choline Bitartrate. Dosage: Take one 500 mg capsule, three times per day.
- Liver Support Formula: Feed your liver with nourishing and detoxifying ingredients like artichoke and chlorophyll and taurine. These super food and nutrient stars purify and oxygenate the blood while providing antioxidant protection. I like UNI KEY Liver- Lovin Formula. Dosage: Take two capsules, two times daily with meals.
- Lipotropic Formula: Choline, inositol, and methionine are the ultimate fat-blasting trio, which can also transform excess estrogen into estriol-the anti-cancer estrogen. I feel most comfortable with a product that also provides gentle liver support and blood sugar balance with ingredients like blended milk thistle, Oregon grape root, dandelion root and lipase. I like UNI KEY Weight Loss Formula. Dosage: Take one capsule, three times daily with meals.
- Non-GMO Sunflower or Soy Lecithin: Lecithin has an emulsifying action on fats and helps break them down while also contributing to healthier bile production. I like Now Lecithin Granules. Dosage: Take one to two tablespoons of lecithin granules per day in smoothies or sprinkled on salads as a garnish.
- GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid): The most balanced source of this essential fatty acid from the omega-6 tribe comes from cold pressed black currant seed oil which stimulates brown fat activity for optimized fat burning. Both Solaray and Health from the Sun offer black currant seed oil. I like UNI KEY GLA-90. Dosage: Take 360 to 900 mg daily for weight loss, PMS, diabetic neuropathy or psoriasis and eczema.
- CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid): Omega-6 fatty acids from safflower oil prompt the body to burn stored fat as energy. Also helps to maintain lean muscle mass and provides powerful antioxidant properties. Both Now and Natrol offer CLA. I like UNI KEY CLA- 1000. Dosage: Take 3,000 to 6,000 mg daily.
- High Lignan Flax Oil: This high ALA product comes in liquid and softgels. The best brands I have found include Barlean's and Omega Nutrition. Dosage: Take one to three tablespoons per day.
- Fish Oil: Fish oil now comes to us in different flavors like orange and lemon, which avoids the fishy taste and burps. Available in both liquid and softgels under the Carlson and Nordic Naturals brand. Dosage: Take 1,000 to 4,000 mg per day.
- Flax Seeds: A rich source of lignans, omega-3s, and fiber, flax seeds should be ground and cold milled for optimum digestion and assimilation of the omegas. Dosage: Take one to four tablespoons per day.
- Chia Seeds: Another plant-based omega-3 rich source, chia seeds can be consumed in either the whole or ground state. Dosage: Take one to four tablespoons per day.
- Whey Protein: Look for a non-denatured whey protein concentrate from grass-fed cows which provide natural CLA as well as building blocks of glutathione, the most valuable antioxidant in the body so important for the liver. Whey is high in the amino acid leucine which triggers fat loss and preserves lean muscle mass. Choose formulas from the purer, non-mutated A2 milk, rather than A1 milk which has been associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease. I recommend Fat Flush Whey Protein. Directions: Use one scoop or 20 grams of protein per smoothie.
- Vegan Protein: Look for a blend of non-GMO pea and rice that provides a complete protein source of essential amino acids. Pea is high in lysine, typically deficient in rice, while rice provides cysteine and methionine, which are lacking in pea protein. I recommend Fat Flush Body Protein. Directions: Use one scoop or 20 grams of protein per smoothie.
- Fermented Protein: Fermentation makes protein easier to digest and removes certain anti-nutrients, like phytates and tannins, which bind to key minerals. Look for a blend of pea protein balanced with complete plant-based protein sources like amaranth and quinoa. I recommend Body Ecology's Fermented Protein Shake-I especially like the immune-boosting impact of the mushroom blend. Directions: Use one scoop or 15 grams of protein per smoothie.
- Blue Green Algae: Nature's most nutrient dense superfood, blue-green algae contains 65 vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Be sure to get a wild-harvested, non-GMO formula. I like E3Live. Dosage: Take 1 tablespoon or more daily in a smoothie or water.
- Targeted Probiotic: Look for a probiotic formula with the revolutionary strain Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3, which helps support healthy glutathione levels-a key to healthy liver function. I like Essential Formula's Reg'Activ Detox & Liver Health. Dosage: Take 2 capsules daily, 30 minutes before a meal.
- Full Spectrum Magnesium: Magnesium Glycinate, Magnesium Malate, Magnesium Taurinate, and Magnesium Orotate are the most absorbable forms of this crucial mineral that supports stress relief, sound sleep, regularity, heart health and ATP production for balanced energy. I like UNI KEY Mag-Key. Dosage: Take two to three capsules, three times daily.
- Rhodiola: This outstanding product is a stress-relieving adaptogen known for extending longevity and physical endurance. It helps increase the body's resistance to environmental stress. Choose a brand that offers products based on the pioneering Russian research of Dr. Zakir Ramazanov that are produced by water-only extraction and freeze-drying to lock in purity and potency. I like Ameriden Rhodiola. Dosage: Take 100 to 400 mg daily.
- Progesterone: This bioidentical hormone therapy can outsmart hormonal weight gain. Natural progesterone should be derived from wild yam and stated as USP Progesterone on the label. This easily applied topical product balances an irregular or difficult menstrual cycle and eases PMS, perimenopausal and menopausal systems, as well as water and salt retention. I like UNI KEY ProgestaKey. Dosage: Apply one pump (20 mg) onto chest and neck area according to the life cycle schedule on the container.
- Melatonin: This antioxidant hormone is essential for curbing elevated cortisol before bed, which can create insomnia and intermittent awakenings all through the wee hours of the morning. When cortisol goes up, melatonin comes down. This impacts deep, restful sleep and your ability to lose stubborn tummy fat and overcome sugar cravings, leading to insulin resistance. Dosage: Take 1 to 9 mg, 30 minutes before bed.
Infertility is becoming widespread these days but in the early 1900's, families with five children or more were commonplace. A century later, we now have fertility clinics available to women who want to just have one child. Infertility treatment is expensive and painful for couples who often become desperate after years of failed treatments. One common overlooked reason is low DHEA levels. DHEA is short for DeHydroEpiAndrosterone.
This is the "fountain of youth" hormone and it's a natural adrenal hormone which peaks at age 25, then steadily declines as we age. DHEA can be converted into testosterone and estrogen. Less DHEA means less of these sex hormones. Blood or saliva tests are available to gauge DHEA levels which must be in balance with other adrenal hormones, especially cortisol. High cortisol will cause you to hold on to belly fat.
Cortisol goes up in response to stress. Remember, these two are supposed to be in balance, like a see-saw. So you can see where I'm going with this. Cortisol climbs up and up in many women given the fast paced 21st century non-stop information overload, lack of sleep, caffeine, work-related stress, financial obligations or relationship stress. When it comes time to have a baby, cortisol could be high while DHEA levels may be seriously tanked! Some signs and symptoms include bad PMS (premenstrual syndrome), fatigue, brain fog, mood swings or high cholesterol.
But wait, the fertility doctor told you it was a low count of eggs! Yes that could be true, it's technically termed "Low Functional Ovarian Reserve" or LFOR, which could occur from aging ovaries. At puberty, you may have had 250,000 to 500,000 eggs, but by age 37 perhaps there are 25,000 eggs, and by the time you hit menopause you may have less than 1,000 eggs. If you have LFOR, a specialist in this field will often complement in-vitro fertilization (IVF) with DHEA supplements and/or testosterone medications. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Ovarian Research research supports it. Female participants received 75 mg of DHEA for three consecutive menstrual cycles prior to IVF experiences. Those who received DHEA had more embryos leading to more successful pregnancies. But don't supplement with DHEA by yourself, dosing is dependent on many factors, especially genes which I study every day.
Your response and metabolism of DHEA is dependent on your personal genetic variants meaning supplementation can be good or bad depending on your genes. Cellular and animal studies show that SNPs in any of the following genes affect your metabolism of DHEA: Aromatase, steroid 5?-reductase, sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG), fragile X mental retardation protein and breast cancer type 1 (BRCA1 gene) can affect levels of androgens in women. Short of screening yourself for all potential genetic variants, I think it's better for you to just do hormonal assessments to see if you have low DHEA or low testosterone.
I've been a pharmacist for 25 years now. Let's face, I know the good, the bad and the ugly drugs. I know we need some of them, and I know that others are not useful, or worse, they are harmful. So today I've decided to share the best remedies that help from head to toe:
Headaches- Taking butterbur (Petasites hybridus) at a dose of 75mg twice daily helps reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines. You can take all the triptan drugs you want (ie Imitrex, Zomig or others) but these drugs usually just reduce pain, sometimes they abort a headache. The butterbur may slash the number of attacks in half. This is HUGE if you have to hold down a job or take care of kiddos. I discussed butterbur and dozens of other solutions my book, Headache Free.
Hypothyroidism- It's impossible to have healthy thyroid function without selenium. Not only will it hinder your ability to make thyroid hormone, it will also stifle your ability to use the hormone inside the cell. There's more about selenium, iodine, B12 and ashwagandha at my website where I archive other articles on thyroid health.
Heart Failure- Niacin (vitamin B3) was found to reduce heart attack and stroke risk in a 2010 study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Doses vary tremendously, so please do nothing until you have your physician's approval. Niacin causes vasodilation (opens vessels) which reduces arterial pressure. I would be remiss if I didn't mention CoQ10 while discussing the heart or heart failure. CoQ10 also lowers blood pressure. I like about 100 to 200 mg daily but again, please always ask your doctor what's right for you.
Digestive disorders- My number one go-to supplement is probiotics. These improve digestion and support a healthy immune system and mood. Digestive enzymes break down the food you eat into absorbable molecules. For heartburn, I recommend slippery elm or marshmallow root. As for nausea and vomiting, ginger tea is gentle and popular. It's a mild blood thinner though, so be careful. And finally peppermint supplements can help with irritable bowel syndrome. The value of peppermint has been discussed many times, even in the British Medical Journal in 2008.
Bone loss- We all know about calcium. But did you know without enough magnesium, vitamin D or K2, you don't even incorporate the calcium into your bones?! So keep in mind the best bone-building supplements contain key minerals, you don't just push one like calcium all by itself. Natural strontium is another over-the-counter mineral used for bone integrity.
Painful knees- Glucosamine sulfate promotes cartilage formation. Collagen is another supplement that reduces pain in the knee joint of osteoarthritis sufferers. A 2012 study in the Annals of Rheumatic Disease found that losing weight helped reduce the amount of cartilage loss while increasing proteoglycan content (squishiness).
Toenail fungus- Apply essential oil of tea tree, and eliminate all sugars. You should also be checked for diabetes if you have a lot of toenail fungus.
Many of you take bisphosphonate drugs for bone loss and you write to me with complaints. Lawyers handle cases now due to the reports of catastrophic reactions like osteonecrosis or femur fractures. It's a terrible irony.
Here's another idea. Nobiletin. This is different than strontium which I've written about before. Nobiletin is a powerful "polymethoxylated" flavonoid that comes from the white stringy fiber and peel of citrus fruits (termed "pith"). You probably spit that out, throw it away or put it in your compost pile don't you? Tangerines and Mandarin oranges have awesome amounts of nobiletin, however other citrus rinds such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruit also contain nobiletin.
Nobiletin has been researched extensively over the last 10 to 15 years. It positively impacts cholesterol and reduces inflammation. Great news for those struggling with atherosclerosis and heart disease, or those of you supported on statin cholesterol drugs. Nobiletin also blocks the NF kappaB pathway which induces pain. Nobiletin has anti-cancer activity, confers brain protection and improved symptoms of Alzheimer's in an animal model. Since I'm already on a tangent, I'll also tell you that adolescents and adults dealing with acne may benefit by nobiletin because it blocks sebum production. Now, let me circle back to your skeleton.
Bone loss in humans occurs as the result of one of two things. Either your bone cells fail to make new bone, or you break down old bone too quickly. There needs to be a steady balance: Discard old bone, make new bone, discard old bone, make new bone. You probably didn't realize your bones are not solid, they are dynamic throughout your lifetime.
Two major players affect the process of bone building. One is inflammation and the other is estrogen. Chronic low grade inflammation and/or too little estrogen contribute to osteoporosis.
Research published in the Journal of Pharmacological Science showed very promising evidence of nobiletin on bone health. Scientists used rodents that had their ovaries removed (which causes estrogen deficiency). Nobiletin was given, and stopped the progression of osteoporosis. Not only that, it significantly restored bone mass in severely osteroporotic critters!
How you wonder? This natural citrus derived antioxidant suppressed pathways responsible for inflammation, namely the COX2, NF-kappa B, and prostaglandin pathways. Just amazing when you think about the potential harm done by bisphosphonate drugs given by conventional physicians. By no means am I saying an orange a day will keep the hip fracture away! But regular consumption of citrus fruits or pith-derived supplements might help, and can usually be taken with certain medications (not all). Ask doc if it's okay for you, and look online or at health food stores nationwide. It's sold as Sytrinol, or as "citrus bioflavonoids" and I want you to be real careful because some of the products contain "naringen" which comes from grapefruit and this compound can dangerously spike your blood levels of medications. My point is self-treatment with natural dietary supplements -even wonderful ones- may not be right for you. Find yourself a holistic-minded practitioner to ask.
