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Posts tagged ‘Green tea’

What are the facts about Green Tea?

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Background

  • Green, black, and oolong teas all come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, but are prepared using different methods. To produce green tea, fresh leaves from the plant are lightly steamed.
  • Tea has been used for medicinal purposes in China and Japan for thousands of years.
  • Current uses of green tea as a beverage or dietary supplement include improving mental alertness, relieving digestive symptoms and headaches, and promoting weight loss. Green tea and its extracts, such as one of its components, EGCG, have been studied for their possible protective effects against heart disease and cancer.
  • Green tea is consumed as a beverage. It is also sold in liquid extracts, capsules, and tablets and is sometimes used in topical products (intended to be applied to the skin).

How Much Do We Know?

  • Although many studies have been done on green tea and its extracts, definite conclusions cannot yet be reached on whether green tea is helpful for most of the purposes for which it is used.

What Have We Learned?

  • There’s evidence that green tea enhances mental alertness, as would be expected because of its caffeine content.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a specific green tea extract ointment as a prescription drug for treating genital warts.
  • Studies of green tea and cancer in people have had inconsistent results. The National Cancer Institute does not recommend for or against using green tea to reduce the risk of any type of cancer.
  • Very few long-term studies have investigated the effects of tea on heart disease risk. However, the limited evidence currently available suggests that both green and black tea might have beneficial effects on some heart disease risk factors, including blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Green tea extracts haven’t been shown to produce a meaningful weight loss in overweight or obese adults. They also haven’t been shown to help people maintain a weight loss.
  • The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is funding research on green tea and its extracts, including studies of the effects of high doses of tea components on the liver, whether substances in green tea can be helpful for iron overload disease, and the safety of a component of green tea in people who are HIV-positive.

What Do We Know About Safety?

  • Green tea, when consumed as a beverage, is believed to be safe when used in moderate amounts.
  • Liver problems have been reported in a small number of people who took concentrated green tea extracts. Although the evidence that the green tea products caused the liver problems is not conclusive, experts suggest that concentrated green tea extracts be taken with food and that people discontinue use and consult a health care provider if they have a liver disorder or develop symptoms of liver trouble, such as abdominal pain, dark urine, or jaundice.
  • Except for decaffeinated green tea products, green tea and green tea extracts contain substantial amounts of caffeine. Too much caffeine can make people feel jittery and shaky; interfere with sleep; and cause headaches.
  • Green tea has been shown to reduce blood levels (and therefore the effectiveness) of the drug nadolol, a beta-blocker used for high blood pressure and heart problems. It may also interact with other medicines.

Keep in Mind

  • Tell all your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

Green Tea Extracts Linked to Healthier Bones

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Specific Antioxidants, Carotenoids and Phytonutrients Now Recognized For Helping Support Bone & Joint Health.

A study shows specific natural compounds from Green Tea may lead to stronger bones by promoting bone formation, while also inhibiting bone resorption, which leads to weakening.

The study looked at three tea compounds called epigallocatechin (EGC), gallocatechin (GC), and gallocatechin gallate (GCG), and found that EGC produced the greatest bone boosting potential.

“Our study has provided the first laboratory evidence on the bone promotion effects of the green tea catechin EGC as was demonstrated by the promotion of osteoblastic differentiation and inhibition of osteoclast formation,” wrote researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong report their findings in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Osteoblasts are cells responsible for bone formation, while osteoclasts are cells which break down bone, ultimately leading to resorption and weakening.

The study is consistent with data from epidemiological studies. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Vol 86, pp. 1243-1247) reported that bone mineral density levels were 2.8 per cent greater in tea drinkers than non-tea drinkers, suggesting the beverage has the potential to aid in the prevention of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is currently second only to cardiovascular disease in terms of global healthcare burden, according to the World Health Organization. This condition affects nearly 200 million people today but the number of sufferers is expected to increase steadily with growing numbers of elderly living longer, and obesity adding extra strain on bone health.

Green tea contains between 30 and 40 per cent of water-extractable polyphenols, while black tea (green tea that has been oxidized by fermentation) contains between 3 and 10 per cent.

The four primary polyphenols found in fresh tea leaves are epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, and epicatechin.

