Archive for July, 2012

July 26, 2012

Berry Slimming

Raspberry ketones bring fat-fighting power to healthy weight management.

Reblogged from Energy Times July/August 2012

by Lisa James

Once regarded by most people as simply a refreshing summer treat, the raspberry has achieved superfruit status over the past several years for its ability to promote optimal well-being. A rich source of fiber, manganese, vitamin C and other nutrients, raspberries contain antioxidant
substances that have been linked to prevention of cancer and an eye condition called macular degeneration, as well as other health benefits.

Scientists have also isolated a family of compounds called berry ketones from the raspberry, substances used in foods, cosmetics and perfumes for their delicately fruit-like aroma. In addition, research indicates that ketones can promote weight control by helping the body burn off excess
fat deposits.

Where Fat Goes

Fat under the skin helps insulate the body against temperature extremes, while that within the abdominal cavity protects vital organs against trauma. But the main function of fat is to serve as an energy reservoir against times when calories are scarce—a situation much more common over previous centuries than it has been for the past hundred years. Besides its lack of visual appeal, too much abdominal fat correlates with increases in such health risks as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and chronic inflammation.

Fat deposits mostly consist of adipocytes, specialized cells that can expand and contract depending on the amount of fat within them. This happens when an enzyme called lipase frees fatty acids from lipoproteins; these acids are then assembled into triglycerides within the fat cells. The process is regulated by the interplay among a number of hormones, such as insulin and leptin.

Breaking It Down

One of the substances that help control the fat buildup-and-breakdown process is the hormone adiponectin, which is secreted from the fat deposits themselves. Higher adiponectin levels in the bloodstream have been linked to lower amounts of body fat, as well as reduced risk of diabetes, obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and other metabolic disorders.

Korean researchers working with mice have found that berry ketones boost adiponectin production and effectiveness, leading to an increase in fat breakdown, a process known as lipolysis. As a result, adipocytes in the mice accumulated less fat (Planta Medica 10/10).

The Korean study supports an earlier study done in Japan. This research team fed different groups of mice a high-fat diet; some of the groups were also given various levels of berry ketones. Those mice that didn’t receive the compound not only gained abdominal fat but showed greater fat deposits in their livers, a sign of metabolic dysfunction. In contrast, the berry ketone groups didn’t develop body fat and their livers remained healthy (Life Sciences 5/05).

Raspberry ketones do their best work when combined with other natural weight control aids. Some, such as CLA and Coleus forskohlii, also promote fat breakdown. Others, such as sea vegetables and white bean extract, block carb absorption, which helps keep blood sugar on an even keel.

Some aids, such as green tea, guarana and the theobromine found in cacao, increase energy and boost metabolism. And one, Synaptose, helps regulate the brain to cut cravings and allows people to establish a healthier relationship with food.

We already knew that raspberries were good for you. Now it seems they may help you manage your weight naturally as well.

Raspberry Ketones, CLA, and Coleus Forskohlii are available at Baum’s Natural Foods and in stock now!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

July 19, 2012

Health Benefits of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

Many people are taking CLA as an expensive supplement for the benefits described below. But wouldn’t it make much more sense to get it for free in your food? There is a new reason why it may be beneficial to allow cows to graze on pasture. That reason involves a compound called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

CLA is a fatty acid found in beef and dairy fats. Scientific interest in CLA was stimulated in 1988 when a University of Wisconsin researcher discovered its cancer-fighting properties in a study of rats fed fried hamburger. CLA cannot be produced by the human body, but it can be obtained through foods such as whole milk, butter, beef, and lamb.

“The interesting thing is that dairy cattle that graze produce higher amounts of CLA in their milk than those which receive conserved feed, such as grain, hay, and silage,” says Agricultural Research dairy scientist Larry Satter. This is true even when the nongrazers eat pasture grass conserved as hay. Satter, who is based at the Dairy Forage Research Center in Madison, Wisconsin, conducted a study comparing the amount of CLA in milk from cows grazing on pasture to the amount from cows fed hay or silage. His findings: Pasture-grazed cows had 500% more CLA in their milk than those fed silage. Larry Satter is at the USDA-ARS U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, 1950 Linden Lane, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706

CLA may be one of the most potent cancer-fighting substances in our diet. In animal studies, as little as one half of one percent CLA in the diet has reduced tumor burden by more than 50 percent.

