Nutritional Supplementation and Alzheimer’s Disease

By David Perlmutter, MDGettyImages-531138681 (1).jpgAs we move forward into the 21st century, we are witnessing a staggering increase in dementing illnesses. Approximately 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. By the year 2030, it is estimated that this number will approach 9 million.

A 1999 report from the Department of Neurology and Clinical Chemistry at the University of Heidelberg, revealed that after Alzheimer’s disease, the second most frequent cause of dementia in the elderly, was so called “vascular dementia”, or brain dysfunction, a result of disease of the small blood vessels. Even more striking, was the finding of elevation of a particular chemical in the blood of these individuals called homocysteine. Blood homocysteine levels are directly related to intake of the B-complex group of vitamins, specifically, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, as well as folic acid. The conclusion of the report provided very strong support for the effectiveness of dietary supplementation with the B-complex group of vitamins in reducing risk of dementia.

To be effective, therapy for Alzheimer’s disease must achieve four tasks—reduce inflammation, limit damaging effects of free radicals, enhance neuronal function, and reduce homocysteine.

REDUCING INFLAMMATION
Essential Fatty Acids 
Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids (EFAs) are key to reducing inflammation and are an integral part of our protocol for Alzheimer’s disease. The best source of omega-3 fats are fish oils, the potency of which is determined by its DHA content. The greatest sources for omega-6 oils are borage seed oil and evening primrose oil. Potency of the omega-6 group is determined by the content of GLAZincmagnesium, and vitamin B3 and vitamin B6enhance the anti-inflammatory effects of both of these essential fatty acids.
LIMITING FREE RADICAL ACTIVITY 
Vitamin E 
The utilization of antioxidants to limit the activity of free radicals as therapy for Alzheimer’s disease has been extensively evaluated over the past decade. Perhaps the most widely studied is vitamin E—a good candidate not only because of its powerful antioxidant activity, but also because of its high fat solubility. This feature is crucial since not only is the brain more than 60% fat, but it is the fat component that is at the highest risk for free radical damage.

Ginkgo Biloba
Perhaps the most convincing validation of Ginkgo Biloba’s effectiveness may be found in a 1997 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The progress of over 200 Alzheimer’s patients was evaluated over a 1-year period. Half the group received Ginkgo Biloba, while the other half received a placebo. At the completion of the study, the placebo group showed a progressive decline in mental function on a standardized psychological test, while the group receiving Ginkgo, on average, actually improved. The authors concluded that Ginkgo Biloba was, “safe and appears capable of stabilizing and, in a substantial number of cases, improving the cognitive performance and the social functioning of demented patients for 6 months to 1 year.”

Alpha Lipoic Acid 
Lipoic Acid is a powerful anti-oxidant that is rapidly absorbed from the gut and readily enters the brain to protect neurons from free radical damage. Further antioxidant protection is derived from its ability to recycle vitamin C and vitamin E, and regenerate glutathione, one of the brain’s most important antioxidants.
N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) 
In addition to increasing glutathioneNAC has an important antioxidant role in and of itself. One of the most damaging free radicals implicated in Alzheimer’s disease is nitric oxide. Nitric oxide production is directly reduced by NAC.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D has been shown to have even more potency as an antioxidant when compared to vitamin E. Remarkably, in a Japanese study published in 1998, it was found that moderate to severe deficiencies of vitamin D were found in 80% of Alzheimer’s patients studied.

ENHANCING NEURONAL FUNCTION

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Coenzyme Q10 supplementation has been shown to enhance energy production in brain neurons and thus improve function. This powerful antioxidant has also demonstrated its ability to reduce the progression of Parkinson’s disease by more than 40%. Isn’t it then critically important to recognize that two of the most widely prescribed cholesterol lowering drugs, pravastatin (Pravachol®) and lovastatin (Mevacor®), can significantly lower serum coenzyme Q10 levels?

Acetyl-L-carnitine
Acetyl-L-carnitine is readily converted into an important neurotransmitter (brain chemical messenger) known as acetylcholine, proven to be profoundly deficient in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Its second task is to facilitate the removal of the toxic by-products of brain metabolism.
Phosphatidylserine
Phosphatidylserine is one of the key constituents of neuronal membranes—the site where brain cells both receive and transmit chemical messages. Abnormalities of the neuronal membrane have been linked to age-related functional changes in brain performance.