Are you worried about painful cold sores? They are highly contagious. If you kiss someone with a cold sore, or drink from their cup, you could get it too. I don't personally get them, so last week, I inwardly freaked out when the woman who was giving me a much-needed manicure had two large blisters on her lips. This incident made me wonder what I would do if I had these painful sores, and how can I help you with them.
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) which belongs to a large family of herpes pathogens which cause chicken pox, shingles or keratitis (can cause corneal blindness). Millions of folks carry herpes viruses, and the cold sores in particular are not only embarrassing, but painful too. Oral herpes causes cold sores on the lips, inside the roof of your mouth or on your gums. Genital herpes causes lesions where the sun don't shine. Either way, ouch!
You can get it if someone touches their sore, then you; you can get it sharing utensils or kissing and making out. Once inside your body, your immune system jumps to it and hopefully it's just a single episode. If your immune system is sluggish, you're in for a lifelong battle with frequent outbreaks. The frequency is impacted by your diet, lifestyle and immune strength (which is dependent on having healthy intestinal flora).
Running yourself into the ground with chronic stress or worry can activate the virus and cause lesions. Pulling all-nighters, eating candy bars, drinking alcohol, smoking, eating white flour goodies and junk food can increase risk. Ingesting foods you are intolerant to, or being deficient in probiotics can increase those flare-ups. Diets high in arginine are thought to activate herpes so avoid avoid all nuts, cashews, chocolate, cereal, lentils and sunflower seeds.
Antiviral drugs like acyclovir or Valtrex are commonly used to treat HSV infections. Unfortunately, there are increasing problems with drug resistance, similar to the problem with antibiotics and superbugs. If you do take the antiviral drug and use them long term, often there are plenty of side effects and potential damage to the kidneys and liver. I'm passionate about natural remedies, so here's a few to ponder:
Lemon balm. I'd make a tea out of this, and drink it. Let the herb steep (not boil) for about 15 minutes then drink. I'd also apply it to your sore with a cotton pad. You can cool the tea first to make it feel better upon application.
Curcumin. It's well known for antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial power but it also fights HSV which means it could help you reduce the frequency and severity of your infection. We have a study to show that. Supplement, or try applying a mini-poultice to your lip sore by mixing turmeric spice with just enough water to form a paste. For extra effect, dump a little curcumin powder from your capsule into the mixture.
Lavender and myrrh. Buy both of those and combine them, apply to the sore. Dilute if it stings.
For more natural remedies, come to my website, www.SuzyCohen.com and sign up for my newsletter. You'll get the longer version of this article with more pain-relieving tips.
Have you ever had a sore throat, been stung by a bee, or twisted your ankle? Do you have arthritis, back pain or headaches? Whenever you are in pain, even post-surgical pain, your body makes compounds in response to the injury which cause temporary redness, heat, swelling, and pain. Then naturally produced enzymes in your body eat up these inflammatory compounds, and that is when you notice the swelling goes down, the pain is relieved and the redness or stiffness recedes.
One second ago, an enzyme in your body called superoxide dismutase (SOD) just chased out a cancer-causing toxin that your cell accidentally spawned. You make all sorts of enzymes, and what's cool is that you can also buy certain enzymes as a dietary supplement, including SOD. Lactose is an enzyme that chews up milk sugars, helping some people to tolerate milk. Bromelain, derived from pineapples, helps with allergies and helps people post-surgically. It might even reduce scarring if taken soon enough. People who take acid blockers could benefit from papain, an enzyme derived from papaya fruit that works nicely with your stomach's pH range.
Proteolytic enzymes another type of enzyme. They chew up proteins and help with digestion. I think they're great for chronic pain syndromes. They help dissolve fibrin deposits which helps bruising. As a teenager (way back in the 1980's) we played a game called Pac Man. Remember?(Please tell me you remember). This popular arcade game included a Pac-Man which traveled a maze and gobbled up ghosts. I was a monster at Pac-Man in my hey day! Proteolytic enzymes work in the same way, they just gobble up debris, as opposed to ghosts.
With less debris, there is improved circulation. That means more oxygen and healing nutrients to the site of injury. As a pharmacist, I recommend you reach for proteolytic enzymes before you NSAIDs such as acetaminophen, naproxen or ibuprofen. Why? Because they are temporary and they have side effects. It's the equivalent of applying a bandage, and while most of you fair out well, the unlucky few experience diarrhea, nausea, headaches, dizziness, bleeding ulcers or heaven forbid, kidney damage. Besides, if you mask your pain with medicine, but continue to operate as normal, you increase your risk of permanent damage.
A German paper studied proteolytic enzymes in 100 athletes. The results were shocking. More than 75 percent said the enzyme treatment was favorable and no side effects were reported! So incredible were the results that the German government sent millions of enzyme capsules to the Olympics to help their athletes heal quicker.
Enzymes are a necessity to life, just like oxygen, food, clean water and shelter. (Some may argue that chocolate should be included as well).
For chronic pain syndromes, as opposed to digestive issues, I recommend that you take your proteolytic enzyme supplement on an empty stomach. This increases the 'Pac-Man' effect by up to 40 percent. While these supplements are generally well-tolerated, I occasionally hear of allergies, rashes and digestive upset.
You're methylating right now! This means you're turning folate (vitamin B9) from your food, into something else called SAMe. It's the process called "methylation" and SAMe is your body's head honcho, the CEO if you will!
SAMe stands for S-adenosylmethionine and drives hundreds of chemical reactions in your body. If you ate a salad for lunch, you're turning that folate into SAMe as we speak. Well, let's hope because SAMe helps you get rid of poisons. The biggest mistake you could make is thinking that methylation problems don't apply to you because you don't have the gene mutation, what we call the genetic snp (pronounced "snip"). Nothing could be further from the truth. As a pharmacist, and a Functional Medicine practitioner, I assure you that your medicine has the capacity to mess up your methylation! Then poisons back up.
Don't think you make poisons in your body because you eat well and exercise? Wrong. Your cells churn poisons out as metabolic waste products probably a million times a minute! You better hope and pray your methylation pathway is up to snuff because if you don't methylate, toxic by-products build up all over your body. This equates to pain, depression, inflammation, elevated homocysteine, cognitive dysfunction, depression, higher risk for neural tube defects and much more discomfort. If you have the genetic snp it's a one-two punch for health problems galore.
So in summary, medications hinder your methylation pathway, whether or not you have a snp. These are the primary offenders:
Cholestyramine. This is a bile acid sequestrate used for reducing cholesterol as well as reducing Herxheimer (die-off) reactions. It is a drug mugger of folate and fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D, A, E and K. Remember, no folate, no methylation!
Birth control or hormonal replacement drugs with estrogen. these drugs are known drug muggers of magnesium, B6 and B2 (riboflavin); that puts the breaks on methylation. Started 'The Pill' recently, and now you feel down in the dumps? This could be why.
Proton Pump Inhibitors (Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, others). Lowering natural acid production in the stomach reduces levels of magnesium, and critical B vitamins. Snp or not, your body simply cannot conduct methylation adequate levels of these nutrients!
Antibiotics like amoxicillin, sulfamethoxazole, doxycycline and dozens more. Antibiotics kill your intestinal microflora (what you call your probiotics). Without the friendly gut flora, you cannot produce vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin). You also cannot activate riboflavin or folate so therefore, your methylation is blocked.
Ibuprofen. This is a drug mugger of folate, so it blocks methylation directly by stealing your folate.
Blood pressure pills like ACE inhibitors. These drugs (enalapril, lisinopril, etc) cause added zinc excretion. You need zinc to conduct methylation.
Nitrous oxide. Been to the dentist lately? If you got NO gas, then no methylation took place for awhile!
There are hundreds of other medicines that hinder your ability to methylate, snp or not! You may not have your genetic details or tests yet, so here are clues to poor methylation: Nerve pain, numbness or tingling, chronic fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, depression, mood swings, attention problems, cervical dysplasia, miscarriage, brain fog, weakness and lots of allergies.
Dallas Lavoe Clouatre was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on 12/25/1951.
Dallas went to school in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, graduating high school as Co-Valedictorian with his twin brother Daniel. When they graduated in 1970, the Clouatre brothers occupied two of the top three academic performance spots in the State of Oklahoma earning both National Merit Scholarships. Dallas attended Stanford University as an undergraduate, majoring in History. He started out as a pre-med major, thus establishing his foundational understanding of biology, chemistry and physiology.
Upon successful completion of his BA degree, he enrolled in graduate school at UC Berkley, studying European Intellectual History. He received his Ph.D. from Berkeley in 1990. Professor Martin Malia, his thesis director, observed that the scope and the scholarship of Dallas’ thesis was so vast and incisive that it could have resulted in three PhDs.
Dallas was the unacknowledged assistant to Professor Malia in writing the mysterious article signed only as “Z” that appeared on the 1990 Op-Ed page of the New York Times. That famous Op-Ed correctly predicted the fall of the Soviet Union despite all of the contrary pronouncements at the time from the US Intelligence Community. (Inasmuch as the excerpt was faxed to the New York Times from Dallas’ Berkeley apartment using Daniel’s fax machine with his name clearly printed at the top of each page, the fact that they did not learn the identity of “Z” until almost a year later when Professor Malia revealed his authorship perhaps serves as a commentary on the investigative powers of that newspaper.)
After Dallas finished his graduate program, he taught history at the University of San Francisco and UC Berkley.
In 1990, a chance meeting with Mrs. Jan Babin, then Sr. VP of Country Life, introduced Dallas to the dietary supplement industry. Her husband, Marvin Babin, hired Dallas to write a booklet on the immune system for his own company. Afterwards, Dallas continued to work occasionally with the Babins and Country Life until 1998.
Dallas was instrumental in bringing (–)-hydroxycitric acid to market in the United States. He first worked with Renaissance Herbs ca. 1993 and then, in 1994, Skip Seroy hired Dallas to work for InterHealth to promote their newly-launched HCA product. Dallas wrote their technical guide for HCA and spent almost a year on PR tours traveling with a Sports Illustrated Cover swimsuit model promoting HCA (1995). After that, Dallas went back to Country Life and created the BioChem line of products with Jan Babin.
Dallas met Jarrow Rogovin at an industry trade show in 1998 and began working with Jarrow Formulas shortly thereafter.
Dallas spent most of his adult life in northern CA, and some in Los Angeles while working with Jarrow Formulas.
In 2011 Dallas moved to Seattle where, along with Daniel, he also served as a Partner of Glykon Technologies Group, LLC, a raw materials vendor. In this capacity, he is listed as an inventor on twenty US patents and patent applications.
As was the tradition of the European intelligentsia, Dallas loved food and cooking and understood that food offered unique insights into culture.
Dallas was a prolific researcher, writer, product formulator and marketer. Among his many professional accomplishments, he was a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition and his paper in Toxicology Letters still serves as the position paper of the World Health Organization regarding the safety of Kava Kava. Dallas worked as an Associate Editor for TotalHealth Magazine for over 15 years, as well as serving on the Editorial Advisory Boards for Nutritional Outlook Magazine and Recent Patents on Cardiovascular Drug Discovery.
In summary, Dallas was a brilliantly intelligent man who truly embodied the term polymath, one who excels in many fields.
He is survived by his brother Daniel.
Dallas Lavoe Clouatre, of blessed memory, may he rest in peace 12/25/1951–7/29/2018
Founder, Jarrow Formulas
According to a recent article in Newsweek Magazine the answer is yes, but I don't think all of the information has been gathered yet. The article is entitled "The Doctor (Watson) Will See You Now" and it generates some interesting concerns. Over 80 percent of illness is preventable and yet we only spend five percent of health dollars on prevention. And, over 60 percent of adults have a chronic disease with healthcare costs slated to reach 100 percent of our GNP by 2065, according to a leading British economist. The current healthcare system is broken and must be improved, but is artificial intelligence by itself going to be the answer?
- First, one of the AI developers is working with the Cleveland Clinic, which could be good if it is the Cleveland Clinic group working on Functional Medicine.
- Secondly, the article admits that diabetes is reversible, but also indicated that it is rarely treated that way. This reminds me of a quote from Dr. Mark Hyman during a Senate Health Committee hearing when he said, "We will not solve the current health care crisis if we just continue to do the wrong things better." Here are a few things Dr. Hyman was referring to:
- We cannot continue to use outdated diagnostic tools that are only able to identify diseases that have already started. This is totally unacceptable when we now have proven tests that can find cells misbehaving five to ten years before a disease begins.
- And, why do we continue to treat the symptoms of illness with drugs that usually don't address the cause of the problem and often create terrible side effects?
Artificial Intelligence platforms can help to improve health and reduce cost, but only if they use Functional Medicine where the platform finds most disease before it starts (80 percent are preventable) and reverses the rest with only safe, effective and less costly protocols based on Functional Medicine. There is such a platform and it has now been shown to reduce cost by over 15 percent per year. This was accomplished by using an artificial intelligence wellness platform with 20,000 employees over a five-year period. If you would like to demo this amazing program, please contact us.
Caring for our selves and finding ways to handle our stresses are clearly important practices for assuring our long-term health. They are definitely key aspects of Preventive Medicine, Along With the right nutrition and exercise programs for our body, getting proper sleep, and maintaining a positive attitude toward our self, others, and the world. Learning the individual lifestyle path that generates health rather than disease is really the finest art of medicine and personal development, and an extremely important process in which to invest. Let's look at ways to protect our body and heart from the negative effects of stress and to create better health.
