vitamins, alternative medicine, antioxidants

Vitamin Stuff Blog

A Health, Nutrition, and Alternative Medicine Blog

Friday, October 31, 2008

Is Carnosine the Next Super-Antioxidant?

Some are hailing carnosine as the next super-antioxidant and many are already using it as an anti-aging supplement. This amino acid is made naturally by the body, but supplementation is thought to slow down the aging process by slowing down the glycation process. Carnosine is thought to be extra effective for anti-aging when taken in addition to antioxidants, which slow down the oxidation process.

Even though these anti-aging claims have mostly been shown through studies involving rats, some lab studies found that carnosine can increase the lifespan of human cells. Carnosine is also known to help the body remove toxic metals, which can help protect against diseases linked to toxic metals, such as ADHD, dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Carnosine

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Garlic for Heart Health and Cancer Protection

Available in every grocery store and easy to grow, garlic is a much more than a great seasoning or something to help support your immune system when you are feeling under the weather; garlic offers over 70 health-promoting natural chemicals and improves cardiovascular health.

Garlic can help lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure. It can be used to treat ear infections and other bacterial issues. It can decrease the risk of stroke and heart attack. It can help slow tumor growth and protect against certain cancers, such as stomach, colon, esophageal and breast cancers. It is even used to help people undergoing chemotherapy. The newest studies on garlic have shown it to decrease blood sugar levels and increase insulin release in laboratory animals.

Garlic

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Ginkgo for Aging and Longevity

Did you know that ginkgo biloba is a tree? Not only is it a tree but it is the oldest tree on earth, called the maidenhair tree. No wonder ginkgo is a great treatment for aging disorders and helps promote longevity. Ginkgo helps aging by fighting against free radical damage and helps prevent against blood clotting and the buildup of cholesterol.

Ginkgo protects against atherosclerosis, increases blood circulation and improves brain function. It is used to treat macular degeneration, glaucoma, stroke, heart disease and even cancer. Due to ginkgo’s ability to increase blood circulation it is gaining popularity as a great treatment for sexual dysfunction and is now being studied for sexual dysfunction treatment caused by antidepressants.

Ginkgo Biloba

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Can that Little Pot Belly Indicate That You’re More Likely to Develop Heart Disease?

Yes, even a small amount of abdominal fat may increase the likelihood of heart disease even in otherwise normal weight individuals. Recently, researchers from the University of Texas published a report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, which confirmed the fact that waist size rather than overall body weight was a better indicator of heart disease. Researchers in this study based their study on medical tests and imaging scans performed on over two thousand individuals. The results of the testing indicate that women with a waist of thirty-two or larger and men with a waist of thirty seven or greater had a significant risk of heart disease.

The study went on to state that body shape is important. Individuals with the largest waist to hip ratio’s (waist larger than hips) were twice as likely to have the calcium deposits that suggest the onset of Atherosclerosis than those with smaller hip to waist ratios. This body shape also linked with other diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. It appears that abdominal fat secretes inflammatory proteins that add to the atherosclerotic plaque accumulation. Still, other studies indicate that belly fat is more toxic than fat located on other areas of the body such as the hips. Although individuals who are overweight have an increased risk of heart disease, the risk increased if an individual has fat that concentrated around the abdomen. Previous studies have produced the same results as the study done at the University of Texas, consequently it is important for individuals to eat a healthy diet and exercise to prevent the accumulation of belly fat early in life in order to reduce their risks of morbid diseases such a heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Glucosamine – Replace Your NSAIDS With Supplementation

Glucosamine is an amino acid and amino sugar molecule found naturally in the body; supplementation is used to help regenerate and hydrate cartilage for disorders such as buritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. There are 3 types of glucosamine found on the market, used to treat numerous health issues.

If you’re looking for a way to reduce your use of nonsterioidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin and ibuprofen, glucosamine supplementation might be your answer. If so, get started right away because although it can replace these drugs, it takes anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks to take effect. Glucosamine is thought to be a safe, effective alternative to NSAIDS, which can cause upset stomach, liver failure and kidney failure with overuse.



Glucosamine

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Hyaluronic acid – A Hydrating, Cosmetic Supplement

Hyaluronic acid has been used to help treat rheumatoid and osteoarthritis due to its ability to lubricate joints, encourage tissue water retention and lock moisture into the extracellular matrix, keeping elastin and collagen hydrated. Without hyaluronic acid, joints can become brittle, leading to deterioration. Known for its ability to remove toxins and deliver nutrients to cells in the cartilage, it is also known to lessen the appearance of scars and depressions in the skin.

More recently, hyaluronic acid has gained attention from the cosmetic industry for its ability to help skin appear more radiant and smoother. Hyaluronic acid has no known side effects other than minor skin irritations, and is administered in an injectable form, the only forum approved by the FDA.


Hyaluronic acid

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Hoodia extract – A Weight Loss Succulent to reduce Body fat

If you’ve heard of hoodia gordonii, chances are it is due to its overwhelming popularity in the west for weight loss and dieting. What many don’t know is that before being known for appetite suppression, hoodia was also used to help treat indigestion, diabetes, abdominal cramps, hypertension and more by the Kalahari San bushmen of South America.