Vitamin B-12 
Standard medical texts have long reported that vitamin B-12 is a critical factor for preservation of normal brain function. Its deficiency is associated with confusion, depression, mental slowness, memory difficulties, and abnormalities of nerve function. Several studies have demonstrated that patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease generally have significantly lower blood levels of vitamin B-12 compared to age-matched, non-afflicted individuals. B12 helps prevent the accumulation of homocysteine, which, when elevated, markedly increases the risk for Alzheimer’s disease as described above.

Folic Acid
Folic acid levels are often markedly depressed in patients suffering from dementia or confusional states. Deficiency of folic acid is associated with apathy, disorientation, memory deficits, and difficulties with concentration. Several studies have correlated low folic acid levels with dementia. Again, the mechanism may involve elevation of homocysteine since like vitamin B12folic acid helps lower this blood vessel damaging amino acid.

June 18, 2019 at 12:53 pm Leave a comment

Diabetes: A 21st Century Epidemic

By Michael T. Murray, N.D.

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Diabetes is one of society’s biggest drains of resources—both financial and human. The economic toll of diabetes in the United States alone is staggering—in excess of 100 billion dollars annually. What’s more, approximately one-third of the 17 million people in this country with diabetes are unaware that they have it. Many of these individuals first become conscious that they have diabetes when they develop one of its life-threatening complications such as a heart attack, stroke, or kidney disease. Overall, the risk for death among people with diabetes from these complications is about four times that of people without. In addition to a shortened life span, diabetes carries with it compromises on quality of life with risks for serious complications such as blindness, the need for dialysis, and limb amputation.

TWO MAJOR CATEGORIES OF DIABETES: TYPES 1 AND 2 

TYPE 1 diabetes is associated with complete destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas that manufacture the hormone insulin. Individuals with type 1 will require life-long insulin for the control of blood sugar levels. About five to 10 percent of all diabetics are type 1.

TYPE 2 diabetes is typically represented by elevated insulin levels, indicating a loss of sensitivity to insulin by the cells of the body. Approximately 90 percent of individuals with type 2 are obese. Obesity greatly reduces the sensitivity of cells to the hormone insulin.

THE NEED FOR NATURAL MEDICINE 

Diabetes is a very serious disorder that requires effective treatment. Obviously, the best treatment for any disease is primary prevention. Can diabetes be prevented? Absolutely —and it is quite clear that the best way to achieve this goal is through a proper lifestyle, diet, and nutritional supplementation. Current conventional medical treatment has undoubtedly led to longer, healthier lives for diabetics. However, as a result, the most effective approach to diabetes and other blood sugar problems requires the use of the lifestyle, dietary, and nutritional supplement strategies.

USED PROPERLY, A NATURAL MEDICINE APPROACH TO DIABETES CAN:

  • Significantly reduce your risk for developing diabetes—even those with a family history
  • Possibly reverse diabetes, even in many diabetics who are currently using insulin
  • Improve the sensitivity of cells to the action of insulin, thereby improving glucose tolerance and normalizing blood sugar
  • Promote weight loss and slow down/block sugar absorption from the intestinal tract
  • Effectively reduce the complications of diabetes including heart disease and retinopathy
  • Improve the actions of drugs and insulin, while reducing their side effects

THE RIGHT DIET FOR DIABETICS 

It is quite clear that the best diet for the management of diabetes and other blood sugar disorders is not the one promoted by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). One of the main criticisms of the Diabetes Food Pyramid, promoted by the ADA, is that it does not stress strongly enough the importance of quality food choices. For example, the bottom of the pyramid represents the foods that the ADA thinks should make up the bulk of a diabetic’s diet: the bread, cereal, rice, and pasta group. With six to 11 servings a day from this group, a diabetic is supposedly on the way to a healthier life. What the pyramid doesn’t tell, though, is that following these recommendations sets the stage for further insulin resistance, obesity, and heart disease.