One of the first steps in stress reduction is an honest inventory of where we are. Ask yourself:
- What is my biggest life challenge now?
- Is anything very out of balance in my life? If so, what is upsetting me?
- Why don't I feel fully relaxed, happy, and able to sleep well?
- What do I need to do to restore balance?
- Is there anything I can do something about?
- Health–how we care for ourselves and the result we hu-manifest,
- Career–what we share with the world and the support that is returned, and
- Relationships–how we give and receive love.
If we can master these three primary areas of life, some might say we're near enlightenment.
One of the sources of stress is inner tension between what we expect of ourselves and what actually happens. Often these expectations are quite unconscious. It's important to identify unspoken expectations or attachments. Sometimes we need to work a little harder to bring reality in line with our expectations— and to really go for our dream.
At other times, we need to develop more detachment to let go of counter-productive thoughts or desires. In this effort, a meditation practice can be very valuable. All the major religions of the world include some type of meditation or prayer. Your practice can be aligned with your spiritual beliefs.
Types of Stress (adapted from the Anti-Stress Program of Staying Healthy with Nutrition textbook)
Stress comes in many forms. For example, many of us are surprised to learn that intense joy is a source of stress, but since it requires more of our body and mind, it genuinely qualifies as stress (with an increased heart rate and the manufacture of certain neurotransmitters, such as adrenaline). Exercise can also be a stressor even though it is great for us. This is because of the repetitive movement in certain areas of the body, and because we create and release more free radicals and toxins into the blood and tissues. This biochemical process can best be handled by being sure you drink enough water and take antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamins A and C. According to researchers on stress, the most optimal combination for vitamin C is to pair it with the bioflavonoid, quercetin.
The various types of stress and some of the factors that contribute to them include:
- Mental—high responsibility; financial or career pressures; working long hours at mental tasks, perfectionism, anxiety, and worry
- Emotional—attitude toward self; issues or imbalances in our relationships; anger, fear, frustration, sadness, betrayal, and bereavement
- Psycho-Spiritual—issues of life goals; spiritual alignment, imbalance, or lack of spiritual nurturing; general state of contentment
- Physical—exercise and physical labor; pregnancy and giving birth; developmental or life changes (adolescence, menopause, and aging)
- Traumatic—infection, injury, burns, surgery, and extreme weather and temperatures
- Biochemical—deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, specific amino acids, protein, or fats and fatty acids; food allergies; genetic errors in metabolism that can result in alcoholism, other addictions, or mental illness
- Toxic—environmental pollutants such as pesticides, cleaning solvents, and other toxins; non-organic foods with additives; and the use of chemicals such as prescription and OTC drugs, in cosmetic and hair products, and overuse/abuse of sugar, alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine
What is Stress?
Please realize that stress is not dictated by situations or incidents themselves; rather, real stress comes from the way we react to the issues of our lives. For stress to negatively influence our health, we must experience something as danger. If we experience a threat as stress, we may go into fight-or-flight mode, which shifts us into the sympathetic (adrenaline) side of our nervous system. That means our body actually prepares to battle or run, i.e. "fight or flight." Our circulation slows and there may be greater muscle tension; our digestion slows down, heart rate goes up, and we begin using up important nutrients. Often immune function is affected—our level of T-cells may even be depressed. And clearly then, we are more prone to become ill or "catch whatever's going around."
Sometimes there's no way around stress. For example, when a child falls on the playground, or we're putting out a fire, our body prepares us for the emergency so we can respond immediately. That's the way it should be as this level of response/reaction allows us to be more alert and ready for action.
But sometimes stress is subtler—and it may be more psychological or emotional. When there really is no physical danger, our body may still react as if there is. Then, if there's no physical activity to provide an outlet for the increased internal activity, the response may remain inward and play havoc with our physiology and organs, as well as with our emotions and our mind. At that point, we run the risk of exhausting the adrenal glands and flooding our body with metabolic toxins, such as damaging free radicals (associated with the aging process and diseases such as heart disease and cancer). This example also shows the reason why "a walk to cool down" really is a good idea.
When we're under emotional or mental stress, and still stay in a relaxed mode, we can respond more calmly and experience less emotional and biochemical wear-and-tear. Then our body doesn't shift into full battle mode and begin pouring out the chemical signals that we're in danger and must react. This relaxed approach usually leads to a better outcome as well.
Many anti-stress formulas are based on the B-complex vitamins and vitamin C because these important nutrients are all significantly depleted by stress. In addition, stress-related problems may be compounded by deficiencies resulting from generally poor nutrition. All of the B vitamins are important here—especially pantothenic acid (B5). B5, folic acid, and vitamin C are essential for the functioning of our adrenal glands. The adrenals carry perhaps the greatest load when our body is under stress.
The B-complex vitamins are ideally taken two or three times a day, particularly when we are under a lot of stress. This is especially important if the stress lasts over a period of months— for example from a big project at work or a challenging job, a chronically ill child or parent, unemployment, divorce—any of the life events that tend to deplete us over time. It's best to take the B-vitamins before dark so that we don't become over-stimulated when it's time to wind down and relax. I do suggest more minerals in the evening, as they tend to help with relaxation, especially a calcium and magnesium supplement. However, most vitamins and minerals are best assimilated if they're taken with a meal.
Note: Prolonged stress or lack of sleep can lead to a myriad of health problems. If these issues do not resolve with home treatment, you may need to see your doctor or other health professional.
Stress is a funny word. Loaded with the emotional bias of being a “bad” thing, the word stress can be quite deceiving, making it harder to handle than it needs to be. So we will offer a new way to look at it—and very effective ways to address it.
As the healing arts grows, it is important to remember that there are four key domains in healing:
- Biochemistry. This includes herbals, nutrition and medications.
- Structural. Including areas such as manipulation, surgery, breathing, exercise, and ergonomics.
- Biophysics. For example, Acupuncture, Chakra work, Yoga, and NAET.
- Mind-Body-Spirit. Understanding how the body is a metaphor for what is occurring at a deeper level. For most illnesses, including anxiety and even cancer, complete healing is unlikely to occur unless this is also attended to.
You will find that healing occurs best when all four of these areas are addressed. No individual healer is likely to have complete expertise in all of these areas. As our new healthcare system evolves, and the current one heads to extinction, it is good to see health practitioners from diverse backgrounds communicating and working together more.
So let's look at how a Comprehensive Medicine approach works when addressing anxiety and stress. I will focus predominantly on mind-body and biochemical aspects, as these are where my expertise is.
Treating Mind-Body Issues
Stress is not inherently good or bad. In fact, stress can be used to force flowers to bloom, and this analogy applies to people as well. The problem is when stress becomes chronic, and is no longer enjoyable. This then contributes to chronic elevation of the stress hormone cortisol, directly triggering anxiety. As the excessive stress becomes chronic, cortisol levels then go too low—ironically also triggering anxiety by causing recurrent bouts of low blood sugar.
A simple way to tell if stress is healthy? Simply check in to see how it feels. If it feels good, it is healthy. What is enjoyable can vary markedly from person to person. For example I enjoyed the stress of skydiving, while for my wife it would feel awful.
A Novel Treatment
The key stress antidote? Check in to see how things feel. This is so important, that I am being purposely redundant. Learn to say NO to things that feel bad. Leave your brain out of it. Our brain is the product of our societal and family training. It simply feeds back to us what we were taught that we should do to make others happy. Our feelings, on the other hand, tap into our own personal authenticity. So choose to focus on, and do, those things that feel good. Once you've determined what feels good, then your mind can figure out how to make it happen.
And yes, it is OK to simply choose to focus on what feels good in life, without being in constant battle mode against things you don't like. Like food choices at a buffet, we don't have to protest for the removal of those foods we don't choose to eat. Simply ignore them and pick those things you like. You will find that the rest will soon stop appearing in your life. This is part of how I suspect “free will” works. Our focus is like the remote control on our TV. What we focus on keeps showing up on our screen. This is why our constant “Wars on…” just seem to create more of what we are attacking.
Is it truly OK to do what feels good? Some will make the argument that “Heroin feels good, and perhaps also smacking that person who makes me angry over the head with a two-byfour.” This is why we add two caveats:
- Don't hurt others.
- Ask yourself “How is that working out for me?”
Doing this, people will find their anxiety is often coming from their choosing what they think they should do over what feels good (i.e. doing what others want, instead of what is authentic to them). Notice if you are constantly feeling, “I should do this, or I should do that.” This is euphemistically called “Shoulding on yourself.” I invite you to change that toxic behavior.
If hyperventilation is present, one will usually have buried feelings that are bubbling to the surface during periods of relative calm. Counseling to help them learn to feel their feelings helps over time. Also, as panic attacks often leave people feeling like they are going to die, understanding that the symptoms are not dangerous helps. Simply being told this may not be enough to reassure you though. You can confirm hyperventilation is the cause by breathing rapidly for up to 30–60 seconds and seeing how it amplifies your symptoms. Unfortunately, this can also precipitate a full-blown panic attack, so be forewarned, and pick a safe time and place to do this test!
My e-book, “Three Steps to Happiness—Healing through Joy,” can help guide you through the mind-body healing process.
Balance The Biochemistry
Begin with ruling out and treating overt issues, including:
- Overactive thyroid. Consider this if your Free T4 thyroid test is even in the upper 20th percentile of the normal range.
- Low progesterone (women). Progesterone is like our body's natural Valium. Consider this if anxiety is worse around menses and ovulation.
- Low testosterone (men). Consider if testosterone levels are in the lower quarter of the normal range.
- Adrenal fatigue—caused by drops in blood sugar. A key tip-off? Irritability and anxiety that triggers sugar cravings and improves after eating.
Also optimize nutrient status, especially magnesium and B vitamins. Instead of blood testing, which is of questionable value here, I simply recommend (for most people—whether or not they have anxiety) a high potency multi powder called the Energy Revitalization System (by Enzymatic Therapy). With this, one drink replaces well over 35 pills, optimizing levels of most nutrients. Also have the person decrease sugar and caffeine intake to see if this helps.
Herbals can also be very helpful. For example, there is a unique extract, which can be as effective as Xanax, but is very safe. This special extract stimulates one of the most abundant neuroreceptors in the body, the cannabinoid receptors. Many of you may recognize this as the marijuana receptor, and in fact many people use cannabis to self-medicate for their anxiety. But what if you could get the benefits without the sedation and side effects?
The good news is that now you can. Recent research showed that a special extract of the roots of the narrow leafed coneflower (Echinacea angustifoliae) was more effective than the tranquilizer Librium, with none of the side effects. It also worked quickly, with effects building with continued use. This is not the same component used for immune enhancement, and isn't found at needed levels in standard Echinacea. It is available though as AnxioCalm (by EuroPharma—20 mg per tablet).
Let's look at a few studies of this unique extract.
A study published in the March 2012 issue of Phytotherapy Research included 33 volunteers. All experienced anxiety, assessed using the validated State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). The extract decreased STAI scores within three days, an effect that remained stable for the duration of the treatment (seven days) and for the two weeks that followed treatment. There were no dropouts and no side effects.
Another study looked at higher dosages (40 mg 2 x day) in a multi-center, placebo-controlled, double-blind Phase II study involving 26 volunteers diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Over a three week period, the number of severely anxious patients (HADS-A scores larger than 11) decreased from 11 to zero!
So I begin with two tablets of AnxioCalm 2x day for severe anxiety. After three weeks, the dose can often be dropped to one 20 mg tablet twice a day. It can also simply be used as needed, and serves as an excellent sleep aid.
Other helpful herbals include valerian, passion flower, hops, theanine, and lemon balm. These can be found in a combination called the “Revitalizing Sleep Formula,” which helps anxiety during the day and sleep at night. I personally use both AnxioCalm and the Revitalizing Sleep Formula at night to ensure 8–9 hours of deep sleep.
The smell of lavender oil is also calming, and a small drop on the upper lip, or even having a lavender bouquet in one's room, can be helpful.
Structural And Biophysics
Simply going for regular walks in the sunshine, and doing yoga, tai chi, and meditation can be very helpful. A technique called centering can help people feel that they are in the calm “eye of the cyclone” when panic attacks hit. In addition, it is helpful to explore a technique called Butyko breathing, which can be very helpful for anxiety and hyperventilation.
For PTSD or old emotional traumas, a technique called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) can give near miraculous benefits in as little as 20 minutes (see EFT.Mercola.com). It may seem odd, but try it and you'll be amazed. Releasing old traumas through a simple “trembling” technique is also helpful, and the person can do it on their own. It is easy and simple instructions can be found in the book Waking the Tiger.By having the entire healing arts toolkit available, and not just using the “medical hammer,” anxiety can now be effectively treated!
Not a month goes by without headlines in the media proclaiming either that vitamins do amazing things or that they do nothing at all. Such concerns no longer are limited to those whose jobs are to raise such issues. Individuals purchasing health foods and related products increasingly are asking questions about the cost and effectiveness of supplements. Likewise, governmental watchdog agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), expect that the manufacturers and marketers of nutrients and herbs be able to back up claims with sound research. Total Health Magazine Online took an in-depth look at some of the issues back in 2011, for which see “Are Vitamin Supplements Safe?”