EGC was found to stimulate bone mineralization, while simultaneously inhibiting the formation of osteoclasts. The other catechins were found to be less effective;

“The present study illustrated that the tea catechins, specifically EGC, had positive effects on bone metabolism through a double process of promoting osteoblastic activity and inhibiting osteoclast differentiations,” explained the researchers.

“Our observations would serve as groundwork for further studies, ” they concluded. Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

This article is for informational and educational purposes only; It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

Green Tea Extracts Linked to Healthier Bones According To A New Study

Specific Antioxidants, Carotenoids and Phytonutrients Now Recognized For Helping Support Bone & Joint Health.

A new study shows specific natural compounds from Green Tea may lead to stronger bones by promoting bone formation, while also inhibiting bone resorption, which leads to weakening.

The new study looked at three tea compounds called epigallocatechin (EGC), gallocatechin (GC), and gallocatechin gallate (GCG), and found that EGC produced the greatest bone boosting potential.

“Our study has provided the first laboratory evidence on the bone promotion effects of the green tea catechin EGC as was demonstrated by the promotion of osteoblastic differentiation and inhibition of osteoclast formation,” wrote researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong report their findings in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Osteoblasts are cells responsible for bone formation, while osteoclasts are cells which break down bone, ultimately leading to resorption and weakening.

The study is consistent with data from epidemiological studies. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Oct. 2007, Vol 86, pp. 1243-1247) reported that bone mineral density levels were 2.8 per cent greater in tea drinkers than non-tea drinkers, suggesting the beverage has the potential to aid in the prevention of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is currently second only to cardiovascular disease in terms of global healthcare burden, according to the World Health Organization. This condition affects nearly 200 million people today but the number of sufferers is expected to increase steadily with growing numbers of elderly living longer, and obesity adding extra strain on bone health.

Green tea contains between 30 and 40 per cent of water-extractable polyphenols, while black tea (green tea that has been oxidized by fermentation) contains between 3 and 10 per cent.

The four primary polyphenols found in fresh tea leaves are epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, and epicatechin.

EGC was found to stimulate bone mineralization, while simultaneously inhibiting the formation of osteoclasts. The other catechins were found to be less effective;

“The present study illustrated that the tea catechins, specifically EGC, had positive effects on bone metabolism through a double process of promoting osteoblastic activity and inhibiting osteoclast differentiations,” explained the researchers.

“Our observations would serve as groundwork for further studies, ” they concluded. Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

This article is for informational and educational purposes only; It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

A Simple, Safe & Effective Fat-Burnin​g Program!

You  Can Achieve A Leaner, Healthier Body This Summer  

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in products such as soy milk and low-fat yogurt, has been shown to reduce breast cancer incidence in rats. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s Easier Than You Think!

Follow These Basic Nutritional Guidelines To Support Efficient,

Safe and Effective Fat Metabolism

 

 1. Eat Fatty Fish As Often As Possible… 

Omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil are known to promote fat loss. Examples of oily fish rich in Omega 3 fatty acids include: salmon, halibut, trout, mackerel, as well as sardines, herring and anchovies. Fish-oil supplements containing Omega-3 fatty acids are also highly beneficial. For the impressive fat-burning results, take 1000 mg to 2000 mg of Omega-3 fish oil supplements at each meal… breakfast, lunch and dinner.

2. Eat Whole Grains For  Your Carb Intake… 

When you want to consume carbohydrates, be sure to choose slow-digesting whole grains including: brown rice, oatmeal, and whole-wheat bread to keep insulin levels low and at steady levels;  The objective is to prevent insulin spikes from stopping fat burning (metabolism) and preventing increased fat storage.

A study conducted by researcher scientists at Pennsylvania State University found that men or women following a low-calorie diet with carbohydrates coming only from whole grains lost significantly more abdominal fat than those following a low-calorie diet with carbohydrates from typical refined sources.

3. Eat Beneficial Fruits,   Especially Grapefruit… 

A study from the Scripps Clinic (San Diego) reported that men who ate fresh grapefruit or drank at least 8 ounces of grapefruit juice three times a day lost an average of 4 pounds in only three months, even without changing their diet.