If you compare the dietary recommendations in the book, How to Prevent and Treat Diabetes with Natural Medicine to the ADA’s, you will notice some clear differences. Our version incorporates the best from two of the most healthful diets ever studied—the traditional Mediterranean diet and the traditional Asian diet. These diets have also been shown to be protective against diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The four key principles of our diet program are to avoid high calorie, low-nutrient foods such as junk foods, candy, and soft drinks; follow a low glycemic diet; eat a “rainbow” assortment of fruits and vegetables; reduce the intake of meat and animal products; and eat the right types of fats.

GOALS OF MANAGEMENT WITH NATURAL MEDICINE 

The goals of controlling blood sugar levels and promoting good health with natural medicine are quite simple:

1. Reduce after-meal blood sugar elevations 
2. Provide optimal nutrient status
3. Improve insulin function and sensitivity
4. Prevent nutritional and oxidative stress 

Specific natural products are available to address each of these core goals. For example, soluble fiber supplements have been shown to enhance blood sugar control, decrease insulin levels, and reduce the number of calories absorbed by the body. Alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to be effective in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy and actually stimulates the regeneration of nerve fibers. Extracts of the herb Gymnema sylvestre have been shown to enhance glucose control, presumably through helping to increase the production or activity of insulin.

 

May 20, 2019 at 3:49 pm Leave a comment

Fish Oil IS GOOD FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

By Laurel Sterling, MA, RDN, CDN, National Nutritionist & Educator for Carlson LabsGettyImages-936711706.jpg

Fish oils, in particular omega-3 fatty acids, are great for the entire family for a variety of reasons! They are very well known, researched, and documented for supporting cardiovascular health, brain and nerve health, vision, the immune system, and joint health. In children, in particular, omega-3s have been seen to promote brain development, impact behavior and learning abilities, support comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, and reading skills.

The study that really changed the acceptance of EPA and DHA supplements for people with heart issues and for prevention of heart issues was the Gissi Prevenzione trial. This was a study of 11,000 myocardial infarction survivors. One group was taking a placebo, and the other group that took 1 gram daily of omega-3 EFAs (EPA/DHA) had a 20% decrease in total deaths, a 30% decrease in cardiovascular deaths, and a 45% decrease in sudden deaths over a 4-year period versus the placebo group. This led to widespread recommendation of EPA and DHA by organizations like GOED. GOED, which is the Global Organization of EPA and DHA has established omega-3 daily intake recommendations based on scientific research. For the general healthy adult population, to lower the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) 500mg is recommended. For pregnancy and lactation, 200 additional mg/day of DHA over the recommendation for healthy adults. For secondary prevention of CHD, 1000mg/day of EPA + DHA is recommended. Over 1g/d is supported for a range of additional health conditions like elevated blood pressure and elevated triglycerides. Some great options to get in the amount of fish oil you need daily include Carlson’s Very Finest Fish Oil at 1 tsp/day which yields 1,600mg of omega-3s. If you prefer a softgel, you can take 1-2 of Elite Omega 3 Gems with a meal. One softgel yields 800mg of omega-3s. Super DHA Gems, which yields 500mg of DHA in 1 softgel, is ideal for the pregnant or breastfeeding mom.

Looking at the benefits of omega- 3s for children, there was the Dolab Study and Oxford Durham Trial. The Dolab Study took 493 children, who were poor readers and had low omega-3 index percentages and supplemented them with DHA. Reading and behavior improved significantly. In the Oxford Durham trial, 120 kids aged 6-12 were given 558mg EPA, 174mg DHA from fish oil, and 60mg GLA (from Evening primrose oil). Learning and behavior improved significantly, and concentration and reading dramatically improved. Each ½ teaspoon dose of Carlson for Kid’s Very Finest Fish Oil provides 800mg of omega-3’s (yielding 400 EPA/250 DHA) in a natural lemon or orange flavor. A great way for your child to get in their dose of cod liver oil is by drizzling it into or over some of their favorite foods like popcorn, PB & J sandwiches, pizza, hummus, yogurt, or smoothies. There are many more recipes you can access on the Carlson website www.carlsonlabs.com. All flavors of our high-quality liquid fish oils have been honored with Superior Taste Awards from the renowned chefs and sommeliers of the International Taste and Quality Institute in Brussels.

