600 Reasons Turmeric May Be The World’s Most Important Herb

TurmericA spice that has medicinal benefits thoroughly supported by scientific research, Turmeric has proven itself to have enormous value to human well being and health.  Unlike drugs, Turmeric does not cause more side effects than its therapeutic benefits and may have actual side “benefits” which have been demonstrated empirically.

Turmeric has a 6,000 year record of safe usage in Ayervedic medicine and has been compared to many pharmaceutical drugs such as ibuprofen, chemotherapy agents and hydrocortisone to name a few.  Turmeric is exceptional in its high margin of safety.

Since Turmeric lacks both exclusivity and patentability it most likely will never receive any recognition by the FDA even though it has a lot of potential for reducing human suffering.  There are some 600 known potential health benefits attributed to turmeric.  Reducing Inflammation, protecting against radiation induced damage and heavy metal toxicity are just a few.  Turmeric has been known to have a benefit for improving more than one health condition at the same time.  Additionally Turmeric has been shown to improve conditions that have been resistant to more conventional treatments.

Keep an eye out for more encouraging research regarding this amazing spice.

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Colds, Flus and Allergies: What you should know

Colds, Flus and AllergiesIt’s that time of year again, Back to School and Back to Colds, Flus and Allergies.  It is the time of year some of us dread.  How do you know if you are experiencing a cold, the flu or just seasonal allergies?  Understanding the major differences in each of these conditions will help us understand what to do to begin to feel like our “well” selves once again.  Although prevention is the key to lowering our risks for infection, looking at our lifestyle, our nutrition and vitamin needs will give us a better chance to fight what is ailing us and WIN.

The Cold:

Colds are viruses.  There are over 100 different types of viruses that cause the common cold.  Symptoms may vary but usually include a runny or stuffed up nose, sore throat, and a cough.  Colds pass through the air from contact (like touch), from a sneeze or a cough.  The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease believes that on average a cold will last from seven to 10 days.  Colds can happen at any time of the year.

 The Flu:

The flu usually begins with a high fever (higher than 102 degrees) and can also include vomiting, body aches and chills, dizziness, flushing, headaches, nasal discharge and a loss of energy.  The fever can last for a day or two or it may last up to a week.  The flu is also a virus and usually affects the whole body.  The flu virus however can settle in any area of the body which could produce the same symptoms experienced with a cold, like a sore throat or it may cause bronchitis, an ear infection or turn into pneumonia if it settles in the respiratory tract.  The flu can last anywhere between four to seven day.

An Allergy:

Allergies usually occur when the body’s defense system has an adverse reaction to a certain substance which acts like a trigger.  These triggers cause the body to release chemicals called histamines which are intended to help the body fight off an intruder.  The histamine actually causes common allergy symptoms. Allergy trigger may be seasonal or year round.  Common allergens are grasses and weeds, dust, mold, pollen, soy, wheat, dairy, milk and nuts.  Symptoms of allergies include watery, itchy eyes, congestion, runny nose, coughing, sore/scratchy throat and sneezing.  Rashes are also a symptom of allergies.

Supplements that may help:

Although there is no way to completely protect ourselves from experiencing any of the above conditions, lifestyle changes and supplementation may aid in strengthening our body’s defense system.  Finding a balance between a supplement program, regular exercise and a healthy diet may aid our body in dealing with infection.

Vitamin A:

This fat soluble vitamin helps maintain healthy tissues, especially the mucous membranes, which line all entrances to the body including the respiratory tract linings, and the skin.  This antioxidant also promotes a healthy thymus function which supports the body’s defense system.

Vitamin C:

Vitamin C, is essential for the needs of the body’s immune system.  That body itself cannot manufacture this water soluble supplement so it is necessary for the body to obtain this nutrient from supplementation or from the diet.  Stress, inflammation and large amounts of sugar easily deplete this important antioxidant.  Although Vitamin C, which is highly concentrated in the immune cells, may not prevent a cold or flu it seems that Vitamin C is beneficial in reducing the duration of the symptoms associated with these viruses.

Astragalus:

Astragalus is a deep stimulating immune boosting herb found in Mongolia and China.  This herb has been known to boost white blood cell count, supporting immunity and stimulating antibody growth.  It also may help strengthen the body’s resistance to viruses and bacteria.

Vitamin D:

An important nutrient for overall health, this vitamin may be needed, especially during the winter months, when sunlight exposure is limited.  Vitamin D affects almost 2,000 different human genes and almost every type of human cell has been found to respond to Vitamin D.  Vitamin D supports the body’s ability to fight infections since it produces over 200 various peptides that affect the body’s ability to fight colds.  Vitamin D also produces small proteins, cytokines, which deal with immune response.

Probiotics:

Approximately 80% of our body’s defense system is located in the gut, which means when supplementing with a high quality probiotic the body’s immune system can be strengthened all year long.  With increased levels of friendly bacteria in the digestive tract the immune system can be developed to protect the body against the overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria.

Zinc:

Essential for supporting the cells of the immune system, Zinc, which acts like an antioxidant in the body, helps to support immunity and the ability of the T-cells to function correctly.  Zinc is responsible for over 300 enzymatic processes in the body which involves growth and development, antioxidant protection and immune response.

