The human digestive tract relies upon many different chemicals -- and in some cases, organisms -- to function normally. Probiotics are organisms, many of them native to the human intestine, that help your digestive tract function. Digestive enzymes aid in digestive processes, which are the reactions that break food molecules into smaller pieces prior to absorption. While both are essential for digestion, several factors make probiotics and digestive enzymes very different from one another.
Probiotics Are Alive
One of the major differences between digestive enzymes and probiotics is that probiotics are living organisms. They're typically bacterial, but there are also some yeast species that function as probiotics. Enzymes, on the other hand, aren't living, explain Drs. Mary Campbell and Shawn Farrell in their book "Biochemistry." Instead, enzymes are proteins, meaning they're large molecules made up of long chains of smaller molecules called amino acids. Your body produces enzymes in the cells of several different organs, including the stomach and pancreas, and secretes them as needed into the digestive tract.
While you benefit from the action of both digestive enzymes and probiotics, they do very different things in your body. Digestive enzymes break large nutritional molecules, including protein, carbohydrates and fats, into smaller molecules that your intestine can absorb. Enzymes break carbohydrates into pieces called monosaccharides; proteins into amino acids; and fats into two fatty acids and a monoacylglyceride, note Campbell and Farrell. Probiotics, on the other hand, have a variety of functions that changes with the species of organism. They can assist in vitamin and mineral absorption, alleviate lactose intolerance and produce vitamin K. They do not, however, break down food molecules you absorb.
You obtain digestive enzymes and probiotics from different sources. Your own cells produce digestive enzymes, and secrete them into the appropriate spaces in the gastrointestinal tract, explains Dr. Lauralee Sherwood in her book "Human Physiology." While it's possible to take a limited number of digestive enzymes to enhance digestion -- though it's rarely, if ever, necessary -- most digestive enzymes don't work as supplements. That's because enzymes are proteins, and if they're not meant to operate in the stomach, the stomach simply digests them like any other nutritional protein. On the other hand, you can obtain probiotics from food. Yogurt, which contains living probiotic microorganisms, is one common source of probiotics in the diet. Other fermented dairy and food products also contain high levels of probiotics.
Women with increased intake of lignans, and subsequent levels of metabolites in the blood, tend to have lower BMIs and total body fat mass, says a new study from Canada.
A study of 115 post-menopausal women showed that those with the highest blood levels of enterolactone, a lignan metabolite, had a BMI 4 kg/m2 less than women with the lowest average blood levels, according to results published online ahead of print in theBritish Journal of Nutrition.
Moreover, the highest blood levels of enterolactone were also associated with 8.5 kg less body fat, compared to women with the lowest levels, report researchers from Laval University in Quebec.
While the study does not show establish a causal link between lignans and the women’s metabolic profile, the research does add to the list of potential health benefits of the plant compounds.
Plant lignans, from sources such as flaxseed, whole grain cereals, berries, vegetables, and fruits, are metabolized in the colon by microflora into enterodiol and enterolactone. Previous research has focussed on plant lignans as reducing the risk of prostate cancer, and in improving menopause health.
The main lignan from flaxseed is secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG), which is metabolized to give enterodiol and enterolactone. These two metabolites are then absorbed from the gut and transported to the liver where they undergo further reactions before entering circulation. SDG-containing products are well-represented on the market, including Frutarom’s LinumLife.
Other lignan sources also have market representation, including the 7-hydroxymatairesinol (HMR) from Norwegian spruce. The lignan, been commercialized by the Swiss company, Linnea, is metabolized differently in the body, forming mostly enterolactone (ENL) and some 7-hydroxyenterolactone (HENL), but no enterodiol.
The researchers, led by André Tchernof, evaluated the intake of lignans using a three-day dietary record. The 115 women (average age of 56.8) also had blood taken to evaluate blood levels of enterolactone.
High intake of lignans was associated with lower body fat mass and BMI, compared to women with the lowest average intakes. Moreover, women with the highest average blood levels of enterolactone had improved glucose disposal rates (8.3 versus 5.5) and significantly lower blood glucose levels, compared to women with the lowest average blood levels.
“In conclusion, women with the highest enterolactone concentrations had a better metabolic profile including higher insulin sensitivity and lower adiposity measures,” wrote the researchers.
A number of studies have reported links between increased dietary lignan intake, and/or increased levels of enterolactone and/or enterodiol and protection/ reduced risk of a wide range of conditions, most notably breast cancer, prostate cancer, and reduced hair loss. Clearly, more research is needed to evaluate the potential role, and to determine causality, for the potential role of lignans and their metabolites for metabolic profiles.
Source:British Journal of Nutrition Published online ahead of print,First View, doi:10.1017/S0007114508162092“Impact of a lignan-rich diet on adiposity and insulin sensitivity in post-menopausal women” Authors: A.-S. Morisset, S. Lemieux, A. Veilleux, J. Bergeron, S.J. Weisnagel, A. Tchernof
The health benefits of fish oil include its ability to aid in weightlossand healthy pregnancy. It also promotes fertility andskincare (particularly forpsoriasisand acne). It is beneficial in the treatment of variousheartdiseases, high cholesterol,depression, anxiety,ADHD, weak immune system, cancer, diabetes, inflammation,arthritis, IBD, AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, eye disorders, macular degeneration, and ulcers.
Most of the health benefits of fish oil can be attributed to the presence of omega-3 essential fatty acids like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in it. Other useful essential fatty acids in fish oil include alpha-linolenic acid or ALA and gamma-linolenic acid or GLA.
While fish oil has plenty of beneficial qualities, there is a lot of hype around its possible applications, and not all of them are accurate, so be wary when reading literature on this useful oil. Fish oil manufacturers have attempted to market it as a remedy for almost anything. Below, we’ll explore the various, proven benefits of fish oil, some of which are based on concrete scientific evidence while others are based on animal studies alone. We suggest that readers educate themselves fully before making an informed decision, rather than getting affected by both negative and positive propaganda about the beneficial applications of fish oil.
The different types of fish which are a good source of oil and are commonly found include mackerel, lake trout, herring,sardines, swordfish,oysters, albacoretuna, bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, turbot, pilchards,anchovies, andsalmon. The quality of fish oil greatly depends on the type of fish from which the oil is retrieved.
Fish oil has a great impact on our body as it helps inweight loss, skin care, vision improvement and other health issues which are explained in detail below.
Boosts Heart Health
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), clinical trials have shown that omega-3 is effective in reducing the incidence of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Fish oil is a great source of omega-3 and therefore, reduces the risk of heart diseases and heart arrhythmias. It also lowers the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases the level of good cholesterol (HDL). Fish oil prevents the accumulation of triglycerides and also reduces the level of excess triglycerides. Preliminary research has shown that fish oil can be used to preventatherosclerosisin coronary patients. Thus, fish oil is effective in preventing strokes and regular usage of fish oil can help avoid sudden cardiac death. As per the American Heart Association, these preliminary findings still need to be confirmed by a further detailed research.
Research conducted by Professor Peter Howe at the University of South Australia has shown that fish oil improves the efficacy of exercise in attempts to reduce weight. Volunteers who were given fish oil in their diet showed greater weight loss as compared to those who did not regularly consume it. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help to promote the weight loss, so a combination of physical workout and intake of this oil helps in reducing body fat significantly faster.
It is believed that regular consumption of fish oil aids in boosting your immune system, thereby enabling you to resist the occurrence of common diseases like colds, cough, and the flu. Omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil bolster the immune system by affecting the activity and amount of cytokines and eicosanoids present in our body. Researchers have alsostudied the effectof a fish meal and fish oil on the immune system of pigs and found that fish oil aided in the growth of the animals. Similarresearchconducted on mice at Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan, also gave positive results.
Fish oil is beneficial to patients suffering fromlupus, which is an autoimmune disease characterized by the immune system attacking its own organs and tissues. Studies have also shown fish oil to help in reducingfever, skin rashes, and fatigue.
Research conducted by the Nutritional Sciences Program in Lexington has argued for fish oilas a treatmentfor AIDS. However, an in-depth research still needs to be conducted on this.
Fish oil is effective in reducing inflammation in the blood and tissues. Regular consumption of fish oil supplements, tablets, pills, and capsules is helpful to those who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases. Fish oil is effective in treating gastrointestinal disorders,Celiacdisease, short bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) including Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis, which are both typical disorders of the intestine. Patients suffering from Crohn’s disease often find it difficult to absorbvitamins, fats, and essential supplements. Fish oil supplements are an effective diet for such patients.
In terms of ulcerative colitis, fish oil prevents the accumulation of leukotriene in the colon. Research is also being conducted to increase the anti-inflammatory reputation of fish oil, particularly when combined with other dietary supplements and drugs.
Fish oil is useful in the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism, Raynaud’s symptoms and similar conditions. Using the fish oil can help in reducing the need for large dosages of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). The RoyalAdelaideHospital and theUniversity of Newcastle, located in Australia, have reported that fish oil has shown positive effects in the treatment of arthritis. In cases of osteoarthritis, fish oil can be helpful in reducing the impact of enzymes that destroy cartilage.
However, since the dosage of fish oil required for an ideal effect in the improvement of a patient is unknown, the Arthritis Center in the Department of Rheumatology at John Hopkins University considers including omega-3 fatty acids and fish oil in the treatment of arthritis as controversial. The University also cautions that arthritis patients must be wary of all the other side effects that can come from using fish oil. You can read more about arthritis on the web page of the Arthritis Foundation and theArthritis Center.
Relieves Depression & Anxiety
Due to the presence of Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil has been promoted for relieving depression, sadness, anxiety, restlessness, mental fatigue,stress, decreased sexual desire, suicidal tendencies, and other nervous disorders. Researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, in their research publication titled “Fish Oils andBipolar Disorder: A Promising but Untested Treatment”, state that fish oil can be useful in mood stabilization and the treatment of bipolar disorders. It is unsurprising, therefore, that countries where fish is frequently eaten, have a low incidence of depression. Similarly,research conducted on prisonershas shown that when prisoners were given seafood containing a higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids, there was a significant drop in the homicide rate and the frequency of violence. Intake of fish is also a good remedy for depression. Findings of a research study suggest that fish consumption may be beneficial for women’s mental health and reduces the risk of developing depression in women.
It is well known that fish oil has the ability to improve vision. It also helps in avoiding age-related macular degeneration. The National Eye Institute at the National Institute of Health in the United States plans to conduct a nationwide study to evaluate the effect of fish oil in treating macular degeneration. This study will provide strong scientific evidence regarding the benefits of fish oil for eye care, thereby allowing government agencies and physicians to strongly recommend fish oil for macular degeneration.
Treats Alzheimer’s disease
Research conducted at the Louisiana State University has shown that fatty acids are effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease. Since fish oil is one of the best sources of essential fatty acids, including EPA and DHA, it helps in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. More research conducted at the University of California inLos Angeles(UCLA) validates the usefulness of fish oil as a possible remedy for the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends fish containing a higher content of omega-3 fatty acids to patients since it acts as a defense against Alzheimer’s disease anddementia.
Helps in ADHD Treatment
Fish oil has the ability to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) due to its highconcentrationof fatty acids. For children suffering from hyperactivity, dyslexia, dyspraxia, inability to complete tasks, emotional instability, wavering attitude, poor coordination, short attention span, short-term memory weakness, low concentration, tendency to interrupt others, recklessness, hastiness, impetuosity, impulsiveness, low IQ, or learning disorders, fish oil is a proven remedy. Research conducted at the University of South Australia and CSIRO has shown that when children suffering from ADHD were given doses of fish oil and evening primrose capsules for 15 weeks, they showed significant improvements in their behavior. Since, human brain consists of about 60% fats, especially essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6, it helps to improve the functions of the brain.
Furthermore, it is believed that fish oil is useful in the normal development of the brain, along with helping your child concentrate on their studies. It has also been found that when pregnant women are givenregular dosesof fish oil, their toddlers display enhanced hand-eye coordination.
It is great for improving the condition of thedry skinby making it look shiny and vibrant. It is useful in treating various skin problems such aseczema, psoriasis, itching, skin redness, skin lesions, and rashes. In terms of psoriasis, the EPA present in fish oil restricts the growth of pro-inflammatory agents by producing arachidonic acid. Therefore, fish oil can also be applied topically to get relief from psoriasis.
Regular consumption of fish oil capsules helps in reducing moisture loss from the skin. It is also claimed by some people that the oil helps in preventingsunburnbut the research behind that claim is not verified.
Fish oil is an effective treatment for acne. EPA present in the oil is known to inhibit androgen formation, which can affect the formation of sebum in the hair follicles, leading to acne.
Aids in Cancer Treatment
It is useful in reducing weight loss in patients suffering from pancreatic cancer. Its supplements can also be helpful for patients suffering from cancer-related hyperlipidemia.
Type II diabetic patients are prone to cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, and stroke. Researchconducted at the University of Oxford has shown fish oil to be useful in reducing triglyceride levels in patients with diabetes as well.
The presence of EPA and DHA in fish oil makes it helpful in case of ulcers caused by Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Supports Healthy Pregnancy
Fish oil is very beneficial for pregnant women because the DHA present in it helps in the development of the eyes and brain of the baby. It also helps to avoid premature births, low birth weight, and miscarriages.Researchconducted in Denmark, which involved 8,729 pregnant women, concluded that a diet with low amounts of fish resulted in a higher risk of premature or preterm babies.
It is also believed that women who do not have a sufficient intake of EPA and DHA in their diet suffer from depression after childbirth, as there is a transfer of some amount of brain mass from the mother to the child in the last stages of pregnancy. Thus, it is very beneficial to consume fish oil either by eating fish or taking fish oil supplements, tablets, capsules, or pills during pregnancy for the overall development of the child and the well-being of the mother. However, it should be noted that fish oil obtained from the liver of the fish, example –cod liver oil, should not be consumed during pregnancy as cod liver oil is high inretinoland vitamin A, which are usually known to cause birth defects.
Fish oils rich inomega 3 fatty acidshelp improve fertility and cell division. Preliminaryresearchconducted on animals has shown that when males are fed a diet containing fish oil, the quality of the sperm is enhanced. After ejaculation, the sperm has increased survival against lipid peroxidative attacks in the female genital tract, thereby increasing the chances of conception. On the other hand, similaranimal studieshave shown inhibition in the synthesis of prostaglandin E and prostaglandin F, which are produced in large quantities by human seminal vesicles. The research, however, found no impact on the count and mobility of sperm.
It helps maintain a good luster of the hair because omega-3 has growth stimulating properties since it provides nourishment to the follicles. It aids in the development of hair and in preventinghair loss. A good supply of protein is also necessary for hair growth, and since most fish varieties are rich in protein, eating fish helps to keep hair healthy.
Prevents Lou Gehrig’s disease
Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Recent research suggests that intake of diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce or delay the onset of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Improves Blood Circulation
It is widely accepted that fish oil has the ability to improveblood circulation along with reducing triglyceride and serumcholesterol levels. However, the benefit of improving blood circulation has primarily been studied only in rats.
It is also believed that fish oil helps in preventingasthmaand kidney failure. Many people also like to feed fish oil to their pets, especiallydogsand cats, as it promotes shiny and smooth hair. It can also help dogs and cats deal with arthritis, which is a very common disease among pets.
The National High Blood Pressure Education Program in the United States has cautioned against inaccurate publicity of fish oil as an effective means ofloweringhigh blood pressure in patients suffering from hypertension. According to its report, fish oil supplements lower blood pressure in a very small way in hypertensive patients.Researchconducted at the Channing Laboratory inBostonhas revealed that moderate doses of fish oil supplements have little effect on the condition of high blood pressure in normotensive people.