Like fish oil, cod liver oil provides the important omega-3 fatty acids, but with the added benefit of naturally occurring Vitamins A & D. Both Vitamin A & D give added support for the immune system. This additional immune support is great to use during the months of September through April when kids are not out playing in the sunshine as much; therefore, their bodies will be making less vitamin D. Each ½ teaspoon dose of Carlson For Kid’s Cod Liver Oil provides 550mg of omega-3’s (yielding 200 EPA/250 DHA), 425 IU of Vitamin A, and 200 IU of Vitamin D3 in a delicious lemon or bubble gum flavor. Adult dosing of cod liver oil is 1 teaspoon which yields 1,100 mg of omega- 3s fatty acids, 850 IU of vitamin A, and 400IU of vitamin D. The cod liver oil comes from Arctic cod off the coast of Norway. All Carlson suppliers hold the Friend of the Sea Certificate. Friend of the Sea is a non-profit, non-governmental organization, whose mission is marine habitat conservation. Known for their strict guidelines and procedures, Friend of the Sea is a leading international certification project. We also pride ourselves on superior purity and potency. To insure this, Carlson uses IFOS, which is The International Fish Oil Standards program. IFOS is the only third-party testing and certification program exclusively for fish oil supplements. It tests for purity, potency, and freshness of fish oils. Carlson repeatedly receives the highest 5-star rating on over 28 of our fish oils.

Fish oil provides important omega-3 fatty acids that are crucial for supporting and maintaining healthy cells, and medical studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids are key components to the structure of our nervous system. EPA and DHA, the most important omega-3s, promote healthy cardiovascular, brain, nerve, vision, joint, skin, and immune function for the entire family. So, try adding some into your daily routine!

REFERENCES:
W.S. Harris, “The Omega-3 Index as a Risk Factor for Coronary Heart Disease,” Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 87 (6), 1997S-2002S (2008).

Relationship between the total EPA and DHA (expressed as the Omega-3 Index) and sudden cardiac death. Data are from Dr. C.M. Albert and colleagues (2).

C.M. Albert, et al., “Blood Levels of Long- Chain N-3 Fatty Acids and the Risk of Sudden Death,” N. Engl. J. Med. 346 (15), 1113-1118 (2002).

 

 

April 16, 2019 at 9:14 am Leave a comment

BONE BROTH: Ancient Elixir for Joint Health

By Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNSGettyImages-867056090.jpg

Possibly the “hottest trend in health” today, even though it is centuries old, is using bone broth for its nutritional properties. The media seems to be reporting almost daily on celebrities that are making bone broth a central component of their health and fitness program. Bone broth is a great place to find valuable amino acids, collagen, gelatin, and trace minerals that boost the health of many body systems. It supports healthy inflammation, hair, skin and nail growth, bone health, digestion, and much more.*

Nature’s Multivitamin

There are dozens of different nutrients found within bone broth, many of which can’t be obtained easily from other commonly eaten foods. Plainly put, bone broth is “nature’s multivitamin.”

For as long as humans have been cooking food over fire, bone broth—the simmering stock of bones otherwise discarded—has been a daily part of life, celebrated by cultures around the world. Considered to be one of the most ancient and remarkable nutritional substances on the planet, bone broth is a beneficial “elixir” that imparts significant and broad health benefits, especially on the health of the joints.*

Many people are “bankrupt” of the nutrients provided by bone broth and need to get more readily available portions into their diets on a daily basis. When bone broth is created, the marrow from the bone is decocted to extract certain nutrients, which we don’t get from simply eating the meat. These nutrients include connective tissue proteins such as gelatin, collagen, and GAGs such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid. Also, they contain an abundance of minerals: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and high levels of potassium.

One of the best sources of natural collagen
Collagen is the protein found in vertebrae animals—in their bones, skin, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and bone marrow. As we get older, our joints naturally experience wear and tear, and we become less flexible.

Why does that matter?
As we age, cartilage diminishes as it gets attacked by antibodies—age-related degradation of joint cartilage. As bone broth simmers, collagen from the animal parts leaches into the broth and becomes readily absorbable to help restore cartilage.

