April 10th, 2014

Cucumbers

cucumbersAlthough over 70% of them are made into pickles, cucumbers are nutritious and yummy in their own right. Cucumbers are a tropical plant that originated in Southeast Asia over 10,000 years ago. Early travelers to India introduced the cumber to other parts of Asia, and ancient civilizations in Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Cucumbers as beauty treatment is not a new idea, in fact in ancient times they were often used for their beneficial skin-healing properties. During the 17th century, cucumbers were introduced to the U.S., and also began to be cultivated in greenhouses. It is thought that the pickling of cucumbers began in Spain, and were of high value to Roman emperors.

Nutritional Highlights:

  • Although fresh cucumbers are primarily composed of water, they are still rich in vitamins C and A, and folic acid.
  • Cucumber’s skin is a good source of fiber and minerals such as silica, potassium, magnesium, and molybdenum.
  • A 3½-ounce serving contains only 12 calories.

 

Health Benefits:
Rich in silica, cucumbers contribute to the strength of our connective tissue, such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bone.

  • Cucumbers can be used to treat a variety of skin ailments, including swelling under the eyes and sunburns.
  • Because cucumbers contain ascorbic acid and caffeic acid, cucumbers prevent water retention, helping to combat swelling and burns.

Add cucumbers to any salad or even sandwiches. Dice cucumbers with tomatoes and onions and dress with balsamic vinegar for a low calorie and refreshing dish. Consider making a cold gazpacho soup by puréeing cucumbers with tomatoes, green pepper and onions and seasoning to taste. What is your favorite dish to use cucumbers in?

April 8th, 2014

Fish Oil Supplementation Improves Periodontal Health

Introduction:

Periodontal disease is an inclusive term used to describe an inflammatory condition of the gums (gingivitis) and/or support structures (periodontitis). The periodontal disease path typically progresses from gingivitis to periodontitis.

Periodontal disease may be a manifestation of a more systemic condition, such as diabetes, anemia, vitamin deficiency states, leukemia or other disorders of white blood cell function. In addition, it is associated with hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and an elevation in C-reactive protein (CRP)– which is an important marker for systemic inflammation and an independent risk factor for heart disease.

Long chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA found in fish and fish oil supplements have been shown to be protective against atherosclerosis, as well as being useful in the treatment of a wide range of inflammatory mediators. It seems only natural that a recent double-blind study would show significant benefit with fish oil supplementation in patients with periodontal disease.
Read More

April 7th, 2014

Rejuvenate Your Brain

PQQ a new wonder supplement may be able to help your brain fire on all cylinders no matter your age

A recently discovered, vitamin-like compound known as pyrroloquinoline quinone—orPQQ—shows promise for boosting mental performance and memory.

This naturally occurring compound is an essential cofactor in cellular functions and has been found in all plant foods analyzed to date. Parsley, green peppers, kiwi fruit, papaya, and tofu are especially rich sources, containing 2—3 mcg per 100-gram serving. Green tea provides the same amount per 4-oz serving.

What Does PQQ Do?

Studies show that PQQ is a key regulator of cellular function and is capable of neutralizing free radicals to a much greater degree than many other antioxidants such as vitamin C.

When PQQ is omitted from diets in animal studies, it leads to growth impairment, compromised immunity, and abnormal reproductive function. The daily requirement of PQQ seems to be similar to that for folic acid (400mcg). As with other essential nutrients, the immune system seems particularly sensitive to low levels of PQQ.

PQQ for Energy and Anti-Aging

Another key action of PQQ involves mitochondria—the energy producing compartments in our cells. In addition to PQQ’s powerful antioxidant effect, it also promotes thegeneration of new mitochondria within aging cells, a process known as mitochondrial biogenesis. This effect makes PQQ ripe for further study in the anti-aging field.