Unfortunately, responses to these demands for better backing for claims often are less than satisfactory. Marketing-driven science is as common as is science-driven marketing. Distinguishing between the two requires familiarity with the standards that universities and research institutions have adopted to evaluate medical evidence. This means knowing about the types of studies available and about the elements found in every properly designed study.
There are three basic types of clinical investigations: case-control studies, cohort studies and randomized controlled trials. For most nutritional supplements, the last of these is the primary form of investigation. However, for completeness, a few words should be spared to describe the other two. Case-control studies start with individuals who have already developed a disease or special condition and the controls are matched individuals who do not have the disease in question. An example is an analysis of heart disease rates in male smokers versus rates in otherwise similar males who have never smoked. This is an observational study because there is no intervention by the researchers. The strength of this study type is that it allows researchers to explore how variables influence the development of the condition being examined. The major drawback is that the study can easily be biased with regard to observations and other factors.
Cohort studies differ from case-control studies in that researchers start with individuals who have not yet developed the disease or condition being investigated. Hence, a cohort study on athletic supplements might start with two groups of similar athletes before one group begins supplement use. The analysis would consist of determining whether the group taking the supplement improved as measured by some marker for performance or perhaps had fewer injuries. This is an observational study because there is no intervention by the researchers. Cohort studies have the virtue of allowing investigators to more reliably establish whether a particular action (taking a supplement) leads to a particular outcome (fewer injuries). However, cohort studies may require years of following the subjects and also depend upon the subject populations being properly identified as identical with regard to the studied condition(s) at the start of the study rather than being weighted with some underlying predisposition. In other words, it is easy to introduce bias into cohort studies.
In many ways, the “gold standard” of investigational studies is the randomized placebo-controlled double-blind clinical trial. Ideally, the trial population is relatively uniform to start. Subjects are then randomly assigned to active and placebo arms, further helping to reduce any bias or predisposition in the groups being tested. The test is double-blind, meaning that neither the participants nor the investigators know who is taking the compound being tested. Finally, inasmuch as there often is a large psychological effect (the placebo or “sugar pill” effect) during the first weeks of a study, there is an arm of the trial that receives an item that appears to be identical to the compound being tested, but which has no effect. Note that this is an intervention study— the research actively intervenes by giving the compound to be studied to one or more of the arms in the trial. The idea here is to clearly demonstrate whether there is a cause and effect relationship between the item being studied and the outcome with the subjects. When possible, there is also a “cross-over” phase in which, after a sufficient washout period, the group that was used as the placebo arm becomes the active group and the group that had been the active arm becomes the placebo group. Not all studies lend themselves to this, but cross-over studies insure that there are no unrecognized predispositions in the subject that might bias the test results. All of this sounds good in theory. Unfortunately, as shortly will be shown, this “gold standard” of clinical trials still can be biased in a variety of ways.
The design of trials involves at least one more component that is important for evaluating whether the results of a given study are weak or strong.
The first step in any clinical trial is the production of a study protocol. This protocol presents three very important elements. First is the hypothesis of the study: what question is the study intended to answer?
Second is the study population: how and why were subjects picked to be in the study; what are the criteria for inclusion and exclusion; are special conditions involved?
Third is the size of the study sample: how many subjects are needed to insure that the results represent true findings rather than mere chance? All studies contain these three elements and the validity of these components—was the study question correctly framed, was the proper study population chosen, was the study carried on for an appropriate period of time, were enough subjects included to yield statistical significance, etc.— are essential for evaluating the worth of the trial.
Before moving to examples of weak and strong of clinical trials, a few words need to be said regarding statistical significance. The usual cut-off level is given as “p< 0.05,” which means there is only a five percent chance that the study findings represent mere chance. Some statistical models are more strict than others for performing this calculation, but readers actually need to be worried about something else, which is the study sample size. If a study uses, say, only seven subjects per arm, the small size of the study means that the reported effect will need to be very large to achieve statistical significance. Conversely, and one sees this all the time in pharmaceutical studies, a trial monitoring 100,000 subjects may find significance for what, in practice, are effects that are so weak that they are clinically only marginally useful!
As noted above, randomized placebo-controlled double-blind clinical trials are considered to be the ggold standardh for research. Nevertheless, many such trials are quite weak and misleading. For one thing, it all to often turns out to be the case that the placebo is not actually inactive, for instance, the practice of using maltodextrin or other sugars as the so-called placebo in weight loss studies. Relatedly, especially in studies involving weight loss, the placebo effect can be very strong for many weeks. The placebo effect in diet studies commonly leads to the loss of two pounds in eight weeks, and much more if diet and exercise changes are included. A BBC News report on the Internet (March 10, 2004) on trials of the drug rimonabant noted that participants taking the placebo were five pounds lighter at the end of one year. In some large pharmaceutical diet trials in which subjects changed behavior, diet and exercise, the weight loss in two months using the placebo exceeded 11 pounds!
Similarly, if exercise is included in a weight loss trial with healthy subjects, then LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides and leptin levels normally will go down, whereas HDL cholesterol will go up. Moderately increasing the amount of protein in the diet, likewise, will produce such trends. Hence, if a weight loss trial includes exercise and a controlled diet with increased protein, yet reports results opposite of these or fails to find weight loss in participants using the placebo (as happened recently in a highly promoted trial), then the reader should seriously wonder whether there was a lapse somewhere in either design or implementation because of the divergence from independently established outcomes. Moreover, it is often the case that even the most rock-solid of results cannot be extrapolated from one group to another. To stay with diet trials, studies performed in Asia or Latin America usually cannot be applied to American experience because the study populations and eating habits are so different. One has the right to question the reproducibility and applicability of studies.
Of course, many studies are very strong, although this, too, can be misleading. A recent one measured the effects of short-term, oral L-arginine supplements (12 g/d for 3 weeks) in 16 hypercholesterolemic men with normal blood pressure (BP). In this randomized, double-blind, two-period crossover design study, L-arginine tablets (1 g each) and matched placebos (microcrystalline cellulose) were used. The researchers demonstrated that the L-arginine supplement increased blood plasma levels of L-arginine and significantly reduced systolic BP (p<.05) and diastolic BP (p<.001), both at rest and during acute laboratory stressors. BP reductions were associated with a significant decrease in heart output (p<.01); these changes were mediated by small reductions in the volume of blood pumped with each heart beat (p = 0.07). These results were reproduced when the placebo group crossed over, plus they make sense in terms of what is known of the role of L-arginine in the body. Note that this study examines only one intervention which is tested in several ways rather than examining several interventions (e.g., diet + exercise + compound). With only one intervention, it is relatively easy to establish a clear cause and effect relationship.
This arginine study is an excellent example of a good study with strong results that can be completely misleading. The study lasted only three weeks. Based on a large number of similarly successful studies lasting only one or two months at a time, the temptation is to conclude that supplementing with L-arginine is a great recourse for those who are hypercholesteremic, hypertensive, need a boost in exercise, and so forth. Unfortunately, such conclusions would be wrong. As uncovered by a researcher who had been a proponent of L-arginine supplementation, long-term supplementation with L-arginine—in this case, six months.may lead either to null results or to actual harm—1 The body consists of a vast number of interconnected metabolic processes that are taking place simultaneously. A beneficial effect in one area sometimes is followed by a not so good effect someplace else. Hence, even with well-designed trials, there can remain hidden or submarine issues of which we become aware only much later.
Judging a clinical trial first requires establishing what type of test is involved—case-control, cohort or randomized controlled trial—because the type of test is the first clue as to how impartial the observations might be. Next, one must look closely at the components of the trial—the hypothesis of the study, the study population and the size of the study sample. A lack of clarity or inappropriateness in any one of these will reduce the quality of the data and undermine the analyses, interpretations and extrapolations based on the trial. Finally, clinical trials seldom exist in a vacuum. A given trial needs to be evaluated in light of related trials, especially trials conducted by researchers whose concerns and orientations are different from those involved with the test being evaluated. Readers interested in pursuing this topic are urged to examine Richard K. Riegelman, Studying a Study and Testing a Test (6th edition, 2012).
1 Wilson AM, Harada R, Nair N, Balasubramanian N, Cooke JP. L-arginine supplementation in peripheral arterial disease: no benefit and possible harm. Circulation. 2007 Jul 10;116(2):188.95. Epub 2007 Jun 25.
Antioxidants, Our Natural Protectants: Metabolic Regulators, Antitoxins and Anti-inflammatories
Antioxidants protect us. They are the sub-stances that naturally regulate the fires within our bodies.
The fires are sparked by metabolic errors in our cells—errors that are unavoidable as our cells make and use energy for the business of life. The fires can be managed when we are young and very healthy but become harder to control as we get older. Aging is not so much bad genes as it is a slow, inexorable, cumulative consequence of tissue damage from internal fires, sparked by these unavoidable errors of metabolism.
The sparks of metabolism come from living with oxygen. Our life forms breathe in oxygen and use it to do controlled “burns” that extract energy from our foods. Oxygen-based energy allows us to become more sophisticated than amoebas, but comes with a big price. Oxygen is so reactive that it draws single electrons to it, generating oxygen-free radicals within our cells. These “oxyrads” are our unavoidable “sparks of metabolism.” Antioxidants keep them from destroying our cells.
Our tiny metabolic sparks are generated at a steady rate, the oxyrads having single electrons which cause them to attack biological molecules. Molecules with single electrons are aggressive oxidants: they steal single electrons to become paired up. Antioxidants block this process by donating their own electrons.
The antioxidant defenses dare not fail. When they do, important bio-molecules lose single electrons, themselves become unstable, and initiate spreading chain reactions. A chain reaction that escapes control becomes inflammation, with cell and tissue death and progressive loss of functional capacity. Inflammatory events are our internal fires, opposed by antioxidant enzymes backed up by our dietary antioxidant intakes. Our antioxidant defenses give us power to head off degenerative disease and achieve long life.
By quenching the metabolic sparks, antioxidants are also our natural antitoxins. But if the oxygen-free-radical toxins were the only problem, we'd likely all live 120 years or more. Think about cigarette smoke—100 trillion free radicals per puff. A total 4,000-plus synthetic chemicals in everyday use; even drugs we buy over the counter set small fires. Not to mention the illicit “recreational drugs.” Even emotional stress can overheat our metabolism. In this crazy world it's not good to leave home without your antioxidants.
Infectious agents are consistently linked to inflammation. In 1990 I documented inflammatory depletion of antioxidants by HIV-1. Then there's Hepatitis C virus in the livers of four million Americans. The bacterium Helicobacter pylori accounts for the majority of inflammatory stomach and intestinal ulcers. About half of the chronically ill American veterans of the Gulf War have mycoplasmal infections. We also can't forget Chlamydia pneumoniae, the fungus Candida albicans and Giardia and amebic protozoal parasites.
Our own host immune system may trigger inflammation from over-reaction to resistant pathogens. The immune cells produce huge quantities of free radicals when on the attack. When pathogens are not easily eliminated, the immune oxidant production can get out of control, resulting in local exhaustion of antioxidant defenses and another inflammatory focus.
Almost every toxic substance steals electrons and therefore can deplete the body's antioxidants. Thus, the body's own efforts to process some substances can actually make them worse toxins. The P450 detoxification system, located mostly in the liver, combines oxygen with water-insoluble substances such as cholesterol, estrogens, pollutants, pharmaceuticals, even herbal constituents. They are made into free radicals, to be later combined with antioxidants and made water-soluble for clearance with the urine or bile. But things don't always go as planned.
The P450 system wasn't designed to deal with the huge mass of toxins that enter the body. Let's talk about acetaminophen. This legal, over-the-counter drug (Tylenol®) is made highly reactive by the liver P450 enzymes. Then it burns away glutathione, the major liver antioxidant, and begins to kill liver cells. Liver failure can result. Organochlorine pollutants, indoor pesticides, mercury and other heavy metals (and let's not forget alcohol and cigarette smoke derivatives) all deplete glutathione and threaten all the tissues.
I recently did a series of in-depth reviews of degenerative diseases. The major pattern I see with atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, bowel diseases, liver diseases, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, cataract, arthritis, osteoporosis, macular degeneration, prostate diseases, many cancers—is inflammation. By combating inflammation, antioxidants are our essential natural defense against premature suffering and death.
The body relies on foods to replenish its internal antioxidant stores. From our whole, unprocessed foods come the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E; the antioxidant essential minerals, selenium and zinc and copper and manganese; the semi-essential antioxidants coenzyme Q10 (COQ) and alpha lipoic acid (ALA); lutein, lycopene and other carotenoids; the polyphenolic flavonoids and various substances from traditional herbs. These circulate in our blood and contribute integratively to the blocking of free radicals. But a growing body of research indicates we aren't getting enough from our foods for optimal protection against disease.
The healthy body tries to conserve the nutritional antioxidants through metabolic recycling. But still there is a “burn” on our reserves. Dr. Robert Cathcart, the foremost authority on vitamin C , speaks of a “hundred-gram cold,” an influenza so severe it can burn away 100 grams (not milligrams) of vitamin C in just a day or two. A flu attack can be held to just a few days instead of a few weeks by taking lots of C and other antioxidants.
Integrative medical practitioners report that just about all their patients benefit from supplemental antioxidants. Vitamin E has been known for decades to be lifesaving against heart disease.Most of the health food community thinks of vitamin E as tocopherols. But tocotrienols are legitimate members of the vitamin E family and are excellent antioxidants. They are under clinical investigation for benefit against atherosclerotic blood vessel disease and experimentally for the slowing of cancer cell growth and proliferation.