Do you already take collagen powder?
You may be missing out on more than you think. Many collagen supplements are sourced from beef— the hides and hooves—and turned into a powder (Types 1 & 3). Bone Broth Protein contains pure chicken bone broth concentrate which is Type 2, an important collagen people need today in their diets, as well as an abundance of amino acids and important minerals not found in Types 1 and 3.

Since cartilage within our joints is mainly composed of type 2 collagen, bone broth from chicken or turkey works wonders for our connective tissue and is also best for repairing and sealing the gut lining.*

More co-factors for joint health
Bone broth is rich in gelatin, which acts like a soft cushion between bones that helps them “glide” without friction. Gelatin also provides us with building blocks that are needed to form and maintain strong bones; helping take pressure off of aging joints and supporting healthy bone mineral density.

Glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid are found in significant levels in bone broth as well. These key nutrients support the health of your joints, and surrounding connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments.

Bone broth made easy
Two major drawbacks to experiencing the benefits of bone broth is the time to make it at home and expense to buy it pre-packaged. To decoct all of the nutrients in a traditional bone broth recipe, it would take 24-48 hours. It’s hard enough to make it for one person let alone for an entire family on a weekly basis.

Introducing Bone Broth Protein™ —a breakthrough in protein supplementation that delivers the benefits of bone broth in an easy-to-mix, convenient, and on-the-go form.

Not only does Bone Broth Protein™ pack 20g of gut-friendly and paleo-friendly protein per serving, it also provides Bone Broth Co-Factors such as collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, and key electrolyte minerals—to support the health of your gut, joints, muscles, skin, and healthy detoxification.*

Unlike many of the protein powders on the market currently, Bone Broth Protein does NOT contain any: gluten, grain, dairy, soy, nuts, legumes, or artificial sweeteners. Also, all of the formulas are either very low or absent of carbohydrates, with the chocolate and vanilla flavors providing just 2 grams of carbs and 1 gram of sugar per serving.

So transform your body with Bone Broth Protein™, the ultimate food to support gut health, metabolism, lean muscle, joints, and glowing skin.*

 

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any disease.

March 15, 2019 at 11:01 am Leave a comment

Are You at Risk for Stroke?

GettyImages-639896942.jpg By Dr. Jen Palmer Naturopathic Doctor (ND) & NEEDS Education Director

One of the most dreaded health issues concerning Americans is suffering physical debilitation or death from stroke, partially because it can happen suddenly and without warning. Mainstream medicine may say that high cholesterol, diabetes, and hypertension are the primary risk factors for stroke, but in truth, there is a deeper cause behind each of these conditions that must be addressed in order to assess your risk.

There are two primary types of stroke: 1) hemorrhagic stroke, accounting for less than 20% of strokes, where the blood vessel bursts, causing bleeding in the brain, and 2) ischemic stroke, which entails blockage of a crucial vessel that delivers blood and oxygen to the brain. The focus of this article is on the more prevalent ischemic type, and the steps you can take to lower the risk and put your mind at ease.

In reviewing the research, it appears that systemic inflammation is one of the primary causes for ischemic stroke. Inflammation causes white blood cells to aggregate and secrete chemicals that initiate platelet aggregation and clot formation. One of the causes of inflammation can be infection, because it triggers an immune response, which in turn brings white blood cells to the area to fight the pathogen. Some studies show that infections, such as dental, bacterial, and respiratory, can be an underlying cause of stroke. Inflammation can also be caused by diet, environmental toxins, hormonal changes, stress, and other common factors.

More than just a Cholesterol Issue

Research shows that people with a high C-Reactive Protein (CRP) level, a marker that measures systemic inflammation, have double the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke as compared to people with only high cholesterol. People with the lowest CRP levels had the lowest risk of heart attack and those with high CRP plus high cholesterol had the greatest risk of heart attack. Another study showed that CRP was a better predictor for heart problems than cholesterol levels and that women with the highest levels of CRP had four times the risk of suffering from a heart attack or blood vessel problem than women with the lowest measurements.