CLA has also been shown to reduce body fat in people who are overweight

by Mary Shomon
A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, published in the December 2000 issue of the Journal of Nutrition found that CLA reduces fat and preserves muscle tissue. According to the research project manager, an average reduction of six pounds of body fat was found in the group that took CLA, compared to a placebo group. The study found that approximately 3.4 grams of CLA per day is the level needed to obtain the beneficial effects of CLA on body fat.

Dr. Michael Pariza, who conducted research on CLA with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, reported in August 2000 to the American Chemical Society that “It doesn’t make a big fat cell get little. What it rather does is keep a little fat cell from getting big.”

Pariza’s research did not find weight loss in his group of 71 overweight people, but what he did find was that when the dieters stopped dieting, and gained back weight, those taking CLA “were more likely to gain muscle and not fat.”

In a separate study conducted at Purdue University in Indiana, CLA was found to improve insulin levels in about two-thirds of diabetic patients, and moderately reduced the blood glucose level and triglyceride levels.

CLA has been the subject of a variety of research in the past several years, and findings also suggest that some of the other benefits of CLA include the following:

Increases metabolic rate — This would obviously be a positive benefit for thyroid patients, as hypothyroidism — even when treated — can reduce the metabolic rate in some people.
Decreases abdominal fat — Adrenal imbalances and hormonal shifts that are common in thyroid patients frequently cause rapid accumulation of abdominal fat, so this benefit could be quite helpful.
Enhances muscle growth — Muscle burns fat, which also contributes to increased metabolism, which is useful in weight loss and management.
Lowers cholesterol and triglycerides — Since many thyroid patients have elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, even with treatment, this benefit can have an impact on a thyroid patient’s health.
Lowers insulin resistance — Insulin resistance is a risk for some hypothyroid patients, and lowering it can also help prevent adult-onset diabetes and make it easier to control weight.
Reduces food-induced allergic reactions — Since food allergies can be at play when weight loss becomes difficult, this can be of help to thyroid patients.
Enhances immune system — Since most cases of thyroid disease are autoimmune in nature, enhancing the immune system’s ability to function properly is a positive benefit.

If you’re interested in taking CLA to help with weight loss, keep in mind that it’s not a magic, and you will need to start a program of diet and exercise in order to successfully lose weight and keep it off.

One to try! Iron Tek CLA 1,000 mg softgels. 3 a day help melt fat away! Baum’s Natural Foods has it on sale for $5 off this month only!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

July 16, 2012

CoQ10: Everything You Need to Know

Reblogged from Live in the Now

Topics Covered in this Special Report:

  • CoQ10 Background and Overview
  • How CoQ10 Helps Your Heart
  • Why Statin Drugs Deplete CoQ10
  • How CoQ10 Energizes Your Brain
  • CoQ10’s Potential Against Alzheimer’s
  • How CoQ10 Reduces Migraine Symptoms
  • CoQ10′s Potential as a Cancer Fighter?
  • Side Effects and Precautions
  • Conclusions and Dosages

CoEnzyme Q10 Supports Your Body’s Energy Supply

Every day, researchers learn more about how the cells in our bodies produce the energy that keeps us alive.  As part of this research, they are discovering conditions that interfere with cellular energy production, and the illnesses that can result.  They are also putting new focus on natural substances that can help restore normal energy production and prevent the oxidative damage that comes from incomplete energy metabolism. One of the natural substances researchers are studying is Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).

CoQ10 is a potent antioxidant and energy booster, first identified in 1957 and widely used in Japan for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is a powerful, fat-soluble vitamin-like substance synthesized in the membranes of cells. It is found mostly in mitochondria, the cell’s “power plant.” CoQ10 is an essential part of the energy-producing process known as the electron transport chain. It acts as kind of a spark plug, assisting in the generation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) the body’s basic energy currency. Without adequate CoQ10, cells cannot make the energy they need to sustain life. Eventually, your whole body suffers the malaise of low-energy production.