Stephen Sinatra, M.D., a cardiologist and leader in the practice of integrative medicine, has long been a booster for COQ. I can relate to this because I also see COQ's fantastic promise. As I read about health care costs soaring through the roof, I wonder why COQ is not being fortified in our foods to lower gum disease, to improve heart and blood vessel health, to boost immunity and fight cancer development, even (yes!) to lengthen everyone's productive lifespan.
Coenzyme Q10 is unique as a potent antioxidant and indispensable energy catalyst (only ALA has a similar double role). Many of Dr. Sinatra's patients are very deficient in COQ. People taking statin drugs, beta-blockers or certain of the anti-depressants may have their internal COQ synthesis blocked. For them and probably for many of the sick and elderly, COQ is practically a vitamin. Any insufficiency of COQ can endanger the heart through impairing its energetic capacity.
Dr. Sinatra has linked much of the heart disease he sees in women to COQ deficiency. More than 100 clinical studies document that COQ improves congestive heart failure, angina, high blood pressure. About 15 percent of Dr. Sinatra's patients do not improve satisfactorily on COQ alone; these he gives carnitine and then improvement usually occurs. He also sees in the clinical evidence a potential link between poor COQ status and cancers, especially in women.
Selenium is an essential trace mineral, required through the diet though only in small quantities. Selenium has importance for human health that belies its plain mineral status. It is specific for the active sites of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase (GP). GP is a central player in control over free radicals.
In 1996 a major paper appeared in the prestigious (and conservative) New England Journal of Medicine, making an almost unbelievable claim. It described a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in which more than 1,300 subjects were followed for up to 10 years. Dietary supplementation with selenium produced a 50 percent reduction in total cancer mortality. The incidence of cancer was reduced by one-third. Lung, colorectal and prostate cancer incidence were markedly reduced. The material used was SelenoExcell™, an organic selenium concentrate that resembles the selenium found in food.
The carotenoids are, like vitamin E, fat-soluble antioxidants. One of them—lycopene—has been linked to exciting early results against prostate cancer. A small but controlled, clinical trial focused on male subjects undergoing surgery for prostate cancer. Half were offered a dietary supplement of LYC-O-MATO®, a standardized natural tomato extract with four times the typical lycopene content. PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) levels and prostate tumor size were significantly reduced, compared with the control subjects.
More recently, in a placebo-controlled, crossover trial, LYC-O-MATO® also showed good results in lowering high blood pressure. Its natural combination of lycopene with other plant nutrients may offer a unique synergy for the protection of our health against free radical and other toxic damage.
Lutein is the only carotenoid found in high concentrations in the retina, a thin cell layer at the back of the eye which constantly takes a high dose of light radiation. Macular degeneration destroys the retina and afflicts one out of four Americans over age 65. Lutein is being researched for its capacity to protect the retina and the lens of the eye and it also has anticancer potential.
Grape seed extracts are concentrates of flavonoid polymers. When the great scientist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi received the Nobel Prize for discovering vitamin C, he commented that he had expected to get it for discovering the flavonoids. The small polymers (oligomeric procyanidins) and polyphenols in grapes work synergistically with vitamin C to conserve the functions of the blood vessel linings and walls. Some of these flavonoids also have antiviral and possible anticancer actions.
As scientists continue with their dedicated investigations of food constituents, the latest phytonutrient star is rosmarinic acid (RA). This substance is extracted from a naturally high-yielding strain of oregano and also occurs in thyme and rosemary. All three of these plants have been revered for their medicinal properties literally for centuries. RA appears to have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties, while its high antioxidant potency has proved useful for stabilizing vegetable oils against frying. It has been prepared as a powder without solvents or other processing chemicals. Antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral effects are also being investigated.
Antioxidants are, together with phospholipids, nutrients with profound nutraceutical potential. Whether supplementation with these nutrients will extend the maximum lifespan remains to be proven. Certainly the clinical and experimental studies suggest that functional deficiencies of these nutrients result in cell-level dysfunctions with the potential to spark inflammation that progresses to life-shortening degenerative disease.
We need to keep the fires within us at a very low ebb lest they develop into the raging infernos of uncontrolled inflammation. Consumption of a variety of functional foods and supplements enriched with these nutrients will help keep that doctor away.
Phospholipids, Functional Partners of Antioxidants
by Parris M. Kidd, Ph.D.
Within the cells, circulating lipoproteins, digestive fluids and elsewhere in the body, phospholipids co-occur and co-function with antioxidants. The phospholipids (pronounced fos-fo-lip-ids) self-assemble into membranes and other multidimensional structures, together with antioxidants to protect them against oxidative destruction. This partnership between nutrient classes profoundly influences the health of the whole being.
The cell membranes are dynamic molecular assemblies that house life's plethora of biochemical processes. Our 100 trillion cells all rely on membranes to carry out their functions. Cell membrane organization is shown on the left of the illustration. Catalytic proteins are housed within a flexible bilayer (two molecular sheets), the phospholipid matrix. The matrix also houses antioxidants, including tocopherols and tocotrienols of the vitamin E family; lycopene, lutein and other carotenoids and ubiquinone (coenzyme Q10 or COQ). Also present is the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase, using selenium as its mineral co-factor.
Phospholipids (PL) are the most biochemically-suited building blocks for membranes. The right side of the illustration shows the molecular plan of a common membrane PL such as PS (PhosphatidylSerine)or PC (PhosphatidylCholine).
The fatty acid tails often are highly unsaturated and therefore susceptible to oxyradical or other oxidant attack. The more unsaturated the membrane, the more antioxidant protection is required. The PL head groups each bring special properties to the membrane. In PS the head group has serine, in PC it has choline. The “prophospholipid” GPC (GlyceroPhosphoCholine) has the choline head group but lacks fatty acid tails, and is absent from the membrane proper.
PS is most concentrated in nerve cell membranes. Its head group associates with membrane proteins particularly crucial to nerve cell functions. These include:
- The sodium-potassium AND calcium-magnesium transporters that use up to 70 percent of all the cell's energy;
- Enzymes for signal transduction—protein kinases and adenylyl cyclases;
- Receptors, sensors for chemical transmitters (acetylcholine, adrenaline, noradrenaline, serotonin, others), also for nerve growth factors;
- Proteins of the mitochondrial membranes, central to energetics. Here PS also is a backup for other phospholipids.
These membrane-level functions of PS translate to health for the whole being. Double-blind trials (20 of them) show PS a superior nutrient for memory support, for partial restoration of declining cognitive function, for coping with stress in the healthy young. Preliminary research suggests PS can improve attention, learning and behavior in children.
The energy for life is generated in cell membranes. In the process oxygen radicals (“oxyrads”) are generated which are highly reactive. However good the antioxidant defenses are, some oxyrads escape control and attack membranes. Thus the brain, with its intense energy generation (up to 60 percent of the body's total), must continually renew its cell membranes. Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, the minerals selenium, zinc and manganese, the energizers COQ and alpha-lipoic acid, the carotenoids lutein and lycopene, standardized polyphenolic flavonoids and other food borne antioxidants, all synergize with PS to help optimize brain functions.
The liver is our workhorse organ; its cells contain a total eight football fields worth of membrane area, to perform 500 different functions. In its efforts to detoxify foreign substances it generates a further oxidative load on top of its usual oxyrad burden. Oxidants from foods, viruses, pollutants and drugs challenge the liver's antioxidant capacity. Though the healthy liver is well endowed with antioxidants, oxidant overload can kill cell membranes. Enter PC (PhosphatidylCholine), the most common phospholipid of membranes.
Dietary supplementation with PC has clinically important, sometimes lifesaving benefits for the liver. In eight double-blind clinical trials, PC protected the human liver against alcoholic inflammation, viral infection and toxic prescription rugs, markedly improving the speed and extent of patient recovery.
The liver also carries a substantial reserve of GPC, which is readily converted into PC to make membrane. It is the most bioavailable source of choline to help the liver cells regenerate and perhaps for similar reasons is highly concentrated in mother's milk.
Taken by mouth, GPC quickly clears the blood-brain barrier to reach the brain. Working through various mechanisms, it sharpens attention and immediate recall in young, healthy subjects. In the middle-aged it benefits information processing and general mental focus. In the elderly it improves declining cognitive functions linked to circulatory damage. GPC's support for nerve cell functions, including a protective role as osmotic buffer, make a convenient biochemical fit with the antioxidant defenses operative in the brain.
Functional partnership between phospholipids and the antioxidants is not limited to membranes. The circulating lipoproteins produced in the liver (HDL, LDL and others) are made mostly from PL building blocks. Dietary PL facilitate normal, pro-homeostatic lipoprotein status, probably through their support of the liver.
The LDL are the main vehicles for delivery of fat-soluble antioxidants—E, COQ, alpha-lipoic, carotenoids, others—to the tissues. In all of 12 double-blind trials, phospholipid mixtures lowered abnormally high total- and LDL- cholesterol without harming the HDL levels. In another double-blind trial, PL significantly improved blood flow to the brain and improved abnormal platelet aggregation. These marked circulatory benefits of the PL clearly complement antioxidants' benefits for the circulating lipoproteins and blood vessel walls.
Phospholipids combine with antioxidants in facilitating digestion. The bile fluid is essential for fat digestion and absorption. Bile has a large content of PL, functioning with the antioxidant taurine as micellizing agents to fully disperse the fat molecules. Fatty acids of the omega-3 or omega-6 class make up many of the phospholipid “tails.” These are held in position by their parent PL molecules while enzymes break away prostaglandins (PG) and other messenger molecules. Membrane antioxidants help regulate the PG formed, to support a favorable balance.
The natural co-functioning of phospholipids with antioxidants in our cells and tissues suggests combination supplements for synergistic benefits. In particular, a new technology (NutriVail™) employs custom phospholipids to make monomolecular dispersions of antioxidants, with the aim of substantially enhanced bio-availability and unique clinical benefit.
Peer-reviewed publications available on request. Dr. Kidd is scientific consultant to Lipoid USA.
Lutein For Eye Health
Recent scientific studies showing a clear association between lutein intake and a decreased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts are capturing the attention of both consumers and their eye doctors. The need is growing clearer:
- One out of four people aged 65 or older has early signs of AMD.
- One out of two people aged 65 or older has a cataract or cloudiness in the eye's lens.
- As the largest population group in the United States ages, many people are facing the likelihood of what some simply accept as part of aging, vision loss.
A Food and Nutrition Board report found that lutein is the nutrient most strongly associated with decreased risk of AMD and cataracts.
Lutein and Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Prevent Blindness America estimates that 13 million people in this country have evidence of AMD, a condition that gradually destroys central vision. While the exact cause of this debilitating condition is still unknown, family history and age are known factors.
Lutein is found in the macula's “yellow spot,” a tiny region at the center of the retina. This tiny yellow spot filters blue light for the color vision cells within the retina. The researchers found that lutein is deposited in the retina and macula, increasing its density and protecting the tissue from oxidation by filtering blue light and quenching free radicals.
Experts say that by the time a person exhibits symptoms of AMD the disease has been developing for decades. Baby Boomers are showing concern about their aging eyesight and stocking up on supplement products formulated with lutein to reduce risk of age-related macular degeneration.
Lutein and Cataracts
While cataracts generally occur in people over the age of 65, they are occasionally found in younger people as well. A cataract is a clouding that develops in the normally clear lens of the eye. This process prevents the lens from properly focusing light on the retina at the back of the eye, resulting in a loss of vision.
Lutein's link to cataracts is recent but well documented. Studies published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women with the highest intake of lutein and its fellow carotenoid antioxidant, zeaxanthin, had a 22 percent reduced risk for cataracts; men had 19 percent reduced risk.
“Many people have been told that nothing can be done about cataracts—that they are a natural effect of the aging process,” says Robert Abel, Jr. M.D., author of The Eye Care Revolution and member of the Lutein Information Bureau Advisory Board. “But they're now finding out that dietary changes, including consumption of lutein, may have a significant impact on risk reduction.”
At the same time, consumers are taking charge of their eye health and seeking out possible solutions. A recent independent survey of consumers shows lutein awareness at 44 percent across all age groups and at more than 57 percent among consumers aged 65 years or older.
Mounting scientific evidence also has convinced eye doctors of the many benefits of lutein, with 84 percent currently recommending lutein to their patients, according to an independent survey of 300 U.S. ophthalmologists and optometrists.
These eye doctors also support use of lutein for long-term eye health (91 percent), believe consumers should supplement their diet with lutein daily (71 percent) and believe lutein is the nutrient that best supports long-term eye health (58 percent).
What is lutein?
Lutein (LOO-teen) is a nutrient found predominantly in vegetables, particularly in dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. Lutein belongs to a class of natural, fat-soluble pigments called carotenoids. It promotes long-term eye health in two ways. First, acting as a light filter, lutein protects the eyes from some of the damaging effects of the sun. Second, as an antioxidant, it protects the eyes from the damaging effects of aging.
Foods considered good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin include:
- Leafy greens like spinach, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, and romaine lettuce
- Garden peas and Brussels sprouts
Lutein is found naturally in the human body. In fact, it is the only carotenoid found in large quantities in the retina and at low levels in the lens of the eye. The human body is unable to manufacture lutein, however, so the body must rely on the consumption of lutein-rich foods or lutein supplements to replenish lutein levels and counteract oxidative damage from light as well as the effects of aging.