The standard list of risk factors for stroke and cardiovascular disease, such as diabetes, hypertension, overweight, high cholesterol, and smoking, all have the same common thread, that being inflammation. The obvious remedy is to tone down inflammation as a means to relieve a multitude of health problems. Despite the typical doctor’s recommendation, the health benefits will be greatest if you do more than a simple “aspirin a day” regime. If you desire to lower inflammation naturally, and want to see measurable results, then here are a few scientifically proven suggestions to lower CRP.

Going Natural to Subdue Inflammation 

Curcumin, extracted from the glowing orange Indian spice Curcuma longa, has been shown to decrease inflammation and CRP specifically. In one study, mice were fed a high cholesterol diet and given either curcumin or a cholesterol-lowering statin medication. Both treatments helped prevent development of atherosclerosis, and curcumin significantly reduced CRP levels, along with lowering total cholesterol and LDL, while raising HDL levels.

Antioxidants, by blocking free radical damage, can halt the inflammatory process and have been shown to lower CRP. In one moderate-sized clinical trial, CRP values were assessed in “healthy” smokers. The group that took 1000 mg of vitamin C daily for two months had a significant reduction in CRP levels (approximately 25%) as compared to the placebo group, specifically for those who started the study with elevated CRP. As an interesting side note, it was found that among those in the trial who were considered obese, 75% had elevated CRP levels at baseline, proving an important direct correlation between obesity and inflammation.

An effective, yet often overlooked anti-inflammatory choice is fiber. A very large study looked at fiber intake in people with diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. These groups are considered to be at high risk for developing cardiovascular disease, with a proclivity for elevated CRP levels. It was found that in these groups, those who consumed the most dietary fiber (20 grams daily or more, equivalent to a cup of black beans and an apple) had significantly lower CRP than people who consumed the least fiber, regardless of whether they qualified for one or all of these high-risk categories. Interestingly, their dietary intake of different types of fat, protein, and carbs did not show a consistent correlation with CRP levels; it was only the fiber that strongly correlated. The relationship between fiber and inflammation is not completely understood, but there may be some association between fiber and intestinal flora that results in altering inflammatory chemical production.

 References: 
1. Neuroscience. 2009; 158(3):1049-61 2. Stroke. 1996;27:2204-2206
3. NEJM. 2002; 347:1557-1565  4. NEJM. 2000; 342(12): 836-43 5. JPEN. 2006;30(1):45-51
6. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2011 Nov 7. doi: 10.1002/ mnfr.201100440. [Epub ahead of print]    8. Free Radic Biol Med. 2008 Aug 15; 45(4):377–84 9. Diabetes Care. 2005; 28(6):1487-89

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

February 20, 2019 at 1:03 pm Leave a comment

Whole Body Cleansing in a TOXIC WORLD

By Jeremy Appleton, ND

No matter where or how you live, it is impossible to avoid exposure to environmental toxins. Toxins accumulate in our fat stores and liver, which exert many damaging health effects. The range and concentration of toxin exposure is staggering and includes: pesticides, solvents, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, chlorine, phthalates, and heavy metals. These pollutants have been implicated in a disturbing array of chronic diseases, such as cancer, autoimmune disease, infertility, and developmental defects.

While reducing environmental exposures is critical, we must also address those toxins that have already accumulated in our bodies. Herbal and nutritional cleansing offers one of the few means of protection and recovery from exposures. Throughout history, many cultures have practiced cleansing regimes. The most important principle to remember is that detoxification is a whole-body process. Multiple, interdependent pathways of elimination must be activated simultaneously. Otherwise, harmful toxins can be mobilized from tissues without adequate means of elimination, resulting in an exacerbation of toxicity symptoms.

PHASE I: ORGAN DETOXIFICATION

The LIVER is the master organ of metabolism and cleansing. As blood passes through the liver, toxins are transformed to make them easier to excrete. The liver makes toxins more water-soluble for excretion via the urinary tract and conjugates them to promote excretion via bile and feces. Supporting your liver and gall bladder function is vital to effective cleansing.