Fish Oil Side Effects
Even though fish oil has many benefits, its excessive intake may causeallergyand side-effects. People who are allergic to seafood or fishes, in particular, will experience effects like hives and swelling of face, lips, tongue or throat. In case of excess intake, one may also experiencebad breath, stomach upset, loose stools,belching, nausea, uneven heartbeat, and chronic illness in this case. Make sure you do not consume more than the recommended intake amount and avoidconsumptionif allergic to fish. Let us look at some of the side-effects in detail:
Children: Excessive intake of fish oil by children can lead to allergic reactions like itchiness, sneezing or a dry cough, and may also weaken their immune system.
Pregnant Women: Even though fish oil has many benefits for pregnant women, the mercury content found in it can harm the memory, hearing abilities, cognitive skills and vision of the baby.
Depression & Bipolar Disorder: Excessive intake of fish oil can increase symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder.
Cancer & Liver Disease: Avoid excess intake if suffering from diabetes, cancer and liver disease as it may worsen the condition.
Diabetes & Low blood pressure: Intake of fish oil in excess can lower blood pressure levels below the normal level.
Caution on dosage of fish oil
An excessive dosage of fish oil can have adverse allergies and side effects on the body. Furthermore, fish oil can be problematic if you have certain conditions so it is necessary to consume fish oil supplements cautiously. Moreover, it can be consumed in various forms. These include eating the fish directly by baking, roasting, frying, grilling, broiling, orsmokingit. It can also be consumed in the form of concentrated dietary supplements like liquid, tablet, capsule, pill, or soft gels. Also, there are various pharmaceutical grades of the oil. It is not necessary to constantly consume pharmaceutical-grade oil or even supplements. You should also consult your doctor to confirm the mode of consuming fish oil and the overall need for it in your diet.
Should We Replace Vegetable Oils with Fish Oil?
The short answer is no. There are many websites which advise people to stop eatingvegetable oilsand switch to fish oil in order to increase their intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil is a good source of omega-3 essential fatty acids and should be consumed, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that one should completely replacevegetableoils with fish oil.
Here is a brief on omega-3 fatty acids: There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids, namely alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). All three are important for the body. Vegetable sources, includingflaxseed oil,soybeanoil, hemp oil,canola oil,walnutoil, rapeseed, perilla, chia, andtofuare rich in ALA. The human body has the ability to convert ALA to DHA and EPA, though there are certain limitations to this conversion.
How much of fish oil is safe to consume?
Fish oil can be consumed in various ways such as capsules or can be included in daily meals. The dosage should not exceed 3 fish oil capsules per day. 1000mg of fish oilcontainsapproximately 300mg omega-3 fatty acids so you can accordingly use the amount of fish oil in your meals. A daily intake of 3000mg or less is safe for all. Pregnant and lactating womencan consumeapproximately 3200 mg per day.
Fish oil Purity
Pay attention to the quality of fish oil when purchasing it. It is obtained from almost all fishes – fresh water, farm, ocean, deep sea and shallow sea fish. All these fishes can be contaminated with toxic compounds such as mercury, arsenic, lead, forms of calcium, furans, dioxins, PCBs, and methylmercury, and can negatively affect the human body. Therefore, the fish oil used must be pure. Many companies sell ultra refined or distilled fish oil, but you should always check if the standards have been followed and research on the company or the product before adding it to your diet.
Fish oil and Vitamins
Vitamin A and Vitamin D:Fish oil, especially the types obtained from fish livers like cod liver oil is a rich source of vitamin A andvitamin D. However, excessive dosage of cod liver oil can lead to vitamin toxicity, the accumulation of excessive vitamins in the body, which can cause serious side effects.
Vitamin E: Fish oil undergoes oxidation and can become rancid, leading to the formation of free radicals. The addition of antioxidants such asvitamin Eto the oil can help prevent the formation of these free radicals.
Excessive dosage of fish oil leads to decreased levels of vitamin E in the human body. This loss of vitamin E should be supplemented with external vitamin E supplements.
Methylsulfonylmethane is a relatively new dietary supplement form of sulfur that is found in our living tissues. MSM supports healthy connective tissues like tendons, ligaments, and muscle. Thus, it is important in conditions such as arthritis, muscle pains, bursitis, etc. MSM should be considered an integral part of any healthcare practice because of its physiological action, indirect importance, and current/future uses.
To understand MSM, some background information is necessary. MSM is a “naturally-occurring nutrient found in normal human diets”. It gets into the diet through the sulfur cycle. Ocean plankton release sulfur compounds which rise into the ozone where ultra-violet light makes MSM and DMSO. DMSO, dimethyl sulfoxide, is a precursor to MSM. MSM and DMSO return to the surface of the earth in rain. Plants concentrate MSM and return it to the earth and the sea. Evaporation into the air results in their return to the earth.
MSM has a unique action on body tissues. It decreases the pressure inside the cell. In removing fluids and toxins, sulfur affects the cell membrane. MSM is an organic form of sulfur, whereas sulfites in foodstuffs are inorganic. Sue Williams states “sulfur is present in all cells” and is in the form of “organic compounds throughout the body. However, sulfur can be found in the body in sulfate forms. It forms sulfate compounds with sodium, potassium, magnesium, and selenium. MSM has a significance because sulfur compounds are found everywhere throughout the body and in nature.
Sulfur has an indirect importance because sulfur compounds play a role in many body organs and systems. Sulfur is in the hair, skin, and nails. Many amino acids, the building blocks of protein, have sulfur as a component. Taurine is a sulfur-containing amino acid formed from methionine. Taurine stabilizes cell membranes. Methionine contains sulfur, detoxifies cells, and is involved in pain relief. Carnitine comes from methionine and transports long-chain fatty acids preventing accumulations of lipoproteins. Many B-complex vitamins interact with or contain sulfur. Sulfur is needed for insulin production.
One current use of MSM is for joint problems, as sulfur is found in and near osseous structures. Sulfur supports healthy muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Arthritic conditions have responded to oral MSM. Some researchers note results from MSM when used for post-exercise muscle pain. MSM normalizes pressure inside cells and removes toxins. Oregon Health Sciences University has conducted arthritis studies with mice. The mice which received MSM had “no degeneration of articular cartilage”. The other non-MSM mice had cartilaginous degeneration. The university has used MSM on over 12,000 patents. Researchers make no claim about MSM as a supplement, but osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, muscle soreness and muscle pain respond to oral MSM.
One researcher claims MSM is about as safe as water. One should drink extra water with MSM use. There are other dietary factors to consider.
Avoiding nightshade plants has helped arthritis patients (tomatoes/potatoes / green pepper/eggplant). Biotin and vitamin C help the body assimilate MSM. Biotin and vitamin C are found in fresh fruits. Eating fresh fruits while taking MSM could be helpful.
In addition to arthritis, it may have other future uses. Dr. Stanley Jacob believes,’most people are deficient’ in sulfur. Insulin synthesis depends upon sulfur. Many vitamins require or contain sulfur. Some researchers claim it has many future uses such as in allergies.
A good MSM product is both safe and effective. The MSM source for MSM supplements is often lignin from pine trees. Lignin is a molecule in plants that is part of a plant’s cell wall. Lignin oxidation in oak wine barrels results in the vanilla flavors of wines. The pine tree lignin is an ideal source for a good MSM product.
For those who do not want to take MSM as a supplement, food sources of sulfur are as follows: sunflower seeds, garlic, lentils, soybeans, and yogurt. Persons with kidney problems or recurrent kidney stones may not want to take MSM. Certain renal tubular defects can make a person susceptible to recurrent kidney stones. Other kidney defects include errors of metabolism in which processing of sulfur amino acids is altered. Such persons may wish to avoid MSM.
One thousand to three thousand milligrams per day is a typical dosage range, but some people take well above that amount. This author takes MSM alone.
From the cell walls of pine trees to the cells of the human body, a good MSM supplement can contribute to good health.
Conditions That Have Reportedly Responded to MSM Supplements
Candida Yeast Infections
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Fragile Hair & Nails
Muscle Pain & Cramps
Skin Damage & Aging
A body made up of healthy, flexible cells will not only feel better, it will look better too. The body is continuously at work replacing old, worn out cells with new ones. The process goes on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without stop. When all the raw materials needed for cell-building are available, it is a very efficient process. When there are deficiencies, the new cells may be weak, rigid or deformed.
One of the most important raw materials for building healthy new cells is a form of organic sulfur known as methyl sulfonyl methane (MSM). This element is so essential to life that it is found in every cell of every plant and every animal. Sulfur makes up 0.25% of human body weight. However, neither plants nor animals can use elemental sulfur directly. Sulfur is not easily available to living organisms in its inorganic form.
MSM is not a medicine, a drug, or a food additive. It is afood. MSM is an organic form of sulfur that can be easily absorbed and utilized by the body. Although DMSO and MSM are chemically similar, each is unique. MSM is a pure, stable, white crystalline powder without the unpleasant smell or taste of DMSO.Also, MSM does not give you a strong body odor like DMSO.
Since sulfur is a component of all cells, it is essential that the body has a plentiful supply of this mineral in its usable form. There is a positive synergistic effect on building healthier cells when MSM is taken in combination with vitamin C.The new cells are more pliable and permeable, allowing fluids to pass through the tissue more easily.Internally this means a more efficient elimination of toxins, a reduction in inflammation and pain – so you feel better. On the outside it shows up as a softer, smoother complexion, stronger hair and nails – so you look better.
MSM for Relief of Pain and Inflammation
Approximately half of the total body sulfur is concentrated in the muscles, skin, and bones. One of the most significant uses of MSM as a supplement is its demonstrated ability to relieve pain and inflammation. When rigid fibrous tissue cells swell and become inflamed, pressure and pain result. Since MSM can restore flexibility and permeability to cell walls, fluids can pass through the tissues more easily. This helps equalize pressure and reduce or eliminate the cause of pain. Harmful substances such as lactic acid and toxins are allowed to flow out, while nutrients are permitted to flow in. This prevents the pressure buildup in cells that cause inflammation.
MSM has shown a remarkable ability to reduce or eliminate muscle soreness and cramps both in geriatric patients and in athletes. It’s even given to racehorses before a race to prevent muscle soreness, and afterward to reduce the risk of cramping. People with arthritis report substantial and long-lasting relief with MSM supplements. Taken along with glucosamine, a key substance in the process of rebuilding cartilage, MSM can relieve pain and help repair worn or damaged cartilage in joints, ligaments, and tendons with healthy, flexible new cells.
How Does MSM Work?
MSM makes cell walls permeable, allowing water and nutrients to freely flow into cells and allowing wastes and toxins to properly flow out. The body uses MSM along with Vitamin C to create new, healthy cells, and MSM provides the flexible bond between the cells. Without proper levels of MSM, our bodies are unable to build good healthy cells, and this leads to problems such as lost flexibility, scar tissue, wrinkles, varicose veins, hardened arteries, damaged lung tissues, dry cracking skin, digestive disorders, joint problems, and inability to defend against allergic reactions to food, animals, and plants.
MSM is an anti-oxidant that helps to clean the bloodstream and flush toxins trapped in our cells. It is also a foreign protein and free radical scavenger. In order to maintain good health, we need to supplement our diets with MSM, to enable the body to heal itself. The body uses what it needs, and after 12 hours will flush out any excess amounts.
The Beauty Mineral for Hair, Skin, and Nails
Sulfur has been called nature’s “beauty mineral” because it is needed to keep the hair glossy and smooth and keeps the complexion clear and youthful. It is needed for synthesis of collagen and is prevalent in keratin, a tough protein substance necessary for health and maintenance of the skin, nails, and hair.
MSM is responsible for the flexible disulfide bonds between cells, including those that make up the skin. It blocks undesirable chemical and physical cross-linking or bonding of collagen which is associated with tough, aging skin. Con consequently MSM enhances tissue pliability and encourages repair f damaged skin. If there is insufficient sulfur in the body when new cells are being manufactured, the new cells will be rigid. This rigidity can contribute to cracking, wrinkling, and unsightly scar tissue. When sufficient sulfur is present for new cells, the skin is softer, smoother and more flexible. MSM provides that sulfur.
Acne, including the severe acne rosacea, responds favorably to MSM supplements. Adequate sulfur and vitamin C are also needed for healing. When the body is deficient in these nutrients, the new tissue will be elevated leaving an unattractive, raised scar. Because MSM makes the skin more permeable and pliant, it can also help prevent blistering and promote faster healing from sunburn or wind damage.
With MSM supplements, nails show not only an increase in growth rate but also increased toughness and resistance to chipping and cracking. This effect has been seen both in human nails and horses hoofs.
Allergens, Toxins, and Parasites
Flexible, permeable cells are also important in that they allow toxins, allergens, and foreign substances to be flushed out of the body more easily. When skin cells are soft and permeable, many toxins can be eliminated through the sweat glands, which takes some of the load off the liver and kidneys. While MSM is not a cure for allergies, supplementation may reduce symptoms by allowing allergens to be removed from the body more quickly. Even reactions to insect bites, poison ivy, and poison oak are less severe when the diet is supplemented with MSM. Vitamin C is also synergistic in this application in that it can lower histamine levels.
MSM has also shown amazing anti-parasitic action against Giardia, Trichomonas, roundworms, nematodes, Enterobius and other intestinal worms. When parasites attach themselves to the intestinal lining, they can live, reproduce and rob the body of nutrients indefinitely. MSM blocks parasites by competing for receptor sites on the mucous membrane. When parasites cannot attach themselves, they are simply flushed out of the system.
The same is true with food allergens. MSM coats mucosal surfaces and occupies the binding sites that could otherwise be used by challenging food allergens. It can also bind with offending agents to produce harmless substances which are then excreted from the body. This facilitates normal digestion and assimilation and allows the body to get maximum nutritional value from foods that would otherwise cause a reaction. Individuals who experience an allergic response to certain foods have reported improved or complete tolerance to those foods when they take MSM supplements. Healthy flexible colon tissues along with improved digestion can also relieve constipation.
Sulfur is also a component of insulin, the hormone that regulates carbohydrate metabolism and insufficient sulfur may result in decreased insulin production. It is also possible that a lack of bio-available sulfur would make the cells so rigid and impermeable that they become unable to absorb sugar from the blood efficiently, leaving blood sugar levels elevated. Studies indicate that regular MSM supplements which cause the cell to become permeable could help balance blood sugar and allow the overworked pancreas to return to normal.
Since sulfur is present in every cell of every living thing, it might seem that we would get plenty of this essential mineral from dietary sources and should not need supplements, but that may not be the case. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products are the main sources of dietary sulfur, but we have been advised to restrict or remove many of those foods from our diets. Vegetarians, especially those who do not eat eggs, are at particular risk for sulfur deficiency. Plants cells contain sulfur but not in abundant quantities and much of the MSM present in unprocessed foods is lost in washing, cooking or steaming. And, of course, MSM levels decline noticeably with age – doesn’t everything? So, the older you get, the more important it becomes to maintain adequate sulfur levels in the body.
Usage and Toxicity
Due to its positive effects, particularly in maintaining healthy cell formation, 2,000 to 6,000 mg. of supplemental MSM daily is recommended. Of course, the optimum daily dosage of MSM depends largely on body size, age and the nature and severity of any deficiency symptoms you may be experiencing. Since vitamin C provides a positive synergistic it should be taken along with MSM.
MSM ranks in the “extremely low” toxicity category with a toxicity profile similar to that of water. When oral supplements are taken, the body will distribute MSM where it is needed. After about 12 hours, any excess amounts will be flushed out of the body. MSM, a member of the sulfur family, should never be confused with sulfa drugs to which some people are allergic.