A 1994 Harvard University study by Dr. Johanna Seddon pointed first to lutein's important role in maintaining long-term eye health. Since then, more than a dozen scientific studies published by such peer-reviewed medical journals as the Journal of the American Medical Association, Archives of Ophthalmology and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have continued to show an association between lutein intake and various long-term eye health benefits.
Editor's Note: Look for a good quality supplement combination of Lutein and Zeaxanthin containing either FloraGLO® brand lutein or Lutemax 2020 and Zeaxanthin. Check our Products We Like section for more information on recommended products
Lyc-O-Mato® Standardized Natural Lycopene Complex
by James Balch, M.D.
The good news is that there is clinical proof you can build a powerful antioxidant defense system against prostate cancer. By incorporating LYC-O-MATO® (standardized natural tomato extract) into your daily nutrition program you can access remarkable fighting power against prostate cancer and a host of other degenerative diseases.
The standardized natural tomato extract contains several phytonutrients found in tomatoes including lycopene, tocopherols, vitamin E, phytofluene, phytoene, phytosterols, beta carotene and more. LYC-O-MATO is extracted from non-GMO tomatoes grown in Israel that contain four times the lycopene content of tomatoes grown elsewhere.
A six-year Harvard Medical School study of healthy males found that consuming tomatoes, tomato sauce or pizza more than twice a week, as opposed to never, was associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer of 21 to 34 percent, depending on the food.
As exciting as its cancer-prevention potential is the evidence that shows lycopene may help fight existing cancer. A recent paper published in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention by Omer Kucuk, M.D., professor of medicine and oncology, and his colleagues at the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, Michigan, evaluated the effect encapsulated LYC-O-MATO had on patients with existing prostate cancer. In this study, Dr. Kucuk and colleagues followed 30 men with localized prostate cancer who were scheduled to undergo surgical removal of the prostate. For three weeks prior to surgery the study participants were randomly assigned to receive either 250 milligrams LYC-O-MATO from LycoRed Natural Products, Beer-Sheva, Israel (which contains 15 milligram of lycopene) twice daily or no intervention. Following removal of the prostates, the glands were analyzed to determine whether there were any differences between the two study groups.
The investigators found that the treated group had smaller tumors, which were more likely to be confined to the prostate. Levels of serum PSA were found to decline in the patients who received LYC-O-MATO tomato extract. In addition, the tumors in patients who consumed this natural lycopene showed signs of regression and decreased malignancy.
“This was the first published report from a randomized prospective clinical trial showing the efficacy of a tomato extract supplement against prostate cancer,” said Dr. Kucuk. “Previous reports were largely epidemiological studies showing an association between consumption of tomato products and decreased risk of prostate cancer. Furthermore, our findings suggest that a tomato extract in the form of LYC-O-MATO may not only help prevent prostate cancer but also may be useful in treating prostate cancer.”
Research using standardized LYC-O-MATO natural tomato extract is also good news for mild hypertensive patients reluctant to make lifestyle changes.
Findings published in the The American Journal of Hypertension provide evidence that LYC-O-MATO may help lower blood pressure in hypertensive patients. The study, presented at the Sixteenth Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension on May 18, 2001, may provide a new alternative for about 50 million Americans who have hypertension.
Americans interested in lowering their risk of high blood pressure are frequently encouraged to exercise and follow a low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Typically, however, many are reluctant to make changes in their lifestyles. In fact, according to NOAH, an online health resource maintained by City University of New York, only 68 percent are aware of their high blood pressure condition and only 27 percent have it under control. High blood pressure contributes to 75 percent of all strokes and heart attacks.
Now there is a natural alternative to controlling hypertension that may prevent Americans from making difficult lifestyle changes and/or taking drugs with harmful side effects.
In a single-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial, Esther Paran, M.D., the study's principal investigator, evaluated the effect of LYC-O-MATO® on grade 1 hypertensive patients. In this study, 30 grade 1 hypertensive patients between the ages of 45–60 were administered a daily dose of identical placebos for the first four weeks of the study, followed by a 250 mg daily dose of LYC-O-MATO® for the final eight weeks of the study.
Preliminary results of this study indicate a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure in treated patients. “We are optimistic about LYC-O-MATO'S potential in managing hypertension,” Dr. Paran said. “The results of this study demonstrate the ability of LYC-O-MATO® to reduce systolic blood-pressure, warranting additional studies in the future.”
Other recent studies suggest that LYC-OMATO ® also provides a considerable level of defense against degenerative diseases including heart disease. Considering the results of these studies, combined with its positive effects on blood pressure, the importance of maintaining a normal level of natural phytonutrients like lycopene, phytoene, phytofluene and beta carotene in the human body is evident. It is recommended that individuals consume at least 80–250 mg of LYC-O-MATO® per day, which contains 15 mg of lycopene as well as other phytonutrients, to maintain good health.
www.lycomato.com, or visit the American Society of Hypertension Web site at www.ash-us.org
Grape Seed Extract and the French Paradox
What is the French paradox?
Several years ago, epidemiologists studying heart disease in Europe noticed something strange—high fat leads to heart disease, right? Not in France. The French eat a large amount of cream, rich sauces, delicious desserts and a wide variety of tasty cheeses. Yet heart disease is lower in France than the rest of Europe. This phenomenon is called the French paradox. Check this out—the French imbibe more wine than the rest of Europe.
The goodness of wine—flavonoids
What's in the wine? Water, alcohol and several other compounds (such as sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, tartaric acid) and more importantly flavonoids. Flavonoids are a large group of phenolic compounds that occur in fruits, cereals, legumes, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, stems and flowers and also in beverages such as tea, cocoa, beer and wine. Flavonoids have several properties that could prevent heart diseases. They are antioxidants that help with the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL). They also have anti-inflammatory properties and a beneficial effect on blood vessels as well.
Grape seed—a vital source of flavonoids Grape seeds contain 5–8 weight percent of flavonoids. Commercially available grape seed extracts such as MegaNatural™ Gold (Polyphenolics, Madera, California) are a rich source of flavonoids. Benefits of flavonoids For several years scientists at the University of California-Davis have studied the effect of flavonoids from grape seeds on blood vessels and how it can reduce cardiovascular risk factors. Loss of endothelium-dependent relaxation (EDR) due to atherosclerosis is the primary cause for the formation of plaque in coronary arteries that leads to heart disease. EDR is caused by the release of nitric oxide (NO) from endothelial cells of the blood vessel. Experimental evidence led to the speculation that the release of NO could be mediated by a series of events that are initiated by a receptor, which is specific to flavonoids. EDR can be readily demonstrated by control experiments using established procedures. The effect of flavonoids on EDR was studied in detail over the past several years. Previous studies regarding the effect of flavonoids on EDR yielded conflicting results, possibly due to the variations in he quality of the extracts examined. However, recent studies using the commercially available grape seed extract MegaNatural Gold provided conclusive evidence that flavonoids have a protective effect against the development of endothelial dysfunction.
In the experiments, a group of rabbits fed only with cholesterol showed loss of EDR. But, a group of rabbits fed with both grape seed extract, MegaNatural Gold and cholesterol showed no loss of EDR, proving the protective effect of the grape seed extract, MegaNatural Gold.
Antioxidant activity of grape seed extracts Another study at the University of Scranton has demonstrated the superior antioxidant activity of grape seed extracts (GSEs) overwine, grape juice, vitamin C and vitamin E. Commercial products like MegaNatural Gold were used for both the in vitro and in vivo studies.
In one such study, a significant increase in the blood plasma antioxidant activity was observed within one or two hours after the consumption of grape seed extract. Nine human volunteers were given a 600 mg dosage of GSE and by using the RANDOX bio-assay study an increase up to 12 percent of blood plasma antioxidant activity was observed. This dosage could be correlated to drinking 300 ml of red wine or consuming 1250 mg of vitamin C.
In order to determine the GSE dosage that is required to have a higher bio-availability of polyphenols in blood plasma for improved antioxidant activity, nine subjects were given varied dosages of the flavonoid, epicatechin. Epicatechin is one of the flavonoids present in all grape seed extracts. The in vivo antioxidant study has shown that a dosage of 300 mg was more effective than 200 mg. In fact at 300 mg the antioxidant capacity in the blood was still increasing after four hours, indicating that at this dose the antioxidant effect will remain in the blood for six to eight hours.
A long-term study involving a dosage of 2 x 300 mg⁄day of GSE with 17 human volunteers was also conducted to understand the beneficial effect of GSE in reducing high cholesterol. Patients with high cholesterol experienced a decline in total cholesterol up to 12 percent and a corresponding decrease up to 16 percent in LDL, the so-called “bad cholesterol” as well.
These studies have once again confirmed the long-term effect of GSE s in controlling the level of cholesterol and triglycerides and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Implications for heart disease Endothelial dysfunction (loss of EDR) exists in hypertensives, diabetics, smokers, postmenopausal women and individuals with hyperlipidemia. All of these conditions are potential cardiovascular risk factors. Experimental evidence leads to the belief that polymeric flavonoids as a part of the diet may have a protective effect against the development of endothelial dysfunction. These findings, along with the established anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of flavonoids, could be a possible explanation for the French paradox.
A substitute for aspirin for heart health?
Many individuals take an aspirin a day to prevent their blood from becoming too “sticky.” Technically they are trying to prevent an increase in platelet aggregation. Blood platelets are like tiny band-aids in that they help to seal wounds by causing the blood to clot. Unfortunately, if the platelets clump (aggregate) too readily, they can cause a great deal of damage to the arteries. They can further the development of arterial plaques and they can reduce the flow of blood through the capillaries. Diabetics and smokers are two groups which commonly suffer from poor circulation and excessive platelet aggregation. Not surprisingly, both groups suffer from elevated rates of damage to the arteries.
Aspirin may provide some potential benefits for the heart, but it also has a number of side effects. The best known of these are damage to the stomach and the small intestine, but there are other dangers such as excessive bleeding (an increase in bleeding time—including inside the eye) and a reduced rate of repair to the tendons and the joints.
Do we really need these side effects? Of course not. Grape seed extract provides extended protection against platelet aggregation without causing any unwanted increase in bleeding time. A number of tests have confirmed this protection including human trials conducted by Serge Renaud of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research. Dr. Renaud demonstrated that grape seed extract can protect against the rebound in platelet aggregation which follows the ingestion of alcohol. Moreover, the compounds found in grape seed extract have a special affinity for the surfaces of the vascular system, the “pipes” as it were, of the body. This special affinity appears to improve the elasticity and the permeability of the capillaries, veins and arteries—the entire vascular system. Grape seed extract protects the ground substance (the proteoglycan matrix) of the blood vessels directly while at the same time it reduces the unwanted adhesion of platelets and other blood components. The suggested intake for these benefits is 200 to 300 milligrams (mg) per day.
The Health Advantage of Food-form Selenium
by Bill Sardi
“The finding that selenium, an essential nutrient posing negligible risk at the 200 mcg intakes studies, can substantially cut the risk of death from cancer is really a revolutionary finding. I cannot think of any other agent, nutritional or pharmaceutical, that is proven to cut the deaths from cancer by half in any human population anywhere in the world. “These remarkable clinical outcomes with selenium for cancer prevention are not a deviation from other research with selenium conducted with animals, with selenium-antioxidant enzymes, with cells in culture. Yet the potential they represent for cutting the emotional, spiritual and financial costs that cancer imposes on human society is almost beyond belief. Just shut your eyes for a moment, take a deep breath and think of all the people you have known who suffered and died from cancer.”
SCIENTISTS FIRST CALLED SELENIUM TOXIC. THEN FOLLOWING ITS RECOGNITION FOR ANIMAL HEALTH, RESEARCHERS IDENTIFIED IT AS AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT FOR HUMAN GROWTH.
Now investigators wonder where the health benefits of selenium stop. The first selenium function in animals wasn't discovered until 1973. Dr. John Rotruck and his colleagues at the University of Wisconsin demonstrated that selenium was incorporated into molecules of an enzyme called glutathione peroxidase (GPX). This vital enzyme protects red blood cells, cell membranes and sub-cellular components against undesirable reactions with soluble peroxides. The discovery of GPX opened the door to our understanding of how selenium is protective against cancer, heart disease, arthritis and accelerated aging.
This much misunderstood trace mineral may not gain the status of a drug simply because its primary role is disease prevention. Wherever soil is rich in selenium, certain diseases of livestock are virtually non-existent.
But how could selenium, provided in dosages less than the weight of a paper clip, protect a 150-pound human from disease?
Selenium and Cancer
In what was called the most startling cancer prevention study ever published, University of Arizona and Cornell University researchers recently discovered that selenium food supplements significantly reduce the incidence of nearly all forms of cancer. In 1996 researchers Larry Clark, Gerald Combs and Bruce Turnbull of Cornell University reported on the 10-year use of a 200 microgram supplement of protein-bound selenium among 1312 patients with a history of basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer. While selenium had no effect upon skin cancer, it had a startling effect upon other types of tumors.
A Harvard researcher was quoted as saying: “If the effect of selenium is this large, it would be more important than anything else we know about in cancer prevention.” The results of the multi-center study were so surprising, many health researchers still want more proof.