LIVER CLEANSING HERBS INCLUDE:

MILK THISTLE (Silybum marianum) provides rich nutrition for the restoration of damaged tissues, especially the liver. Its bitter properties also stimulate digestion and bile flow. Milk thistle seed extracts are rich in silymarin, an antioxidant bioflavonoid. Milk thistle should be standardized to contain 80% silymarin.

ARTICHOKE (Cynara scolymus) has anti-toxic effects in the liver. It is a liver restorative and tonic, which stimulates the production of bile. Artichoke has also been shown to stimulate liver cell regeneration.

TURMERIC (Curcuma longa rhizome) has powerful antioxidant properties and protects against exposure to many toxins. Turmeric promotes healthy toxin elimination and is thought to help prevent chronic diseases, including cancer.

DANDELION (Taraxacum officinale) effectively supports the internal organs and is especially effective in gout and liver disease. Dandelion is a mild laxative that cleanses the blood, stimulates bile flow, and is richly nutritive.

URINARY TRACT: Hydration is an important part of cleansing because water is the medium through which many toxins are excreted. Herbal diuretics increase urine production and therefore, facilitate toxin elimination via the urinary tract. Drink at least 64 ounces of water per day during a cleanse. Herbs that stimulate urinary elimination include: cranberry (which balances urine pH and prevents urinary tract infections), asparagus (a diuretic that also promotes sweating), and parsley (a powerful diuretic).

 SKIN: Fat deposits under the skin may become a major reservoir for toxins, which is why skin reactions are a common side effect of detoxification regimens. Blood cleansing herbs are popular for their specific effects on the skin and include: burdock (Arctium lappa), red clover (Trifolium pratense), cleavers (Galium aparine), and Oregon grape (Mahonia aquafolium).

PHASE II: FIBER INTAKE

Low dietary fiber intake is linked with chronic constipation. Both soluble and insoluble fibers are indigestible and therefore, good bulking agents for the stool. Fiber—particularly insoluble—absorbs and facilitates the removal of toxins, balances intestinal pH, and encourages the growth of beneficial gut flora, such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. Soluble fiber forms a gel in the gut, which has a soothing and bulking effect.

PHASE III: DIGESTIVE CLEANSING

When the liver is in a heightened state of detoxification, hastening transit time of waste through the intestines becomes imperative. Constipation can be dangerous during a cleansing regimen because its slow transit through the bowels means toxins have more opportunity to be reabsorbed through the intestinal walls. During cleanses, the bowels should be stimulated to move at least once per day. Laxatives can be either stimulant or nonstimulant, depending on the mechanism by which they promote bowel movements.

Stimulants contain substances that mildly irritate the intestinal walls, increasing fluid accumulation in the bowel, thus stimulating bowel movements. Stimulant laxatives, such as Cascara sagrada, are ideal for short-term use in otherwise healthy adults. Use with caution in children, elderly, and those prone to laxative abuse.

Non-stimulants also increase fluid retention in the intestines, but the mechanism is by osmosis. Magnesium hydroxide, the active ingredient in milk of magnesia, is perhaps the best known nonstimulant laxative.

Triphala is a popular Ayurvedic herbal formula. It is a gentle, but powerful tonic formula containing three fruits: Haritake (Terminalia chebula), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), and Bibhitake (Terminalia bellerica). Triphala is said to remove stagnation and excess, improve digestion and assimilation of nutrients, and to balance the three vital humours. It has many beneficial properties for cleansing—e.g. laxative, astringent, lubricant, and blood cleansing.

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING A CLEANSE

During a cleanse, some symptoms of detox may occur, such as headache, nausea, or skin rashes. These are common; but should always be followed-up by a qualified healthcare provider. The use of cascara is sometimes associated with abdominal discomfort or cramping. If this is a problem, consider switching to a nonstimulant laxative, like magnesium hydroxide.

Cleansing is a natural process that should be done minimally once per year, and ideally two to four times per year. The transitions between seasons (winter and summer solstice; vernal and autumnal equinox) are traditional times for cleansing. When choosing a cleansing program, make sure that it addresses all of the organ systems of detoxification: liver, skin, urinary tract, digestive tract, and bowels. Also make sure key ingredients are present in sufficient amounts to be effective, of the highest purity and quality, and correctly standardized.