Scientists have isolated the unique molecule that providesolive oilwith its multitude of health and life-extending benefits. Known asoleuropein, it is the polyphenol that can help lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure, prevent cancer, protect against oxidative damage, and help guard against cognitive decline.Oleuropein provides the distinctive tangy, pungent, almost bitter flavor found in high quality extra virgin olive oils.It’s also responsible for most of olive oil’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and disease-fighting characteristics.In fact, when oleuropein was given to animals with tumors, the tumors completely regressed and disappeared in 9 to 12 days!
The olive tree(Olea europaea)produces oleuropein abundantly in its leaves as well as in the olive fruit itself, and special processing techniques now allow for the extraction of a stable, standardized form of oleuropein. That means that consumers can have access to one of the most beneficial components of olive oil without the necessity of consuming excessive amounts of olive oil.
Olive leaf extracts and their oleuropein constituents are best known for their blood pressure-lowering effects, but the latest studies reveal their health benefits extend well beyond that. Additional anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties offer promise in fighting atherosclerosis, diabetes, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and even arthritis.
Animal studies demonstrate that olive leaf extracts lead to significant drops in elevated blood pressure.Remarkably, these effects are evident when supplementation occurs either before or after the animals develop hypertension. This means that the extracts have the ability to both prevent and treat high blood pressure.
The drop in blood pressure is accompanied by reduced pressure in the heart’s left ventricle. This results in improved blood flow to the heart’s own coronary blood vessels. Additional human studies demonstrate the ability of olive leaf extracts to significantly reduce blood pressure measurements.
One particularly fascinating study was conducted among identical twins with borderline hypertension (blood pressure in the range of120-139mmHgover80-89 mmHg).10Studies of identical twins virtually eliminate genetic variations which may impact study results. After 8 weeks, placebo recipients showed no change in blood pressure from baseline, but patients supplemented with1,000 mg/dayof olive leaf extract dropped their pressures by a mean of11 mmHgsystolic and4 mmHgdiastolic.10The supplemented patients experienced significant reductions in LDL cholesterol.
A human study measured olive leaf extract againstcaptopril, one of the conventional drugs used for treating hypertension.11In this study, patients with stage-1 hypertension (140-159 mmHgover90-99 mmHg) took either500 mgof olive leaf extract twice daily, or12.5 mgof captopril twice daily, which was increased as needed to25 mgtwice daily. After 8 weeks of treatment, both groups experienced a drop in mean blood pressure from baseline (11.5and13.7 mmHgsystolic;4.8and6.4 mmHgdiastolic, respectively), with no significant difference between the two groups. In other words, the olive leaf extract performed as well as the prescription drug. A closer look in the laboratory reveals the reason for this equivalence. Although they utilize different mechanisms of action (oleuropein acts as a natural calcium channel blocker and captopril is a well-known ACE-inhibitor), both oleuropein and captopril function inside the vasculature to decrease the tension in the walls of blood vessels and promote widening of the vessels (vasodilation), ultimately lowering blood pressure.
The proven blood pressure-lowering effects of olive leaf extracts are potent enough to warrant caution if you are taking prescription blood pressure drugs.60If you are on blood pressure medication, it’s essential that you speak to your prescriber before starting supplementation.
Blood pressure is only one measure of cardiovascular health; arterial health is equally important. The endothelial cells that line arterial walls play a key role in maintaining blood flow and pressure; they also regulate the distribution of smooth muscle cells and sustain an even flow of blood through vessels. Endothelial dysfunction is one of the earliest stages in hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which occurs when plaques build up in the arterial walls. These plaques eventually block blood flow and can trigger a heart attack or stroke.
Olive leaf extracts fight endothelial dysfunction at multiple levels. They increase the production of nitric oxide, a signaling molecule that helps relax blood vessels.They reduce the production and activity of a class of molecules known asmatrix metalloproteinases or MMPs.Excessive MMP activity literally dissolves the gel-like matrix that holds cells together, making vessel linings increasingly vulnerable to plaque damage. They also help prevent the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol, which is one of the earliest events in developing atherosclerosis.Oxidized LDL triggers inflammation, further damaging arteries, and olive leaf extract has multi-targeted anti-inflammatory effects.
Polyphenol compounds found in olive leaves have been shown to help directly prevent the formation of arterial plaques (and thereby reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke) in two ways. First, they reduce the production and activity of a series of “adhesion molecules.”These substances cause white blood cells and platelets to stick to arterial walls, resulting in early plaque formation. Second, they reduce platelet aggregation (clumping) by multiple mechanisms, which reduces the risk that tiny clots will form at sites of plaque to produce a stroke or heart attack.
The diabetic (and pre-diabetic) state of chronic blood sugar elevation imposes substantial oxidative stress throughout the body, triggering inflammation and tissue damage that rapidly accelerates aging. Treatments for diabetes have two main goals: 1) lowering blood glucose to normal levels and 2) limiting the damage done by the inevitable blood sugar spikes that still occur.
Olive leaf extracts are showing real promise in both of these areas. In animal and basic lab studies, olive leaf extracts and oleuropein have been found to lower blood sugar through several mechanisms.They slow the digestion of starches into simple sugars, slow absorption of those sugars from the intestine, and increase the uptake of glucose into tissues from the blood.They protect tissues from the oxidant damage caused when glucose binds to proteins in the process calledglycation.They also increase levels of other natural antioxidant systems in the body, broadening the degree of protection.
These mechanisms have directly observable benefits. Studies show that diabetic animals supplemented with olive leaf extracts experience significant reductions in blood sugar and cholesterol.In a dramatic head-to-head study, diabetic rats were treated with either olive leaf extract or glyburide (Diabeta®), a common glucose-lowering drug.By the end of the study, the antidiabetic effects of the extract proved superior to those of the drug.
One intriguing study showed that when lab rats were fed a high-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, they developed all the signs of metabolic syndrome (excessive abdominal fat, hypertension, abnormal lipid profile, and impaired glucose tolerance).But when animals were fed that unhealthy diet along with olive leaf extracts, virtually all of the metabolic abnormalities improved or, in some cases, normalized.
Human studies reveal that supplementing with500 mgofolive leaf extractonce daily resulted in significant reductions inhemoglobin A1clevels, the standard marker of long-term exposure to elevated blood sugar in diabetic people.Supplementation also lowered fasting plasma insulin levels, an important point because chronic insulin elevations may contribute to diabetics’ higher cancer risks.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The Mediterranean diet offers a host of benefits that prolong life and improve health.
Olive oil, a major component of the Mediterranean diet, contains a unique compound calledoleuropeinthat provides its characteristic biting, astringent taste.
Oleuropein is responsible for most of olive oil’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and disease-fighting characteristics.
Olive leaves contain high amounts of oleuropein, making their extracts a valuable source of this nutrient without the need to consume large amounts of olive oil.
Olive leaf extracts show tremendous promise in preventing or mitigating conditions as diverse as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and arthritis.
The Mediterranean diet is renowned for its ability to reduce the risk of cancer.While numerous aspects of the diet contribute to this risk reduction, there’s growing evidence that olive oil—and specifically itsoleuropein content—are key components of the diet’s anti-cancer effects.
Studies show that oleuropein’s antioxidant effects help it battle cancer formation at its earliest stages. Olive leaf extracts inhibit DNA damage from reactive oxygen species, which is the very first step in the development of malignant cells.Once cells become cancerous, they rely on a host of chemical signaling factors that promote their growth and organization into tumors. Olive leaf compounds are known to inhibit growth factors and disrupt signaling pathways.Oleuropein also suppresses an enzyme cancer cells rely on to derive and store energy from dietary carbohydrates.
Oleuropein and olive leaf extracts have numerous other mechanisms of action against cancer:
They help prevent inflammation, another major promoter of tumor growth.
In breast cancer cells specifically, oleuropein reduces malignant cells’ ability to respond to estrogen, the female hormone that many breast cancer cells depend on for their survival.
Oleuropein inhibits the production of the “protein-melting” enzymes that cancer cells need in order to invade healthy tissues and metastasize to distant parts of the body.
These mechanisms have now been shown in laboratory and animal studies to reduce the rates of occurrence, and subsequent development, of a broad variety of cancers, including those of the brain, head and neck, breast, liver, bladder, prostate, and skin, as well as leukemia.
In one especially vivid study, mice with a high spontaneous cancer rate were orally supplemented with oleuropein.The tumors completely regressed and disappeared in9to12 days.When the tumors were examined before they vanished, they were found to have a disordered, crumbly consistency, and no cancer cells remained alive within.
Olive extracts help protect the brain and central nervous system from the destruction brought on by strokes and age-related degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.They accomplish this by suppressing inflammation and reducing the damage done by oxidative stress.
In acute brain injuries such as those caused by a stroke or trauma, damaging processes such as oxidative stress occur within minutes of the original event—and, ironically, are worsened by the return of normal blood flow to the area.50,51
Researchers found a number of positive effects in animals that were pre-treated with olive leaf extract and then induced with a stroke. Compared with untreated animals, the treated animals experienced a sharp reduction in markers of oxidation and an increase in normal cellular antioxidant systems.Microscopic examination of brain tissue revealed a similar decline in injury to brain cells and up to a55% decreasein the volume of dying brain tissue.Similar results are shown in experimental spinal cord injury in animals pretreated with oleuropein.
Olive leaf extracts offer similar protection for neurodegenerative diseases. Oxidative stress occurs more gradually in neurodegenerative diseases. However, the effects add up over a lifetime, producing inflammation and other changes that result in the accumulation of abnormal proteins that interfere with brain function and kill neurons. Olive leaf extracts help prevent these abnormal proteins from assembling into the neurofibrillary tangles seen in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s and similar diseases.
Olive leaves and their extracts have long been used in the Mediterranean as folk remedies for arthritis. Now, scientific evidence has proven that olive leaf extracts can, in fact, interfere with the development of several different kinds of arthritis, including gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis.
Goutis caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in joints, the byproducts of impaired recycling of DNA and RNA in cells. In a mechanism identical to that ofallopurinol(the gold standard drug therapy for gout), oleuropein prevents the buildup of uric acid by inhibitingxanthine oxidase, the enzyme responsible for converting DNA and RNA into uric acid.
Oleuropein has also been found to help prevent and treat symptoms ofrheumatoid arthritis. When administered at the earliest sign of arthritis in animal models, oleuropein prevented symptoms from developing and also produced a marked improvement in the microscopic appearance of joint tissue from affected animals. When administered after arthritis was fully developed, there was significant improvement in inflammatory changes to joints, compared with untreated animals.
Oleuropein had similar benefits onosteoarthritis. In animal models of this degenerative joint disease, olive leaf extract improved joint swelling, improved the microscopic appearance of joint tissue, and prevented the production of inflammatory cytokines.
The Mediterranean diet reduces your risk for virtually every condition associated with aging. Olive oil is a major component of that diet. Olive leaves contain higher amounts ofoleuropein, a polyphenol with unique health-improving attributes. These extracts have been used in traditional medicine for centuries to improve age-related diseases.
Now, scientific evidence has shown that these extracts have a remarkable impact on blood pressure and heart disease—and they can help protect against other age-related chronic conditions as well. Convincing evidence now shows that oleuropein-rich olive leaf extracts help prevent many of the underlying factors leading to diabetes, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, stroke, and arthritis.
Extra-virgin olive oil and olive leaf extract should be considered an important component of one’s health and longevity program.
Glucosamine is an amino sugar which is found abundantly in the exoskeleton of shell fish. It is extracted byhydrolysis of these shells, but can also be obtained in a vegetarian form by fermenting grains. Glucosamine is a precursor for a group of compounds called glycosaminoglycans, which make up a large part of cartilage. The purpose for using glucosamine as a supplement is to allow the body to rebuild cartilage between joints, which will improve movement and reduce pain.
After reviewing much of the research on glucosamine it is clear that it does benefit join health, but in more than one way. Glucosamine has shown an ability to reduce the inflammation in joint, which will help reduce pain. It can also prevent the catabolism (breakdown) of cartilage which already exists, and help stimulate the body to build more cartilage. There is still some uncertainty with regards to the extent by which these benefits occur, but this could be due to biological variance in the individuals in the trials.
Types Of Glucosamine Available
This is the most common form of glucosamine, and is derived from the shells of shellfish, which may cause allergic reactions to some people. As glucosamine sulphate is so common the majority of research has been conducted on this form, and it is widely accepted as being biologically stable, bio-available and effective at reducing inflammation and strengthening cartilage.
Primarily derived from grains, this is a much less commonly available form of glucosamine. It has been claimed that this form contains more organic glucosamine, and so should be a more effective supplement, but in comparison studies glucosamine hydrocloride has shown not to be any more beneficial than glucosamine sulphate.
Other Supplements For Joints
Chondroitin is a sulfated glycosaminoglycan, and is a major component of cartilage. The purpose of adding chondroitin with glcosamine in joint supplements is similar to the purpose of using glucosamine – provide the body with the building blocks for making the connective tissue in the joints. Although it makes sense on paper, the scientific evidence is inconsistent for chondroitin. A number of studies show that chondroitin and glucosamine are better than just glucosamine alone, showing that they have synergistic properties. It is far from being as effective as glucosamine in performance alone though, and so is not a replacement for glucosamine.
MSM is a excellent source of organic sulphur, which is essential for the production of many proteins in the body, including connective tissue. This will enable to body to make more connective tissue and resolve the joint problem. MSM has had more significant research conducted on it than chondroitin, and it not only improves the joint recovery (when taken with glucosamine), but also has anti-inflammatory properties. This will reduce the pain and prevent further damage to joints making it a useful standalone supplement or an effective supplement to take alongside glucosamine.
Cod liver oil
Cod liver oil is often recommended in conjunction with glucosamine for joints, and together, they can offer some serious benefits to joints. Cod liver oil can help reduce the inflammation of sore joints, which can reduce pain, reduce swelling and help the joints heal.
Of the 3 main supplements for joints, glucosamine is the most effective at relieving pain and aiding to rebuild the connective tissue. The extent by which it does this may vary from person to person, and will depend on the cause and extent of the damage. This highlights the importance treating damaged joints early to prevent them becoming damaged even further. MSM is also an effective supplement to be taken alongside glucosamine as it reduces inflammation and can aid with the repairing of the connective tissue. Chondroitin is still effective, but needs to be taken along side glucosamine to have any significant results. A combination of all 3 ingredients will be most effective at repairing joints and reducing pain.
You know the torture of a sleepless night. You toss and turn. You can't get your mind to shut down. Maybe you've tried yoga or meditation. Or maybe you can fall asleep but then wake in the middle of the night, wide awake, and can't fall back to sleep. You don't want to take prescription sleep aids because of the side effects, but you have heard the natural sleep aids just don't work. We have listed below the key ingredients to the best natural sleep aid, based on years of testing on the best subjects we could find, our customers.
L-Tryptophan benefits people with anxiety and insomnia more so than anyone else due to the fact that it can help balance hormones such as serotonin and 5 HTP, both of which have been shown to be directly related to anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders.
Since tryptophan is eventually converted into serotonin after ingestion, it can help enhance your mood and relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. It is most commonly used as a sleep supplement because of the deeply relaxing effect it tends to have on people, which is why it’s most highly recommended for people with insomnia.
Here is a list of the majorL-Tryptophan Benefits:
Boosts 5 HTP levels
Increases serotonin production
Prepares the body and mind for sleep
2. Valerian Root
Valerian root has been proven to be a powerful sedative when the dosage is high enough. People refer to it as “Nature’s Valium” for a reason. If you have never taken Valium, you may not know this, but it is a very powerful sedative that makes you feel very calm. It is a prescription drug that is used primarily on people with anxiety disorders.
We like valerian root better than Valium because it’s not just an anxiety cure. As a matter of fact, it’s even better to use valerian root for sleep than it is for anxiety. If you tend to experience most of your anxiety at night, then valerian is the perfect double whammy supplement for you. It destroys anxiety and puts you to sleep very quickly.
