Archive for April, 2017

Hemp: A New Look at a Traditional Plant

By Buddy Ojeda, CN

 The U.S. dietary supplement industry is projected to grow to over 36 billion dollars in 2017. That’s a 100% increase from 2001 when actual sales for that year totaled $18 billion. The industry’s popularity and commercial success is due, in large part, to its ability to continually satisfy retailer and consumer appetites for new, effective, and sometimes exotic products. For the past five years, one of its rising stars has been cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant.

The History of Cannabis

Cannabis, one of the oldest domesticated crops dating back thousands of years, is the genus for the plant that grows as three species—sativa, indica, and ruderalis. The differences between them lie primarily in their appearance, traditional uses, and amounts of phytocompounds or cannabinoids contained within each plant. Since antiquity, cannabis has been selectively bred and revered for its versatility to be transformed into clothing, textiles, animal feed, pottery, paper, and biofuels. But, it is the area of human nutrition that has sparked the most interest recently. The earliest records referencing cannabis’ healing properties date back 10,000 years to Central Asia, where it was prized for its medicinal value. In ancient Greece, it was a treatment for inflammation and pain associated with earaches. In 600 BC India, it was utilized in their system of medicine called Ayurveda for lowering fevers and inducing sleep. In 1850, cannabis was added to the U.S. Pharmacopeia, which sets standards for all prescription and OTC medicines and was listed as a treatment for gout and excessive menstrual bleeding. By the 1930s, no less than two U.S. pharmaceutical companies sold standardized extracts of the plant as an analgesic and a sedative.

The Hemp Revival?

Hemp, also known as industrial hemp, and the plant commonly referred to as marijuana, are subspecies of Cannabis sativa, but differ in one important manner—their level of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. THC is a cannabinoid prevalent in marijuana and is responsible for the plant’s psychoactive properties. The plant is classified as a schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. While there are 28 states that have passed legislation allowing for medical or recreational use, it remains a federal offense to grow, import, buy, or use marijuana.

By contrast, hemp contains no more than 0.3% THC—a level not significant enough to produce a mood-altering effect. U.S. federal regulations allow for the legal import of hemp and as long as it’s not adulterated by selectively isolating specific cannabinoids to the exclusion of others, the Food and Drug Administration recognizes it as a dietary supplement.

Cannabinoids for Balance

Hemp is a rich source of a distinctive family of lipid-based compounds, including over 100 phytocannabinoids. Emerging research shows they have the potential to support human nutrition in ways that we are only beginning to understand. They include Cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabichromene (CBC), Cannabigerol (CBG), and Cannabinol (CBN), just to name a few.

In 1990, scientists at the National Institute of Mental Health in Rockville, MD discovered a unique family of receptors within the human body. They were located in the brain, nervous system, glands, gonads, connective tissue, and throughout the immune system. They found that phytocannabinoids and cannabinoid-like compounds (i.e. terpenes) produced a physiological response on this network of receptors, so they named it the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Subsequent investigations uncovered that the body makes its own versions of these phytochemicals and they were given the name Endocannabinoids.

More research is needed t o fully comprehend the ECS’s role in the body, but we do have good data that shows it promotes and maintains balance or homeostasis. This means the “master adaptogenic system” has a profound influence on energy balance, endocrine function, immune activity, inflammatory response, mood, perception of pain, sleep/wake cycles, stress responses, and other body processes. So in simple terms, phytocannabinoids help balance the system that balances the body.

Sources for Phytocannabinoids

Plant-based cannabinoids, along with cannabinoid mimics (compounds that exert a similar effect on the ECS) have been in our diet since we started to grow our own food. The richest source is cannabis (hemp), but you can also find them in foods, such as echinacea, Chinese rhododendron, flax seeds, cacao, black pepper, green tea, cruciferous vegetables, and polyphenol-rich foods like turmeric.

If you are looking to increase your intake of phytocannabinoids through supplementation, do your research! Be sure to purchase from a reputable company who uses strict testing standards in their manufacturing process. Also, the label should clearly identify and quantify all the active ingredients claimed to be delivered by the product. Most importantly, choose a formulation that delivers the “full spectrum” of phytocannabinoids and associated plant compounds. This will improve bioavailability and maximize utilization by the endocannabinoid system.

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

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April 19, 2017 at 11:24 am Leave a comment

Aged Garlic Extract and Hypertension

By Carmia Borek, Ph.D

 High blood pressure that is undetected or uncontrolled can lead to heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure, stroke, or death. The American Heart Association states that 1 in 3 U.S. adults suffer from hypertension, which can lead to 1 in 6 deaths a year. Age, obesity, family history, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, stress, and lack of sleep also increase your risk. In addition, high salt intake, caffeine, and alcohol can worsen the condition, causing a further increase in blood pressure. People with hypertension who also have high cholesterol and difficulties keeping both under control can truly benefit from Kyolic aged garlic extract (AGE).