Grapefruit’s ability to lower insulin levels, thus limiting fat storage is highly beneficial in the battle of the bulge. Experts suggest regularly including fresh grapefruit or pure-squeezed grapefruit juice to your dietary regimen.

4. Eggs Are Highly Beneficial Too…

Eggs are packed with high-quality protein and have been shown to promote muscle strength and mass. Research shows that people consuming eggs for breakfast  actually eat fewer calories throughout the day, while also losing significantly more body fat.

Eat eggs for breakfast daily, either scrambling three whole eggs or three or more egg whites, using olive oil instead of butter.

5. Eat Specific Fats…

Certain fats (especially Omega-3s, Omega 6’s) do not lead to fat gain and can  actually help promote efficient fat loss.

Keep fat intake at 30% of total daily calories by choosing healthy fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, cod or trout, as well as other healthy fat sources such as olive oil, peanut butter, almonds and walnuts.

Although it appears contradictory, eating specific fat to lose fat is one of the keys to long-term success. You can actually improve fat loss when compared with people following a low-fat diet.

 

6. Dairy and Milk Are Beneficial

In The Right Amounts Too…  Dairy products are rich sources of calcium, which can help stimulate fat loss, especially around the crucial abdominal areas.

This natural fat-reducing effect is believed to be due to the fact that calcium regulates the hormone calcitriol. Since calcitrol causes the body to produce fat and inhibit fat burning, it’s essential to minimize its actions.   When calcium levels are adequate, calcitriol and fat production are suppressed while fat metabolism is enhanced. Including low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat milk and plain yogurt to your diet are deliciously satisfying ways to increase healthy protein intake and assist fat loss.

7. High Protein Intake Also Improves Fat Loss…

A high-protein diet not only promotes muscle growth (hypertrophy) but also enhances your desired fat loss. Research scientists at Skidmore College found that men who regularly followed a sensible high-protein diet of legumes, fish and poultry (40% of total daily calories from protein) for eight weeks lost more body fat than those following a low-fat, high-carb diet.

One reason nutrition researchers believe consuming more protein works so well is because it boosts the body’s own peptide YY levels, a naturally-occurring hormone that has the ability to decrease hunger pangs.

8. Increase Whey Protein For Achieving Lean Muscle…

Consuming whey protein as a between meal snack is a great way to enhance lean muscle growth and also boost fat loss. U.K. researchers found that when subjects consumed whey protein (as a supplement or shake) 90 minutes before eating a buffet-style meal, they ate significantly less food than when they consumed a casein protein shake before approaching the buffet.

Researchers reported that this beneficial effect was due to whey protein’s unique ability to boost levels of the hunger diminishing hormones known as cholecystokinin and glucagonlike peptide-1.

9.  Soy Protein Is Also Beneficial To Fighting Fat…

Soy protein is a proven fat burner.  In fact, a University of Alabama study found that men drinking 20 grams of soy protein daily for three months lost a significant amount of abdominal fat.

The beneficial effect of soy is believed to be due to it’s ability to decrease hunger levels and help keep those “tempting” hunger pangs in check..

10. Choose Organic Foods     Whenever You Can…

Many nutritional healthcare and dietary experts believe organic vegetables, fruit, beef, poultry and dairy are worth the extra cost.  U.K. research shows that organic milk contains nearly 70% more omega-3 fatty acids than regular milk;  A study published in the Journal of Dairy Science found that grass-fed cows produced milk containing 500% more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than cows who ate grain.

It’s well-established that omega-3s and CLA can both assist fat loss as well as helping to gain muscle. It makes good health sense to choose organic cheese, cottage cheese, milk, and yogurt as well as organic poultry and grass-fed beef whenever possible.

11. Include An Apple (or more) Every Day… Apples are a satisfying, slow-digesting carbohydrate source with naturally-occurring, protective antioxidants.  Apple-derived compounds (known as apple polyphenols)  have been found to promote muscle strength, endurance and critical fat loss around the abs.

Apple polyphenols improve the body’s own ability to burn fat while limiting fat production and storage. The boost in endurance and strength is very beneficial as well, enabling longer and more effective physical training with improved performance.

An apple typically provides about 200 mg of apple polyphenols along with about 30 grams of energy-boosting carbohydrates.