Here is a list of the primary chamomile tea benefits:
Increases sense of calm and wellbeing
Helps you fall asleep at night
Chamomile Tea Vs. Chamomile Supplements
The first and most significant difference between drinking chamomile tea and taking a chamomile supplement is that chamomile supplements typically contain much higher dosages of chamomile, and therefore also contain much more Glycine. In other words, chamomile supplements are much more potent than chamomile tea.
Another benefit of using a chamomile based supplement as opposed to drinking chamomile tea is a simple fact that you don’t have to drink the tea. A lot of people want to drink chamomile tea for the benefits but do not like the taste. Using encapsulated chamomile eliminates that problem and is simply much easier.
It comes down to this…would you rather drink a cup of chamomile tea and get a small dosage of the active ingredient, or simply pop a capsule and get a much more potent dosage?
The most significant benefit of using a melatonin supplement is obvious. At the end of the day, when your brain is having trouble producing enough melatonin, you can simply take a small dosage of melatonin, and it will get the job done for you. Melatonin as a supplement is a completely safe and natural sleep aid that can really be a tremendous help.
Melatonin supplements can serve as a temporary solution to your sleep problem, but taking melatonin by itself isn’t going to fix your issue in the long term. Supplementing with melatonin helps get your levels back on track in the short term, but if you are looking for a long-term solution for curing your insomnia, you need a more comprehensive sleep supplement.
Comprehensive sleep supplements usually contain small dosages of melatonin to help you fall asleep in the short term, which is great, but they also contain proven natural herbs and other nutrients that have been clinically proven to help correct sleep troubles in the long term.
Of course, we wouldn't tell you about these ingredients if we didn't have a resource that combines them into one super, natural sleep supplement. Click the link below to go to our REM Sleep product page. Sweet dreams!
Bacteria have a reputation for causing disease, so the idea of tossing down a few billion a day for your health might seem — literally and figuratively — hard to swallow. But a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that you can treat and even prevent some illnesses with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria. Northern Europeans consume a lot of these beneficial microorganisms, called probiotics (fromproandbiota, meaning "for life"), because of their tradition of eating foods fermented with bacteria, such as yogurt. Probiotic-laced beverages are also big business in Japan.
Enthusiasm for such foods has lagged in the United States, but interest in probiotic supplements is on the rise. Some digestive disease specialists are recommending them for disorders that frustrate conventional medicine, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Since the mid-1990s, clinical studies suggest that probiotic therapy can help treat several gastrointestinal ills, delay the development of allergies in children, and treat and prevent vaginal and urinary infections in women.
Self-dosing with bacteria isn't as outlandish as it might seem. An estimated 100 trillion microorganisms representing more than 500 different species inhabit every normal, healthy bowel. These microorganisms (or microflora) generally don't make us sick; most are helpful. Gut-dwelling bacteria keep pathogens (harmful microorganisms) in check, aid digestion and nutrient absorption, and contribute to immune function.
Not all probiotics are the same. Different strains of the bacteria have different effects. For example, one strain may fight against cavity-causing organisms in our mouths and don't need to survive a trip through our guts.
Research has been promising for these friendly critters. Potential benefits of probiotics have been seen in the treatment or prevention of
irritable bowel syndrome
H. pylori (the cause of ulcers)
urinary tract infections
recurrence of bladder cancer
infection of the digestive tract caused by Clostridium difficile
pouchitis (a possible side effect of surgery that removes the colon)
eczema in children.
Probiotics and gastrointestinal issues
The best case for probiotic therapy has been in the treatment of diarrhea. Controlled trials have shown thatLactobacillus GGcan shorten the course of infectious diarrhea in infants and children (but not adults). Although studies are limited and data are inconsistent, two large reviews, taken together, suggest that probiotics reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea by 60%, when compared with a placebo.
More common than diarrhea is the opposite problem — constipation. In a search for studies on the benefits of probiotocs in treating constipation, researchers found that probiotics slowed "gut transit time" by 12.4 hours, increases the number of weekly bowel movements by 1.3, and helped to soften stools, making them easier to pass. But the jury is still out on specific recommendations when ot comes to the benefits ofprobiotics for constipation.
Probiotic therapy may also help people with Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Clinical trial results are mixed, but several small studies suggest that certain probiotics may help maintain remission of ulcerative colitis and prevent relapse of Crohn's disease and the recurrence of pouchitis (a complication of surgery to treat ulcerative colitis). Because these disorders are so frustrating to treat, many people are giving probiotics a try before all the evidence is in for the particular strains they're using. More research is needed to find out which strains work best for what conditions.
Probiotics and vaginal health
Probiotics may also be of use in maintaining urogenital health. Like the intestinal tract, the vagina is a finely balanced ecosystem. The dominantLactobacillistrains normally make it too acidic for harmful microorganisms to survive. But the system can be thrown out of balance by a number of factors, including antibiotics, spermicides, and birth control pills. Probiotic treatment that restores the balance of microflora may be helpful for such common female urogenital problems as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, and urinary tract infection.
Many women eat yogurt or insert it into the vagina to treat recurring yeast infections, a "folk" remedy for which medical science offers limited support. Oral and vaginal administration ofLactobacillimay help in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis, although there isn't enough evidence yet to recommend it over conventional approaches. (Vaginosis must be treated because it creates a risk for pregnancy-related complications and pelvic inflammatory disease.) Probiotic treatment of urinary tract infections is under study.
Probiotics are generally considered safe — they're already present in a normal digestive system — although there's a theoretical risk for people with impaired immune function. Be sure the ingredients are clearly marked on the label and familiar to you or your health provider. There's no way to judge the safety of unidentified mixtures.
The benefits of vitamin E have been the subject of research studies for more than 70 years. Vitamin E is your body's most abundant fat-soluble antioxidant and the single most important antioxidant for heart attack prevention. The breadth and scope of the benefits of vitamin E have made it one of the most significant nutritional discoveries in history.
What makes vitamin E so valuable in preventing heart disease and atherosclerosis is that it can maneuver into fatty parts of the cell membrane that are inaccessible to the othnetwork antioxidants.
More information on vitamin E's ability to prevent heart disease: Vitamin E and Heart Disease
Vitamin E is an essential fat-soluble vitamin. It is not a singlecompound, but a family of molecules composed of tocopherols and tocotrienols (fat-soluble alcohols), all nearly identical in structure. The four distinct tocopherolsare named alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-tocopherols.
Vitamin E helps preventoxidative stressby working together with the othernetwork antioxidants: vitamin C, glutathione, and lipoic acid, as well as the mineral selenium.
Vitamin E Strengthens Your Immune System
The primary job of your immune system is to protect you against disease. They call it a "system" because it is not associated with any one particular organ. Instead, it is a collection of cells that seek out and destroy bacteria, viruses, cancerous cells and foreign invaders that it identifies as harmful.
T-cells.There are several different types of immune cells. T-cells are the main cells of the immune system. T-cells circulate throughout the bloodstream and seek out and destroy harmful invaders. Other T-cells, called suppressor cells, help immune cells distinguish between the cells of the body and foreign proteins. A malfunction in suppressor cells can lead to autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
B-cells.Another type of immune cell, B-cells, produce proteins called antibodies that attach onto a foreign substance when it has been introduced into the body.
As we age, there is a measurable drop in immune function.Although we may produce just as many T-cells and B-cells, they do not work as well as they did when you were younger. Vitamin E has been shown to produce a significant increase in T-cell and B-cell activity in studies done with older patients.
Other Specific Benefits of Vitamin E
Besides protecting your cardiovascular system, the benefits of vitamin E include keeping your skin youthful by protecting against ultraviolet radiation and ozone, the major causes of wrinkles. Vitamin E also promotes healthy hair and reduces acne conditions. It also has been shown to increase longevity and promotes quicker recovery from strenuous exercise.
The list of specific benefits of vitamin E is virtually endless.You will understand why this vitamin is held in such high regard after reading down the list of reported benefits below:
maintains brain function and mental cognition in old age
may help to prevent or slow down the progression of Alzheimer's
prevention and treatment of migraines
prevention and treatment of multiple sclerosis, strokes and Parkinson's
reduces the risk of prostate and bladder cancer
inhibits the growth of cancer cells
helps prevent varicose veins
lowers blood pressure
prevention and treatment of angina
helps prevent anemia
supports normal blood clotting
protects against leg cramps
strengthens your immune system
repairs damaged tissues and scars
prevention and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
prevention and treatment of cataracts and macular degeneration
More Benefits of Vitamin E
Vitamin E may be useful in the prevention and treatment of the following:
Alpha lipoic acid is an antioxidant made by the body. It is found in every cell, where it helps turn glucose into energy. Antioxidants attack "free radicals," waste products created when the body turns food into energy. Free radicals cause harmful chemical reactions that can damage cells, making it harder for the body to fight off infections. They also damage organs and tissues.
Other antioxidants work only in water (such as vitamin C) or fatty tissues (such as vitamin E). But alpha-lipoic acid is both fat and water soluble. That means it can work throughout the body. Antioxidants in the body are used up as they attack free radicals. But evidence suggests alpha-lipoic acid may help regenerate these other antioxidants and make them active again.
In the cells of the body, alpha-lipoic acid is changed into dihydrolipoic acid. Alpha Lipoic acid is not the same as alpha-linolenic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid that may help heart health. There is confusion between alpha lipoic acid and alpha linolenic acid because both are sometimes abbreviated ALA. Alpha lipoic acid is also sometimes called lipoic acid.
Several studies suggest alpha lipoic acid helps lower blood sugar levels. Its ability to kill free radicals may help people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, who have pain, burning, itching, tingling, and numbness in arms and legs from nerve damage. Researchers believe Alpha-lipoic acid helps improve insulin sensitivity.
Alpha-lipoic acid has been used for years to treat peripheral neuropathy in Germany. However, most of the studies that have found it helps have used intravenous (IV) alpha-lipoic acid. It's not clear whether taking alpha-lipoic acid by mouth will help. Most studies of oral alpha-lipoic acid have been small and poorly designed. One study did find that taking alpha-lipoic acid for diabetic neuropathy reduced symptoms compared to placebo.
Taking alpha-lipoic acid may help another diabetes-related condition called autonomic neuropathy, which affects the nerves to internal organs. One study of 73 people with cardiac autonomic neuropathy, which affects the heart, found that subjects reported fewer signs of the condition when taking 800 mg of alpha-lipoic acid orally compared to placebo.
Brain Function and Stroke
Because alpha-lipoic acid can pass easily into the brain, it may help protect the brain and nerve tissue. Researchers are investigating it as a potential treatment for stroke and other brain problems involving free radical damage, such as dementia.
Preliminary studies suggest alpha-lipoic acid may help treat glaucoma. But there is not enough evidence to say for sure whether it works. In one study on aging skin, a cream with 5% lipoic acid helped reduce fine lines from sun damage. Studies show ALA binds with toxic metals, such as mercury, arsenic, iron, and other metals that act as free radicals. Preliminary studies also suggest that ALA may play a role in managing other conditions including erectile dysfunction and cancer. And preliminary studies suggest it may reduce complications associated with otitis media (ear infections)
Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant made by the body. It is found in every cell, where it helps turn glucose into energy. Antioxidants attack "free radicals," waste products created when the body turns food into energy. Free radicals cause harmful chemical reactions that can damage cells, making it harder for the body to fight off infections. They also damage organs and tissues.
Other antioxidants work only in water (such as vitamin C) or fatty tissues (such as vitamin E). But alpha-lipoic acid is both fat and water soluble. That means it can work throughout the body. Antioxidants in the body are used up as they attack free radicals. But evidence suggests alpha-lipoic acid may help regenerate these other antioxidants and make them active again.
In the cells of the body, alpha-lipoic acid is changed into dihydrolipoic acid. Alpha-lipoic acid is not the same as alpha-linolenic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid that may help heart health. There is confusion between alpha-lipoic acid and alpha linolenic acid because both are sometimes abbreviated ALA. Alpha-lipoic acid is also sometimes called lipoic acid.
Several studies suggest alpha-lipoic acid helps lower blood sugar levels. Its ability to kill free radicals may help people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, who have pain, burning, itching, tingling, and numbness in arms and legs from nerve damage. Researchers believe Alpha-lipoic acid helps improve insulin sensitivity.
Alpha-lipoic acid has been used for years to treat peripheral neuropathy in Germany. However, most of the studies that have found it helps have used intravenous (IV) alpha-lipoic acid. It's not clear whether taking alpha-lipoic acid by mouth will help. Most studies of oral alpha-lipoic acid have been small and poorly designed. One study did find that taking alpha-lipoic acid for diabetic neuropathy reduced symptoms compared to placebo.
Taking alpha-lipoic acid may help another diabetes-related condition called autonomic neuropathy, which affects the nerves to internal organs. One study of 73 people with cardiac autonomic neuropathy, which affects the heart, found that subjects reported fewer signs of the condition when taking 800 mg of alpha-lipoic acid orally compared to placebo.
Brain Function and Stroke
Because alpha-lipoic acid can pass easily into the brain, it may help protect the brain and nerve tissue. Researchers are investigating it as a potential treatment for stroke and other brain problems involving free radical damage, such as dementia. So far, there's no evidence to say whether or not it works.
Preliminary studies suggest alpha-lipoic acid may help treat glaucoma. But there is not enough evidence to say for sure whether it works. In one study on aging skin, a cream with 5% lipoic acid helped reduce fine lines from sun damage. Studies show ALA binds with toxic metals, such as mercury, arsenic, iron, and other metals that act as free radicals. Preliminary studies also suggest that ALA may play a role in managing other conditions including erectile dysfunction and cancer. And preliminary studies suggest it may reduce complications associated with otitis media (ear infections).
If you are healthy, your body makes enough alpha-lipoic acid. It is also found in red meat, organ meats (such as liver), and yeast -- particularly brewer's yeast.
Alpha-lipoic acid supplements are available as capsules. Your health care provider can also give it by injection.
How to Take It
Alpha-lipoic acid has not been studied in children, so it is not recommended for pediatric use.
Check with your doctor regarding dosing recommendations. Studies are mixed about whether or not to take ALA with meals.
Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, you should take dietary supplements only under the supervision of a healthcare provider.
Alpha-lipoic acid hasn't been studied in pregnant or breastfeeding women, so researchers don't know if it's safe.
Side effects are generally rare and may include insomnia, fatigue, diarrhea, and skin rash.
Alpha-lipoic acid can lower blood sugar levels, so people with diabetes or low blood sugar should take alpha-lipoic acid only under the supervision of their healthcare provider.
Animal studies suggest that people who don't get enough thiamine (vitamin B1) should not take alpha-lipoic acid. B1 deficiency is associated with long-term alcohol abuse.
If you are being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use alpha-lipoic acid without first talking to your healthcare provider.
Medications for diabetes
Alpha-lipoic acid can combine with these drugs to lower blood sugar levels, raising the risk of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Ask your provider before taking alpha-lipoic acid, and watch your blood sugar levels closely. Your provider may need to adjust your medication doses.
Alpha-lipoic acid may interfere with some chemotherapy medications. Always ask your oncologist before taking any herb or supplement, including alpha-lipoic acid.
Thyroid medications, Levothyroxine
Alpha-lipoic acid may lower levels of thyroid hormone. Your provider should monitor blood hormone levels and thyroid function tests closely.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Alpha lipoic acid can lower the level of vitamin B1 (Thiamine) in the body. This can be particularly dangerous in alcoholics where malnutrition is often already present.
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Beitner H. Randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study on the clinical efficacy of a cream containing 5% alpha-lipoic acid related to photoaging of facial skin.Br J Dermatol. 2003;149(4):841-849.