This South American succulent, which has a similar appearance to the cactus, has been proven to reduce body fat, appetite and calorie intake. It can be found as an extract, tincture and in capsule form at many health food stores and online distributors, and is currently being studied by pharmaceutical companies seeking to create a synthetic form for the purpose of weight loss prescription drugs.

Hoodia extract

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Lecithin - An Essential Lipid that protects against Cardiovascular Disease

What lipid is essential to every living cell in the human body, protects against heart disease and improves brain function? If you said lecithin you are correct, but unfortunately many people have never given much thought to getting their daily dose of lecithin. Although there is no recommended daily allowance by the FDA, but most doctors recommend getting two tablespoons of granules a day.

Lecithin is added to many foods such as ice cream, mayonnaise and chocolate bars, and can be found naturally in foods such as lentils, cabbage, corn and eggs. Lecithin can protect against cardiovascular disease and arteriosclerosis, improve brain function, repair liver damage caused by alcoholism, and help to keep the liver and kidneys healthy.

Lecithin

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Omega 3s raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol

Omega-3s can be found naturally in foods such as nuts, seeds and flaxseed oil, but is most commonly found in herring, salmon, halibut and other cold water fish. Regardless of omega-3s being found in these foods, most people don’t receive a great amount of omega-3 fatty acids from their diet. If you feel you may be lacking Omega 3s in your diet, fish oil supplementation can be essential.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are vital for healthy functioning digestive systems, kidneys and heart. They raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol, while prevent hardening of the arteries, stroke and heart attack. Studies have also found fish oil supplements can help with the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and slow down tumor growth.

Omega 3 fatty acids

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Monday, October 27, 2008

What are Age Spots?

Age spots, also known as liver spots, solar lentigines or skin spots, are dark, flat, oval spots that usually appear on the hands, face, arms and shoulders. They are most often found on people over 40, but can appear at any age. These spots are
black or brownish in color and are caused by aging, genetics or sun exposure. It is worth getting them checked out to make sure they are not cancerous, but usually they are not dangerous to one’s health. Age spots are most often caused by ultraviolet light speeding up the production of melanin to protect your skin. This usually happens with too much sun exposure or the excessive use of tanning beds. To keep from developing age spots cover your skin when in sunlight and use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher. Age spots can be treated for cosmetic reasons by bleaching creams, laser therapy, cryotherapy (freezing), dermabrasion or chemical peels.

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What is Vegetable Protein?

We need protein in our diet to build lean muscle tissue, allowing us to burn calories. Vegetable protein is the natural protein that comes from eating plants, dried beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Most people think that protein comes solely from meats, fish and eggs. The truth is that animal protein offers high fat and cholesterol which is very hard on the kidneys and liver, while vegetable protein has no additional fats and cholesterol. It is thought that vegetable proteins can help prevent cancers, control blood cholesterol levels, prevent osteoporosis and build stronger bones – as opposed to animal protein, which causes many health issues. To get more vegetable protein add soy, broccoli, spinach, peas, brussel sprouts, bean sprouts, dried beans, seeds, nuts and whole grains, such as rye, buckwheat, millet and barley to your diet.

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What are Nitrosamines?

Nitrosamines are chemical compounds produced from nitrates, which occur in proteins. Nitrosamines can be carcinogenic, but are still found in many foods including cured meats such as sausages, hot dogs, cold cuts and bacon, as well as cheese, fish and beer.

They are used as a preservative and to set and maintain the color of foods. They can also be found in tobacco products and some latex products. They have been regulated by the US government, but are still found in our food supply. Nitrosamines are well known to cause cancer, especially stomach, pancreatic and liver cancer when found in food as a preservative. Other than in food, nitrosamines are used in rubber products, cosmetics and pesticides. To lower your intake of carcinogenic nitrosamines, steer clear of processed meats and tobacco and get proper amounts of vitamin E and vitamin C, which help prevent them from forming.







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What is Collagen?

Collagen is a fibrous, structural protein that can be found throughout the human body (as well as in all mammals) as a connective tissue. Collagen can be found in the skin, bones, muscles, cartilage and even in the teeth. There are more than 20 types of collagens in the body and it makes up about one-quarter of the body’s protein content. The body relies on collagen to literally hold it together. Collagen gives form, firmness and strength to bodily tissues, cartilage, ligaments and internal organs. Collagen production decelerates as we age, causing fine lines and wrinkles in the skin. Collagen is most popular for its role in cosmetic surgery to help firm up the lips and face, giving people a younger appearance, but is also sold as a supplement to help increase and maintain joint mobility and is used in treating burns. Collagen also has many industrial and medical uses.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Isoflavone Supplementation for Stroke

A new study in Hong Kong, recently published online at the European Heart Journal, investigated the effects of isoflavone supplements on the main artery in the arm, the brachial artery.

The study involved 102 patients. Fifty-two of the patients were placed on placebos, and fifty patients were placed on 80 milligrams of isoflavone supplement per day. The study lasted for twelve weeks and is the first of its kind. There have been no other studies examining the effects of isoflavone and the brachial artery.