PGXTry It!
Kathy Smith, world famous fitness expert says, “PGX Daily is just as important as exercise.” PGX promotes weight loss, lowers cholesterol, and balances blood sugar. PGX can help you be satisfied with smaller portions and experience a lasting sense of fullness. Natural Factors is giving away 300 samples of PGX Daily Ultra Matrix Softgels. Email your name and address to sample@naturalfactors.com.

Brain Benefits with PQQ

Current research has focused primarily on PQQ’s ability to protect memory and cognition in both aging animals and humans. Here are some of the effects noted in the animal studies involving PQQ:

  • Blocks the formation of several compounds that are extremely damaging to brain cells.
  • Protects against the self-oxidation of the DJ-1 gene, an early step in the onset of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Protects brain cells against oxidative damage.
  • Reverses cognitive impairment caused by chronic oxidative stress and improves performance on memory tests in animal models.
  • Protects the brain against neurotoxicity from glutamate, mercury, oxidopamine (a potent neurotoxin used by scientists to induce Parkinson’s in laboratory animals), and other powerful toxins.
  • Prevents development of a protein associated with Parkinson’s disease.
  • Protects nerve cells from the beta-amyloid protein, which has been linked with Alzheimer’s disease.

3 Tips To Improve Your Memory

NO. 1: Take fish oils. High quality fish oil supplements can help improve brain function as well as help ward off Alzheimer’s disease. Take 1,000 mg of EPA+DHA daily.

NO. 2: Eat blueberries. Blueberries and other berries are rich in plant pigments known as anthocyanidins that have been shown to improve mental function in numerous clinical studies.

NO. 3: Control blood sugar. The brain is critically dependent on a constant and steady supply of blood sugar (glucose). When people are on the blood sugar rollercoaster, it’s difficult to stay focused and concentrate. One supplement that can help even out blood sugar is PGX.

April 1st, 2014

Feeling Stressed? Try Ginseng

ginsengNature provides us with several plants that can help our body fight the effects of stress. These beneficial botanicals are often referred to as “adaptogens,” because they help us adapt to, or cope with, stress. For many years, these plants have been used to:

  • Restore vitality in debilitated and feeble individuals.
  • Increase feelings of energy.
  • Improve mental and physical performance.
  • Prevent the negative effects of stress and enhance the body’s response to stress.

Some of the most effective adaptogens are ginseng, rhodiola, lavender, and ashwaganda. This article focuses on ginseng.

Both Siberian and Chinese ginseng have been shown to enhance our ability to cope with various stressors, both physical and mental. Presumably this anti-stress action is mediated by mechanisms that control the adrenal glands. Ginseng delays the onset and reduces the severity of the “alarm phase” of the body’s short- and long-term response to stress (also known as the general adaptation syndrome).

People taking either of the ginsengs typically report an increased sense of well-being. Clinical studies have confirmed that both Siberian and Chinese ginsengs significantly reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. For example, in one double-blind clinical study, nurses who had switched from day to night duty rated themselves for competence, mood, and general well-being, and were given a test for mental and physical performance along with blood cell counts and blood chemistry evaluation. The group that was given Chinese ginseng demonstrated higher scores in competence, mood parameters, and mental and physical performance compared with those receiving placebos. The nurses taking the ginseng felt more alert, yet more tranquil, and were able to perform better than the nurses who were not taking the ginseng.

In addition to these human studies, animal studies have shown the ginsengs to exert significant anti-anxiety effects. In several of these studies, the stress-relieving effects were comparable to those of diazepam (Valium); however, diazepam has side effects that include behavioral changes, sedative effects, and impaired motor activity, while ginseng has none of these negative effects.

On the basis of the clinical and animal studies, ginseng appears to offer significant benefit to people suffering from stress and anxiety. Chinese ginseng is generally regarded as being more potent than Siberian ginseng, and is probably better for the person who has experienced a great deal of stress, is recovering from a long-standing illness, or has taken corticosteroids such as prednisone for a long time. For the person who is under mild to moderate stress and is experiencing less obvious impairment of adrenal function, Siberian ginseng may be the better choice.