Berkson BM. A conservative triple antioxidant approach to the treatment of hepatitis C. Combination of alpha lipoic acid (thioctic acid), silymarin, and selenium: three case histories.Med Klin. 1999;94 Suppl 3:84-89.
Clark WM, Rinker LG, Lessov NS, Lowery SL, Cipolla MJ. Efficacy of antioxidant therapies in transient focal ischemia in mice.Stroke. 2001;32(4):1000-1004.
Faust A, Burkart V, Ulrich H, et al. Effect of lipoic acid on cyclophosphamide-induced diabetes and insulitis in non-obese diabetic mice.Int J Immunopharmacol. 1994;16(1):61-66.
Head KA. Natural therapies for ocular disorders, part two: cataracts and glaucoma.Altern Med Rev. 2001;6(2):141-166.
Vitamin C has a long and colorful history. Before it was known by its current name, its importance was realized by people of many cultures. In the 1750’s, Dr. James Lind demonstrated the importance of citrus fruit in preventing scurvy among sailors and led to the nickname "limeys" for British mariners. Perhaps less well-known is that the name 'ascorbic acid' comes from similar roots, 'antiscorbutic', being the technical term for antiscurvy.
The fact that we have to take vitamin C at all seems to be a sort of biological accident, probably a genetic mutation, which happened hundreds of thousands of years ago. Virtually all animals can produce ascorbate from glucose in their liver through a step-wise biochemical chain of reactions, each mediated by a specific enzyme. In humans, the last enzyme in the series is missing, and it is the loss of this unit that accounts for the vast majority of people in the world being short of acceptable amounts of vitamin C for optimal health and longevity.
Some scientists estimate that without the genetic defect, the human adult would manufacture 10.000 to 20,000 milligrams of ascorbate daily and three to five times that amount during stress. While vitamin C is plentiful throughout the plant kingdom, in light of the fact that most people are deficient in it is evidence that few people consume a well-balanced diet. Those who wish to supplement their daily intake now have a new option - esterfied vitamin C.
Vitamin C - A Necessary Nutrient
Almost anyone can recite at least two or three good reasons to take vitamin C, and new discoveries are regularly announced. Its virtues have been extolled for decades and supplements from a few milligrams to megadoses have been advocated for everything from the common cold to cancer. The clinical reports supporting the diverse claims of this healthful substance are growing at an astounding rate. Below are just a few of the more recent studies conducted on vitamin C.
Because the eye contains a very high concentration of vitamin C, studies were conducted to explore the possible link between cataract development and vitamin C deficiency. In a study involving 108 cataract patients, Dr. A. Ringvold and his colleagues found that the majority of the patients lacked adequate levels of vitamin C. A study conducted at the University of Chile in Santiago demonstrated that by adding approximately 100 milligrams of vitamin C to the diet of 364 infants, their absorption of iron doubled.
The "British Journal of Clinical Practice" ran an editorial written by Dr. I. Haslock, who observed elderly patients with joint diseases also often suffered, from vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C deficiency frequently leads to excess blood in the joints, which in turn leads to many forms of arthritis.
In a number of separate studies that included adults of all ages, smokers, and nonsmokers, and males and females, researchers found that daily supplementation of vitamin C effectively lowered serum cholesterol by an average of 15 % over an average of 2 to 12 months. Others studies on vitamin C have concluded that daily supplementation significantly boosts the immune system, helps prevent and fight various forms of cancer, and effectively diminishes the incidence of periodontal disease.
Advantages of Esteritied C
Recently a new and different kind of vitamin C was discovered, called ester C. The excitement over this discovery is that it offers all the benefits of the current forms of vitamin C, plus a few others of its own. Ester is a chemists word to describe a particular chemical bonding configuration Esterified vitamin C means that several ascorbic acid molecules have been linked together in a certain way to form one large molecule.
The advantages of the esterfied form go far beyond simply bonding several ascorbic acid molecules together. While it is true that there are significant advantages in that alone, there are others. Nonester forms of vitamin C are quickly eliminated from the body. Supplements of vitamin C are quickly absorbed through the intestinal tract. Afterwards, excess quantities are rapidly eliminated, mostly through urination and a small amount through perspiration. Studies show that approximately 73 percent of ascorbic acid ingested is removed from the body in less than 24 hours. In contrast, only 5 percent of the ester form was eliminated during the same period. The rest was constantly being utilized for a variety of functions.
Many people who consume large doses of vitamin C complain about the uncomfortable effects of its acidity. Ascorbic acid at pH 2.4 is, in fact, quite a potent acid. Even buffered forms of vitamin C don’t always alleviate the problem. Esterfied C, on the other hand, is pH neutral - neither acidic nor alkaline. Hence, it is the most agreeable form, particularly for those with sensitive digestive systems. And, because of the unique method that goes into creating esterfied C, no chemicals are present which can lead to the production of unpleasant stomach gas.
The importance of calcium has long been established in bone building and bone maintenance. It is believed that long-term calcium shortages are responsible for the fact that, among post-meno-pausal women, one in four is afflicted with osteoporosis. Interestingly, vitamin C improves calcium absorption. In order to be properly absorbed, calcium must first be linked with an organic acid (such as ascorbic acid). It appears that this is the reason for the effectiveness of this duo. Therefore, there are compounded advantages to using a form of vitamin C in which the ascorbic acid is already naturally bonded (chelated) to calcium, as is the case of esterfied C. In using calcium-bonded vitamin C, you maximize the benefits of both nutrients and, at the same time, improve the absorption of calcium. Eserfied C is receiving world-wide recognition for its remarkable properties, and medical authorities are calling it the new "wonder vitamin".
Coenzyme Q10 (or CoQ10) is a natural chemical compound that we make in our bodies and consume in our diets, primarily from oily fish, organ meats such as liver, and whole grains.
It resides in the energy-producing part of cells and is involved with producing a key molecule known as adenosine-5-triphosphate (or ATP).
ATP is a cell's major energy source and it contributes to several important biological processes, such as the production of protein, and muscle contraction.
Why is CoQ10 important?
CoQ10 has the potential to vastly improve human health. It can help you combat fatigue, for example, as well asobesity,and a weak immune system (particularly for those with HIV, other viruses, and yeast infections).
It helps boostathletic performance(CoQ10 levels are low in people who exercise excessively), and it improves exercise tolerance in people with muscular dystrophy.
It also prevents toxin overload, and swollen gums (those with periodontal disease tend to have low levels of CoQ10 in their gums). Early studies show it may also increase sperm motility, leading to enhanced fertility. It’s all in a day’s work for CoQ10!
What's the importance of COQ10 for heart disease?
The American Chemical Society's most prestigious honor, the Priestley Medal, was awarded to Karl Folkers, Ph.D., for his landmark Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) research. That’s because Folkers found that in addition to the benefits listed above, CoQ10’s most valuable role may lie in fightingheart disease.
In fact, he says he found the blood levels of CoQ10 to be significantly lower in heart-disease patients than in those who were disease free, and he discovered that 70 percent of his heart patients with congestive heart failure benefited from taking CoQ10.
Eminent heart surgeon Denton Cooley, M.D., agrees. He says that in heart biopsies, he found 75 percent of his cardiac patients had varying but significant, deficiencies of CoQ10. Reports by over a hundred Japanese cardiac specialists who gave CoQ10 to thousands of patients with heart problems for nearly ten years also seemed to support these findings.
Additional benefits of CoQ10
Not only that, but several studies with small numbers of people suggest that CoQ10 may lower blood pressure after a few weeks, and it might help to prevent some of the heart damage caused by chemotherapy.
Introducing CoQ10 before heart surgery may reduce the damage caused by free radicals and oxidative damage,as well as lowering the incidence of irregular heartbeat, and strengthening heart function during recovery.
Interesting effects on cholesterol-lowering drugs
CoQ10 levels tend to be lower in people with ahigh cholesterolcount, compared with healthy individuals of the same age.
What’s more, certain cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins such as cerivastatin, atorvastatin, pravastatin simvastatin and lovastatin) seem to reduce the natural levels of CoQ10 in the body.
Taking CoQ10 supplements can correct the deficiency caused by statins, without changing the medication's positive effects on cholesterol levels.
As a result of its beneficial effects on one of the body’s most important organs, Folkers calls CoQ10 "a natural and essential co-factor in the heart."
CoQ10 and diabetes
Of course, managing cholesterol levels, helping the circulatory system, blood sugar levels and heart health is particularly important fordiabetics,and CoQ10 supplements may be a help to them.
Despite concern that CoQ10 may cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, two recent studies of people with diabetes given CoQ10 twice a day showed they experienced no hypoglycemic response. If you’re diabetic, talk to your doctor about how you can safely take CoQ10.
CoQ10 for Alzheimers and cancer
Now, scientists are hoping its effects on the heart, blood systems, and tissue toxicity means CoQ10 can soon be used as part of a treatment program for Alzheimer's disease,and for recovery from stroke. They’re also hopeful about the possibility of using it as part of a treatment regimen for women with breastcancer(together with conventional treatment and a nutritional program involving high levels of other antioxidants and fatty acids).
How does CoQ10 perform all these roles?
So how does it do it? Researchers think it may all be possible on account of CoQ10’s ability to inhibit blood clot formation, improve energy production in cells, and act as an antioxidant.
Antioxidantsare substances that hunt for free radicals and escort them out of the body, which prevents the free radicals causingoxidative damageto cell membranes and DNA when they accumulate in the tissues and blood as a result of pollution, UV light, cigarette smoking, and as a by-product of normal metabolic processes.
Free radicals cause us toage more quickly,and they contribute to a number of health problems includingheart diseaseandcancer.Helping the fight against free radicals
Antioxidants such as CoQ10 can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.
CoQ10 may have found its perfect partner in another potent antioxidant: vitamin E. Together they are the principle fat-soluble antioxidants in cells, and CoQ10 may helpvitamin Eact more effectively in the body.
Another friend of CoQ10 is the spectacular antioxidant dihydrolipoic acid (DHLA). It’s unique in its ability to zap every known free radical that occurs in living tissue; it’s also readily absorbed and has a very low toxicity.
Its talents make it a valuable resource in combating the free radical damage associated withAlzheimer’s disease,for example, as well as Parkinson's disease, and other degenerative brain conditions.
CoQ10 may not work as effectively alone, so to take advantage of its enormously helpful health benefits, be sure to combine yourgood quality supplements with ahealthy diet,stress reduction techniques, and responsible levels ofexercise.Enjoy!
With an astonishing array of applications, CoQ10 offers something for virtually everyone — from fitness buffs to those at high risk for heart disease and cancer.
Two weeks after delivering a baby by cesarean section, Joan Jackson was rushed to a hospital suffering from shortness of breath. The cause was postpartum cardiomyopathy, a form of heart failure. A cardiology team treated her with conventional therapies and sent her on her way. But two years later, the young mother came back, this time with the added symptoms of fatigue, swollen ankles and poor appetite — signs of heart failure, yet again.
Other doctors said her best hope now was a heart transplant, but cardiologist Stephen Sinatra, MD, saw another way. Thanks to groundbreaking research by molecular biologists Karl Folkers, PhD, of the University of Texas, and Gian Paolo Littarru, MD, of the University of Ancona Medical School in Italy, he knew that heart-failure patients consistently suffered a shortage of a molecule known as coenzyme Q10.
While Jackson awaited her heart transplant, Sinatra put her on 10 milligrams of the molecule coenzyme Q10 — or, as it’s more commonly referred to, CoQ10 — three times a day. When she experienced no negative side effects, he tripled the dose and added a multivitamin as well.
To be sure, Jackson’s health was rocky — she still occasionally experienced arrhythmia, shortness of breath, asthma and arthritis. But the regimen of CoQ10 eliminated the diagnosis of heart failure and the transplant was tabled for good.
Sinatra calls Jackson a poster child for the power of nutritional medicine, but he notes that she’s not an altogether unusual case.
“Almost every case of heart failure I have seen since [then] has improved to at least some degree with this approach,” says Sinatra, a clinical cardiologist at Manchester Memorial Hospital in Connecticut and author ofThe Sinatra Solution: Metabolic Cardiology(Basic Health, 2008). Today he ramps up the doses of CoQ10 and other vitamins and nutrients even higher, with better results.
CoQ10 has gained a lot of attention in recent years as a way to slow cardiovascular aging and treat heart disease. But there is a burgeoning body of research that suggests therapeutic roles for CoQ10 across a range of other illnesses: Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Friedreich’s ataxia and other neurodegenerative disorders, eye conditions, diabetes, and even cancer.
Such treatments are still experimental, but emerging research increasingly suggests an essential role for the molecule in sustaining the health we already have.
A raft of recent studies suggests CoQ10 may be vital for maintaining muscle strength, boosting energy and sharpening cognition. It’s even been shown to help prevent migraines and protect against sun damage and wrinkles. For practitioners at the frontlines of integrative medicine, supplementing with CoQ10 is increasingly a linchpin of wellness for middle-age and older patients.
Consumers have caught on as well. According to a 2010 survey from Consumerlab.com that sampled people who use more than one supplement, CoQ10 has become the third-most popular supplement of choice, following omega-3 fatty acids and ordinary multivitamins.
Fuel for Life
Why would one molecule prove to be so important over such a range of health issues — and a protective factor in healthy aging itself? The reason lies in CoQ10’s basic biochemistry and its global role in lifelong health.
CoQ10 was first discovered in 1957 by University of Wisconsin scientists studying mitochondria (the tiny energy factories found in every cell) in the hearts of cows. One of the researchers noticed that when mitochondrial lipid was placed in a test tube, it produced unusual yellow crystals. Before long, scientists at Merck had determined that the crystals were composed of molecules known as quinones — a family of ringed organic compounds involved in generating energy through respiration. So ubiquitous were these molecules across the entire oxygen-metabolizing world that scientists dubbed them ubiquinones.
All ubiquinones have a tail made of repeating chemical units; the number of units varies from one species to the next. Since all human ubiquinones have tails with 10 repeating elements, the Merck researchers dubbed the human form of the molecule coenzyme Q10. Subsequently, researchers determined that CoQ10 functions in three critical ways:
CoQ10 is essential for generating the energy that keeps us alive.The body burns fats and carbohydrates in the presence of oxygen, ultimately releasing carbon dioxide and water to the external world and retaining, for its cells, a fundamental unit of organic fuel known as adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.
ATP is the only form of energy the cells can actually use directly. To churn out ATP, mitochondria have to break down fats and carbohydrates in a complex series of steps, each one requiring the transfer of electrons. CoQ10, which is fat soluble and able to move easily through the cell’s lipid membranes, is the faithful, speedy messenger ferrying those electrons from one part of the intricate process to the next.
“If you think of the cell as a little engine, which uses oxygen to burn the organic fuels that come from foodstuffs, you may think of CoQ10 as the part of the engine that provides the spark for this process,” explains Michael B. Schachter, MD, director of the Schachter Center for Complementary Medicine in Suffern, N.Y. “No other substance will substitute for CoQ10. Without CoQ10, there is no spark and therefore no production of energy for the cell. And, without energy, there is no life.” (Indeed, CoQ10’s role in churning energy explains why the fitness community has embraced the supplement, shown in some studies to boost performance and in many others to reduce levels of fatigue.)
CoQ10 functions as an antioxidant.Thanks to its ability to accept and relinquish electrons, CoQ10 is well poised in the body to neutralize free radicals — highly reactive chemicals formed during the course of metabolism and mitochondrial respiration, says biochemist Balz Frei, PhD, of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Free radicals are a byproduct of ATP production by mitochondria; they can, among other things, increase the risk of cancer and cause oxidation of low-density lipoproteins, otherwise known as LDL or “bad” cholesterol, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease.
CoQ10 stabilizes cell membranes.“When membranes leak, toxins get into the cell,” Sinatra notes, “and inflammation results.” CoQ10 helps keep our cell membranes intact, thereby protecting our overall health and resiliency.