Larry Clark, the senior researcher in this study, remarked that the type of selenium used in this study is not commonly found in all vitamin supplements. It's a special type of selenium that is grown organically in yeast. “Most of the selenium on the market is inorganic sodium selenite or sometimes they throw sodium selenite into yeast, but they are not bound together as the yeast grows, yet it is still called high-selenium yeast.”
Which type of selenium supplement?
In plant foods, selenium is bound to an array of amino acids (methionine, cysteine, others) and is thus a more stable form. In 1984, a MIT study determined that organically-bound forms of selenium are able to increase the body selenite exchangeable pool size about 70 percent more effectively than inorganic selenite or selenate. The superiority of protein-bound selenium is demonstrated in recent study where selenium-enriched broccoli was shown to inhibit colon tumors in rodents. Researchers observed that selenium-enriched broccoli is more effective than inorganic forms of selenium against colon tumor formation.
Another example of the superiority of protein-bound selenium over inorganic selenium has become apparent in studies of eye disease. One report suggests that “dietary supplementation with selenium should be explored as a means of preventing macular degeneration.” However, researchers have found that blood levels of selenium were lower among patients with macular degeneration even though seven of 10 patients studied took selenium supplements, mostly consisting of 80 micrograms of inorganic selenium (selenate). Lack of consumption of selenium does not appear to be the problem in these cases. Researchers surmise that the form of selenium is of importance. Some studies report that even 200 microgram doses of inorganic selenium fails to increase blood plasma levels of selenium in the eye, while amino acid-bound selenium increases plasma and whole blood levels.
Consumers should look for organically-bound selenium in supplements rather than the inorganic forms (selenite, selenate). The question is how to duplicate the same selenoproteins provided in plant foods in a food supplement?
Slow-growing Saccharomyces cerevisiae, baker's yeast, is employed to bind amino acids naturally with selenium. Some selenium food supplements only mix inorganic selenium with yeast but this is a shortcut that fails to do what nature does—slowly incorporate selenium into an array of about 20 amino acids. Yet the label on these food supplements may still read “selenium yeast.”
Numerous food supplements provide selenium bound only to one amino acid, selenomethionine. But the food supplement that dramatically reduced the cancer risk in 1996 employed a form of selenium bound to a full array of amino acids, like in foods. Only one brand of food supplement provides this complete food-form selenium, called SelenoExcell.
Due to years of misinformation the word “yeast” draws the attention of some consumers who believe they must avoid yeast products. Beneficial nutritional baker's yeast does not contribute to yeast infections such as Candida albicans. Selenium yeast is carefully pasteurized and dried after it is grown. This kills the yeast and it can no longer grow or multiply. Brewer's yeast has been a staple of the health food industry since its inception and is no cause for concern.
Only one company is going through all the trouble to manufacture a consistently reliable form of selenium organically bound to a full array of amino acids as found in foods. It goes by the trade name SelenoExcell.™. All forms of selenium have health benefits. But we have to go with the science. Until we know more, look for that branded ingredient.
Bill Sardi is president of Knowledge of Health, San Dimas, California.
by Rina Reznik, Ph.D.
To protect ourselves we invest in lifestyle changes, exercise, a healthy diet and supplementation. Antioxidants are only one element in the big picture, so products with multiple uses are particularly useful. After all, there's a limit to the number of supplements we can swallow in a day, let alone afford, so we need to supplement wisely. For example, consuming un-denatured whey protein raises intracellular glutathione levels and takes advantage of its three protective functions: T-cell synthesis, anti-oxidation and detoxification. Spirulina is an effective dietary antioxidant with dozens of well-known health benefits. Rosmarinic acid is another product that offers multiple advantages.
Rosemary and its cousins, oregano and thyme, have been known for their medicinal properties for centuries and rosemary oil has long been used in cooking, aromatherapy and in hair and skin tonics. It has been described traditionally as good for the skin, scalp, digestion and treatment of colds and is used as an antiseptic, stimulant and antispasmodic. Today medical scientists are particularly interested in rosmarinic acid for its anti-inflammatory, antiallergic and antioxidant properties.
Rosmarinic acid's multiple value also lies in its boxer's one-two approach: first, as a purely natural food additive it prevents or neutralizes the harmful oxidation that takes place while food is on the shelf, enhancing its quality and helping to prevent an additional tax on the body's over-burdened defense system. Then once the food is eaten, the same additive turns out to be a powerful dietary antioxidant. Of course it can also be used for direct supplementation. An added bonus is that rosmarinic acid does not interfere with intracellular oxidant-antioxidant balance and enables the immune system's phagocytes to use their free-radical weapons effectively against incoming disease organisms.
RA's antioxidant power
The most common free radicals attacking living tissue are reactive oxygen species (ROS)—or oxyradicals. They include the peroxyl, nitric oxide and superoxide-anion radicals plus singlet oxygen, peroxynitrite and hydrogen peroxide. Worst of all is the dangerous hydroxyl radical, formed by the combination of the weaker superoxide radical with hydrogen peroxide. Rosmarinic acid neutralizes the superoxide-anion and thus makes a major contribution to curbing oxidative damage in the body.
Rosmarinic acid also takes the heat of the more well-known antioxidants by getting into the fray and dealing with free radicals first, leaving vitamins C, E and others intact for later use. This extract is also one of the few antioxidants able to cross the blood-brain barrier and combat the superoxide radical in the brain, where researchers hope it may help prevent or combat such degenerative conditions as Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers at the Israeli biotechnology company, RAD Natural Technologies, discovered that certain natural species of the plant Origanum vulgare contained particularly high concentrations of rosmarinic acid. Without genetic modification the plant yields a highly purified extract that is effective in very low concentrations. With neither solvents nor processing chemicals, RAD Natural Technologies is able to preserve the integrity of the plant extract and produce a water-soluble powder that can alternatively be emulsified and thus dissolved in fats and oils. It is ideal for industrial applications. If you've always thought of antioxidants as pills and dietary supplements, think again.
The company's rosmarinic acid product is called Origanox and it is sold for food processing, cosmetic and dietary purposes. Its antioxidant properties preserve natural pigments, odors and flavors and also protect vitamins and other active ingredients from the degenerative effects of oxidation. It also possesses antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties and is easily absorbed into the skin, where it potentially supports to neutralize the harmful effect of ultraviolet radiation.
Rosmarinic acid maintains its electron-absorbing properties at sustained high temperatures. That means that when it is added to edible oils, the number of free radicals released by frying is diminished. It is stable for long periods and at temperatures as high as 180 C⁄356 F so it can be baked into foods without impairing its antioxidant properties.
Free radicals come at us from every conceivable direction and we need a good variety of antioxidants to protect ourselves. Some, like glutathione, are produced by the body, and are dependent upon a supply of raw materials from dietary sources. Others, like vitamins C and E, are built into the foods we eat or supplement in our diets. We may not be used to thinking of food preservatives as health aids but rosmarinic acid is a valuable aid that supports to preempt free radicals before they form in stored food and prevents the most harmful effects resulting from cooking with all sorts of oils. It also functions as a powerful antioxidant with the rare ability to cross the blood-brain barrier.
The essential oil of Origanum vulgare is a powerful, anti-microbial agent and natural, antiseptic product. It has many, very promising applications in certain feed and food products besides being a flavor enhancer and therapeutic component in health food supplements. This potent and adaptable product promises to become a valuable addition to our preventive medicine arsenal.
Tocotrienols—Their Role In Health
by Andreas M. Papas, Ph.D.
TOCOTRIENOLS ARE MEMBERS OF THE VITAMIN E FAMILY.
Mention vitamin E and most people, even scientists, think alphatocopherol. It is only recently that scientists and now the consumers have been reminded that vitamin E is a family of compounds.
Tocotrienols are members of the vitamin E family. Unlike some vitamins which consist of a single compound, vitamin E consists of eight different compounds, four tocopherols and four tocotrienols (designated as alpha, beta, gamma and delta). Our food contains all eight compounds. Most vitamin E supplements, however, contain only alphatocopherol because it was thought that only this one was important. Emerging research proved this understanding wrong. In order to get the full spectrum of the many benefits of vitamin E we must use products that contain the complete family of tocopherols plus tocotrienols.
Tocotrienols are most abundant in cereal grains and the fruit of palm and are extracted commercially from palm oil and rice bran oil.
Tocopherols and Tocotrienols: Similarities and Differences
Each tocotrienol has similarities to the corresponding tocopherols. For this reason tocotrienols, like tocopherols, are excellent antioxidants. Tocotrienols however, have three unsaturated sites on the tail of the molecule. Scientists are discovering important and unique benefits of tocotrienols.
Underscoring the importance of taking the whole vitamin E family is the evidence that not only tocotrienols but even the other tocopherols have unique functions different from those of alpha-tocopherol. For example:
- Gamma-tocopherol, not alpha, is the effective form for fighting nitrogen radicals which contribute to the development of arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS) and diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer's.
- Gamma-tocopherol and its major metabolite inhibit cyclooxygenase activity. This effect is very important because cyclooxygenase causes inflammation, which contributes to the progression of chronic diseases including heart disease and cancer.
- High blood levels of gammatocopherol in men are associated with lower risk of prostate cancer.
The Science Behind the Unique Functions of Tocotrienols
Research produced evidence of the biochemical basis of the important and unique effects of tocotrienols. Tocotrienols and in particular gamma-tocotrienol appear to act on a specific enzyme called 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutarylcoenzyme A reductase (HMG-COA) involved in cholesterol production in the liver. Tocotrienols suppress the production of this enzyme, which may result in less cholesterol being manufactured.
Tocotrienols slow down the growth of some types of human cancer cells, and particularly breast cancer cells, while alpha, beta and gamma tocopherols are ineffective. Gamma-tocotrienol suppresses the growth of rat melanoma and human leukemia cells, human breast adenocarcinoma and human leukemic cells.
Benefits for Cardiovascular Health—Clinical Evidence
The strongest evidence yet for tocotrienols comes from a clinical study in which 50 patients had stenosis of the carotid artery. These patients, ranging in age from 49 to 83 years, were divided in two groups. One group received approximately 650 milligrams of tocotrienols plus tocopherols. The other group received a placebo. All patients were examined with ultrasonography which measures the narrowing of the carotid artery.
- Placebo group: Fifteen patients showed worsening of the stenosis, eight remained stable and two showed some improvement.
- Tocotrienol (plus tocopherol) group: Three patients showed minor worsening and 12 remained stable. What is remarkable is that 10 patients showed regression of stenosis—their condition improved.
The tocotrienol group had also significant reduction in TBARS, a test that measures oxidation. A tocotrienol-rich extract from rice bran oil reduced triglycerides and LDL in these patients. We are studying further these effects of tocotrienol-rich products from rice bran oil.
Topical Use of Tocotrienols
Tocotrienols, like tocopherols, protect the skin against damage from ultraviolet radiation, pollution, cigarette smoke and other stress factors. Topically applied tocotrienols and tocopherols penetrate the entire skin to the subcutaneous fat layer within 30 minutes and significantly increase the concentration of these antioxidants in the deeper subcutaneous layers.
Safe and Effective Use Levels
Tocotrienols and vitamin E in general have an excellent safety record.
How much tocotrienols to take? Please remember that tocotrienols are available commercially as mixtures with tocopherols. If you are at high risk for heart disease, you may consider levels up to 300 mg per day of tocotrienols. For the great majority of consumers who want to get the benefit of the complete vitamin E family, much lower levels may still provide benefits.
It is extremely important to take products that contain natural tocopherols plus tocotrienols. While our individual needs differ, the following general guidelines might help choose the right level for you.
- The adequate level—the 100/100 system: Take 100 IU plus 100 mg of mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols. For healthy young adults with no family history of chronic disease.
- The medium level—the 200/200 system: Take 200 IU plus 200 mg of mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols. For young adults with some risk factors and healthy people without risk factors up to 50 years old.
- The high, yet very safe dose—the 400/400 system: Take 400 IU plus 400 mg of mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols. This is the level for people who, because of their family history for chronic disease, age, level of stress, diet and other factors, want to take a higher level.
Andreas M. Papas, Ph.D., is the author of The Vitamin E Factor (paperback) and editor of the scientific book Antioxidant Status, Diet, Nutrition and Health, Dr. Papas is senior technical associate at Eastman Chemical Company and adjunct professor, at the College of Medicine of East Tennessee State University and senior scientific advisor, Cancer Prevention Institute, Harvard School of Epidemiology. —www.vitaminefactor.com
Ten Additional Important Antioxidants
Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant compound similar to vitamin K and is naturally manufactured in the liver as well as every cell in the body. But even though COQ10 is produced in the body, many people have deficiencies, especially those suffering from cardiovascular disease and heart failure.
Every cell must have a way of obtaining energy. In cardiac cells, as well as throughout the body, oxygen-based production occurs within the cellular power plants called mitochondria. Here COQ10 provides essential energy in its most basic form—adenosine triphosphate (ATP)—the energy of life. Without adequate COQ10 as a cofactor, ATP synthesis slows down, eventually leaving the cell in a vulnerable state.
Dietary sources of COQ10 come mainly from beef heart, pork, chicken liver and fish (especially salmon, mackerel and sardines). Vegetarians typically will not get enough COQ10 unless they eat large quantities of peanuts and/or broccoli. The average person only gets five to 10 mg of COQ10 each day from diet alone. Most people would benefit from far more COQ10 than can be gleaned from the daily diet.