12. Certain Nuts Are Beneficial Too…

A study from Loma Linda University, California reported that people following a low-calorie, higher-fat diet (40% of total calories from fat) with the majority of fat coming from almonds, lost significantly more body fat and abdominal fat in a 24 week period than those consuming the same amount of calories, but with more carbohydrates and less fat.

Go Nuts!  Be sure to include healthy nuts  as almonds, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and walnuts in your regular diet.

13. Green Tea Is Especially Valuable…

Epigal-locatechin gallate (EGCG) a natural ingredient in green tea inhibits the enzyme that normally breaks down the neuro-hormone known as norepinephrine.  Norepinephrine  helps keep the metabolic rate elevated; That’s why preventing its breakdown helps  burn more calories throughout the day.

Drinking green tea is a healthy way to keep properly hydrated during workouts. According to a new study in the Journal of Nutrition, people drinking green tea while exercising lost significantly more abdominal fat than those drinking other beverages.

14. Boost Green Tea’s EGCG Levels with Green Tea Extract Supplements…    

The majority of studies demonstrating the effectiveness of green tea for fat loss have used green tea extract. One study confirmed that the EGCG from the extract was absorbed better than the EGCG from the tea.

Consider taking green tea extract supplements in the morning and afternoon before meals.

15. Get Energized With Caffeine And Green Tea Beverages…

Some energy-type drinks have been shown to boost fat loss. Recently, University of Oklahoma researchers reported that when 60 male and female subjects consumed a diet energy drink containing 200mg of caffeine and 250mg of EGCG from green tea extract for 28 days, they lost more than a pound of body fat, even without changing their diets or exercise habits.

Combined with proper daily exercise and these fat-metabolizing dietary recommendations, the results will be even better!

16. Black Tea Is Beneficial Too…

Green, oolong, and black teas all come from the same plant, but different processing causes black and oolong teas to lose their green color and turn either brown or black.

Oolong tea has been shown to enhance metabolic rate due to its high level of polyphenols as well as EGCG. Black tea is also a beneficial aid to fat loss; Researchers from University College London found that drinking black tea regularly can reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that encourages fat storage particularly around the midsection.

17. You Can Also Boost Metabolic Rate

By Drinking Cold Water…  Researchers in Germany have shown that drinking about 2 glasses of cold water can temporarily boost metabolic rate by about 30%.

This beneficial effect appears to be primarily due to an increase in norepinephrine in the body, stimulated by regular intake of cold water.  Healthcare experts often advise people to drink a large glass of cold water upon waking in the morning, because it gets your metabolism shifting out of the restful “slumber” state it’s been locked into overnight.

18. Stay Away From Artificial Sweeteners…

Although artificially sweetened drinks are calorie free, drinking too many can actually hinder fat loss. Popular beverages such as diet soda contain chemicals and artificial sweeteners which interfere with the brain’s ability to regulate calorie intake. The result causes a person to feel hungrier than normal, and ultimately eating more total calories.

Continued research suggests that the sweet taste of these drinks can increase the release of insulin, which can hinder fat burning and increase fat storage. Do your body and mind a big favor… Drink unsweetened beverages.

19. Add Some Avocados To Your Regular Diet Too…

Avocados are naturally-rich with healthier monounsaturated fat, which isn’t usually stored as body fat. They also contain a key compound called mannoheptulose, a sugar that curbs insulin release and enhances calcium absorption. Keeping insulin low and getting plenty of calcium is critical for encouraging fat loss.

By simply adding a quarter or a half of an avocado to salads and sandwiches, the body’s fat metabolism efficiency is greatly improved.

20. Crank Up Calorie Burning   With Healthy Chili Peppers…  

Hot peppers contain the active ingredient capsaicin;  This naturally-occurring chemical from peppers has been shown to promote calorie burning at rest, as well as helping to reduce hunger and food intake.

Its effects are even more effective when combined with caffeine. Research shows that the capsicasin and caffeine can significantly boost fat burning during exercise.

Try adding crushed red pepper, tasty chili peppers or hot pepper sauce to meals to burn off extra calories and fat.

Botanically, most cultivated peppers today are Capsicum annuum (most common), also “C. frutescens” (tabasco), “C. chinense” (habanero) or a combination of different species.