What is isoflavone? Isoflavone includes a class of organic compounds related to flavonoids. Isoflavone is found primarily in the mean family and is naturally-occurring in foods such as legumes, soy, clovers and chickpeas. Some foods with isoflavones are thought to protect against certain types of cancers.

Nearly 80 percent of the patients in the Hong Kong study had an impaired blood flow when they began the study. The researchers used ultrasound to measure the blood flow of the brachial arteries in all patients one minute after removing a tourniquet from their arms. What they found was that the patients who took the isoflavone supplements had an increased blood flow in the brachial artery. This is great news for ischaemic stroke studies, since ischemic stroke is caused by obstructions in the artery, such as blood clots.

The study lasted for twelve weeks and showed a significant improvement for the patients taking isoflavone supplements, as opposed to those taking placebos.

Though this new study has some researchers excited about the possibilities of using isoflavone supplements in addition to conventional medicine to help stroke patients, it is too early to make recommendations. The side effects of long term isoflavone supplemental use, as well as the long-term benefits, are yet unknown.

However, doctors can recommend that their patients eat a diet high in isoflavones in hopes that it will be helpful for their cardiovascular health. The foods containing isoflavones are also known for their vitamins, fiber and polyunsaturated fats, so there is no risk in recommending them.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Researches are Convinced that Juice Prevents Blockages in the Arteries

Recently, researchers conducted an experiment that involved hamsters that were given water and hamsters who received juice in an amount that was comparable to four glasses daily for an individual who weighed approximately one hundred and fifty pounds. While other hamsters were apples or grapes with human equivalents of three apples a day or three bunches of grapes per day. Researchers studied how the fruits affected the risk of atherosclerosis in hamsters. Atherosclerosis has become a major health concern for humans in recent years due to unhealthy diet and lifestyle changes. Consequently, the results grapes and apples may beneficial in preventing atherosclerosis among humans as well.

Hamsters who received either fruit or juice had lower cholesterol, less aortic fat build-up, and less oxidative stress. The results of this study seem to suggest that there is a direct correlation between the amount of phenol contained in fruit and its antioxidant benefits.

The study revealed that apples and grapes had about the same phenol content while purple grape juice had more than double the phenol content of apples or grapes.

In fact, purple grape juice had the strongest antioxidant effect, followed by purple grapes, apple juice, and apples.

Antioxidants have long been considered to good for your health, however these findings seem to indicate that phenols and other antioxidants contained in fruit such as vitamin C and carotenoids may greatly affect an individual’s risk of heart attack and stroke.

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Does Juice Consumption Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Researchers in the United States have published the results of a ten year study that involved nearly two thousand individuals in the American Journal of Medicine, which investigated the affect of vegetable and fruit juice upon an individual’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers found that individuals who drank juice more than three times per week were more than seventy five percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Recent studies have linked Alzheimer’s disease to the build up of beta-amyloid protein in the brain. Some studies have suggested that polyphenols contained in fruits and vegetables may slow the process that creates beta-amyloid clumps in the brain. Researchers believe that the phenols contained in fruit and vegetables may somehow disrupt the process that creates clumps of beta-amyloid protein in the brain. While other scientists have put forth a theory that free radicals contained with in the body and brain may be associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants neutralize free radicals within in the body; consequently the findings of this study may strengthen the belief that free radicals cause the early brain cell changes that lead to the onset of Alzheimer disease.

No matter what theory you subscribe too, diet is key in every individual’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers hope that diet may become an inexpensive way to prevent the development of a disease that devastates individuals’ lives and costs the national health system more than stroke, heart disease and cancer combined.

Perhaps, the results of this study will encourage family doctors to pass on this information to their patients who are at high risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

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Can Gum Disease Lead to Cancer?

Studies seem to indicate that gum disease may lead to an increased risk of lung, kidney, pancreatic, and blood cancer. Researchers in England studied the medical records of nearly fifty thousand men who were patients at Lancet Oncology in an effort to ascertain if there is a link between the immune system and both gum disease and cancer.

What they found seems to confirm what scientists have theorized for years, and that is that inflammatory processes within the body may lead to other more serious medical conditions including cancer.

In fact, researchers theorized that gum disease might even of a weak immune system, which in turn may make an individual more susceptible to periodontal disease and hematological cancers. Some researchers even suggested that long-term gum disease might trigger a response from the body’s immune system that allows cancer cells to form.

The study results revealed that the risk of kidney cancer and pancreatic cancer increased nearly fifty percent for individual’s who suffer from gum disease. Additionally, patients with gum disease were thirty percent more likely to suffer from blood cancers such as leukemia. The risk lung cancer increased about fourteen percent if a smoker also had gum disease, and even more astonishing was the fact that gum disease increased the risk of lung cancer among non-smokers as well
The alarming thing about these statistics is that gum disease is preventable with regular dental treatment. This, therefore, signifies the extreme importance of good dental hygiene.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is for informational purposes and is not medical advice. Individuals wishing to use supplements or alternative medicine therapies should consult with their doctor beforehand.

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