So how do we mine this nutrient gold? Our major source of CoQ10, it turns out, is biosynthesis — our bodies’ own manufacture of the molecule. But the complex process involves more than a dozen steps and optimal levels of numerous other nutrients, including vitamin C, several B vitamins and trace elements.
The standard American diet may lack the nutrients the body needs to produce enough of the enzyme. Moreover, many prescription medications can interfere with this process. Also, toxins can damage the mitochondria, making them less efficient at using CoQ10 to generate energy. And, advancing age and stress also hinder our ability to manufacture sufficient CoQ10 or to metabolize the stores we have. In light of this, says Schachter, production of the coenzyme is, “by its nature, highly vulnerable.”
“When a client complains of unresolved fatigue, neurological problems and cardiovascular conditions such as congestive heart failure and hypertension, CoQ10 always comes to mind,” says Kathie Swift, MS, RD, LDN, nutrition director for Food As Medicine, a professional training program at The Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, D.C.
When Swift conducts a nutritional assessment, she reviews all the factors that influence CoQ10 status, including statin drugs that can deplete our supply. The more CoQ10-depleting conditions a particular client is dealing with, the more inclined Swift is to move CoQ10 to the top of her list of therapeutic interventions, which might include both a foods-based approach (more meat, fish and poultry, all rich in CoQ10) and a regimen of supplements that includes the molecule.
Therapeutic use of CoQ10 is best documented for diseases involving the cardiovascular system and heart. People with severe heart and cardiovascular disease tend to be deficient in the molecule, with low levels serving as an independent predictor of mortality in congestive heart failure. And correcting the deficit seems to help. Studies show that the use of supplemental CoQ10 prevents formation of atherosclerotic lesions. Heart attack patients treated with CoQ10 can exercise more, improving their chance of recovery. CoQ10 also lowers blood pressure and aids revascularization of the damaged heart — something that has often seemed impossible in the past.
The heart is particularly responsive because it is loaded with mitochondria — 3,500 to 5,000 per cell in heart muscles compared with only 200 in skeletal muscles. “The secret of metabolic cardiology is increasing energy substrates,” says Sinatra. “The more ATP produced by the mitochondria, the better the heart functions.”
Sinatra also recommends supplements for patients on statins, which lower cholesterol but also inhibit CoQ10 production. With CoQ10 diminished, some statin users experience a serious side effect involving muscle breakdown, ranging from a mild form that causes muscle pain to rhabdomyolysis, a life-threatening condition that can result in permanent kidney damage, coma and even death.
Obviously, lowered CoQ10 augurs higher risk of heart disease, too. To offset the risk, Sinatra, Schachter and most integrative physicians treat statin patients with CoQ10 supplements.
“If a patient chooses to continue to use [already prescribed] statin medication, I believe it is essential for that patient to take a CoQ10 supplement,” says Schachter. “I speculate that the tremendous increase in congestive heart failure among cardiac patients over the past several years may in part be related to the widespread use of statin medications without the support of CoQ10.”
But most physicians reject that approach. One reason is the equivocal nature of the evidence in the medical peer review. In one recent study, scientists from Stony Brook University showed that CoQ10 helped when statins cause muscle pain, but another study from New Zealand showed no benefit at all to using CoQ10 supplements.
Researchers will have to resolve the data, looking at the form and dose of supplements in detail, before use of CoQ10 becomes standard in cardiology beyond the integrative world.
Meanwhile, other experts point to longstanding observations that lung, pancreas and especially breast cancer patients have lower levels of CoQ10 in their blood, suggesting a therapeutic role for supplementation there, as well.
Last year, for example, Danish researchers published a pilot study showing that end-stage cancer patients treated with CoQ10 and other antioxidants survived five months, or 40 percent, longer than those on conventional therapy alone. Other studies have indicated a role for CoQ10 in suppressing DNA changes that drive the blood vessels that feed breast tumors, though these findings are preliminary.
For those with fatiguing illnesses — fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and Lyme disease, for example — evidence points to positive results, something that only makes sense given CoQ10’s central energy-producing role. In one study, 64 percent of fibromyalgia patients treated with CoQ10 (and ginkgo biloba) reported improvement.
Finally, there is much talk of using CoQ10 to treat Parkinson’s disease and other disorders where neurodegeneration and mitochondrial damage play a role. For a long time the evidence was merely observational — physicians observed that Parkinson’s patients given CoQ10 appeared to improve. But recently, experimental evidence has given the strategy more weight.
At the University of California–San Diego, a placebo-controlled trial found that among those with early Parkinson’s disease, deterioration occurred more slowly in those given 1,200 milligrams per day of CoQ10 for 16 months. At Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, a large phase-3 clinical trial comparing placebo with doses of 1,200 and 2,400 milligrams of CoQ10 daily is now under way.
Vital Force in Maintaining Fitness and Health
When it comes to overall vitality boosting, CoQ10 may be a supplement of choice. The fitness community has embraced it for years, but their claims were often dismissed because small studies had conflicting results and the positive ones were never published in peer-reviewed journals. Only in recent years have a series of larger studies shown, unequivocally, that the benefit is real.
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in 2008 in theJournal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, Baylor University scientists found that supplements of 100 and 200 milligrams increased CoQ10 levels in muscles and prolonged the length of exercise in healthy adults. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study from researchers at the University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan, published in 2008 inNutrition, showed that 300 milligrams of CoQ10 helped exercise bikers achieve higher velocities for longer periods of time and recover from fatigue more rapidly. Another Japanese study, this one in theBritish Journal of Nutrition, showed that CoQ10 supplements reduced muscle injury in keno athletes; Spanish researchers found the same protective effect in soccer players.
Other studies suggest, however, that supplementation becomes less effective as we move beyond middle age. Researchers at the Institute on Aging at the University of Florida at Gainesville found that giving the supplement to old rats had little effect on their fitness levels. But the story was different when they treated middle-aged rats — a group that already scored lower on muscle mitochondrial function and forelimb grip strength than the younger control animals. Given CoQ10 for six weeks, the middle-aged rats not only sustained their edge longer, but even improved, returning to levels they had in their prime (as the young control animals had).
“We’re interested in translating these results to humans,” says the study’s lead author, Jinze Xu, PhD. “It isn’t a question of living longer, but being healthier and more fit during the years you have.”
Dietary Sources of CoQ10
Perhaps 90 percent of the CoQ10 we use is manufactured by the body, but you need some in your diet as well. Nutritional scientist Victoria Drake, PhD, who manages the Linus Pauling Institute’s Micronutrient Information Center at Oregon State University, notes that the average person consumes less than 10 milligrams a day. This is far less than the 100 milligrams or more that many integrative experts recommend.
Anyone whose CoQ10 levels have already been compromised — the elderly, those with heart disease or other inflammatory illnesses, those on statins, pure vegetarians, and anyone with a diet high in sugar and processed foods and low in nutrients like vitamin C or the Bs — should add even more to their diet. (See Web Extra! for more on supplementation.)
Meat, poultry and fish are rich sources of CoQ10, and fruits, vegetables, eggs and dairy products contain moderate amounts, Drake says. (Note: When fried, vegetables and eggs lose as much as 32 percent of their CoQ10 content, where levels in boiled or steamed preparations did not change.)
Here are some food sources that are naturally high in CoQ10. But remember, you need adequate levels of other vitamins and trace elements for your body to put CoQ10 to good use.
Beef, pork and lamb (especially heart and liver organ meats)
Some nonmeat sources also contain CoQ10, but the amount is significantly smaller than that found in meat, poultry and fish:
Required by every single cell in our bodies, the molecule CoQ10 is basically a spark plug that is pivotal for the chemical reactions that produce ATP, the main form of cellular energy. “Without CoQ10, there is no spark and therefore no production of energy for the cell. And, without energy, there is no life,” explains Michael B. Schachter, MD. The illustration at right shows a cardiac muscle cell and how its mitochondria — the cell’s energy producers — use CoQ10 to help convert nutrients to cellular energy.
“Vitamin D” (calciferol) is considered to be a beneficial and necessary nutrient, but there is no singlevitamincalled "vitamin D". What we know as vitamin D is essentially a collective term for two types of calciferol:vitamin D2(ergocalciferol) andvitamin D3(cholecalciferol). Vitamin D3 is made in the skin of all vertebrates when exposed to the sun, while D2 is produced by invertebrates, likefungusandplants, when exposed to the sun.
Generally, the word “vitamin” refers to a substance that the human body cannot produce on its own. So even though it has always been known as a vitamin and an essential one, vitamin D3 is technically not a vitamin but a hormone.
Vitamin D2 versus Vitamin D3 comparison chart
Cholecalciferol or calciol
Made in plants and fungus exposed to ultra violet light; synthesized in laboratories
Made in skin of vertebrates when exposed to sunlight.
Aids in calcium absorption, regulates phosphorous.
Aids in calcium absorption, strengthens bones, regulates phosphorous, prevents rickets and adult osteomalacia.
67-97-0 Y= Y
How D2 and D3 are Formed
When in contact with the sun, human skin has the ability to generate vitamin D3, which generally satisfies all its beneficial requirements. However, the skin cannot produce D3 in the sunlight that's filtered through a window, or on cloudy days.
Invertebrates like plants and fungus produce vitamin D2 in much the same way as the human skin produces D3. However, vitamin D2 made for human consumption in supplement form is created in a laboratory by exposing fungus to ultraviolet light.
Humans can absorb D3 through the sun, but also by eating animal products. There are small amounts of D3 – plus other nutrients – infoodssuch and fish and eggs that the body can use.
Humans can get D2 in synthetic pill or supplement form, or by consuming plant products.
As little as 10 minutes spent in the sun can allow the body to create enough vitamin D3 for an entire day.
For consumption, a healthy adult needs to eat 600 International Units of vitamin D per day. For reference, a quart of milk provides about 400 IU of vitamin D.
Are D2 and D3 Equal as Vitamins?
Initially, it was thought that D3 and D2 were equivalent. However, somenutritionists and foodscientiststheorize that D2 is less effective than D3.
Some experts say that D2 does not get absorbed into thebloodstreamwell and has a short shelf life.
Health benefits of Vitamin D
Despite the debate over the efficacy of D2, experts say that vitamin D, in general, is a necessary nutrient with multiple health benefits.
In humans, vitamin D3 helps the body absorb calcium, and helpsbonesremain strong.
Vitamin D2 in its synthetic or prescribed form also helps the body absorb calcium and build strong bones, butstudies showthat D3 is much more potent and effective in humans than D2.
Vitamin D has not been proven to prevent osteoporosis but can help the body absorb enough calcium to strengthen bones enough to prevent fractures.
Some studies suggest that vitamin D is effective in protection against breast, colon, and prostatecancers. But, high vitamin D levels are linked to an increase in pancreatic cancer.No conclusive studieshave shown that vitamin D is highly effective in preventing cancer.
Ergosterol found in vitamin D2 can efficiently absorb the ultraviolet radiation that can damageDNA, RNA, and protein in the body. Natural ergosterol serves as a sunscreen system that protects organisms from damaging high energy ultraviolet radiation. Ergosterol obtained in laboratories is used in making sunscreen and sun protecting creams.
A vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets, a bone-softening disease in children.
Most studies point to vitamin D as necessary not because it provides extra health benefits, but because a deficiency of vitamin D can lead to osteomalacia in adults, a painful bone disorder.
The structural difference between vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 is in their side chains. The side chain of D2 contains adouble bondbetween carbons 22 and 23, and a methyl group on carbon 24.
Vitamin D2 (made from ergosterol) is produced byinvertebrates, fungus, and plants in response to UV irradiation.
Vitamin D3 is made in the skin when 7-dehydrocholesterol reacts with UVB ultraviolet light at wavelengths between 270–300 nm, with peak synthesis occurring between 295–297 nm. These wavelengths are present in sunlight when the UV index is greater than 3 and also in the light emitted by the UV lamps in tanning beds. At this solar elevation, which occurs daily within the tropics, daily during the spring and summer seasons in temperate regions, and almost never within the arctic circles, vitamin D3 can be made in the skin.
Biotinis a water-soluble B-vitamin that helps your body convert food into energy.
It is especially important during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
In addition, biotin is important for the health of your hair, skin and nails.
This article explains everything you need to know about biotin, including its 7 main health benefits.
What Is Biotin?
Biotin is one of the B-vitamins, also known asvitaminB7.
It was once called coenzyme R and vitamin H. The H stands forHaar und Haut, which is German for hair and skin.
Biotin is water-soluble, which means the body doesn't store it. It has many important functions in the body.
It's necessary for the function of several enzymes known as carboxylases. These biotin-containing enzymes participate in important metabolic pathways, such as the production of glucose and fatty acids.
A commonly recommended intake is 5 mcg (micrograms) per day in infants and 30 mcg in adults. This goes up to 35 mcg per day in breastfeeding women.
Biotin deficiency is fairly rare. However, some groups such as pregnant women - may experience it in mild forms.
Eating raw eggs may also cause a deficiency, but you would need to eat a lot of eggs for a very long time. Raw egg whites contain a protein called avidin, which binds to biotin and prevents its absorption. Avidin is inactivated during cooking.
Summary: Biotin is a water-soluble B-vitamin that's important for energy metabolism. Deficiency is quite rare, although it has been associated with the long-term consumption of raw eggs.
1. Plays a Key Role in Macronutrient Metabolism
Biotin is important for energy production. For example, several enzymes need it to function properly.
These enzymes are involved in carb, fat and protein metabolism. They initiate critical steps in the metabolic processes of these nutrients.
Biotin plays a role in:
Gluconeogenesis: This metabolic pathway enables glucose production from sources other than carbs, such as amino acids. Biotin-containing enzymes help initiate this process.
Fatty acid synthesis: Biotin assists enzymes that activate reactions important for the production of fatty acids.
The breakdown of amino acids: Biotin-containing enzymes are involved in the metabolism of several important amino acids, including leucine.
Summary: Biotin assists in energy production. It supports a number of enzymes involved in the metabolism of carbs, fats and protein.
2. May Help Brittle Nails
Brittle nails are weak and easily become chipped, split or cracked.
It's a common condition, estimated to affect around 20% of the world's population.
Biotin may benefit brittle nails.
In one study, 8 people with brittle nails were given 2.5 mg of biotin per day for 6 to 15 months. Nail thickness improved by 25% in all 8 participants. Nail splitting was also reduced.
Another study of 35 people with brittle nails found 2.5 mg of biotin per day for 1.5 to 7 months improved symptoms in 67% of participants.
However, these studies were small and more research is needed.
Summary: Brittle nails are fragile and easily become split or cracked. Biotin supplements may help strengthen the nails.
3. Good for Your Hair
Biotin is often associated with increased hair growth and healthier, stronger hair.
Surprisingly, there is very little evidence to support this.
However, a deficiency in biotin may lead tohair loss, which indicates that the vitamin is important for hair.
While it is often marketed as an alternative treatment for hair loss, only people with an actual biotin deficiency get significant benefit from supplementing.
Whether it improves hair growth in healthy people has yet to be determined.
Summary: Biotin is claimed to promote hair growth and healthy hair, but the evidence is weak. However, deficiency has been linked to hair loss, and those who are actually deficient may benefit from supplementing.
4. Plays a Role During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Biotin is important during pregnancy and breastfeeding. These life stages have been associated with an increased requirement for this vitamin.
In fact, it has been estimated that up to 50% of pregnant women may develop a mild biotin deficiency. This means that it may start to affect their well-being slightly, but isn't severe enough to cause noticeable symptoms.
Deficiencies are thought to occur due to the faster biotin breakdown within the body during pregnancy.