Although COQ10 can be synthesized by the body, many individuals are deficient in this vitamin. Illness depletes the body's stores even further. Taking cholesterol-lowering drugs such as HMG-COA reductase inhibitors can literally “kill” COQ10 synthesis. Other drugs, such as beta blockers and some of the older antidepressants, also interfere with COQ10-dependent enzymes, lowering its concentration in the body.
Any women taking a statin drug, especially those at high risk for breast cancer, should take at least 100 mg of COQ10 a day.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a very powerful nutrient and the premier water-soluble antioxidant. It participates in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body and is important in maintaining homeostasis as well as building tissue.
Death is inevitable if vitamin C is not provided. It is truly essential to human life. New research into the actions of vitamin C has sparked a greater understanding of the remarkable health-promoting properties of this essential nutrient. The new evidence validates that vitamin C supports cardiovascular and respiratory function, cognition, bone development and mineralization, vision and may even lower the risk of stress-related diseases and certain types of cancer.
- Cardiovascular Health. High dietary vitamin C intake has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of death from heart attacks and strokes in numerous population studies. Also, researchers have found that vitamin C offsets spasms of the coronary arteries.
- Immunity Booster. A recent study reported an 85 percent lower incidence in cold and flu symptoms with high vitamin C doses.
- Collagen Maintenance. Vitamin C is important for the formation and maintenance of collagen, the intercellular cement that binds tissues together. Collagen provides tensile strength to bones, cartilage, teeth, tendons and ligaments. There is a positive association between vitamin C and bone mineral density (BMD) in postmenopausal women.
- Cancer. Vitamin C functions as an antioxidant to protect cellular structures, including genetic mechanisms, an enhancer of the immune system and to protect against cancer-causing environmental irritants and pollutants. Many of the benefits of vitamin C supplementation stem from its antioxidant properties. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C become more important as aging occurs, especially if there is stress or disease.
Astaxanthin is a member of an elite class of carotenoids known as xanthophylls.
Astaxanthin is believed to be the most active of these carotenoids. Researchers have discovered that the most abundant and concentrated form of astaxanthin is found in the natural, renewable material extracted from microalgae.
Because of its unique molecular structure, astaxanthin is unlike any other antioxidant in that it can perform a wide variety of tasks including:
- increasing HDL (good cholesterol)
- increasing strength and endurance
- stimulating the immune system
- protecting and enhancing eye health.
Astaxanthin has been shown to perform effectively the three key tasks of an antioxidant: quenching, scavenging and trapping free radicals. Astaxanthin is more powerful than many other carotenoids because:
- its low molecular weight allows it to actually cross the blood-brain barrier, making it available to the eye, brain and central nervous system
- it is more resistant to damage, allowing it to scavenge longer and trap more types of free radicals
- it acts like a bridge, transporting free radicals along its long chain to water-soluble antioxidants like vitamin C inside and outside of the cell.
Acetyl-L-carnitine is a special form of carnitine that has the particular ability to optimize brain function. Acetyl-L-carnitine is able to cross into the brain more effectively than regular carnitine. It therefore enhances brain cell function much better than regular carnitine. As we age, acetyl-L-carnitine levels in our brains go down and for optimal brain function, supplements of acetyl-L-carnitine become mandatory.
Acetyl-L-carnitine acts in many ways to prevent the deterioration of brain cells that normally happens with age. It does this in many ways. It acts as a powerful antioxidant, provides the brain with healing energy and increases levels of a very important messenger molecule called acetylcholine. It is acetylcholine which becomes deficient in the brains of Alzheimer's patients and that is why these patients have such poor memory function. By increasing levels of acetylcholine, acetyl-L-carnitine helps the memory work better and may help prevent Alzheimer's disease as well.
Green tea is the antivirus, anticancer, super antioxidant. It is the most popular of Asian drinks and has been known for centuries to have a long list of health benefits. Interestingly, after water it is the most widely consumed beverage on the earth.
Dr. Earl Mindell states, “The antioxidants specific to green tea are polyphenols, bioflavonoids that act as super antioxidants by neutralizing harmful fats and oils, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, blocking cancer-triggering mechanisms, inhibiting bacteria and viruses, improving digestion and protecting against ulcers and strokes. The specific type of polyphenol found in green tea is called a “catechin.”
Other ingredients in green tea include the green chlorophyll molecules but also important are the proanthocyanadins similar to those found in grape seed extract, pine bark, bilberry and gingko. The specific tea is a variety called Camellia sinensis. Camellia sinensis in the West is known as black tea, such as Earl Grey tea, orange pekoe tea or English breakfast tea.
The antioxidant properties of green tea are responsible for its most important benefits. The Chinese always claimed that tea slows aging but it was not until we understood the role of oxidation in aging and the antioxidant function of flavonoids that we knew how this mechanism might work. Researchers at University of California- Berkeley found that green tea extract was the best at scavenging the deadly hydroxyl radicals. Three diseases that we focus on regarding green tea are heart disease, AIDS and cancer.
It is well known now through modern research that green foods are rich in vitamins, minerals and enzymes. They help protect against cancer, heart disease, digestive problems and many other modern disorders. Green vegetables are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta carotene and chlorophyll. Possibly most important of all, they have potent antioxidant activity. Besides, they are low in fat and high in nutrients, an excellent combination.
The importance of green foods in the diet is now being validated scientifically worldwide. It is amazing how long it takes us to discover that foods were made correctly in the first place. They contain exactly what we need in their natural state. We have to find a way to take advantage of the whole foods naturally made and most of us are not doing that presently with our diets. In fact, it would be difficult for anyone to eat green plants to equal the amount of nutrition in concentrated green food supplements. So until you are ready to sidle up to a fivepound salad of spinach, watercress, alfalfa and kelp, the concentrated supplements mentioned here are probably your best source for the vital nutrients you need from green foods.
Alpha lipoic acid is a vitamin-like antioxidant that is produced naturally in the body and found in certain foods such as potatoes and red meat.
It is the only fat and water soluble free radical antioxidant, therefore, it is easily absorbed and transported across cell membranes, protecting us against free radicals both inside and outside our cells.
Alpha lipoic acid has been used for years throughout Europe to treat and prevent complications associated with diabetes, including neuropathy, macular degeneration and cataracts. Studies show that diabetics lower their insulin requirements; this also helps reduce complications.
An abundance of promising research has also shown the ability of alpha lipoic acid to inhibit replication of HIV and other viruses, to protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation which is associated with cardiovascular disease, to protect the liver from damage from alcohol or other toxins and also to prevent damage from radiation.
We do not obtain enough alpha lipoic acid through the diet to obtain this protection, so supplementation is required—100 to 200 mg daily. Therapeutic doses are higher.
Essential for many cellular functions, glutathione is a tripeptide of connected molecules composed of three nonessential amino acids: cysteine, glutamic acid and glycine.
Without glutathione people suffer from an inability to detoxify metabolic wastes and in eliminating toxic substances like heavy metals and other environmental poisons. This may lead to heart disease, joint disorders, cancer and problems with the endocrine, immune and nervous systems.
Even healthy people under stress can become subject to a disrupted balance. They could be sick or battling an inflammation or infection, or healing from an injury, while more free radicals are created and must be eliminated. Glutathione will do the job. It will also seek out the free radicals formed when people are exposed to cigarette smoke, alcohol, mercury, air pollution, food additives, pesticides and ultraviolet light.
Needed cofactors that properly assist glutathione function are the following: alpha lipoic acid, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and the minerals selenium and zinc, of which selenium is a vital component.
Extracted from the bark of Pinus maritima, the coastal pine tree found in abundance in southern France, pycnogenol is made up of a combination of flavoids that occur naturally in small amounts in some fruits and vegetables. However, antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables and nuts lose their potency when they are harvested, processed, frozen and cooked. A study in the British scientific journal, The Lancet, showed that risk of heart disease was 50 percent lower in populations that consumed high amounts of flavonoids (at least 30 mg a day) than groups that took in low amounts of these antioxidants.
Decades of laboratory research and clinical studies conducted by Dr. Jack Masquelier show that pycnogenol contains approximately 40 natural ingredients including proanthocyanadins, organic acids and related bioavailable components such as glucosides and glucose esters. It is a potent antioxidant that protects against free radicals, has been shown to be many times more powerful than vitamin C or vitamin E and has the added benefit of working synergistically with many nutrients that support health.
Millions of people in Europe and the United States, athletes in particular, rely on pycnogenol to maintain skin health and overall health during the aging process. It is one of the best tried-and-tested products in its category, non-toxic and non-carcinogenic.
Garlic is the most studied herb in history. It has more benefits than any other single food. Tradition has told us that garlic has beneficial effects on health and longevity. Science is beginning to validate many of these claims including garlic's ability to prevent heart disease, fungal overgrowth and infectious diseases, the ability to remove toxic metals from the body and its powerful antioxidant and anticancer effects.
A Summary of Garlic's Many Benefits Includes:
- having been shown to have powerful immune-boosting properties and may be valuable in fighting off viral infections such as the common cold.
- having been shown to help lower blood pressure in those with hypertension.
- working as a natural antibiotic and reducing the number of harmful bacteria in the body.
- reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels and has been shown to limit the deposition of plaque on artery walls.
- having been shown to help the body eliminate parasites.
- reducing the amount of the yeast, Candida albicans, in the human GI tract and has been shown to be beneficial in fighting systemic yeast infections.
- having been shown to lower blood sugar and be of significant benefit to diabetics.
- having been shown in population and laboratory studies to help prevent a wide variety of cancers.
- containing selenium, a cancerpreventing, immune-boosting and antiinflammatory nutrient.
Editor's Note: We highly recommend the most studied garlic supplement on the market. Kyolic AGED Garlic is Organically grown, and aged up to 20 months to enhance the nutritional value of the garlic, remove its pungent odor and make it gentle on the stomach. Kyolic is heavily researched with over 750 scientific studies.
BOOKS FOR FURTHER READING ON ANTIOXIDANTS:
Which Medications Are Robbing Your Body of Essential Nutrients—and Natural Ways to Restore Them
by Suzy Cohen, RPh
Rodale Books; 1 edition (February 15, 2011)
The Garlic Cure
by James F. Scheer, Lynn Allison and Charlie Fox
Alpha Omega Press, Fargo, ND (2002)
The Garlic Cookbook: For the Best and Most Unique Garlic Recipes You Will Ever Try!
by Martha Stephenson
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 19, 2017)
Healthy Healing—Avoid side effects, drug interactions and high medical costs with America's Original Guide to Natural Healing (14th Edition)
by Linda Page, N.D., Ph.D.
Healthy Healing Publications; 14th edition (November 15, 2011)
Prescription for Nutritional Healing
Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements
by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC
Avery; 5 Rev Upd edition (October 5, 2010)
The Longevity Kitchen—Satisfying, Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods
by Rebecca Katz and Mat Edelson
M. Evans and Company, Inc., New York, NY (1998)
The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life
by David Perlmutter, MD
Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (April 28, 2015)
The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan:
Boost Brain Performance, Lose Weight, and Achieve Optimal Health
by David Perlmutter, MD, Kristin Loberg
Little, Brown and Company (November 15, 2016)
"The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan provides a step-by-step, proven approach that will help you reclaim and sustain health, vitality, and happiness for a lifetime." Melissa Hartwig, author of Food Freedom Forever and coauthor of The Whole30
"Dr. Perlmutter, an acclaimed neurologist, has for years been a pioneer of the gut-brain connection. In The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan, he combines his clinical expertise, insights into the latest scientific developments, and immense compassion into a powerful prescription for brain health." David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, professor, Harvard Medical School, and author of Always Hungry?
"Dr. Perlmutter's groundbreaking work has changed the way we think about inflammation—its causes and the damage it can do. I've gotten tremendous benefit from his books and The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan gives us simple and direct ways to prevent and treat diseases in easy and delicious ways." Bonnie Raitt
"Dr. David Perlmutter is one of the first people to not only suggest that modern degenerative diseases are likely caused by poor diet and alterations in gut health, but he has produced clinical research indicating these conditions may be avoided or reversed by altering one's diet and lifestyle. The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan is the culmination of more than 35 years of clinical practice and research that will help you look, feel and perform your best." Robb Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution
"Dr. Perlmutter sifts through the emerging research on how to create brain and body health. And he created The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan, a manifesto for the new medicine, the roadmap for how to care for the one precious human life that you have. If you want to live strong, feel good, boost your brain function, and become more connected and engaged to your own life, then you need a plan. This book is that plan." Mark Hyman, MD, author of Eat Fat Get Thin and director of Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine
"If everyone were to follow The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan, there would be a dramatic reduction in obesity, diabetes, cancer, dementia, arthritis—in short, the world would be a better place." Dale Bredesen, MD, professor and director of Alzheimer's Disease Research, UCLA
"The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan presents a comprehensive, practical, step-by-step approach aimed at people suffering from a variety of chronic neurological, psychiatric, and medical conditions. Dr. Perlmutter not only gives specific dietary recommendations, including a diet rich in plant-based fiber, but also prescribes important lifestyle changes such as physical exercise, stress reduction, and improvement in sleeping habits." Emeran A. Mayer, MD, author of The Mind Gut Connection and director of the Oppenheimer Center for Stress and Resilience at UCLA