Dosages are as follows:

Chinese or Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng):

High-quality crude ginseng root: 1.5-2 g, 1-3 times daily
Fluid extract: 2-4 ml (½-1 tsp), 1-3 times daily
Dried powdered extract standardized to contain 5% ginsenosides: 250-500 mg, 1-3 times daily

 

Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus):

Dried root: 2-4 g, 1-3 times daily
Fluid extract (1:1): 2-4 ml (½-1 tsp), 1-3 times daily
Solid (dry powdered) extract (20:1 or standardized to contain more than 1% eleutheroside E): 100-200 mg, 1-3 times daily

If you suffer from stress-related symptoms, it’s a good idea to try a natural remedy such as ginseng, which is easier on the body than pharmaceutical drugs and doesn’t have the harmful side effects.

April 1st, 2014

Satiety is the Key to Weight Loss; Another Study Confirms PGX® is the Holy Grail

Introduction:

The research is quite clear that safe and effective weight loss is not about will power or deprivation. Ultimately weight loss success is most often attributed to strategies and tools that impact appetite and portion control. In particular, the ability to experience satiety is a key factor for success.

Satiety is defined as the state of being full or gratified to the point of satisfaction. Research has shown that humans eat to achieve satiety and those who are overweight have a disordered appetite regulation typified by an increased frequency of food cravings, and a resistance to satiety after eating adequate amounts of food.

New research on promoting satiety with the revolutionary dietary fiber matrix PGX®, once again, establishes it as an extremely effective weight loss tool. In fact, I believe that PGX® is the Holy Grail of weight loss based upon the impressive results it has shown in detailed clinical and experimental studies, including a new study published in the medical journal Appetite on its ability to promote satiety.

Background Data:

PolyGlycoPlex (PGX®) is the most viscous and soluble fiber known. It is produced in a patented process that allows three natural fibers to coalesce and form a matrix that is has a higher level of viscosity, gel-forming properties, and has more expansion with water, than any other fiber. In essence, it is a “super” fiber as all of the beneficial effects of fiber are magnified and more easily attained with PGX®.

Detailed clinical studies published in major medical journals and presented at the world’s major medical conferences have shown PGX® to exert the following benefits:
• Increases the level of compounds that block the appetite and promote satiety.
• Decreases the level of compounds that stimulate overeating.
• It reduces the glycemic index of any food, beverage, or meal by as much as 70%.
• Increases insulin sensitivity and promotes improved blood sugar control.
• Helps stabilize blood sugar levels to reduce food cravings.

New Data:

In a study conducted in Sydney, Australia by world-renowned leaders in the field of the glycemic index and satiety including Dr. Jennie Brand-Miller, the objective of was to determine the dose–response effects of PGX® on satiety and to gain insight into the underlying mechanisms that lead to appetite inhibition. Healthy subjects consumed PGX® in granular form at dosage of 2.5, 5.0 and 7.5 g, as well as a 5g inulin control, with a standard breakfast.

PGX® mixed with water at the start of breakfast increased satiety compared to the control. The most effective dose (7.5g) was palatable and corresponded to a 34% increase in fullness as measured based upon using a visual analogue scale. Basically, the subjects were asked to rate their hunger on a 7-point scale ranging from very hungry to very full.

In addition to the subjective measurement of hunger, blood sugar levels were also monitored. Incremental total plasma glucose levels (mmol/L) were 151 after the consumption of the inulin control, 113 after 2.5 g PGX®, 88 after 5 g PGX® and 76 after 7.5 g PGX®. The highest dosage PGX® reduced the total plasma glucose level by 50%.

Commentary:

In my opinion, PGX® is the most important natural product in North America today because of its ability to address the core underlying reasons why weight loss and blood sugar control are often so difficult to achieve. Yes, I played a role in the development of PGX®, so some may say that I am severely biased. My response is that I am biased, but it is not because of any financial benefit. My bias is a reflection of the powerful effect that I have seen this safe and effective natural product have on changing people’s lives. I want everyone who has struggled with weight loss to give PGX a try, because my hope is that it will change their life, as it has changed the lives of so many others. It works!!