 Aged Garlic Extract and Hypertension

People seeking ways to control blood pressure have the option of taking antihypertensive drugs, but they may have unwelcomed side effects. Another course of action is to seek effective natural solutions. AGE is a natural supplement that clinical studies have shown to be a safe and effective remedy against hypertension.

 The Nature of AGE

Aged garlic extract is an odorless garlic product manufactured by Wakunaga of America. It’s made by the extraction and aging of fresh organic garlic at room temperature for as long as 20 months. AGE is standardized by S-allyl cysteine, a water-soluble organosulfur compound, with antioxidant activity that is the most prevalent component in AGE. Other organosulfur compounds include S-allyl mercaptocysteine. Also present are lipid-soluble organosulfur compounds, carbohydrates, and micronutrients, such as selenium and other antioxidants like fructosyl arginine and alexin. Featured in over 750 scientific and medical publications, the highly bioavailable AGE is the preferred form of garlic used in medical studies on the health effects of garlic.

AGE Reduces Multiple Cardiovascular Risk Factors

AGE is a modulator of a wide range of cardiovascular risk factors. In addition to reducing blood pressure, AGE has been shown to increase blood flow and prevent platelet aggregation and stickiness, which are underlying causes of blood clots. AGE lowers bad cholesterol (LDL), increases the good cholesterol (HDL), and reduces the progression of coronary heart atherosclerotic plaques that can lead to a heart attack. In addition, AGE was shown to reduce homocysteine (a risk factor for heart disease), protect endothelial cells that line blood vessels, and increase the levels of a regulator of blood pressure. AGE has high antioxidant action and helps prevent oxidative damage to blood vessels caused by stress factors, including smoking.

In a study at Brown University School of Medicine, taking AGE lowered cholesterol levels and blood pressure in men with high cholesterol levels. Men received AGE at a dose of 800 mg/day, for 6 months, followed by placebo for 4 months and their cholesterol levels and blood pressure were measured monthly. The results showed that their total cholesterol levels fell by an average of 6-7 percent and their systolic blood pressure decreased by 5.5 percent; there was also a smaller decrease in diastolic pressure.

Several clinical trials from the University of California in Los Angeles, by Dr. M. Budoff and his colleagues, found a dramatic reduction in coronary artery plaque formation in patients treated with AGE compared to placebo. They also found additional cardio-protective effects, such as reducing blood pressure, lowering LDL and triglycerides, increasing HDL, and lowering homocysteine.

 AGE Effective Where Anti-Hypertensive Drugs Failed

Investigators at the University of Adelaide in Australia showed for the first time that AGE may treat hypertension more effectively than medication. The study, published in 2010 in the journal Maturitas, was a randomized, double-blinded placebo-controlled trial of 50 hypertensive patients who did not respond to antihypertensive drugs and remained hypertensive.

The patients were adults with systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher and diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg or above. All patients continued with their medications during the trial—25 patients received 4 capsules a day, containing a total of 960 mg of AGE and 2.4 mg S-allyl cysteine, for 12 weeks (equivalent to 2.5 mg of fresh garlic). In addition, 25 patients served as controls and received a placebo of similar capsules that lacked AGE. Their blood pressures were monitored at baseline and at 4, 8, and 12 weeks.

The trial results showed a statistically significant difference between the blood pressure of patients who were taking AGE and those taking the placebo. In patients who had a systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher, AGE lowered the systolic pressure by an average of 10.2 mm Hg, compared with placebo controls. This effect was comparable to the effect produced by common antihypertensive medications. In patients with a systolic blood pressure lower than 140 mm Hg, the differences in the lowering of the blood pressure between those who took AGE and those on placebo were not significant.

This trial shows that Kyolic AGE can serve as adjunct antihypertensive therapy. Previous studies found that a drop in systolic blood pressure by 5 mm Hg lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease by 8–20 percent. As shown here, the reduction in blood pressure of 10.2 mm Hg, by AGE, offers a desirable protection against cardiovascular disease.

 Mechanisms of Action

The antihypertensive effects of AGE are linked to the stimulation of intracellular nitric oxide (NO), a relaxing factor that is produced in the endothelial cells that line blood vessels and controls vascular tone and blood pressure. Taking AGE results in the relaxed elasticity of vascular smooth muscle and improved vasodilation and blood flow.

Several studies demonstrate that garlic lowers blood pressure and provides other health benefits, but it has the reputation of having an unpleasant odor and can cause some intestinal side effects. Odorless Kyolic aged garlic extract (AGE) enhances the nutritional value of the garlic, removes its pungent odor, and makes it gentle on the stomach, so you can take advantage of all the positive effects of garlic without experiencing the unpleasant side effects!

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

 

April 10, 2017 at 1:37 pm Leave a comment


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