If you have difficulty eating the heat-generating peppers, consider taking a Cayenne supplement that contains capsaicin instead.

Start This Fat-Burning Dietary Regimen Today and You’ll Be Pleased With The Results In Just A Few Months!  

 

This article is for informational and educational purposes only;  It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

 

 

Nutritiona​l Supplement​s Recommende​d For Type 2 Diabetes

Pills vitamin supplements

Pills vitamin supplements (Photo credit: hitthatswitch)

In addition to proper dietary intake, medication prescribed by your doctor, adequate physical activity, certain dietary supplements are beneficial and can help control symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

 

Some people with diabetes regularly take dietary supplements in efforts to improve their blood glucose control, manage the symptoms and reduce the risk of developing serious complications such as heart ailments.

According to the latest research and the nutritional ingredients that have been tested in clinical trials, nutritional healthcare experts are recommending to consider the following supplements for helping manage glucose control…

1)  Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) also known as lipoic acid or thioctic acid, is an antioxidant. It’s a natural nutrititional substance that protects against cell damage. ALA is found in certain foods, such as liver, spinach, broccoli and potatoes.

 

Some people with type 2 diabetes supplement Alpha Lipoic Acid with the objective of improving the body’s ability to use insulin, thus lowering blood glucose levels.

 

ALA is also used as a supplement to prevent or treat diabetic neuropathy (severe nerve disorder; symptoms include: pain, numbness and circulatory problems in the lower limbs).

 

ALA has been researched for its effect on insulin sensitivity, glucose metabolism and  diabetic neuropathy. Some studies have found benefits, but followup research is needed.

Nutritional healthcare experts often recommend taking ALA with L-Carnitine, an amino acid that may also help diabetics better control glucose.

Studies have found that the two substances could have added health benefits when taken together.

 

It is important to note… Alpha Lipoic Acid can potentially lower blood sugar too much, so it is essential for people with diabetes to regularly monitor their blood sugar levels very carefully.

2) Chromium is an essential trace mineral. The body requires small amounts (measured in mcg –  micrograms, not milligrams) of it to perform its key functions properly. Some people with diabetes take Chromium in an effort to improve their blood glucose  control.

Chromium is found in many foods, but usually only in small amounts; Good sources include beef, whole grain products, as well as some fruits, vegetables and spices.

 

As a dietary supplement, it’s available in several forms such as chromium picolinate, chromium chloride and chromium nicotinate.

 

Chromium supplementation has been researched for its effect on glucose control in people with diabetes. Study results have been positive, but.additional research is needed.

 

At the typical low doses (usually ranging from 50mcg to 400 micrograms per day),  Chromium appears to be safe for most adults. But people with diabetes should be aware that this trace mineral might cause blood sugar levels to go too low.

 

High doses can cause serious side effects, including kidney problems, an issue of  particular concern to people with diabetes.

3) Omega-3 Fatty Acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that come from foods such as fish, fish oil, vegetable oil (canola and soybean oil), walnuts and wheat germ.

Omega-3 supplements are available in capsules, primarily as concentrated fish oil. Omega-3s are important in a wide range of bodily functions, including the efficient transport of calcium and other essential nutrients in and out of cells; as well as the relaxation and contraction of muscles, normal blood clotting, digestion, fertility, and cell division and growth.

 

In addition, omega-3s are well-researched for their benefits and ability to help protect against heart disease, reduce inflammation and lowering triglyceride levels.

 

Omega-3 fatty acids have also been researched for their effect on controlling glucose and  reducing heart disease risk, especially in people with type 2 diabetes.

 

Studies show that Omega-3 fatty acids lower triglycerides, but they don’t affect blood glucose control, total cholesterol or HDL (good) cholesterol in people with diabetes.

Additional research, particularly long-term studies that look specifically at heart disease in  people with diabetes, is needed.

 

Omega-3s appear to be safe for most adults at low-to-moderate doses (usually about 1-3 total grams per day).  However, it’s important to be aware that in high doses, fish oil can interact with certain medications, including blood thinners and the prescription drugs used for controlling high blood pressure.

 

4) Specific Antioxidants such as Polyphenols found in tea, dark chocolate and dark-colored fruits and other whole food sources are also being studied for possible effects on vascular health (including blood pressure) and on the body’s ability to properly use insulin.