Because it is in every cell, supplemental CoQ10 has a wide potential of uses–from helping a failing heart work better to slowing the decline of Parkinson’s disease. Research indicates it can reduce the severity of migraine headaches, improve blood sugar control in diabetics, even help stop the spread of cancer and improve immune function in AIDS.

After the age of 30, natural levels of CoQ10 begin to diminish. By the age of 80, your CoQ10 levels may be lower than they were at birth. Further loss may come from stress, illness and some medications such as cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, oral hypoglycemic drugs such as glyburide, phenformin and tolazamide, and beta-blockers.

Main-line medical practitioners may say it is premature to recommend CoQ10 to their patients. (One has even advised against it saying if too many people are taking it, he won’t be able to find people to enroll as a control group in his next study on Parkinson’s disease!) Many alternative practitioners, however, believe that, given CoQ10’s potential for protection and its good safety record, most older people would be wise to take CoQ10 supplements. Here’s what you need to know.

CoQ10 Helps Your Heart

CoQ10 is most highly concentrated in heart muscles because of high energy needs there. Most heart patients are deficient in CoQ10 and supplementing with CoQ10 has dramatically revitalized heart function and relieved heart disease symptoms in some studies. Research suggests CoQ10 may be beneficial for almost any condition related to the heart, including angina, arrhythmia, congestive heart failure, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and cardiotoxicity associated with some cancer chemotherapy drugs.

CoQ10 works two ways in the heart. It protects cells from oxidative damage that can occur when blood supply is cut off, and then restarted, as might happen with injury such as a stroke or heart attack, or with surgery.  It also can correct or preserve a cell’s ability to generate energy.

In one study, patients undergoing elective cardiac surgery were given either CoQ10 (300 mg/day) or blank look-alike pills for 2 weeks prior to surgery. Those receiving CoQ10 recovered more quickly from the stress of surgery. Their hearts regained pumping strength faster than those not getting the supplement.

In another study, people who required CPR because their hearts had stopped were more likely to be alive 3 months later if they received CoQ10 (by injection, 250 mg initially and then, 150 mg three times a day for 5 days) along with hypothermia treatment than if they received hypothermia treatment alone. (Damian, MS, et al. Coenzyme Q10 combined with mild hypothermia after cardiac arrest. Circulation 2004; 110:3011-3016.)

CoQ10 can be extremely helpful in the case of congestive heart failure, research shows.  In one study, people with congestive heart failure who took CoQ10 (100 mg three times a day) had significant improvement in shortness of breath, and were less likely to have fluid retention,  enlarged liver, insomnia or fatigue. The most significant improvement was in exercise tolerance. During a 6-minute walk test, people treated with CoQ10 improved their walking performance by over 40%, while walking performance decreased by about 40% in a placebo group. The CoQ10 group walked an average of 1,253 feet, while the placebo group averaged only 580 feet. (Mortensen, SA Symptomatic effects of Coenzyme Q10 in heart failure: Q-SYMBIO study status. Presented at the 4th conference of the International CoQ10 Association; 2005. pp. 57-58. http://www.coenzymeq10.org)

CoQ10 works best when it is used along with other heart drugs. If your doctor contends it is premature to recommend its use, ask him or her to read up on some of the new research proving its usefulness. CoQ10 has been government-approved in Japan as a heart treatment since 1974, where research shows that 70% of heart patients improve after taking CoQ10. The supplement is also used extensively in Italy and other parts of Europe.

Statin Drugs Deplete CoQ10

Given CoQ10’s essential role in heart health, it’s alarming to realize that the most widely-prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs, statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) can create a deficiency of CoQ10. It’s a well-known fact that these drugs hinder your body’s ability to make its own CoQ10. One study, at New York City’s Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, found that blood levels of coenzyme Q10 plunged more than 50% in patients who took 80 milligrams of Lipitor daily for a month. Researchers warned that such a marked drop in blood CoQ10 caused by “even a brief exposure to Lipitor… could explain the most commonly reported adverse effects of statins, especially exercise intolerance, myalgia (muscle pain) and myoglobinuria (changes leading to muscle damage).” (Rundek T, Arch Neurol 2004 Jun; 61(6): 889-92)