For more information on PGX and practical guidelines to insure weight loss success, please go to www.PGX.com.

Reference:

Solah VA, Brand-Miller JC, Atkinson FS, et al. Dose-response effect of a novel functional fibre, PolyGlycopleX®, PGX®, on satiety. Appetite. 2014 Mar 12; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2014.02.021 [Epub ahead of print]

March 31st, 2014

Radical Health

The importance of plant-based antioxidants

The terms “antioxidants” and “free radicals” have become pretty common in recent years. Loosely defined, a free radical is a molecule that can bind to and damage a part of the body. Free radical or “oxidative” damage is what makes us age. Free radicals have also been shown to be responsible for the onset of many diseases including the two biggest killers of Americans—heart disease and cancer.

Antioxidants are compounds that help prevent this free radical damage. Antioxidant nutrients, such as beta-carotene, selenium, vitamin E, and vitamin C, have been shown to help protect against conditions that have been linked to free radicals—basically all chronic degenerative diseases.

Different Actions

Based on extensive data, it appears that a combination of antioxidants provides greater protection than large dosages of any single antioxidant. The reason being is that nutrient antioxidants generally have a very narrow range of activity against a single type of free radical. That’s why there are as many different types of antioxidants as there are musical instruments. The body uses these antioxidants in conjunction to create a symphony. And an optimal performance requires plant-based antioxidants, which work in conjunction with nutrient antioxidants to fill out the orchestra.

To insure that you’re getting complete antioxidant protection, start with a diet rich in plant foods and a high-potency multivitamin/multimineral. Then add some form of plant-based antioxidant, among the most useful of which are flavonoid-rich extracts.

Flavonoids are plant pigments that are more potent and effective against a broader range of free radicals than antioxidant nutrients. Besides lending color to fruits and flowers, flavonoids are responsible for many of their medicinal properties. Flavonoids are sometimes called “nature’s biological response modifiers” because of their anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy, antiviral, and anticancer properties.

Targeted Therapy

Because certain flavonoids tend to concentrate in specific tissues or cells, it’s possible to take flavonoids that target specific health conditions. Among these are proanthocyanidins, especially those that are bound to other proanthocyanidins referred to as procyanidolic oligomers (PCOs) or oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs). These molecules are found in high concentrations in grape seed and pine bark. Studies have shown that taking PCOs for six weeks at dosages of 150—300 mg improves the blood’s total antioxidant capacity and oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) score.

I recommend either grape seed extract or pine bark extract for most people under the age of 50. Grape seed and/or pine bark extracts have also shown significant benefits for the following health conditions:

  • Asthma
  • Atherosclerosis, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Male Infertility
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Varicose veins, capillary fragility, and venous insufficiency
  • Visual function, retinopathy, and macular degeneration

For people over age 50, ginkgo biloba is another option. If you have a family history of cancer, however, the best choice is green tea extract. The chart below can help identify which flavonoid-rich extracts might be appropriate for you, as well as how much to take.

Flavonoid-rich extract Daily dose for antioxidant support Indication
Bilberry extract (25% anthocyanidins) 80—160 mg Best choice to protect the eyes.
Hawthorn extract (10% procyanidins) 150—300 mg Best choice for heart disease or high blood pressure.
Ginkgo biloba extract (24% ginkgo flavonglycosides) 120—240 mg Best choice for most people over the age of 50. Protects the brain and vascular lining.
Grape seed extract (95% procyanidolic oligomers) or pine bark extract 50—100 mg Systemic antioxidant; best choice for most people under age 50. Also specific for the lungs, diabetes, varicose veins, and protection against heart disease.
Green tea extract (80-90% total polyphenols) 150—300 mg Systemic antioxidant. May provide the best protection against cancer, and is the best choice if there is a family history of cancer. Also helps protect against cholesterol damage.
Milk thistle extract (70% silymarin) 100—300 mg Best choice for additional antioxidant protection of liver or skin.