Additionally, a major cause for concern is that animal studies have found that a biotin deficiency during pregnancy may cause birth defects.
Nevertheless, remember to always consult your doctor or dietitian/nutritionist before taking supplements during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Summary: If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, your biotin requirements may go up. Up to 50% of women may get less of this vitamin than they need during pregnancy.
5. May Lower Blood Sugar Levels in Diabetics
Type 2 diabetesis a metabolic disease. It's characterized by high blood sugar levels and impairedinsulinfunction.
Researchers have studied how biotin supplements affect blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics.
Some evidence shows biotin concentrations in blood may be lower in people withdiabetes, compared to healthy individuals .
Studies in diabetics given biotin alone have provided mixed results.
However, several controlled studies indicate that biotin supplements, combined with the mineral chromium, may lower blood sugar levels in some people with type 2 diabetes.
Summary: When combined with chromium, biotin may help lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
6. May Benefit the Skin
Biotin's role in skin health isn't well understood. However, it is known that you may get red, scaly skin rashes if you're deficient.
Some studies also suggest that biotin deficiency may sometimes cause a skin disorder called seborrheic dermatitis, also known as cradle cap.
Biotin's role in skin health may be related to its effect on fat metabolism, which is important for the skin and may be impaired when biotin is lacking.
There is no evidence showing that biotin improves skin health in people who aren't deficient in the vitamin.
Summary: People with a biotin deficiency may experience skin problems. However, there is no evidence that the vitamin has benefits for skin in people who aren't deficient.
7. Affects Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis(MS) is an autoimmune disease. In MS, the protective covering of nerve fibers in the brain, spinal cord and eyes is damaged or destroyed.
This protective sheath is called myelin, and biotin is thought to be an important factor in producing it.
A pilot study in 23 people with progressive MS tested the use of high doses of biotin. Over 90% of participants had some degree of clinical improvement.
While this finding needs much more study, at least two randomized controlled trials have been carried out in people with progressive MS. The final results have not been published, but the preliminary results are promising.
Summary: High biotin doses hold promise for treating multiple sclerosis, a serious disease that affects thecentral nervous system.
Which Foods Contain Biotin?
Biotin is found in a wide variety of foods, so an actual deficiency is rare.
Foods that are particularly good sources include:
Organ meats, such as liver and kidney
Legumes, such as soybeans and peanuts
Nuts and nut butters
In addition, your gut bacteria produce some amount of biotin. It's also available as a supplement, either on its own or as a component of mixed vitamin supplements.
Summary: Many foods contain significant amounts of biotin, and it is also available as a supplement. Your gut bacteria can also produce it.
Safety and Side Effects
Biotin is considered very safe. Even mega doses of up to 300 milligrams daily to treat multiple sclerosis have not led to adverse side effects.
To put this in perspective, 300 milligrams is 10,000 times the commonly recommended 30 microgram dose for adults.
Because it's a water-soluble vitamin, excess amounts are excreted in urine.
However, there have been some reports of high-dose biotin causing strange results on thyroid tests, so check with a doctor before using if you are currently taking thyroid medication.
Summary: Biotin appears very safe, even at extremely high doses. There are no known side effects of supplementing with biotin.
The Bottom Line
Biotin is a B-vitamin that plays a crucial role in carb, fat and protein metabolism.
Many of its potential health benefits are based on weak evidence. Nonetheless, it may be important for your skin, hair and nails.
Additionally, pregnant or breastfeeding women may require more biotin. High doses are also being investigated as a potential treatment for multiple sclerosis.
You can find biotin in a wide variety of foods, so actual deficiency is very rare.
For this reason, supplements probably have no significant benefits for healthy people who eat a balanced diet based on real food.
Vitamin D has earned the nickname “the sunlight vitamin” because exposure to ultraviolet B rays causes our bodies to begin producing it. In fact, vitamin D is the only nutrient our bodies can make on our own.
Although this may seem like a very simple process, in reality, many of us are still not getting enough D in our systems. Combine concern about developing skin cancer with the fact that not all of us live in a sunny climate, and most of us are just not getting out into actual sunlight all that often. Add to this the fact that creating our own vitamin D becomes more difficult as we grow older, and it is easy to see how we can be deficient in the nutrient. This is why supplementing with is such a good idea.
The importance of D
Vitamin D plays a variety of roles in our bodies, from helping to build strong bones and teeth to boosting the immune system and possibly helping to prevent certain types of cancer.
As you have probably noticed, most milk is fortified with D. This is because, without it, our bodies have a hard time absorbing the calcium found in dairy products. In a study conducted at TuftsUniversity of about 400 men and women over the age of 65, taking 700 IU of vitamin D and 500 mg of calcium every day led to a decrease in bone density loss. As a bonus, the incidence of fractures was cut in half.
Another study of over 3,000 elderly French women found that taking 800 IU of vitamin D and 1,200 mg of calcium every day cut the incidence of hip fractures by an impressive 43 percent in two years. Other recent studies have shown that taking 800 IU a day of vitamin D reduces the chances of both falling and fractures.
As a side note, research conducted in 1994 suggests that older women who get higher levels of D from either their diets or supplements have a lesser chance of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Others have found relief from their back pain by taking D. This is probably due to its ability to help keep bones and cartilage strong.
7 Signs You May Be Vitamin D Deficient
The only way to know forsureif you're vitamin D deficient is via blood testing. However, there are some signs and symptoms to be aware of as well. If any of the following apply to you, you should get your vitamin D levels tested sooner rather than later.
1.You Have Darker Skin
African Americans are atgreaterrisk of vitamin D deficiency, because if you have dark skin, you may need as much as10 times moresun exposure to produce the same amount of vitamin D as a person with pale skin!
As Dr. Holick explained, your skin pigment acts as a natural sunscreen, so the more pigment you have, the more time you'll need to spend in the sun to make adequate amounts of vitamin D.
2.You Feel "Blue"
Serotonin, the brain hormone associated with mood elevation, rises with exposure to bright light and falls with decreased sun exposure. In 2006, scientists evaluated the effects of vitamin D on the mental health of 80 elderly patients and found those with the lowest levels of vitamin D were 11 times more prone to be depressed than those who received healthy doses.
3.You're 50 or Older
As mentioned, as you get older your skin doesn't make as much vitamin D in response to sun exposure. At the same time, your kidneys become less efficient at converting vitamin D into the form used by your bodyandolder adults tend to spend more time indoors (i.e. getting even less sun exposure and therefore vitamin D).
4.You're Overweight or Obese (or Have a Higher Muscle Mass)
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble, hormone-like vitamin, which means body fat acts as a "sink" by collecting it. If you're overweight or obese, you're therefore likely going to needmorevitamin D than a slimmer person -- and the same holds true for people withhigher body weights due to muscle mass.
5.Your Bones Ache
According to Dr. Holick, many who see their doctor for aches and pains, especially in combination with fatigue, end up being misdiagnosed as having fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.
"Many of these symptoms are classic signs of vitamin D deficiency osteomalacia, which is different from the vitamin D deficiency that causes osteoporosis in adults,"he says. "What's happening is that the vitamin D deficiency causes a defect in putting calcium into the collagen matrix into your skeleton. As a result, you have throbbing, aching bone pain."
According to Dr. Holick, one of the first, classic signs of vitamin D deficiency is a sweaty head. In fact, physicians used to ask new mothers about head sweating in their newborns for this very reason. Excessive sweating in newborns due to neuromuscular irritability is still described as a common, early symptom of vitamin D deficiency.
7.You Have Gut Trouble
Remember, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means if you have a gastrointestinal condition that affects your ability to absorb fat, you may have lower absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D as well. This includes gut conditions like Crohn's, celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Optimizing Your Vitamin D Levels May Prevent Cancer, Heart Disease, and More
"Studies have shown that if you improve your vitamin D status, it reduces risk of colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, and a whole host of other deadly cancers by 30 to 50 percent. You're correct. Cancer is a big deal. You need to realize that vitamin D is playing a very important role in helping to maintain cell growth and to help fight cancer when a cancer cell is developing in your body."
Vitamin D also fights infections, including colds and the flu, as it regulates the expression of genes that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses. In this interview above, Dr. Holick expounds on these and many other health benefits of vitamin D. For instance, optimizing your vitamin D levels can help protect against:
Cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D is very important for reducing hypertension, atherosclerotic heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. According to Dr. Holick, one study showed that vitamin D deficiency increased the risk of heart attack by 50 percent. What's worse, if you have a heart attack and you're vitamin D deficient, your risk of dying from that heart attack creeps up to nearly 100 percent!
Autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D is a potent immune modulator, making it very important for the prevention of autoimmune diseases, like multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease.
Infections, including influenza. It also helps you fight infections of all kinds. A study done in Japan, for example, showed that schoolchildren taking 1,200 units of vitamin D per day during winter reduced their risk of getting influenza A infection by about 40 percent. I believe it's far more prudent, safer, less expensive, and most importantly, far more effective to optimize your vitamin D levels than to get vaccinated against the flu.
DNA repair and metabolic processes. One of Dr. Holick's studies showed that healthy volunteers taking 2,000 IUs of vitamin D per day for a few months up-regulated 291 different genes that control up to 80 different metabolic processes, from improving DNA repair to having effect on autoxidation (oxidation that occurs in the presence of oxygen and/or UV radiation, which has implications for aging and cancer, for example), boosting your immune system and many other biological processes.
Vitamin D—cancer preventative?
Several studies have found that vitamin D might be helpful in preventing cancers of the breast, colon, and prostate. One study of over 400 men showed that those with colon cancer had the lowest levels, while healthy men tended to have much higher levels. A 19-year prospective study of almost 2,000 men in the Chicago area concluded that taking vitamin D was linked to a “significant reduction” in the risk of colon cancer. In addition, if you are a healthy postmenopausal woman, taking about 1,000 IU of D combined with about 1,500 mg of calcium every day has been shown to help reduce your risk of developing any form of cancer by about 60 percent.
It is easy to get enough vitamin D—just add a supplement to your daily routine. With this “sunshine in a bottle” approach, you’ll be sure to get the levels of D that your body needs for not just adequate health, but possible improved health as well.
At least half of Americans over the age of 50 are at risk of developing osteoporosis, according to the Surgeon General of the United States. Ten million people already have the disease, and another 34 million are at risk, notes the same report. Calcium and other minerals and vitamins are important to bone health; however, not all forms of calcium are equal.
Bone loss begins around the age of 35 and continues throughout life. Osteoporosis occurs because of an inadequate amount of calcium intake or poor absorption. The body seeks the most accessible source for this important mineral and leeches calcium from your bones, causing the disease. Because calcium and other minerals are critical to healthy bone maintenance, it's important to diagnose the problem early and correct it through changes in diet and calcium supplementation. The question is, which calcium supplement provides the best protection and at what dosage?
Although many foods supply various calcium salts, human and animal bones are the only natural source of calcium hydroxyapatite. According to The Weston A. Price Foundation, the most efficacious calcium hydroxyapatite is microcrystalline hydroxyapatite concentrate -- also called MCHC -- which is extracted from the raw bones of free-range cattle from New Zealand. These cows are raised with no exposure to antibiotics, pesticides, hormones or other toxic chemicals. To maintain its full spectrum of nutrients and minerals, the bone extract needs to be processed at very low temperatures. This kind of calcium is significantly more usable by the body and much easier to absorb.
Magnesium and boron
Most calcium supplements, including MCHC, have various amounts of magnesium and boron added, which increase absorption. Magnesium is needed to produce energy, cellular replication, and to help form proteins in the body. It reduces blood pressure, enhances heart function, lessens cramping in muscles, and supports the regulation of calcium metabolism. Certain types of magnesium are more easily absorbed such as magnesium aspartate, magnesium glycinate, and magnesium oxide. Look for these in supplements combined with MCHC.
Boron is needed for the development of healthy bones and joints. It works with magnesium to regulate calcium absorption and metabolism by regulating the body's steroid hormones, such as cortisol and vitamin D. Both minerals are necessary for proper calcium metabolism and a strong skeleton.
Calcium absorption and food
A mere 30 percent of calcium consumed in our food is actually absorbed, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT). Calcium absorption is inhibited by various factors including the type of calcium consumed, as well as the presence of aluminum, which enters your body through aluminum-clad cookware, antiperspirants, antacids, foil and possibly from chemtrails crisscrossing the sky.
Many of the best sources of calcium originate in our foods, not from supplements. Soups and broths made from bone are best because they provide MCHC; followed by whole raw milk, raw milk products, sea vegetables such as kelp, Celtic sea salt, brewer's yeast, green leafy vegetables, and molasses.
Most calcium supplements should be taken with food for maximum absorption. MIT notes that taking several doses in smaller amounts throughout the day helps ensure absorption. The Weston A. Price Foundation suggests consuming 500 milligrams of MCHC at a time each day and doubling or tripling that amount if you don't have access to raw milk. Look for a supplement that includes boron and magnesium to obtain the correct mineral balance for the most optimal results. Additionally, taking a vitamin D supplement daily helps to round out the beneficial effects of calcium for bone health. Always consult a health practitioner before adjusting the dosage of vitamins and minerals.
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that’s a part of the vitamin B family. It’s also known as vitamin H. Your body needs biotin to help convert certain nutrients into energy. It also plays an important role in the health of your hair, skin, and nails.
If you aren’t getting enough biotin, you may experience hair loss or a scaly red rash. However, a deficiency is rare. In most cases, the biotin you get from your diet is enough for you to reap the health benefits it offers.
Still, many people are increasing their intake in hopes of additional benefits. Keep reading to find out how to add biotin to your diet, what to look for in a biotin supplement, possible side effects, and more.
What the research says about biotin and hair growth
Keratin is a basic protein that makes up your hair, skin, and nails. It’s clear that biotin improves your body’s keratin infrastructure. But beyond that, researchers aren’t really sure what biotin’s role in hair or skincare is.
Research on the effects of biotin on hair growth is sparse. To date, there’s only limited evidence to suggest that increased biotin intake may help promote hair growth.
For example, in one2015 study, women with thinning hair were given an oral marine protein supplement (MPS) containing biotin or a placebo pill twice per day for 90 days. At the beginning and end of the study, digital images were taken of the affected areas on the scalp. Each participant’s hair was also washed and any shed hairs were counted. The researcher found that women who took an MPS experienced a significant amount of hair growth in the areas affected by hair loss. They also had less shedding.
A2012 studyby the same researcher produced similar results. Participants perceived improvement in hair growth and quality after 90 and 180 days.
Daily recommended intake
Biotin deficiency is rare, so the U. S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t offer a recommended dietary allowance (RDA). RDAs can vary based on a person’s age, sex, and overall health.
Instead, experts recommended the following dosage guidelines. Anyone aged 10 or older should get between 30 and 100 mcg per day. Infants and children should get:
birth to 3 years: 10 to 20 micrograms (mcg)
ages 4 to 6 years: 25 mcg
ages 7 to 10 years: 30 mcg
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may need higher levels of biotin.
Talk with your doctor about the right daily intake for you. They can provide guidance on how to safely increase your dosage to provide the maximum benefits. You can fulfill your recommended biotin allowance through your diet or by taking a biotin supplement.
Biotin-rich foods to eat
You’re probably already getting the daily recommended amount of biotin from the food you eat. But if you’d like to increase your intake, you can add more biotin-rich foods into your diet.
organ meats, such as liver or kidney
nuts, such as almonds, peanuts, and walnuts
soybeans and other legumes
Heat can reduce biotin’s efficacy, so opt for raw or minimally-processed dishes. The amount of biotin can vary from food to food, too, so be sure to read the nutritional information whenever possible. This can help you select items with the most biotin for your buck.
If you don’t think you’re getting enough biotin from your diet, or if you’re just looking to up your dosage, supplements may be an option.