Goldenseal:

Seasonal allergies may be supported with this beneficial herb which supports the immune system and allergic symptoms.  Goldenseal may also help soothe irritated and swollen tissues.  Berberine, a key phyto-nutrient in Goldenseal is also known for killing bacteria.

Other herbs like Stinging Nettle and Butterbur may help the body by inhibiting histamine production.  Butterbur, a member of the ragweed family should be avoided by those allergic to chrysanthemums, daisies, marigolds and ragweed.

Don’t forget the importance of getting a good night’s rest to help support the body’s defense system.  When the body does not get adequate rest certain white blood cells called T-cells decrease.  T-cells are important to help increase the body’s immune system.  Melatonin, a hormone, acts like an antioxidant in the body and also works to activate T-helper cells and natural killer cells.

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Study Advises Doctors to Recommend Cranberry Products for Defense Against Repeated UTI’s:

Cranberries and UTISA new meta-analysis has led scientist to conclude Cranberry should be used as the first step for the reduction of recurrent Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s) and healthcare professionals should be telling their patients about this effective, low risk and low cost way to help prevent the reoccurrence of Urinary Tract Infections.

Data from 28 different studies involving almost 5,000 participants was reviewed for this meta-analysis.  A statistically significant reduction in the risk of recurrent UTI’s overall was seen with Cranberry product supplementation.  Researchers stated recommendations for the duration of treatment and the dosage of Cranberry supplementation would require further study.

Researchers believe that the beneficial properties of Cranberries may be due to their individual polyphenol, proanthocyanidins (PACs) which support the body in its fight to inhibit bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract.  With the push to reduce the use of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance, researchers and health care practitioners are always looking for alternative therapies to prevent common infections.  It is believed that over 1/3 of women in the U.S. will have a UTI by the time they reach 24.

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Burnt Out? Rhodiola Rosea Supplements May Help

Burn OutData from a new study finds daily supplementation with Rhodiola Rosea Extract can improve the symptoms of burnout.

Over 100 women and men, between the ages of 30 and 60, who were suffering from symptoms of burnout, participated in this study. Participants took 400 mg of Rhodiola Rosea extract daily.  The study lasted 12 weeks.

Improvements in symptoms like “loss of zest for life”, “lack of joy”, “depersonalization”, “emotional exhaustion”, fatigue and “exhaustion” were seen.  Increases in sexual function and sexual interest were also seen.  Burnout has been known to impair sexual function.  Participants had a high rate of compliance during the course of the study and very few adverse events were reported with the supplementation of Rhodiola Rosea.

These results are encouraging and can be used as a basis for additional clinical trials.

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Ginkgo May Enhance Performance, Boost Brain Health for Active Men

Ginkgo Biloba Enhances Performance and CognitionAccording to a small study extracts of Ginkgo Biloba may offer both mind and body advantages for young active men.

18 young active men participated in this study.  Participants were randomly assigned to receive either a standardized extract of Ginkgo Biloba or a placebo.  The study lasted six weeks.  Improvements in VO2max (maximal oxygen uptake) and blood antioxidant capacity were seen in both groups, however the greatest increases were seen in the Ginkgo Biloba group. Participants in the Ginkgo Biloba supplementation group also showed increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) during exercise.  BDNF acts on certain neurons of the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system.  These proteins help to support the survival of existing neurons and encourage growth of new neurons.  BDNF is vital to higher thinking, learning and memory.

Although no statistical significance was noted between the groups (a marginal increase of 6% vs 1% was seen in VO2max) researchers attribute that to the dosage levels used in the study, since previous studies have shown even more benefits with higher doses.  Researchers believe that the polyphenolic compounds found in Ginkgo Biloba enhance antioxidant effects by both indirectly boosting the actions of antioxidant enzymes like glutathione peroxidase, SOD, and catalase and by directly scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS).  A 20% increase in SOD activity was seen in the Ginkgo Biloba group compared to the placebo group.

Larger studies are needed.

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Study Supports Fenugreek Extract’s Menopausal Benefits

menopauseA new study supports the ability of a standardized fenugreek extract (Trigonella foenum-graecum) to reduce hot flashes in postmenopausal women and aid in improving their quality of life.

88 women participated in this randomized, double-blinded placebo-controlled study.  Participants randomly were assigned to receive either a 1,000 mg dose of a fenugreek extract or a placebo daily.  The study lasted 90 days.  When compared to the placebo participants who received the fenugreek extract experienced a 57% reduction in night sweats, a 68% reduction in mood swings and 54% reduction in headaches.  Hot flashes were reduced from an average of 5 -7 times per day at baseline to 1 – 2 times daily at the end of the study period.  Additionally 32% of women in the fenugreek group reported no hot flashes at the end of the trial.

Researchers believe that the fenugreek extract increased estradiol levels in the group supplementing with this herb by 120%.  Estradiol is an estrogen that has been shown to play a key role in menopausal discomforts such as vaginal dryness, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, night sweats, insomnia and headaches.

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