 

5) Laboratory studies suggest that EGCG, the key polyphenol found in Green Tea, may protect against cardiovascular disease and have beneficial effects on insulin activity and glucose control.

 

No adverse effects of EGCG or green tea were found in these studies and green tea is safe for most adults when used in moderate amounts.

 

However, Green Tea contains caffeine, which can cause insomnia, anxiety or irritability, among other effects in some people. Green teaalso contains small  amounts of vitamin K, which can cause the prescription anti-coagulant drugs (such as Warfarin) to be less effective.

 

6) Other food-derived nutritional supplements such as high-concentrate Garlic have been explored for lowering blood glucose levels, but findings have not been consistent.

 

7) Other studies, including the effects of dietary Magnesium supplementation on blood glucose control have had mixed results, although researchers have found that eating a diet high in Magnesium may lower the risk of diabetes.

 

8) The effectiveness of  Coenzyme Q10 supplementation as an alternative or adjunct therapy for diabetes is also being studied; Although its ability to regulate glucose control have had conflicting findings, Coenzyme Q10 is generally regarded as a “heart-healthy” dietary supplement.

9) Cinnamon is now making headlines because this common spice is regarded as a potential natural treatment in disorders of glucose control and heart disease.    Cinnamon bark is beneficial for glucose control, enabling insulin to work more efficiently. It’s been clinically shown to help decrease the symptoms that commonly accompany elevated blood sugar and its harmful effects.

10) Researchers are also studying whether the herbal root Ginseng and the trace mineral Vanadium might also be valuable in helping control glucose levels.

Some people with type 2 diabetes are also trying herbal and  botanical supplements such as prickly pear cactus,  Gymnema sylvestre (gurmar), Coccinia indica, aloe verafenugreek and bitter melon to help control their glucose levels.

If you have diabetes and are thinking about using dietary supplements, it’s a good idea to discuss a regimen with your health care providers as well as any other complementary and alternative practices you use.

When consulting with your doctor or other healthcare practitioner, be sure to give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. Effective communication will help ensure a beneficial healthcare program that is both safe and properly coordinated.

 

For example…

Prescription medicines for diabetes and other health conditions may need to be adjusted if a patient is also using dietary supplements.

 

Women who are pregnant or nursing, or people who are thinking of including supplements to enhance a child’s dietary intake, should consult their doctor or health care professional.

 

Don’t replace scientifically proven diabetes treatments with alternative treatments that are unproven.The consequences of not following your prescribed medical regimen for diabetes can be very serious.

 

In the United States alone, 23.6 million people have diabetes. And 5.6 million of them don’t even know it. Unfortunately, misinformation about diabetes is rampant. Not understanding or mixing up the facts about this disease can have serious consequences:

  a) Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke.

    b) Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations  and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States.

    c) Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.

A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that at the  rate the disease is progressing, as many as 1 in 3 U.S. adults will have diabetes by 2050.

 

Source: National Institutes of Health

Adapted from “Diabetes and CAM: A Focus on Dietary Supplements” by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health. (Published January  28, 2012)

 

For your reference and for further information, here are additional resources:

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: provides helpful information on supplements and other alternative treatments, including publications and searches of federal databases of scientific and medical literature.

 

The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse responds to inquiries, offers informative diabetes publications and helps arrange referrals for patients.

Online, visit:  www.diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/a-z.asp

The National Diabetes Education Program is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with many federal, state and local partners. Its services include providing up-to-date information and publications on diabetes.

 

This  article is for informational and educational purposes only;  It is not  intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your  doctor or healthcare professional.

Nutrients for Women’s Wellness, Part 1

Vitex agnus-castus: Habitus

Image via Wikipedia

There are many areas of health that are important to women, including hormonal balance, skin health, breast health, libido and more. This newsletter is Part 1 of a two-part series covering specific nutrients that may be helpful for these critical areas of women’s wellness.

Antioxidants for Anti-Aging

While most women have heard of antioxidants, many are still unaware of how they work or how to take them. Basically, antioxidants work against the unwanted oxidation of body tissues. While oxygen can be the body’s best friend, it can occur in a reactive form that damages tissues through the process of oxidation. Reactive forms of oxygen are called free radicals.