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

January 31, 2019 at 9:11 am Leave a comment

Better Sleep for Shorter Days

Submitted by Vital Nutrients

Better Sleep

During the winter and early spring, reduced exposure to light during the day can actually interfere with proper melatonin secretion, which can exacerbate insomnia. An estimated 64 million Americans suffer from insomnia each year, reporting difficulty falling asleep, waking too early, and general sluggishness. Chronic sleep deprivation due to insomnia can lead to a deterioration of cognitive alertness, ability to function in the daytime, and may be associated with conditions, such as anxiety, depression, stress reaction, pain, sleep apnea, and hormonal changes.

Sleep hygiene may help people with insomnia improve the amount and quality of their sleep. When the days are shorter, this may include a regimen of light exposure in the early morning hours (before 10 am), whether by going outside, sitting by a window, or using a light box for about 30 minutes to help stimulate melatonin production and promote a healthy circadian rhythm. It is also helpful to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, limit caffeine to the morning, and avoid eating, vigorous exercise, and exposure to bright overhead lighting or computer screens in the few hours before bedtime.

In addition, certain herbal and nutritional supplements, along with a physiological dose of melatonin (0.25 mg in the hour before bedtime) may help promote relaxation of mind and body. It’s recommended to take a synergistic combination of some or all of the below botanicals and nutrients to help calm the central nervous system and support restful, refreshing sleep.

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is a popular herbal remedy for anxiety and insomnia, with a long history of use in North America. Two studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in treating anxiety and in one of the studies it was found to be as effective as benzodiazepine medications. However, unlike benzodiazepines, regular use of passionflower extract does not appear to lead to dependence.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) is a medicinal plant in the mint family with mild sedative properties. It has traditionally been used for its calming effects on both the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. In research studies, lemon balm has improved self-rated mood, increased calmness, and enhanced cognitive functioning in healthy people under ordinary circumstances, while performing stress-inducing tasks.

Hops (Humulus lupulus) are mostly known for their use in flavoring beer. It also can be used as a medicinal treatment for insomnia and anxiety and has been supported by animal and in vitro studies. Studies suggest that hops extract quiets the central nervous system by increasing GABA activity and activating melatonin receptors.

California Poppy (Eschscholtzia californicum) is a flowering plant in the poppy family that is known for its sedative effects and has been used historically for insomnia, nervous tension, and sensitivity to weather changes. Its ability to influence the metabolism of several neurotransmitters, including acetylcholine and serotonin, has been documented.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a flowering perennial plant well known for its ability to ease nervousness and promote sleep. Studies suggest that valerian terpenoids and flavonoids may exert anxiolytic and sedative properties by affecting GABA and GABA receptors. Some studies comparing valerian extract to benzodiazepines have found them to have similar effects.

L-theanine (N-ethyl-L-glutamine) is an amino acid present in green tea. In human studies, L-theanine supplementation increased alpha brainwave activity, indicating a more relaxed state. It also reduced physiologic signs of stress in people given stress-inducing tasks in the laboratory.

Lavender Essential Oil (Lavendula angustafolia) is a perennial flowering shrub with a distinctive fragrance that is widely believed to ease tension and enhance relaxation. Aromatherapy with lavender oil has had relaxing to sedating effects in a number of studies. Inhaling lavender oil during sleep increased deep, slow-wave sleep, decreased rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, and increased a reported sense of vigor upon morning waking in one study. A preliminary study also found that aromatherapy with lavender oil improved sleep in people with insomnia.

Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland to regulate the sleep/ wake cycle. Melatonin release is strongly affected by light and darkness, with levels normally dropping during daylight hours and rising at night to induce drowsiness and lower body temperature.

Melatonin levels are low in people with insomnia and supplemental melatonin has been found to be an effective treatment for insomnia in controlled trials. Melatonin may also help shift the sleep phase and improve sleep in shift workers and people with jet lag. In addition, melatonin is a powerful antioxidant.

Incorporating sleep hygiene techniques and supplementation into your daily routine can help improve the quality of your sleep and help decrease mental health and sleep related issues that occur during the cold weather months.

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

November 9, 2018 at 3:30 pm Leave a comment

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