In another study, 18 of 21 patients with muscle pain and weakness who were taking statin therapy had a significant decrease in pain after 30 days of supplementation with 100 mg a day of CoQ10 compared to people taking vitamin E. (Kelley, P. J Am Coll Cardiol 2005: 45:3A)

CoQ10 Helps Your Brain

CoQ10 can energize brain cells, research shows. The brain is especially compromised by a deficit of CoQ10. Reduced levels of CoQ10 (and ATP) can cause aging brains to become more sluggish. Memory and abilities decline and the brain may become more vulnerable to age-related neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease. Feeding old animals CoQ10 restores brain cell levels to those of much younger animals, rejuvenating brain functions and even reversing brain degeneration, studies show.

Take Parkinson’s disease. It’s a progressive neurological condition characterized by tremors, muscle rigidity and slowdown in motor ability.  Although several drugs are used to treat and control its symptoms, none has been shown to slow the progression of the underlying disease. It appears that CoQ10 can do just that. Previous studies have found low levels of CoQ10 and a high degree of dysfunction in the mitochondria of Parkinson’s patients’ brain cells. Correcting the low CoQ10 apparently energizes brain cells, slowing down the disease. Other research shows that boosting levels of CoQ10 also preserves brain tissue, lessening brain cell death.

In one study, researchers at the University of California, San Diego, gave high doses of CoQ10 to 80 patients recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s. The investigators, headed by Clifford W. Shults, M.D., tested three different doses of CoQ10 daily: 300 mg, 600mg or 1200 mg for four months. The amazing result: all of the patients getting any dose of CoQ10 showed less severe symptoms than those taking a placebo.  In short, the CoQ10 slowed the progression of early Parkinson’s symptoms.

However, the greatest slow-down came for those taking 1,200 mg of CoQ10 daily. They experienced a 44%  slower rate of deterioration. Most noticeable, the CoQ10 takers had better mental acuity, motor abilities and were better able to handle daily living activities–eating, dressing, bathing and walking– than those not getting CoQ10.  Even those taking only 300 mg CoQ10 daily had a reduced progression in symptoms of 27% compared with placebo.  (Schultz, CW et al. Pilot trial of high dosages of coenzyme Q10 in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Exp Neurol 2004; 1288: 491-494.)

CoQ10’s Potential Against Alzheimer’s

CoQ10 is recommended by alternative practitioners to improve brain functioning in people with Alzheimer’s disease, and with good reason. The condition is associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage. So far, though, the only studies done in humans to prove CoQ10’s worth in treating Alzheimer’s disease have included a number of neuroprotective substances, so it is impossible to single out CoQ10’s role.

However, an animal study done by researchers at Johns Hopkins University suggests that CoQ10 alone can block brain damage.  The study included animals with induced Alzheimer’s-like brain damage. Animals fed daily CoQ10 showed normal brain structure and no loss of memory or intellectual functioning. In contrast, animals not fed CoQ10 suffered severe neurological dysfunction with a drop in memory and learning capacity. The CoQ10 worked by stimulating energy production in brain cells and inhibiting free radical attacks on neurons, researchers explained. (Ishrat T., Behav Brain Res 2006 Apr 16,Epub)

CoQ10 Reduces Migraine Symptoms

New research from Switzerland showed that daily CoQ10 supplements reduce the frequency of migraine headaches. This was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. It tested CoQ10 versus placebo in 42 migraine sufferers ages 18-65. The people received a placebo for one-month, then were randomly assigned to receive either CoQ10 (100 mg a day) or placebo 3 times a day. They were also asked to keep a migraine diary that showed the number of headaches, severity, and other symptoms.

At the end of four months, symptoms in both groups were compared. Only the people taking CoQ10 had a continuous decrease in attack frequency between month 1 and month 4. They also had a decrease in nausea and vomiting. CoQ10 had no side effects, which could make it especially useful for children and women of child-bearing age, since current migraine drugs have potentially harmful side effects.  (Sandor, PS et al. Neurology 2005: 64; 713-715.)