Biotin supplements are available over the counter in capsule or tablet form. Although dietary supplements are regulated by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration, it’s important to read the packaging carefully and only purchase from a supplier you trust.
Most people can take biotin supplements without any adverse effects, but minor side effects are possible. These include:
You may be able to reduce your risk of side effects by taking your supplement with food. Supplements aren’t for everyone, so talk with your doctor before use. They can talk to you about the potential risks and benefits, as well as the proper dosage. You should always follow the dosage information on the label unless your doctor instructs otherwise.
Other benefits of biotin
Although more research is needed to assess its effects on hair growth, biotin does have several proven benefits.
For example, biotin is one of several B vitamins that supports a healthy metabolism. Biotin converts glucose from carbohydrates into energy for the body and aids amino acids in carrying out normal bodily functions.
Biotin is also thought to:
improve cognitive function
help lower blood sugar in people with diabetes
increase “good” HDL cholesterol and decrease “bad” LDL cholesterol
RISKS AND WARNINGS
Risks and warnings
Adding more biotin-rich foods to your diet doesn’t carry any risks. However, you should always check with your doctor before adding a new supplement to your routine. Biotin doesn’t have any known interactions, but your doctor should still confirm supplement use alongside any other medications you may be taking. Your doctor can also provide more individual information about dosage and potential side effects.
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, so any extra biotin in your body will flush out through your urine. This makes a potential overdose unlikely. If you develop an unusual or unexpected skin rash after increasing your biotin intake, see your doctor. In rare cases, this is a sign of biotin overdose.
Your doctor will check for the following to confirm an overdose:
low vitamin C levels
low vitamin B-6 levels
high blood sugar levels
decline in insulin production
If your doctor confirms that you’re getting too much biotin, they will reduce your recommended dosage.
How long until you see results?
Most people won’t see any noticeable benefits until they’ve increased their intake for several months. For best results, you should be consistent in your intake. If you’re increasing your intake through food, you’ll need to eat several biotin-rich foods on a daily basis to actually ingest enough biotin to make a difference. If you’re taking a supplement, it’s important that you take it daily or as directed by your doctor.
Although research is limited, studies from2012and2015suggest that results may be seen in as little as 90 days. This includes an increase in growth and shine. It’s thought that the longer you consume a higher dose, the better your results will be.
The bottom line
If you’re experiencing hair thinning or hair loss, biotin may assist in regrowth. There’s some research to suggest that increased biotin intake can improve overall hair quality, including thickness and shine.
You may already be getting the biotin you need through your diet, so talk with your doctor about the best option for you. They may recommend certain dietary changes or a biotin supplement. Be sure to follow any dosage guidelines that they provide.
If you begin having any unusual symptoms while taking a biotin supplement, discontinue use and see your doctor.
Step aside, salmon. Scoot over kale. Make room for flaxseed, a rightful member of the healthiest foods club. It has even been shown to ease arthritis joint pain, especially inrheumatoid arthritis,lupusandRaynaud’s phenomenon.
“Although flaxseed has been used for a long time – Hippocrates ate and wrote about it in 500 B.C. – it’s only been in the past 10 years that researchers have focused on flaxseed’s health benefits,” says Jocelyn Mathern, a registered dietitian and member of the Flax Lignan Information Bureau Advisory Board, a consumer education organization in Minneapolis.
Just two tablespoons of ground flaxseed contain more than 140% daily value of the joint inflammation-reducing omega-3 fatty acids and more lignans, a cancer-fighting plant chemical, than any other plant food on the planet. To understand this nutritional star, take a look at what’s inside.
Essential fatty acids. Fifty-seven percent of the total fatty acids in flaxseed oil is alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), one of three omega-3 fatty acids. When consumed, ALA is converted into the other, more powerful omega-3s, docosahexaenoic (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic (EPA) acids. Ground flaxseed has ALA, but flaxseed oil contains the highest amount. In a study where volunteers consumed flaxseed oil for four weeks, the ALAs significantly decreased pro-inflammatory compounds.
Lignans. Found in flaxseed hulls, these plant chemicals convert to plant estrogen in the digestive tract. Research suggests they may protect against several forms of cancer, prevent heart disease and alleviate menopause symptoms. Whole flaxseed must be ground or bought as meal for lignans to be absorbed by the body. Once opened, a package of flaxseed should be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator to keep it from going rancid. Flaxseed oil does not have the lignans of whole or ground flaxseeds, so look for brands that have added lignans.
Flavonoids. These compounds are found in all flaxseed and lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol. High LDL levels have been linked to a greater risk of heart disease.
Fiber. Dietary fiber accounts for 28%of ground flaxseed’s composition. Soluble fiber has been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cancer, while insoluble fiber can help prevent digestive problems.
Note: Flaxseed oil should be avoided by those taking blood-thinners because it may increase bleeding; it should be taken with care by those taking cholesterol-lowering medication because it could lower cholesterol levels too far.
8 ways to Get Your Flaxseed
Stir 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed into oatmeal, cereal, and smoothies.
Use ground flaxseed as a topping for salads.
Make a vinaigrette with 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp. vinegar and 3 Tbsp. flaxseed oil.
Mix 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed into tuna, chicken and egg salads.
Add 1/4 cup whole or ground flaxseed to bread recipes.
Toss 1/2 lb. cooked pasta with 2 Tbsp. flaxseed oil.
Coat and roast vegetables in equal parts flaxseed and olive oils.
Replace half the oil or butter in baking recipes with flaxseed oil.
The body can synthesize most of the fats it needs from the diet. However, two essential fatty acids, linoleic and alpha-linolenic, cannot be synthesized in the body and must be obtained from food. These basicfacts, found in plant foods, are used to build specialized fats called omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.1Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are importantforthe normal functioning of all tissues of the body.
Move over probiotics, a new UK research has added to the growing body of evidence suggesting that, when included as part of a healthy diet, omega-3 can help improve the diversity of gut bacteria.
Carried out by researchers from the School of Medicine at Nottingham, the study is the largest to date to examine the relationship between omega-3, found commonly in fish oil, and the composition of the gut microbiome.
For the study the team recruited 876 middle-age and elderly women to test the diversity and amount of good bacteria in their gut against their omega-3 intake and their blood serum levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
They found that the women who had a higher dietary intake of omega-3 and higher blood serum levels also had a more diverse gut microbiome, which is associated with a number of health benefits including lower risk of diabetes, obesity and inflammatory gut diseases like colitis or Crohn's.
Omega-3 has also been shown in previous research to have a positive effect on various other health conditions, including insulin resistance in diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), arthritis, thrombosis (blood clots), some cancers and cognitive decline.
"We also found that specific bacteria that have been linked to lower inflammation and lower risk of obesity are increased in people who have a higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids," added Dr. Cristina Menni from King's College London, who also worked on the study. "We further explored how this related to compounds in feces and found that, in addition to fish protein and omega-3, high levels of omega-3 in blood are correlated with high levels of a compound called N-carbamylglutamate (NCG) in the gut."
"This compound has been shown in animals to reduce oxidative stress in the gut. We believe that some of the good effects of omega-3 in the gut may be due to the fact that omega 3 induces bacteria to produce this substance."
As well as fish oil, omega-3 can also be found in seafood, oils such as flaxseed oil, canola oil, perilla oil, walnut oil and chia oil, and nuts and seeds.
The results can be found published online in the journal Scientific Reports.
The American Cancer Society reports that one in eight women will contract breast cancer. Unfortunately, breast cancer may be present for as long as four years before it can be detected by mammography or self-examination. Further, many women are under the misconception that if they do not have a family history of breast cancer, they need not be concerned. The truth is the majority of women today who are diagnosed with breast cancer show no family predisposition. The above facts call for every woman to implement a proactive approach to prevent the disease. We suggest that every woman take at least one tablespoon of lignan-rich flaxseed oil daily to reduce her risk of breast cancer and minimize the potential for it to spread, should it occur. Lignan-rich flaxseed oil is unique. Unlike regular flaxseed oil, the lignan-rich flax particulate from flaxseeds is retained in the oil, delivering powerful cancer fighting lignan precursors. There may not be a single nutritional supplement or pharmacological drug today that can offer the same level of protection against cancer and other diseases as delivered with the combination of flaxseed oil and lignan precursors. Making the Case for Flaxseed Lignans
Beginning in the 1980’s consumers were advised by the Surgeon General and the National Academy of Sciences that diets low in saturated fat and high in fiber could be beneficial to their health. This advice was driven by new health statistics that showed that five of the ten leading causes of death in the United States including coronary heart disease, some types of cancer, stroke, certain types of diabetes and atherosclerosis were related to dietary imbalances. This new information convinced the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to undertake a $20.5 million program to learn more about natural plant chemicals (phytochemicals) in certain food groups that may prevent cancer. One of the first and most promising foods to be studied was flaxseed. It had been previously discovered that flaxseed contained phytochemicals known as lignans within the cell matrix of its seed. Much of the interest surrounding plant lignans is based on the suspected association between them and the low incidence of breast and colon cancers of those consuming a plant and grain based vegetarian diet. In other words, people who are shown to have high levels of lignans present in their blood, urine and feces have the lowest rates of several malignant diseases. FACT: Flaxseed, in particular, contains 100 to 800 times more plant lignans than its closest competitors, wheat bran, rye, buckwheat, millet, soy beans and oats. Once consumed, lignans found in flaxseed are converted to mammalian lignans. These mammalian lignans bind with estrogen receptors, where studies suggest they may induce the production of a special sex hormone binding compound. This compound, known as sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), regulates estrogen levels by removing excess estrogen from the body. Lignans are thought to be estrogen modulators, helping to balance estrogen activity within the body. These and other positive findings were presented by both the Food and Drug Administration and the NCI as well as several research institutions at the recent annual convention on Experimental Biology held in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Make no mistake. Flax oil is a fat. But it is a good fat. For example, the much-touted Mediterranean diet, traditionally consumed in Greece and regions of Italy, emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seafood, and olive and walnut oil with limited meat and dairy. It is not a particularly low-fat diet, however. In fact, the average daily intake of overall fat for Greek women is forty percent of total calories, a figure roughly equivalent to the American diet. Yet, Greek women have much lower breast cancer rates than their American counterparts. Together with a higher intake of vegetables, whole grains and fruits, a high intake of neutral or beneficial fats found in olive and walnut oil appears to be protective, observes researcher Emanuela Taioli. Meanwhile, Israel has one of the highest intakes of polyunsaturated and saturated fats in the world. The consumption of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are found in safflower, corn and other highly processed commercial cooking oils, is about eight percent higher than in the United States and 10 to 12 percent higher than in most European countries. Not surprisingly, there is an extremely high prevalence of cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and obesity among Israeli Jews. There is also an increased cancer incidence and mortality rate, especially in women, compared with western countries. Studies suggest that high omega-6 fatty acid consumption might be the cause. Pioneering Cancer Research “Use of flax as a cancer prophylactic is an area that I think has a lot of promise,” notes Lilian U. Thompson, Ph. D. of the University of Toronto, one of a handful of researchers investigating the relationship between flax and cancer inhibition. Thompson is one of the worlds leading authorities on flax’s human health benefits, especially in the area of its use as part of cancer prevention and treatment. In one of her early studies, Thompson learned flaxseed lignans had been shown to be protective at the early promotional stage when cancers have not quite formed. She then wanted to determine whether supplementation with flaxseed, beginning 13 weeks after carcinogen administration, would reduce the size of already established mammary tumors present at the start of treatment, as well as appearance of new tumors. After seven weeks of treatment, established tumor volume was over 50 percent smaller in all treatment groups while there was no change in the placebo group. This study demonstrated that reduction in tumor size was due in part to the lignans derived from flaxseed. In a 1999 report in Carcinogenesis, Thompson and a co-investigator presented intriguing experimental evidence that suggests starting our daughters out on lignan-rich flaxseed oil early on in their lives (including consumption by the mother during pregnancy)can reduce their lifetime breast cancer risk. Flax lignans appear to do so by affecting the highly proliferative terminal end bud structures in the developing mammary gland. Stimulating the terminal ends to develop into alveolar buds and lobules has been suggested to be protective against mammary cancer. In this experimental study, early consumption of flax also delayed onset of puberty.
The Lignan Connection In a case-control study from the Queen Elizabeth II Medical Center, Perth, Western Australia, women with newly-diagnosed, early breast cancer were interviewed by means of questionnaires, and a 72 hour urine collection and blood sample were taken. The urine samples were assayed for various plant constituents including lignans. It was determined that there is a substantial reduction in breast-cancer risk among women with a high intake of phyto-oestrogens, particularly the isoflavonic phyto-oestrogen equol and the lignan enterolactone. Similarly, in a study published in the British Journal of Cancer researchers state there is convincing evidence that low levels of various fatty acids in adipose breast tissue and the emergence of aggressive metastases are intimately related. 121 women patients with an initially localized breast cancer were studied. Their adipose breast tissue was obtained at the time of initial surgery and it’s fatty acid content analyzed. A low level of alpha-linolenic acid (found predominantly in flax) was strongly associated with the presence of vascular invasion, indicating the cancer was likely to spread. After an average 31 months of follow-up, 21 patients developed metastases. Large tumor size, high cell-division rates, presence of vascular invasion and low levels of alpha-linolenic acid were single factors significantly associated with an increased risk of metastasis. (note: alpha-linolenic acid can be considered as a marker for lignan intake.) The Antiestrogen Effect A woman’s cumulative exposure to estrogen, including the length of her estrous cycle, plays an important role in her lifetime breast cancer risk; the more estrogen to which her tissues are exposed, the greater her risk. Because flax lignans are weakly estrogenic, it has been thought that they might displace on the receptors of breast cells more toxic forms of estrogen that are likely to increase women’s risk of cancer. Thompson participated in another study to determine whether flax’s lignans might have a beneficial antiestrogenic effect, much like the drug Tamoxifen but without its risks. The antiestrogenic effects of flaxseed were compared with Tamoxifen by monitoring estrous cycles. Four-week supplementation of a high-fat diet with flaxseed produced a dose-related cessation or lengthening of the cycle in about two-thirds of animals. With Tamoxifen, 83 percent of the animals had irregular cycles. Thus, both compounds were antiestrogenic; however, flax performed its activities without Tamoxifen’s gross tissue toxicity (including uterine cancer risks). Preventive Medicine To appreciate the dual protective effect of lignans and flaxseed oil, it is imperative that consumers recognize and purchase the right products. Look for flaxseed oil products that are labeled as high-lignan. Flaxseed oil should be gently expeller pressed without filtration or refinement.
Quality. We produced the first cold pressed, virgin, organic flax oil ever sold in the United States, in 1987. We made it to the exacting standard set forth by Dr. Johanna Budwig, the world’s foremost authority on the many therapeutic benefits of this omega 3 powerhouse. We still make it the same way. In fact, because we won’t sacrifice freshness for profit, we don’t sell to stores, where the product can sit for months. We make small batches often, package it in oxygen free HDPE bottles and only sell it directly to you, the end user.
Value. Because we do not sell to stores or any other middleman, we market our product to you at wholesale price. So you get the finest, gourmet quality oil at about half the price of our competition. We also offer free shipping on orders of $90. Or more.
Taste. While we don’t promote taste as a priority when buying flax oil, it sure does make a difference when you are drinking an ounce or two every day. Our original C-Leinosan clear oil has a very pleasant fresh, nutty taste and goes great on salads, cereal, or yogurt. We have many more recipes available at www.bionatures.com.
Education. We have a wealth of information available in the blog section at www.bionatures.com including a very extensive “Flax FAQ”.
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Flax oil is one item that absolutely should be in your daily nutritional regimen. It has more unique benefits for human health than any other single food or supplement. Let Bionatures be your source, we welcome you to our family.