I believe that antioxidant usage is a key anti-aging tactic. Oxidative damage to tissues has been associated with almost every known chronic disease. Moreover, oxidative damage to genetic material and other cell structures is believed to be a principal cause of abnormal tissue changes that may lead to poor health and premature aging.

There are two specific antioxidants that may be especially beneficial for women. The first is green tea, which is brimming with antioxidant polyphenols, and offers versatile, well-documented health benefits. Second, I am impressed with scientific data showing the powerful effects of ellagic acid, found in raspberries and pomegranates.

Many skin care products today contain antioxidants intended to produce anti-aging effects on the skin, yet the topical application of antioxidants may be only marginally effective at improving skin health and appearance. Instead, I recommend women take antioxidants orally.

L-Theanine: Relaxation from Green Tea

While many of green tea’s benefits have been attributed to its antioxidant polyphenol and related catechin (e.g., epigallocatechingallate, EGCG) content, the use of green tea and other herbal teas, such as German chamomile, can also cause feelings of relaxation.

The compound in green tea believed to be responsible for its soothing properties is the amino acid L-theanine. This amino acid has shown an ability to cause muscle relaxation and contribute to restful sleep, without a direct sedative or hypnotic effect. It’s believed that L-theanine may support the balance of various brain chemicals that serve as messenger molecules (neurotransmitters). Following the oral ingestion of L-theanine, brain activity shows measurable changes toward relaxation.

The frequent presence of anxiety or stress in PMS and perimenopause makes L-theanine an ideal addition to supplement formulas for women. In addition, L-theanine may help support healthy blood pressure.

Chasteberry (Vitex agnus castus) for PMS, Menopause & Libido

Vitex agnus castus (Chasteberry) is an herb that has been grossly underestimated as valuable for women’s health. Laboratory studies show that extracts of chasteberry can both bind to estrogen receptors in the body and may stimulate progesterone receptors. In other words, chasteberry is a hormonal biological response modifier with several potential actions (Table 1).

Multiple hormonal actions

May raise progesterone levels in blood

May increase levels of luteinizing hormone

May help correct consequences of progesterone deficiency

Inhibits the stress hormone prolactin

Has an antiandrogenic hormone effect 

Approved by German E commission for management of menstrual irregularities and mastodynia (breast pain)

Table 1. Vitex (chasteberry): Characteristics and actions of an underestimated herb for menopause and PMS.

It has been argued that the major benefit of chasteberry is related to its ability to enhance the actions of progesterone. When taken in low doses, Chasteberry may decrease follicle-stimulating hormone and increase lutenizing hormone levels in the blood. These changes in the blood levels of pituitary hormones can result in increases in blood levels of progesterone. This helps to explain why chasteberry may reduce hot flashes, help with vaginal dryness and contribute to better mood.

Chasteberry has also been used to promote libido in women, and it seems to have a clear effect on inhibiting the actions of the stress hormone, prolactin. Prolactin is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. These actions on prolactin make the use of chasteberry unwise in pregnancy and for people taking medications that promote dopamine responses (e.g. L-Dopa).

It could be noted that chasteberry is an herb that acts quite slowly in the body, and it may take as long as three months of continuous use before it exerts its beneficial effects for menopause and PMS.

Evening Primrose Oil for Breast Health, PMS & Menopause

It’s believed that evening primrose oil is beneficial for breast health, PMS, breast pain (mastalgia) and menopausal discomforts. Its beneficial effects may be due to its gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) content. This fatty acid is a precursor of a group of molecules called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are considered, in simple terms, to be friendly types of hormones or messengers that support the body’s inflammatory response. GLA is known to be a precursor of prostaglandin E1.

Some studies have indicated that women with PMS may be unable to readily convert precursor molecules into GLA. It’s proposed that a deficiency of GLA may aggravate PMS.

Some of the desirable effects of GLA can also be achieved by omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA (docosahexanoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentanoic acid). Omega-3 fatty acids offer benefits for breast health, cardiovascular health, brain function and immunity. Every woman should consider taking a fish oil or other omega-3 supplement containing DHA and EPA, in enteric coated or targeted delivery forms, for health.

Be Healthy!
Stephen Holt, MD

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