CoQ10 as a Potential Cancer Fighter

Not much research has been done on CoQ10’s anti-cancer potential, but one study has intriguing implications. In it, 84 breast cancer patients were randomized to receive a daily supplement of 100 mg of CoQ10, 10 mg of riboflavin and 50 mg of niacin per day along with 10 mg of tamoxifen twice a day. Another group got just the tamoxifen.  After 90 days, the group taking the CoQ10-vitamin combo had significantly lower levels of two important tumor markers (which are elevated with impending relapse and metastases) compared to the group taking only tamoxifen.  Researchers say the supplement increases the expression of a cancer-suppressing gene, MnSOD, restores lipid peroxidation levels and enzyme activity to near normal, and helps to reduce cancer cachexia, the wasting of body tissues that often comes with advanced cancer.  Certainly more research is warranted for this simple supplement. (Premkumar, VG et al. Biol Pharm Bull 2007; 30(2):367-370.)

Side Effects?

CoQ10 is considered extraordinarily safe, with reports of only mild gastrointestinal upset in less than one percent of users. Taking smaller doses two or three times a day may lessen the discomfort. CoQ10 may decrease blood pressure and blood sugar levels, so people taking medications for those conditions may need dosages adjusted. Some research suggests CoQ10 might lower the anticoagulant effects of the blood thinner coumadin in some people. Monitoring the blood to determine if the coumadin dose needs adjustment is advisable. Pregnant and lactating women are advised to not to take CoQ10 due to insufficient evidence of safety for the fetus.

How Much Do You Need?

While there is no established ideal dose for CoQ10, studies have used doses of CoQ10 ranging from 30 mg to 1,200 mg. We recommend doses ranging from 30 mg to 600 mg daily for adults. The general guideline is 1 mg per pound of body weight. So if you weigh 150 lbs., you should take 150 mg. But this is a general guideline. Most people take 100 to 200 mg daily.

  • Daily dosages of 30 to 200 mg of CoQ10 are commonly recommended for healthy adults.
  • Those with heart failure or angina are often advised to take 100 to 200 mg of CoQ10 daily, and even 600 mg per day in severe cases of heart failure.
  • People taking statins (such as Lipitor and Zocor) to lower cholesterol are advised to take 200-600 mg a day to help prevent muscle-weakening side effects of the drugs.
  • Some cancer patients have been given 400 mg of CoQ10 along with chemotherapy agents to reduce toxic side effects of these drugs.
  • Taking 100 mg of CoQ10 three times a day has reduced migraine attacks by one-third.
  • Taking 60 mg twice a day has lowered systolic high blood pressure by one-fourth. Using 100 mg of CoQ10 twice a day has also increased effective of blood pressure medications.

Note: Since CoQ10 is a fat-soluble nutrient, for best absorption take just before or after a meal that contains some form of healthy fat content. Alternatively, you can take it with a bit of healthy fat such as peanut butter or olive oil.

You Should Definitely Consider Taking CoQ10

CoQ10 is definitely worth trying to sharpen your brain, strengthen your heart, or simply give you more overall energy. It is extremely safe, thoroughly researched and widely-prescribed by doctors and health experts worldwide. It definitely deserves a place in any anti-aging supplement regime.

Baum’s Natural Foods has CoQ10 Ubiquinol on sale this month only for $5 off!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

July 5, 2012

2012 Dirty Dozen: The 12 fruits and vegetables highest in pesticides

Reblogged from Ruby Beauty Organics:

Click to visit the original post

By Briana Rognlin for Blisstree.com

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released 2012 updates to the Dirty Dozen—a list of the 12 most pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables—adding cucumbers to the list, in addition to a new “plus” category to indicate produce that didn’t meet the Dirty Dozen criteria, but are still contaminated with organophosphate insecticides, which are toxic to the nervous system.

Most of the list is the same as in years past, but this year the EWG says to watch out for cucumbers, leafy greens like kale and collard greens, and green beans.

Here’s the updated Dirty Dozen:

1. Apples
2. Celery
3. Sweet bell peppers
4. Peaches
5. Strawberries
6. Imported nectarines
7. Grapes
8. Spinach
9. Lettuce
10. Cucumbers
11. Domestic blueberries
12. Potatoes

Keep reading for more here…